With intense international attention focused on older ships, many interested parties are waiting to see if the resultant pressure to utilize new tonnage will result in a scrapping/build boom. If last week is an indication, the move to purge older ships could already be underway. Three VLCC tankers have been reported sold to be scrapped this week, shipping brokers said. The sales would take VLCC demolitions to eight so far this year, and put scrapping on course to hit a total of 48 to 50 units this year.
Tankers were being scrapped as low rates combined with high bunker prices and an increased preference by charterers to take newer ships in the wake of the pollution caused by the sinking of the 25 year old Erika off France
About 30 VLCCs were scrapped last year with a further five sold for demolition but not yet confirmed for break-up because they were completing cargo voyages.
The latest candidates for scrapping were the 1974-built 275,000 dwt Somerset, 1976-built 246,000 dwt Astro Alpha
and the 1975-built 268,000 dwt British Resource. The number of vessels reaching 25 years of age or over will reach 74 this year.