VLCCs from Asia ballasting to firming West Africa market
A firming West Africa VLCC market is drawing supertankers from the East of Suez market, which could help tighten the tonnage availability in the Persian Gulf, shipping sources said Thursday. "There are several West Africa cargoes in the market right now. I think there will be more Eastern ballasters [looking for West African cargoes]. The Eastern market could get a little tight," a source with a Far Eastern VLCC owner said.
The number of VLCC vessels in the Persian Gulf is a little oversupplied, with 102 vessels tentatively available for the next 30 days. But with ballasters reportedly heading for West Africa, the supply could be reduced.
According to sources, around five VLCCs have ballasted so far to West Africa, with some of them already placed on subjects for cargoes loading out of that market; thus, among the vessels that have ballasted to West Africa is the Yangtze Pearl, which is on subjects to Taiwanese charterer CPC for a voyage to Taiwan, loading December 17-19, at 69 Worldscale points.
The Olympic Legacy, which is loading out of Brazil for a voyage to China, loading December 14, at w72.5, has reportedly ballasted from the East to the trans-Atlantic market.
"The Atlantic market is getting better now, West Africa-US Gulf Coast has been done at w77.5," a broker said. "Some owners are willing to consider ballasting to West Africa now after seeing w77.5."
Meanwhile, the Suezmax market in West Africa was also staying firm with two vessels fixed in the w110 levels.
With the West Africa market having around nine VLCC sized cargoes uncovered in the December loading window, brokers expect vessels ballasting from the East to cover these requirements.