Bulker specialist M/Maritime has expanded its fully Japanese-built fleet with the acquisition of a modern ultramax bulker.

The Athens-based company, which is backed by Greek entrepreneur John Mytilineos, confirmed the purchase in a statement on its website.

M/Maritime did not identify the vessel in question.

Its description as a seven-year-old, Japanese-owned ultramax built at Imabari Shipbuilding’s Tadotsu Shipyard, however, matches the characteristics of a ship that the company has long had in its sights.

This is MC Shipping’s 63,400-dwt Rising Sky (built 2017), which M/Maritime already charters.

TradeWinds reported in April that the Athens-based company had a purchase option on the ship and that it would likely acquire it over the following 12 months at an undisclosed price.

M/Maritime said in the statement on its website that it expects to assume full management of the vessel by the end of March.

M/Maritime transitioned to a fully Japanese-built fleet in April after selling the 63,300-dwt All Star Atlas (built 2014).

The Chinese-built All Star Atlas, which used to be M/Maritime’s oldest ship, has been trading as the Xi Long 19 since, in the fleet of Singapore-based Xilong Shipping.

M/Maritime’s two latest secondhand moves are part of a gradual, long-term strategy to expand and renew its fleet with newbuildings and modern secondhand vessels.

This strategy has seen the company expand to 17 units with an average age of six years.

This tally excludes one further Imabari-built vessel that M/Maritime is currently chartering — the 37,700-dwt Amber Star (built 2017).

Apart from buying Japanese-built ships, M/Maritime has also ordered new vessels in Japan, following the cultivation of close relationships with some of the country’s leading shipbuilding players.

The Japanese yards at which the company has inked vessels are Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding, Namura Shipbuilding’s Hakodate Dock and Saiki Heavy Industries.