Interest in older crude tankers has driven asset values to 15-year highs, VesselsValue has calculated.

The UK valuation platform said the sale-and-purchase boom has seen prices rise across most sectors and age ranges.

But it is 10 to 15-year-old vessels where the biggest jumps have been seen, according to analyst Rebecca Galanopoulos Jones.

Suezmaxes are leading the way with the most “dramatic” increases, as tonne-miles grow in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, she said.

A ship dating from 2008 is now worth 4% more at $41.77m than at the start of March.

For VLCCs, 10-year-old tankers have risen the most and stand at 15-year highs of $78.3m.

Aframax prices are stable overall, with slight increases for older units, the analyst noted.

“The trend towards older tonnage continues, and the average age of vessels sold so far this year is 16 years of age,” Galanopoulos Jones said.

The majority of these sales are to undisclosed buyers, accounting for nearly one-third of deals, she added.

UAE second and India third

United Arab Emirates buyers have snapped up 18% of all crude tankers sold this year, with Indian owners on 15%.

Greek companies are the biggest sellers, racking up 42.5% of all disposals to take advantage of price rises.

The UAE ranks second with just 10%.

“Tanker values have increased due to bullish sentiment in both the spot and period sectors. As the number of tankers entering the ‘dark fleet’ continues to grow, this has increased demand for the remainder of the trading fleet,” the analyst said.

She pegs Middle East to China VLCC runs at $90,000 per day, up 72% from the start of March.

TradeWinds reported earlier this month that Lila Global, the shipowning arm of cash buyer GMS, made a tidy profit from selling on a suezmax acquired last October.

The 159,000-dwt Lila Hong Kong (built 2003) was offloaded by the UAE-based company to an unknown Chinese operator for $33m.

The tanker was bought from China’s Cosco Shipping Energy Transportation as the Da Ming Hu for $21.5m or $22m in October, leaving Lila Global with a profit of at least $9m.