Supramax specialist White Sea Navigation is making its first move for Japanese-built tonnage in more than a decade, Athens-based brokers report.

The company, led by Captain John Kehagias, is believed to have acquired the 55,600-dwt Topaz Halo (built 2011) from Japan’s Nikko Kisen.

Estimates on the price the vessel has fetched vary between $15m and $15.4m. Kehagias could not be reached for comment by the time of writing.

Japanese retur

The Topaz Halo was built at Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding's Tamano yard. Confirmation of its sale to White Sea would make it the first Japanese-built vessel to enter the company’s fleet in about 15 years, according to available records.

Piraeus-based White Sea has been relying on Chinese-built tonnage instead. All five ships listed under the company were built at Yangzhou Dayang Shipbuilding.

Four of them have been trading with White Sea since they were delivered between 2009 and 2016.

In April last year, White Sea confirmed its preference for Yangzhou Dayang by picking up the 58,000-dwt Requiem (renamed Nicholas, built 2010) from Greek peer Kassian Navigation for about $12.1m. This was White Sea’s first foray into the secondhand market as a buyer in 12 years.

String of transactions

Greek companies have been very active buyers of supramaxes in recent months, with TradeWinds reporting a string of such transactions.

This deal flow continued this week. The Topaz Halo apart, Greek interests are also said to have bought K Line’s 58,800-dwt Ocean Colossus (built 2010) for between $15m and $15.5m. This is a ship similar to the 55,500-dwt Luisia Colossus (built 2010), which K Line reportedly sold to Greece’s New Vision Shipping last month for between $14m and $14.8m.

According to some unconfirmed market rumours in Athens, the Ocean Colossus has been committed to Fomentos Armadora, the shipping arm of Greek metals group Viohalco.

Athens-based Fomentos had been linked to the purchase of another supramax at about the same time last year. The 55,600-dwt Rose Balsam (built 2011) has been renamed Tegea. This vessel emerged a few months later in the fleet of Equinox Maritime, which is a commercial partner of Fomentos. Fomentos has been operating five vessels in the Equinox fleet since November 2017, according to IHS Markit.

Equinox did not respond to a request for comment on the Ocean Colossus.