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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
FORM 20-F
(Mark One)
Registration statement pursuant to Section 12(b) or (g) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
Annual Report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019
Transition Report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
Shell Company Report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
Commission File Number 001-34077

SAFE BULKERS, INC.
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)
Not Applicable
(Translation of Registrant’s name into English)
Republic of the Marshall Islands
(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
Safe Bulkers, Inc.
Apt. D11
Les Acanthes
6, Avenue des Citronniers
MC98000 Monaco
(Address of principal executive office)
Dr. Loukas Barmparis
President
Telephone: +30 2 111 888 400
Telephone: +357 25 887 200
Facsimile: +30 2 111 878 500
(Name, Address, Telephone Number and Facsimile Number of Company contact person)

















Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

Title of Each Class
Trading Symbol(s)
Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered
Common Stock, $0.001 par value per share
SB
New York Stock Exchange
Preferred stock purchase rights
N/A

8.00% Series C Cumulative Redeemable Perpetual Preferred Shares, par value $0.01 per share, liquidation preference $25.00 per share
SB.PR.C
New York Stock Exchange
8.00% Series D Cumulative Redeemable Perpetual Preferred Shares, par value $0.01 per share, liquidation preference $25.00 per share
SB.PR.D
New York Stock Exchange
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act: None





Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the issuer’s classes of capital or common stock as of the close of the period covered by the annual report. As of December 31, 2019, there were 104,251,019 shares of the registrant’s common stock, 2,300,000 shares of 8.00% Series C Cumulative Redeemable Perpetual Preferred Shares, $0.01 par value per share, liquidation preference $25.00 per share, and 3,200,000 shares of 8.00% Series D Cumulative Redeemable Perpetual Preferred Shares, $0.01 par value per share, liquidation preference $25.00 per share, outstanding.

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes
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. Yes No

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 requirements for the past 90 days. Yes No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically 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). Yes No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or an “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):

Large accelerated filer Accelerated filer Non-accelerated filer Emerging growth company

If an emerging growth company that prepares its financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards† provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.

† The term “new or revised financial accounting standard” refers to any update issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to its Accounting Standards Codification after April 5, 2012.

Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing.
U.S. GAAP International Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board Other

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. Item 17 Item 18

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). Yes No

TABLE OF CONTENTS






ITEM 1.
ITEM 2.
ITEM 3.
ITEM 4.
ITEM 4A.
ITEM 5.
ITEM 6.
ITEM 7.
ITEM 8.
ITEM 9.
ITEM 10.
ITEM 11.
ITEM 12.
ITEM 13.
ITEM 14.
ITEM 15.
ITEM 16.
ITEM 16A. 
ITEM 16B.
ITEM 16C.
ITEM 16D.
ITEM 16E.
ITEM 16F.
ITEM 16G.
ITEM 16H.
ITEM 17.
ITEM 18.
ITEM 19.

ABOUT THIS REPORT

In this annual report, “Safe Bulkers,” “the Company,” “we,” “us” and “our” are sometimes used for convenience where references are made to Safe Bulkers, Inc. and its subsidiaries (as well as the predecessors of the foregoing). These expressions are also used where no useful purpose is served by identifying the particular company or companies. Our affiliated management companies, Safety Management Overseas S.A., a company incorporated under the laws of the Republic of Panama (“Safety Management”), and Safe Bulkers Management Limited, a company organized and existing under the laws of the Republic of Cyprus (“Safe Bulkers Management”), are each sometimes referred to as a “Manager,” and together as our “Managers.”

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

All statements in this annual report that are not statements of historical fact are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The disclosure and analysis set forth in this annual report includes assumptions, expectations, projections, intentions and beliefs about future events in a number of places, particularly in relation to our operations, cash flows, financial position, plans, strategies, business prospects, changes and trends in our business and the markets in which we operate. These statements are intended as forward-looking statements. In some cases, predictive, future-tense or forward-looking words such as “believe,” “intend,” “anticipate,” “hope,” “estimate,” “project,” “forecast,” “plan,” “target,” “seek,” “potential,” “may,” “will,” “likely to,” “would,” “could,” “should” and “expect” and other similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements, but are not the exclusive means of identifying such statements. In addition, we and our representatives may from time to time make other oral or written statements which are forward-looking statements,





including in our periodic reports that we file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), other information sent to our security holders, and other written materials.

Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, such matters as:

future operating or financial results and future revenues and expenses;
future, pending or recent acquisitions, business strategy, and other plans and objectives for growth and future operations, areas of possible expansion and expected capital spending or operating expenses;
availability of key employees, crew, length and number of off-hire days, drydocking requirements and fuel and insurance costs;
general market conditions and shipping industry trends, including charter rates, vessel values and factors affecting supply and demand;
competition within our industry;
reputational risks;
our financial condition and liquidity, including our ability to make required payments under our credit facilities, comply with our loan covenants and obtain additional financing in the future to fund capital expenditures, acquisitions and other corporate activities and to comply with the restrictive and other covenants in our financing arrangements;
the strength of world economies and currencies;
general domestic and international political conditions;
the effect of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (the “2019-nCoV”) on our business and operations and any related remediation measures on our performance and business prospects (including our ability to successfully install sulfur oxide exhaust gas cleaning systems in about half of our fleet);
potential disruption of shipping routes due to accidents or political events;
the overall health and condition of the U.S. and global financial markets, including the value of the U.S. dollar relative to other currencies;
our expectations about availability of vessels to purchase, the time that it may take to construct and deliver new vessels or the useful lives of our vessels;
our continued ability to enter into period time charters with our customers and secure profitable employment for our vessels in the spot market;
vessel breakdowns and instances of off-hire;
our future capital expenditures (including our ability to successfully install ballast water treatment systems in all of our vessels and complete our program for the installation of sulfur oxide exhaust gas cleaning systems in about half of our fleet) and investments in the construction, acquisition and refurbishment of our vessels (including the amount and nature thereof and the timing of completion thereof, the delivery and commencement of operations dates, expected downtime delays, cost overruns and lost revenue);
our ability to realize the expected benefits from sulfur oxide exhaust gas cleaning systems;
availability of financing and refinancing, our level of indebtedness and our need for cash to meet our debt service obligations;
our expectations relating to dividend payments and ability to make such payments;
our ability to leverage our Managers’ relationships and reputation within the drybulk shipping industry to our advantage;
our anticipated general and administrative expenses;
environmental and regulatory conditions, including changes in laws and regulations or actions taken by regulatory authorities;
risks inherent in vessel operation, including terrorism (including cyber terrorism), piracy corruption, militant activities, political instability, terrorism and ethnic unrest in locations where we may operate and discharge of pollutants;
potential liability from pending or future litigation; and
other factors discussed in “Item 3. Key Information—iv. Risk Factors” of this annual report.





We caution that the forward-looking statements included in this annual report represent our estimates and assumptions only as of the date of this annual report and are not intended to give any assurance as to future results. Assumptions, expectations, projections, intentions and beliefs about future events may, and often do, vary from actual results and these differences can be material. The reasons for this include the risks, uncertainties and factors described under “Item 3. Key Information—iv. Risk Factors.” As a result, the forward-looking events discussed in this annual report might not occur and our actual results may differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements. Accordingly, you should not unduly rely on any forward-looking statements.

We undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements contained in this annual report, except as required by law, whether as a result of new information, future events, a change in our views or expectations or otherwise. New factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for us to predict all of these factors. Further, we cannot assess the impact of each such factor on our business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to be materially different from those contained in any forward-looking statement.


PART I

ITEM 1.
IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

Not applicable.
ITEM 2.
OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

Not applicable.
ITEM 3.
KEY INFORMATION

(i) Selected Financial Data

The following table presents selected consolidated financial and other data of Safe Bulkers, Inc. for each of the five years in the five year period ended December 31, 2019. The table should be read together with “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects.” The selected consolidated financial data of Safe Bulkers, Inc. is a summary of, is derived from, and is qualified by reference to, our audited consolidated financial statements and notes thereto, which have been prepared in accordance with United States (the “U.S.”) generally accepted accounting principles (“U.S. GAAP”).

Our audited consolidated statements of operations, shareholders’ equity and cash flows for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019 and the consolidated balance sheets at December 31, 2018 and 2019, together with the notes thereto, are included in “Item 18. Financial Statements” and should be read in their entirety.





 
 
Year Ended December
 
 
2015
 
2016
 
2017
 
2018
 
2019
 
 
(in thousands of U.S. dollars except share data)
STATEMENT OF OPERATIONS
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Revenues
 
$
132,375

 
$
113,959

 
$
154,040

 
$
201,548

 
$
206,682

Commissions
 
(5,058
)
 
(4,187
)
 
(6,008
)
 
(8,357
)
 
(8,921
)
Net revenues
 
127,317

 
109,772

 
148,032

 
193,191

 
197,761

Voyage expenses
 
(17,856
)
 
(7,679
)
 
(3,932
)
 
(6,378
)
 
(13,715
)
Vessel operating expenses
 
(55,469
)
 
(49,519
)
 
(52,794
)
 
(63,512
)
 
(68,569
)
Depreciation
 
(47,133
)
 
(49,485
)
 
(51,424
)
 
(48,067
)
 
(50,310
)
General and administrative expenses
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Management fee to related parties
 
(10,764
)
 
(11,611
)
 
(13,511
)
 
(16,536
)
 
(18,050
)
Company administration expenses
 
(3,853
)
 
(3,770
)
 
(2,607
)
 
(2,706
)
 
(2,589
)
Early redelivery cost, net
 

 

 
(1,263
)
 
(105
)
 
(63
)
Loss on inventory valuation
 
(1,432
)
 

 

 

 

Other operating income/(cost)
 

 
794

 
(390
)
 

 
(414
)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Loss on sale of assets
 

 
(2,750
)
 
(120
)
 

 

Impairment loss
 
(22,826
)
 
(17,163
)
 
(91,293
)
 

 

Operating (loss)/income
 
(32,016
)
 
(31,411
)
 
(69,302
)
 
55,887

 
44,051

Interest expense
 
(11,650
)
 
(19,576
)
 
(23,224
)
 
(25,713
)
 
(26,815
)
Other finance (costs)/income
 
(242
)
 
(1,735
)
 
7,651

 
(973
)
 
(714
)
Interest income
 
86

 
515

 
799

 
929

 
1,558

(Loss)/gain on derivatives
 
(1,676
)
 
(620
)
 
72

 
18

 
(121
)
Foreign currency gain/(loss)
 
347

 
(76
)
 
1,782

 
(670
)
 
(76
)
Amortization and write-off of deferred finance charges
 
(2,793
)
 
(3,063
)
 
(2,457
)
 
(1,794
)
 
(1,845
)
Net (loss)/income
 
$
(47,944
)
 
$
(55,966
)
 
$
(84,679
)
 
$
27,684

 
$
16,038

(Loss)/earnings per share of Common Stock, basic and diluted
 
$
(0.74
)
 
$
(0.83
)
 
$
(0.98
)
 
$
0.16

 
$
0.04

Cash dividends declared per share of Common Stock
 
$
0.04

 
$

 
$

 

 

Cash dividends declared per share of Preferred B Shares
 
$
2.00

 
$
2.00

 
$
2.00

 
$
0.62

 
$

Cash dividends declared per share of Preferred C Shares
 
$
2.00

 
$
2.00

 
$
2.00

 
$
2.00

 
$
2.00

Cash dividends declared per share of Preferred D Shares
 
$
2.00

 
$
2.00

 
$
2.00

 
$
2.00

 
$
2.00

Weighted average number of shares of Common Stock outstanding, basic and diluted
 
83,479,636

 
84,526,411

 
100,932,876

 
101,604,339

 
101,686,312


 
 
Year Ended December
 
 
2015
 
2016
 
2017
 
2018
 
2019
 
 
(in thousands of U.S. dollars)
OTHER FINANCIAL DATA
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Net cash provided by operating activities
 
$
25,523

 
$
13,478

 
$
50,101

 
$
85,449

 
$
58,284

Net cash used in investing activities (1)
 
(125,041
)
 
(39,873
)
 
(39,590
)
 
(63,670
)
 
(36,785
)
Net cash provided by/(used in) financing activities
 
180,090

 
(83,875
)
 
(47,060
)
 
(15,580
)
 
8,540

Net increase/(decrease) in cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash (1)
 
80,572

 
(110,270
)
 
(36,549
)
 
6,199

 
30,039

(1) Effective December 31, 2017, we adopted the new standard Accounting Standards Update ASU 2016-18 – Restricted Cash. The implementation of this update affected the presentation in the statement of cash flows relating to changes in restricted cash which are presented as part of Cash whereas we previously presented these within investing activities. This standard was retrospectively applied to all periods presented.





