The Djibouti International Ship Register has scored a coup with an influx of merchant tonnage over the past year.

At least four VLCCs now fly the Djibouti flag, all after brushes with US sanctions.

Much of the former managed fleet of Singapore-based Mercantile & Maritime Trading reappeared last year under new flags, including Djibouti's, after a run-in with US authorities over Venezuelan trading.

Also at least one Chinese VLCC — and possibly two — has resorted to Djibouti after being hit with Iran sanctions.