Seacor Ocean Transport Inc. has won court approval to take over bankrupt International Shipholding Corp. (ISH) with a cash infusion and debt relief.

The reorganization plan, which ISH said “paves the way for the company to emerge from bankruptcy in a financially strengthened position,” is expected to become effective in the second quarter after government approvals and authorizations.

ISH “worked with our secured lenders, Seacor, our labor unions, the unsecured creditors committee, and other interested parties” to get the plan approved, said CEO Erik Johnsen, “and we look forward to continuing operations under the ownership of Seacor.”

The plan includes the issuance of new equity to Seacor in exchange for $10.5 million cash and the conversion of $18.1 million in outstanding debtor-in-possession financing claims to equity. In addition, there’s $25 million in a new senior debt exit facility, much of which will be used to satisfy creditor claims, and the sale of its pure car/truck carriers to NYK Group Americas Inc.

New Orleans-based ISH, founded in 1947 as Central Gulf Steamship Corp., filed for bankruptcy protection July 31after trying to shed assets and negotiate with lenders. The company, which operated 21 U.S. and foreign-flag vessels, listed assets of $305.1 million and total debts of $226.8 million.

Before Chapter 11, they marketed assets to 68 prospects and got 10 indications of interest, court papers show. They decided the best course was to sell the specialty business segment — its Southeast Asian transportation and brokerage services unit — and reorganize the other segments through Seacor. The ocean transport company is a subsidiary of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Seacor Holdings Inc.

Without Seacor, ISH “would be forced to consider less attractive bids” for its assets, CFO Manuel Estrada said in court papers. They wanted to quickly emerge from bankruptcy and doubted they’d get better terms than the Seacor’s.

On Dec. 30, the court approved the sale of the specialty assets for $24.5 million to J Line Corp., an entity substantially owned by Johnsen, who had made a stalking horse bid of $18 million.

Learn more about ISH’s restructuring plan.

Dale DuPont has been a correspondent for WorkBoat since 1998. She has worked at daily and weekly newspapers in Texas, Maryland, and most recently as a business writer and editor at The Miami Herald, covering the cruise, marine and other industries. She and her husband once owned a weekly newspaper in Cooperstown, N.Y., across the alley from the Baseball Hall of Fame. A South Florida resident, she enjoys sailing on Biscayne Bay, except in hurricane season.