November 10 - ALP Maritime Services has entered into a purchase agreement to purchase six anchor handling tugs, which are currently managed and operated by Harms Bergung Transport & Heavylift.

The vessels - AHT Orcus, AHT Uranus, AHT Ursus, AHT Janus, AHT Taurus and AHT Magnus operate in the 200 to 300 tonnes bollard pull towing segment.

ALP, which was acquired by Teekay Offshore earlier this year, said that it has mutually agreed with the sellers that it will take over the vessels during the period from December 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015 at ALP's discretion.

According to ALP the sale is subject only to a satisfactory inspection of the anchor handling tugs. After the inspection has been completed, the vessels shall be re-branded to with ALP names, said the company.

However, Harms Bergung was seemingly not aware of this agreement, telling HLPFI that it has commenced legal action claiming damages against the respective companies, and is seeking to have the shareholders' resolutions set aside.

HLPFI understands that while Harms Bergung manages and operates the tugs, the vessels are owned by six independent German companies.

In a second statement, Harms Bergung has said that the company has explained to its clients and partners that the move by Teekay/ALP to acquire six of its AHTs will be challenged; and that legal action will be commenced to set aside the shareholders' resolution, which will also effect the purchase agreements in question.

As a shareholder in each of the companies that own the vessels, Harms Bergung has said that it will monitor the market closely and seek compensation.



Harms Bergung recently chartered the two 219-tonne bollard pull anchor handling tugs Janus and Ursus to Saipem to support pipelaying operations in Angola and Venezuela.

Over the course of the past 15 months, the tugs have completed numerous projects for Saipem, including the towage of the semi-submersible pipelay barge Castoro 7 from Willemstad to Point Noir, supporting pipelay operations and anchor handling, plus the return tow of the barge to the Port of Spain.