High tanker rates are pushing owners to stand pat with their fleets as asset values stay high.

According to Clarksons and Fearnleys, there are few tankers available on the secondhand market; shipowners appear happy to hold on to their ships to snag higher rates.

“A low-volume environment seems to be the new norm on tanker [sale and purchase], despite healthy levels of buying enquiry within the market,” Fearnleys said.

“The comfort for owners [enjoying] the sustained high returns means they are not in a rush to dispose of tonnage and will certainly not accept anything below last done.”

Clarksons said 211 tankers totalling 19.7m dwt have been reported sold so far in 2024, down 14% from the same period in 2023, suggesting a slower rate of activity year over year, although activity remains higher than a decade ago.

The shipbroking giant’s Tanker Secondhand Price Index stands at 223 points, 70% above the 10-year average.

Brokers reported two MR prices at significant premiums, highlighting the secondhand market’s strength.

The 47,900-dwt Pacific Diamond (built 2010) was said to have been sold for $26.7m — a 48% increase from the $18m price tag it had in 2022.

The 46,000-dwt Nyon Express (built 2010) was reported sold for $27m. It was sold in 2022 for just $15m.

Buyers for the ships were not disclosed.

The Pacific Diamond’s technical manager, Eastern Pacific Shipping, has been contacted for comment, as has the Nyon Express’ commercial manager, Silk Searoad Maritime.

The Pacific Diamond was built at Iwagi Zosen and has an IS 48K Prod design. The Nyon Express was built at SK Onishi and has an SKDY 46K Prod MK II design.

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