Singapore’s largest VLCC owner is believed to have added a veteran tanker to its fleet.

Ocean Tankers is being widely linked with the purchase of a tanker which was sold to another owner in the Lion City four years ago.

Shipbrokers say Ocean Tankers has paid $22.5m for the 298,000-dwt Sea Horizon (built 2001).

The figure is some way ahead of the demolition value of the Japanese-built VLCC at $17.5m.

However, it is well below the $38.4m Sea Oriental Line paid Euronav for the tanker back in early 2016.

Sea Oriental Line's parent, Hong Kong-listed Agritrade Resources, has been reducing its tanker market position.

In an update to the market last November Agritrade said it was cutting its VLCC fleet and had sold two of the three tankers it had in the sector.

“In view of the downward trend of the VLCC charter rate over the past years, the group will exercise caution in operating its VLCC business in the years ahead,” it said.

“The group will also regularly monitor and assess the utilisation and efficiency of our existing vessels, so that it can react promptly to any opportunity arising from the market and optimise its vessel portfolio by acquiring or disposing of vessels on an on-going and timely basis.”

The sale comes at a time older VLCCs have seen prices pop following a surprisingly strong fourth quarter and the promise of a payday when IMO 2020 rules arrive.

Last week Onassis company Olympic Shipping sold the Sumitomo built 302,000-dwt Olympic Legacy to Nigerians for more than $20m.

Ocean Tankers, a subsidiary of oil trading giant Hin Leong Group, is the 15th largest VLCC owner globally, according to data from Clarksons, with 16 of the tankers on the water and one on order.

The majority of the company's VLCCs were ordered directly at shipyards although it has on rare occasions purchased second-hand vessels, some of which have been assigned to storage roles.

The company has yet to respond to requests for comment from TradeWinds.

The VLCC presence is just part of the company’s business, with more than 100 ships in the company’s overall fleet, according to VesselsValue.