Libya takes delivery of two oil tankers

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 16 -- Libya's state-owned General National Maritime Transport Co. (GNMTC) has taken delivery of two 115,000-dwt oil tankers, the Al-Qadisiyah and Al-Jala, from Cido Shipping of Japan.

The Al-Qadisiyah, built in 2008 and formerly called the Pacific Fantasy, holds 835,000 bbl of oil, while the Al-Jala, built in 2007 and formerly called the Pacific Light, holds 825,000 bbl of oil.

The two deliveries are part of a six-ship deal GNMTC brokered last December which also included four Aframaxes of around 115,000 dwt each, which the Libyan firm bought from Turkey's Geden Lines.

The complete six-ship purchase, with a total transport capacity of some 5 million bbl, enabled Libya to expand its oil shipping capacity to 11.8 million bbl, according to state media.

State news agency Jana quoted GNMTC's development department chief Tarek Youssef as saying the recent purchases bring GNMTC's total fleet to 18 tankers. Of these, 13 are crude carriers, three are oil products carriers, and two are LPG carriers.

In making the purchases, Jana said, "The company took advantage of the current global crisis to acquire the tankers at prices 20% lower than in normal circumstances."

Jana credited Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi's son Hannibal Gadhafi, who is the manager of GNMTC, for the business strategy of buying ships during a global economic downturn, which had adversely affected the shipping industry.

Jana quoted the younger Qadhafi as saying the price paid for each ship was $67-68 million, which compared favorably with an earlier asking price of $85-90 million.

GNMTC also bought two Suezmax tankers in November, one 160,000-dwt vessel from the Greek firm Thenamaris, and one 150,000-dwt vessel from the New York-listed Teekay Corp., both for an unknown amount.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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