The Korea Development Bank (KDB) has bought a vessel worth $67m from Korea Line Corporation to bolster the ailing shipping industry.

According to KDB, the purchase is the first to use a $1.72bn fund started in July to support Korea’s maritime industry.

The vessel, scheduled for completion in May 2010 will be leased back to the original owner, KDB said.

Canadian lender Nova Scotia Bank has funded 54% of the purchase deal while KDB provided the rest.

The fund has been designed to provide liquidity to financially ailing shipping companies while protecting shipbuilders from vessel order cancellations, the bank said.