French shipbroker BRS believes suffering VLCC owners are now likely to kick back against rock-bottom rates as bunker prices rise.

Brokers and analysts have already noted a return to notionally negative rates for older, non-scrubber-fitted tankers, while earnings for modern ships remain positive at low levels.

BRS called the last week a "bleak outcome" for owners as fundamentals continued to come under pressure, with tonnage lists being far too ample in the Middle East.