Markets - VLCC rates heading south

Apr 05 2019

The VLCC market took a beating this week, trading in the mid WS30’s MEG/eastbound at the time of writing (Wednesday), which barely covered OPEX.

Although dramatic, it is not unusual for this time of year, and on a positive note, it probably can’t go much lower, Fearnleys said in its weekly report.

A pick-up is not foreseen this side of the summer, although market players are full of optimism for the second half of this year.

In the Suezmax segment, there was another challenging start to the week for owners.

There was false hope at the latter part of last week as some injection of West African barrels stimulated firmer sentiment, but this fizzled out as reality hit home, due to little action elsewhere West of Suez to support the drive.

TD20 briefly fell back to WS50.

As third decade dates are now being shown in reasonable volume this reignited a firmer sentiment with TD20 threatening WS55 by the middle of this week, as cargoes attracted limited offers.

A minor recovery beckons but this will likely be short-lived as charterers will sit back after this period of action, Fearnleys said.

As for Aframaxes in the North Sea and Baltic, rates hovered around bottom levels during the past week.

The only exception was owners fixing out of Primorsk in the 12th-16th April window, as maintenance on two berths limited the availability of tonnage able to meet the current physical restrictions, combined with local ice restrictions.

However, going forward the market is expected to remain soft, as there is an abundance of available tonnage that needs to get fixed before rates will improve.

In the Mediterranean and Black Sea, the market moved sideways, as owners made a stand in order to maintain current levels for cross-Med runs.

Activity from charterers was stable, and although prompt ships have rolled over from last week, we have seen few ships ballasting into the area, resulting in a downward correction.

In the week to come we expect owners to maintain their position, as the market is expected to remain soft, Fearnleys concluded.

Elsewhere, TOP Ships has confirmed that it had entered into a timecharter agreement with Shell Tankers Singapore for its MR ‘Eco Palm Desert’ valid until September, 2020.

The rate includes a fixed amount per day, plus a 50% profit share for earned rates over the fixed amount. This replaces a pre-existing charter.

Brokers have reported that Chevron had taken the 2015-built VLCC ‘New Triumph’ for 12 months at $33,000 per day, while Vitol was thought to have concluded the charter of the 2007-built Suezmax ‘Evniki’ for 30 months at $23,000 per day, plus the 2007-built Aframax ‘Yasa Golden Bopshorus’ for 12 months, plus options, for $20,500 per day.

Cargill was said to have taken the 2019-built LR2 ‘BW Galatea’ for 12 months at $22,000 per day, while Trafigura was believed to have fixed the 2006-built Aframax ‘Androklis’ for 12 months at $20,500 per day and Clearlake was said to have fixed the 2009-built LR2 ‘Chrysanthemum’ for six months at $19,400 per day.

Rubis was thought to be the charterer of the 2009-built LR1 ‘Gulf Castle’ for 12 months at $15,500 per day, while Vitol once again was said to have fixed the 2008-built LR1 ‘Spottail’ for 12 months at $14,500 per day.

MRs fixed recently varied in rates from $12,300 per day to $14,950 per day.

In the S&P segment, Avin was said to have purchased the 2008-built MR ‘Ariake Maru’ for about $13.6 mill.

Navios Maritime Acquisition Corp has confirmed that is has sold the oldest vessel in its fleet, the 2000-built VLCC ‘C. Dream’, for $21.75 mill, reported recently.

Sovcomflot was also reported to have sold the 2001-built Suezmax ‘SCF Altai’ to undisclosed buyers for $13,5 mill.

Equatorial Marine Fuel was said to have purchased the VLCC size offshore unit, the 1999-built ‘CS Pioneer’ for $15.3 mill at auction.

Canadian tanker owner, Desgagnés has acquired a fifth dual-fuel (diesel/LNG) oil/chemical tanker.

The company confirmed it had bought the ‘Fure Vinga’ from Furetank Rederi.

She is to be renamed ‘Gaia Desgagnes’ and will primarily carry refined petroleum products on the Great Lakes, the St Lawrence, the Arctic and the East coasts of Canada and the US.

Built in April, 2018, this 16,300 dwt, 150 m long and 22.8 m wide tanker, has Ice Class 1A and can carry nearly 20,000 cu m of cargo. She is also equipped with a bow thruster and a high-efficiency rudder, the company said.

She will join the first four dual-fuel tankers, which were designed and built specifically for the company. She also is part of the company's major fleet renewal plan, started a few years ago. 

‘Gaia Desgagnes’ will arrive in Canada by the end of April for the closing of the transaction, ready to begin her operations by mid-May.

‘Fure Vinga’ was one of series of six sisters built by AVIC for Furetank, Älvtank and Erik Thun during 2018-2019.

Furetank has ordered an identical replacement at AVIC. This contract includes an option for another vessel.

Port Canaveral recently welcomed its first Aframax.

Metrostar’s 2018-built ‘ProStar’ arrived at North Cargo Berth 2 to discharge 442,131 barrels of jet fuel.

She arrived from South Korea and sailed for New York.

In the newbuilding sector, Kyklades was rumoured to have ordered up to four Suezmaxes at Hyundai for around $65 mill each.

Eastern Pacific was said to have ordered four, option four, LR2s at New Times for $48 mill per vessel, while Meiji was rumoured to have ordered up to six MRs at Hyundai on the back of Shell charters. 

Tsuneishi’s Zhoushan yard said that it had delivered its first 77,000 dwt LR1, the ‘Orange Victory’.  

As a hybrid-type, it fulfills the requirements for transporting not only petroleum products and crude oil, but also vegetable oil and certain chemical products (IMO Type II and III).

The cargo tanks were designed without structural elements and they have been given a special coating, thereby making it easy to wash and giving flexibility in loading cargo, Tsuneishi said.

Teekay Offshore Partners has announced that it had secured a $414 mill long-term debt facility that will be used to finance four LNG-fuelled Suezmax DP2 shuttle tanker newbuildings. 

Upon delivery this year and next, two of the vessels will commence operations under the Partnership’s Master Agreement with Equinor, while the remaining two vessels will join the Partnership’s contract of affreightment (CoA) shuttle tanker portfolio in the North Sea.

The new facility is funded and guaranteed by both Canadian and Norwegian export credit agencies, and commercial banks and bears interest at LIBOR + 225 basis points with a tenor for up to 12 years from the delivery date of each vessel and a blended profile of 18 years, the company explained.


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