* Odds of successful legal action depends on
* Shares plunge as much as 30 pct before ending 13.7 pct
* Hanjin makes Chapter 15 filing in U.S. bankruptcy court
* 79 Hanjin ships have been denied entry, including one
(Adds comments from analyst and vice finance minister; updates
By Joyce Lee and Keith Wallis
SEOUL/SINGAPORE, Sept 5 South Korea's Hanjin
Shipping plans to take legal action in jurisdictions
worldwide to prevent its vessels being seized, as more of its
ships were blocked from docking at ports in the wake of its
As of Monday, 79 Hanjin ships including 61 container ships
and 18 bulk carriers have been denied port access, according to
South Korea's maritime ministry. That figure includes one vessel
seized in Singapore by a creditor, a company spokeswoman said.
Hanjin has 141 ships, of which 128 are operating.
At least three U.S. firms have launched legal action against
Hanjin to seize vessels and other assets over unpaid bills.
Last week's collapse of the world's seventh-largest
container shipper has caused deep anxiety among its clients over
the fate of stranded cargo, and pushed up cargo rates. Whether
Hanjin can fend off ship seizures will depend on the
jurisdictions involved, lawyers said.
Drewry Maritime Research said in a note on Monday it was
difficult to see how Hanjin can survive as customers look for
alternative carriers. "It's unlikely any would entrust their
cargoes to Hanjin again," it said.
A Hanjin bankruptcy would be the largest ever for a
Hanjin vessels are currently carrying cargo worth 16
trillion won ($14.5 billion) belonging to some 8,300 cargo
owners, the Korea International Trade Association said, adding
that the carrier has unpaid bills of 610 billion won.
As part of its efforts to gain legal protection for its
ships, Hanjin has filed a Chapter 15 petition in a U.S.
bankruptcy court in New Jersey. It plans to pursue legal action
in roughly 10 countries this week and later expand that to 43
jurisdictions, South Korea's financial regulator said.
Many port authorities and service providers are demanding
cash to work on Hanjin ships, the Hanjin spokeswoman said.
Its lead creditor, the state-run Korea Development Bank, met
with officials of parent firm Hanjin Group to discuss its
commitment to paying fees so stranded ships can enter ports, but
did not reach a conclusion, a bank spokesman told Reuters.
Hanjin is likely to have more recourse against its ships
being seized in countries which, like South Korea, have signed
the United Nations-backed UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross Border
Insolvency, which include the United States, United Kingdom, and
Australia, lawyers said.
It was more uncertain what would happen in jurisdictions
such as Hong Kong, China and Singapore that have not signed the
Model law, they said.
SHARES RESUME TRADING
South Korea plans to direct Hanjin vessels to ports where
ship seizures are disallowed so that cargo can be offloaded, its
vice finance minister said on Monday.
Hanjin Shipping shares plunged 30 percent to a record low on
Monday, ending 13.7 percent lower as trading resumed after being
halted since Aug. 30 when banks pulled support.
The ship seized in Singapore, the Hanjin Rome, includes
about 50 containers with components for a nuclear power plant
under construction in the United Arab Emirates by a consortium
led by Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO), according
to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.
The person, who was not authorised to speak to the media
about cargo data, declined to be identified.
KEPCO said it did not anticipate a significant impact on
construction as it does not expect the seizure to last long and
has ample construction materials at the reactor site.
Hanjin accounts for 7.8 percent of trans-Pacific trade
volume for the U.S. market.
Rival Hyundai Merchant Marine Co is in talks
with firms such as Samsung Electronics Co and LG
Electronics to carry their cargo, South Korea's
Financial Services Commission said.
($1 = 1,106.9000 won)
(Additional reporting by Hyunjoo Jin, Yun Hwan Chae and Se
Young Lee in Seoul; Writing by Tony Munroe; Editing by Edwina
Gibbs and Muralikumar Anantharaman)