September 9 - Breakbulk and bulk vessel operator, TBS International has advised that its lenders have agreed to let it not make principal payments due on loans from September 30 to December 15.

TBS said in a statement: "During this forbearance period, the company and its various lender groups will negotiate amendments to restructure the company's various financing facilities and cure any existing defaults," adding that it "intends to pay only the stated interest on its financing facilities during the forbearance period and will accrue any applicable default interest.

Joseph E. Royce, chairman, chief executive officer and president stated: "The continued weakness in the Baltic Dry Index, or BDI, the industry indicator for spot dry bulk freight rates, during the past 12 months has caused the company and our lenders to consider the desirability of restructuring our various financing facilities.

"This forbearance agreement provides us with the time we need to restructure our various agreements."

Ferdinand V. Lepere, senior executive vice president and chief financial officer, said, "TBS remains in solid financial condition, but has concluded that it is prudent to conserve cash by extending the amortisation periods for our various financing facilities. During this negotiation period, we will continue to operate our business as usual, to pay all of our vendors and to pay the stated interest on our debt. We are confident that with the restructuring that we are discussing with our lenders we will continue to pay all of our lenders, vendors and other creditors in full."

The TBS fleet comprises 30 multipurpose tweendeckers and 22 handymax and handysize bulk carriers totaling 1.6 million dwt.