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The move follows a slump in rates

The move follows a slump in rates
The Shipping Corporation of India Ltd (SCI) is to seek more long term charters for its tankers.

The Shipping Corporation of India Ltd (SCI) is to seek more long term charters for its tankers.

The Shipping Corporation of India Ltd (SCI) is to seek more long term charters for its tankers.

The move follows a slump in spot tanker rates and comes at a time when there are no positive indicators on the horizon.

SCI director Capt. K S Nair told that ?there is a lot of uncertainty in the market at present and if there are good period charter contracts available we would definitely go for them because spot tanker rates are terrible.?

Nair told that already 70% of the SCI fleet is locked into long-term charter contracts including COAs with state oil players.

He said SCI was looking to up that figure to at least 85%.

"They have pulled the plug on their acquisition plans altogether due to the recession"?In fact, come June we will have a new VLCC delivered from a South Korean yard, and we are already actively looking to charter it out on a long-term contract,? he added.

State-run refiner Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOC) could be a possible candidate, given that an IOC executive had been quoted saying that the company had decided "to hire VLCCs for longer periods to transport crude to cut our freight bill.?

Meanwhile, the severity of the current recession has apparently put a stop to fleet expansion plans for SCI.

SCI's director of technical and offshore services U.C. Grover told on January 2 that his company was pressing ahead with plans to acquire four VLCC newbuildings.

Grover added that tenders were floated late last year and at least nine yards had expressed interest.

A Singapore-based ship broker with knowledge of those plans told however, that SCI has officially ?postponed? the project.

?That is the official stand, that they are postponing the orders, but it is widely accepted in the market that they have pulled the plug on their acquisition plans altogether due to the recession,? he said.

SCI's fleet of tankers currently stands at 30 crude carriers, 9 product carriers, two gas ships, and three chemical carriers.

www.TurkishMaritime.com.tr

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