Diana Shipping 20-F 2010
Documents found in this filing:
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
* REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR 12(g) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934>
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2009
* TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from __________ ____________ OR
* SHELL COMPANY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 or 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934>
Commission file number 001-32458
DIANA SHIPPING INC.
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)
Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act.
Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act.
Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act.
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.
x Yes o No
If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
o Yes x No
Note-Checking the box above will not relieve any registrant required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 from their obligations under those Sections.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requ irements for the past 90 days.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).
o Yes o No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, or a non-accelerated filer. See definition of "accelerated filer and large accelerated filer" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):
Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:
If "Other" has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow.
If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).
o Yes x No
(APPLICABLE ONLY TO ISSUERS INVOLVED IN BANKRUPTCY PROCEEDINGS DURING THE PAST FIVE YEARS)
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed all documents and reports required to be filed by Sections 12, 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 subsequent to the distribution of securities under a plan confirmed by a court.
o Yes o No
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Diana Shipping Inc., or the Company, desires to take advantage of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and is including this cautionary statement in connection with this safe harbor legislation. This document and any other written or oral statements made by us or on our behalf may include forward-looking statements, which reflect our current views with respect to future events and financial performance. The words "believe", "except," "anticipate," "intends," "estimate," "forecast," "project," "plan," "potential," "will," "may," "should," "expect" and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements.
Please note in this annual report, "we", "us", "our" and "the Company" all refer to Diana Shipping Inc. and its subsidiaries.
The forward-looking statements in this document are based upon various assumptions, many of which are based, in turn, upon further assumptions, including without limitation, management's examination of historical operating trends, data contained in our records and other data available from third parties. Although we believe that these assumptions were reasonable when made, because these assumptions are inherently subject to significant uncertainties and contingencies which are difficult or impossible to predict and are beyond our control, we cannot assure you that we will achieve or accomplish these expectations, beliefs or projections.
In addition to these important factors and matters discussed elsewhere herein, important factors that, in our view, could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements include the strength of world economies, fluctuations in currencies and interest rates, general market conditions, including fluctuations in charter hire rates and vessel values, changes in demand in the dry-bulk shipping industry, changes in the Company's operating expenses, including bunker prices, drydocking and insurance costs, changes in governmental rules and regulations or actions taken by regulatory authorities, potential liability from pending or future litigation, general domestic and international political conditions, potential disruption of shipping routes due to accidents or political events, and other important factors described from time to time in the reports filed by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC.
Item 3.Key Information
The following table sets forth our selected consolidated financial data and other operating data. The selected consolidated financial data in the table as of December 31, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006 and 2005 are derived from our audited consolidated financial statements and notes thereto which have been prepared in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles ("U.S. GAAP"). The following data should be read in conjunction with Item 5. "Operating and Financial Review and Prospects", the consolidated financial statements, related notes and other financial information included elsewhere in this annual report.
Some of the following risks relate principally to the industry in which we operate and our business in general. Other risks relate principally to the securities market and ownership of our common stock. The occurrence of any of the events described in this section could significantly and negatively affect our business, financial condition or operating results or the trading price of our common stock.
Industry Specific Risk Factors
Charter hire rates for dry bulk carriers may decrease in the future, which may adversely affect our earnings.
The dry bulk shipping industry is cyclical with attendant volatility in charter hire rates and profitability. The degree of charter hire rate volatility among different types of dry bulk carriers has varied widely, and charter hire rates for Panamax and Capesize dry bulk carriers have reached near historically low levels. Because we charter some of our vessels pursuant to short-term time charters, we are exposed to changes in spot market and short-term charter rates for dry bulk carriers and such changes may affect our earnings and the value of our dry bulk carriers at any given time. We cannot assure you that we will be able to successfully charter our vessels in the future or renew existing charters at rates sufficient to allow us to meet our obligations or pay any dividends in the future. Fluctuations in charter rates result from changes in the supply and demand for vessel capacity and changes in the supply and demand for the major commodities carried by water internationally. Because the factors affecting the supply and demand for vessels are outside of our control and are unpredictable, the nature, timing, direction and degree of changes in industry conditions are also unpredictable.
Factors that influence demand for vessel capacity include:
Factors that influence the supply of vessel capacity include:
Demand for our dry bulk carriers is dependent upon economic growth in the world's economies, seasonal and regional changes in demand, changes in the capacity of the global dry bulk carrier fleet and the sources and supply of dry bulk cargo transported by sea. Given the large number of new dry bulk carriers currently on order with shipyards, the capacity of the global dry bulk carrier fleet seems likely to increase and economic growth may not resume in areas that have experienced a recession or continue in other areas. Adverse economic, political, social or other developments could have a material adverse effect on our business and operating results.
A further economic slowdown in the Asia Pacific region could exacerbate the effect of recent slowdowns in the economies of the United States and the European Union and may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We anticipate a significant number of the port calls made by our vessels will continue to involve the loading or discharging of dry bulk commodities in ports in the Asia Pacific region. As a result, negative changes in economic conditions in any Asia Pacific country, particularly in China, may exacerbate the effect of recent slowdowns in the economies of the United States and the European Union and may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations, as well as our future prospects. In recent years, China has been one of the world's fastest growing economies in terms of gross domestic product, which has had a significant impact on shipping demand. Through the end of the third quarter of 2008, China's gross domestic product was approximately 2.3% lower than it was during the same period in 2007, and it is likely that China and other countries in the Asia Pacific region will continue to experience slowed or even negative economic growth in the near future. Moreover, the current economic slowdown in the economies of the United States, the European Union and other Asian countries may further adversely affect economic growth in China and elsewhere. China has recently announced a $586.0 billion stimulus package aimed in part at increasing investment and consumer spending and maintaining export growth in response to the recent slowdown in its economic growth. Our business, financial condition and results of operations, as well as our future prospects, will likely be materially and adversely affected by a further economic downturn in any of these countries.
Changes in the economic and political environment in China and policies adopted by the government to regulate its economy may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
The Chinese economy differs from the economies of most countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD, in such respects as structure, government involvement, level of development, growth rate, capital reinvestment, allocation of resources, rate of inflation and balance of payments position. Prior to 1978, the Chinese economy was a planned economy. Since 1978, increasing emphasis has been placed on the utilization of market forces in the development of the Chinese economy. Annual and five-year State Plans are adopted by the Chinese government in connection with the development of the economy. State-owned enterprises still account for a substantial portion of the Chinese industrial output; however, the Chinese government is reducing the level of direct control that it exercises over the economy through State Plans and other measures. There is an increasing level of freedom and autonomy in areas such as allocation of resources, production, pricing and management and a gradual shift in emphasis to a "market economy" and enterprise reform. Limited price reforms were undertaken with the result that prices for certain commodities are principally determined by market forces. Many of the reforms are unprecedented or experimental and may be subject to revision, change or abolition based upon the outcome of such experiments. If the Chinese government does not continue to pursue a policy of economic reform, the level of imports to and exports from China could be adversely affected by changes to these economic reforms by the Chinese government, as well as by changes in political, economic and social conditions or other relevant policies of the Chinese government, such as changes in laws, regulations or export and import restrictions, all of which could adversely affect our business, operating results and financial condition.
The market values of our vessels have decreased, which could limit the amount of funds that we can borrow under our credit facilities.
The fair market values of our vessels have generally experienced high volatility. The market prices for secondhand Panamax and Capesize dry bulk carriers are at relatively low levels. You should expect the market value of our vessels to fluctuate depending on general economic and market conditions affecting the shipping industry and prevailing charter hire rates, competition from other shipping companies and other modes of transportation, types, sizes and age of vessels, applicable governmental regulations and the cost of newbuildings. Now that the market value of our fleet has declined, we may not be able to draw down the full amount of our credit facilities and we may not be able to obtain other financing or incur debt on terms that are acceptable to us or at all.
The market values of our vessels have decreased, which could cause us to breach covenants in our credit facilities and adversely affect our operating results.
We believe that the market value of the vessels in our fleet is in excess of amounts required under our credit facilities. However, if the market values of our vessels, which are at relatively low levels, decrease further, we may breach some of the covenants contained in the financing agreements relating to our indebtedness at the time, including covenants in our credit facilities. If we do breach such covenants and we are unable to remedy the relevant breach, our lenders could accelerate our debt and foreclose on our fleet. In addition, if the book value of a vessel is impaired due to unfavorable market conditions or a vessel is sold at a price below its book value, we would incur a loss that could adversely affect our operating results.
A continued downturn in the dry bulk carrier charter market may have an adverse effect on our earnings and our ability to comply with our loan covenants.
The Baltic Exchange Capesize Index, or CS4TC, a daily equally weighted average of the four main Capesize routes declined from a high of approximately $222,800 per day in May 2008 to a low of approximately $2,400 per day in November 2008, which represents a decline of 99%. From November 2008 it rose to approximately $52,700 per day in October 2009, which emphasizes the volatility of this market. The general decline in the dry bulk carrier charter market has resulted in lower charter rates for vessels exposed to the spot market and time charters linked to the CS4TC. Our ability to obtain renewal charters upon the expiration of our current charters or charters for new vessels that we may acquire in the future will be directly impacted by prevailing charter rates.
Dry bulk carrier values have also declined both as a result of a slowdown in the availability of global credit and the significant deterioration in charter rates. Charter rates and vessel values have been affected in part by the lack of availability of credit to finance both vessel purchases and purchases of commodities carried by sea, resulting in a decline in cargo shipments, and the excess supply of iron ore in China which resulted in falling iron ore prices and increased stockpiles in Chinese ports. There can be no assurance as to how long charter rates and vessel values will remain at their currently low levels or whether the recent improvement will continue. Charter rates may remain at low levels for some time which will adversely affect our revenue and profitability and could affect compliance with the covenants in our loan agreements.
In addition, because the market value of our vessels may fluctuate significantly, we may incur losses when we sell vessels, which may adversely affect our earnings. If we sell vessels at a time when vessel prices have fallen and before we have recorded an impairment adjustment to our financial statements, the sale may be at less than the vessel's carrying amount in our financial statements, resulting in a loss and a reduction in earnings.
An over-supply of dry bulk carrier capacity may prolong or further depress the current low charter rates and, in turn, adversely affect our profitability.
The market supply of dry bulk carriers has been increasing, and the number of dry bulk carriers on order is near historic highs. Dry bulk newbuildings were delivered in significant numbers starting at the beginning of 2006 and continue to be delivered in significant numbers. As of September 30, 2009, Capesize newbuilding orders had been placed for an aggregate of more than 77% of the current global Capesize fleet, with deliveries expected during the next 36 months. According to market sources, approximately 60% is contracted at established yards, while the other 40% is contracted at yards that are less established and whose viability may be uncertain. Due to lack of financing many analysts expect significant cancellations and/ or slippage of newbuilding orders. While vessel supply will continue to be affected by the delivery of new vessels and the removal of vessels from the global fleet, either through scrapping or accidental losses, an over-supply of dry bulk carrier capacity, particularly in conjunction with the currently low level of demand, could exacerbate the recent decrease in charter rates or prolong the period during which low charter rates prevail. If the current low charter rate environment persists, or a further reduction occurs, during a period when the current charters for our dry bulk carriers expire or are terminated, we may only be able to re-charter those vessels at reduced rates or we may not be able to charter our vessels at all.
World events could affect our results of operations and financial condition.
Terrorist attacks in New York on September 11, 2001, in London on July 7, 2005 and in Mumbai on November 26, 2008 and the continuing response of the United States and others to these attacks, as well as the threat of future terrorist attacks in the United States or elsewhere, continues to cause uncertainty in the world's financial markets and may affect our business, operating results and financial condition. The continuing presence of United States and other armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan may lead to additional acts of terrorism and armed conflict around the world, which may contribute to further economic instability in the global financial markets. These uncertainties could also adversely affect our ability to obtain additional financing on terms acceptable to us or at all. In the past, political conflicts have also resulted in attacks on vessels, mining of waterways and other efforts to disrupt international shipping, particularly in the Arabian Gulf region. Acts of terrorism and piracy have also affected vessels trading in regions such as the South China Sea and the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia. Any of these occurrences could have a material adverse impact on our operating results, revenues and costs.
Terrorist attacks on vessels, such as the October 2002 attack on the M.V. Limburg, a very large crude carrier not related to us, may in the future also negatively affect our operations and financial condition and directly impact our vessels or our customers. Future terrorist attacks could result in increased volatility and turmoil of the financial markets in the United States and globally. Any of these occurrences could have a material adverse impact on our revenues and costs.
Acts of piracy on ocean-going vessels have recently increased in frequency, which could adversely affect our business.
Acts of piracy have historically affected ocean-going vessels trading in regions of the world such as the South China Sea and in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia. Throughout 2008 and 2009, the frequency of piracy incidents against commercial shipping vessels increased significantly, particularly in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia. For example, in November 2008, the M/V Sirius Star, a tanker vessel not affiliated with us, was captured by pirates in the Indian Ocean while carrying crude oil estimated to be worth $100 million. If these piracy attacks result in regions in which our vessels are deployed being characterized by insurers as "war risk" zones, as the Gulf of Aden temporarily was in May 2008, premiums payable for such coverage could increase significantly and such insurance coverage may be more difficult to obtain. In addition, crew costs, including due to employing onboard security guards, could increase in such circumstances. We may not be adequately insured to cover losses from these incidents, which could have a material adverse effect on us. In addition, any of these events may result in loss of revenues, increased costs and decreased cash flows to our customers, which could impair their ability to make payments to us under our charters.
Disruptions in world financial markets and the resulting governmental action in the United States and in other parts of the world could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows, and could cause the market price of our common stock to further decline.
The United States and other parts of the world are exhibiting deteriorating economic trends and have been in a recession. For example, the credit markets in the United States have experienced significant contraction, deleveraging and reduced liquidity, and the United States federal government and state governments have implemented and are considering a broad variety of governmental action and/or new regulation of the financial markets. Securities and futures markets and the credit markets are subject to comprehensive statutes, regulations and other requirements. The SEC, other regulators, self-regulatory organizations and exchanges are authorized to take extraordinary actions in the event of market emergencies, and may effect changes in law or interpretations of existing laws.
Recently, a number of financial institutions have experienced serious financial difficulties and, in some cases, have entered bankruptcy proceedings or are in regulatory enforcement actions. The uncertainty surrounding the future of the credit markets in the United States and the rest of the world has resulted in reduced access to credit worldwide. As of December 31, 2009, we have total outstanding indebtedness of $282.3 million (of principal balance) under our credit facilities.
We face risks attendant to changes in economic environments, changes in interest rates, and instability in the banking and securities markets around the world, among other factors. Major market disruptions and the current adverse changes in market conditions and regulatory climate in the United States and worldwide may adversely affect our business or impair our ability to borrow amounts under our credit facilities or any future financial arrangements. We cannot predict how long the current market conditions will last. However, these recent and developing economic and governmental factors, including proposals to reform the financial system, together with the concurrent decline in charter rates and vessel values, may have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition or cash flows and could cause the price of our shares to decline significantly or impair our ability to make distributions to our shareholders.
Our operating results are subject to seasonal fluctuations, which could affect our operating results and the amount of available cash with which we could pay dividends, if declared.
We operate our vessels in markets that have historically exhibited seasonal variations in demand and, as a result, in charter hire rates. This seasonality may result in quarter-to-quarter volatility in our operating results which could affect the amount of dividends, if any, that we may pay to our stockholders from quarter to quarter. The dry bulk carrier market is typically stronger in the fall and winter months in anticipation of increased consumption of coal and other raw materials in the northern hemisphere during the winter months. In addition, unpredictable weather patterns in these months tend to disrupt vessel scheduling and supplies of certain commodities. As a result, our revenues have historically been weaker during the fiscal quarters ended June 30 and September 30, and, conversely, our revenues have historically been stronger in fiscal quarters ended December 31 and March 31. While this seasonality has not materially affected our operating results and cash available for distribution to our stockholders as dividends, it could materially affect our operating results in the future.
Fuel, or bunker prices, may adversely affect profits.
