According to gCaptain sources, Niels Stolberg, Chief Executive Officer of German heavy-lift shipping operator Beluga has stepped down from his post amid a serious financial crisis leaving his company on the edge of bankruptcy.  Chief Restructuring Officer, Roger Lliffe, has taken over the role as Interim CEO.

Oaktree Capital Management, a VC firm in San Diego Los Angeles-based private equity company, pumped $260MM ~$100M into Beluga last year, however low ship utilization rates have resulted in soaring debts.  Oaktree currently owns 49.5 percent of Beluga, and all indications are that they are working to secure a majority stake of this privately-held company.   Further internal restructuring is expected in the short term.

Beluga competes with other heavy lift operators such as Dockwise, TBS Ship, and Intermarine.

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