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Israeli billionaire buys part of Sovcomflot tankers

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Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer has purchased four LNG carriers. The tankers were previously put up for sale by Russia’s largest shipping company, Sovcomflot.

Vessels will sail under new names. Melampus is now Kool Baltic, Mitre is Kool Boreas, SKF Barents is Kool Firn, and SKF Timmerman is Kool Orca. Three of them are anchored off the coast of Singapore, Kool Baltic has departed for Australia.

The tankers were purchased by Ofer’s Eastern Pacific Shipping for just over $700 million, according to Lloyd’s List.

The Russian shipping company Sovcomflot intends to sell part of its fleet in order to repay bank loans before the entry into force of European and British sanctions imposed in connection with the Russian aggression in Ukraine.

Back in early May, the company intends to sell 40 vessels, almost a third of its fleet, Lloyd’s List reports, citing a senior industry official.

In this regard, Sovcomflot is negotiating with clients from the United Arab Emirates and China.

The sanctions mean that EU and UK banks must stop all operations with Sovcomflot after May 15. In this regard, the company must also repay outstanding loans by May 15. That is why Sovcomflot is selling ships. The shipping giant must send all outstanding loans to the relevant banks and financiers by May 15. This prompted Sovcomflot to put about a third of its vessels on the market.

“All banks and charterers have until May 15 to actually terminate the contracts, which means that Sovcomflot has a very short window to repay loans, and there is really only one way to do this – to sell the vessels,” the source said. . He said that eight Sovcomflot ships had already been sold – four of them were bought by ship management company Koban Shipping.

Earlier it was reported that most of the Sovcomflot tankers were left without insurance.

Sovcomflot specializes in the transportation of liquefied gas, oil and oil products, and is one of the world’s largest tanker fleet operators. Own and chartered fleet, including vessels of joint ventures, has 135 vessels with a total deadweight of 11.67 million tons. Sovcomflot’s free float is 15.6%, the quasi-treasury stake is about 1.6%. Russia owns 82.8%.

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