Expanding W Marine has revealed yet another ship acquisition, which sees the Athens bulker firm venturing out into new kinds of trades and waters.

The Yiannis Sarantitis-founded company announced on its website that it bought a vessel on the secondhand market this month that will trade henceforth as W Jade.

Chief executive Nikos Triantafyllakis clarified to TradeWinds that this is the 75,400-dwt Rio Grita (built 2014).

The ship had been listed with German outfit Minship Shipmanagement. Minship managing director Matthias Ruttmann confirmed that his company has agreed to sell it for just over $22.5m.

The Rio Grita is scheduled for a special survey in early 2024. The Taizhou Kouan Shipbuilding-built vessel has a ballast water treatment system installed.

New paths

Its acquisition brings W Marine’s fleet to a considerable size of 14 vessels — seven post-panamaxes, four kamsarmaxes and three panamaxes built between 2007 and 2014.

In a testament to Sarantitis’ longstanding business ties with Scandinavia, W Marine owns four of them in a joint venture with Norwegian asset manager Ness, Risan & Partners.

The Rio Grita, however, was acquired outside the Greek-Norwegian structure.

The deal marks W Marine’s entry into the ice-class vessel market.

“We want to try our luck in the ice trades,” Triantafyllakis said, not ruling out further expansion in the segment if the experiment succeeds.

Strengthened for heavy cargo loading, W Marine’s new ship can carry iron ore, bauxite and coal between the Indian Ocean, North America and the Baltic.

W Marine has been using non-ice-class panamaxes for years, in a bet that they are flexible enough to tap growing trade on the rim of the Indian Ocean.

Out of Bavaria

Unusually for a German shipping company, Minship is not based in the country’s maritime hubs by the North Sea and the Baltic but in Bavaria — a landlocked region best known for its Alpine charms.

The Rio Grita is not the only panamax Minship is putting under the hammer. Sistership Rio Tamara (built 2015) is also a sales candidate.

“M/V Rio Tamara is in the market since last week and I am confident we will sell her at levels above $23.5m,” Ruttmann told TradeWinds in an email.

“The money is good,” he replied when asked to elaborate on the rationale for the sales.

Tighter environmental regulations and the emergence of new ship designs also played a role in the decision to sell the panamaxes, he added.