Aged tankers went to the sanctioned markets
Low freight rates in the tanker market are prompting shipowners to send older vessels for recycling. Over the past 30 years, an average of 5% of the VLCC fleet has been scrapped when freight rates have been low for 12 months. These are historical trends, but this year the tanker fleet utilization market is showing the opposite so far.
Thus, rather than taking advantage of the high scrappage prices of $ 20 million for the VLCC, shipowners have rather sold such vessels to private operators.
“For example, according to Gibson Shipbrokers, 83 older large-capacity tankers have been sold since 2019,” reports Offshore Energy. - The "illegal trade" potentially involves 66 VLCC tankers (54 for Iran and 12 for Venezuela) and 29 Suezmax tankers (20 for Iran, 9 for Venezuela).
Euronav believes that the easing of restrictions on oil production by OPEC +, which allows an additional 2.1 million barrels of oil per day to be supplied to the markets from May to July, will help improve the situation. Every million barrels a day requires 30 VLCC tankers to transport.
In addition, "a return to the global economic order, which has legitimized the 'illegal' maritime transport of Iranian crude oil, could give an impetus to the disposal of aged tankers involved in these shipments."