Trading company Jovo Group is being named as the buyer of a 15-year-old steam turbine vessel from Japanese owner Shoei Kisen Kaisha.

Shipowning sources said Jovo has bought the 154,982-cbm Trinity Arrow (built 2008) from Imabari’s shipowning arm Shoei Kisen, which took the vessel back into sole ownership around three years ago after its earlier joint ownership under which K Line operated the vessel.

A price on the Trinity Arrow has yet to emerge. Initial market talk this week pegged the sale price as in the low $60m range. Brokers said its larger capacity compared with other 138,000-cbm LNG steamships will have helped firm the pricing.

TradeWinds has contacted both Jovo and Shoei Kisen for confirmation and further details about the sale.

Secondhand sales of LNG carriers picked up in 2022 and the trend is expected to continue as older ships face increasingly tough emissions regulations.

The Trinity Arrow was built by Japan’s Imabari Shipbuilding in Japan at its Koyo Dockyard and was initially chartered out to Cheniere Energy on a medium-term charter of about 10 years.

At the time, this was a new development for Japanese owners who had previously confined their LNG business to long-term 20-year deals on vessels and were only just starting to experiment with shorter charters.

This would appear to be Jovo’s third secondhand LNG carrier buy as the company expands its trading interests from small breakbulk shipments to full globally traded cargoes.

In early 2021, the company — which became China’s first private LNG terminal operator when it fired up its Dongguan Jiufeng facility on the Pearl River in 2012 — made a similar purchase by buying the 138,000-cbm steam turbine Pioneer Spirit (ex-LNG Pioneer, built 2005) from Mitsui OSK Lines of Japan.

The vessel, which according to Clarksons’ Shipping Intelligence Network (SIN) was ordered in mid-2001 for $165.5m, was sold to Jovo for around $37m.

A year later, in February 2022, Jovo was seen buying the 74,130-cbm Med-max LNG carrier Global Energy (built 2006) from TotalEnergies.

In addition, Jovo has branched into LNG newbuildings, signing up with China’s Jiangnan Shipyard in 2018 for a pair of 80,000-cbm vessels.

The company initially said it was waiting for the completion of its then-planned IPO to fund the two ships. Jovo Energy was listed on the main board of the Shanghai Stock Exchange in May 2021. But brokers have indicated that only one newbuilding now remains on order for the company. Clarksons’ SIN lists the single LNG vessel as due for delivery in 2023.

A Jovo official indicated to this publication that the company currently operates eight LNG carriers. But added that full details will be given in Jovo Energy’s upcoming 2022 annual report.