Avin picks up Blue Lines' final tanker as values fall

Trio of tanker deals reveal how tanker values have fallen in last two years as markets slowed

Greek tanker player Avin International has purchased yet another aframax tanker from Blue Lines Shipping, in a move that appears to leave the Dubai-based company without any vessels.

Market sources say Vardinoyiannis family-led Avin has agreed to buy the 85,000-dwt BLS Advance for $7.8m.

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It is the third Sasebo-built sistership constructed in 2002 that Avin has bought from Blue Lines over the last two years.

The deals paint a vivid picture of how tanker values have declined.

In May 2015, Avin bought the BLS Amity for about $20m. In May this year, the outfit picked up the BLS Ability at the significantly lower price of about $8.5m.

Those two vessels are currently trading in Avin's fleet as Marianna V.V. and Santa Cruz I.

Avin has been doing more than most tanker outfits to benefit from falling ship values.

In addition, the Athens-based company emerged in June as the buyer of a medium-range-two (MR2) tanker duo from Hyundai Merchant Marine.

The two vessels, the 50,400-dwt sisterships Oriental Ruby (renamed Kriti Emerald) and Oriental Emerald (renamed Kriti Amber, both built 2005), were purchased for $10.5m each.

As in the case of the BLS Advance, those deals are said to have been brokered by John Kostoyannis, a director of Allied Shipbroking with close personal ties to Avin.

Avin is also set to continue phasing out 1990s-built tankers. The 134,000-dwt Kriti Breeze (built 1996) has been put up for sale and will arrive in Fujairah this week.

It is likely the Hyundai-built ship will be sold for demolition.

The tanker passed a special survey in June 2015 but the poor market makes it doubtful the ship will find a trading buyer.

A scrap sale would generate up to $9m for a ship that Avin bought for $13.6m as the OS Breeze in November 2014.

Avin has sold four 1990s-built tankers for scrap so far this year, including one suezmax, two aframaxes and an MR tanker.

Meanwhile, the sale of the BLS Advance leaves Blue Lines without any vessels, according to shipping databases.

The company did not respond to a request for comment by TradeWinds' press time.

In late April, Blue Lines committed the BLS Advance to trade in Star Tankers, a pool operated by Heidmar.

Blue Lines has also been shedding a string of smaller MR tankers, in line with a stated policy by its chief executive Kuldeep Mathur to reduce its exposure to the sector.

In July 2016, Mathur told TradeWinds that once he found buyers for the products tankers, the privately-owned company, backed mostly by Middle Eastern investors, was planning to enter other market segments.