Russian state shipowner Sovcomflot (SCF) Group has revealed it has completed a restructuring of its loan book by selling off a “substantial” chunk of the fleet.

In a statement sent to TradeWinds, the Moscow-listed tanker and LNG carrier specialist said the fleet now stands at 111 ships.

The company carried out the sales to meet a European Union sanctions deadline on loans with European lenders.

In its March annual report, the shipowner said it controlled a fleet of 133 operational ships, suggesting 22 have left the fleet.

But Sovcomflot later told TradeWinds that 14 ships have been sold.

“The total amount of vessels reflects [the] owned and chartered fleet,” a spokesperson said.

Sovcomflot has another 13 vessels on order, including LNG carriers and product tankers.

TradeWinds has tallied a total of 11 sales reported by shipbrokers so far.

Sovcomflot said the share of encumbered vessels now amounts to only 10% of the whole fleet.

More revealingly, the company said it has reduced its total outstanding debt from $3bn to $1.7bn, giving a sales total of $1.3bn and a sense of the scale of the sell-off.

The shipowner does not comment on individual deals but has said reports that it would have to sell up to 40 vessels were “exaggerated”.

The fleet was previously valued at $5.5bn by VesselsValue.

Marinakis makes his move

TradeWinds revealed on Tuesday that Evangelos Marinakis-controlled Capital Maritime & Trading affiliates have snapped up four LNG dual-fuelled aframax tankers from a group of former Sovcomflot banks.

The vessels were sold directly by ING Bank and others.

An EU sanctions deadline expired on Sunday 15 May. 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.

On Friday, 13 May TradeWinds revealed that Idan Ofer-led Eastern Pacific Shipping spent just over $700m to buy four ex-Sovcomflot LNG carriers that were sold with ongoing charters to Shell.

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

More LNG carriers linked to disposals

Three more LNG carriers — the 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.