<strong>STAR Bulk Carriers has spent $42.5m purchasing a 2000-built, 171,000 dwt capesize vessel to replace another ship sold last year, writes Liz McCarthy.The new ship will be renamed Star Aurora and will replace the 1992-built, 175,000 dwt Star Alpha, which was reported as sold by sale and purchase brokers at $19.7m in July 2009. The ship was delivered to its undisclosed buyers in the fourth quarter of 2009, the company said. The Athens-based company is expecting the Star Aurora to be delivered charter-free between October-November 2010, at which point the Nasdaq-listed group aims to have secured period time charter employment for the vessel. The new ship, of which the seller was not disclosed, bumps up Star Bulk’s fleet to 12 vessels, totalling approximately 1.1m dwt with an average age of 10.2 years. Star Bulk president and chief executive Akis Tsirigakis commented yesterday: “We are pleased to acquire a younger capsize vessel of quality to replace the older one sold.
A SPATE of fixtures in an otherwise very quiet market helped brighten capesize owners’ fortunes last week, but brokers thought gloom that had settled over the sector would grow heavier this week and cancel the previous week’s gains.
SUPRAMAX owners booked for Turkey to Asia spot trips have defied a slide in rates seen on all other routes in the sector as a dearth of bigger ships left charterers with less available tonnage to choose from.
OUTSIDE shipping circles, the Baltic Dry Index has garnered a considerable fan club as a leading indicator of world trade. Well, the bad news is that the composite yardstick for the health of the bulk trades is currently down a full 42% on the 2009 high of 4,661 recorded as recently as last November.
CAPESIZE rates have plunged into a dark abyss, with little prospect of climbing back into the bright light until China agrees new iron ore prices with the major producers in the coming months, brokers have said.
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