Freight rates for small fuel oil tankers in the Mediterranean have taken a long-anticipated hit. "Demand fell off a while back and there's been a build up of old ships, it was bound to happen," said a London tanker broker, who pegged the cross-Med trade for 30,000 tonners at around W185, compared to W210 two weeks ago. Italian brokers said on Wednesday that rates of W170-180 were currently the norm, and blamed holidays in Russia for a lack of fuel oil activity out of the Black
Traders said on Tuesday that low sulfur was relatively balanced with little in the way of fresh demand and few if any cargoes now available. Cargoes were valued in the $129-$131 cif region.
"Low sulfur seems to have been disappearing from the market," one regional trader said. "In terms of the Russian program in June -- from the likes of Novorossiisk and Tuapse -- there seems to be little left."
High sulfur was also quiet with outright prices pegged at around $118-$122 cif.
Italian brokers said Vitol had booked two 25,000 tonners for end-month cargoes: one from from Priolo to Bizerta at $200,000 lump sum and another from Falconara to Tunisia at $210,000 lump sum.
London brokers said that two 30,000 tonners had been fixed for voyages from Israel to Turkey at $150,000 lump sum each.
Italian brokers said that eastbound business had largely dried up, with the exception of one fixture to India's Reliance for a 50,000 ton cargo from Ras Laffan to Jamnagar. Cross-continent trades are currently estimated at W210 for 25,00 ton cargoes. - (Reuters)