Greater ChinaTankers

Varada Blessing VLCC sets size record on Taobao

At 327 m in length and weighing in with a gross tonnage of 156,539 tonnes, the Varada Blessing VLCC is believed to be the largest single entity ever bought on the Chinese online portal Taobao.

The 1993-built ship has been languishing in the Pearl River Delta for many months after its owner, Singapore-based Varada One was hit an admiralty dispute. Guangzhou Maritime Court’s previous two efforts last year to auction the tanker off via Taobao failed to notch up the necessary reserve price. An outfit from Malta called Natalia Shipping finally lodged a winning bid this week and will take the supertanker for RMB81m ($11.78m). Splash understands the ship will be scrapped. Vessel traffic monitoring service MarineTraffic shows the 300,000 dwt ship is still at anchor at the mouth of the Pearl River between Macau and Hong Kong.

Splash reported earlier this week how five vessels belonging to bust Wenzhou Shipping were also sold on Taobao for $22m. Even some newbuild resales are now being conducted on the Alibaba-owned auction site. A newbuild bulker built by Nantong Minde Heavy Industry recently fetched $14m.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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