A spot fixture for a load of Russian coal to China is said to be fetching an eye-watering rate for capesize bulkers.

According to broking sources, a European commodity trader has agreed to spend $170,000 per day to fix a Greek-controlled bulker.

The ship is said to be the 177,900-dwt Transworld Navigator (built 2010), a vessel managed by Stealth Maritime, a company founded by Nikolaos Vafias.

The identity of the charterer and the exact details of the voyage remain unknown. Vessel trackers show the Transworld Navigator currently moored in Israeli waters, having arrived there from the port of Vanino in the Russian Far East.

Voyage rates for Russian trades have increased since several Western countries began curbing imports of the country’s commodities as part of sanctions aimed at punishing Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine in late February.

The vast bulk of the trade, however, remains legal to this date, as oil and coal bans on imports into European countries kick in only gradually or have not been finalised yet.

At the same time, big consumer nations in Asia, such as India and China, have not joined Western sanctions at all and there is no indication they will do so in the future.

Apart from fixing capesizes at record levels, private Vafias interests have been busy on the tanker front, emerging as buyers of two Libyan-controlled suezmaxes.

Market sources are identifying Brave Maritime as the buyer of a pair of vessels sold by General National Maritime Transport Co.

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Brokers had reported early in April that the 160,400-dwt 17 February (built 2008) and 159,200-dwt Libya (built 2007) were about to be sold to unidentified interests for a combined $46m.

Market sources, however, are telling TradeWinds that the reports back then were inaccurate.

A definitive deal for the two South Korean-built vessels was concluded earlier this month, with Brave Maritime clinching the deal for $47m in total.

The deal extends an impressive acquisition drive that brings to 18 the number of vessels bought or ordered by the company since February 2021.

Across the five LPG newbuildings, six bulkers and seven tankers it added over the period, Brave’s spending bill is estimated to be close to $500m.

In its last known tanker expansion move, reported by TradeWinds last month, Brave acquired the fully coated, 158,900-dwt LR3 SKS Skeena (built 2006) for about $23.5m.

Managers at Brave and Stealth declined to comment when contacted by TradeWinds.