Shipowner Sinokor Merchant Marine has put a 17-year-old LNG carrier up for sale which it bought less than one year ago.

Brokers are circulating the 154,472-cbm LNG Alliance (ex-Gaselys, built 2007) on the market.

Sinokor finalised the vessel purchase in June 2023 after some protracted negotiations with seller French energy major TotalEnergies and its vessel partner Japan’s NYK.

At the time Sinokor was reported to have paid a strong price of $68m on the membrane-type, French-built LNG carrier. But the deal included a charter back to TotalEnergies for about 15 months.

TotalEnergies was looking to offload the ship as its last owned legacy LNG carrier that it acquired with other assets in 2018.

But the vessel also had a complex history of repairs.

It was one of three ships built with French LNG cargo containment designer GTT’s CS1 system, which has since been discontinued.

The trio of vessels suffered de-bonding issues resulting in long-running legal action and repairs to their cargo tanks. A sister ship to the LNG Alliance is now owned by Turkey’s Karpowership but only operates on three of its four cargo tanks. The Medmax-sized vessel of the trio is controlled by Chinese trader Jovo Energy.

In November, Sinokor was seen trying to sell its 138,000-cbm LNG carrier Singapore Energy (ex-British Innovator, built 2003) and was reported to be asking for offers above $35m on the steam turbine vessel.

TradeWinds has asked Sinokor for comment.

Brokers said this month, that LNG sale-and-purchase action appears to be picking up with several vessels under discussion and project players eyeing tonnage as conversion candidates for floating storage or regasification units.

One commented that with the Carbon Intensity Indicator ratings for vessels being formally issued from the beginning of this month, LNG steam turbine ships — many of which are being redelivered from long-term business — would rank as increasingly inefficient compared with modern LNG tonnage.

Sinokor’s decision to offload the LNG Alliance comes just after the owner took delivery of its first LNG carrier newbuilding.

Brokers said the 174,000-cbm Pacific Success (built 2024) has been handed over by Samsung Heavy Industries.

They said the vessel appears uncommitted for charter business in what has proved an exceptionally quiet market, characterised by weak rates and enquiry, but at a traditionally low point in the year for LNG shipping demand.

The newbuilding delivery has been some time in the making for Sinokor.

After one or more false starts on LNG newbuildings, the enigmatic owner — which traditionally does not comment on its business — contracted four vessels at SHI in February 2019 priced at about $193m each.

The shipowner initially paid the deposit on the first vessel, but it was unclear if the next three would be firmed up and the delivery of the initial ship shifted back from its original handover date in 2021.

In 2023, it emerged that Sinokor had firmed up the remaining three LNG newbuildings at SHI but was considering selling its first vessel. However, the shipowner appeared to be seeking offers at a strong price of about $270m when newbuildings were being contracted close to the $250m mark.

The remaining three LNG newbuildings are currently scheduled for handovers in 2026 and 2027.