Six VLGCs have been scrapped or sold for scrap so far in 2018 compared with just three in the past two years.
The world's oldest conventional LNG carriers – 1972-built Bebatik and 1975-built Belanak – have been broken up.
The majority of shipowners prefer to send their vessels for scrap to the Indian subcontinent, and to date only three vessels have been scrapped in China because of the cost difference and demand.
Cash buyers are offloading unsold tankers as Pakistan resumes demolitions, pushing prices below expectations.
Stricter controls in China on the importation of vessels, vehicles, and scrap components leave the Indian subcontinent the only option for ship recycling, driven by an increasing awareness to reduce environmental pollution.
The resumption of tanker recycling in Pakistan has yet to boost scrap prices so far, while Bangladeshi yards are fully stocked with tonnage.
UK law firm has warned hull insurers that the entire focus of salvage activity has changed, with environmental damage and pollution now taking priority over property salvage.
The International Maritime Organization’s stringent global cap on sulphur emissions and a sharp rise in fuel bills could encourage further demolition of older vessels when emission regulations come into force from 1 January 2020.