The Esso Madrid was a Very Large Crude Carrier oil ship with a Kawasaki steam engine that was constructed by Nippon Kokan at the Tsu Shipyards in Japan. Built for Esso Tankers, Inc., the ship was launched on February 6, 1976, and possessed a length of 1,225 feet, a beam of 210 feet and a depth of 95 feet.
Weighing in at 173,085 tons, with a deadweight tonnage of 388,118 tons, the Esso Madrid began its time on the water as a Greece-flagged ship. The ship performed its expected duties for much of the next decade, becoming an important part of delivering oil during its rapid jump in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. It was then sold to a sister company, the Bahamas-based Esso International in 1984.
Just one year later, the Lowes Corporation purchased the vessel for what would be considered to a rock-bottom price. Paying just $5.5 million, the purchase was made as oil prices were in the midst of a free-fall that mirrors what’s taken place three decades later.
Loews would change the name of the ship to the Capitol, with the oil market slowly getting back to normal. In 1990, a time which included tensions in the Middle East that would lead to the brief Gulf War, Loews sold a 51 percent interest in the Capitol and a number of other vessels to the Hellespont Group, a subsidiary of the Montreal-based Papchristidis Company.
The re-emergence of the oil market at that time was evident from the assessed value of the renamed Hellespont Capitol, which had risen to approximately $50 million. In 1998, another subsidiary of the company became its owner, the Hellespont Capitol Steamship Company, with the ship scrapped at the Chittagong Ship Breaking Yard in Faujdarhat, Bagladesh on May 25, 2002.