A lack of new handysize tankers and competition from bigger MR ships could signal an exodus of the smaller vessels from European markets.

This is the view of Spanish shipbroker Medco, which also said LR1s will become ever scarcer due to a lack of contracting activity at shipyards.

"LR1s and handysizes are getting older and no new units are coming," Medco research analyst Ruben Sanchez told TradeWinds.