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Salvage teams in Indonesia attend to grounded dark tanker

Salvage teams in Indonesia attend to grounded dark tanker
Sam Chambers December 8, 2023

Indonesian salvage teams have managed to free a shadow tanker that grounded in the Singapore Strait west of Batam.

The 23-year-old, Cameroon-flagged Liberty ran aground on Saturday and it took through until Wednesday to get the suezmax free. According to the ship is carrying nearly 1m barrels of Venezuelan fuel oil.

A total of five tugboats were used to move the ship from its grounded position. Vessel tracking data shows the ship is not moving at the moment, suggesting it is being assessed for repairs.

Southeast Asia – a major crossroads for international tanker trades – has seen its fair share of dark fleet mishaps recently.

The 26-year-old Turba aframax, also flagged in Cameroon, lost power and was adrift off Indonesia for a number of days in October.

There was also the explosion of the Pablo aframax in May in Malaysian waters and the grounding of the VLCC Young Yang last year.

There were at least eight groundings, collisions or near misses involving tankers carrying sanctioned oil products in 2022 – the same number as in the previous three years, according to insurance firm Allianz.

Tankers still working above 20 years of age made up just 1% of the global tanker fleet pre-covid and were still a rarity at 3% before the invasion of Ukraine in late February last year. They’re now on track to make up 11% of all tanker demand by mid-2025, according to data from brokers Braemar.

Analysts at Vortexa issued a new report this week showing that tankers operating in opaque markets reached a record high in Q2 and have since declined.