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The Loadstar rarely ventures into the murky world of tanker shipping, but this story is simply too juicy for us to pass up – plus, it concerns a subsidiary of the giant Chinese shipping and logistics group Sinotrans.

Broken by a joint reporting team from Lloyd’s List and Chinese business publication Caixan, it tells the remarkable story of how a small Chinese coastal shipping business took out huge borrowings to build up its fleet and turn it into the world’s sixth largest tanker operator. However, the loans were hidden off-balance sheet, and as the tanker market crashed in the wake of the recession, an avalanche of debt materialised from nowhere to obliterate its finances. A complex read, but well worth the time.

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