 
 
Year Ended December
 
 
2015
 
2016
 
2017
 
2018
 
2019
 
 
(in thousands of U.S. dollars)
BALANCE SHEET DATA
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total current assets
 
243,162

 
111,008

 
79,086

 
101,262

 
135,989

Total fixed assets
 
1,056,517

 
1,051,726

 
946,529

 
963,887

 
964,000

Other non-current assets
 
9,952

 
11,019

 
9,482

 
11,050

 
14,654

Total assets
 
1,309,631

 
1,173,753

 
1,035,097

 
1,076,199

 
1,114,643

Total current liabilities
 
105,726

 
23,779

 
36,933

 
54,606

 
86,784

Long-term debt, net of current portion and of deferred finance charges
 
569,399

 
569,781

 
541,816

 
538,508

 
536,995

Total liabilities
 
675,485

 
595,217

 
578,749

 
593,367

 
624,701

Mezzanine equity
 

 

 

 
16,998

 
17,200

Common stock, $0.001 par value
 
83

 
99

 
102

 
103

 
104

Total shareholders’ equity
 
634,146

 
578,536

 
456,348

 
465,834

 
472,742

Total liabilities and shareholders’ equity
 
1,309,631

 
1,173,753

 
1,035,097

 
1,076,199

 
1,114,643


(ii) Capitalization and Indebtedness
Not applicable.
(iii) Reasons for the Offer and Use of Proceeds
Not applicable.
(iv) Risk Factors
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, $0.001 PAR VALUE PER SHARE (“COMMON STOCK”), SERIES C CUMULATIVE REDEEMABLE PERPETUAL PREFERRED SHARES, PAR VALUE $0.01 PER SHARE, LIQUIDATION PREFERENCE $25.00 PER SHARE (“SERIES C PREFERRED SHARES”) AND SERIES D CUMULATIVE REDEEMABLE PERPETUAL PREFERRED SHARES, PAR VALUE $0.01 PER SHARE, LIQUIDATION PREFERENCE $25.00 PER SHARE (“SERIES D PREFERRED SHARES,” AND TOGETHER WITH THE SERIES C PREFERRED SHARES, THE “PREFERRED SHARES”), INCLUDING THE TAX CONSEQUENCES OF OWNERSHIP OF OUR COMMON STOCK AND PREFERRED SHARES. THE OCCURRENCE OF ANY OF THE RISKS OR 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 OR PREFERRED SHARES.

Risks Inherent in Our Industry and Our Business

The international drybulk shipping industry is cyclical and volatile, having reached historical highs in 2008 and historical lows in 2016. Charter rates improved in 2019, but have been volatile in the start of 2020. Cyclicality and volatility may lead to reductions in the charter rates we are able to obtain, in vessel values and in our earnings, results of operations and available cash flow.

The drybulk shipping industry is cyclical with attendant volatility in charter rates, vessel values and profitability. The industry is cyclical in nature due to seasonal fluctuations and to the market adjustments in supply of and demand for drybulk vessels, and trade disruptions, such as that currently being caused by the 2019-nCoV. We expect this cyclicality and volatility in market rates to continue in the foreseeable future. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that the drybulk charter market will recover in the near future, and the market could experience a further downturn. For example, in 2008, the Baltic Dry Index (the “BDI”), had reached an all-time high of 11,793, while in 2016, BDI had reached an all-time low of 290. During 2019 and 2020, the BDI, remained volatile, reaching an annual low of 595 on February 11, 2019 and an annual high of 2,518 on September 4, 2019 for 2019 and a low of 411 on February 10, 2020 and a high of 976 on January 2, 2020 for 2020. In 2020, the BDI has slumped as a result of the 2019-nCoV.
We charter some of our vessels in the spot charter market for periods up to three months and in the period charter market for longer periods. The spot market is highly competitive and volatile, while period time charter contracts of longer duration provide income at pre-determined rates over more extended periods of time. We are exposed to changes in spot charter market each time





one of our vessels is completing a previously contracted charter, and we may not be able to secure period time charters at profitable levels. Furthermore, we may be unable to keep our vessels fully employed. Charter rates available in the market may be insufficient to enable our vessels to be operated profitably. A significant decrease in charter rates would adversely affect our profitability, cash flows, asset values and ability to pay dividends.
As of March 13, 2020, 6 of our 41 drybulk vessels were deployed or scheduled to be deployed on period time charters of more than three months remaining term. In addition, we have contracted to acquire one resale newbuild vessel scheduled to be delivered in the second quarter of 2020, which does not currently have any contracted charter. As more vessels become available for employment, we may have difficulty entering into multi-year, fixed-rate time charters for our vessels, and as a result, our cash flows may be subject to instability in the long-term. We may be required to enter into variable rate charters or charters linked to the Baltic Panamax Index, as opposed to contracts based on fixed rates, which could result in a decrease in our cash flows and net income in periods when the market for drybulk shipping is depressed. If low charter rates in the drybulk market prevail during periods when we must replace our existing charters, it will have an adverse effect on our revenues, profitability, cash flows and our ability to comply with the financial covenants in our loan and credit facilities.
  
The factors affecting the supply and demand for drybulk vessels are outside of our control and are difficult to predict with confidence. As a result, the nature, timing, direction and degree of changes in industry conditions are also unpredictable.

Factors that influence demand for drybulk vessel capacity include:

demand for and production of drybulk products;
global and regional economic and political conditions, including natural or other disasters (including the 2019-nCoV), armed conflicts, terrorist activities and strikes;
environmental and other regulatory developments;
the distance drybulk cargoes are to be moved by sea;
changes in seaborne and other transportation patterns including shifts in transportation demand for drybulk transportation services;
weather and natural disasters;
international sanctions, embargoes, import and export restrictions, nationalizations and wars; and
tariffs on imports and exports that could affect the international trade.
Factors that influence the supply of drybulk vessel capacity include: 
the size of the newbuilding orderbook;
the number of newbuild deliveries, which, among other factors, relates to the ability of shipyards to deliver newbuilds by contracted delivery dates and the ability of purchasers to finance such newbuilds;
the scrapping rate of older vessels, depending, amongst other things, on scrapping rates and international scrapping regulations;
port and canal congestion;
sanctions;
the number of vessels that are in or out of service, including due to vessel casualties; and
changes in environmental and other regulations that may limit the useful lives of vessels.

We anticipate that the future demand for our drybulk vessels and, in turn, drybulk charter rates, will be dependent, among other things, upon economic growth in the world’s economies, seasonal and regional changes in demand, changes in the capacity of the global drybulk vessel fleet and the sources and supply of drybulk cargo to be transported by sea. A decline in demand for commodities transported in drybulk vessels or an increase in supply of drybulk vessels could cause a significant decline in charter rates, which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

A negative change in global economic or regulatory conditions, especially in the Asian region, which includes countries like China, Japan and India, could reduce drybulk trade and demand, which could reduce charter rates and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.






We expect that a significant number of the port calls made by our vessels will involve the loading or discharging of raw materials in ports in the Asian region, particularly China, Japan and India. As a result, a negative change in economic or regulatory conditions in any Asian country, particularly China, Japan or, to some extent, India, can have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position and results of operations, as well as our future prospects, by reducing demand and, as a result, charter rates and affecting our ability to charter our vessels. If economic growth declines in China, Japan, India and other countries in the Asian region, or if the regulatory environment in these countries changes adversely for our industry, we may face decreases in such drybulk trade and demand. Moreover, a slowdown in the United States economy or the economies of countries within the European Union (the “E.U.”) will likely adversely affect economic growth in China, Japan, India and other countries in the Asian region. Such an economic downturn in any of these countries could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

An oversupply of drybulk vessel capacity may lead to reductions in charter rates and results of operations.

The market supply of drybulk vessels has been increasing in terms of deadweight tons (“dwt”), and the number of drybulk vessels on order as of December 31, 2019 was approximately 9.2% for Panamax to Post-Panamax class vessels (65,000 dwt to 100,000 dwt) and 11.9% for Capesize class vessels (over 100,000 dwt), as compared to the then-existing global drybulk fleet in terms of dwt, with the majority of new deliveries expected during 2020. As a result, the drybulk fleet continues to grow. In addition, during periods when there are high expectations for charter market recovery, a large number of orders may be placed in shipyards, resulting in a further increase of newbuild orders and accordingly in the size of the global drybulk fleet. An oversupply of drybulk vessel capacity will likely result in a reduction of charter hire rates. We will be exposed to changes in charter rates with respect to our existing fleet and our remaining newbuild, depending on the ultimate growth of the global drybulk fleet. If we cannot enter into period time charters on acceptable terms, we may have to secure charters in the spot market, where charter rates are more volatile and revenues are, therefore, less predictable, or we may not be able to charter our vessels at all. In our current fleet, as of March 13, 2020, 36 vessels will be available for employment in the first half of 2020. A material increase in the net supply of drybulk vessel capacity without corresponding growth in drybulk vessel demand could have a material adverse effect on our fleet utilization and our charter rates generally, and could, accordingly, materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

The market value of drybulk vessels is highly volatile, being related to charter market conditions, aging and environmental regulations. The market values of our vessels may significantly decrease which could cause us to breach covenants in our credit and loan facilities, and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our credit and loan facilities, which are secured by mortgages on our vessels, require us to comply with collateral coverage ratios and satisfy certain financial and other covenants, including those that are affected by the market value of our vessels. The market values of drybulk vessels have generally experienced significant volatility within a short period of time. The market prices for secondhand and newbuild drybulk vessels have experienced a small increase in 2018 and 2019 following a significant increase in 2017 compared to the very low levels experienced in 2016 when vessel values were reduced in a short period of time due to depressed market conditions. The market value of our vessels fluctuates depending on a number of factors, including:

general economic and market conditions affecting the shipping industry;
prevailing level of charter rates;
distressed asset sales, including newbuild contract sales during weak charter market conditions;
lack of financing and limitations imposed by financial covenants in our credit and loan facilities;
competition from other shipping companies;
configurations, sizes and ages of vessels;
cost of newbuilds;
governmental, environmental or other regulations; and
technological advances.

