VLCC rates in the Middle East Gulf have increased to their highest since March as charterers are returning in full drive for their early-July loading programmes.

While charter activity was halted for several trading sessions following two tanker attacks on 13 June, a total of 18 VLCC have been fixed in the region for voyages to India and East Asia since Tuesday, according to Bloomberg data. Some of them are understood to be under provisional booking.

The highest rate was achieved by Ocean Tankers’ 318,000-dwt E Mei San (built 2010), tentatively fixed by Unipec to lift crude from Middle East on 1 July for a shipment to China at Worldscale 52 on Thursday.