Four VLCC tanker owners announced Tuesday preliminary plans to team up in an effort to cut costs amid slumping tanker rates. The four partners included in the deal are Phoenix Tankers Pte., Maersk Tankers, Samco Shipholding Pte., Ocean Tankers Pte. and Mitsui OSK, who have agreed to the deal through a preliminary Letter of Intent.
According to a press statement from Maersk Tankers, the partners are now in detailed discussions and the VLCC Pool is expected to become operational from February 1, 2012 with offices in Singapore, Copenhagen, and New York.
The VLCC Pool will operate a combined fleet of around 50 VLCCs by the end of 2012 with an average age of only 3 years. The companies say the “flexibility of a large, young and reliable fleet ensures that the VLCC Pool can, at all times, offer relevant vessels of the highest standard to cater for our customers’ need for safe and environmentally friendly marine transportation.”
Tanker rates are at their lowest since 1999, which forced Maersk into a similar tanker pool with Euronav, Frontline, Overseas Shipholding Group, Inc., Osprey Maritime and Reederei “Nord” Klaus E. Oldendorff.