Economic turmoil squeezing demand for big tankers

Operators of very large crude carriers (VLCCs) and ultralarge crude carriers (ULCCs) will be hit in the near term by continued fleet expansion and lower demand in Asia. Ocean Shipping Consultants Ltd. (OSC), Chertsey, U.K., estimates that vessels more than 20 years old comprise 45% of the global fleet of VLCCs (200,000-300,000 dwt) and ULCCs (300,000 dwt). While many of the single-hulled tankers may be culled from the fleet as they approach their 25-year service inspection, OSC said 89 VLCCs and ULCCs with combined capacity of 26 million dwt, equivalent to more than 20% of sector capacity, were being built or on order at the beginning of 1999. "Owners' and charterers...

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