Rising bunker prices have significantly eroded shipowners’ earnings this year, “particularly owners with considerable spot market exposure,” Poten & Partners says in a note. “There is very little revenue left for shipowners to meet obligations outside of immediate operating costs.” Some vessel owners may encounter problems related to cash flows if they had committed to building new ships when the market peaked in 2008, which in turn will create purchase opportunities for others, the consultancy says. OceanConnect.com says benchmark Singapore bunker prices were last assessed Friday at $670-$673/ton, compared with $518-$521/ton in early January; Fujairah was last assessed Friday at $685-$690/ton, vs $520-$525/ton. The cash earning for a VLCC from the Middle East to Japan was assessed last Friday at $2,446/day, vs $16,204/day in early January, the Baltic Exchange says.

(c) 2011 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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