Private equity is not known as “smart money” for nothing. Often burnt in their initial foray into the shipping sector, private funds are becoming pickier about how they invest, if they invest at all.

That was the consensus of a ­private-equity panel this week at the annual Marine Money conference in New York.

Private-equity firms are much less likely now to enter investments as a joint-venture partner with an owner, and are far more likely to seek out structured financing opportunities that offer a clean opportunity to exit the deal, panellists said.