Avance Gas president Christian Andersen has told IHS Maritime that all of the company’s Chinese-built very large gas carriers (VLGCs) have been fixed out.
Avance Gas, a joint venture between Stolt Nielsen Gas, Transpetrol Shipping, and Sungas Holdings, owns and operates nine VLGCs, of which five were built by Shanghai Jiangnan Changxing Shipbuilding in 2015.
One of those five ships, Monsoon, docked at Zhoushan Changhong International Shipyard near Ningbo on 1 April 2015 upon completion of discharge operations due to technical irregularities that occurred during the voyage from Balboa (Panama) to China.
Another sister ship, Breeze, was dry-docked in Singapore on 24 April 2015. Inspectors concluded that its aft and forward stern tube bearings needed replacements. It was refitted in May 2015 and has been fixed out.
The modifications on Monsoon are proceeding according to plan. Monsoon was also refitted in May 2015 and resumed service that month.
However, brokers told IHS Maritime that Monsoon had trouble finding a charterer after it re-entered the market.
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An Oslo-based broker said, “Petredec had Monsoon tentatively to load in Houston but Targa Resources rejected the ship as it wasn’t sure the vessel would not break down in the terminal.”
A Singapore-based broker also said that Indian Oil Corporation tried to fix Monsoon to load in the Gulf, but one of the Gulf’s LPG suppliers rejected the ship on a similar basis.
However, a London-based broker told IHS Maritime that Monsoon has since secured approval from Saudi Aramco to load in Yanbu.
Andersen said, “We can confirm that Monsoon recently has been fixed at a rate reflecting the spot market. There are some charterers having a policy not to charter in newbuildings.
“There are also some charterers asking additional questions on the Chinese-built newbuildings based on our reports about taking the ships to repairs to replace stern tube bearings. All the Chinese-built newbuildings have been fixed in our spot market programme at current spot market rates.”
Current rates have exceeded USD110 per tonne as tonnage tightens due to strong demand to load in both the Gulf and the US Gulf.