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Castor Maritime linked to $98m secondhand splurge

Nasdaq-listed Greek owner Castor Maritime, having already tripled its fleet this year, is being linked by brokers Advanced Shipping & Trading to three separate deals for five ships worth nearly $100m.

In its latest weekly report, the broker lists Castor Maritime as the buyer of 2012-built Japanese panamax bulker Nord Sirius from Japan’s Chiba Shipping for $19.8m. If confirmed, the ship would be Castor’s ninth panamax bulker, having acquired three already this year including one earlier this week.

Castor is also named as the buyer of three Sasebo-built LR2 tankers, reported sold by Hong Kong’s Cido Shipping. The 2009-built LR2 Poseidon, and 2008-built LR2 Pioneer and LR2 Polaris, came with a $63m price tag according to Advanced.

Lastly, Advanced also names Castor as the buyer of Eastern Pacific Shipping’s 2005-built Korean aframax Davis Sea for $14.8m. VesselsValue, which is also reporting the deal, values the tanker at $14.37m.

Petros Panagiotidis, chief executive officer of Castor, has made no secret of his plans to rapidly expand the company’s fleet and has timed the market well with Clarksons’ overall secondhand price index rising by 33% since September last year through to April 16.

Shipping has enjoyed its best Q1 since before the global financial crisis, with the second quarter on track to post equally high gains. The ClarkSea Index, a weighted average of tanker, bulk carrier, containership and gas carrier earnings managed by Clarkson Research Services, averaged $17,461 a day in the first quarter, the best Q1 average since 2008, prior to the collapse of Lehman Brothers. The momentum has continued, with the ClarkSea Index starting Q2 at $20,759 a day.

Having started the year with six panamax bulkers, Castor currently has a fleet of 18 vessels, not including those mentioned in the Advanced report, made up of eight panamaxes, six kamsarmax bulkers, a single capesize bulker, and three aframax tankers.

Grant Rowles

Grant spent nine years at Informa Group based in London, Sydney, Hong Kong and Singapore. He gained strong management experience in publishing, conferences and awards schemes in the shipping and legal areas, working on a number of titles including Lloyd's List. In 2009 Grant joined Seatrade responsible for the commercial development of Seatrade’s Asia products. In 2012, with Sam Chambers, he co-founded Asia Shipping Media.


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