Tanker markets continued strong at the end of the week with talk of new French oil company age restrictions on acceptances said likely to put further pressure on rates.
French oil major Elf has adopted a 20 year age limit policy on terminals as well as tanker chartering, brokers said. This was on top of the immediate imposition of last week's French government safety charter calling on oil companies only
to accept ships over 15 years if they had a drydocking report in the last 30 months and had been inspected in the last six.
So far the impact had been greatest for Aframax and Suezmax tankers, rather than VLCCs, but brokers predicted that the rule would hit older VLCCs, lifting the West Africa market, as units move out of the area where the most Elf/Total terminals are.