20.03.2008 - Sanko chemical tanker puts orders at 99 ships

Japanese owner Sanko Kisen has seen its orderbook for newbuildings rise to 99 ships with its latest deal for a chemical tanker.

Sanko's contract for a 19,900-dwt IMO-III ship at Fukuoka Zosen brings its orders at the yard to four ships.

A Sanko official confirms the deal for the vessel, which is set for delivery at the end of 2011. Sources say the ship is priced at $46m.

The Japanese owner entered the chemical-tanker business for the first time last year by ordering a single 19,900-dwt ship, followed quickly by an additional contract for two vessels that were ordered jointly with an unnamed owner. Two will be delivered in the first quarter of 2011 while the third ship is slated for delivery in the second quarter of 2011.

Sources say two of the ships have been chartered out to foreign operators under long-term contracts.

Sanko, which is one of Japan's oldest shipping companies, has yet to decide where to deploy the two remaining ships. But they are likely to be chartered out, according to a company official.

Apart from the four chemical tankers at Fukuoka, Sanko is said to have a total of 95 other ships on order. They are one VLCC, one suezmax tanker, six aframax tankers, seven medium-range (MR) products tankers, four chemical tankers, three LPG carriers, 31 offshore ships, 13 capesize bulkers, four panamax bulkers, 12 handysize and handymax bulkers and 17 bulkers.

A Fukuoka Zosen official says the yard has tied up its building slots until mid-2012, while its sister yard, Fukuoka Nagasaki, is now focusing on bigger chemical tankers up to 33,000 dwt.

Hans Henrik Thaulow, Tradewinds

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