vendredi 14 janvier 2005
FOG has closed the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits to shipping traffic for most of this week, keeping
ships queuing either side and providing a boost for charter rates, writes Martyn Wingrove .
Turkish maritime authorities closed the shipping lanes through the straits because of poor visibility.
The Bosporus has since been reopened. Up to 40 tankers are waiting to enter the straits linking the Black Sea to the Aegean and Mediterranean seas, with 10 on the east side and 30 on the west.
The queue is getting longer as more tankers reach the line waiting to enter the straits. The knock-on effect is delays to tankers arriving at Black Sea oil terminals to load Russian and Caspian crude cargoes.
Tankers with cargoes are being delayed before reaching their markets in southern Europe and the US. Charter rates for aframax tankers have improved because of the fog-bound straits and uncertainty in the market, say London brokers. Aframax rates dropped sharply this month, especially with Russian traders on their Christmas holidays, with more than W100 falling off rates over the last week. They have rebound since the closures with charterers paying rates of around W190 for aframax tankers loading from Black Sea terminals in the last week of January. This is up from W150 at the start of this week. According to Platou brokers in Norway, Vitol booked Thenamaris’s 2004-built Seascout at a rate of W190 to take a Black Sea cargo to the Mediterranean. Aframax fixture activity in the Mediterranean has picked up this week and charter rates are climbing again. Rates are sitting between W160 and W175 for cross-Mediterranean voyages as southern European refiners continue to take North African crude cargoes. At the beginning of this week rates were down to W135 for loading at Sidi Kerir oil terminal in Egypt.