Penfield Marine | Penfield Marine swoops on 11 International Seaways suezmax tankers
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Tim Brennan and Eric Vaughn at the Penfield Marine office

by Joe Brady · Published by Tradewinds in Tankers

Connecticut commercial manager becomes a beneficiary of tanker owner’s Diamond S Shipping merger, adding instant scale to newest pool.

Connecticut-based pools specialist Penfield Marine has scored a major coup for its newest vessel class with the addition of 11 suezmaxes from the fleet of New York neighbor International Seaways.

The cooperation allows Fairfield-headquartered Penfield to instantly boost its suezmax pool to 15 vessels from four, giving it scale that approaches its more mature pools in panamax and aframax tonnage.

All 11 tankers came to International Seaways through its July merger with Diamond S Shipping, the Connecticut-based tanker owner founded by Craig Stevenson and formerly chaired by legendary investor Wilbur Ross.

The deal extends the cooperation between International Seaways and Penfield, which in 2020 took in the New York owner’s 158,400-dwt Seaways Hatteras and Seaways Montauk (both built 2017).

It's nice to get these modern ships from a company we know, which allows us to take them on more seamlessly,” Penfield chief executive Tim Brennan told TradeWinds

“The vessels have all now been delivered. We were prepared for it. When we saw this opportunity coming. We staffed up accordingly prior to the ships coming on board.”

While the agreement gives Penfield scale it did not possess with just four ships in its suezmax fleet, Brennan was more focused on being able to count 75 tankers across its panamax, aframax and suezmax fleets.

“Now we’re managing 75 ships. That helps us in the market. We have customers where we have contracts across all three sectors, so this give us synergies,” Brennan said.

From the International Seaways perspective, chief commercial officer Derek Solon said the agreement maintains a core principle of operating its tonnage across various vessel classes in third-party pools.

We really like those guys and it was a natural fit for us,” Solon said of Penfield leaders Brennan and chief operating officer Eric Haughn and their staff.

“When it comes to Penfield, we’ve been partners with Hatteras and Montauk. And they click three key boxes for us. Performance in terms of TCE (time charter equivalent rates) in challenging markets. Stewardship in terms of how they treat the steel like it’s their own. And transparency — they’re open, clear and honest.”

The International Seaways additions include four 159,000-dwt tankers built at South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries, the Red, Rio Grande, San Saba and Frio (all built 2012).

Penfield also takes in two HHI-built, 158,000-dwt tankers, the Trinity and San Jacinto (both built 2016).

International Seaways also is contributing four Samsung Heavy Industries-built, 158,000-dwt ships, the Colorado, Brazos, Sabine and Pecos (all built 2012).

The remaining suezmax is the 162,000-dwt Seaways Saugerties, built in 2006 at Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering.

International Seaways closed a $2.2bn all-stock acquisition of Diamond S in July, creating a combined fleet of 102 tankers, including VLCCs, LR product tankers, panamaxes and MRs.

With its shares on the New York Stock Exchange, Lois Zabrocky-led International Seaways is the second-largest US-listed tanker owner by vessel count and third-largest as measured by dwt.