Rates for MEG VLCCs rose to around $70,000 per day earlier this week from a low of $40,000 per day seen only two weeks ago. Sentiments have changed rapidly, in both directions, making it tough to pick the right timing for both owners and charterers, Fearnleys said, which clearly indicates that it is a finely balanced market today.
MEG volumes have picked up, but nowhere near what we saw last month and it is thought that a larger portion of the normal volumes were taken on own tonnage.
Volumes West Africa/East continued to be stable and correlated closely in earnings terms
with Meg/East. Caribbean/East also continues stable with steady activity and firm rates.
Owners’ expectations for the ‘winter market’ is hence far from diminished, the broker said.
A week of decent activity for Suezmaxes as the rates rose to WS120 levels after being stable at WS80-85 for WAfr-UK/Cont/Med voyages. However, rates seemed to have reached the top and have settled at slightly lower levels .
The recent activity in Black Sea/Med has also firmed rates, due to large cargo numbers along and delays in Turkish straits.
North Sea and Baltic Aframaxes remained active last week, but due to a balanced tonnage scenario, no changes in rates were evident. Going forward we expect an increase in rates, mainly due to continued activity, more weather delays and ships moving away from the area.
In the Med and Black Sea, the Aframax market was stable at around WS107.5 for the past week. Delays in the Turkish straits and some Italian ports helped to maintain rates at these levels.
As Caribs and W Africa were looking firm and activity is expected to increase towards end of this month month in Black Sea/Med, this market has some upward potential, Fearnleys concluded.
Among the fixtures reported recently by broking sources, Vitol was reported to have fixed the 2009-built VLCC ‘New Talent’ for two years at $42,250 per day, while Clearlake was said to have taken the 2007-built VLCC ‘Spyros K’ for two years at $47,500 per day and Koch was believed to have fixed the 2001-built VLCC ‘Formosapetrol Challenger’ for 12 months at $40,000 per day.
IOC was reported to have fixed the 2000-built Suezmax ‘Jag Lateef’ for two years at $29,500 per day.
Singapore-based Mitsubishi subsidiary Diamond Tanker reportedly fixed the 2009-built Aframax ‘Sea Bay’ for 12 months at $22,500 per day.
LR1s seem to be in vogue as BP was said to have fixed the 2008-built ‘Energy Centurion’, plus the 2009-built ‘Gulf Castle’ for two years each at $22,500 per day and $23,000 per day, respectively.
In the S&P sector, brokers said that the Ahrenkiel-managed Handysize tankers - ‘Conti Benguela’, ‘Conti Greenland’, ‘Conti Agulhas’, ‘Conti Humboldt’ and ‘Conti Guinea’ had been committed to Clearwater Marine.
However, some doubt has been expressed whether this deal was signed. It also appears that the Hafnia/Geden deal did not get off the ground.
One deal that was confirmed was Mumbai-based Elektrans Shipping’s (formerly Doehle Danautic) acquisition of the Suezmax ‘Distya Akula’, which will be co-owned with Arya Industries.
The 1995-built tanker will be flagged in India and bring’s the company’s fleet up to three vessels. Elktrans and Arya have invested $40 mill for vessel acquisitions.
Daniel Chopra, Elektrans managing director, said, “Acquisition of ‘Distya Akula’ further consolidates Elektrans’ position as a full-service maritime company. We have embarked on an aggressive acquisition plan to increase the ownership fleet size.
“Besides owning oil and gas tankers, we are watching the drybulk segment, which holds promise. Such an expansion plan, especially in today’s tough market scenario, demands, in addition to the technical, commercial and human expertise, steadfast leadership and focus,” he said.
Elektrans also offers crew management, technical management, ship recycling, chartering and shipbroking services.
Elsewhere, Greece’s New Shipping was thought to have purchased the 1999-built VLCC ‘GC Guanzhou’ for $30-31 mill.
Leaving the fleet was the 1992-built Aframax ‘Jelita Bangsa’ reportedly sold to undisclosed breakers for $320 per ldt on the basis of ‘as is’ Indonesia and the 1985-built Handysize ‘Moskovskiy C’ also reported as sold to undisclosed recyclers for $205 per ldt on the basis of ‘as is’ Cuba.
As for newbuildings, Orient Shipping & Investment was said to have ordered two VLCCs at Hyundai Samho at $94.5 mill each for 2017 delivery.
Consolidated Marine Management was said to have ordered two, option two MRs at Hyundai Mipo at $35.5 mill each, while Stena Bulk was thought to have contracted up to five high-spec MRs at $40 mill each from CSSC Offshore & Marine Engineering.
VLGCs were also in the news with Tokyo-based Astomos Energy Corp ordering three 82,200 cu m LPG carriers at two Japanese shipyards on the back of long tertm charters, bringing its order book up to 10 newbuildings.
The company has ordered two VLGCs at Kawasaki Heavy Industries that are scheduled for delivery in the first half of 2019 and placed the third at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Shipbuilding of 83,000 cu m capacity.
NYK and its partners have signed a five-year charter agreement with Astomos for the three vessels.
In addition, Shanghai Zhenrong has ordered two VLGCs from Jiangsu New Yangzijiang at $76 mill each for 2018 deliveries, while KSS has declared an option for another VLGC from Hyundai at $77 mill.
Gener8 Maritime has confirmed that it took delivery of the ECO VLCCs - ‘Gener8 Athena’ and ‘Gener8 Strength’ - from Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering and Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding, respectively.
They represent the second and third of 21 ECO VLCCs due to be delivered to Gener8 Maritime's. Upon their delivery, they entered into Navig8's VL8 Pool.
Meanwhile, Jacksonville-based Crowley Maritime Corp has christened the ‘Ohio’, the first of four new LNG-ready Jones Act product tankers being built at Aker Philadelphia Shipyard.
The 50,000 dwt, 330,000-barrel-capacity ship is the first tanker ever to receive ABS LNG-Ready Level 1 approval, giving Crowley the option to convert the tanker to LNG propulsion in the future.
Another three product tankers are also being built by APSI for Crowley and scheduled for delivery through 2016.