The number of supertankers sold for demolition may rise to the highest in six years following a fall in charter which has led to owners losing money on voyages according to shipping analysts,.

With 27 vessels scrapped, this year’s tally could be the highest since 2003, US-based Global Marketing Systems said.

Five supertankers, together capable of carrying oil to supply Japan for two days, were sold for scrapping in 2009.

Owners need faster demolition of old ships to lift rental rates that have dropped to a record low, according to a Global Marketing Systems analyst speaking to Hellenic Shipping.

Rates which rose as high as $148,000 a day in July last year have since slumped to a negative $1,363.