Belgium’s Euronav says it has “rejuvenated” its VLCC fleet with deals to acquire two modern ships and sell four veteran vessels.

A statement on Friday morning confirmed two sale and purchase transactions which were first reported in TradeWinds.

Euronav has moved for two eco scrubber-fitted VLCCs, the 300,000-dwt Chelsea (built 2020) and the 298,000-dwt Ghillie (built 2019), for $179m in total.

The cash deal means the tankers will join four sister-ship D-class vessels built in 2021 in the Euronav fleet.

The VLCCs are the last ships owned by US fund Hartree Partners, which has been disposing of vessels in the last couple of years.

They have been owned by the New York operation since they were delivered from Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering in South Korea.

Brokers had put the en-bloc price at $181m.

In parallel with this, Euronav has offloaded four older S-class VLCCs for a combined fee of $198m.

A capital gain of $1.2m will be recorded. No sales price had previously been revealed.

Brokers have reported South Korean owner Sinokor Merchant Marine as the new owner of the 324,000-dwt Sandra (built 2011), 322,000-dwt Sara (built 2011), 316,000-dwt Simone and 314,000-dwt Sonia (both built 2012).

Lowering the age

“All four vessels are non-eco VLCCs with significant higher consumptions and carbon footprint than modern eco-VLCCs,” Euronav said.

The owner added that the transactions demonstrate its focus on the modernisation of its fleet and the improvement of the fuel consumption and emissions profile.

This is in turn enables Euronav to maximise the overall return of the company, it said.

The fleet’s average age has been cut from 7.3 years to 6.6 years, making it amongst the youngest VLCC fleets globally.

“Euronav considers regular fleet rejuvenation as an important function of ship management in providing quality services to our clients,” the owner said.

Performance to be boosted

“These top of the range eco-vessels will deliver an improvement in our operational performance upon delivery later this quarter,” Euronav added.

The company argues the price represents good value in the context of high newbuild prices and extended delivery schedules for new tonnage, but also in the swapping out of older for newer tonnage.

Earlier this week, Euronav confirmed the sale of the 159,000-dwt suezmax Bari (built 2005) for $21.5m.

The ship was owned with Ridgebury Tankers and Tufton Oceanic Assets.

The New York and Brussels-listed owner said the tanker had gone for $21.5m.

A capital gain of $6.5m will be recorded in the second quarter by the joint venture that controls the ship.

The three partners bought the vessel in 2019 for $20.3m from Ridgebury.