While we generally do not bear the cost of fuel, or bunkers, under our time charters, fuel is a significant, if not the largest, expense in our shipping operations when vessels are under voyage charter. Changes in the price of fuel may adversely affect our profitability. The price and supply of fuel is unpredictable and fluctuates based on events outside our control, including geopolitical developments, supply and demand for oil and gas, actions by OPEC and other oil and gas producers, war and unrest in oil producing countries and regions, regional production patterns and environmental concerns. Further, fuel may become much more expensive in the future, which may reduce the profitability and competitiveness of our business versus other forms of transportation, such as truck or rail.
We are subject to complex laws and regulations, including environmental regulations that can adversely affect the cost, manner or feasibility of doing business.
Our operations are subject to numerous laws and regulations in the form of international conventions and treaties, national, state and local laws and national and international regulations in force in the jurisdictions in which our vessels operate or are registered, which can significantly affect the ownership and operation of our vessels. These requirements include, but are not limited to, the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage of 1969, the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships of 1975, the International Maritime Organization, or IMO, International Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution of 1973, the IMO International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea of 1974, the International Convention on Load Lines of 1966, the U.S. Oil Pollution Act of 1990, or OPA, the U.S. Clean Air Act, U.S. Clean Water Act and the U.S. Marine Transportation Security Act of 2002. Compliance with such laws, regulations and standards, where applicable, may require installation of costly equipment or operational changes and may affect the resale value or useful lives of our vessels. We may also incur additional costs in order to comply with other existing and future regulatory obligations, including, but not limited to, costs relating to air emissions including greenhouse gases, the management of ballast waters, maintenance and inspection, elimination of tin-based paint, development and implementation of emergency procedures and insurance coverage or other financial assurance of our ability to address pollution incidents. These costs could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition. A failure to comply with applicable laws and regulations may result in administrative and civil penalties, criminal sanctions or the suspension or termination of our operations. Environmental laws often impose strict liability for remediation of spills and releases of oil and hazardous substances, which could subject us to liability without regard to whether we were negligent or at fault. Under OPA, for example, owners, operators and bareboat charterers are jointly and severally strictly liable for the discharge of oil within the 200-mile exclusive economic zone around the United States. An oil spill could result in significant liability, including fines, penalties and criminal liability and remediation costs for natural resource damages under other federal, state and local laws, as well as third-party damages. We are required to satisfy insurance and financial responsibility requirements for potential oil (including marine fuel) spills and other pollution incidents. Although we have arranged insurance to cover certain environmental risks, there can be no assurance that such insurance will be sufficient to cover all such risks or that any claims will not have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition and our ability to pay dividends.
We are subject to international safety regulations and the failure to comply with these regulations may subject us to increased liability, may adversely affect our insurance coverage and may result in a denial of access to, or detention in, certain ports.
The operation of our vessels is affected by the requirements set forth in the UN's International Maritime Organization's International Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and Pollution Prevention, or the ISM Code. The ISM Code requires shipowners, ship managers and bareboat charterers to develop and maintain an extensive "Safety Management System" that includes the adoption of a safety and environmental protection policy setting forth instructions and procedures for safe operation and describing procedures for dealing with emergencies. The failure of a shipowner or bareboat charterer to comply with the ISM Code may subject it to increased liability, may invalidate existing insurance or decrease available insurance coverage for the affected vessels and may result in a denial of access to, or detention in, certain ports. Each of the vessels that has been delivered to us is ISM Code-certified and we expect that each other vessel that we have agreed to purchase will be ISM Code-certified when delivered to us.
In addition, vessel classification societies also impose significant safety and other requirements on our vessels. In complying with current and future environmental requirements, vessel-owners and operators may also incur significant additional costs in meeting new maintenance and inspection requirements, in developing contingency arrangements for potential spills and in obtaining insurance coverage. Government regulation of vessels, particularly in the areas of safety and environmental requirements, can be expected to become stricter in the future and require us to incur significant capital expenditures on our vessels to keep them in compliance.
The operation of our vessels is also affected by other government regulation in the form of international conventions, national, state and local laws and regulations in force in the jurisdictions in which the vessels operate, as well as in the country or countries of their registration. Because such conventions, laws, and regulations are often revised, we cannot predict the ultimate cost of complying with such conventions, laws and regulations or the impact thereof on the resale prices or useful lives of our vessels. Additional conventions, laws and regulations may be adopted that could limit our ability to do business or increase the cost of our doing business and which may materially adversely affect our operations. We are required by various governmental and quasi-governmental agencies to obtain certain permits, licenses, certificates, and financial assurances with respect to our operations.
Increased inspection procedures and tighter import and export controls could increase costs and disrupt our business.
International shipping is subject to various security and customs inspections and related procedures in countries of origin, destination and trans-shipment points. Inspection procedures may result in the seizure of our vessels, seizure of contents of our vessels, delays in loading, offloading or delivery and the levying of customs duties, fines or other penalties against us.
It is possible that changes to inspection procedures could impose additional financial and legal obligations on us. Changes to inspection procedures could also impose additional costs and obligations on our customers and may, in certain cases, render the shipment of certain types of cargo uneconomical or impractical. Any such changes or developments may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Maritime claimants could arrest one or more of our vessels, which could interrupt our cash flow.
Crew members, suppliers of goods and services to a vessel, shippers of cargo and other parties may be entitled to a maritime lien against a vessel for unsatisfied debts, claims or damages. In many jurisdictions, a claimant may seek to obtain security for its claim by arresting a vessel through foreclosure proceedings. The arrest or attachment of one or more of our vessels could interrupt our cash flow and require us to pay large sums of money to have the arrest or attachment lifted. In addition, in some jurisdictions, such as South Africa, under the "sister ship" theory of liability, a claimant may arrest both the vessel which is subject to the claimant's maritime lien and any "associated" vessel, which is any vessel owned or controlled by the same owner. Claimants could attempt to assert "sister ship" liability against one vessel in our fleet for claims relating to another of our vessels.
Governments could requisition our vessels during a period of war or emergency, resulting in a loss of earnings.
A government could requisition one or more of our vessels for title or for hire. Requisition for title occurs when a government takes control of a vessel and becomes her owner, while requisition for hire occurs when a government takes control of a vessel and effectively becomes her charterer at dictated charter rates. Generally, requisitions occur during periods of war or emergency, although governments may elect to requisition vessels in other circumstances. Although we would be entitled to compensation in the event of a requisition of one or more of our vessels, the amount and timing of payment would be uncertain. Government requisition of one or more of our vessels may negatively impact our revenues and reduce the amount of cash we may have available for distribution as dividends to our stockholders, if any such dividends are declared.
Company Specific Risk Factors
We charter some of our vessels on short-term time charters in a volatile shipping industry and the decline in charter hire rates could affect our results of operations and ability to pay dividends again.
We charter certain of our vessels pursuant to short-term time charters, although we have also entered into long-term time charters ranging in duration from 17 months to 62 months for 13 of the vessels in our fleet and we may in the future employ additional vessels on longer term time charters. Currently, 7 of our vessels are employed on time charters scheduled to expire within the next six months, at which time we expect to enter into new charters for those vessels. Although significant exposure to short-term time charters is not unusual in the dry bulk shipping industry, the short-term time charter market is highly competitive and spot market charter hire rates (which affect time charter rates) may fluctuate significantly based upon available charters and the supply of, and demand for, seaborne shipping capacity. While the short-term time charter market may enable us to benefit in periods of increasing charter hire rates, we must consistently renew our charters and this dependence makes us vulnerable to declining charter rates. As a result of the volatility in the dry bulk carrier charter market, we may not be able to employ our vessels upon the termination of their existing charters at their current charter hire rates. The dry bulk carrier charter market is volatile, and in the recent past, short-term time charter and spot market charter rates for some dry bulk carriers declined below the operating costs of those vessels before rising. We cannot assure you that future charter hire rates will enable us to operate our vessels profitably, or to pay dividends again.
Our earnings, and the amount of dividends if paid in the future, may be adversely affected if we are not able to take advantage of favorable charter rates.
We charter certain of our dry bulk carriers to customers pursuant to short-term time charters that range in duration from 11 to 14 months. However, as part of our business strategy, 13 of our vessels are currently fixed on long-term time charters ranging in duration from 17 months to 62 months. We may extend the charter periods for additional vessels in our fleet, including additional dry bulk carriers or container vessels that we may purchase in the future, to take advantage of the relatively stable cash flow and high utilization rates that are associated with long-term time charters. While we believe that long-term charters provide us with relatively stable cash flows and higher utilization rates than shorter-term charters, our vessels that are committed to long-term charters may not be available for employment on short-term charters during periods of increasing short-term charter hire rates when these charters may be more profitable than long-term charters.
Investment in derivative instruments such as forward freight agreements could result in losses.
From time to time, we may take positions in derivative instruments including forward freight agreements, or FFAs. FFAs and other derivative instruments may be used to hedge a vessel owner's exposure to the charter market by providing for the sale of a contracted charter rate along a specified route and period of time. Upon settlement, if the contracted charter rate is less than the average of the rates, as reported by an identified index, for the specified route and period, the seller of the FFA is required to pay the buyer an amount equal to the difference between the contracted rate and the settlement rate, multiplied by the number of days in the specified period. Conversely, if the contracted rate is greater than the settlement rate, the buyer is required to pay the seller the settlement sum. If we take positions in FFAs or other derivative instruments and do not correctly anticipate charter rate movements over the specified route and time period, we could suffer losses in the settling or termination of the FFA. This could adversely affect our results of operations and cash flows.
Our board of directors has decided to suspend the payment of cash dividends as a result of market conditions in the international shipping industry. We cannot assure you that our board of directors will reinstate dividends in the future, or when such reinstatement might occur.
As a result of market conditions in the international shipping industry and in order to position us to take advantage of market opportunities, our board of directors, beginning with the fourth quarter of 2008, has suspended our common stock dividend. Our dividend policy will be assessed by the board of directors from time to time. We believe that this suspension will enhance our future flexibility by permitting cash flow that would have been devoted to dividends to be used for opportunities that may arise in the current marketplace, such as funding our operations, acquiring vessels or servicing our debt.
Our policy, historically, was to declare quarterly distributions to stockholders by each February, May, August and November substantially equal to our available cash from operations during the previous quarter after accounting for cash expenses and reserves for scheduled drydockings, intermediate and special surveys and other purposes as our board of directors may from time to time determine are required, and after taking into account contingent liabilities, the terms of our credit facilities, our growth strategy and other cash needs and the requirements of Marshall Islands law. The declaration and payment of dividends, if any, will always be subject to the discretion of our board of directors. The timing and amount of any dividends declared will depend on, among other things, our earnings, financial condition and cash requirements and availability, our ability to obtain debt and equity financing on acceptable terms as contemplated by our growth strategy and provisions of Marshall Islands law affecting the payment of dividends. In addition, other external factors, such as our lenders imposing restrictions on our ability to pay dividends under the terms of our credit facilities, may limit our ability to pay dividends. Further, we may not be permitted to pay dividends if we are in breach of the covenants contained in our loan agreements.
Our growth strategy contemplates that we will finance the acquisition of additional vessels through a combination of debt and equity financing on terms acceptable to us. If financing is not available to us on acceptable terms, our board of directors may determine to finance or refinance acquisitions with cash from operations, which could also reduce or even eliminate the amount of cash available for the payment of dividends.
Marshall Islands law generally prohibits the payment of dividends other than from surplus (retained earnings and the excess of consideration received for the sale of shares above the par value of the shares) or while a company is insolvent or would be rendered insolvent by the payment of such a dividend. We may not have sufficient surplus in the future to pay dividends. We can give no assurance that we will reinstate our dividends in the future or when such reinstatement might occur.
We may have difficulty effectively managing our planned growth, which may adversely affect our earnings.
Since the completion of our initial public offering in March 2005, we have taken delivery of six Panamax dry bulk carriers and eight Capesize dry bulk carriers, and sold one of our Capesize dry bulk carriers. The addition of these vessels to our fleet has resulted in a significant increase in the size of our fleet and imposes significant additional responsibilities on our management and staff. While we expect our fleet to grow further, this may require us to increase the number of our personnel. We will also have to increase our customer base to provide continued employment for the new vessels.
Our future growth will primarily depend on our ability to:
Growing any business by acquisition presents numerous risks, such as undisclosed liabilities and obligations, the possibility that indemnification agreements will be unenforceable or insufficient to cover potential losses and difficulties associated with imposing common standards, controls, procedures and policies, obtaining additional qualified personnel, managing relationships with customers and integrating newly acquired assets and operations into existing infrastructure. We cannot give any assurance that we will be successful in executing our growth plans or that we will not incur significant expenses and losses in connection with our future growth.
We cannot assure you that we will be able to borrow amounts under our credit facilities and restrictive covenants in our credit facilities may impose financial and other restrictions on us.
We entered into a $230.0 million secured revolving credit facility with The Royal Bank of Scotland Plc in February 2005, amended in May 2006 to increase the facility amount to $300.0 million. In October 2009, we entered into loan agreements with Deutsche Bank AG and Bremer Landesbank for a loan of $40 million, each, which we used to finance part of the construction cost of our Capesize dry bulk carriers, New York delivered in March 2010 and Houston delivered in October 2009, respectively. As of December 31, 2009, we had $282.3 million outstanding under our facilities. We have used and intend to use our revolving credit facility with The Royal Bank of Scotland Plc in the future to finance future vessel acquisitions and our working capital requirements. Our ability to borrow amounts under our credit facility is subject to the execution of customary documentation relating to the facility, including security documents, satisfaction of certain customary conditions precedent and compliance with terms and conditions included in the loan documents. Prior to each drawdown, we are required, among other things, to provide the lender with acceptable valuations of the vessels in our fleet confirming that the vessels in our fleet have a minimum value and that the vessels in our fleet that secure our obligations under the facilities are sufficient to satisfy minimum security requirements. To the extent that we are not able to satisfy these requirements, including as a result of a decline in the value of our vessels, we may not be able to draw down the full amount under the credit facilities without obtaining a waiver or consent from the lender. We will also not be permitted to borrow amounts under the facilities if we experience a change of control.
The credit facilities also impose operating and financial restrictions on us. These restrictions may limit our ability to, among other things:
Therefore, we may need to seek permission from our lenders in order to engage in some corporate actions. Our lenders' interests may be different from ours and we cannot guarantee that we will be able to obtain our lenders' permission when needed. This may limit our ability to pay any dividends to you, finance our future operations, make acquisitions or pursue business opportunities.
We cannot assure you that we will be able to refinance indebtedness incurred under our credit facilities.
We cannot assure you that we will be able to refinance indebtedness with equity offerings on terms that are acceptable to us or at all. If we are not able to refinance these amounts with the net proceeds of equity offerings on terms acceptable to us or at all, we will have to dedicate a greater portion of our cash flow from operations to pay the principal and interest of this indebtedness than if we were able to refinance such amounts. If we are not able to satisfy these obligations, we may have to undertake alternative financing plans. The actual or perceived credit quality of our charterers, any defaults by them, and the market value of our fleet, among other things, may materially affect our ability to obtain alternative financing. In addition, debt service payments under our credit facilities or alternative financing may limit funds otherwise available for working capital, capital expenditures and other purposes. If we are unable to meet our debt obligations, or if we otherwise default under our credit facilities or an alternative financing arrangement, our lenders could declare the debt, together with accrued interest and fees, to be immediately due and payable and foreclose on our fleet, which could result in the acceleration of other indebtedness that we may have at such time and the commencement of similar foreclosure proceedings by other lenders.
Purchasing and operating secondhand vessels may result in increased operating costs and reduced fleet utilization.
While we have the right to inspect previously owned vessels prior to our purchase of them and we usually inspect secondhand vessels that we acquire, such inspections do not provide us with the same knowledge about their condition that we would have if these vessels had been built for, and operated exclusively by, us. A secondhand vessel may have conditions or defects that we were not aware of when we bought the vessel and which may require us to incur costly repairs to the vessel. These repairs may require us to put a vessel into drydock which would reduce our fleet utilization. Furthermore, we usually do not receive the benefit of warranties on secondhand vessels.
We are subject to certain risks with respect to our counterparties on contracts, and failure of such counterparties to meet their obligations could cause us to suffer losses or otherwise adversely affect our business.
