The new-build VLCC tanker DHT Bronco has departed on its maiden voyage, having finished loading middle distillates from the Asia-Pacific region in early September.

The tanker is the sixth new-build VLCC observed by Vortexa to have loaded clean products on a maiden voyage this year.

The tanker began loading diesel—around 60,000t—from the Pulau Busing Tankstore terminal in Singapore on 24 August. It was then observed conducting ship-to-ship (STS) transfers in the region with five medium range (MR)-sized tankers.

The DHT Bronco is estimated to have loaded around 280,000t of middle distillates in total. While it has yet to declare a destination port, this year’s previous VLCC movements suggest the tanker could discharge, at least partially, in Europe. It is currently heading towards the Cape of Good Hope.

Previous VLCC heads to Caribbean

Most of the diesel loaded onto new-build VLCCs this year discharged at the Dutch port of Rotterdam, followed by the French Mediterranean port of Fos. Smaller volumes have also gone to west Africa and Latin America.

The previous VLCC new-build to set sail from Asia-Pacific, Tonegawa, is currently heading to the Bahamas with its diesel cargo, where it is expected to arrive on 21 September.

According to market participants, Tonegawa’s movement to the Caribbean could result in STS transfers onto tankers destined for Latin America and/or the US Atlantic coast.

The potential boost to prompt supply in these regions off the back of Tonegawa’s discharge may also encourage DHT Bronco to seek European markets.

Diesel-hauling VLCCs turn to crude journeys

The VLCC tankers that loaded middle distillates for their maiden voyages earlier this year have gone on to load crude and/or dirty products in subsequent journeys, in line with expectations.  

Tankers Maran Aphrodite and New Eminence both carried crude to China on their second journeys, loading from Brazil and the Russian Baltic, respectively.

The DHT Stallion began its second journey in mid-August, carrying dirty product, from Rotterdam to Asia-Pacific.

The Xin Hui Yang is yet to make its second journey after discharging in early August, but is currently heading empty towards Galveston on the US Gulf coast.

The story was updated from an earlier version.