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Online marketplaces are just for buying and selling the everyday consumer goods anymore—think bigger: The Chinese government has just auctioned off a nearly US$12-million oil tanker on Taobao, its version of eBay or Alibaba.
A Maltese company just purchased an $11.8 million oil tanker from the Chinese online sales website Taobao, according to the Xinhua news service.
The oil tanker—The Varada Blessing—sold on what is best described as the Chinese version of eBay, attracted 33,000 views and 19 offers from six different bidders before ultimately being sold to Natalia Shipping. The vendor was Guangzhou Maritime Court, which struck the deal on the site’s Paimai judicial auction platform.
The court had attempted to sell the 327-meter-long decommissioned ship on Taobao twice before, without any luck in meeting the minimum desired reserve to trigger a sale. But the third time was a charm.
The tanker was built in 1993 and previously sailed under the flag of Comoros, according to MarineTraffic.com, a site that logs international shipping data. The Varada Blessing carries a gross tonnage of 156,539 tons and had been owned by Varada One Ptd. Ltd. before it was confiscated by the Guangzhou Maritime Court over an admiralty dispute. Ship traffic data says the vessel still sits at the mouth of the Pearl River in between Macau and Hong Kong.
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It’s not the first time the Chinese courts have begun selling seized property online. More than 120 courts in the state of Guangdong connected with Taobao's judicial sales program, with the value of the courts’ total earnings in auctions jumping from 100 million yuan in 2014 to 10 billion yuan last year.
Last week, Splash reported the sale of five vessels belonging to Wenzhou Shipping on Taobao for a grand total of $22 million. The Alibaba-owned site also recently facilitated the sale of a newbuild bulker of Nantong Minde Heavy Industry for $14 million.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…