We enter into, among other things, charter parties with our customers. Such agreements subject us to counterparty risks. The ability of each of our counterparties to perform its obligations under a contract with us will depend on a number of factors that are beyond our control and may include, among other things, general economic conditions, the condition of the maritime and offshore industries, the overall financial condition of the counterparty, charter rates received for specific types of vessels, and various expenses. In addition, in depressed market conditions, our charterers may no longer need a vessel that is currently under charter or may be able to obtain a comparable vessel at lower rates. As a result, charterers may seek to renegotiate the terms of their existing charter parties or avoid their obligations under those contracts. Should a counterparty fail to honor its obligations under agreements with us, we could sustain significant losses, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
In the highly competitive international shipping industry, we may not be able to compete for charters with new entrants or established companies with greater resources.
We employ our vessels in a highly competitive market that is capital intensive and highly fragmented. Competition arises primarily from other vessel owners, some of whom have substantially greater resources than we do. Competition for the transportation of dry bulk cargo by sea is intense and depends on price, location, size, age, condition and the acceptability of the vessel and its operators to the charterers. Due in part to the highly fragmented market, competitors with greater resources could enter the dry bulk shipping industry and operate larger fleets through consolidations or acquisitions and may be able to offer lower charter rates and higher quality vessels than we are able to offer.
We may be unable to attract and retain key management personnel and other employees in the shipping industry, which may negatively impact the effectiveness of our management and results of operations.
Our success depends to a significant extent upon the abilities and efforts of our management team. We have entered into employment contracts with our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Simeon Palios; our President, Mr. Anastasios Margaronis; our Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Andreas Michalopoulos; and our Executive Vice President, Mr. Ioannis Zafirakis. Our success will depend upon our ability to retain key members of our management team and to hire new members as may be necessary. The loss of any of these individuals could adversely affect our business prospects and financial condition. Difficulty in hiring and retaining replacement personnel could have a similar effect. We do not currently, nor do we intend to, maintain "key man" life insurance on any of our officers or other members of our management team.
Risks associated with operating ocean-going vessels could affect our business and reputation, which could adversely affect our revenues and stock price.
The operation of ocean-going vessels carries inherent risks. These risks include the possibility of:
Any of these circumstances or events could increase our costs or lower our revenues. The involvement of our vessels in an oil spill or other environmental disaster may harm our reputation as a safe and reliable vessel owner and operator.
The shipping industry has inherent operational risks that may not be adequately covered by our insurance.
We procure insurance for our fleet against risks commonly insured against by vessel owners and operators. Our current insurance includes hull and machinery insurance, war risks insurance and protection and indemnity insurance (which includes environmental damage and pollution insurance). We can give no assurance that we are adequately insured against all risks or that our insurers will pay a particular claim. Even if our insurance coverage is adequate to cover our losses, we may not be able to timely obtain a replacement vessel in the event of a loss. Furthermore, in the future, we may not be able to obtain adequate insurance coverage at reasonable rates for our fleet. We may also be subject to calls, or premiums, in amounts based not only on our own claim records but also the claim records of all other members of the protection and indemnity associations through which we receive indemnity insurance coverage for tort liability. Our insurance policies also contain deductibles, limitations and exclusions which, although we believe are standard in the shipping industry, may nevertheless increase our costs.
Our vessels may suffer damage and we may face unexpected drydocking costs, which could adversely affect our cash flow and financial condition.
If our vessels suffer damage, they may need to be repaired at a drydocking facility. The costs of drydock repairs are unpredictable and can be substantial. The loss of earnings while a vessel is being repaired and repositioned, as well as the actual cost of these repairs not covered by our insurance, would decrease our earnings and cash available for dividends, if declared. We may not have insurance that is sufficient to cover all or any of the costs or losses for damages to our vessels and may have to pay drydocking costs not covered by our insurance.
The aging of our fleet may result in increased operating costs in the future, which could adversely affect our earnings.
In general, the cost of maintaining a vessel in good operating condition increases with the age of the vessel. Currently, our fleet consists of 14 Panamax dry bulk carriers and 8 Capesize dry bulk carriers having a combined carrying capacity of 2.4 million dead weight tons (dwt) and a weighted average age of 4.8 years. As our fleet ages, we will incur increased costs. Older vessels are typically less fuel efficient and more costly to maintain than more recently constructed vessels due to improvements in engine technology. Cargo insurance rates increase with the age of a vessel, making older vessels less desirable to charterers. Governmental regulations and safety or other equipment standards related to the age of vessels may also require expenditures for alterations or the addition of new equipment to our vessels and may restrict the type of activities in which our vessels may engage. We cannot assure you that, as our vessels age, market conditions will justify those expenditures or enable us to operate our vessels profitably during the remainder of their useful lives.
We are exposed to U.S. dollar and foreign currency fluctuations and devaluations that could harm our reported revenue and results of operations.
We generate all of our revenues in U.S. dollars but currently incur over half of our operating expenses and the majority of our general and administrative expenses in currencies other than the U.S. dollar, primarily the Euro. Because a significant portion of our expenses is incurred in currencies other than the U.S. dollar, our expenses may from time to time increase relative to our revenues as a result of fluctuations in exchange rates, particularly between the U.S. dollar and the Euro, which could affect the amount of net income that we report in future periods. While we historically have not mitigated the risk associated with exchange rate fluctuations through the use of financial derivatives, we may employ such instruments from time to time in the future in order to minimize this risk. Our use of financial derivatives would involve certain risks, including the risk that losses on a hedged position could exceed the nominal amount invested in the instrument and the risk that the counterparty to the derivative transaction may be unable or unwilling to satisfy its contractual obligations, which could have an adverse effect on our results.
Volatility in LIBOR could affect our profitability, earnings and cash flow.
LIBOR may be volatile, with the spread between LIBOR and the prime lending rate widening significantly at times. These conditions are the result of disruptions in the international markets. Because the interest rates borne by our outstanding indebtedness fluctuate with changes in LIBOR, it would affect the amount of interest payable on our debt, which, in turn, could have an adverse effect on our profitability, earnings and cash flow.
We depend upon a few significant customers for a large part of our revenues and the loss of one or more of these customers could adversely affect our financial performance.
We have historically derived a significant part of our revenues from a small number of charterers. During 2009, approximately 69% of our revenues derived from 4 charterers. During 2008, approximately 31% of our revenues derived from 2 charterers. During 2007, approximately 49% of our revenues derived from 3 charterers. If one or more of our charterers chooses not to charter our vessels or is unable to perform under one or more charters with us and we are not able to find a replacement charter, we could suffer a loss of revenues that could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
We are a holding company, and we depend on the ability of our subsidiaries to distribute funds to us in order to satisfy our financial obligations.
We are a holding company and our subsidiaries conduct all of our operations and own all of our operating assets. We have no significant assets other than the equity interests in our subsidiaries. As a result, our ability to satisfy our financial obligations depends on our subsidiaries and their ability to distribute funds to us. If we are unable to obtain funds from our subsidiaries, we may not be able to satisfy our financial obligations.
As we expand our business, we may need to improve our operating and financial systems and will need to recruit suitable employees and crew for our vessels.
Our current operating and financial systems may not be adequate as we expand the size of our fleet and our attempts to improve those systems may be ineffective. In addition, as we expand our fleet, we will need to recruit suitable additional seafarers and shoreside administrative and management personnel. While we have not experienced any difficulty in recruiting to date, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to continue to hire suitable employees as we expand our fleet. If we or our crewing agent encounter business or financial difficulties, we may not be able to adequately staff our vessels. If we are unable to grow our financial and operating systems or to recruit suitable employees as we expand our fleet, our financial performance may be adversely affected, among other things.
We may have to pay tax on U.S. source income, which would reduce our earnings>.
Under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code of 1986, or the Code, 50% of the gross shipping income of a vessel-owning or -chartering corporation, such as ourselves and our subsidiaries, that is attributable to transportation that begins or ends, but that does not both begin and end, in the United States is characterized as U.S. source shipping income and such income is subject to a 4% U.S. federal income tax without allowance for deductions, unless that corporation qualifies for exemption from tax under Section 883 of the Code and the Treasury Regulations.
We expect that we and each of our subsidiaries qualify for this statutory tax exemption for the 2009 taxable year and we will take this position for U.S. federal income tax return reporting purposes. However, there are factual circumstances beyond our control that could cause us to lose the benefit of this tax exemption in future years and thereby become subject to U.S. federal income tax on our U.S. source income. For example, at December 31, 2009, our 5% shareholders owned approximately 17.92% of our outstanding stock. There is a risk that we could no longer qualify for exemption under Code section 883 for a particular taxable year if other shareholders with a five percent or greater interest in our stock were, in combination with our existing 5% shareholders, to own 50% or more of our outstanding shares of our stock on more than half the days during the taxable year. Due to the factual nature of the issues involved, we can give no assurances on our tax-exempt status or that of any of our subsidiaries.
If we or our subsidiaries are not entitled to this exemption under Section 883 for any taxable year, we or our subsidiaries would be subject for those years to a 4% U.S. federal income tax on our U.S.-source shipping income. The imposition of this taxation could have a negative effect on our business and would result in decreased earnings available for distribution to our stockholders. For the 2009 taxable year, we estimate that our maximum U.S. federal income tax liability would be immaterial if we were to be subject to this taxation. Please see the section of this annual report entitled "Taxation" under Item 10E for a more comprehensive discussion of the U.S. federal income tax consequences.
U.S. tax authorities could treat us as a "passive foreign investment company", which could have adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences to U.S. holders.
A foreign corporation will be treated as a "passive foreign investment company," or PFIC, for U.S. federal income tax purposes if either (1) at least 75% of its gross income for any taxable year consists of certain types of "passive income" or (2) at least 50% of the average value of the corporation's assets produce or are held for the production of those types of "passive income." For purposes of these tests, "passive income" includes dividends, interest, and gains from the sale or exchange of investment property and rents and royalties other than rents and royalties which are received from unrelated parties in connection with the active conduct of a trade or business. For purposes of these tests, income derived from the performance of services does not constitute "passive income." U.S. stockholders of a PFIC are subject to a disadvantageous U.S. federal income tax regime with respect to the income derived by the PFIC, the distributions they receive from the PFIC and the gain, if any, they derive from the sale or other disposition of their shares in the PFIC.
Based on our current and proposed method of operation, we do not believe that we will be a PFIC with respect to any taxable year. In this regard, we intend to treat the gross income we derive or are deemed to derive from our time chartering activities as services income, rather than rental income. Accordingly, we believe that our income from our time chartering activities does not constitute "passive income," and the assets that we own and operate in connection with the production of that income do not constitute passive assets.
There is substantial legal authority supporting this position consisting of case law and U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or IRS, pronouncements concerning the characterization of income derived from time charters and voyage charters as services income for other tax purposes. However, it should be noted that there is also authority which characterizes time charter income as rental income rather than services income for other tax purposes. Accordingly, no assurance can be given that the IRS or a court of law will accept this position, and there is a risk that the IRS or a court of law could determine that we are a PFIC. Moreover, no assurance can be given that we would not constitute a PFIC for any future taxable year if the nature and extent of our operations changed.
If the IRS were to find that we are or have been a PFIC for any taxable year, our U.S. stockholders will face adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences. Under the PFIC rules, unless those stockholders make an election available under the Code (which election could itself have adverse consequences for such stockholders), such stockholders would be liable to pay U.S. federal income tax at the then prevailing income tax rates on ordinary income plus interest upon excess distributions and upon any gain from the disposition of our common stock, as if the excess distribution or gain had been recognized ratably over the stockholder's holding period of our common stock. Please see the section of this annual report entitled "Taxation" under Item 10E for a more comprehensive discussion of the U.S. federal income tax consequences if we were to be treated as a PFIC.
Risks Relating to Our Common Stock
There is no guarantee that there will continue to be an active and liquid public market for you to resell our common stock in the future.
The price of our common stock may be volatile and may fluctuate due to factors such as:
The dry bulk shipping industry has been highly unpredictable and volatile. The market for common stock in this industry may be equally volatile.
We are incorporated in the Marshall Islands, which does not have a well-developed body of corporate law.
Our corporate affairs are governed by our amended and restated articles of incorporation and bylaws and by the Marshall Islands Business Corporations Act, or the BCA. The provisions of the BCA resemble provisions of the corporation laws of a number of states in the United States. However, there have been few judicial cases in the Marshall Islands interpreting the BCA. The rights and fiduciary responsibilities of directors under the laws of the Marshall Islands are not as clearly established as the rights and fiduciary responsibilities of directors under statutes or judicial precedent in existence in the United States. The rights of stockholders of the Marshall Islands may differ from the rights of stockholders of companies incorporated in the United States. While the BCA provides that it is to be interpreted according to the laws of the State of Delaware and other states with substantially similar legislative provisions, there have been few, if any, court cases interpreting the BCA in the Marshall Islands and we cannot predict whether Marshall Islands courts would reach the same conclusions as United States courts. Thus, you may have more difficulty in protecting your interests in the face of actions by the management, directors or controlling stockholders than would stockholders of a corporation incorporated in a United States jurisdiction which has developed a relatively more substantial body of case law.
Certain existing stockholders will be able to exert considerable control over matters on which our stockholders are entitled to vote.
As of the date of this report Mr. Simeon Palios, our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, beneficially owns 14,744,597 shares, or approximately 17.99% of our outstanding common stock, the vast majority of which is held indirectly through entities over which he exercises sole voting power. Please see Item 7.A. "Major Stockholders." While Mr. Palios and the non-voting shareholders of these entities have no agreement, arrangement or understanding relating to the voting of their shares of our common stock, they are able to influence the outcome of matters on which our stockholders are entitled to vote, including the election of directors and other significant corporate actions. The interests of these stockholders may be different from your interests.
Future sales of our common stock could cause the market price of our common stock to decline.
Sales of a substantial number of shares of our common stock in the public market, or the perception that these sales could occur, may depress the market price for our common stock. These sales could also impair our ability to raise additional capital through the sale of our equity securities in the future.
Our amended and restated articles of incorporation authorize us to issue up to 200,000,000 shares of common stock, of which as of December 31, 2009, 81,431,696 shares were outstanding. The number of shares of common stock available for sale in the public market is limited by restrictions applicable under securities laws and agreements that we and our executive officers, directors and principal stockholders have entered into.
Anti-takeover provisions in our organizational documents could make it difficult for our stockholders to replace or remove our current board of directors or have the effect of discouraging, delaying or preventing a merger or acquisition, which could adversely affect the market price of our common stock.
Several provisions of our amended and restated articles of incorporation and bylaws could make it difficult for our stockholders to change the composition of our board of directors in any one year, preventing them from changing the composition of management. In addition, the same provisions may discourage, delay or prevent a merger or acquisition that stockholders may consider favorable.
These provisions include:
In addition, we have adopted a stockholder rights plan pursuant to which our board of directors may cause the substantial dilution of any person that attempts to acquire us without the approval of our board of directors.
These anti-takeover provisions, including provisions of our stockholder rights plan, could substantially impede the ability of public stockholders to benefit from a change in control and, as a result, may adversely affect the market price of our common stock and your ability to realize any potential change of control premium.
Item 4. Information on the Company
Diana Shipping Inc. is a holding company incorporated under the laws of Liberia in March 1999 as Diana Shipping Investments Corp. In February 2005, the Company's articles of incorporation were amended. Under the amended articles of incorporation, the Company was renamed Diana Shipping Inc. and was redomiciled from the Republic of Liberia to the Marshall Islands. Our executive offices are located at Pendelis 16, 175 64 Palaio Faliro, Athens, Greece. Our telephone number at this address is +30-210-947-0100. Our agent and authorized representative in the United States is our wholly-owned subsidiary, Bulk Carriers (USA) LLC, established in September 2006, in the State of Delaware, which is located at 2711 Centerville Road, Suite 400, Wilmington, Delaware 19808.
Business Development and Capital Expenditures and Divestitures
In February 2007, we entered into a memorandum of agreement to acquire one newly built Capesize dry bulk carrier, the Semirio that was under construction at the Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., in China, for the price of $98.0 million. We paid a 20% advance, amounting to $19.6 million, on signing of the agreement and the balance of the purchase price of $78.4 million was paid on the delivery of the vessel to us in June 2007. We financed $92.0 million of the purchase price with proceeds from our revolving credit facility with the Royal Bank of Scotland and the remaining balance with cash on hand.
