MR product carriers have been the most busily traded kind of ship in secondhand tanker markets for yet another week, with a new batch of transactions coming to the fore.

“MR remains the most popular size, with interest witnessed across both younger and older vessels,” Eva Tzima, head of research at Athens-based Seaborne Shipbrokers, wrote on 9 May.

“Asset values continue to firm, while several candidates are either withdrawn or are marketed with significantly upward revised price ideas.”

In the latest case, Danish shipping giant Maersk is said by US brokers to be parting with the 48,100-dwt Maersk Messina (built 2009) for $16.5m — a ship that VesselsValue estimates to be worth just $14.7m.

This would be just the latest in a string of MR sales by Maersk. The company is believed to have also offloaded another three such ships since the end of March: the 49,700-dwt Maersk Tokyo (built 2016) for about $31m to Italian players, possibly Premuda; the 49,800-dwt Maersk Tangier (built 2016) for $31m to undisclosed interests; and the 37,000-dwt Maersk Arctic (built 2006) to unidentified Turkish buyers for between $10m and $11m.

A Maersk spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The group’s tanker owning company, Maersk Product Tankers, which is co-owned by AP Moller Holding and Mitsui & Co, logged a net loss of $46.2m last year.

The same company already sold 15 tankers on the secondhand market in 2021 and expects to break even this year.

Last Grindrod tanker

In other reported deals, German owners are said to have sold the 37,500-dwt MR sisterships Isolde (built 2008) and Lugano (built 2007) to unidentified Greeks for about $11m each.

The 50,100-dwt Matuku (built 2016) — the last tanker remaining under the control of Grindrod Shipping — is said to be changing hands for about $30m.

The ship had been on a bareboat charter until 2022 and brokers believe it was bought by Italians, possibly Premuda again. Premuda was linked to another MR purchase as well — a $34m deal for the 50,000-dwt Elandra Pine (built 2018) — late last month.

Again, at the end of April, Norwegian interests are said to have swooped on Cido Shipping’s 47,100-dwt Forres Park (built 2009) for $16.5m.

Indonesian interests, possibly Pertamina, are suspected to be behind a $22.9m acquisition of Shenlong Maritime’s 50,300-dwt St Katharinen (built 2013).

Singapore-based Shenlong was reported on 21 April to have sold the 50,200-dwt sistership St Jacobi (built 2014) to Indonesian interests as well at exactly the same price.