Euronav Sells One of Four ULCC “Supertankers”
Tanker operator Euronav, which for the past four years has been the only company to own Ultra Large Crude Carriers, reported that it has sold one of the four remaining vessels, which were among the largest tankers ever built and the largest ships in the world. Commonly referred to as supertankers, the large vessels are 441,561 dwt and nearly 50 percent bigger than the other largest vessels in the company’s fleet. The four ULCCs each have a capacity for three million barrels of oil.
Built for the Hellespont Group by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering and introduced in 2002 and 2003, the vessels are each 1,246 feet in length. Euronav initially managed the vessels starting in 2004 and ultimately purchased the four vessels in separate transactions. The last acquisition was of the vessel then known as the Seaways Laura Lynn for $32.5 million in June 2018. She was renamed the TI Oceania.
Two of the sister ships, TI Asia and TI Africa, slightly smaller at 432,000 dwt, were converted in 2009 to become floating storage units (FSO). They remain on a long-term charter off Qatar and since July 2022 are wholly owned by Euronav. The Oceania as of September 2019, became floating storage off Malaysia and is also owned by Euronav.
The company reported today that it has sold the Europe, which since 2017 has been serving as floating storage off Malaysia. The company said it will record a $34.7 million capital gain on the sale of the vessel, which will continue to be used for storage. The vessel will be delivered to its new owners before the end of this quarter.
Euronav, which has been the subject of intense speculation since the spring of 2022 when Frontline announced it was seeking to merge with the company, has been moving to modernize its fleet. In June 2022, the company sold its two oldest Suezmax vessels, Cap Pierre (built in 2004 and 159,048 dwt) and Cap Leon (built in 2003 and 159,048 dwt), reporting a gain of $18.4 million. Earlier in 2022, Euronav sold another Suezmax tanker along with four older VLCCs. Euronav said it considers regular fleet rejuvenation as an important function of ship management. After the sales in June 2022, it reported the average age of its fully owned Suezmax fleet declined from 11.4 years to 10.7 years.
Frontline has previously said once it completes a restructuring it will launch an exchange offer for the shares of Euronav to combine the companies into the largest operator of VLCCs and Suezmax tankers. The company has a fleet of over 60 tankers and earlier this year said that it will also have 10 percent organic fleet growth over the next year and a half from vessels under construction.