We were in compliance with our covenants in our credit and loan facilities in effect as of December 31, 2018 and December 31, 2019. If the market value of our vessels, or our newbuild upon its delivery to us, declines, we may breach some of the covenants contained in our credit and loan facilities. If we do breach such covenants and we are unable to remedy or our lenders refuse to waive the relevant breach, our lenders could accelerate our indebtedness and foreclose on the vessels in our fleet securing those loan and credit facilities. As a result of cross-default provisions contained in our loan and credit facility agreements, this could in turn lead to additional defaults under our loan agreements and the consequent acceleration of the indebtedness under those





agreements and the commencement of similar foreclosure proceedings by other lenders. If our indebtedness were accelerated in full or in part, it would be difficult for us to refinance our debt or obtain additional financing on favorable terms or at all and we could lose our vessels if our lenders foreclose their liens, which would adversely affect our ability to continue our business.

A significant decrease of the market values of our vessels could cause us to incur an impairment loss and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We review for impairment our vessels held and used whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of the vessels may not be recoverable. Such indicators include declines in the fair market value of vessels, decreases in market charter rates, vessel sale and purchase considerations, fleet utilization, environmental and other regulatory changes in the drybulk shipping industry or changes in business plans or overall market conditions that may adversely affect cash flows. We may be required to record an impairment charge with respect to our vessels and any such impairment charge resulting from a decline in the market value of our vessels or a decrease in charter rates may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—A. Operating Results—Critical Accounting Policies—Impairment of long-lived assets” for more information.

Technological developments could reduce our earnings and the value of our vessels.

Determining factors for the useful life of the vessels in our fleet are efficiency, operational flexibility and technological developments. Efficiency includes speed, fuel economy and the ability to load and discharge cargo quickly. Flexibility includes the ability to enter harbors, utilize related docking facilities and pass through canals and straits. The duration of a vessel’s useful life is related to its original design and construction, its maintenance and the impact of the stress of operations. If new vessels are built that are more efficient or more flexible or have longer useful lives than our vessels, competition from these more technologically advanced vessels could adversely affect the amount of charter hire payments we receive for our vessels and the resale value of our vessels could significantly decrease. As a result, our earnings and financial condition could be adversely affected.

The international drybulk shipping industry is highly competitive, and we may not be able to compete successfully 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 drybulk cargo by sea is intense and depends on price, customer relationships, operating expertise, professional reputation and size, age, location and condition of the vessel. Due in part to the highly fragmented market, additional competitors with greater resources could enter the drybulk shipping industry and operate larger fleets through consolidations or acquisitions and may be able to offer lower charter rates than we are able to offer, which could have a material adverse effect on our fleet utilization and, accordingly, our results of operations.

Changes in labor laws and regulations, collective bargaining negotiations and labor disputes could increase our crew costs and have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends.

Crew costs are a significant expense for us under our charters. There is a limited supply of well-qualified crew. We bear crewing costs under our charters. Increases in crew costs may adversely affect our results of operations. In addition, labor disputes or unrest, including work stoppages, strikes and/or work disruptions or increases imposed by collective bargaining agreements covering the majority of our officers on board our vessels could result in higher personnel costs and significantly affect our financial performance.

We are subject to regulations and liability under environmental laws that require significant expenditures, including ballast water treatment systems (“BWTS”) and sulfur oxide exhaust gas cleaning systems (“Scrubbers”), which can affect our results of operations and financial condition.

Our business and the operation of our vessels are regulated under international conventions, national, state and local laws and regulations in force in the jurisdictions in which our vessels operate, as well as in the country or countries of their registration, in order to protect against potential environmental impacts. Government regulation of vessels, particularly environmental regulations, have become more stringent and require us to incur significant capital expenditures on our vessels to keep them in compliance. As a result, we may decide to scrap or sell certain vessels altogether. In addition, more stringent regulations may gradually be adopted in the future.






For example, various jurisdictions have regulated management of ballast waters to prevent the introduction of non-indigenous species that are considered invasive. Such regulations require us to make changes to the ballast water management plans we currently have in place and to install new equipment on board our vessels. In response to such regulations, we entered into an agreement to install BWTS in all of our vessels. The installation on all our vessels and related capital expenditure is expected to expand to 2022. Investments in the installation of BWTS are both time consuming and costly. If we fail to install or timely operate the BWTS in our vessels, then we may be unable to operate those vessels, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, cash flows and financial position.

Various jurisdictions have also regulated or are considering the further regulation of greenhouse gases from vessels and emissions of sulfur and nitrogen oxides. Greenhouse gas regulations presently require the monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions. Nitrogen oxides emission regulations require the installation of advanced Tier III engines in newbuilds and modifications are not expected to be required in existing vessels. Regulation for sulfur oxides emissions may involve the installation or retrofitting of Scrubbers.

More specifically, the regulations regarding sulfur oxides emissions, which came into effect January 1, 2020, provide for a 0.5% (lowered from 3.5%) sulfur cap on marine fuel consumed by a vessel unless the vessel is equipped with a Scrubber. The most commonly used marine fuel with lower than 0.5% sulfur content is marine gas oil (“MGO”), which presently is substantially more expensive compared to the currently widely used 3.5% sulfur content heavy fuel oil (“HFO”). Additional marine fuels which comply with the 0.5% sulfur cap have been developed; however, their cost, worldwide availability, compatibility with the existing fuels on board when a vessel is refueled, stability over a long period of time suitability for storage in a vessel’s fuel tanks and other technical considerations are still under assessment. The increased demand for MGO or other compliant marine fuels, may lead to a wide price differential between such compliant fuels and HFO, problems with compatibility, fuel stability and other technical considerations which may affect the operations of vessels using such compliant fuels and their competitiveness compared to vessels that will continue to use HFO following the installation of Scrubbers. On the other hand, vessels that will be equipped with Scrubbers may also face shortage of HFO worldwide and price distortions, as only a small percentage of the global fleet is already equipped with Scrubbers and the trading of HFO may not be economical to fuel suppliers. In addition, restrictions of effluents from Scrubbers have been imposed in various jurisdictions, affecting the viability of investments required to equip vessels with Scrubbers. In response to sulfur oxides emissions regulations, we entered into an agreement to install Scrubbers in about half of our vessels.

In 2019, we installed Scrubbers in 15 vessels and we expect to install five additional Scrubbers in 2020. The installation of the remaining five Scrubbers and related capital expenditure is expected to be concluded in 2020. The installation of the remaining Scrubbers is expected to be both time consuming and costly and may be delayed by the 2019-nCoV outbreak, which has caused delays in the resumption of shipyard operations following the Chinese New Year and a shortage of personnel to perform Scrubber installations, which has resulted in a corresponding delay in the installation of Scrubbers by such shipyards. If we fail to timely install the Scrubbers in the vessels that we have scheduled to, and/or if the price differential between compliant fuels and HFO is narrower than expected due to among other things, a drop in oil prices and/or a reduced demand for oil, then we may not realize any return, or we may realize a lower return on our investment in Scrubbers than that which we expected, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, cash flows and financial position. Conversely, if the price differential between compliant fuels and HFO is wider than expected, about half of our vessels that will not be equipped with Scrubbers may face difficulties in competing with vessels equipped with Scrubbers, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, cash flows and financial position.

Additional conventions, laws and regulations may be adopted which could limit our ability to do business or increase the cost of our doing business and which may materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. Because such conventions, laws and regulations are often revised, or the required additional measures for compliance are still under development, 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. We are also required by various governmental and quasi-governmental agencies to obtain certain permits, licenses, certificates and financial assurances with respect to our operations.

These requirements can also affect the resale prices or useful lives of our vessels or require reductions in cargo capacity, ship modifications or operational changes or restrictions. Failure to comply with these requirements could lead to decreased availability of, or more costly insurance coverage for environmental matters or result in the denial of access to certain jurisdictional waters or ports, or detention in certain ports. Under local, national and foreign laws, as well as international treaties and conventions, we could incur material liabilities, including cleanup obligations and claims for natural resource, personal injury and property damages in the event that there is a release of petroleum or other hazardous materials from our vessels or otherwise in connection with our operations. Violations of, or liabilities under, environmental regulations can result in substantial penalties, fines and other sanctions, including, in certain instances, seizure or detention of our vessels. In addition, we are subject to the risk that we, our affiliated





entities, or our or their respective officers, directors, shore employees, crew on board and agents may take actions determined to be in violation of such environmental regulations and laws and our environmental policies. Any such actual or alleged environmental laws regulations and policies violation, under negligence, willful misconduct or fault, could result in substantial fines, civil and/or criminal penalties or curtailment of operations in certain jurisdictions, and might adversely affect our business, results of operations or financial condition. In addition, actual or alleged violations could damage our reputation and ability to do business. Furthermore, detecting, investigating and resolving actual or alleged violations is expensive and can consume significant time and attention of our senior management. Events of this nature would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We are subject to complex laws and regulations, including international safety regulations and requirements imposed by our classification societies and the failure to comply with these regulations and requirements 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.

We are subject to complex laws and regulations both in the jurisdictions in which we operate, such as international conventions, regulations and treaties, and in national laws. Compliance with regulations and laws require significant costs which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition and our available cash. Our industry’s regulatory environment is becoming exponentially complex and includes regulations of the European Union regulations, the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization (“IMO”), such as the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships of 1973 (“ISM Code”), including the designation of Emission Control Areas, the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code, the United States Oil Pollution Act of 1990, the U.S. Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, the U.S. Clean Air Act, the U.S. Clean Water Act, the U.S. Marine Transportation Security Act of 2002 and others. In the foreseeable future we expect the trend of increasing regulatory compliance complexity to continue. For example, United States agencies and the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee have adopted cyber security regulations which requires ship owners and managers to incorporate cyber risk management and security into their safety management in 2021.

The operation of our vessels is affected by the requirements set forth in the IMO ISM Code. Under the ISM Code, we are required to develop and maintain an extensive Safety Management System (“SMS”) that includes the adoption of a safety and environmental protection policy. Failure to comply with the ISM Code may subject us to increased liability, invalidate existing insurance or decrease available insurance coverage for the affected vessels and result in a denial of access to, or detention in, certain ports. For example, the U.S. Coast Guard and E.U. authorities have indicated that vessels not in compliance with the ISM Code will be prohibited from trading in U.S. and E.U. ports. Currently, each of the vessels in our current fleet is ISM Code-certified, but we may not be able to maintain such certification at all times. If we fail to maintain ISM Code certification for our vessels, we may also breach covenants in certain of our credit and loan facilities that require that our vessels be ISM Code-certified. If we breach such covenants due to failure to maintain ISM Code certification and are unable to remedy the relevant breach, our lenders could accelerate our indebtedness and foreclose on the vessels in our fleet securing those credit or loan facilities.
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 may not be able to 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 which 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. In addition, vessel classification societies also impose significant safety and other requirements on our vessels. As a result, we may incur significant capital expenditures on our vessels to keep them in compliance. See Item 4. Information on the Company-Business Overview-Environmental and Other Regulations for more information.

Increased inspection procedures, tighter import and export controls and survey requirements could increase costs and disrupt our business.

International shipping is subject to various security and customs inspections and related procedures in countries of origin and destination. Inspection procedures can result in the seizure of the contents of our vessels, delays in the loading, offloading or delivery and the levying of customs duties, fines and other penalties against us.

