Anna Angelicoussis-controlled Pantheon Tankers Management is being named as the buyer of eight product tankers put up for sale by BP Shipping earlier this year.

Brokers said a deal on the ships was initially agreed with South Korea’s Kukje Maritime Investment Corp but this failed to materialise.

Instead, sale-and-purchase brokers said vessels — five handysizes and three MR tankers — have been taken by Pantheon in a sale that is being kept very much under the radar.

Several appeared frustrated that no pricing details on the vessels had emerged as yet.

When the ships were offered for sale, the guide price on the handysizes was quoted at between $25m and $26m, with $30m to $31m detailed for the MR vessels.

Brokers said there is a huge appetite for modern tanker tonnage, particularly for the smaller vessels that are performing best in the current market.

Pantheon had not responded to TradeWinds’ requests for comment.

Pantheon is not afraid to move on secondhand tanker tonnage and was flagged up as being in buying mode back in 2020.

The company lists 10 VLCCs, nine suezmaxes, seven aframaxes and six MR tankers in its fleet. In addition, it has two suezmax tankers on order that are scheduled for delivery in 2022.

BP Shipping’s five handysize oil and chemical carriers and three MR tankers are owned by ICBC Financial Leasing and bareboat-chartered to Maersk Tankers.

The vessels were circulated for sale in the second quarter of 2022 and put in the hands of at least six shipbrokers in an effort to ensure a sale.

The handysize ships are named as the 39,999-dwt Maersk Altus (ex-British Altus), Maersk Cirrus (ex-British Cirrus), Maersk Stratus (ex-British Stratus, all built 2017), Maersk Cumulus (ex-British Cumulus) and Maersk Nimbus (ex-British Nimbus, both built 2016).

The three MRs are listed as the 45,500-dwt Maersk Caelum (ex-British Caelum), Maersk Navigator (ex-British Navigator) and Maersk Seafarer (ex-British Seafarer, all built 2016).

All eight Hyundai Mipo Dockyard-built ships were chartered back to BP on three-year time charters under deals signed in 2019.

Some 18 parties were originally said to have expressed interest in the vessels.

At the end of June, Clarksons Research reported that clean MR spot earnings had topped $40,000 per day — one of the strongest levels on record.

The broker’s research arm said the product tanker market is “very tight” and described the overall short-term tanker market outlook as appearing “broadly positive”.

It forecast that product tanker demand will rise 7.2%, reflecting a shift to longer-haul routes.