Danish product tanker owner Torm has been linked with a buying spree in the secondhand market for a series of LR1 tankers in deals worth a total of almost $240m.
The Copenhagen-based shipowner is said to have purchased seven ballast water treatment system-fitted ships built between 2011 and 2013 at yards in China and South Korea, according to Clarksons.
Torm is said to have purchased the 75,000-dwt, STX Shipbuilding-constructed Jo Pinari (built 2012) and Jo Provel (built 2013) and the 73,800-dwt, New Times-built Jo Redwood and Jo Rowan (both built 2013) for a price in the region of $140m en bloc from clients of Jo Shipping.
Clarksons said they have also purchased the 74,600-dwt Hyundai Mipo Dockyard -built Alpine Plymouth, Alpine Pearl and Alpine Pacifica (all built 2011) for $32.5m each from ST Shipping and Transport, Glencore’s shipping arm.
Torm currently has eight LR1 tankers in its fleet of 80 ships, according to a fleet list posted on its website. Two were built in 2020 and the remainder were constructed between 2003 and 2007.
TradeWinds reported last week that “unidentified Danish buyers” were behind a $130m purchase for four LR1 tankers under the management of ST Shipping.
All four ST Shipping vessels were originally known to belong to a joint venture between Glencore and Russian state shipping company Sovcomflot (SCF Group).
A Glencore spokesperson declined to comment on the potential ships when contacted by TradeWinds last week.
A spokesperson for Torm also declined to comment at the time on whether it was in talks to buy the ships saying that in general it did not comment on vessel transactions.
The LR1 fleet consists of 382 vessels and makes up around 11% of the product tanker fleet, according to Italian shipbroker Banchero Costa.
Some 38% of the LR1 fleet is aged between 15 and 19 years of age and a further 3% is more than 20 years of age. The orderbook-to-trading ratio is 0.5% in deadweight terms.
This time last year, BW Group-controlled Hafnia surprised the market when it acquired 12 LR1s from Scorpio tankers in a deal worth $414m.
The Singapore-based shipowner told TradeWinds at the time that it believes modern eco LR1s should be in high demand in future, given their high MR-like flexibility, much better dollar-per-tonne economy rate and looming emission regulations.
However, many analysts and shipbrokers have tipped the vessel class to be made redundant by larger ships as charterers chase scale.