1960s-1970s: Riding the Waves
World-Wide entered the tanker market in the mid-1960s with the purchase of a second-hand tanker that had a British Petroleum charter attached. The first Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) was built in 1969, and christened World Chief. World Chief was quickly followed by 42 other VLCCs between 1970 and 1974. The world needed more crude oil and had discovered the economies of scale offered by larger units. A tanker market boom was in the making, fuelled by prevailing cheap oil prices and oil majors’ strong belief in the future.
By 1979, World-Wide had a fleet of over 200 vessels, managing the largest independently-owned bulk shipping fleet in the world with a total tonnage of 20.5 million deadweight tons – more than the US and Soviet merchant fleets combined.