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GC Tankers Tally in VLCC Heidmar Pool on the Rise

December 3, 2014

Singapore-based owners recently delivered GC Fuzhou ready to join Heidmar’s Seawolf Tankers, with three more VLCCs said to be heading to the pool.

Chinese-owned GC Tankers has joined Heidmar’s VLCC pool, Seawolf Tankers.

However, confusion continues about links between GC Tankers and China’s HNA Group, as GC Tankers and HNA Logistics both deny the connection — but market sources suggest HNA is behind the ships.

Industry experts say Singapore-based GC Tankers put its two VLCCs — the 305,800-dwt GC Guangzhou (built 1999) and 298,500-dwt GC Haikou (built 2000) — into the pool two months ago.  Now it has added one more ship after taking delivery last month of the 320,000-dwt GC Fuzhou (built 2014) from HNA-owned Jinhai Heavy Industries.

Three more are said to be on the way, which would make GC Tankers the owner of nearly half of the ships entered in the pool.

Heidmar established the Seawolf pool in 2010 and there are currently seven ships enrolled in it from partners U-Ming Marine Transport, TMS Tankers and HNA.

Sources say GC Tankers is likely to raise its participation in the Seawolf pool to six VLCCs when it takes delivery of three more units, which are scheduled to roll out of the Jinhai drydock next year.

The four VLCCs, already delivered or for delivery from the shipyard, were terminated by the original buyers, according to one source.

TradeWinds is told they were initially booked by John Fredriksen’s Frontline and Dubai-based Gulf Navigation several years ago at $135m and $100m apiece, respectively. They cancelled them because of excessive delivery delays.

Jinhai is currently building five VLCCs, according to online database Lloyd’s Register-Fairplay, of which one ship, to be named GC Shanghai, is slated for delivery in January. It is registered under Shanghai Zhi Jing International, the new name for Grand China Logistics.

Sources say GC Tankers plans to further expand its VLCC fleet with six more vessels. They add that the company is involved in newbuilding talks with Jinhai for them.

Tanker players say GC Tankers is a subsidiary of HNA Group and a sister company to HNA Logistics, whose forerunner Grand China Logistics lives on in GC Tankers’ name. Market sources also say HNA Group officials have been behind recent efforts to market GC Tankers’ vessels for sale.

However, an official at GC Tankers says his company is a private outfit and independent with no relation to HNA or Grand China.

Likewise, HNA Logistics chief executive Li Weijian told TradeWinds in an interview last week that the group’s VLCCs were all sold to an “outside company”, and when new HNA shipping vehicle Tianjin Marine completes a planned newbuilding order, including 10 VLCCs, those will be the HNA Group’s only VLCCs (see story, page 8).

An HNA Logistics spokesman declined to comment further on the identity of the buyer of the shares in GC Tankers, citing confidentiality agreements, but says the transaction took place this year. As previously reported, a South Korean court threw out an arrest of the GC Guangzhou in June on the grounds that HNA’s ownership was not proven.

By Irene Ang Singapore Bob Rust Beijing

28 November 2014, 01:00 GMT