US-based shipowner-operator Eagle Bulk Shipping has acquired two high-specification scrubber-fitted Ultramax bulkcarriers for $44m.

The 2015-built vessels, set to be delivered in Q3 2021, will be rechristened as the M/V Antwerp Eagle and M/V Valencia Eagle.

Featuring a SDARI-64 design, the vessels were built at China’s Jiangsu Hantong Ship Heavy Industry.

Eagle Bulk Shipping will pay for the purchases using cash on hand, including the equity issued under its at-the-market (ATM) programme.

The company secured $22.5m in gross proceeds by issuing 475,894 shares of common stock at an average price of $47.39 last month.

Eagle Bulk Shipping CEO Gary Vogel said: “Given recent market developments, and our positive view on supply-demand fundamentals and asset prices, we continue to seek accretive growth opportunities.

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“In this regard, we are pleased to have been able to secure two modern, scrubber-fitted Ultramaxes in conjunction with an equity raise under our ATM programme.”

Furthermore, Eagle Bulk Shipping agreed to sell the 2003-built Supramax, named M/V Tern, in a $9.7m deal.

This transaction is expected to conclude next month before the ship’s statutory drydock and ballast water treatment system (BWTS) installation due date.

Upon the completion of these transactions, the company will own roughly 53 vessels, with an average lifespan of 8.7 years.

In the last five years, it has renewed its fleet by purchasing 29 modern vessels while selling 20 of its oldest and least efficient vessels.

In a statement, the company said: “These sale and purchase transactions have vastly improved Eagle’s fleet makeup; allowing us to maintain a low average age, increase cargo capacity per vessel and reduce emissions on a per deadweight ton basis.”

Eagle Bulk Shipping also purchased two modern, high-specification SDARI-64 scrubber-fitted Ultramax bulkcarriers in December 2020.