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News in brief

Sea Breeze on charter

Blenheim Shipping’s newbuilding, the 91,800 dwt Sea Breeze , has been time chartered to the dry bulk arm of the Torvald Klaveness Group for an undisclosed rate, writes Michelle Wiese Bockmann.

The ship is now on its maiden voyage. Last week, Clarksons reported that the vessel had been sold at $41m to an undisclosed buyer. However, London-based Blenheim, the ship’s operator, said the report was incorrect.

The vessel’s beneficial owner is the Cafiero Mattioli Group.

D’Amico mulls cancellation

D’Amico International Shipping has yet to decide whether it will cancel a second product tanker about to be delivered at South Korea’s SLS Shipbuilding, writes Michelle Wiese Bockmann.

The Italian owner and operator revealed it had cancelled one of four 51,000 dwt product tankers ordered at the yard, citing excessive delays. The orders were placed via Glenda International Shipping, a joint venture with commodities giant Glencore, in which it has a 50% stake.

The tanker was originally due for delivery in September 2008, but was not ready until this month, a d’Amico spokeswoman said.

A second product tanker was also due in September, and is also ready for delivery this month. The spokeswoman said a decision on whether a second tanker would be cancelled had yet to be made.

The yard has agreed to refund existing advances made for the first ship, which d’Amico said amounted to 70% of the purchase price of $47.5m. Of the $29m paid by the Glenda joint venture, $10m was cash and the remaining debt, returning an additional $5m to d’Amico.

South Korean coal deal

South Korean utilities have agreed 2009 thermal coal contracts with three Chinese producers at about $78.50 per tonne, down more than 45% from a year ago, Reuters reports .

The agreement comes amid tightening supplies and a recent surge in Asian coal prices, which have jumped 18% since May to about $74 per tonne on the globalCOAL Newcastle index, after touching a four-month high of $77.19 last week.

The long-overdue settlement for contracts beginning from April may set the tone for negotiations between Japanese utilities and Chinese miners, which have also been locked in annual contract talks since early this year.

China exported 75% of its coal production in 2008, about 40m tonnes.

Nigeria seeks oil products

Nigeria has issued a tender to import more than 40 cargoes of oil products, mainly gasoline, for the third quarter of this year, Reuters reports .

Trade sources told Reuters bids need to be submitted by Friday.

A standard gasoline cargo is usually 33,000 tonnes.

Gasoline demand from Nigeria and West Africa has supported prices of the motor fuel in Europe as traders look to ship excess products south.

Demand in Europe has fallen during the recession, while Nigeria is looking to rebuild supplies following fuel shortages in May.

Nigeria is Africa’s largest crude oil producer, but it imports 85% of the gasoline and other oil products it consumes due to the poor state of its refineries.

Giorgia Pepino