On 15 March Euronav, one of the world’s leading independent tanker companies engaged in the ocean transportation and storage of crude oil and petroleum products, based in Antwerp, sold the Suezmax tanker Cap Isabella (2013/157,648dwt). This was something of a surprise move, as the vessel is a newbuilding from Samsung Heavy Industries in Korea.

However, the company then chartered the ship back on bareboat charter for a fixed period of two years. Euronav announced that the outlook for crude tankers is bleak at the moment and rates are expected to remain low. They state that owners could improve the situation by beginning to scrap younger vessels at a faster pace than they are doing, something that would help the market towards a speedier recovery.

Euronav also stated that, although fleet growth was limited last year, the large excess supply from previous years, combined with high voyage expenses and low freight, has kept net rates very low. But 2013 will see a shift in trading patterns, as China will show an increase in crude oil imports. RC

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