It is possible that changes to inspection procedures could impose additional financial and legal obligations on us. Furthermore, 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 impractical. Any such changes or developments may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.






The hull and machinery of every commercial vessel must be certified as safe and seaworthy in accordance with applicable rules and regulations, and accordingly vessels must undergo regular surveys. If any vessel does not maintain its class and/or fails any annual survey, intermediate survey or special survey, the vessel will be unable to trade between ports and will be unemployable and we would be in violation of certain covenants in our credit and loan facilities. This would also negatively impact our revenues.

Our vessels are exposed to operational risks that may not be adequately covered by our insurance.

The operation of any vessel includes risks such as weather conditions, mechanical failure, collision, fire, contact with floating objects, cargo or property loss or damage and business interruption due to political circumstances in countries, piracy, terrorist and cyber terrorist attacks, armed hostilities and labor strikes. Such occurrences could result in death or injury to persons, loss, damage or destruction of property or environmental damage, delays in the delivery of cargo, loss of revenues from or termination of charter contracts, governmental fines, penalties or restrictions on conducting business, higher insurance rates and damage to our reputation and customer relationships generally.

We may not be adequately insured against all risks, and our insurers may not pay particular claims. With respect to war risks insurance, which we usually obtain for certain of our vessels making port calls in designated war zone areas, such insurance may not be obtained prior to one of our vessels entering into an actual war zone, which could result in that vessel not being insured. 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. Under the terms of our credit facilities, we will be subject to restrictions on the use of any proceeds we may receive from claims under our insurance policies. Furthermore, in the future, we may not be able to maintain or 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 in the event of a claim or decrease any recovery in the event of a loss. If the damages from a catastrophic oil spill or other marine disaster exceeded our insurance coverage, the payment of those damages could have a material adverse effect on our business and could possibly result in our insolvency.

In general, we do not carry loss of hire insurance. Occasionally, we may decide to carry loss of hire insurance when our vessels are trading in areas where a history of piracy has been reported. Loss of hire insurance covers the loss of revenue during extended vessel off-hire periods, such as those that occur during an unscheduled drydocking or unscheduled repairs due to damage to the vessel. Accordingly, any loss of a vessel or any extended period of vessel off-hire, due to an accident or otherwise, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

World events, including terrorist attacks and international hostilities, could negatively affect our results of operations and financial condition.

We conduct most of our operations outside of the U.S. and our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends, if any, in the future may be adversely affected by changing economic, political and government conditions in the countries and regions where our vessels are employed or registered. Moreover, we operate in a sector of the economy that is likely to be adversely impacted by the effects of political conflicts, including the current political instability in the Middle East, North Africa and other geographic countries and areas, terrorist or other attacks, war or international hostilities. Terrorist attacks and the continuing response of the U.S. and others to these attacks, as well as the threat of future terrorist attacks around the world, continues to cause uncertainty in the world’s financial markets and may affect our business, operating results and financial condition. Continuing conflicts and recent developments in the Middle East and North Africa, and the presence of U.S. or other armed forces in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and various other regions, 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. These types of attacks 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.

The outbreak of the 2019-nCoV and the resulting disruptions to the international shipping industry, could negatively affect our business, financial performance and our results of operations.

As of March 2020, the outbreak of the 2019-nCoV has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (“WHO”). The outbreak of the 2019-nCoV in China and other countries in early 2020, led to a number of countries, ports and organizations to take measures against its spread, such as quarantines and restrictions on travel. Such measures were taken initially in Chinese





ports, where we conduct a large part of our operations, and have gradually expanded to other countries globally covering most ports where we conduct business. These measures have and will likely continue to cause severe trade disruptions due to, among other things, the unavailability of personnel, supply chain disruption, interruptions of production, delays in planned strategic projects and closure of businesses and facilities. We operate in a sector of the economy that has been and will likely continue to be adversely impacted by the effects of trade disruptions due to the spread of the 2019-nCoV. Such trade disruptions have adversely affected and will continue to adversely affect the level of imports to and exports from China and other countries, which in turn has adversely affected and will continue to adversely affect the demand for our services, our business and results of operations, dry bulk shipping rates and the international shipping industry as a whole. For example, travel restrictions on Chinese workers have prevented the normal resumption of work after Chinese New Year and have affected the operation of manufacturing plants within China. The slowdown of Chinese manufacturing as a result of2019-nCov is likely to have an impact on the global supply chain along with a consequential impact on construction projects and other downstream industries which is likely to have an adverse effect on our business. Disruption may also spread to other markets, including key dry bulk and other commodity markets (e.g., copper, iron ore, zinc, nickel, lithium, oil and liquefied natural gas (“LNG”). Our business and the drybulk shipping industry as a whole is likely to be impacted not only from a reduced demand for drybulk shipping services, but also from a reduced workforce and delays of crew changes as a result of quarantines applicable in several countries and ports and delays of vessels as a result of port checks due to cases, or suspected cases, of the 2019-nCoV amongst crew, as well as delays in the construction of newbuild vessels, scheduled drydockings, intermediate or special surveys of vessels and scheduled and unscheduled ship repairs and upgrades, including the installation of Scrubbers and BWTS.

Furthermore, the construction of newbuild vessels and scheduled and unscheduled ship repairs and upgrades, including Scrubber and BWTS installation, have been widely delayed as a result of the impact of the 2019-nCoV outbreak on the repair yard workforce. Many repair yards have declared force majeure which may extend the duration of or further delay the repair or upgrade work, scheduled drydockings, and/or intermediate or special surveys of vessels, which in turn may affect the availability and quality of vessels and the ability to obtain the renewal of vessels’ certificates on a timely basis. The Company has scheduled several yard repairs during 2020, some of which have already been rescheduled for a later date. The Company also has one resale newbuild vessel scheduled for delivery in the second quarter of 2020, which may face delays. Any such delays or any failures to conduct such repairs or upgrades, drydockings or surveys in a timely manner may affect our results of operations. Furthermore, the installation of the remaining Scrubbers contemplated for our fleet may be delayed by the disruptions caused by the 2019-nCoV outbreak. If we fail to install the Scrubbers on the anticipated time line, we may not realize any return, or we may realize a reduced return, on our investment in such Scrubbers, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, cash flows and financial position.

The 2019-nCoV outbreak may negatively impact our business, financial performance and operating results, but the extent and duration of such impacts remain largely uncertain and dependent on future developments that cannot be accurately predicted at this time, such as the severity and transmission rate of the 2019-nCoV, the extent and effectiveness of containment actions taken, including travel and cargo restrictions, and the impact of these and other factors on the shipping industry.

Acts of piracy on ocean-going vessels may increase 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, the Indian Ocean and in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia. Although the frequency of sea piracy worldwide has generally decreased since 2013, sea piracy incidents continue to occur, particularly in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia and increasingly in the Sulu Sea and the Gulf of Guinea, with drybulk vessels and tankers particularly vulnerable to such attacks. Acts of piracy could result in harm or danger to the crews that man our vessels.

If these piracy attacks occur in regions in which our vessels are deployed that insurers characterized as “war risk” zones or Joint War Committee “war and strikes” listed areas, premiums payable for such coverage could increase significantly and such insurance coverage may be more difficult to obtain. In addition, crew costs, including the employment of onboard security guards, could increase in such circumstances. Furthermore, while we believe the charterer remains liable for charter payments when a vessel is seized by pirates, the charterer may dispute this and withhold charterhire until the vessel is released. A charterer may also claim that a vessel seized by pirates was not “on-hire” for a certain number of days and is therefore entitled to cancel the charter party, a claim that we would dispute. We may not be adequately insured to cover losses from these incidents, which could have a material adverse effect on us. In addition, any detention hijacking as a result of an act of piracy against our vessels, or an increase in cost, or unavailability, of insurance for our vessels, could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and earnings.

The operation of drybulk vessels has certain unique operational and technical risks which include mechanical failure, collision, property loss, cargo loss or damage as well as personal injury, illness and loss of life and could lead to an environmental





disaster; failure to adequately maintain our vessels or address such risks could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

The operation of a drybulk vessel has certain unique operational and technical risks which include mechanical failure, collision, property loss, cargo loss or damage as well as personal injury, illness and loss of life and could lead to an environmental disaster. Drybulk vessels may develop unexpected mechanical and operational problems due to several reasons including improper maintenance and weather conditions. We operate certain of our vessels using compliant fuels with 0.5% sulfur content, some of which are currently under development, have not yet been adequately tested on board our vessels and under certain conditions may cause loss of the vessel’s main engine power with severe results that can lead to collision and loss of a vessel.

With a drybulk vessel, the cargo itself and its interaction with the vessel may create operational risks. By their nature, drybulk cargoes are often heavy, dense and easily shifted, and they may react badly to water exposure. In addition, drybulk vessels are often subjected to battering treatment during unloading operations with grabs, jackhammers (to pry encrusted cargoes out of the hold) and small bulldozers. This treatment may cause damage to the vessel. Vessels damaged due to treatment during unloading procedures or with steel plate diminution may be more susceptible to breach while at sea. Breaches of a drybulk vessel’s hull may lead to the flooding of the vessel’s holds. If a drybulk vessel suffers flooding in its forward holds, the bulk cargo may become so dense and waterlogged that its pressure may buckle the vessel’s bulkheads, leading to the loss of a vessel. If we do not adequately maintain our vessels or address such operational and technical risks, we may be unable to prevent these events. The occurrence of any of these events could 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, or other assets of the relevant vessel-owning company, 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, or other assets of the relevant vessel-owning company or companies, could cause us to default on a charter, breach covenants in certain of our credit facilities, 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 its owner, while requisition for hire occurs when a government takes control of a vessel and effectively becomes its charterer at dictated charter rates. Generally, requisitions occur during periods of war or emergency, although governments may elect to requisition vessels in other circumstances. Even if 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 cause us to breach covenants in certain of our credit facilities, and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We rely on information technology, and if we are unable to protect against service interruptions, data corruption, cyber based attacks or network security breaches, our operations could be disrupted and our business could be negatively affected.

We rely on information technology networks and systems to process, transmit and store electronic and financial information; to capture knowledge of our business; to coordinate our business across our operation bases; and to communicate internally with our vessels, customers, suppliers, partners and other third-parties. In addition, our vessels use potentially vulnerable systems such as electronically transmitted maps and navigational systems cargo management systems, bridge systems, propulsion and machinery management and power control systems, access control systems, administrative and crew welfare systems and communication systems.





These information technology systems, some of which are managed by third parties, may be susceptible to damage, disruptions or shutdowns, hardware or software failures, power outages, computer viruses, cyber attacks, telecommunication failures, user errors or catastrophic events. Risks and vulnerabilities can also arise out of inadequacies in design, integration and/or maintenance of information technology systems , as well as lapses in cyber discipline. Furthermore, as of May 25, 2018, data breaches on personal data, as defined in the European General Data Protection Regulation, could lead to administrative fines up to €20 million or up to 4% of the total worldwide annual turnover of the company, whichever is greater. Our information technology systems are becoming increasingly integrated, so damage, disruption or shutdown to the system could result in a more widespread impact. If our information technology systems suffer severe damage, disruption or shutdown, and our business continuity plans do not effectively resolve the issues in a timely manner, our operations could be disrupted and our business could be negatively affected.

A cyber attack could materially and adversely affect our business.