In February 2007, we entered into a memorandum of agreement to sell the Pantelis SP for the price of $81.0 million less 2.5% commission. On signing of the agreement, the buyers of the vessels paid a 10% advance of the purchase price, amounting to $8.1 million, which was released to us together with the balance of the purchase price on delivery of the vessel to its new buyers in July 2007. We used the proceeds from the sale of the Pantelis SP to repay $90.0 million of the then outstanding debt with the Royal Bank of Scotland amounting to $109.0 million.
In March 2007, we entered into a memorandum of agreement to acquire one secondhand Capesize dry bulk carrier, the Aliki, for the price of $110.0 million. We paid a 10% advance, amounting to $11.0 million, on signing of the agreement with cash on hand. The balance of the purchase price, amounting to $99.0 million, was paid on the delivery of the vessel to us in April 2007 and was partly funded with an $87.0 million loan drawn under our revolving credit facility with the Royal Bank of Scotland.
In April 2007, we completed a public offering of an aggregate of 9,825,500 shares of our common stock at a price of $17.00 per share, resulting in net proceeds to us of $159.3 million. In the same offering, certain of our shareholders sold an additional 2,250,000 shares of our common stock, for which we did not receive any proceeds. As described below, we used a portion of the net proceeds of this offering to repay outstanding indebtedness and we used the balance to fund a portion of the acquisition costs of the vessels Semirio and Aliki.
In April 2007, we drew down an amount of $22.0 million under our revolving credit facility to fund part of the advances paid for the vessels Semirio and Aliki. During the same month, we repaid in full the then outstanding balance under our revolving credit facility with the Royal Bank of Scotland, amounting to $136.6 million plus interest and costs, partly with the proceeds of our public offering that was completed in the same month.
In April 2007, we entered into a memorandum of agreement to acquire one newly built Capesize dry bulk carrier, the Boston, for the purchase price of $110.0 million. On signing of the agreement, we paid a 20% advance, amounting to $22.0 million, with available cash on hand and, in May 2007, we drew down an amount of $22.0 million under our revolving credit facility to finance the advance. We paid the balance of the purchase price of $88.0 million on the vessel's delivery to us in November 2007, with the proceeds from our September 2007 public offering, discussed below.
In September 2007, we completed a public offering of an aggregate of 11,500,000 shares of common stock at a price of $25.00 per share, resulting in net proceeds to us of $273.7 million. We used a portion of the net proceeds of this offering to repay the $100.8 million outstanding under our revolving credit facility with the Royal Bank of Scotland, plus interest and costs. We also used a portion of the proceeds of this offering to fund a portion of the purchase price of the Boston.
In October 2007, we entered into a Memorandum of Agreement to acquire one secondhand Capesize dry bulk carrier, the Salt Lake City, for a total consideration of $140.0 million. On signing of the agreement, we paid 20% of the respective purchase price amounting to $28.0 million. The balance of the purchase price was paid on the delivery of the vessel to us in December 2007. In December 2007, we drew down an amount of $75.0 million under our revolving credit facility with the Royal Bank of Scotland to finance part of the purchase price of the Salt Lake City.
In October 2007, we entered into a Memorandum of Agreement to acquire one secondhand Capesize dry bulk carrier, the Norfolk, for a total consideration of $135.0 million. On signing of the agreement, we paid 20% of the purchase price amounting to $27.0 million. The balance of the purchase price was paid on the delivery of the vessel to us in February 2008.
During 2008, we drew down an aggregate amount of $237.2 million under our revolving $300 million credit facility with the Royal Bank of Scotland and repaid an aggregate amount of $97.5 million. On December 31, 2008 an amount of $214.7 million was outstanding under the revolving credit facility, which was used to fund part of the purchase cost of the Salt Lake City and the Norfolk.
On April 13, 2009, we entered into agreements with the shipbuilders, Shanghai Jiangnan-Changxing Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., and Gala Properties Inc. ("Gala"), a related party controlled by the two daughters of our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer under which we:
In April 2009, we entered into a supplemental loan agreement with Fortis Bank to amend and restate the existing loan agreement, so as to include Gala, as a borrower. Pursuant to the supplemental loan agreement and the amended and restated loan agreement, the bank consented to (i) the termination of the Eniwetok Contract; (ii) the amendment of the purpose of the loan facility made available under the principal agreement such that its purpose includes the financing of part of the construction and acquisition cost of the Houston; and (iii) certain amendments to the terms of the principal agreement and the corporate guarantee. Under the amended and restated agreement, the bank also agreed to reduce the shareholding required to be beneficially owned by the Palios' and Margaronis' families from 20% to 10%.
In 2009, we drew down an aggregate amount of $ 30,100 under the loan facility with Fortis Bank to finance part of the first and the second instalment of the construction cost of the Houston, and the second and third instalment of the construction cost of the New York. After delivery of the Houston, in October 2009, the Company repaid $30.1 million of the outstanding loan and drew down $40.0 million under our loan facility with Bremer Landesbank.
In May 2009, we completed a secondary public offering in the United States under the Securities Act, of 6,000,000 shares of common stock at a price of $16.85 per share from which we received $98.4 million of net proceeds.
In December 2009, we, through our wholly owned subsidiary Taka Shipping Company Inc. ("Taka"), entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with an unrelated third party to acquire the 76,436 dwt Panamax dry bulk carrier "Melite" (built 2004) for a total consideration of $35.1 million of which a 10% advance or $3.5 million was paid in December 2009 and the balance of $31.6 million was paid in January 2010 when the vessel was delivered. The acquisition cost of the vessel was funded with funds drawn under our revolving credit facility with the Royal Bank of Scotland.
In January 2010, we established our wholly-owned subsidiary Diana Containerships Inc., or DCI, with the purpose of acquiring containerships.
In March 2010, we took delivery of the New York and repaid $30.1 million under our loan agreement with Fortis Bank and therefore, our loan with Fortis Bank was terminated. We financed $40.0 million of the acquisition cost of the New York with funds drawn under our facility with Deutsche Bank AG.
We are a global provider of shipping transportation services. We specialize in transporting dry bulk cargoes, including such commodities as iron ore, coal, grain and other materials along worldwide shipping routes. Currently, our fleet consists of 22 dry bulk carriers, of which 14 are Panamax and 8 are Capesize dry bulk carriers, having a combined carrying capacity of approximately 2.4 million dwt.
As of December 31, 2009, our fleet consisted of 13 modern Panamax dry bulk carriers and 7 Capesize dry bulk carriers that had a combined carrying capacity of approximately 2.2 million dwt and a weighted average age of 4.9 years. As of December 31, 2008, our fleet consisted of 13 modern Panamax dry bulk carriers and 6 Capesize dry bulk carriers that had a combined carrying capacity of approximately 2.0 million dwt and a weighted average age of 4.3 years. As of December 31, 2007, our fleet consisted of 13 modern Panamax dry bulk carriers and 5 Capesize dry bulk carriers that had a combined carrying capacity of approximately 1.8 million dwt and a weighted average age of 3.4.
During 2009, 2008 and 2007, we had a fleet utilization of 98.9%, 99.6% and 99.3%, respectively, our vessels achieved daily time charter equivalent rates of $32,811, $46,777 and $31,272, respectively, and we generated revenues of $239.3 million, $337.4 million and $190.5 million, respectively.
The following table presents certain information concerning the dry bulk carriers in our fleet, as of March 29, 2010.
* Each dry bulk carrier is a "sister ship", or closely similar, to other dry bulk carriers that have the same letter
** Total Commission percentage paid to third parties
*** Charterers' optional period to redeliver the vessel to owners. Charterers have the right to add the off hire days, if any, and therefore the optional period may be extended.
1 The charterer has the option to employ the vessel for a further 11-13 month period. The optional period, if exercised, must be declared on or before the end of the 42nd month of employment and can only commence at the end of the 48th month, at the daily time charter rate of $52,000
2 The charterer has the option to employ the vessel for a further 11-13 month period. The optional period, if exercised, must be declared on or before the end of the 42nd month of employment, which started on May 1, 2007, and can only commence at the end of the 48th month, at the daily time charter rate of $48,500
3 The charterer has the option to employ the vessel for a further 11-13 month period. The optional period, if exercised, must be declared on or before the end of the 42nd month of employment, which started on November 30, 2006, and can only commence at the end of the 48th month, at the daily time charter rate of $48,500
4 The charterer has the option to employ the vessel for a further 11-13 month period. The optional period, if exercised, must be declared on or before the end of the 42nd month of employment, which started on June 15, 2007, and can only commence at the end of the 48th month, at the daily time charter rate of $48,500
5 A guaranteed nominee of the Jiangsu Shagang Shipping Group Co.
6 A guaranteed nominee of Augustea Atlantica Srl, Naples
7 Based on latest information received by charterers
8 Vessel drydocked from January 23, 2010 to February 1, 2010
9 Vessel drydocked from January 27, 2010 to February 12, 2010
10 The charterer has agreed to pay a gross rate of $37,500 per day for the excess period commencing March 27, 2010
11 Estimated date
Each of our vessels is owned through a separate wholly-owned subsidiary.
Our vessels operate worldwide within the trading limits imposed by our insurance terms and do not operate in areas where sanctions of the United States, the European Union or the United Nations have been imposed.
Management of Our Fleet
The commercial and technical management of our fleet is carried out by our wholly-owned subsidiary, Diana Shipping Services S.A., which we refer to as DSS, or our fleet manager. In exchange for providing us with commercial and technical services, personnel and office space, we pay our fleet manager a commission that is equal to 2% of our revenues and a fixed management fee of $15,000 per month for each vessel in our operating fleet. These amounts are considered inter-company transactions and, therefore, are eliminated from our consolidated financial statements.
Our customers include national, regional and international companies, such as China National Chartering Corp., Cargill International S.A., Australian Wheat Board (AWB), BHP Billiton and Bocimar N.V. Antwerp. During 2009, 4 of our charterers accounted for 69% of our revenues; Cargill International S.A., (23%) and BHP Billiton (21%), Hanjin Shipping Company Ltd. (14%) and Corus UK Limited (11%). During 2008, 2 of our charterers accounted for 31% of our revenues; Cargill International S.A., (16%) and BHP Billiton (15%). During 2007, 3 of our customers accounted for 49% of our revenues; Australian Wheat Board (11%), BHP Billiton (15%) and Cargill International S.A., (23%).
We charter our dry bulk carriers to customers primarily pursuant to time charters. Under our time charters, the charterer typically pays us a fixed daily charter hire rate and bears all voyage expenses, including the cost of bunkers (fuel oil) and canal and port charges. We remain responsible for paying the chartered vessel's operating expenses, including the cost of crewing, insuring, repairing and maintaining the vessel. We have historically paid commissions that have ranged from 0% to 6.25% of the total daily charter hire rate of each charter to unaffiliated ship brokers and to in-house brokers associated with the charterer, depending on the number of brokers involved with arranging the charter.
We strategically monitor developments in the dry bulk shipping industry on a regular basis and, subject to market demand, seek to adjust the charter hire periods for our vessels according to prevailing market conditions. In order to take advantage of the relatively stable cash flow and high utilization rates associated with long-term time charters along with the historically high charter hire rates for Panamax and Capesize vessels we had during 2009, we fixed 13 of our vessels on long-term time charters ranging in duration from 17 months to 62 months. Those of our vessels on short-term time charters provide us with flexibility in responding to market developments. We will continue to evaluate our balance of short- and long-term charters and may extend or reduce the charter hire periods of the vessels in our fleet according to the developments in the dry bulk shipping industry.
The Dry Bulk Shipping Industry
The global dry bulk carrier fleet could be divided into six categories based on a vessel's carrying capacity. These categories consist of:
The supply of dry bulk carriers is dependent on the delivery of new vessels and the removal of vessels from the global fleet, either through scrapping or loss. The level of scrapping activity is generally a function of scrapping prices in relation to current and prospective charter market conditions, as well as operating, repair and survey costs. The average age at which a vessel is scrapped over the last five years has been 31 years.
The demand for dry bulk carrier capacity is determined by the underlying demand for commodities transported in dry bulk carriers, which in turn is influenced by trends in the global economy. Demand for dry bulk carrier capacity is also affected by the operating efficiency of the global fleet, along with port congestion, which has been a feature of the market since 2004, absorbing tonnage and therefore leading to a tighter balance between supply and demand. In evaluating demand factors for dry bulk carrier capacity, the Company believes that dry bulk carriers can be the most versatile element of the global shipping fleets in terms of employment alternatives.
Charter Hire Rates
Charter hire rates fluctuate by varying degrees among dry bulk carrier size categories. The volume and pattern of trade in a small number of commodities (major bulks) affect demand for larger vessels. Therefore, charter rates and vessel values of larger vessels often show greater volatility. Conversely, trade in a greater number of commodities (minor bulks) drives demand for smaller dry bulk carriers. Accordingly, charter rates and vessel values for those vessels are usually subject to less volatility.
Charter hire rates paid for dry bulk carriers are primarily a function of the underlying balance between vessel supply and demand, although at times other factors may play a role. Furthermore, the pattern seen in charter rates is broadly mirrored across the different charter types and the different dry bulk carrier categories. In the time charter market, rates vary depending on the length of the charter period and vessel-specific factors such as age, speed and fuel consumption.
In the voyage charter market, rates are, among other things, influenced by cargo size, commodity, port dues and canal transit fees, as well as commencement and termination regions. In general, a larger cargo size is quoted at a lower rate per ton than a smaller cargo size. Routes with costly ports or canals generally command higher rates than routes with low port dues and no canals to transit. Voyages with a load port within a region that includes ports where vessels usually discharge cargo or a discharge port within a region with ports where vessels load cargo also are generally quoted at lower rates, because such voyages generally increase vessel utilization by reducing the unloaded portion (or ballast leg) that is included in the calculation of the return charter to a loading area.
Within the dry bulk shipping industry, the charter hire rate references most likely to be monitored are the freight rate indices issued by the Baltic Exchange. These references are based on actual charter hire rates under charters entered into by market participants as well as daily assessments provided to the Baltic Exchange by a panel of major shipbrokers. The Baltic Panamax Index is the index with the longest history. The Baltic Capesize Index and Baltic Handymax Index are of more recent origin.
The Baltic Dry Index, or BDI, a daily average of charter rates in 26 shipping routes measured on a time charter and voyage basis and covering Supramax, Panamax and Capesize dry bulk carriers, declined from a high of 11,793 in May 2008 to a low of 663 in December 2008. The general decline in the dry bulk carrier charter market was due to various factors, including the lack of trade financing for purchases of commodities carried by sea. In 2009, BDI increased from a low of 772 in January to a high of 4,661 in November, representing an increase of 504%.
Dry bulk vessel values have declined both as a result of a slowdown in the availability of global credit and the significant deterioration in charter rates. Charter rates and vessel values have been affected in part by the lack of availability of credit to finance both vessel purchases and purchases of commodities carried by sea. Consistent with these trends, the market value of our dry bulk carriers has declined. Although charter rates and vessel values have increased from their low levels in 2008, there can be no assurance as to how long charter rates and vessel values will remain at their current levels or whether they will decrease or improve to any significant degree.
Our business fluctuates in line with the main patterns of trade of the major dry bulk cargoes and varies according to changes in the supply and demand for these items. We operate in markets that are highly competitive and based primarily on supply and demand. We compete for charters on the basis of price, vessel location, size, age and condition of the vessel, as well as on our reputation as an owner and operator. We compete with other owners of dry bulk carriers in the Panamax and smaller class sectors and with owners of Capesize dry bulk carriers. Ownership of dry bulk carriers is highly fragmented.
We believe that we possess a number of strengths that provide us with a competitive advantage in the dry bulk shipping industry:
Permits and Authorizations
We are required by various governmental and quasi-governmental agencies to obtain certain permits, licenses and certificates with respect to our vessels. The kinds of permits, licenses and certificates required depend upon several factors, including the commodity transported, the waters in which the vessel operates the nationality of the vessel's crew and the age of a vessel. We have been able to obtain all permits, licenses and certificates currently required to permit our vessels to operate. Additional laws and regulations, environmental or otherwise, may be adopted which could limit our ability to do business or increase the cost of us doing business.
