The Rise of the Opaque/Grey Tanker Fleet Raises Concerns Over Safety

Credit: Earl Andre Roca/Pexels

Opaque Market Overview

    • Data analytics firm Vortexa identifies 1,000 unique tankers operating in the opaque market since January 2021.
    • Of these, 745 tankers remained active in the first quarter of the current year.

Vortexa’s Opaque Definition

    • Vortexa’s opaque market classification includes tankers handling Russian cargo (regardless of the price cap mechanism) and those involved in Iranian and Venezuelan trades.
    • Excludes tankers operating internally and ships with sanctions waivers.

BRS Analysis: Grey Fleet Expansion

    • Brokers BRS reports a slower expansion rate of the grey fleet compared to earlier this year.
    • The grey fleet now consists of 758 tankers, up from 731 tankers in the previous month.

Grey Fleet Growth Rate

    • BRS and S&P brokers note a slowdown in vintage tanker sales, indicating a slowdown in the growth rate of the grey fleet.
    • Andrew Wilson, BRS’s head of research, suggests the growth rate of the grey fleet is decelerating.

Nuances in the Grey Fleet

    • BRS proposes referring to the dark fleet as the grey fleet, acknowledging the various shades within it.
    • The breakdown of the grey fleet’s shades is not explicitly provided in the given text.

Overall, the opaque/grey tanker fleet’s expansion, characterized by tankers operating outside international norms, raises concerns about potential safety lapses. Data analytics firm Vortexa and brokers BRS offer different methods of classification and tracking the growth of this fleet.

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Source: Splash247