Rough Seas

June 02, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Mercantile Shipping Company said it made a loss in the 2008-09 financial year during which it sold off old ships and firmed up orders for new ones.

The company said a voluntary retirement was offered in the March quarter and that based on the number of applications and the defined plan identified for each grade of staff, the cost of the VRS was 33 million rupees.

It said the VRS was offered consequent to changes in operations.

The company’s vessel M.V. Mercs Ruhunu was sold for scrap in February 2009 for 49.1 million rupees.

Another vessel, M.V.Mercs Yala, owned by Mercantile Global Shipping, a fully owned subsidiary, was also sold in March 2009 for 42.9 million rupees, the statement said.

It said it incurred 65.8 million rupees as dry docking expenses of another ship, M.V. Safmarine Soyo, chartered to the Safmarine shipping line, during the year, and 61.5 million rupees on an emergency main engine repair on the vessel in the fourth quarter.

The charterer of M.V. Safmarine Soyo has given notice to off-hire the vessel by beginning of June 2009, Mercantile Shipping said.

The company expects to start taking delivery