Maersk Product Tankers has sold another MR vessel as sentiment remains bullish in the secondhand tanker market.

The Danish owner confirmed it disposed of the non-scrubber-fitted, 40,083-dwt Maersk Erik (built 2008) but declined to reveal the price or the identity of the buyer.

The vessel, which was constructed by South Korea’s SLS Shipbuilding, was said to have been bought by Italy’s Socomar for $12m.

TradeWinds has approached Socomar for comment, but the deal has not been confirmed.

Equasis data shows the low-key player currently operates seven MR product tankers built between 2003 and 2015.

A sale-and-purchase broker said: “$12m would be a fair price … They had been holding out for $13m for a long time.

“Maersk is a very good seller, and this was the best MR1s in the market by far. Most of the other ships would get less because of the specifications."

TradeWinds reported that Maersk Product Tankers had sold the 51,200-dwt Maersk Marmara (built 2006) and 46,700-dwt Maersk Mediterranean (built 2007) in June.

Brokers said US-based MT Maritime paid at least $20m for the pair in an en-bloc deal.

The owner has sold three small product tankers, three MRs and six LR2s so far this year, according to VesselsValue data.

Maersk Product Tankers achieved its best annual result on record in 2020, partly boosted by the sales of 20 ships.

The company’s net profit reached nearly $161m, compared with $92.4m in 2019, according to its annual report.

Maersk Product Tankers said it managed to dispose of six LR2, five MRs, five handy and four intermediate tankers of various ages at “attractive” prices in the secondhand market.

The company was established by AP Moller Holding and Mitsui & Co as a vessel-owning vehicle in 2017. Its fleet is commercially and technically managed by Maersk Tankers, which is wholly owned by AP Moller.

Secondhand tanker prices have been rising in recent months, with buying appetite still healthy despite weak spot earnings.

VesselsValue data shows 44 crude and product tankers have changed hands since 1 July, including 15 MR vessels.

Many analysts expect tanker rates to gradually recover in the coming quarters despite renewed Covid-19 outbreaks in many parts of the world.

“If Opec gradually increases production, we expect an outsized portion of those volumes are likely to be refined products and likely carried on larger product tankers,” investment bank Stifel said in a note.

“Should the strength in the LR market persist, it should also gradually benefit the smaller MR and handy markets.”