TANKERS Firmer conditions in Suezmaxes out of W. Africa, with Hess having fixed M/T «Narova» for 130,000 tons of cargo, loading Jan. 8, discharging St Croix, at W/S 145, while Exxonmobil has fixed M/T «Seagrace» for same cargo quantity, loading Jan. 12, discharging Med., at W/S 147.5. Similar conditions for Aframaxes in the Med. and Cont. too. In the Med., weather and transit delays are causing a shortage of vessels in the area. Reports say rates as high as W/S 250 for Black Sea and Med., and W/S 240 for inter-Med. voyages. – Cont. in a similar situation with 80,000-ton cargoes being fixed at around W/S 210 with the market heading higher. – Caribs market remains quieter, with the latest fixtures for 70,000-ton cargoes at W/S 107.5. – In the Med., Tupras has fixed M/T «Alpha Ship» for 80,000 tons of cargo, loading Dec. 25 Novorossisk, discharging Turkey, at W/S 190. – In the Cont., Stasco has fixed Navion Tonnage for 80,000 tons of cargo, loading Dec. 28 Tees, discharging UKC, at W/S 220. – In Caribs, Blanchard has fixed Conoco tonnage for 70,000 tons of cargo, loading Dec. 20 East Coast Mexico, discharging US Gulf, at W/S 105. – In W. Africa, Dreyfus has fixed M/T «Tito Tapias» for 130,000 tons of cargo loading Jan. 6, discharging UKC, at W/S 121.25. DRY CARGO Rates on Capers have gained thousands of dollars in a week. There is not even a hint the Christmas break will have any affect on trading, with charterers already trying to secure end-January tonnage for period charter. – In the Atlantic, Cosco has fixed M/T «Pytchley,» 179,869 dwt, built 1996, delivery Rotterdam Dec. 17-22, trip via Brazil, redelivery China, at USD 29,000 daily. – On Panamaxes, the market, especially in Asia, keeps pushing rates at even stronger levels. Api Moller has fixed a Transfield’s relet tonnage delivery Indonesia, redelivery Japan, at USD 15,750 daily. – In the Atlantic, Korea Line has fixed M/V «Pessada,» 75,484 dwt, built 1999, delivery Jan. 1-5 US Gulf, redelivery Far East, at USD 11,400 daily and USD 330,000 ballast bonus, while M/V «Navios Star,» 74,000 dwt, built 2001, delivery Hamburg Dec. 15-20 for 4-5 months period, has fixed at USD 12,500 daily. – On smaller sizes, IVS has fixed M/V «Aurora Topaz,» 28,268 dwt, built 1982, delivery S. Africa end Dec., redelivery UKC, at USD 6,500 daily.