After a lull of a few weeks, Greek buying of MR tankers has resumed with Falcon Navigation and Vienna Ltd linked to two separate deals for such vessels.

The transactions demonstrate that last year's strong appetite in the country for secondhand MRs among domestic shipowners continues into this year, even though not quite at the same pace.

MR product tankers accounted for nearly half of all tankers acquired by Greeks in confirmed 2019 transactions, according to data compiled by TradeWinds.

Brokers based in Greece and the UK reported this week that Falcon has acquired the 50,100-dwt Eagle Melbourne (built 2011) for about $18.4m. Executives at the company, which is led by siblings George and Toula Gerakis, did not respond to a request for comment.

Japan’s Meiji Shipping, the Eagle Melbourne’s current owner, is known to have circulated the ship for sale in early February.

If a deal is confirmed, it would mark Falcon’s third purchase of an MR2 tanker since March 2019, when the company bought the 50,900-dwt MR Isola Bianca (built 2008). Just a few months later, the Gerakis siblings followed up by acquiring the 51,000-dwt FPMC 20 (built 2009).

Growing presence

Falcon was launched in 2000, initially to represent the chartering activities of Trafigura in Greece. That cooperation ended in 2009. Two years later, the company made headlines with its first ship acquisition when it bought the 51,400-dwt Mare di Ravenna (built 2006), which joined the company as the Falcon Nostos. This was the only unit in Falcon's fleet before its recent acquisition spree started.

Another Greek company to have expanded quickly from zero to three product tankers is Vienna. The company, which is believed to be affiliated with the Gialozoglou family that also controls IMS SA, registered with Greek authorities in July 2019.

Later in the year, Vienna emerged as the manager and operator of a pair of 19-year-old MR1 sisterships sold by German finance house Gebab. Equasis now reveals that Vienna’s clients have added a third sistership – the 37,300-dwt Maria del Carmen VIII (built 2001).

Ecuador's Vepamil shed that vessel in January to undisclosed buyers at an undisclosed price. It was a fleet renewal move for Vepamil, which at about the same time purchased from Denmark's Norden a similar but much younger vessel, the 39,800-dwt Nord Geranium (built 2014), reportedly for $25m.

The Hyundai Mipo Dockyard-built Maria de Carmen VIII has been trading with Vienna since February under its new name, Nala. Vessel tracker MarineTraffic shows the ship as underway in the Caribbean.