Markets- VLCCs on a roll

Apr 21 2017

Despite the recent holiday period, the week was very active for VLCCs.

Thinning tonnage lists almost everywhere and steady supply both from West Africa and MEG to the East, resulted in sharply firming rates, Fearnleys said.

Earnings were almost $30,000 per day, which was far better than forecast. The question remains - how sustainable is the present trend?

Before the holiday period, there was a surge in Suezmax activity as charterers left it late to cover the 1st decade of May for West Africa in a narrow week. Owners sensed an opportunity and pressed for higher levels gaining some ground with TD20 briefly hitting the WS80 mark.

The Black Sea and Med followed and managed some moderate gains, thus improving the sentiment going into the holidays.

However, a more measured approach from charterers was seen this week as cargoes were circulated in a orderly fashion and as a result, they have wrestled back some control, thus steadying rates.

Current earnings could be described as reasonable but the forward paper curve suggests that there will be some erosion in the coming weeks, but in the short term, owners will be looking for any excuse to capitalise.

North Sea and Baltic Aframaxes were well balanced in the past week. The Baltic ice season is coming to an end. However, the market is expected to remain at present levels in the week ahead, Fearnleys said.

The days leading up to Easter proved to be quite busy in the Med and Black Sea. But a very long position list kept rates under downward pressure, softening to WS100, despite good chartering activity.

Given that a small ship clearance has taken place from the position lists and Libyan activity has increased, the market is slowly firming again, Fearnleys concluded.

Due to the holiday period, only one fixture was reported on brokers’ lists. This concerned the 2017-built MR ‘St Pauli’ thought fixed to Maersk Tankers for nine months, option three months, for $14,000 per day.  

In the newbuilding sector, Dynacom was said to have concluded four, option four VLCCs on LOI terms at New Times for a price reported to be in the region of $77 mill each. They are to be delivered in 2019-2020.

Lundqvist was thought to have ordered another Aframax at Sumitomo for 2019 delivery.

There were a few more tanker orders believed to be nearing fruition, which should come to light in the next week or so.

Reported leaving the fleet were the 1999-built VLCC ‘Good News’ sold to Indian sub-continent buyers for around $390 per ldt; the 1992-built Aframax ‘Catherine Knutsen’, said to have been taken by Indian breakers for $361 per ldt and the 1983-built parcel tanker ‘Bow Hunter’ believed sold to undisclosed interests on the basis ‘as is’ South Korea for about $302 per ldt. She is fitted with around 700 tonnes of stainless steel and is to be towed to her final destination.

On 4th April, 2017, Stealthgas named three prototype 22,000 cu m ammonia/VCM carrier newbuildings at Hyundai Mipo.

Hull No 8184 was named ‘Eco Frost’; Hull No 8185 was named ‘Eco Arctic’ and Hull No 8186 - ‘Eco Ice’.

The ships feature many innovative technologies that were implemented for first time by HMD’s R&D department, Stealthgas said.

These included being built to Ice Class 1b and being fitted with exhaust scrubbers.

All three ships fly the Marshall islands flag and are classed by Lloyd’s Register.

Normally all of Stealthgas's newbuildings are built in Japanese yards but in this case HMD was chosen as it’s the global leader in specialised gas vessels with innovative technologies, the company explained.

These vessels represent Stealthgas's 31st, 32nd and 33rd newbuilding deliveries. One more sistership is left to be delivered from Hyundai, due in 1Q18.

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