DHT Holdings has nabbed a rare VLCC time charter, signing a year-long deal with Indian conglomerate Essar.

In only the ninth period deal for the largest tankers this year, the New York-listed company fixed the 317,420-dwt scrubber-fitted DHT Europe (built 2007) to the Mumbai-based shipping, mining and energy outfit, brokers report.

It will reportedly earn $49,500 per day.

DHT executives declined to comment when reached by TradeWinds, except to say that they would be publishing a business update this week.

Essar will take control of the ship promptly in Singapore.

According to statistics from Clarksons, the nine year-to-date fixtures follow just 12 last year.

The 21 fixtures over the past 18 months are fewer than the 22 in 2022 and the 23 in 2021.

The broker said the last was the Hyundai Glovis-linked 319,547-dwt VL Brilliant (built 2014), which was fixed to ExxonMobil for $55,000 per day over one year. That deal was done in May.

Figures from Clarksons put DHT’s fixture below market rates, which it pegs at $52,000 per day for a scrubber-fitted VLCC. The broker does not consider the ship a non-eco vessel as it is over 15 years old.

But other shipbrokers suggest the rate is in line with or above the market.

On Monday, Howe Robinson Partners said a VLCC on a one-year deal would earn $48,000 per day, although it did not distinguish between eco vessels, scrubber-fitted vessels and ships with both eco-design and a scrubber.

BRS Group does. Its non-eco one-year time charter assessment was $46,000 per day.

That figure rises to $52,000 per day if the ship is eco-designed and to $57,000 per day if it has a scrubber too.

The DHT Europe would be the sixth ship in the company’s 28-vessel fleet to be fixed on a period deal.

All but one of the six are on time charter until at least 2026.

The earliest ship to come open is the 299,985-dwt DHT Harrier (built 2016), although TradeWinds reported in 2021 that the deal with Trafigura includes an option to extend.

The ship was reported to be earning $34,000 per day, with the potential to earn $36,000 per day if the option is exercised.

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