North Sea Aframax rates sky rocketed on Friday as continuing pressure to charter modern tonnage strengthened all tanker markets, shipping brokers said. Rates as high as W175 ($6.50 per ton) were reported on Friday, up from up to about W140 ($5.25) on Thursday, for 80,000 ton ships on inter-continent voyages.
Strong 140,000 ton Suezmax markets also meant virtually no new ships were available in Europe
to mop up double Aframax cargoes, brokers said. Some 1970s built units were spot off Gibraltar with no takers, while around them modern double hull ships were being booked two or three weeks in advance, broker Galbraith's said in its weekly report.
Suezmaxes were heading for West Africa where rates have also climbed, to around W117.5 ($10.75 per ton) for the U.S., or the Mediterranean where rates have achieved W125 ($4.15) and more, brokers said. The 1991-built Front Birch was reported at an exceptional W140 ($4.65 per ton) for Ceyhan-Augusta.
Five VLCC fixtures out of West Africa were also reported Friday as charterers combined cargoes to escape the high Suezmax prices
. Rates put on a few points to W65-67.5 ($6.25 per ton) for the U.S. Gulf and W70 to Europe.