Environmental and Other Regulations
Government regulation significantly affects the ownership and operation of our vessels. We are subject to international conventions and treaties, national, state and local laws and regulations in force in the countries in which our vessels may operate or are registered relating to safety and health and environmental protection including the storage, handling, emission, transportation and discharge of hazardous and non-hazardous materials, and the remediation of contamination and liability for damage to natural resources. Compliance with such laws, regulations and other requirements entails significant expense, including vessel modifications and implementation of certain operating procedures.
A variety of government and private entities subject our vessels to both scheduled and unscheduled inspections. These entities include the local port authorities (United States Coast Guard, harbor master or equivalent), classification societies; flag state administrations (country of registry) and charterers, particularly terminal operators. Certain of these entities require us to obtain permits, licenses, certificates or approvals for the operation of our vessels. Failure to maintain necessary permits, licenses, certificates or approvals could require us to incur substantial costs or temporarily suspend the operation of one or more of our vessels.
We believe that the heightened level of environmental and quality concerns among insurance underwriters, regulators and charterers is leading to greater inspection and safety requirements on all vessels and may accelerate the scrapping of older vessels throughout the dry bulk shipping industry. Increasing environmental concerns have created a demand for vessels that conform to the stricter environmental standards. We are required to maintain operating standards for all of our vessels that emphasize operational safety, quality maintenance, continuous training of our officers and crews and compliance with United States and international regulations. We believe that the operation of our vessels is in substantial compliance with applicable environmental laws and regulations and that our vessels have all material permits, licenses, certificates or other approvals necessary for the conduct of our operations. However, because such laws and regulations are frequently changed and may impose increasingly strict requirements, we cannot predict the ultimate cost of complying with these requirements, or the impact of these requirements on the resale value or useful lives of our vessels. In addition, a future serious marine incident that results in significant oil pollution or otherwise causes significant adverse environmental impact could result in additional legislation or regulation that could negatively affect our profitability.
International Maritime Organization
The International Maritime Organization, the United Nations agency for maritime safety and the prevention of pollution by ships, or the IMO, has adopted the International Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution, 1973, as modified by the related Protocol of 1978 relating thereto, which has been updated through various amendments, or the MARPOL Convention. The MARPOL Convention establishes environmental standards relating to oil leakage or spilling, garbage management, sewage, air emissions, handling and disposal of noxious liquids and the handling of harmful substances in packaged forms. The IMO adopted regulations that set forth pollution prevention requirements applicable to dry bulk carriers. These regulations have been adopted by over 150 nations, including many of the jurisdictions in which our vessels operate.
In September 1997, the IMO adopted Annex VI to the MARPOL Convention, Regulations for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, to address air pollution from ships. Effective May 2005, Annex VI sets limits on sulfur oxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from all commercial vessel exhausts and prohibits deliberate emissions of ozone depleting substances (such as halons and chlorofluorocarbons), emissions of volatile organic compounds from cargo tanks, and the shipboard incineration of specific substances. Annex VI also includes a global cap on the sulfur content of fuel oil and allows for special areas to be established with more stringent controls on sulfur emissions. We believe that all our vessels are currently compliant in all material respects with these regulations. Additional or new conventions, laws and regulations may be adopted that could require the installation of expensive emission control systems and could adversely affect our business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition. In October 2008, the IMO adopted amendments to Annex VI regarding emissions of sulfur oxide, nitrogen oxide, particulate matter and ozone-depleting substances, which amendments enter into force on July 1, 2010. The amended Annex VI will reduce air pollution from vessels by, among other things, (i) implementing a progressive reduction of sulfur oxide emissions from ships by reducing the global sulfur fuel cap initially to 3.50% (from the current cap of 4.50%), effective from January 1, 2012, then progressively to 0.50%, effective from January 1, 2020, subject to a feasibility review to be completed no later than 2018; and (ii) establishing new tiers of stringent nitrogen oxide emissions standards for new marine engines, depending on their date of installation. The United States ratified the Annex VI amendments in October 2008, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, promulgated equivalent emissions standards in late 2009.
The United States and Canada have requested IMO to designate the area extending 200 nautical miles from the Atlantic/Gulf and Pacific coasts of the U.S. and Canada and the Hawaiian Islands as Emission Control Areas under the MARPOL Annex VI amendments, which would subject ocean-going vessels in these areas to stringent emissions controls and cause us to incur additional costs. In July 2009, the IMO accepted the proposal in principle, and all member states party to MARPOL Annex VI will vote on the proposal in March 2010. Even if the proposal is not adopted, we cannot assure you that the United States or Canada will not adopt more stringent emissions standards independent of the IMO.
Safety Management System Requirements
IMO also adopted the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, or SOLAS and the International Convention on Load Lines, or the LL Convention, which impose a variety of standards that regulate the design and operational features of ships. The IMO periodically revises the SOLAS and LL Convention standards. We believe that all our vessels are in material compliance with SOLAS and LL Convention standards.
Under Chapter IX of SOLAS, the International Safety Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and for Pollution Prevention, or ISM Code, our operations are also subject to environmental standards and requirements contained in the ISM Code promulgated by the IMO. The ISM Code requires the party with operational control of a vessel to develop an extensive safety management system that includes, among other things, the adoption of a safety and environmental protection policy setting forth instructions and procedures for operating its vessels safely and describing procedures for responding to emergencies. We rely upon the safety management system that we and our technical manager have developed for compliance with the ISM Code. The failure of a ship owner or bareboat charterer to comply with the ISM Code may subject such party to increased liability, may decrease available insurance coverage for the affected vessels and may result in a denial of access to, or detention in, certain ports. As of the date of this filing, each of our vessels is ISM code-certified.
The ISM Code requires that vessel operators obtain a safety management certificate for each vessel they operate. This certificate evidences compliance by a vessel's management with the ISM Code requirements for a safety management system. No vessel can obtain a safety management certificate unless its manager has been awarded a document of compliance, issued by each flag state, under the ISM Code. Our appointed ship managers have obtained documents of compliance for their offices and safety management certificates for all of our vessels for which the certificates are required by the IMO. The document of compliance, or the DOC, and ship management certificate, or the SMC, are renewed every five years but the DOC is subject to audit verification annually and the SMC about every 2.5 years.
Noncompliance with the ISM Code and other IMO regulations may subject the shipowner or bareboat charterer to increased liability, may lead to decreases in, or invalidation of, available insurance coverage for affected vessels and may result in the denial of access to, or detention in, some ports. The U.S. Coast Guard and European Union authorities have indicated that vessels not in compliance with the ISM Code by the applicable deadlines will be prohibited from trading in U.S. and European Union ports, as the case may be.
IMO resolution MSC.273 (85) as adopted on the December 4th, 2008, amends the International Safety Management (ISM) Code Part A (Sections 1, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12) and Part B (Sections 13,14). The amendments become effective as from July 1st, 2010. We, in collaboration with our Safety & Quality department, are in the process of revising the Safety Management System in order to be in full compliance with the amendments before the deadline.
International Labor Organization
The International Labor Organization (ILO) is a specialized agency of the UN that deals with labor issues with its headquarters based in Geneva, Switzerland. The International Labor Organization (ILO) has adopted the Maritime Labor Convention 2006 (MLC 2006). A Maritime Labor Certificate (MLC) and a Declaration of Maritime Labor Compliance (DMLC) will be required to ensure compliance with the Convention for all ships above 500 tons in international trade. The MLC 2006 will enter into force one year after 30 countries with a minimum of 33% of the world's tonnage have ratified it. Classification societies expect the MLC 2006 to enter into force in December 2011 based upon EU's planned ratifications before 31 December 2010. Although at this moment no action is required since the convention hasn't been ratified (and all the above dates are only an estimation), we and our Safety & Quality department are already in the process of developing procedures for full compliance with the MLC 2006 requirements.
Pollution Control and Liability Requirements
IMO has negotiated international conventions that impose liability for oil pollution in international waters and the territorial waters of the signatory to such conventions. For example, IMO adopted an International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments, or the BWM Convention, in February 2004. The BWM Convention's implementing regulations call for a phased introduction of mandatory ballast water exchange requirements (beginning in 2009), to be replaced in time with mandatory concentration limits. The BWM Convention will not become effective until 12 months after it has been adopted by 30 states, the combined merchant fleets of which represent not less than 35% of the gross tonnage of the world's merchant shipping. To date there has not been sufficient adoption of this standard for it to take force.
Although the United States is not a party to these conventions, many countries have ratified and follow the liability plan adopted by the IMO and set out in the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage of 1969, as amended in 2000, or the CLC. Under this convention and depending on whether the country in which the damage results is a party to the 1992 Protocol to the CLC, a vessel's registered owner is strictly liable, subject to certain defenses, for pollution damage caused in the territorial waters of a contracting state by discharge of persistent oil. The limits on liability outlined in the 1992 Protocol use the International Monetary Fund currency unit of Special Drawing Rights, or SDR. The right to limit liability is forfeited under the CLC where the spill is caused by the ship owner's actual fault and under the 1992 Protocol where the spill is caused by the ship owner's intentional or reckless conduct. Vessels trading with states that are parties to these conventions must provide evidence of insurance covering the liability of the owner. In jurisdictions where the CLC has not been adopted, various legislative schemes or common law govern, and liability is imposed either on the basis of fault or in a manner similar to that of the CLC. We believe that our protection and indemnity insurance will cover the liability under the plan adopted by the IMO.
The IMO adopted the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage, or the Bunker Convention, to impose strict liability on ship owners for pollution damage in jurisdictional waters of ratifying states caused by discharges of bunker fuel. The Bunker Convention, which became effective on November 21, 2008, requires registered owners of ships over 1,000 gross tons to maintain insurance for pollution damage in an amount equal to the limits of liability under the applicable national or international limitation regime (but not exceeding the amount calculated in accordance with the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims of 1976, as amended). With respect to non-ratifying states, liability for spills or releases of oil carried as fuel in ship's bunkers typically is determined by the national or other domestic laws in the jurisdiction where the events or damages occur.
Noncompliance with the ISM Code or other IMO regulations may subject the ship owner or bareboat charterer to increased liability, may lead to decreases in available insurance coverage for affected vessels and may result in the denial of access to, or detention in, some ports. The U.S. Coast Guard and European Union authorities have indicated that vessels not in compliance with the ISM Code by the applicable deadlines will be prohibited from trading in U.S. and European Union ports, respectively. As of the date of this report, each of our vessels is ISM Code certified. However, there can be no assurance that such certificate will be maintained.
The IMO continues to review and introduce new regulations. It is impossible to predict what additional regulations, if any, may be passed by the IMO and what effect, if any, such regulations might have on our operations.
Ballast Water Management
A new "International Convention for the Control and Management of Ship's Ballast water and sediments", which purpose is to prevent the potentially devastating effects of the spread of harmful aquatic organisms by ships' ballast water, has been adopted by the International Conference on Ballast Management.
Our entire fleet is provided with a Ballast Water Management Plan and relevant Record book duly approved by the Classification Society on behalf of Flag administration.
The U.S. Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act
The U.S. Oil Pollution Act of 1990, or OPA, established an extensive regulatory and liability regime for the protection and cleanup of the environment from oil spills. OPA affects all owners and operators whose vessels trade in the United States, its territories and possessions or whose vessels operate in U.S. waters, which includes the U.S. territorial sea and its 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone. The United States has also enacted the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, or CERCLA, which applies to the discharge of hazardous substances other than oil, whether on land or at sea. Both OPA and CERCLA impact our operations.
Under OPA, vessel owners, operators and bareboat charterers are "responsible parties" and are jointly, severally and strictly liable (unless the spill results solely from the act or omission of a third party, an act of God or an act of war) for all containment and clean-up costs and other damages arising from discharges or threatened discharges of oil from their vessels. OPA defines these other damages broadly to include:
Effective July 31, 2009, the U.S. Coast Guard adjusted the limits of OPA liability for non-tank vessels to the greater of $1,000 per gross ton or $0.85 million per non-tank vessel that is over 3,000 gross tons (subject to possible adjustment for inflation). CERCLA, which applies to owners and operators of vessels, contains a similar liability regime and provides for cleanup, removal and natural resource damages. Liability under CERCLA is limited to the greater of $300 per gross ton or $5 million for vessels carrying a hazardous substance as cargo and the greater of $300 per gross ton or $0.5 million for any other vessel. These OPA and CERCLA limits of liability do not apply if an incident was directly caused by violation of applicable U.S. federal safety, construction or operating regulations or by a responsible party's gross negligence or willful misconduct, or if the responsible party fails or refuses to report the incident or to cooperate and assist in connection with oil removal activities.
OPA and the U.S. Coast Guard also require owners and operators of vessels to establish and maintain with the U.S. Coast Guard evidence of financial responsibility sufficient to meet the limit of their potential liability under OPA and CERCLA.
We currently maintain pollution liability coverage insurance in the amount of $1 billion per incident for each of our vessels. If the damages from a catastrophic spill were to exceed our insurance coverage it could have an adverse effect on our business and results of operation.
Other Environmental Initiatives
The U.S. Clean Water Act, or CWA, prohibits the discharge of oil or hazardous substances in U.S. navigable waters unless authorized by a duly-issued permit or exemption, and imposes strict liability in the form of penalties for any unauthorized discharges. The CWA also imposes substantial liability for the costs of removal, remediation and damages and complements the remedies available under OPA and CERCLA.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or the EPA, regulates the discharge of ballast water and other substances in U.S. waters under the CWA. Effective February 6, 2009, EPA regulations require vessels 79 feet in length or longer (other than commercial fishing and recreational vessels) to comply with a Vessel General Permit authorizing ballast water discharges and other discharges incidental to the operation of vessels. The Vessel General Permit imposes technology and water-quality based effluent limits for certain types of discharges and establishes specific inspection, monitoring, recordkeeping and reporting requirements to ensure the effluent limits are met. U.S. Coast Guard regulations adopted under the U.S. National Invasive Species Act, or NISA, also impose mandatory ballast water management practices for all vessels equipped with ballast water tanks entering or operating in U.S. waters, and the Coast Guard recently proposed new ballast water management standards and practices, including limits regarding ballast water releases. Compliance with the EPA and the U.S. Coast Guard regulations could require the installation of equipment on our vessels to treat ballast water before it is discharged or the implementation of other port facility disposal arrangements or procedures at potentially substantial cost, and/or otherwise restrict our vessels from entering U.S. waters.
European Union Regulations
In October 2009, the European Union amended a directive to impose criminal sanctions for illicit ship-source discharges of polluting substances, including minor discharges, if committed with intent, recklessly or with serious negligence and the discharges individually or in the aggregate result in deterioration of the quality of water. Criminal liability for pollution may result in substantial penalties or fines and increased civil liability claims.
A July 2005 EU Directive 2005/33/EC amends an earlier Directive, 1999/32/EC, relating to a reduction in the sulphur content of certain liquid fuels which itself amended Directive 93/12/EEC. One aspect of the 2005/33/EC amendments is Article 4b which requires that, from 1 January 2010, the fuel oil used by ships while ‘at berth' in EU ports is to be limited to 0.1% m/m maximum sulphur content. More specifically article 4b requires that:
Greenhouse Gas Regulation
In February 2005, the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or UNFCCC, which we refer to as the Kyoto Protocol, entered into force. Pursuant to the Kyoto Protocol, adopting countries are required to implement national programs to reduce emissions of certain gases, generally referred to as greenhouse gases, which are suspected of contributing to global warming. Currently, the emissions of greenhouse gases from international shipping are not subject to the Kyoto Protocol. However, international negotiations are continuing with respect to a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which sets emission reduction targets through 2012, and restrictions on shipping emissions may be included in any new treaty. In December 2009, more than 27 nations, including the United States and China, signed the Copenhagen Accord, which includes a non-binding commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The European Union has indicated that it intends to propose an expansion of the existing European Union emissions trading scheme to include emissions of greenhouse gases from vessels, if such emissions are not regulated through the IMO or the UNFCCC by December 31, 2010. In the United States, the EPA has issued a final finding that greenhouse gases threaten public health and safety, and has proposed regulations governing the emission of greenhouse gases from motor vehicles and stationary sources. The EPA may decide in the future to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from ships and has already been petitioned by the California Attorney General to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from ocean-going vessels. Other federal and state regulations relating to the control of greenhouse gas emissions may follow, including the climate change initiatives that are being considered in the U.S. Congress. In addition, the IMO is evaluating various mandatory measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping, including market-based instruments. Any passage of climate control legislation or other regulatory initiatives by the EU, U.S., IMO or other countries where we operate that restrict emissions of greenhouse gases could require us to make significant financial expenditures that we cannot predict with certainty at this time.
