Throughout the world, many ship owners remain hard hit by a slump in the demand for oil tankers.
Throughout the world, many ship owners remain hard hit by a slump in the demand for oil tankers. Many of the tankers are laid up or scrapped. But while some owners have lost money on the glut of tonnage, more new ones are being built, sometimes at yards close to the tanker graveyards. Such a place is Elefsis Bay on the Saronic Gulf in Greece.
SYNOPSIS: Rafts of tankers ranging up to supertanker size are moored together in Elefsis Bay, waiting for an "upturn in the market". They are ???art of up to 50 million tonnes of tanker laid up following the 1973 oil price rise which cut demand. But ironically, at the nearby Niarchos shipyard, more are being built. The many subtle and complex factors which influence the shipping and oil industries have led to this situation.
The construction of these new tankers while one-eighth of the world's tanker fleet is laid up demonstrates the ability of some shippers to stay afloat while others founder. An oil shipping boom which lasted into the early 1970s encouraged many companies to invest heavily in tankers, building new ones and buying out-dated ones. New operators came on the scene.
Those who followed a conservative policy, by not over-expanding and by securing long-term charters, weathered the storm and can now build the most efficient and profitable Very Large Crude Carriers. Those who thought the slump would be temporary found themselves in deep water, and their fleets moored in the shallows of Elefsis Bay. But a recent flurry in the tanker market holds some hope for those whose banks have not repossessed their vessels.