Sea Pioneer Shipping of Greece has inked its second newbuilding contract of the year.

The Vasilis Bacolitsas-led company has signed up to four MR tankers at K Shipbuilding, according to shipbuilding sources. The deal was for two firm vessels plus options for two additional ships.

Sources said this is the first time that Sea Pioneer has turned to the South Korean shipyard for newbuildings. The company’s existing six MR/chemical tankers were built by Dae Sun Shipbuilding and Guangzhou Shipyard International.

Officials at K Shipbuilding were not available for comment. Sea Pioneer has been contacted for comment.

Sources said the 50,000-dwt product carriers that Sea Pioneer ordered at K Shipbuilding will be powered by conventional marine fuel and they are scrubber-ready.

The Greek owner is said to be paying about $45m each, which is “slightly lower than the market level”.

Sources said Sea Pioneer is getting a “special price” from the shipyard, attributed to the substantial upfront payment of 40% made for the tanker newbuildings.

The MR tanker order at K Shipbuilding is Sea Pioneer’s second contract of the year. In February, the company commissioned Japan’s Oshima Shipbuilding to build three 81,800-dwt kamsarmax bulk carriers to be delivered in 2025.

Brokers estimated the 81,800-dwt vessels to cost around $38m apiece and they will be built to comply with the International Maritime Organization’s upcoming Energy Efficiency Design Index’s phase 3 standards.

Sea Pioneer operates a fleet of seven panamax and kamsarmax bulk carriers.

K Shipbuilding is a medium-sized shipyard that specialises in MR tankers. It has contracted a total of 12 newbuildings this year including Sea Pioneer’s two firm ships.

New York-listed International Seaways ordered four 75,000-dwt LR1 tankers while Abu Dhabi-listed Al Seer Marine and Greek owner Chemnav Shipmanagement booked two MRs each.

The other two newbuildings were 6,600-dwt chemical tankers. They were ordered by Japan’s Nakagawa Bussan.

Shipbuilding sources are expecting K Shipbuilding to secure more tanker newbuildings before the year ends. However, the names of the buyers have not yet been disclosed.