Sinokor locks away four VLCC newbuildings to GS Caltex

South Korea’s Sinokor Merchant Marine has secured long-term charters for all four of its VLCC newbuildings at Hyundai Heavy Industries in inter-Korean deal.

European shipbrokers say South Korean energy company GS Caltex has snapped up two 299,000-dwt tankers for 10 years each, with an option to extend the charter hire for five more years.

The duo are said to have been fixed at around $30,000 per day.

Two sisterships are also reported fixed by GS Caltex for five years each, with two one-year options at the same rate. The ships are due for delivery in 2019 and 2020.

Sinokor’s spokesman said the company was unable to comment.

Sinokor poised to order VLCCs for Korea contract

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TradeWinds linked Sinokor's VLCC newbuildings to GS Caltex charters in November.

Brokers say the rate being reported on the first two ships, which were ordered for about $83m each, reflect the poor market conditions in the current tanker market.

They suggest that Sinokor’s willingness to lock away the vessels at the current low levels may represent a more sceptical view of the future VLCC market given the current spot market is hardly covering operating costs.

Some sources claim GS Caltex is also chartering two VLCC newbuildings from Hyundai Merchant Marine but the details are unclear.

H-Line’s recent VLCC orders are also being linked to GS Caltex jobs.

Rates for VLCCs remain under pressure with figures for some spot voyages being concluded at under $10,000 per day.

Some shipowners are turning to pool plays for their assets. Navios’ 298,000-dwt Nave Galactic (built 2010) and Nave Celeste (built 2003) are joining the Navig8 VLCC pool, while the Onassis-run, 320,000-dwt Olympic Target (built 2011) is heading to Tankers International.