Eastwind Maritime, an operator of refrigerated ships domiciled in the Marshall Islands, filed for liquidation on Tuesday in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of the Southern District of New York.
More than 50 of its affiliated companies also filed for bankruptcy.
The corporation listed assets and liabilities in the range of $500 million to $1 billion in the documents it filed with the court. Related affiliates include Kura Shipping and Probulk.
The documents filed did not give a reason for the bankruptcy filing beyond saying "in the judgment of the board of directors, it is desirable and in the best interests of the company, its creditors and other interested parties that the company file a petition for relief and commence a case under the provisions of Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code."
Eastwind has been a major operator for Chiquita Brands International and had entered into a deal in May 2007 in which Chiquita sold 12 refrigerated cargo vessels to Eastwind for $227 million, then leased them back. The vessels transported about 70 percent of Chiquita bananas shipped to core markets in Europe and North America.
Prior to the agreement with Chiquita, Eastwind operated a fleet of 105 ships — 68 of which it owned — including refrigerated fruit carriers, freezer vessels, bulk carriers, product tankers and container ships, according to a Chiquita press release.
An estate administrator is expected to be appointed by the court shortly.