Tanker action was again focused in the Atlantic Basin this week, and though VLCCs edged in on the West African market, million-barrel tankers shrugged off the competition.
Six VLCC cargoes
were fixed from West Africa, two of them heading east and four of them heading west. While usually this would erode demand for million-barrel ships and therefore rates, the million-barrel market actually gained eight points during the week to close at W228.
Million-barrel tanker rates also showed resilience in the Mediterranean, where they gained nine points during the week to reach W213 in spite of the stand-off between the U.N. and Iraq.
Smaller dirty tankers fared less well in the Mediterranean, losing several points to stand at W255 for modern vessels.
Similar sized ships made huge gains in the Caribbean, however, partly because owners were taking advantage of charterers' wary sentiment in the wake of the Westchester oil spill in the Mississippi last week.
Activity started to recover out of the Mideast Gulf, but rates still slipped slightly during the week on all routes.