Okeanis Eco Tankers and Ocean Yield look set for a legal battle over the ownership of four VLCC newbuildings.

The Ioannis Alafouzos-led tanker owner is reported to have exercised options to buy the vessels back from the Oslo-listed leasing company.

“We have received notice from subsidiaries of Okeanis Eco Tankers chartering four VLCCs on long-term bareboat charter, that they exercise options to purchase the vessels back from Ocean Yield at 103% of the outstanding under the lease, plus costs and losses,” Ocean Yield said in a statement.

The Lars Solbakken-led company said it “disputes their right to exercise such options” and that the matter may be referred to arbitration.

Ocean Yield only took delivery of the fourth and final VLCC in the series from the newbuilding yard in South Korea in July this year.

The four VLCCs are fixed to Okeanis Eco Tankers Corp on 15-year bareboat charters with a five-year subcharter to Koch Shipping.

Ocean Yield first announced the deal for the four ships in February 2018 when it agreed to pay a gross purchase price of $83.75m per vessel

At the time it said Okeanis will have certain options to acquire the vessels during the charter period, with the first purchase option exercisable after seven years.

The four VLCCs are the Nissos Antiparos, the Nissos Despotiko, the Nissos Santorini and the Nissos Rhenia (all built 2019).

Okeanis confirmed the move to TradeWinds, but said it could not comment further at this time.

Ocean Yield also has two suezmax tankers – the Milos and the Poliegos – which were acquired from Okeanis Eco Tankers and fixed back to the shipowner on 13 year bareboat charters.

Loan secured

Okeanis said on Thursday it had secured a $45.9m secured loan facility from Greece's Alpha Bank at "highly attractive" terms to finance 88.95% of the total pre-delivery yard instalments for its two eco-design, scrubber-fitted 158,000-dwt suezmaxes being built at Hyundai Samho.

"The company is in advanced discussions with potential lenders in respect of post-delivery financing for its two suezmax newbuildings and expects to conclude financing arrangements for these at industry leading terms within Q1 2020," it added.