Bank of America’s Singapore branch has arrested a fourth small product tanker owned by Xihe Holdings.

An arrest warrant has been issued against the 12,000-dwt Ocean Porpoise (built 2018) in a move legal sources believe is a precursor to the ships being sold at auction to recoup outstanding mortgages.

The Ocean Porpoise’s arrest came right after Bank of America arrested three identical product tankers, the Ocean Goby and Ocean Manta (both built 2017), and the Ocean Jack (built 2018) at the end of August.

The liquidation Xihe's fleet has seen the majority of the failed company’s larger tankers sold off via sales organised by its judicial managers, using tenders conducted through broking channels.

The judicial managers have allowed a handful of Xihe's tankers to be arrested in Singapore and sold at auction.

Of the remaining 57 unsold tankers, 36 are small product tankers of less than 20,000 dwt.

Brokers said that while the larger vessels attracted a broad spectrum of international buyers, the smaller tankers would probably be of greater interest to Asian buyers for use in the busy intra-Asia tanker trades.

Although small, these modern, high-spec ships are considered prime sales candidates as they give Asian tanker owners an opportunity to replace older ships both quickly and at a reasonable price.

Maritime Strategies International estimates the Zhejiang Shenzhou Shipbuilding-built Ocean Porpoise and its sisterships to have a fair market value of between $12m and $14.1m during the third-quarter of this year.

VesselsValue pegs price tags of $11.18m on the 2017-built ships, and $11.63 on the 2018-built ships.