THE dry market continues to see the expected seasonal softening of rates, but firm prices being obtained for second-hand vessels reflect the generally optimistic sentiment that prevails. The main problem is a lack of quality tonnage for sale, with very few fresh candidates coming on the market, and the volume of sales quite small. The same can be said for the tanker market, where owners are holding out for higher levels than the market is willing to pay, encouraged by a predicted better period over the coming months. In the tanker market, the Tunisian-controlled La Skhira of about 37,224 deadweight tonne (dwt), built in 1975 at Kasado, has been sold to Thenamaris for about US$3.7 million. The Iver Falcon of about 32,755 dwt, built in 1975 at Kanda, is believed to have been sold on a bare boat-hire purchase scheme for an equivalent price of nearly $4.6 million. The IMO 3 chemical tanker Sea Tern of about 10,951 dwt, built by Asakawa in 1981, is believed to be sold for around $6 million. In the Tweendeckers market, the multi-purpose vessels National Dignity, National Honor and National Pride of about 19,400 dwt, built in 1981, have been sold to a joint venture between PIL, Singapore and mainland buyers for $18.7 million. In the bulk-carrier market, the Ghadeer of about 22,240 dwt, built in 1969 in Norway, has been sold to China trading buyers at an undisclosed level. Yick Fung is believed to have sold its long Panamax Amundsen Sea of about 78,687 dwt, built by Italcantieri in 1976, to Greek buyers for more than $6 million. The OSK controlled Oceanic Explorer of about 23,423 dwt, built by Uwajima in 1984, has been sold for $8.7 million to Piraeus buyers. Indian interest in modern Handymax bulkers grows, with Great Eastern buying the Libre of about 43,685 dwt, built by Tsuneishi in 1989, for about $21.5 million. Cenargo has have bought the Navix controlled Young Swift of about 58,371 dwt, built by Koyo in 1980, for $10.5 million. The Brazilian built Capo Noli of about 15,794 dwt, built by Caneco in 1981, has been sold to Jordanian buyers for $4.2 million. Report supplied by Wallem Shipbroking (Hongkong).