China's Kunlun Shipping reemerges with VLCC acquisition

In a market where Chinese takers of older VLCC prefer to stay private, it’s interesting to note that in one of the latest reported rusty tanker deals, the registered taker is Chinese owner Kunlun Shipping.

The Chinese outfit has grabbed a ship sold by Anna Angelicoussis-controlled Pantheon Tankers Management, adding the 14-year-old Hyundai Heavy-built Astro Chloe, now named Noble, a 318,400 dwt sized tanker reported sold last week for $62m.

The last time the sanctions-busting Chinese owner hit the headlines was in 2019, as its holding company was charged with violating restrictions on handling and transacting Iranian petroleum. Data from the online pricing portal VesselsValue shows zero activity since 2019. Before that, the tanker player was listed as purchasing 12 older tankers, primarily VLCCs, between 2015 and 2019, while only four ships have been reported sold in the same period.

In 2019 Kunlun Shipping’s VLCC and VLGC fleet was dissolved as newly registered shipping companies and shipmanagers in China took control of the rest of the tankers and gas carriers that had been in the fleet, according to data from VesselsValue.