June 3 - Contrary to reports circulating in the international media, Thorco Shipping has confirmed that it is not exiting the heavy lift shipping market, but has returned some 12 heavy lift vessels to their owners.

Thor Stadil, chairman of Thorco Shipping, told HLPFI that the company chartered a number of multipurpose ships back in 2014, but due to the market situation, has returned these vessels to their owners.

Stadil made clear that the company had by no means exited the heavy lift shipping arena, however. "We are still in the heavy lift market. We have some of our own vessels and we have staff; we have just returned a few ships."

He added that the company was very happy with its decision to return the 12 vessels to their owners, since the market took a downturn almost immediately after they had been given back. "We were very lucky with that decision," exclaimed Stadil.

In 2014, Thorco had a fleet of 100 vessels, but the company now has 75 in its fleet. Despite the decrease in ships, Stadil confirmed that the company was not cutting back on operations or staff. In fact, he said: "We are employing more people. What's tough in the business is the vessels, not the people."

In February 2015, HLPFI reported that Kent Hedegaard, joint ceo and chief financial officer of Thorco, had stepped down from the company.