        Our information systems and networks could become targeted and attacked by individuals or organized groups. A cyber attack could materially and adversely affect our business operations, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows and our reputation. In addition, cyber attacks could lead to potential unauthorized access and disclosure of proprietary or confidential information or, personal data and data loss and corruption. Cyber attacks on our vessels may also lead to potential unauthorized access to, or service interruptions, denial or manipulation of the navigational systems of our vessels, which could result in hazardous accidents. There is no assurance that we will not experience these service interruptions or cyber attacks in the future. Further, as the methods of cyber attacks continue to evolve, we may be required to expend additional resources to continue to modify or enhance our protective measures, or to investigate and remedy any vulnerabilities to cyber attacks. Moreover, we do not carry cyber attack insurance to cover the aforementioned risks to our information technology.
Recent action by the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee and U.S. agencies indicate that cyber security regulations for the maritime industry are likely to be further developed in the near future in an attempt to combat cyber security threats. For example, cyber risk management systems must be incorporated by ship owners and managers by 2021. This might cause companies to cultivate additional procedures for monitoring cyber security, which could require additional expenses and/or capital expenditures. However, the impact of such regulations is difficult to predict at this time.

The exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union could adversely affect us.

On January 31, 2020, the United Kingdom (the “U.K.”) formally withdrew from the E.U. (“Brexit”). The U.K. subsequently entered into a transition period through December 31, 2020, during which it will continue to obey the rules of the E.U. as negotiations continue regarding the future relationship between the U.K. and the E.U.

We have operations in the E.U., and as a result, we face risks associated with the potential uncertainty and disruptions that may follow Brexit, including volatility in the value of the pound sterling and the euro, volatility in exchange rates and interest rates, business disruptions, increased tariffs and potential material changes to the regulatory regime applicable to our business or global trading parties. Brexit could adversely affect European or worldwide political, regulatory, economic or market conditions and could contribute to instability in global political institutions, regulatory agencies and financial markets as the U.K. determines which E.U. treaties, laws and regulations to replace or replicate, including those governing maritime, labor, environmental, competition, international trade and other matters applicable to our business. Any of these effects of Brexit, and others we cannot anticipate or that may evolve over time, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.






Political uncertainty and an increase in trade protectionism could have a material adverse impact on our charterers’ business and, in turn, could cause a material adverse impact on our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.

Our operations expose us to the risk that increased trade protectionism from China, other countries in the Asian region, the United States or other nations will adversely affect our business. If the global recovery is undermined by downside risks and the economic downturn returns, or if the regulatory environment otherwise dictates, governments may turn to trade barriers to protect their domestic industries against foreign imports, thereby depressing the demand for shipping. Specifically, increasing trade protectionism affecting the markets that our charterers serve may cause (i) a decrease in cargoes available to our charterers in favor of domestic charterers and domestically owned ships and (ii) an increase in the risks associated with importing goods to such markets. For instance, the government of China has implemented economic policies aimed at increasing domestic consumption of Chinese-made goods and restricting currency exchanges within China. Further, on January 23, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a global trade agreement intended to include the United States, Canada, Mexico, Peru and a number of Asian countries. Further, in January 2019, the United States announced expanded sanctions against Venezuela, which may have an effect on its oil output and in turn affect global oil supply. Throughout 2018 and 2019, President Trump called for substantial changes to foreign trade policy with China and raised, and proposed to further raise in the future, tariffs on several Chinese goods in order to reverse what he perceives as unfair trade practices that have negatively impacted U.S. businesses. The announcement of such tariffs has triggered retaliatory actions from foreign governments, including China, and may trigger retaliatory actions by other foreign governments, potentially resulting in a “trade war.” The trade war has had the effect of reducing the supply of goods available for import or export and has therefore results in a decrease in demand for shipping. On January 15, 2020, the United States and China signed the Phase One Deal, agreeing to the rollback of tariffs, expansion of trade purchases, and renewed commitments on intellectual property, technology transfer, and currency practices deescalating the trade war. Under the Phase One Deal the U.S. has committed to reduce tariffs from 15 % to 7.5% on US$120 billion worth of goods and China has agreed to halve tariffs on 1,717 U.S. goods, lowering the tariff on some items from 10% to 5%, and others from 5 % to 2.5 %, which both took effect on February 14, 2020.

There is no certainty that the de-escalation of the trade war between the U.S. and China will continue and there is no certainty that additional tariffs will not be imposed by the U.S. or China. Should the de-escalation of the trade war discontinue or an increase in trade barriers or restrictions on trade occur or be perceived to become likely, such events may have an adverse effect on global market conditions, may have an adverse impact on global trade and our charterers’ business, operating results and financial condition and could thereby affect their ability to make timely charter hire payments to us and to renew and increase the number of their time charters with us. This could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

Changes in fuel prices may adversely affect our profits.

Changes in fuel prices may adversely affect our profits under certain circumstances. If the price differential between 0.5% sulfur content compliant fuels and HFO is narrow, then we may not realize any return, or we may realize a reduced return on our investment in Scrubbers than that which we expected, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, cash flows and financial position. Conversely, if the price differential between 0.5% sulfur content compliant fuels and HFO is wide, the other half of our fleet that will not be equipped with Scrubbers may face difficulties to compete with vessels equipped with Scrubbers which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, cash flows and financial position.

Seasonal fluctuations in industry demand could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations and the amount of available cash with which we can pay dividends.

We operate our vessels in markets that have historically exhibited seasonal variations in demand and, as a result, in charter rates. Seasonality is related to several factors and may result in quarter-to-quarter volatility in our results of operations, which could affect the amount of dividends, if any, that we may pay to our stockholders. For example, the market for marine drybulk transportation services is typically stronger in the fall months in anticipation of increased consumption of coal in the northern hemisphere during the winter months and the grain export season from North America. Similarly, the market for marine drybulk transportation services is typically stronger in the spring months in anticipation of the South American grain export season due to increased distance traveled by vessels to their end destination known as ton mile effect, as well as increased coal imports in parts of Asia due to additional electricity demand for cooling during the summer months. Demand for marine drybulk transportation services is typically weaker at the beginning of the calendar year and during the summer months. In addition, unpredictable weather patterns during these periods tend to disrupt vessel scheduling and supplies of certain commodities. This seasonality could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.






Charterers may renegotiate or default on period time charters, which could reduce our revenues and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

The ability and willingness of each of our counterparties to perform its obligations under a period time charter agreement 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 drybulk shipping industry and the overall financial condition of the counterparties. If we enter into period time charters with charterers when charter rates are high and charter rates subsequently fall significantly, charterers may seek to renegotiate financial terms or may default on their obligations. Additionally, charterers may attempt to bring claims against us based on vessel performance or cargo loading or unloading operations, seeking to renegotiate financial terms or avoid payments. Also, our charterers may experience financial difficulties due to prevailing economic conditions or for other reasons, and as a result may default on their obligations. In past years, the industry experienced numerous incidents of charterers renegotiating their charters or defaulting on their obligations thereunder. If a charterer defaults on a charter, we will, to the extent commercially reasonable, seek the remedies available to us, which may include arbitration or litigation to enforce the contract, although such efforts may not be successful. Should a charterer default on a period time charter, we may have to enter into a charter at a lower charter rate, which would reduce our revenues. If we cannot enter into a new period time charter, we may have to secure a charter in the spot market, where charter rates are volatile and revenues are less predictable. It is also possible that we would be unable to secure a charter at all, which would also reduce our revenues, and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, loan and credit facility covenants and cash flows.

We depend on a limited number of customers for a large part of our revenues and the loss of one or more of these customers could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We expect to derive a significant part of our revenues from a limited number of customers. During the year ended December 31, 2019, two of our charterers each accounted for more than 10.0% of our revenues and in previous periods some of our charterers each accounted for more than 10.0% of our revenues. We could lose a customer for many different reasons, including:

a failure of the customer to make charter payments because of its financial inability, disagreements with us or otherwise;
the customer’s termination of its charters because of our non-performance, including serious deficiencies with the vessels we provide to that customer or prolonged periods of off-hire;
a prolonged force majeure event that affects the customer may prevent us from performing services for that customer, i.e., damage to or destruction of relevant production facilities and war or political unrest; and
the other reasons discussed in this section.
If we lose a key customer, we may be unable to obtain period time charters on comparable terms with charterers of comparable standing or may have increased exposure to the volatile spot market, which is highly competitive and subject to significant price fluctuations. We would not receive any revenues from a vessel while it remained unchartered, but we may be required to pay expenses necessary to maintain the vessel in proper operating condition, insure it and service any indebtedness secured by such vessel. The loss of any of our key customers, a decline in payments under our charters or the failure of a key customer to perform under its charters with us could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We have adopted an anti-bribery policy consistent with the provisions of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (the “FCPA”) and anti-bribery legislation in other jurisdictions. Actual or alleged violations of these policies could result in damage of our reputation, sanctions, criminal penalties, imprisonment, civil action and fines, which could have an adverse effect on our business.

We operate in a number of countries throughout the world, including countries known to have a reputation for corruption. We are committed to doing business in accordance with applicable anti-corruption laws and have adopted policies consistent and in full compliance with the FCPA and anti-bribery legislation in other jurisdictions. We are subject, however, to the risk that we, our affiliated entities or our or their respective officers, directors, employees and agents may take actions determined to be in violation of such anti-corruption laws, including the FCPA. Any such violation could result in substantial fines, sanctions, civil and/or criminal penalties or curtailment of operations in certain jurisdictions, and might adversely affect our business, results of operations or financial condition. In addition, actual or alleged violations could damage our reputation and ability to do business. Furthermore, detecting, investigating and resolving actual or alleged violations is expensive and can consume significant time and attention of our senior management.






We may have difficulty properly managing our planned growth through acquisitions of additional vessels.

As of March 13, 2020, we intend to grow our business through the acquisition of one contracted newbuild vessel which is scheduled to be delivered in the first half of 2020. We may contract additional newbuild vessels or make selective acquisitions of additional secondhand vessels. Our future growth will primarily depend on our ability to locate and acquire suitable vessels, enlarge our customer base, operate and supervise any newbuilds we may order and obtain required debt or equity financing on acceptable terms.

A delay in the delivery to us of any such vessel, or the failure of the shipyard to deliver a vessel at all, could cause us to breach our obligations under a related charter and could adversely affect our earnings. In addition, the delivery of any of these vessels with substantial defects could have similar consequences.
A shipyard could fail to deliver a newbuild on time or at all because of:

work stoppages or other hostilities, political or economic disturbances that disrupt the operations of the shipyard;
quality or engineering problems;
bankruptcy or other financial crisis of the shipyard;
a backlog of orders at the shipyard;
disputes between the Company and the shipyard regarding contractual obligations;
weather interference or catastrophic events, such as major earthquakes or fires;
our requests for changes to the original vessel specifications; or
shortages of or delays in the receipt of necessary construction materials, such as steel, or equipment, such as main engines, electricity generators and propellers.
A third-party seller could fail to deliver a secondhand vessel on time or at all because of:

bankruptcy or other financial crisis of the third-party seller;
quality or engineering problems;
disputes between the Company and the third-party seller regarding contractual obligations; or
weather interference or catastrophic events, such as major earthquakes or fires.
In addition, we may seek to terminate or novate a vessel acquisition contract due to market conditions, financing limitations or other reasons. The outcome of contract termination or novation negotiations may require us to forego deposits on construction or acquisition, as applicable, and pay additional cancellation fees. In addition, where we have already arranged a future charter with respect to the terminated contract, we may incur liabilities to such charter counterparty depending on the terms of such charter.

