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Onassis acquires TMT carriers for conversion to VLCCs

Onassis acquires TMT carriers for conversion to VLCCs
Greece's Onassis Group has now acquired three modern former Today Makes Tomorrow (TMT) combined ore and oil carriers for conversion into straight VLCCs for an investment estimated to be around $240m.

While some reports say the Onassis group paid as little as $63m for the 319,869 dwt pair of combined ore and oil carriers, Selma B (ex-D Whale), built 2010, and the year younger, Camilla T (ex-H Whale), the majority of shipbrokers have Onassis paying about $80m per ship.

As Onassis goes about rebuilding its fleet, these two very large ore carriers have long been on the Greek company's radar. Indeed, it was outbid by hedge fund manager Oaktree Capital last July when they came up for auction under the Nobu Su-controlled TMT's bankruptcy procedure in the US.

In all Oaktree acquired five bulk/ore carriers which have subsequently been operated by Oaktree associate Petros Pappas as part of his Product Shipping & Trading outfit.

Onassis did however last July acquire one TMT combination carrier, the 2010-built B Whale for a reported $60m. This vessel has already been converted to a pure VLCC and is now trading as the Olympic Luck.

Delivery of the Selma B and Camilla T is said to be prompt and it is believed the Paleo Faliro, Athens-based owner has already booked them in at Oman Drydock in the Middle East. The new Omani yard, partnered by South Korean builder Daewoo S&ME recently completed the 80-day conversion of the Olympic Luck, for an unconfirmed $7m.

Thus, for an investment of around $87m each in the two vessels plus the mid-2014 buy and conversion some $240m will go into this three-ship project.

A bullish crude market has seen a growing interest in VLCCs and George Economou's Cardiff Marine group has sold an 18-year-old VLCC to an unidentified Chinese buyer for further trading. The 301,163 dwt Universal Prime is said to have fetched $31m, a strong price for such an aged vessel and one which has surprised watchers, even in the present robust market, which Bimco analyst Peter Sand forecasts will see VLCCs earning between $30,000 to $50,000 a day between now and May.