BW Group-controlled Hafnia has launched a stout defence of the LR1 tanker sector, after pumping $414m into expanding its ownership.

The Singapore-based shipowner is adding 12 vessels built in 2016 and 2015 from US-listed Scorpio Tankers, but many analysts and shipbrokers are tipping the vessels to be made redundant by larger ships as charterers chase scale.

And Hafnia admitted other owners have stayed away from what it calls a “niche” product sector for vessels of between 55,000 dwt and 80,000 dwt.