Greek shipowner Capital Gas has sold one of its three on-the-water LNG carriers in what is increasingly becoming an active market for older vessels in the sector.

Those following Evangelos Marinakis-controlled company and its LNG fleet said Capital Gas sold the 137,000-cbm Trader IV (built 2002), a steam turbine-driven vessel.

They said the Moss-type ship was bought by a Chinese buyer for about $40m.

The Equasis database lists the ownership of the vessel as transferring to a Dubai-based entity on 7 May.

Capital Gas took over the commercial management of what was then called the LNG Rivers in September. The vessel was previously controlled by Nigeria LNG’s shipping arm, Bonny Gas Transport.

The buy came as Capital Gas wrapped up negotiations on the charter of two of its speculatively ordered LNG newbuildings to Nigeria LNG.

Two months after the ship purchase, TradeWinds reported that the renamed Trader IV had been fixed on short-term business to trader RWE.

Capital Gas broke into the LNG sector in 2018 and has since amassed a swathe of 18 modern ships including newbuildings scheduled for delivery through into 2027.

This year, Marinakis’ Capital Maritime & Trading is transforming its US-listed entity, Capital Product Partners, into a pure gas and energy transition company. To be called Capital New Energy Carriers, it will be home to 11 of Marinakis’ LNG carriers with options to acquire more.

Capital Gas waded into the secondhand LNG carrier market in 2022, first buying the 138,000-cbm Trader II (ex-British Trader, built 2002), also a steam turbine-powered ship, for between $26m and $28m. The company later chartered it out to PetroChina.

In 2023, the shipowner bought the 137,489-cbm steamship Trader III (ex-Puteri Intan Satu, built 2002) from Malaysia’s MISC Berhad, paying about $35m for the vessel and fixing it to Portugal’s EDP for 12 months.

Brokers said the LNG secondhand market is starting to pick up again, with Asian buyers proving particularly hungry for tonnage.

The run of LNG steamships emerging for sale had been expected to tick up as they redeliver from long-term charters into a market where new environmental regulations and a swathe of delivering modern tonnage are rendering them increasingly difficult to trade due to their inefficiencies and small sizes.

But brokers warn the strong secondhand prices being paid for ships of the Trader IV’s vintage could dampen owners’ interest in sending vessels for demolition.

This week, SK Shipping was the first owner this year to take the demolition route, selling its 127,100-cbm LNG carrier YK Sovereign (built 1994) for scrap at a lump sum price of $18.7m.

The Moss-type vessel was sold on an “as is” basis and is expected to be delivered at Incheon in South Korea.