Vessel Security Regulations
Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, there have been a variety of initiatives intended to enhance vessel security. On November 25, 2002, the U.S. Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002, or the MTSA came into effect. To implement certain portions of the MTSA, in July 2003, the U.S. Coast Guard issued regulations requiring the implementation of certain security requirements aboard vessels operating in waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. Similarly, in December 2002, amendments to SOLAS created a new chapter of the convention dealing specifically with maritime security. The new chapter became effective in July 2004 and imposes various detailed security obligations on vessels and port authorities, most of which are contained in the newly created International Ship and Port Facilities Security Code, or the ISPS Code. The ISPS Code is designed to protect ports and international shipping against terrorism. After July 1, 2004, to trade internationally, a vessel must attain an International Ship Security Certificate from a recognized security organization approved by the vessel's flag state. Among the various requirements are:
The U.S. Coast Guard regulations, intended to align with international maritime security standards, exempt from MTSA vessel security measures non-U.S. vessels that have on board, as of July 1, 2004, a valid International Ship Security Certificate attesting to the vessel's compliance with SOLAS security requirements and the ISPS Code. Our managers intend to implement the various security measures addressed by MTSA, SOLAS and the ISPS Code, and we intend that our fleet will comply with applicable security requirements. We have implemented the various security measures addressed by the MTSA, SOLAS and the ISPS Code.
Inspection by Classification Societies
Every oceangoing vessel must be "classed" by a classification society. The classification society alone is qualified to confirm the class of the ship and the validity of its Certificate of Classification. A Certificate of Classification, bearing the class notations assigned to the ship, certifies that the vessel is "in class," signifying that the vessel has been built and maintained in accordance with the rules of the classification society and complies with applicable rules and regulations of the vessel's flag administration and any international conventions of which that country is a member. In addition, where surveys are required by international conventions and corresponding laws and ordinances of the flag administration, the classification society will undertake them on application or by official order, acting on behalf of the authorities concerned.
The classification society also undertakes on request other surveys and checks that are required by regulations and requirements of the flag administration. These surveys are subject to agreements made in each individual case and/or to the regulations of the country concerned. For maintenance of the class certification, regular and extraordinary surveys of hull, machinery, including the electrical plant, and any special equipment classed are required to be performed as follows:
Annual Class Surveys for seagoing ships are conducted for the hull and the machinery, including the electrical plant and where applicable for special equipment classed, at intervals of 12 months from the date of commencement of the class period indicated in the certificate. The date of commencement is considered as the anniversary date. Annual surveys are to be carried out within three months before or after each anniversary date.
Intermediate Class Survey where applicable, is to be carried out within three months before the second to three months after the third anniversary date. The Intermediate survey is applicable at any period of class to ships which are five years old and over. The extent of the inspection is related to the vessel's type and age. Thus the 1st Intermediate Survey is an extended Annual survey, when the 2nd for Cape size vessels is almost a Special Survey and any next are similar to a Special Survey.
Class Renewal Surveys Class renewal surveys, also known as special surveys, are carried out for the ship's hull, machinery, including the electrical plant, and for any special equipment classed, at five years (class symbol I) intervals. However, consideration may be given by the society to granting an extension for a maximum of three months after the limit date, in exceptional circumstances. In such cases the next period of class will start from the limit date for the previous class renewal survey before the extension was granted. At the special survey the vessel is thoroughly examined, including ultrasonic gauging to determine the thickness of the steel structures.
Should the thickness be found to be less than class requirements, the classification society would prescribe steel renewals. Substantial amounts of money may have to be spent for steel renewals to pass a special survey if the vessel experiences excessive wear and tear. All areas subject to survey as defined by the classification society are required to be surveyed at least once per class period, unless shorter intervals between surveys are prescribed elsewhere. The period between two subsequent surveys of each area must not exceed five years.
The Owner has the option of a Normal Survey system (SS) or a Continuous Survey system (CS). When the normal survey system is applied to ships with a 5 years period of class, the class renewal survey may be commenced at the fourth annual survey and continued during the following year with a view to completion by its due date. In this case the survey may be carried out by partial surveys at different times.
When the Continuous survey system (CS) is applied, the ships are provided with lists of items to be surveyed under this system. These lists are attached to the Certificate of Classification. The items are to be surveyed in rotation, so far as practicable ensuring that approximately equivalent portions are examined each year. The interval between two consecutive surveys of each item is not to exceed five years. For ships classed with the class symbol I there are to be two inspections of the outside of the ships bottom and related items in each period of class of five years. In all cases, the interval between any two such inspections is not to exceed 36 months. This inspection may be carried out with the ship either in dry dock or afloat referred as in-water survey in lieu of dry-docking. Such in water inspection is accepted only for inspections between two consecutive class renewals for ships which are not over fifteen years old.
Most insurance underwriters make it a condition for insurance coverage that a vessel be certified as "in class" by a classification society which is a member of the International Association of Classification Societies. All our vessels are certified as being "in class" either by Lloyd's Register of Shipping or Bureau Veritas or Class NK. All new and second hand vessels that we purchase must be certified prior to their delivery under our standard purchase contracts and memorandum of agreement. For the second hand vessels same is verified by a Class Maintenance Certificate issued within 72 hours prior to delivery. If the vessel is not certified on the date of closing, we have the option to cancel the agreement due to Seller's default and not take delivery of the vessel.
Risk of Loss and Liability Insurance
The operation of any dry bulk vessel includes risks such as mechanical failure, collision, property loss, cargo loss or damage, and business interruption due to political circumstances in foreign countries, hostilities and labor strikes. In addition, there is always an inherent possibility of marine disaster, including oil spills and other environmental mishaps, and the liabilities arising from owning and operating vessels in international trade. OPA, which imposes virtually unlimited liability upon owners, operators and demise charterers of vessels trading in the United States exclusive economic zone for certain oil pollution accidents in the United States, has made liability insurance more expensive for ship owners and operators trading in the United States market.
While we maintain hull and machinery insurance, war risks insurance, protection and indemnity cover, increased value insurance and freight, demurrage and defense cover for our operating fleet in amounts that we believe to be prudent to cover normal risks in our operations, we may not be able to achieve or maintain this level of coverage throughout a vessel's useful life. Furthermore, while we believe that our present insurance coverage is adequate, not all risks can be insured, and there can be no guarantee that any specific claim will be paid, or that we will always be able to obtain adequate insurance coverage at reasonable rates.
Hull & Machinery and War Risks Insurance
We maintain marine hull and machinery and war risks insurance, which cover the risk of actual or constructive total loss, for all of our vessels. Our vessels are each covered up to at least fair market value with deductibles ranging to a maximum of $100,000 per vessel per incident for Panamax vessels and $150,000 per vessel per incident for Capesize vessels.
Protection and Indemnity Insurance
Protection and indemnity insurance is provided by mutual protection and indemnity associations, or P&I Associations, which insure our third party liabilities in connection with our shipping activities. This includes third-party liability and other related expenses resulting from the injury or death of crew, passengers and other third parties, the loss or damage to cargo, claims arising from collisions with other vessels, damage to other third-party property, pollution arising from oil or other substances and salvage, towing and other related costs, including wreck removal. Protection and indemnity insurance is a form of mutual indemnity insurance, extended by protection and indemnity mutual associations, or "clubs."
Our current protection and indemnity insurance coverage for pollution is $1 billion per vessel per incident. The 13 P&I Associations that comprise the International Group insure approximately 90% of the world's commercial tonnage and have entered into a pooling agreement to reinsure each association's liabilities. As a member of a P&I Association, which is a member of the International Group, we are subject to calls payable to the associations based on the group's claim records as well as the claim records of all other members of the individual associations and members of the pool of P&I Associations comprising the International Group.
Diana Shipping Inc. is the sole owner of all of the issued and outstanding shares of the subsidiaries listed in Note 1 of our consolidated financial statements under Item 18 and in exhibit 8.1.
We do not own any real property. We lease property through our management company under finance and operating leases. Our interests in the vessels in our fleet are our only material properties.
Item 4A. Unresolved Staff Comments
Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects
The following management's discussion and analysis should be read in conjunction with our historical consolidated financial statements and their notes included elsewhere in this report. This discussion contains forward-looking statements that reflect our current views with respect to future events and financial performance. Our actual results may differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of certain factors, such as those set forth in the section entitled "Risk Factors" and elsewhere in this report.
We charter our dry bulk carriers to customers primarily pursuant to short-term and long-term time charters. Currently, 13 of our vessels are currently employed on long-term time charters ranging in duration from 17 to 62 months. Under our time charters, the charterer typically pays us a fixed daily charter hire rate and bears all voyage expenses, including the cost of bunkers (fuel oil) and port and canal charges. We remain responsible for paying the chartered vessel's operating expenses, including the cost of crewing, insuring, repairing and maintaining the vessel, the costs of spares and consumable stores, tonnage taxes and other miscellaneous expenses, and we also pay commissions to one or more unaffiliated ship brokers and to in-house brokers associated with the charterer for the arrangement of the relevant charter.
Factors Affecting Our Results of Operations
We believe that the important measures for analyzing trends in our results of operations consist of the following:
The following table reflects our ownership days, available days, operating days, fleet utilization and TCE rates for the periods indicated.
Voyage and Time Charter Revenue
Our revenues are driven primarily by the number of vessels in our fleet, the number of days during which our vessels operate and the amount of daily charter hire rates that our vessels earn under charters, which, in turn, are affected by a number of factors, including:
Our revenues grew significantly during the previous years as a result of the enlargement of our fleet, which increased our ownership, available and operating days. However, our revenues decreased during the past year due to the drastic decline in market charter rates during the latter five months of 2008. At the same time, we have maintained relatively high vessel utilization rates. We expect our revenues in 2010 to increase as a result of the acquisition of the Houston in October 2009 and the Melite in January 2010 which will increase our ownership days in 2010 compared to 2009. Currently, 7 of our vessels are employed on time charters scheduled to expire within the next six months, at which time we expect to enter into new charters for those vessels. Our time charter agreements subject us to counterparty risk. In depressed market conditions, charterers may seek to renegotiate the terms of their existing charter parties or avoid their obligations under those contracts. Should a counterparty fail to honor its obligations under agreements with us, we could sustain significant losses which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
We incur voyage expenses that include port and canal charges, bunker (fuel oil) expenses and commissions. Port and canal charges and bunker expenses primarily increase in periods during which vessels are employed on voyage charters because these expenses are for the account of the owner of the vessels. Port and canal charges and bunker expenses currently represent a relatively small portion of our vessels' overall expenses because all of our vessels are employed under time charters that require the charterer to bear all of those expenses.
As is common in the shipping industry, we have historically paid commissions ranging from 0% to 6.25% of the total daily charter hire rate of each charter to unaffiliated ship brokers and in-house brokers associated with the charterers, depending on the number of brokers involved with arranging the charter. In addition to commissions paid to third parties, we have historically paid our fleet manager a commission that is equal to 2% of our revenues in exchange for providing us with technical and commercial management services in connection with the employment of our fleet. However, this commission has been eliminated from our consolidated financial statements since April 1, 2006 (after DSS was acquired) and therefore, since that date does not constitute part of our voyage expenses.
We expect that the amount of our total commissions will decrease due to decreased charter hire rates and revenues.
Vessel Operating Expenses
Vessel operating expenses include crew wages and related costs, the cost of insurance, expenses relating to repairs and maintenance, the cost of spares and consumable stores, tonnage taxes and other miscellaneous expenses. Our vessel operating expenses, which generally represent fixed costs, have historically increased as a result of the enlargement of our fleet. We expect these expenses to increase further as a result of the enlargement of our fleet. Other factors beyond our control, some of which may affect the shipping industry in general, including, for instance, developments relating to market prices for insurance, may also cause these expenses to increase.
The cost of our vessels is depreciated on a straight-line basis over the expected useful life of each vessel. Depreciation is based on the cost of the vessel less its estimated residual value. We estimate the useful life of our vessels to be 25 years from the date construction is completed, which we believe is common in the dry bulk shipping industry. Furthermore, we estimate the residual values of our vessels to be $150 per light-weight ton which we also believe is common in the dry bulk shipping industry and has been a historical average price of the cost of the light-weight ton of vessels being scrapped. We do not expect these assumptions to change in the near future. Our depreciation charges have increased in recent periods due to the enlargement of our fleet which has also led to an increase of ownership days. We expect that these charges will continue to grow as a result of our acquisition of additional vessels.
General and Administrative Expenses
We incur general and administrative expenses which include our onshore vessel related expenses such as legal and professional expenses and other general vessel expenses. Subsequent to April 2006, our general and administrative expenses increased as a result of our acquisition of our fleet manager. Our general and administrative expenses also include payroll expenses of employees, executive officers and consultants, compensation cost of restricted stock awarded to senior management and non-executive directors, traveling, promotional and other expenses of the public company. General and administrative expenses may increase as a result of the enlargement of our fleet.
Interest and Finance Costs
We have historically incurred interest expense and financing costs in connection with the vessel-specific debt of our subsidiaries. As of December 31, 2009, 2008 and 2007, we had $218.2 million, $214.7 million and $75.0 million of indebtedness outstanding under our revolving credit facility, respectively. We incur interest expense and financing costs relating to our outstanding debt and our available credit facility. As of December 31, 2009, 2008 and 2007, we had $24.1 million of indebtedness outstanding under our facility with Fortis bank. Interest and finance costs incurred in connection with this loan facility were capitalized in vessel cost. As of December 31, 2009, we also had $40.0 million outstanding under our facility with Bremer Landesbank, which was used to finance part of the acquisition cost of the Houston.
In January 2010, we incurred $31.6 million of additional debt under our revolving credit facility to finance the acquisition of the Melite and $6.0 million under our facility with Fortis Bank to finance the final predelivery installment of the New York. In March 2010, we drew down $40.0 million under our new facility with Deutsche Bank AG, to finance part of the acquisition cost of the New York.
Our facility with Fortis Bank was terminated in March after taking delivery of the New York, when we repaid the then outstanding balance. We may incur additional debt to finance future acquisitions.
Lack of Historical Operating Data for Vessels before Their Acquisition
Although vessels are generally acquired free of charter, we have acquired (and may in the future acquire) some vessels with time charters. Where a vessel has been under a voyage charter, the vessel is usually delivered to the buyer free of charter. It is rare in the shipping industry for the last charterer of the vessel in the hands of the seller to continue as the first charterer of the vessel in the hands of the buyer. In most cases, when a vessel is under time charter and the buyer wishes to assume that charter, the vessel cannot be acquired without the charterer's consent and the buyer entering into a separate direct agreement (called a "novation agreement") with the charterer to assume the charter. The purchase of a vessel itself does not transfer the charter because it is a separate service agreement between the vessel owner and the charterer.
Where we identify any intangible assets or liabilities associated with the acquisition of a vessel, we record all identified assets or liabilities at fair value. Fair value is determined by reference to market data. We value any asset or liability arising from the market value of the time charters assumed when a vessel is acquired. The amount to be recorded as an asset or liability at the date of vessel delivery is based on the difference between the current fair market value of the charter and the net present value of future contractual cash flows. When the present value of the time charter assumed is greater than the current fair market value of such charter, the difference is recorded as prepaid charter revenue. When the opposite situation occurs, any difference, capped to the vessel's fair value on a charter free basis, is recorded as deferred revenue. Such assets and liabilities, respectively, are amortized as a reduction of, or an increase in, revenue over the period of the time charter assumed.
