Tanker tonnage drops
By K.K. CHADHA
HONG KONG owned tanker tonnage declined by 1.6 million deadweight tonnes (dwt) to 12.1 million dwt in the first half of this year, according to London ship broker John I. Jacobs.
During the period, World-Wide Shipping Agency sold three very large crude carriers (VLCCs) aggregating about 750,000 dwt.
According to figures compiled by the broker, at the end of June the world's commercial fleet of tankers of 10,000 dwt and larger comprised 3,036 vessels with a total capacity of more than 269 million dwt.
The Norwegian-flag fleet fell by 0.4 per cent to 6.84 per cent of the world's total fleet, the first time it has dropped below seven per cent of the world's to tanker tonnage since June 1989 and it now has less tonnage than the Bahamas flag.
The two newbuildings, including a VLCC, and two existing tankers which entered the Norwegian fleet were more than offset when eight tankers, including one VLCC, left the register and three VLCCs were scrapped.
The Norwegian-flag fleet has passed through three distinct phases in the past 24 years.
From representing more than 11 per cent of the world's tanker fleet in 1971, it fell to a trough of only 2.14 per cent in 1986.
It then rose sharply to a new peak of 9.25 per cent at the end of 1990 to become the world's second largest fleet. Since then it has declined to fifth place.
In contrast, the Bahamas fleet has grown almost consistently since the first tanker was registered in 1981 and now, with more than 18 million dwt, is the world's fourth largest.
In the review period, the Bahamas flag had a net increase of 11 tankers amounting to 1.61 million dwt, the largest rise of any of the registers in the period, to represent 6.93 per cent of the total tanker deadweight.
The Greek flag which has risen continually since mid-1990, consolidated its position as the third largest register of tankers with an increase of 0.25 per cent to 9.6 per cent of the world's total.
The fleet was augmented by one newbuilding plus 10 existing tankers, including two VLCCs and one ultra-large crude carrier (ULCC) totalling 1.45 million dwt, of which five tankers totalling 930,000 dwt joined from the Liberian flag.
Meanwhile, six tankers representing 470,000 dwt left the flag and three tankers totalling 280,000 dwt were delivered to scrapyards.
The Panamanian flag fleet suffered its first fall, losing 280,000 dwt, since the overthrow of the Noriega regime in early 1990 but still retained its position as the second largest register of tankers.
During the first half of this year additions to the fleet comprised 10 newbuildings - three of them VLCCs - amounting to 1.37 million dwt and 10 existing tankers - one a VLCC - including five from the Japanese flag.
These were offset when six tankers, including three VLCCs, of 840,000 dwt were scrapped and 12 vessels, five VLCCs, amounting to 1.57 million dwt left the register.
Four of the tankers re-flagged joined the Liberian register which easily maintained its position as the largest fleet.
At the end of June, it comprised just over 20 per cent of the world's tanker tonnage compared with a peak of over 32 per cent in 1977.
During the review period, the Antiguan and Barbadian registries emerged with its first tanker larger than 10,000 dwt, while the only tanker in the Burma register was re-flagged.
Ownership of the world's tanker fleet by owner group showed some changes when the Greek or Greek-affiliated owners' tonnage rose again by 2.6 million dwt, or 5.6 per cent, to 49 million dwt.
The United States-owned fleet increased by 1.1 million dwt to 11.5 million dwt, or almost 10 per cent.
Meanwhile state oil and shipping companies owned tonnage rose by 1.4 million dwt to 50.7 million dwt to represent nearly 19 per cent of the total fleet.
Both groups increasingly used flags of convenience as US tonnage under Liberian and Panamanian flags grew by 1.3 million dwt to 6.2 million dwt.
Since mid-1990 Greek-owned tonnage has increased by 15.2 million dwt and at the end of June 1994 was almost as large as the state oil and shipping companies.
Deliveries for the first half year totalled 50 tankers, including 13 VLCCs with an accumulative total of 6.3 million dwt - 2.3 per cent of the existing fleet.
This was a reduction of 13 tankers and 1.23 million dwt from the preceding period and 38 tankers, or 3.6 million dwt, less than the corresponding period last year.
Deliveries to demolition yards in the first half totalled 47 tankers amounting to 5.7 million dwt, or two per cent of the existing fleet, a drop of 12 ships over the preceding six months.
Total tonnage scrapped increased by 600,000 dwt during the same period, to reflect additional demolition of VLCCs.
According John I. Jacobs, 15 VLCCs totalling 3.7 million dwt were beached, compared with 12 ships, weighing 2.9 million dwt, in the second half of last year.
'It is interesting to note that in the 12 months ending June 1994 106 vessels amounting to 10.8 million dwt reached demolition sites, a reduction of 12 tankers, or 2.2 million dwt, compared with the previous 12 months,' the company said.