During periods in which charter rates are high, vessel values generally are high as well, and it may be difficult to consummate vessel acquisitions or enter into newbuild contracts at favorable prices. During periods when charter rates are low, we may be unable to fund the acquisition of vessels, whether through lending or cash on hand. For these reasons, we may be unable to execute our growth plans or avoid significant expenses and losses in connection with our future growth efforts.

We may have difficulty properly managing our planned environmental investments, including Scrubbers and BWTS.
 
Environmental investments in Scrubbers and BWTS currently represent the largest investment of the Company. The retrofit of Scrubbers and BWTS is a demanding job, involving the selection of equipment, detailed engineering studies and high quality of installation. During 2019, we installed BWTS in 7 vessels and Scrubbers in 15 vessels. During the remainder of 2020, we expect to install BWTS in 9 vessels and Scrubbers in 5 vessels in most cases concurrently with their drydocking. A delay in the delivery to us of BWTS or Scrubber equipment, or a delay in the installation of such equipment on board each vessel could increase the down time of the relevant vessel. In addition, if the installation of Scrubbers on the vessels is delayed, then we may realize reduced returns on the relevant investments. Furthermore, if we fail to successfully install, commission and operate a Scrubber, we may not realize any return on such investment. All such difficulties could have material adverse effect on our results of operations, cash flows and financial position.

As we expand our business, we will need to improve or expand our operations and financial systems, staff and crew; if we cannot improve these systems or recruit suitable employees, our performance may be adversely affected.






Our current operating and financial systems may not be adequate as we implement our plan to expand the size of our fleet, and our Managers’ attempts to improve those systems may be ineffective. In addition, as we expand our fleet, we will have to rely on our Managers to recruit additional seafarers and shoreside administrative and management personnel. Our Managers may not be able to continue to hire suitable employees or a sufficient number of employees as we expand our fleet. If our Managers’ unaffiliated crewing agents encounter business or financial difficulties, we may not be able to adequately staff our vessels. We may also have to increase our customer base to provide continued employment for most of our new vessels. If we are unable to operate our financial systems, our Managers are unable to operate our operations systems effectively or recruit suitable employees in sufficient numbers or we are unable to increase our customer base as we expand our fleet, our performance may be adversely affected.

Unless we set aside reserves for vessel replacement, at the end of a vessel’s useful life, our revenue will decline, which would adversely affect our cash flows and income.

As of March 13, 2020, the vessels in our current fleet had an average age of 9.5 years. Unless we maintain cash reserves for vessel replacement, we may be unable to replace the vessels in our fleet upon the expiration of their useful lives. We estimate the useful life of our vessels to be 25 years from the date of initial delivery from the shipyard. We estimate the useful life of our second hand vessels to be 25 years from the date of built. Our cash flows and income are dependent on the revenues we earn by chartering our vessels to customers. If we are unable to replace the vessels in our fleet upon the expiration of their useful lives, our business, financial condition and results of operations will be materially adversely affected. Any reserves set aside for vessel replacement would not be available for other cash needs or dividends.

Our ability to obtain financing on favorable terms and the deterioration of the global banking markets may adversely impact our business. If economic conditions globally continue to be volatile, it could impede our operations.
 
Although capital markets have improved since 2008, when banks and other financial institutions active in the shipping industry became increasingly unwilling to provide credit, they slumped again in the first months of 2020. The shipping industry remains negatively affected by the scarcity of credit and the cost of financing has increased. Financing institutions have increased interest rates or even ceased funding for certain shipping companies. Furthermore, vessels older than 15 years old may not be financed by banks and other financial institutions at all. Any further deterioration of the global banking markets may decrease the availability of financing or refinancing on acceptable terms when needed, and we may be unable to meet our debt obligations as they become due.
 
The continuing instability and conflicts in Syria, the turmoil in Venezuela and other geographic areas, the stabilization of growth in China, the economic weakness in the E.U. and the 2019-nCoV may affect credit markets globally, reduce liquidity, disrupt economic conditions and may have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

If we are unable to obtain additional secured indebtedness, we may be unable to refinance our existing indebtedness and may not be able to finance a fleet replacement and expansion program in the future, any of which would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Global financial markets and economic conditions continue to be volatile. This volatility has negatively affected the general willingness of banks and other financial institutions to extend credit, particularly in the shipping industry, due to the historically volatile asset values of vessels. As the shipping industry is highly dependent on the availability of credit to finance and expand operations, it has been and may continue to be negatively affected by this decline in lending. The current state of global financial markets might adversely impact our ability to issue additional equity at prices which will not be dilutive to our existing shareholders or preclude us from issuing equity at all.

Future financing and investing activities may involve refinancing of certain existing debt near or upon maturity and the financing of future fleet replacement and expansion. Our ability to refinance existing indebtedness, or to access the capital markets for future offerings may be limited by our financial condition at the time of any such financing or offering, including the actual or perceived credit quality of our charterers and the market value of our fleet, as well as by adverse market conditions resulting from, among other things, general economic conditions, weakness in the financial markets and contingencies and uncertainties that are beyond our control. To the extent that we are unable to enter into new credit facilities and obtain such additional secured indebtedness on terms acceptable to us, we will need to find alternative financing. In addition, we may also be liable for other damages for breach of contract. A failure to satisfy our financial commitments could result in the acceleration of our indebtedness and foreclosure on our vessels. Such events, if they occurred, would adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operation.






The aging of our fleet and our acquisitions of secondhand vessels may result in increased operating costs in the future, which could adversely affect our ability to operate our vessels profitably.

In general, the costs to maintain a vessel in good operating condition increase with the age of the vessel. As of March 13, 2020, the average age of the vessels in our current fleet was 9.5 years. As our vessels age, they may become less fuel efficient and more costly to maintain and will not be as advanced as more recently constructed vessels due to improvements in design and engine technology. Rates for cargo insurance, paid by charterers, also increase with the age of a vessel, making older vessels less desirable to charterers. Governmental regulations, safety or other equipment standards related to the age of vessels may 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. As our vessels age, market conditions may not justify those expenditures or enable us to operate our vessels profitably during the remainder of their useful lives.

Seventeen vessels in our fleet were over ten years old as of December 31, 2019. We may encounter higher operating and maintenance costs due to the age and condition of those vessels. In addition, if in the future we acquire additional secondhand vessels, such vessels may develop unexpected mechanical and operational problems despite adherence to regular survey schedules and proper maintenance. We cannot obtain the same knowledge about the condition of a secondhand vessel compared to a newbuild through the performed inspection prior to the purchase of such secondhand vessel nor about the cost of any required (or anticipated) repairs that we would have had if this vessel had been built for and operated exclusively by us. We will have the benefit of warranties on newly constructed vessels; we may not receive the benefit of warranties on secondhand vessels.

Our business could be adversely affected by negative developments or uncertainty in the transportation industry due to lack of revenue source diversification.

        We derive all our revenues exclusively from our business operations in the drybulk transportation industry. An adverse market development in the drybulk sector of the transportation industry could therefore have a stronger impact on our business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition, than if we had multiple sources of revenues, lines of businesses or types of assets.

Uncertainty regarding the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) due to changes in the reporting practices, the method in which LIBOR is determined or the use of alternative reference rates may adversely impact our indebtedness under our credit and loan facilities, which would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

In July 2017, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority announced that it would phase out LIBOR as a benchmark by the end of 2021. The Alternative Reference Rates Committee (ARRC), a steering committee comprised of large U.S. financial institutions, has proposed replacing USD-LIBOR with a new index calculated by short-term repurchase agreements, the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR). At this time, no consensus exists as to what rate or rates may become accepted alternatives to LIBOR, and it is impossible to predict whether and to what extent banks will continue to provide LIBOR submissions to the administrator of LIBOR, whether LIBOR rates will cease to be published or supported before or after 2021 or whether any additional reforms to LIBOR may be enacted in the U.K. or elsewhere. Such developments and any other legal or regulatory changes in the method by which LIBOR is determined or the transition from LIBOR to a successor benchmark may result in, among other things, a sudden or prolonged increase or decrease in LIBOR, a delay in the publication of LIBOR, and changes in the rules or methodologies in LIBOR, which may discourage market participants from continuing to administer or to participate in LIBOR’s determination and, in certain situations, could result in LIBOR no longer being determined and published. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that a transition from LIBOR to an alternative reference interest rate will not result in financial market disruptions or significant increases in benchmark rates, or borrowing costs to borrowers, any of which could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Most of our credit and loan facilities are linked to LIBOR. When LIBOR ceases to exist, we will need to link our new credit and loan facilities to a different standard, and may need to amend our credit and loan facilities based on a new standard that is established, if any. If a published LIBOR rate is unavailable after 2021, the interest rates on our credit and loan facilities which are indexed to LIBOR will be determined using various alternative methods, any of which may result in interest obligations which are more than or do not otherwise correlate over time with the payments that would have been made on such debt if LIBOR was available in its current form. Any of these proposals or consequences could have a material adverse effect on our financing costs, and as a result, our financial condition, operating results and cash flows.

We are and will be exposed to floating interest rates and may selectively enter into interest rate derivative contracts, which can result in higher than market interest rates and charges against our income.
 





The loans under our credit facilities are generally advanced at a floating rate based on LIBOR, which was volatile prior to 2008 and can affect the amount of interest payable on our debt, and which, in turn, could have an adverse effect on our earnings and cash flow. Over the last few years, LIBOR has been at relatively low levels, but has increased during recent periods. Our financial condition could be materially adversely affected at any time that we have not entered into interest rate hedging arrangements to hedge our exposure to the interest rates applicable to our credit facilities and any other financing arrangements we may enter into in the future. Moreover, even if we have entered into interest rate swaps or other derivative instruments for purposes of managing our interest rate exposure, our hedging strategies may not be effective and we may incur substantial losses.

In March 2020, we entered into derivative contracts to hedge our overall exposure to interest rate risk, and we may enter into additional derivative contracts in the future. Entering into swaps and derivatives transactions is inherently risky and presents various possibilities for incurring significant losses. The derivatives strategies that we employ in the future may not be successful or effective, and we could, as a result, incur substantial additional interest costs.

Because we generate substantially all of our revenues in U.S. dollars but incur a material portion of our expenses in other currencies, including our management fees and investments in Scrubbers and BWTS, and may, in the future, also incur a material portion of our indebtedness and our capital expenditure requirements in other currencies, exchange rate fluctuations could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We generate substantially all of our revenues in U.S. dollars, but in 2019 we incurred approximately 27.9% of our vessel operating expenses in currencies other than the U.S. dollar, of which 52.9% was denominated in Euros. In addition, we incurred the majority of our management fees in Euros, and this will continue in the future. A significant part of our commitments for the acquisition of the Scrubber and BWTS equipment is also denominated in Euros. In June 2018, we issued preferred shares to an unaffiliated investor in one of our subsidiaries. These preferred shares are denominated in Japanese yen and may be redeemed at the option of the investor in 2021, upon the third anniversary of the issuance date. As of December 31, 2019, all of our indebtedness was denominated in U.S. dollars, as well as the amounts due under the memorandum of agreement for the acquisition of the resale newbuild vessel in our orderbook. We have historically entered into shipbuilding contracts and purchase of vessels whereby part of the contract price was payable in Japanese yen and Singapore dollars. Also, new credit facilities and financing agreements, purchase of vessels or newbuild contracts may be denominated in or permit conversion into currencies other than the U.S. dollar. The use of different currencies could lead to fluctuations in our net income due to changes in the value of the U.S. dollar relative to other currencies, in particular the Euro and the Japanese yen. We have not hedged our currency exposure, and, as a result, our results of operations and financial condition, denominated in U.S. dollars, and our ability to pay dividends, could suffer.

