March 14, 2012 / 12:06 PM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 1-Indonesia's Berlian units file for creditor protection in US

* Units filed for Chapter 15 in Southern District of New York

* Listed assets and liabilities in te $50-$100 mln range

March 14 (Reuters) - Units of PT Berlian Laju Tanker , Indonesia’s largest oil and gas shipping group, filed for Chapter 15 creditor protection in a U.S. bankruptcy court early Wednesday morning.

The company’s units have listed assets and liabilities in the $50 million to $100 million range, according to a filing with the U.S. bankruptcy court in the Southern District of New York.

Under U.S. bankruptcy laws, Chapter 15 grants a foreign company protection from creditors looking to seize its assets in the country.

On Tuesday, Berlian Laju said some of its subsidiaries had obtained court orders in Singapore to stay all legal proceedings against them for a period of three months.

The company said last month it had defaulted on six of its debt instruments, comprising both dollar-denominated debt and local currency bonds.

In January, it said it was freezing payments on its debt of $2 billion while it talked to creditors about restructuring its operations and finances.

Soaring fuel costs, Europe’s debt crisis and the lack of bank financing is prolonging a four-year shipping crisis that has forced some of the biggest names in the industry to falter, including Danish firm Torm.

Crude oil and refined petroleum products shipper General Maritime filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November.

Sanko Steamship, one of Japan’s oldest shipping firms, was the latest company to say it is struggling to make payments.

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