We entered into agreements to purchase vessels with time charters assumed for the Thetis, the Salt Lake City, the Norfolk and the Houston. Accordingly, we evaluated the charters of those vessels and recognized an asset in the case of the Thetis and the Houston with a corresponding decrease of the vessel's value, and a liability in the case of the Salt Lake City, with a corresponding increase of the vessel's value and the actual cost for the Norfolk. The asset recognized for the Thetis was fully amortized to revenue in 2007 and for Houston will be fully amortized in 2014. The liability recognized for the Salt Lake City will be fully amortized in 2012 (when the charter contract expires).
When we purchase a vessel and assume or renegotiate a related time charter, we must take the following steps before the vessel will be ready to commence operations:
When we charter a vessel pursuant to a long-term time charter agreement with varying rates, we recognize revenue on a straight line basis, equal to the average revenue during the term of the charter. We have such varying rates pursuant to our time charter agreements for the Sideris GS, the Aliki and the Semirio.
The following discussion is intended to help you understand how acquisitions of vessels affect our business and results of operations.
Our business is comprised of the following main elements:
The employment and operation of our vessels require the following main components:
The management of financial, general and administrative elements involved in the conduct of our business and ownership of our vessels requires the following main components:
The principal factors that affect our profitability, cash flows and stockholders' return on investment include:
Critical Accounting Policies
The discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations are based upon our consolidated financial statements, which have been prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP. The preparation of those financial statements requires us to make estimates and judgments that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities, revenues and expenses and related disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of our financial statements. Actual results may differ from these estimates under different assumptions and conditions.
Critical accounting policies are those that reflect significant judgments of uncertainties and potentially result in materially different results under different assumptions and conditions. We have described below what we believe are our most critical accounting policies, because they generally involve a comparatively higher degree of judgment in their application. For a description of all our significant accounting policies, see Note 2 to our consolidated financial statements included in this annual report.
Accounts receivable, trade, at each balance sheet date, include receivables from charterers for hire net of a provision for doubtful accounts. At each balance sheet date, all potentially uncollectible accounts are assessed individually for purposes of determining the appropriate provision for doubtful accounts.
Accounting for Revenues and Expenses
Revenues are generated from time charter agreements and are usually paid 15 days in advance. Time charter agreements with the same charterer are accounted for as separate agreements according to the terms and conditions of each agreement. Time charter revenues over the term of the charter are recorded as service is provided when they become fixed and determinable. Revenues from time charter agreements providing for varying annual rates over their term are accounted for on a straight line basis. Income representing ballast bonus payments by the charterer to the vessel owner is recognized in the period earned. Deferred revenue includes cash received prior to the balance sheet date for which all criteria for recognition as revenue have not been met, including any deferred revenue resulting from charter agreements providing for varying annual rates, which are accounted for on a straight line basis. Deferred revenue also includes the unamortized balance of the liability associated with the acquisition of second-hand vessels with time charters attached which were acquired at values below fair market value at the date the acquisition agreement is consummated.
Voyage expenses, primarily consisting of port, canal and bunker expenses that are unique to a particular charter, are paid for by the charterer under time charter arrangements or by the Company under voyage charter arrangements, except for commissions, which are always paid for by the Company, regardless of charter type. All voyage and vessel operating expenses are expensed as incurred, except for commissions. Commissions are deferred over the related voyage charter period to the extent revenue has been deferred since commissions are earned as the Company's revenues are earned.
Prepaid/Deferred Charter Revenue
The Company records identified assets or liabilities associated with the acquisition of a vessel at fair value, determined by reference to market data. The Company values any asset or liability arising from the market value of the time charters assumed when a vessel is acquired. The amount to be recorded as an asset or liability at the date of vessel delivery is based on the difference between the current fair market value of the charter and the net present value of future contractual cash flows. When the present value of the contractual cash flows of the time charter assumed is greater than its current fair value, the difference is recorded as prepaid charter revenue. When the opposite situation occurs, any difference, capped to the vessel's fair value on a charter free basis, is recorded as deferred revenue. Such assets and liabilities, respectively, are amortized as a reduction of, or an increase in, revenue over the period of the time charter assumed.
We record the value of our vessels at their cost (which includes acquisition costs directly attributable to the vessel and expenditures made to prepare the vessel for its initial voyage) less accumulated depreciation. We depreciate our dry bulk vessels on a straight-line basis over their estimated useful lives, estimated to be 25 years from the date of initial delivery from the shipyard which we believe is also consistent with that of other shipping companies. Second hand vessels are depreciated from the date of their acquisition through their remaining estimated useful life. Depreciation is based on cost less the estimated residual scrap value. Furthermore, we estimate the residual values of our vessels to be $150 per light-weight ton which we believe is common in the dry bulk shipping industry. A decrease in the useful life of a dry bulk vessel or in its residual value would have the effect of increasing the annual depreciation charge. When regulations place limitations on the ability of a vessel to trade on a worldwide basis, the vessel's useful life is adjusted at the date such regulations are adopted.
Deferred Drydock Cost
Our vessels are required to be drydocked approximately every 30 to 36 months for major repairs and maintenance that cannot be performed while the vessels are operating. We capitalize the costs associated with drydockings as they occur and amortize these costs on a straight-line basis over the period between drydockings. Unamortized drydocking costs of vessels that are sold are written off and included in the calculation of the resulting gain or loss in the year of the vessel's sale. Costs capitalized as part of the drydocking include actual costs incurred at the yard and parts used in the drydocking. We believe that these criteria are consistent with industry practice and that our policy of capitalization reflects the economics and market values of the vessels.
Impairment of Long-lived Assets
We evaluate the carrying amounts (primarily for vessels and related drydock costs) and periods over which long-lived assets are depreciated to determine if events have occurred which would require modification to their carrying values or useful lives. When the estimate of undiscounted cash flows, excluding interest charges, expected to be generated by the use of the asset is less than its carrying amount, we should evaluate the asset for an impairment loss. Measurement of the impairment loss is based on the fair value of the asset. We determine the fair value of our assets based on management estimates and assumptions and by making use of available market data and taking into consideration third party valuations. In evaluating useful lives and carrying values of long-lived assets, management reviews certain indicators of potential impairment, such as undiscounted projected operating cash flows, vessel sales and purchases, business plans and overall market conditions. The current economic and market conditions, including the significant disruptions in the global credit markets, are having broad effects on participants in a wide variety of industries. Since mid-August 2008, the charter rates in the dry bulk charter market have declined significantly, and dry bulk vessel values have also declined both as a result of a slowdown in the availability of global credit and the significant deterioration in charter rates; conditions that the Company considers indicators of a potential impairment.
We determine undiscounted projected net operating cash flows for each vessel and compare it to the vessel's carrying value. The projected net operating cash flows are determined by considering the charter revenues from existing time charters for the fixed fleet days and an estimated daily time charter equivalent for the unfixed days (based on the most recent ten-year blended (for modern and older vessels) average historical one-year time charter rates available for each type of vessel) over the remaining estimated life of each vessel, net of brokerage commissions, expected outflows for scheduled vessels' maintenance and vessel operating expenses assuming an average annual inflation rate of 3%. Historical ten-year blended average one-year time charter rates used in our impairment test exercise are in line with our overall chartering strategy, especially in periods/years of depressed charter rates; they reflect the full operating history of vessels of the same type and particulars with our operating fleet (Panamax and Capesize vessels with dwt over 70,000 and 150,000, respectively) and they cover at least a full business cycle. The average annual inflation rate applied on vessels' maintenance and operating costs approximates current projections for global inflation rate for the remaining useful life of our vessels. Effective fleet utilization is assumed at 98%, taking into account the period(s) each vessel is expected to undergo her scheduled maintenance (drydocking and special surveys), as well as an estimate of 1% off hire days each year, assumptions in line with the Company's historical performance and our expectations for future fleet utilization under our current fleet deployment strategy.
Our impairment test exercise is highly sensitive to variances in the time charter rates and fleet effective utilization. Our current analysis, which also involved a sensitivity analysis by assigning possible alternative values to these two significant inputs, indicates that there is no impairment of individual long lived assets. However, there can be no assurance as to how long charter rates and vessel values will remain at their currently low levels or whether they will improve by any significant degree. Charter rates may remain at depressed levels for some time which could adversely affect our revenue and profitability, and future assessments of vessel impairment.
The Company is exposed to interest rate fluctuations associated with its variable rate borrowings and its objective is to manage the impact of such fluctuations on earnings and cash flows of its borrowings. We currently have one collar agreement which is considered an economic, and not accounting, hedge, as it does not meet the hedge accounting criteria. The fair value of the collar agreement determined through Level 2 of the fair value hierarchy is derived principally from or corroborated by observable market data. Inputs include interest rates, yield curves and other items that allow value to be determined.
Results of Operations
Year ended December 31, 2009 compared to the year ended December 31, 2008
Voyage and Time Charter Revenues. Voyage and time charter revenues decreased by $98.1 million, or 29%, to $239.3 million for 2009, compared to $337.4 million for 2008. The decrease is attributable to a 30% decrease of our average charter rates as a result of the deteriorating shipping rates in 2009 compared to 2008 that were a result of the disruptions in world financial markets and deteriorating economic trends since August 2008. This decrease, however, was partly offset by a 1% increase in ownership days following our acquisition of the Houston in October 2009. However, in 2009 we had total operating days of 6,857 and fleet utilization of 98.9%, compared to 6,862 total operating days and a fleet utilization of 99.6%, in 2008.
Voyage Expenses. Voyage expenses decreased by $3.0 million, or 20%, to $12.0 million in 2009 compared to $15.0 million in 2008. This decrease in voyage expenses is attributable to the decrease in commissions paid to unaffiliated ship brokers and in-house ship brokers associated with charterers. Commissions are a percentage of voyage and time charter revenues and as such they follow the same trend with voyage and time charter revenues. The decrease in voyage expenses was offset by increased costs in bunkers amounting to $0.8 million in 2009 compared to gains of $0.8 million in 2008. These fluctuations are the result of the different prices of bunkers at the delivery and redelivery of our vessels for which fixtures were renewed during the year.
Vessel Operating Expenses. Vessel operating expenses increased by $1.5 million, or 4%, to $41.4 million in 2009 compared to $39.9 million in 2008. The increase in operating expenses is attributable to the 1% increase in ownership days resulting from the delivery of our new Capesize vessel to our fleet, the Houston, as well as increased costs in stores, spares and repairs. This increase was partly offset by reduced insurance costs in 2009 compared to 2008. Daily operating expenses were $5,910 in 2009 compared to $5,772 in 2008, representing a 2% increase.
Depreciation and Amortization of Deferred Charges. Depreciation and amortization of deferred charges increased by $1.4 million, or 3%, to $44.7 million for 2009, compared to $43.3 million for 2008. This increase is the result of enlargement of our fleet which resulted in increased depreciation in 2009 compared to 2008 and the increase in amortization of deferred charges as in 2009, 8 of the vessels in our fleet went under drydock surveys.
General and Administrative Expenses. General and Administrative Expenses for 2009 increased by $3.7 million or 27% to $17.5 million compared to $13.8 million in 2008. The increase is mainly attributable to increases in salaries and compensation cost relating to restricted stock awards to executive management and non-executive directors.
Interest and Finance Costs. Interest and finance costs decreased by $2.6 million or 44%, to $3.3 million in 2009 compared to $5.9 million in 2008. The decrease is primarily attributable to lower interest rates related to long-term debt outstanding. Interest costs in 2009 amounted to $2.9 million compared to $5.4 million in 2008.
Interest Income. Interest income increased by $0.2 million or 25%, to $1.0 million in 2009 compared to $0.8 million in 2008. The increase is attributable to increased levels of cash on hand during the year and was partly offset by decreased average interest rates on deposits.
Year ended December 31, 2008 compared to the year ended December 31, 2007
Voyage and Time Charter Revenues. Voyage and time charter revenues increased by $146.9 million, or 77%, to $337.4 million for 2008, compared to $190.5 million for 2007. The increase is attributable to an increase in the size of the fleet resulting in a 19% increase in operating days, and a 50% increase in average charter rates as a result of the favorable shipping rates in 2008 compared to 2007. The increase in operating days during 2008 resulted from the enlargement of our fleet following our acquisition of the Aliki in April, the Semirio in June, the Boston in November and the Salt Lake City in December 2007 and the Norfolk in February 2008. This increase was partly offset with days lost due to the sale of the Pantelis SP in July 2007. In 2008 we had total operating days of 6,862 and fleet utilization of 99.6%, compared to 5,771 total operating days and a fleet utilization of 99.3%, in 2007.
Voyage Expenses. Voyage expenses increased by $6.3 million, or 72%, to $15.0 million in 2008 compared to $8.7 million in 2007. This increase in voyage expenses is attributable to the increase in commissions paid to unaffiliated ship brokers and in-house ship brokers associated with charterers. Commissions are a percentage of voyage and time charter revenues; therefore, their increase is due to the increase in revenues.
Vessel Operating Expenses. Vessel operating expenses increased by $10.6 million, or 36%, to $39.9 million in 2008 compared to $29.3 million in 2007. The increase in operating expenses is attributable to the 19% increase in ownership days resulting from the delivery of the new Capesize vessels to our fleet as well as increased crew costs, insurance and repair costs. Daily operating expenses were $5,772 in 2008 compared to $5,046 in 2007, representing a 14% increase. Our operating expenses are affected by the Euro/US$ exchange rates, with US$ exchange rates deteriorating towards Euro; as a large part of them (around 50%) and mainly crew expenses, which represent around 60% of our operating costs, is paid in Euros. Furthermore, insurance costs increased in 2008 due to supplementary calls charged by our P&I Club and increased Hull and Machinery premiums for the insurance coverage of our fleet, which were in line with the increased fleet market values for the majority of 2008. Repair costs have also increased compared to the previous year due to the insurance deductibles for hull and machinery claims for two of our vessels and also due to the additional repair costs incurred as a result of the drydock surveys for another two of our vessels.
Depreciation and Amortization of Deferred Charges. Depreciation and amortization of deferred charges increased by $18.9 million, or 77%, to $43.3 million for 2008, compared to $24.4 million for 2007. The increase is the result of the increase in the number of vessels in our fleet and was partly offset by decreased depreciation expenses for the vessel Pantelis SP.
General and Administrative Expenses. General and Administrative Expenses for 2008 increased by $2.1 million or 18% to $13.8 million compared to $11.7 million in 2007. The increase is mainly attributable to increases in salaries and compensation cost relating to restricted stock awards to executive management and non-executive directors and the exchange rate of U.S.$ to the Euro.
Interest and Finance Costs. Interest and finance costs decreased by $0.5 million or 8%, to $5.9 million in 2008 compared to $6.4 million in 2007. The decrease is attributable to interest expenses related to long-term debt outstanding. Interest costs in 2008 amounted to $5.4 million compared to $5.5 million in 2007, which resulted from increased long-term debt outstanding during the year but decreased average interest rates and interest relating to leased property.
Interest Income. Interest income decreased by $1.9 million or 70%, to $0.8 million in 2008 compared to $2.7 million in 2007. The decrease is attributable to decreased levels of cash on hand during the year.
Inflation has only a moderate effect on our expenses given current economic conditions. In the event that significant global inflationary pressures appear, these pressures would increase our operating, voyage, administrative and financing costs.
We have historically financed our capital requirements with cash flow from operations, equity contributions from stockholders and long-term bank debt. Our main uses of funds have been capital expenditures for the acquisition of new vessels, expenditures incurred in connection with ensuring that our vessels comply with international and regulatory standards, repayments of bank loans and payments of dividends. We will require capital to fund ongoing operations, the construction of our new vessels and debt service. Working capital, which is current assets minus current liabilities, including the current portion of long-term debt, amounted to $264.8 million at December 31, 2009 and $48.5 million at December 31, 2008.
We anticipate that internally generated cash flow will be sufficient to fund the operations of our fleet, including our working capital requirements. Currently, we have $50.2 million available under our revolving credit facility with the Royal Bank of Scotland to finance future vessel acquisitions, of which $50.0 million can be used for working capital purposes.
Cash and cash equivalents increased to $282.4 million as of December 31, 2009 compared to $62.0 million as of December 31, 2008. We consider highly liquid investments such as time deposits and certificates of deposit with an original maturity of three months or less to be cash equivalents. Cash and cash equivalents are primarily held in U.S. dollars.
