* VLCC to ship gasoil from South Korea to Africa -
* Koch to charter VLCC to possibly load crude oil or gasoil
By Jessica Jaganathan and Keith Wallis
SINGAPORE, Oct 12 Glencore's shipping
unit ST Shipping has chartered a newly built very large crude
carrier (VLCC) to ship gasoil from South Korea possibly to
Africa in a rare move, shipbrokers and traders said on
Gasoil is usually shipped on medium and long-range sized
vessels carrying up to 700,000 barrels. It is unusual for the
industrial and motor fuel to be shipped in VLCCs able to carry
about 2.2 million barrels of the oil product.
Shipping data in Thomson Reuters Eikon shows that the
brand-new, 299,011 deadweight tonne (DWT) Gener8 Oceanus VLCC,
now off the southeast coast of Taiwan en route to Singapore, and
with a carrying capacity of about 2.2 million barrels, has been
chartered to load gasoil.
Several broker and trading sources said the ship, which was
delivered to ship owner Gener8 Maritime Inc by South
Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Mipo Heavy Industries on
Sept. 12., was chartered by Glencore's shipping arm ST Shipping.
One of the brokers said the ship would load more gasoil in
Singapore before heading to Africa, though this could not be
confirmed with ST Shipping or Glencore.
Neither company would comment on the matter.
VLCCs typically ship crude oil and fuel oil but newly built
ships sometimes carry cleaner oil products like gasoil in their
maiden voyages out of Asia before doing a return trip with crude
oil to offset shipping costs, shipbrokers said.
Separately, Koch Supply and Trading is expected
to lease the 320,000 DWT VLCC Eco Seas on a time charter of
about three months, although it was not immediately clear if it
will load gasoil or crude initially.
The newly built vessel, owned by privately held Norwegian
group Awilhelmsen, is currently at South Korea's Okpo port doing
sea trials, according to Eikon data.
Koch did not respond to an e-mail for comment, and like
Glencore does not typically comment on trading matters.
The cargoes were likely fixed when freight rates for VLCCs
were lower, but rates have since soared due to seasonal demand
and increased cargoes from West Africa, shipbrokers said.
French oil major Total and oil trader Vitol
shipped gasoil in newly built VLCCs earlier this
year from Asia to Europe.
Thirty VLCCs were delivered between January and August,
while a further 13 were ordered in the first half of this year,
according to data from ship broker Banchero Costa (Bancosta).
(Reporting by Jessica Jaganathan and Keith Wallis; Editing by