Greek tanker owner Chandris (Hellas) has signed its first VLCC newbuilding contract in 16 years.

The Piraeus-based company is said to have contracted a single 320,000-dwt vessel at South Korea’s Hanwha Ocean.

If confirmed, the deal would be the owner’s first order for this ship type since 2008.

The price for Chandris’ VLCC has not been disclosed, but brokers said the Greek company has ordered a conventionally fuelled, scrubber-fitted vessel and they believed it would be paying close to $130m.

Hanwha Ocean is scheduled to deliver the vessel in 2026.

Chandris has been contacted for confirmation and comment on this order.

Shipbuilding sources said several other owners have been looking to order VLCCs at Hanwha Ocean following a tender run by the Okpo-based yard for two VLCC slots. But they indicated that the shipyard has now been able to sign three contracts.

TradeWinds reported last week that Oman’s Asyad Shipping has secured two slots for VLCC newbuildings at the yard.

Greece’s Pantheon Tankers was also said to have been competing for the early VLCC berths.

Chandris currently owns just two VLCCs built in 2003 and 2011.

Its newbuilding will likely replace the 299,100-dwt Australis (built 2003), a Japanese tanker the Greek company bought from John Fredriksen for $75m when it was still a newbuilding.

In April, Chandris joined the product tanker order rush, by contracting Guangzhou Shipyard International to build two conventional marine fuel LR2 tankers for delivery in 2026 and 2027.

Chandris has also been expanding in bulkers with affiliate Century Bulk Carriers booking a pair of 63,600-dwt ultramaxes at Cosco Heavy Industry Zhoushan, which is due to deliver them in 2025, as TradeWinds has reported.

Diverse fleet

Chandris’ website shows a fleet of 12 tankers on the water, including the two VLCCs. Its other vessels include one suezmax tanker, four aframaxes and five MRs.

Chandris’ previous VLCC newbuilding was ordered at Samsung Heavy Industries at the height of the shipbuilding boom in 2008. The 320,800-dwt Oceanis (built 2011), which was reportedly priced at $160m, is still trading in the company’s fleet.

VesselsValue estimates the Oceanis is currently worth about $62m.

Sources said that after the collapse of the shipping market in the second half of 2008, Chandris dropped an option for an additional vessel.

Lucy Hine and Harry Papachristou contributed to this article.