Restrictive covenants in our existing credit facilities and financing agreements impose, and any future credit facilities and financing agreements will impose, financial and other restrictions on us, and any breach of these covenants could result in the acceleration of our indebtedness and foreclosure on our vessels.

We have substantial indebtedness. As of December 31, 2019, we had $605.8 million outstanding under our credit facilities and financing agreements.

Our existing credit facilities and financing agreements impose, and any future credit facility and financing agreement will impose, operating and financial restrictions on us. These restrictions generally limit our ability to, among other things:

pay dividends if an event of default has occurred and is continuing or would occur as a result of the payment of such dividend;
enter into certain long-term charters without the lenders’ consent;
incur additional indebtedness, including through the issuance of guarantees;
change the flag, class or management of the vessel mortgaged under such facility or terminate or materially amend the management agreement relating to such vessel;
create liens on their assets;
make loans;
make investments;
make capital expenditures;
undergo a change in ownership or control or permit a change in ownership and control of our Managers;
sell the vessel mortgaged under such facility; and





permit our chief executive officer to change.
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 dividends to our stockholders, finance our future operations or pursue business opportunities.

Certain of our existing credit facilities require our subsidiaries to maintain financial ratios and satisfy financial covenants. Depending on the credit facility, certain of our subsidiaries are subject to financial ratios and covenants requiring that these subsidiaries:

ensure that the market value of the vessel mortgaged under the applicable credit facility, determined in accordance with the terms of that facility, does not fall below 115% or 120%, as the case may be (the “Minimum Value Covenant”);
maintain at all times a minimum cash balance per vessel with the respective lender from $150,000 to $1,000,000 as the case may be; and
ensure that we comply with certain financial covenants under the guarantees described below.
In addition, under our loan agreements or under guarantees we have entered into with respect to certain of our subsidiaries’ credit facilities, we are subject to financial covenants. Depending on the facility, these financial covenants include the following as of March 13, 2020:

our total consolidated liabilities divided by its total consolidated assets (based on the market value of all vessels owned or leased on a finance lease taking into account their employment, and the book value of all other assets), must not exceed 85% (the “Consolidated Leverage Covenant”);
our total consolidated assets (based on the market value of all vessels owned or leased on a finance lease taking into account their employment, and the book value of all other assets) less its total consolidated liabilities must not be less than $150,000 (the “Net Worth Covenant”);
our ratio of its EBITDA over consolidated interest expense must not be less than 2.0:1, on a trailing 12 months’ basis (the “EBITDA Covenant”);
our consolidated debt in relation to the vessels currently owned by the respective Subsidiaries must not exceed $630,000 (the “Maximum Debt Covenant”);
a minimum of 30% or 35%, as the case may be, of our voting and ownership rights shall remain directly or indirectly beneficially owned by the Hajioannou family for the duration of the relevant credit facilities and in the case of one facility Polys Hajioannou beneficially holds a minimum of 20% of the voting and ownership rights (the “Control Covenant”): and
payment of dividends is subject to no event of default having occurred and be continuing or would occur as a result of the payment of such dividends.


Failure to meet our payment and other obligations or to maintain compliance with the applicable financial covenants could lead to defaults under our secured credit facilities. Our lenders could then accelerate our indebtedness and foreclose on the vessels in our fleet securing those credit facilities. The loss of these vessels would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

The declaration and payment of dividends will always be subject to the discretion of our board of directors and will depend on a number of factors. Our board of directors may not declare dividends in the future.

We have not paid any dividends on our shares of Common Stock since August 2015. 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: (i) our earnings, financial condition and cash requirements and available sources of liquidity, (ii) decisions in relation to our growth and leverage strategies, (iii) provisions of Marshall Islands and Liberian law governing the payment of dividends, (iv) restrictive covenants in our existing and future debt instruments and (v) global financial conditions. Therefore, we might continue not paying dividends on our shares of Common Stock in the future.

There may be a high degree of variability from period to period in the amount of cash, if any, that is available for the payment of dividends based upon, among other things:






the rates we obtain from our charters as well as the rates obtained upon the expiration of our existing charters;
the level of our operating costs;
the level of our general and administrative costs;
the number of unscheduled off-hire days and the timing of, and number of days required for, scheduled drydocking of our ships;
vessel acquisitions and related financings;
level of indebtedness;
restrictions in our loan and credit facilities and in any future debt facilities;
prevailing global and regional economic and political conditions;
the effect of governmental regulations and maritime self-regulatory organization standards on the conduct of our business;
the amount of cash reserves established by our board of directors; and
restrictions under Marshall Islands and Liberian law.
We may incur expenses or liabilities or be subject to other circumstances in the future that reduce or eliminate the amount of cash that we have available for distribution as dividends, if any. Our growth strategy contemplates that we will finance the acquisition of our newbuild or selective acquisitions of second hand vessels in addition to our contracted newbuild through a combination of cash on hand, our operating cash flow and debt financing or equity financing. If financing is not available to us on acceptable terms, our board of directors may decide to finance or refinance such acquisitions with a greater percentage of cash from operations to the extent available, which would reduce or even eliminate the amount of cash available for the payment of dividends. We may also enter into other agreements that will restrict our ability to pay dividends.

Under the terms of certain of our existing credit facilities, we are not permitted to pay dividends if an event of default has occurred and is continuing or would occur as a result of the payment of such dividend. We expect that any future credit facilities will also have restrictions on the payment of dividends. In addition, cash dividends on our Common Stock are subject to the priority of dividends on the 2,300,000 shares of Series C Preferred Shares issued May 2014 and 3,200,000 shares of Series D Preferred Shares issued June 2014, in each case outstanding as of December 31, 2019.

The laws of the Republic of Liberia and of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, where our vessel-owning subsidiaries are incorporated, generally prohibit the payment of dividends other than from surplus or net profits, or while a company is insolvent or would be rendered insolvent by the payment of such a dividend. Our subsidiaries may not have sufficient funds, surplus or net profits to make distributions to us. In addition, under guarantees we have entered into with respect to certain of our subsidiaries’ existing credit and loan facilities, we are subject to financial and other covenants, which may limit our ability to pay dividends. We also may not have sufficient surplus or net profits in the future to pay dividends.

The amount of cash we generate from our operations may differ materially from our net income or loss for the period, which will be affected by non-cash items. We may incur other expenses or liabilities that could reduce or eliminate the cash available for distribution as dividends. As a result of these and the other factors mentioned above, we may pay dividends during periods when we record losses and may not pay dividends during periods when we record net income.

We are a holding company and we depend on the ability of our subsidiaries to distribute funds to us in order to make dividend payments.

We are a holding company and our subsidiaries, which are all wholly-owned by us, conduct all of our operations and own all of our operating assets. We have no significant assets other than the equity interests in our wholly-owned subsidiaries and cash and cash equivalents held by us. As a result, our ability to make dividend payments depends on our subsidiaries and their ability to distribute funds to us. The ability of a subsidiary to make these distributions could be affected by a claim or other action by a third party, including a creditor, and the laws of the Republic of Liberia and of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, where our vessel-owning subsidiaries are incorporated, which regulate the payment of dividends by companies. If we are unable to obtain funds from our subsidiaries, our board of directors may exercise its discretion not to declare or pay dividends.

We depend on our Managers to operate our business and our business could be harmed if our Managers fail to perform their services satisfactorily.






Pursuant to our management agreement with Safety Management (the “SMO Management Agreement”) and our management agreement with Safe Bulkers Management (the “SBM Management Agreement” and, together with the SMO Management Agreement, the “Management Agreements”), our Managers provide us with technical, administrative and commercial services (including vessel maintenance, crewing, purchasing, shipyard supervision, insurance, assistance with regulatory compliance, financial services and office space) and our executive officers. Our operational success depends significantly upon our Managers’ satisfactory performance of these services. Our business would be harmed if our Managers failed to perform these services satisfactorily. In addition, if either of the Management Agreements were to be terminated, expire or if their terms were to be altered, our business could be adversely affected, as we may not be able to immediately replace such services, and even if replacement services were immediately available, the terms offered could be less favorable than those under our Management Agreements.

Our ability to compete for and enter into charters and to expand our relationships with our existing charterers will depend largely on our relationship with our Managers and their reputation and relationships in the shipping industry. If our Managers suffer material damage to their reputation or relationships, it may harm our ability to:

renew existing charters upon their expiration;
obtain new charters;
successfully interact with shipyards during periods of shipyard construction constraints;
obtain financing on commercially acceptable terms;
maintain satisfactory relationships with our charterers and suppliers; and
successfully execute our business strategies.
If our ability to do any of the things described above is impaired, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Although we may have rights against our Managers if they default on their obligations to us, investors in us will have no recourse against our Managers.

Our Managers are permitted to provide certain management services to affiliates and third parties under the specific restrictions of our Management Agreements. Although our Managers are required to provide preferential treatment to our vessels with respect to chartering arrangements under the Management Agreements, our Managers’ time and attention may be diverted from the management of our vessels in such circumstances. Further, we will need to seek approval from our lenders to change our Managers.

Management fees are payable to our Managers regardless of our profitability, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Pursuant to our Management Agreements, we pay our Managers a daily ship management fee of €875 per vessel and Safe Bulkers Management an annual ship management fee of €3 million for providing commercial, technical and administrative services (see the section entitled “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects - A. Operating Results - General and Administrative Expenses” for more information). In addition, we pay our Managers certain commissions and fees with respect to vessel purchases, sales and newbuilds. The management fees do not cover expenses such as voyage expenses, vessel operating expenses, maintenance expenses, crewing costs, insurance premiums, commissions and certain company administration expenses such as directors’ and officers’ liability insurance, legal and accounting fees and other similar company administration expenses, which are reimbursed or paid by us. The management fees are payable whether or not our vessels are employed, and regardless of our profitability, and we have no ability to require our Managers to reduce the management fees if our profitability decreases, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. The maximum expiration date of the Management Agreements with our Managers is May 2027. We expect to enter into new agreements with the Managers upon their expiration; however, the terms upon which the new management agreements will be entered into are unknown at this time and may be less favorable to the Company than those currently in place.

Both of our Managers are privately held companies, and there is little or no publicly available information about them; an investor could have little advance warning of problems affecting our Managers that could have a material adverse effect on us.

The ability of our Managers to continue providing services for our benefit will depend in part on their own financial strength. Circumstances beyond our control could impair our Managers’ financial strength. Because our Managers are privately held, it is unlikely that information about their financial strength would become public or available to us prior to any default by our Managers





under the Management Agreements. As a result, we may, and our investors might, have little advance warning of problems that affect our Managers, even though those problems could have a material adverse effect on us.

Our chief executive officer also controls our Managers, which could create conflicts of interest between us and our Managers.

