The VLCC market saw steady activity for most VLCC routes last week, but rates remained stable.
Owners tried to show some weak resistance and the market ex MEG increased a point or so just to ease off again, Fearnleys said in its weekly report.
The Atlantic also saw more of the same with steady activity, but charterers managed to maintain levels.
Unfortunately for owners, no imminent change in the recent trend is expected.
Although last week proved to be more active for Suezmaxes in West Africa, this was not enough to have any impact on rates, which remained more or less unchanged.
A slightly more bullish sentiment from owners reacting to a few prompt replacement cargoes with few candidates to choose from was dampened as charterers remained patient and did not rush to cover cargoes and in tandem, normal market dates stems were worked accordingly.
This was also evident in the Med/Black Sea, as a well balanced tonnage list in the area kept rates more or less unchanged, Fearnleys said.
As expected, Baltic and North Sea Aframaxes firmed on the back of increased activity ex Baltic. At time of writing (Wednesday), rates were WS65 ex Baltic and WS90 across North Sea.
Rates were still under upward pressure, as we expect an even busier third decade ex Baltic. In the Med and Black Sea we have, as expected, seen a very busy market last week. For the first time in a couple of months owners feel like it’s their time to put pressure on charterers.
On the back of increasing cross-Med cargo activity, combined with a very busy Black Sea programme, we have now seen WS70 paid three times ex Black Sea, and we believe it will continue to look interesting in the week to come, Fearnleys concluded.
Other brokers reported the fixture of the 440,000 dwt ULCC ‘TI Europe’ to Unipec for 12 months at $36,000 per day.
Navig8 was thought to have taken the 2005-built Aframax ‘Bareilly’ for 12 months at $15,500 per day, while Handytankers was said to have fixed the 2007-built Handysize ‘Chem Helen’ for 12 months at $12,000 per day.
Newbuildings centred around rumours emanating from Russia that five Ice Class gas powered Aframaxes had been ordered at Zvezda and another two by ExxonMobil for the Sakhalin-1 project. They are due for delivery in 2019-2020.
In the S&P sector, BP was said to have sold the sister Aframaxes ‘British Curlew’ and ‘British Merlin’ for $17.6 mill and $15.9 mill, respectively.
Leaving the fleet were the 1989-built ‘Tove Knutsen’ believed committed to Indian green recyclers and the 1986-built parcel tanker ‘Stolt Jade’ also taken by Indian interests.