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Euronav makes scrubber u-turn with VLCC resale deal

Tanker owner Euronav has entered into an agreement to acquire three resale VLCCs under construction and to be equipped with scrubbers.

Euronav is forking out $280.5m to purchase the three resale VLCCs being built at South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME), which has scheduled deliveries early in the fourth quarter of 2020, and in January and February 2021, respectively.

The latest deal is Euronav’s first purchase of ships fitted with scrubbers, which are needed if the ships wish to continue burning high sulphur bunker fuel since the implementation of IMO 2020 requiring the use of fuels with a maximum sulphur content of 0.5%.

Euronav had said last September that it was not too late to invest in scrubbers after the start of IMO 2020, partially because the company’s previous chief Paddy Rogers was firmly against the idea of using scrubbers. Rogers stepped down last year as Hugo De Stoop assumed the position of ceo in May 2019.

De Stoop said the purchase of the three resale VLCCs “demonstrates our flexibility and our capacity to seize opportunities” on the back of strong balance sheet and sufficient liquidity.

“The large tanker fundamentals remain constructive despite substantial headwinds surrounding economic activity linked to the Coronavirus that we believe and hope will be temporary,” De Stoop said.

“Current disruptions to the freight market have provided an opening for Euronav to be opportunistic and deliver what we believe will be long term value for our stakeholders,” he added.

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