Evangelos Marinakis-controlled Capital Maritime & Trading affiliates have snapped up four LNG dual-fuelled aframax tankers from a group of banks that are selling off around 40 vessels formerly controlled by Russian shipowner Sovcomflot (SCF Group).

TradeWinds understands the tanker quartet comprises four of Sovcomflot’s so-called ‘Green Funnel’ fleet — the 113,170-dwt Alexander (ex-Gagarin Prospect, built 2018), 113,226-dwt Adam (ex-Lomonosov Prospect, built 2018), 113,170-dwt Alfred (ex-Mendeleev Prospect, built 2018) and 113,095-dwt Albert (ex-Samuel Prospect, built 2019).

Two of the vessels — the Gagarin Prospect and Samuel Prospect — were fixed on long-term charters to energy major Shell from when they were delivered.

But TradeWinds has learned that all four ships were sold charter-free.

A price has yet to emerge on the ice-class 1A aframax vessels. They were the first LNG-fuelled aframax when Sovcomflot ordered them in 2017 at a price of around $60m each.

The vessels were sold directly by ING Bank and a group of other financing banks, as part of that syndicate’s obligation to unwind Sovcomflot’s existing loan agreements after the Russian owner was hit by European Union and UK sanctions.

A sanctions deadline expired on Sunday 15 May. But the UK government has since announced that its cut-off date for companies to exit their interests with sanctioned entities has been extended to 30 June under a general licence.

Capital Maritime’s spokesman said the company does not comment on sale-and-purchase transactions.

The 113,170-dwt LNG-fuelled tanker Gagarin Prospect (built 2018) has been renamed the Alexander. Photo: Sovcomflot

Those following the company said the aframax additions for Capital Maritime’s interests are expected to be used to support the EU’s efforts to achieve energy independence while removing energy transportation capacity from Russia.

Before its four-ship purchase, the Greek shipowner lists nine aframax tankers in its fleet.

Capital Maritime is the second major shipowner to emerge as having made a multi-ship purchase of former Sovcomflot assets from the banks.

On Friday, TradeWinds revealed that Idan Ofer-led Eastern Pacific Shipping has spent just over $700m to buy four ex-Sovcomflot LNG carriers.

The 174,000-cbm X-DF LNG carriers SCF Timmerman (built 2021) and SCF Barents (built 2020) and the 170,200-cbm tri-fuel diesel-electric vessels SCF Melampus and SCF Mitre (both built 2015) were sold with ongoing charters to Shell.

Three more LNG carriers — 170,000-cbm Pskov and 170,500-cbm Velikiy Novgorod (both built 2014), and 174,100-cbm SCF La Perouse (built 2020) — have also been floated for sale.

More sales were reported by TradeWinds on Monday.

The 20,311-cbm LPG carrier Sibur Tobol (built 2013) appears to have been offloaded along with a 15-year charter to Russia’s Sibur and renamed Alcor.

Brokers also said the 321,000-dwt charter-free VLCC Twin Pollux (ex-SCF Shanghai, built 2014) has been sold to Pollux Marine of India.

Dubai-based Koban Shipping has been named as a buyer for some of Sovcomflot’s tanker tonnage.

The Russian owner’s 47,000-dwt MR2 tanker Tuchkov Bridge (built 2004) was also recently reported sold to undisclosed buyers.

Sovcomflot told TradeWinds that it does not comment on specific ship sales.

The company has said “several” vessels have been put up for sale due to the restrictions imposed.