TANKERS There are very firm conditions on Aframaxes in the Med., with Exxon having fixed M/T «Astro Altair» for 80,000 tons of cargo, loading Banias on March 15, discharging Augusta at W/S 396, while CRC has fixed M/T «St Helen» for same cargo quantity, loading on March 5 Libya, discharging Trieste, at W/S 370. – Cont. market remains firm with a tight supply of tonnage. M/T «Vancouver Spirit» was fixed at W/S 255 for a cross-UKC cargo. – Suezmax market out of W. Africa remains quiet with most charterers combining their cargoes to VLCC liftings. – Med. market is rising with URSA having fixed M/T «Iran Sanandaj» for 135,000 tons of cargo, loading March 5, discharging Med., at W/S 235. – In the Med., Tamoil for 80,000 tons of cargo, loading March 6 Libya, discharging Med., has fixed M/T «Astro Arcturus» at W/S 350. – In the Cont., CSSA for 80,000 tons of cargo, loading March 4 N. Sea, discharging UKC, has fixed M/T «Petronordic» at W/S 255. – In Caribs, Premcor for 70,000 tons of cargo, loading Feb. 27 East Coast Mexico, discharging US Gulf, has fixed M/T «Genmar Gabriel» at W/S 310. – In W. Africa and on VLCCs, Emerald for 260,000 tons of cargo, loading March 12, discharging US Gulf / East Coast Canada, has fixed M/T «Zeeland» at W/S 137.5 / W/S 142.5 respectively. DRY CARGO Handymax rates in US Gulf have firmed sharply, with a couple of 50,000-tonners having booked transatlantic trips at rates above USD 14,000 daily. – Panamaxes remain firm, with owners talking USD 15,000 daily for trips from the Med. to the East. – Short period rates firmed again with USD 14,000 daily agreed for 6-8 months. – In the East, Shinwa has fixed M/V «Unisterling,» 69,616 dwt, built 1993, delivery China March 1-10, redelivery Japan, at USD 12,000 daily. – Stable conditions on Capers, with Kline having fixed M/V «Cic Captain Veniamis,» 171,448 dwt, built 2001, delivery UK March 6-8 trip via Brazil, redelivery Japan, at USD 30,500 daily. – On Panamax in Far East, Conagra has fixed M/V «Oinoussian Lion,» 71,662 dwt, built 1996, delivery Japan Feb. 22-25, redelivery Taiwan, at USD 12,800 daily. – In Atlantic, Damato has fixed M/V «Hispania Graeca,» 74,133 dwt, built 2001, delivery end Feb. – beg. March Spain for 6-8 months’ trading at USD 14,000 daily. – On smaller sizes, Armada has fixed M/V «Sety,» 43,611 dwt, built 1985, delivery Argentine March 1-5 for 2-3 legs, redelivery Atlantic, at USD 9,500 daily and USD 200,000 ballast bonus. – On grain cargoes, Cargill has fixed M/V «Alexandria» for 25,000 tons of cargo, loading March 1-5 Argentina, discharging Limassol, at USD 22.80 per ton with 5,000-ton load and 5,000-ton discharge.