Net Cash Provided By Operating Activities
Net cash provided by operating activities decreased by $109.2 million, or 42%, to $151.9 million in 2009 compared to $261.2 million in 2008. The decrease was primarily attributable to the decrease in the charter rates, which resulted in decreased revenues. Net cash provided by operating activities increased by $112.2 million, or 75%, to $261.2 million in 2008 compared to $149.0 million in 2007. The increase was primarily attributable to the increase in the number of operating days that we achieved during the year and the increased charter rates, which resulted in increased revenues.
Net cash used in investing activities was $73.1 million in 2009, which consists of $65.2 million of advances for vessels under construction; $7.7 million of investments in short term time deposits; and $0.2 million relating to purchases of furniture and equipment.
Net cash used in investing activities was $108.7 million for 2008, which consists of the 80% balance of the purchase price and additional predelivery costs of the Norfolk, amounting to $108.5 million; $1.1 million of construction costs we paid for the New York and the Los Angeles and $0.9 million we received from insurers for unrepaired damages to the Coronis caused during its grounding in 2007.
Net cash used in investing activities was $409.1 million for 2007, which consists of the advance and additional costs paid for the acquisition of the Norfolk, amounting to $27.0 million and $1.8 million of construction costs we paid for the New York (Hull 1107) and the Los Angeles (Hull 1108); $459.0 million paid for the delivery installment of the Semirio and for the acquisition of the Aliki, the Boston and the Salt Lake City; $78.9 million of net proceeds from the sale of the Pantelis SP and $0.2 million paid for other assets.
Net Cash Provided By / Used In Financing Activities
Net cash provided by financing activities was $141.6 million in 2009, which consists of $73.6 million of proceeds drawn under our loan facilities and $30.1 million of indebtedness that we repaid; $98.4 million of proceeds received from an issuance of 6,000,000 shares of common stock in May 2009; $0.1 million proceeds received under our dividend reinvestment plan; and $0.4 million that we paid in financing costs relating to our new loan agreements.
Net cash used in financing activities in 2008 amounted to $107.2 million and consists of $237.2 million of proceeds drawn under our revolving credit facility for the acquisition of the Salt Lake City and the Norfolk; $97.5 million of indebtedness that we repaid under our revolving credit facility with the Royal Bank of Scotland and $0.1 million proceeds we received under our dividend reinvestment plan and $247.0 million of dividends paid to stockholders.
Net cash provided by financing activities in 2007 amounted to $262.3 million and consists of $287.8 million of proceeds drawn under our revolving credit facility for the acquisition of the Semirio ($92.0 million), the Aliki ($87.0 million), the Boston ($22.0 million) and the Salt Lake City ($86.8 million); $327.4 million of indebtedness that we repaid under our revolving credit facility with the Royal Bank of Scotland and $0.1 million of financing fees relating to the 364 day loan facility with the Royal Bank of Scotland. Net cash provided by financing activities also consists of $433.1 million of net proceeds from our public offerings in April and September 2007, and $131.1 million of dividends paid to stockholders.
In February 2005, we entered into a $230.0 million secured revolving credit facility with The Royal Bank of Scotland Plc., which was amended on May 24, 2006, to increase the facility amount to $300.0 million. Our credit facility permits us to borrow up to $50.0 million for working capital. In January 2007, we entered into a supplemental agreement with The Royal Bank of Scotland Plc. for a 364-day standby credit facility of up to $200.0 million, that expired in March 2008. We draw funds under our $300.0 million credit facility to fund acquisitions and, as necessary, to fund our working capital needs.
The $300.0 million revolving credit facility has a term of ten years from May 24, 2006, which we refer to as the availability date, and we are permitted to borrow up to the facility limit, provided that conditions to drawdown are satisfied and that borrowings do not exceed 75% of the aggregate value of the vessels. The facility limit is $300.0 million for a period of six years from the availability date, at which time the facility limit will be reduced to $285.0 million. Thereafter, the facility limit will be reduced by $15.0 million semi-annually over a period of four years with a final reduction of $165.0 million together with the last semi-annual reduction.
The credit facility has commitment fees of 0.25% per annum on the amount of the undrawn balance of the facility, payable quarterly in arrears. Interest on amounts drawn are payable at a rate ranging from 0.75% to 0.85% per annum over LIBOR. During 2009 and 2008, the weighted average interest rate relating to the amounts drawn under the credit facility was 1.29% and 3.40%, respectively.
As of December 31, 2009 and as of the date of this annual report, we had $218.2 million and $249.8 million, respectively, of principal balance outstanding under our $300.0 million revolving credit facility, which was used to fund part of the purchase price of the Salt Lake City, the Norfolk, and the acquisition cost of the Melite.
In November 2006, we entered into a loan agreement with Fortis Bank for a secured term loan of $60.2 million and a guarantee facility of up to $36.5 million, which we used to finance the pre-delivery installments of our vessels that were under construction (Hull H1107 and Hull H1108). In April 2009, we entered into a supplemental loan agreement with Fortis Bank to amend and restate the existing loan agreement, so as to include in the loan agreement our new wholly owned subsidiary Gala Properties Inc., owner of the Houston, as a borrower. Pursuant to the supplemental loan agreement and the amended and restated loan agreement, the bank consented to the termination of our contract for the construction of one of our vessels included in the loan agreement, the amendment of the purpose of the loan facility made available under the principal agreement such that its purpose includes the financing of part of the construction and acquisition cost of the Houston (Hull H1138) and certain amendments to the terms of the principal agreement and the corporate guarantee. Under the amended and restated agreement, the bank also agreed to reduce the shareholding required to be beneficially owned by the Palios' and Margaronis' families from 20% to 10%.
As of December 31, 2009 we had $24.1 million of principal balance outstanding under our $60.2 million loan facility. In February 2010, our loan facility with Fortis Bank was terminated after we repaid all of our outstanding indebtedness on delivery of the New York.
In October 2009, we entered into a loan agreement with Bremer Landesbank to partly finance or, as the case may be, refinance the contract price of the Houston for an amount of $40.0 million. The loan has a term of ten years, starting from the delivery of the vessel and will be repayable in 40 quarterly installments of $0.9 million plus one balloon installment of $4.0 million to be paid together with the last installment. The loan bears interest at Libor plus a margin of 2.15% per annum for the first two years and to be negotiated thereafter.
Under the terms of the loan, we are required for the duration of the loan to maintain in our current account with the Bank sufficient funds to meet the next repayment installment and interest due at monthly intervals, any other outstanding indebtedness that becomes due with the bank and sufficient funds to cover the anticipated cost of the next special survey of the vessel accumulated at least 12 months prior to such a survey.
As of December 31, 2009 and as of the date of this annual report, we had $40.0 million and $39.1 million, respectively, of principal balance outstanding under our $40.0 million loan facility with Bremer Landesbank.
In October 2009, we entered into a loan agreement with Deutsche Bank AG to partly finance or, as the case may be, refinance the contract price of the New York for an amount of $40.0 million but not exceeding 80% of the fair value of the vessel. The loan has a term of five years starting from the delivery of the vessel. The loan will be repayable in 19 quarterly instalments of the 1.50% of the loan amount and a 20th instalment equal to the remaining outstanding balance of the loan. The loan bears interest at Libor plus a margin of 2.40% per annum. We drew down the loan amount of $40.0 million in March 2010 on the delivery of the New York.
Our obligations under our credit facilities are secured by a first priority or preferred ship mortgage on certain vessels in our fleet and such other vessels that we may from time to time include with the approval of our lenders; and a first assignment of all freights, earnings, insurances and requisition compensation; corporate guarantees; and pledges of the outstanding stock of our subsidiaries. We may grant additional security from time to time in the future.
Our ability to borrow amounts under the credit facilities is subject to the execution of customary documentation relating to the facilities, including security documents, satisfaction of certain customary conditions precedent and compliance with terms and conditions included in the loan documents. To the extent that the vessels in our fleet that secure our obligations under the credit facilities are insufficient to satisfy minimum security requirements, we will be required to grant additional security or obtain a waiver or consent from the lender. We will also not be permitted to borrow amounts under the facilities if we experience a change of control.
The credit facilities contain financial and other covenants requiring us, among other things, to ensure that:
For the purposes of the credit facilities, our "total assets" are defined to include our tangible fixed assets and our current assets, as set forth in our consolidated financial statements.
The credit facilities also contain general covenants that require us to maintain adequate insurance coverage and to obtain the lender's consent before we acquire new vessels, change the flag, class or management of our vessels, enter into time charters or consecutive voyage charters that have a term that exceeds, or which by virtue of any optional extensions may exceed a certain period, or enter into a new line of business. In addition, our loan facilities include customary events of default, including those relating to a failure to pay principal or interest, a breach of covenant, representation and warranty, a cross-default to other indebtedness and non-compliance with security documents.
Our credit facilities do not prohibit us from paying dividends as long as an event of default has not occurred. When we incur debt under the credit facility, however, the amount of cash that we have available to distribute as dividends in a period may be reduced by any interest or principal payments that we are required to make. As of November 2008, our board of directors has suspended the payment of dividends. We believe that this suspension will enhance our future flexibility by permitting cash flow that would have been devoted to dividends to be used for opportunities that may arise in the current marketplace, such as funding our operations, acquiring vessels or servicing our debt. Currently, we believe we are not in default of our covenants relating to our loan facilities. However, if the market values of our vessels decline, our vessel values securing our debt may not exceed 120%, or 125% as required, of the aggregate principal amount of debt outstanding, which would result in a breach of our covenants. Currently, 11 of our vessels have been provided as collateral to secure our credit facility with the Royal Bank of Scotland; one vessel has been provided as collateral to secure our loan facility with Bremer Landesbank; and one vessel to secure our loan facility with Deutsche Bank AG.
As of December 31, 2009, 2008 and 2007 and as of the date of this annual report, we did not use and have not used, any financial instruments for hedging purposes. However, in May 2009, we entered into a five-year zero cost collar agreement with a floor at 1% and a cap at 7.8% of a notional amount of $100.0 million to manage our exposure to interest rate changes related to our borrowings. The collar agreement is considered as an economic hedge agreement as it does not meet the criteria of hedge accounting; therefore, the change in its fair value is recognized in earnings. As of December 31, 2009, the fair value of the floor resulted in losses of $1.0 million and the fair value of the cap in gains of $0.8 million, resulting in an aggregate loss of $0.2 million. Also in 2009, we incurred additional realized losses of $0.3 million.
We make capital expenditures from time to time in connection with our vessel acquisitions which we finance with cash from operations, debt under loan facilities that provide necessary funds at terms acceptable to us, or with funds from equity issuances. Currently, following the delivery of our vessels Melite and New York in January and March 2010, respectively, we do not have any contractual obligations relating to future vessel acquisitions.
We incur additional capital expenditures when our vessels undergo surveys. This process of recertification may require us to reposition these vessels from a discharge port to shipyard facilities, which will reduce our operating days during the period. The loss of earnings associated with the decrease in operating days, together with the capital needs for repairs and upgrades results in increased cash flow needs which we fund with cash on hand.
We incur from time to time expenditures relating to inspections for acquiring new vessels that meet our standards. Such expenditures are insignificant and they are expensed as they incur.
Our results of operations depend primarily on the charter hire rates that we are able to realize. Charter hire rates paid for dry bulk carriers are primarily a function of the underlying balance between vessel supply and demand.
Since mid-August 2008, the charter rates in the dry bulk charter market have declined significantly, and dry bulk vessel values have also declined both as a result of a slowdown in the availability of global credit and the significant deterioration in charter rates. Market conditions have affected our earnings in 2009, which decreased compared to 2008. Although, charter rates have increased from their low levels experienced at the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009, we cannot assure investors that we will be able to fix our vessels at average rates higher than or similar to those achieved in previous years.
We do not have any off-balance sheet arrangements.
The following table sets forth our contractual obligations, in thousands of U.S. dollars, and their maturity dates as of December 31, 2009:
See section "forward looking statements" at the beginning of this annual report.
Item 6. Directors, Senior Management and Employees
Set forth below are the names, ages and positions of our directors and executive officers. Our board of directors is elected annually on a staggered basis, and each director elected holds office for a three year term. Officers are appointed from time to time by our board of directors and hold office until a successor is appointed or their employment is terminated.
The term of our Class I directors expires in 2012, the term of our Class II directors expires in 2010 and the term of our Class III directors expires in 2011.
The business address of each officer and director is the address of our principal executive offices, which are located at Pendelis 16, 175 64 Palaio Faliro, Athens, Greece.
Biographical information with respect to each of our directors and executive officers is set forth below.
Simeon P. Palios> has served as our Chief Executive Officer and Chairman since February 21, 2005 and as a Director since March 9, 1999. Mr. Palios also serves as an employee of DSS. Prior to November 12, 2004, Mr. Palios was the Managing Director of Diana Shipping Agencies S.A. and performed on our behalf the services he now performs as Chief Executive Officer. Since 1972, when he formed Diana Shipping Agencies, Mr. Palios has had the overall responsibility of our activities. Mr. Palios has 40 years experience in the shipping industry and expertise in technical and operational issues. He has served as an ensign in the Greek Navy for the inspection of passenger boats on behalf of Ministry of Merchant Marine and is qualified as a naval architect and engineer. Mr. Palios is a member of various leading classification societies worldwide and he is a member of the board of directors of the United Kingdom Freight Demurrage and Defense Association Limited. He holds a bachelor's degree in Marine Engineering from Durham University.
Anastasios C. Margaronis> has served as our President and as a Director since February 21, 2005. Mr. Margaronis also serves as an employee of DSS. Prior to February 21, 2005, Mr. Margaronis was employed by Diana Shipping Agencies S.A. and performed on our behalf the services he now performs as President. He joined Diana Shipping Agencies in 1979 and has been responsible for overseeing our insurance matters, including hull and machinery, protection and indemnity and war risks cover. Mr. Margaronis has 27 years of experience in shipping, including in ship finance and insurance. He is a member of the Governing Council of the Greek Shipowner's Union and a member of the board of directors of the United Kingdom Mutual Steam Ship Assurance Association (Bermuda) Limited. He holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Warwick and a master's of science degree in Maritime Law from the Wales Institute of Science and Technology.
Ioannis G. Zafirakis> has served as our Executive Vice President and Secretary since February 14, 2008, as our Vice President and Secretary since February 21, 2005 and as a Director since March 9, 1999. Mr. Zafirakis also serves as an employee of DSS. Prior to February 21, 2005, Mr. Zafirakis was employed by Diana Shipping Agencies S.A. and performed on our behalf the services he now performs as Executive Vice President. He joined Diana Shipping Agencies S.A. in 1997 where he held a number of positions in its finance and accounting department. He holds a bachelor's degree in Business Studies from City University Business School in London and a master's degree in International Transport from the University of Wales in Cardiff.
Andreas Michalopoulos> has served as our Chief Financial Officer since March 8, 2006. Mr. Michalopoulos started his career in 1993 when he joined Merrill Lynch Private Banking in Paris. In 1995, he became an International Corporate Auditor with Nestle SA based in Vevey, Switzerland and moved in 1998 to the position of Trade Marketing and Merchandising Manager. From 2000 to 2002, he worked for McKinsey and Company in Paris, France as an Associate Generalist Consultant before joining a major Greek Pharmaceutical Group with U.S. R&D activity as a Vice President of International Business Development and Member of the Executive Committee in 2002 where he remained until 2005. From 2005 to 2006, he joined Diana Shipping Agencies as a Project Manager. Mr. Michalopoulos graduated from Paris IX Dauphine University with Honors in 1993 obtaining a MSc in Economics and a master's degree in Management Sciences specialized in Finance. In 1995, he also obtained a master's degree in business administration from Imperial College, University of London. Mr. Andreas Michalopoulos is married to the youngest daughter of Mr. Simeon Palios.
Maria Dede> has served as our Chief Accounting Officer since September 1, 2005 during which time she has been responsible for all financial reporting requirements. Mrs. Dede has also served as an employee of DSS since March 2005. In 2000, Mrs. Dede joined the Athens branch of Arthur Andersen, which merged with Ernst and Young (Hellas) in 2002, where she served as an external auditor of shipping companies until