Pakistani recyclers switch focus to bulk carriers

Polaris Shipping has sold Solar Arion and Solar Ember (pictured). Credit: Martin Wright
Polaris Shipping has sold Solar Arion and Solar Ember (pictured). Credit: Martin Wright

With another mishap on a tanker, Pakistan’s ship recyclers have diverted their attention to bulk carriers.

Pakistan had been a favoured destination for tankers, but a string of explosions and fires that hit such vessels during cutting works has hindered the country’s ship recycling industry.

Tanker owners were relieved when, in April, the Pakistani authorities lifted a year-long suspension on tanker demolitions following a fatal explosion in late 2016.

While cash buyers resumed tanker purchases for recycling in Pakistan, the green light for actual demolition works took longer than expected.

Compounding the situation, a fire broke out on a Dr Peters VLCC, 1997-built DS Vada, on 16 July. All 20 workers involved in dismantling the tanker were evacuated.

Then, on 14 October, a fire broke out on a tanker undergoing demolition in Gadani, injuring six workers.

The recurring safety concerns have made recyclers refrain from purchasing tankers.

Since the latest tanker incident, cash buyers have bought a pair of Capesize bulkers from Polaris Shipping, 1994-built Solar Arion and 1997-built Solar Ember, respectively, for USD467/ldt and USD427/ldt.

Shipbrokers said owners planning to sell older bulk carriers have been considering Pakistan as a destination since falling steel prices and the upcoming Diwali holidays in India have silenced the market there.

Bangladesh is also full, with beached tonnage and recycling yards having been selective with their purchases.

Cash buyer Global Marketing Systems said Gadani Buyers have once again turned apprehensive about negotiating and acquiring tankers after an accident last week that led to the closure of the local industry on tankers and the arrest of the concerned yard chief. While the Pakistani market does not remain closed overall, local recyclers have diverted their attention from wet units.