MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company has resumed scrapping its older container ships after a two-month lull.

The Gianluigi Aponte-controlled company has been one of only two owners to send older ships to the breakers in the past week.

The 3,424-teu MSC Rossella (built 1993) is reported sold to yards in Alang, India, for $530 per ldt, according to cash buyers.

That will have fetched about $7m for the 13,305 ldt vessel.

It was the oldest of three classic panamax boxships operated in MSC’s services between the Middle East and the western Indian subcontinent.

In January, the 3,500-teu sister ship MSC Sophie (built 1993) was sold to a hand-picked recycling facility in India for strict green recycling.

MSC is closely watched in the recycling market after the world’s largest container carrier bought more than 300 mostly secondhand vessels during the past three years.

Any decision by the Geneva-based giant to send a major chunk of its fleet to the breakers could mark the bottom of the cycle, analysts believe.

Owners hold back

So far this year, with charter rates rising on the back of the Red Sea crisis, few container ships are being sent for recycling.

Demand for tonnage, including vintage ships, continues after 10 weeks of rising charter rates, say brokers.

The only other container vessel reported sold in recent days was owned by Meratus Line.

The Indonesian owner is said to have delivered the 1,388-teu Meratus Medan 2 (built 1991) on an “as is Jakarta” basis for $505 per ldt, or $3.68m.

MSC was emerging as the most prolific recycler of container ships, even though it has yet to open the demolition floodgates.

The company sold 17 vessels from its operated fleet with a capacity of 51,000 teu last year, according to Alphaliner.

That included the 8,034-teu MSC Rita (built 2005), which caught fire while anchored off Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa Port in June last year and was later sold for recycling.

MSC has a strict policy of selling only to carefully vetted yards at Alang that offer enhanced green recycling.