Top Ships Back In Business With Delivery of Newbuild ECO Tanker

logoNasdaq-listed Top Ships, Inc. (Nasdaq:TOPS) has taken delivery of the first of six newbuild medium-range tankers, ending nearly year long hiatus from the shipping industry.

The Athens-based company on Monday announced the delivery of the EShips Taweelah, a 50,000 dwt fuel efficient MR product tanker from Hyundai Vinashin Shipyard in Vietnam.

The EShips Taweelah is the first of six new ‘ECO’ product tankers being built for Top Ships by the Vietnam yard. The remaining five vessels, three of which are 50,000 dwt and two 39,000 dwt versions, are scheduled for delivery between the first quarter 2015 and the third quarter of 2016.

Top Ships sold off the majority of its fleet in 2008 and conservatively weathered the market turmoil lasting from 2009 to 2013 with a scaled back fleet. In 2005, the company was ranked among the top three worldwide MR Product Tanker owners, with fourteen double-hull MRs and four single-hulled MRs. From 2005 to 2008, the company owned one of the largest double-hull Suezmax fleets in the world, with 14 vessels in total, according to the company’s website.

In September 2013, the company sold off its last six remaining vessels, which included 5 Handymax product tankers all built within 2009 and a 51,215 DWT bulk carrier built in 2002, in order to pay down debt and fund new vessel acquisitions.

The EShips Taweelah is on a time charter for two years to EShips Tankers Ltd, plus one additional year at the charterer’s option. The time charter has a date rate of $16,000 for the first two years and $17,250 per day for the optional year.

Top Ships recently raised more than $20 million through a public offering, which was led by RedChip Companies, Inc.

Dave Gentry, President and CEO of RedChip, stated, “The global seaborne transportation industry moves more than 1.8 billion metric tons of petroleum products annually. We’re excited to bring the Top Ships story to our global investor audience of retail and institutional investors as they capitalize on this massive market opportunity.”