10.07.2008 - Sovcomflot fixes out tanker for firm rate

Russian owner Sovcomflot has achieved a firm rate on a period charter for one of its oldest tankers.

Sources say the 154,000-dwt double-hull tanker Romea Champion (built 1992) has been fixed for up to nine months by North China Shipping at a full $60,000 per day.

The ship is one of two remaining sisters from a Tromso series of eight suezmaxes ordered by Sovcomflot at Hyundai Heavy Industries in South Korea in the early 1990s.

Sovcomflot commercial director Sergey Burima confirms the deal but says the rate is lower.

The other Tromso sister, the Tropic Brilliance (built 1992), is believed to be on a two-year storage contract to BP in the Black Sea at $36,500 per day.

As of 1 July, Novoship and Sovcomflot started joint commercial operation of their respective fleets after their merger. Spot deals to a large extent are conducted through the London office of Sovcomflot, which also handles most Western clients, while its Moscow headquarters is dealing with period-charter deals and the oil-related markets in Russia.

Burima is co-chairman of the Joint Chartering Commitee of Sovcomflot, which approves all charters over six months. He says Sovcomflot is planning to open offices in both the US and Singapore.

When Sergey Frank took over as president of Sovcomflot virtually the whole fleet was covered by period charters. Today, some 55% of the combined fleet are on time charters. That is not likely to change much.

"We are conservative people you know," Frank told TradeWinds this week.

On the aframax side, International Oil Overseas Inc (IOOI) has reportedly fixed the 96,000-dwt tanker Poseidon M (built 1995) for six months with options for six more from Petrovietnam at $34,000 per day. Petrovietnam bought the vessel as Yannis M in 2002 for $29.5m.

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