Ships with the lowest Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) ratings had the fewest sales last year, according to VesselsValue.

The International Maritime Organisation implemented the carbon regulations on 1 January to score how much CO2 vessels emit based on cargo capacity and nautical miles travelled.

The IMO will start handing out scores on a scale from A to E in 2024 based on carbon data from owners.

Operators of ships rated D for three consecutive years or E for a single year will have to develop an approved plan of corrective actions to bring a vessel into compliance by the end of the next year. If the plan is not developed or verified, a statement of compliance will not be issued.

“CII is becoming increasingly influential in the sale-and-purchase market. At the moment, this is primarily manifesting in the liquidity of vessels,” Simon Rowse, VesselsValue head of modelling & data science, wrote in a study.

“Those vessels operating in band E have substantially lower liquidity than vessels operating in other bands.

“This is consistent with the expectation that vessels in band E will carry capital requirements, or will see their earnings potential reduce in the near future.”

About 10% of the worldwide fleet changed hands in 2022.

Of the ships with an E rating, 4.2% were sold, according to VesselsValue.

“These vessels carry the greatest risk and may become financially unviable as a result of the changes required to meet CII requirements,” Rowse said.

“Buyers may expect a discount on these vessels to account for this risk.”

E-rated ships that were sold included a container ship that went from Danaos Shipping to MSC Mediterranean Shipping Co and a tanker that Idemitsu Tanker sold to Crios Shipping.

Vessels operating in CII band B were traded most frequently (12.8%), followed by those in band C (11.6%).

“These vessels represent arguably the lowest risk in relation to the incoming environmental regulations, as they have demonstrated their ability to operate in compliance with CII,” Rowse wrote.

Norden sold a B-rated tanker to Maritime Petite Soeur and Swire Bulk offloaded a vessel to Norbulk Shipping UK. Viking Shipping sold a C-rated tanker to Energifonden Sverige.

The study revealed that only 9.2% of ships sold had received an A rating: “Owners may be reluctant to part with their most efficient vessels in an increasingly stringent regulatory environment.

“A value premium may be expected for these vessels, which is currently unknown.”

Two A-rated ships that were sold include a tanker from Hunter Group to Ray Car Carriers and a tanker from Sea Pioneer to Noma Kaiun.

Just 8.6% of D-rated ships sold in 2022, perhaps because they have three years to comply with the regulation’s Ship Energy Efficiency Improvement Plan, Rowse added.

“These vessels will be able to reach compliance by making relatively small adjustments to their operating profile or vessel configuration,” he said.

Those deals include Tsakos Shipping & Trading offloading a boxship to CMA CGM.