Our chief executive officer, Polys Hajioannou, controls both of our Managers. The Hajioannou family (including Polys Hajioannou), directly and through entities controlled by the Hajioannou family, owns approximately 50.43% of our outstanding Common Stock as of March 13, 2020 (see “Item 7. Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions—A. Major Shareholders” for more information). These relationships could create conflicts of interest between us, on the one hand, and our Managers, on the other hand. These conflicts may arise in connection with the chartering, purchase, sale and operation of the vessels in our fleet versus vessels owned or chartered-in by other companies affiliated with our Managers or our chief executive officer. To the extent we elect not to exercise our right of first refusal with respect to any drybulk vessel that may be acquired by companies affiliated with our chief executive officer, such companies could acquire and operate such drybulk vessels in competition with us. In addition, although under our Management Agreements our Managers will be required to first provide us any chartering opportunities in the drybulk sector, our Managers are not prohibited from giving preferential treatment in other areas of its management to vessels that are beneficially owned by related parties. In addition, under our restrictive covenant arrangements with Mr. Hajioannou and certain entities affiliated with him, he and such entities may own, operate or finance a maximum of eight drybulk vessels on the water at any one time or enter into an unlimited number of contracts with shipyards for newbuild drybulk vessels as part of his estate or family planning. Any such drybulk vessels are not required to be managed by either of our Managers, and Mr. Hajioannou and his related entities are not required to first provide chartering opportunities to us with respect to such vessels. These conflicts of interest may have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

While we adhere to high standards of evaluating related party transactions, agreements between us and other affiliated entities may be challenged as less favorable than agreements that we could obtain from unaffiliated third parties.

We have entered into various transactions with Mr. Hajioannou, our Chairman and chief executive officer, and entities controlled by and/or affiliated with Mr. Hajioannou. For example, in 2017, we sold one drybulk vessel to an entity owned by Mr. Hajioannou. While we believe this transaction was properly evaluated and approved by an independent special committee of our board of directors, certain terms related to the transaction, including price, may be challenged to be on terms that are less favorable to us than terms that would have otherwise been agreed upon with unaffiliated third-parties. Future transactions with Mr. Hajioannou and entities controlled by and/or affiliated with Mr. Hajioannou may undergo scrutiny by our shareholders, the media or others and result in a challenge of the terms associated with any such transaction.

Our business depends upon certain employees who may not necessarily continue to work for us; if such employees were no longer to be affiliated with us, our business, financial condition and results of operation could suffer.

Our future success depends, to a significant extent, upon our chief executive officer, Polys Hajioannou, and certain other members of our senior management and of our Managers. Polys Hajioannou has substantial experience in the drybulk shipping industry and for 31 years has worked with us, our Managers and their predecessor. He and other members of our senior management and of our Managers manage our business and their performance is crucial to the execution of our business strategies and to the growth and development of our business. If these individuals were no longer to be affiliated with us or our Managers, or if we were to otherwise cease to receive advisory services from them, we may be unable to recruit other employees with equivalent talent and experience, and our business and financial condition could suffer. We do not maintain, and do not intend to maintain, “key man” life insurance on any of our executive officers.

The provisions in our restrictive covenant arrangements with our chief executive officer and certain entities affiliated with him restricting their ability to compete with us, like restrictive covenants generally, may not be enforceable.

Our chief executive officer, Polys Hajioannou, and certain entities affiliated with him have entered into restrictive covenant agreements with us under which they are precluded from competing with us during either (i) with respect to Polys Hajioannou, the term of his service with us as executive and director and for one year thereafter, or (ii) with respect to entities affiliated with Polys Hajioannou, during the term of the Management Agreements and for one year following the termination of both Management Agreements, in each case subject to certain exceptions. Courts generally do not favor the enforcement of such restrictions, particularly when they involve individuals and could be construed as infringing on such individuals’ ability to be employed or to earn a livelihood. Our ability to enforce these restrictions, should it ever become necessary, will depend upon the circumstances that exist at the time enforcement is sought. A court may not enforce the restrictions as written by way of an injunction and we may not necessarily be able to establish a case for damages as a result of a violation of the restrictive covenants.






Our vessels call on ports located in Iran and Syria, which are identified by the United States government as state sponsors of terrorism and are subject to United States economic sanctions, which could be viewed negatively by investors and adversely affect the trading price of our Common Stock and Preferred Shares.

From time to time, vessels in our fleet have called and/or may call on ports located in countries identified by the United States government as state sponsors of terrorism and subject to United States economic sanctions. From January 1, 2005 through December 31, 2011, vessels in our fleet made 20 calls on ports in Iran and three calls on ports in Syria out of a total of 2,327 calls on worldwide ports. From January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2015, vessels in our fleet did not make any calls on ports in Iran or Syria. From January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2016, vessels in our fleet made three calls on ports in Iran and no calls on ports in Syria out of a total of 750 calls on worldwide ports. From January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2017, vessels in our fleet made four calls on ports in Iran and no calls on ports in Syria out of a total of 712 calls on worldwide ports. From January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018, vessels in our fleet made five calls on ports in Iran and no calls on ports in Syria out of a total of 731 calls on worldwide ports. From January 1, 2019 through December 31, 2019, vessels in our fleet made ten calls on ports in Iran and no calls on ports in Syria out of a total of 773 calls on worldwide ports. Iran and Syria are identified by the United States government as state sponsors of terrorism. Although these designations and controls do not prevent our vessels from making calls on ports in these countries, potential investors could view such port calls negatively, which could adversely affect our reputation and the market for our Common Stock. Investor perception of the value of our Common Stock may be adversely affected by the consequences of war, the effects of terrorism, civil unrest and governmental actions in these and surrounding countries.

Our policy is for our vessels to avoid making calls on ports in Iran and Syria unless, in the case of Iran, the charterer represents to us that the cargo is not in contravention with any E.U., U.S. or United Nation sanctions and the export of such cargo has been authorized by the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

If our vessels call on ports located in countries that are subject to sanctions and embargoes imposed by the U.S. or other governments, it could adversely affect our reputation and the market for our shares. The U.S. government and other authorities have made certain countries subject to certain sanctions and embargoes or have identified countries or other authorities as state sponsors of terrorism. From time to time, on charterers’ instructions, our vessels may call on ports located in such countries. Sanctions and embargo laws and regulations vary in their application, as they do not all apply to the same covered persons or proscribe the same activities, and such sanctions and embargo laws and regulations may be amended or strengthened over time.In addition, charterers and other parties that we have previously entered into contracts with regarding our vessels may be affiliated with persons or entities that are now or may become the subject of sanctions imposed by the U.S. government, the E.U. and/or other international bodies. If we determine that such sanctions require us to terminate existing contracts or if we are found to be in violation of such sanctions, we may suffer reputational harm and our results of operations may be adversely affected.Although we believe that we have been in compliance with all applicable sanctions and embargo laws and regulations, and intend to maintain such compliance, there can be no assurance that we will be in compliance in the future, particularly as the scope of certain laws may be unclear and may be subject to changing interpretation. Any such violation could result in fines, penalties or other sanctions that could severely impact our ability to access U.S. capital markets and conduct our business and could result in some investors deciding, or being required, to divest their interest, or not to invest, in our securities. For example, certain institutional investors may have investment policies or restrictions that prevent them from holding securities of companies that have contracts with countries identified by the U.S. government as state sponsors of terrorism. Additionally, some investors may decide to divest their interest, or not to invest, in our company simply because we do business with companies that do business in sanctioned countries. The determination by these investors not to invest in, or to divest, our shares may adversely affect the price at which our shares trade. Moreover, our charterers may violate applicable sanctions and embargo laws and regulations as a result of actions that do not involve us or our vessels, and those violations could in turn result in liability for the Company or negatively affect our reputation. In addition, our reputation and the market for our securities may be adversely affected if we engage in certain other activities, such as entering into charters with individuals or entities in countries subject to U.S. sanctions and embargo laws that are not controlled by the governments of those countries, or engaging in operations associated with those countries pursuant to contracts with third-parties that are unrelated to those countries or entities controlled by their governments.

See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Disclosure of activities pursuant to Section 13(r) of the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934” for more information.

We are incorporated in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, which does not have a well-developed body of corporate law; therefore, you may have more difficulty protecting your interests than stockholders of a U.S. corporation.

Our corporate affairs are governed by our articles of incorporation, our bylaws and by the Marshall Islands Business Corporations Act (“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 Republic of the Marshall Islands interpreting the BCA. The rights and fiduciary responsibilities of directors under the laws of the Republic 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 certain United States jurisdictions. The rights of stockholders of companies incorporated in the Republic 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 non-statutory 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 Republic of 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 our management, directors or controlling stockholders than would stockholders of a corporation incorporated in a United States jurisdiction which has developed a more substantial body of case law in the corporate law area.

It may be difficult to serve us with legal process or enforce judgments against us, our directors or our management.

We are incorporated under the laws of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and our Managers’ business is operated primarily from their offices in Limassol, Cyprus and Athens, Greece. In addition, a majority of our directors and officers are or will be non-residents of the United States, and all of our assets and a substantial portion of the assets of these non-residents are located outside the United States. As a result, it may be difficult or impossible for you to bring an action against us or against these individuals in the United States if you believe that your rights have been infringed under the securities laws or otherwise. You may also have difficulty enforcing, both within and outside of the United States, judgments you may obtain in the United States courts against us or these persons in any action, including actions based upon the civil liability provisions of United States federal or state securities laws. There is also substantial doubt that the courts of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Cyprus or Greece would enter judgments in original actions brought in those courts predicated on United States federal or state securities laws.

We may be subject to lawsuits for damages and penalties.

The nature of our business exposes us to the risk of lawsuits for damages or penalties relating to, among other things, personal injury, property casualty and environmental contamination. From time to time, we may be subject to legal proceedings and claims in the ordinary course of business, principally personal injury and property casualty claims. We expect that these claims would be covered by insurance, subject to customary deductibles. However, such claims, even if lacking merit, could result in the expenditure of significant financial and managerial resources.

Regulatory and legal risks as a result of our global operations could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial conditions.
 
Our global operations increase both the number and the level of complexity of U.S. or foreign laws and regulations applicable to us. These laws and regulations include international labor laws; U.S. laws such as the FCPA and other laws and regulations established by the Office of Foreign Assets Control; local laws such as the U.K. Bribery Act 2010; data privacy requirements like the European General Data Protection Regulation, enforceable as of May 25, 2018; and the E.U.-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework, adopted by the European Commission on July 12, 2016. We may inadvertently breach some provisions of those laws and regulations which could result in cease of business activities, criminal sanctions against us, our officers or our employees, fines and materially damage our reputation. In addition, detecting, investigating and resolving such cases of actual or alleged violations may be expensive and time consuming for our senior management.
 
Our costs of operating as a public company are significant, and our management is required to devote substantial time to complying with public company regulations.
 
We have significant legal, accounting and compliance expenses in order to comply with the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and the other rules and regulations of the SEC, including the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Compliance with certain corporate governance requirements and financial reporting obligations, such as the systems and processes evaluation and testing of our internal control over financial reporting, which allow management to report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting, as required by Section 404 of Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, is time consuming for our management and increases legal and compliance costs. If we fail to maintain an effective system of internal control over financial reporting, we may not be able to accurately report our financial results which could harm the price of our Common Stock.

Risks Relating to Our Common Stock and Preferred Shares

The Hajioannou family controls the outcome of matters on which our stockholders are entitled to vote and its interests may be different from yours.






As of March 13, 2020, the Hajioannou family (including our chief executive officer, Polys Hajioannou) owns approximately 50.43%, of our outstanding Common Stock (see “Item 7. Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions – A. Major Shareholders” for more information). The Hajioannou family is able to control the outcome of matters on which our stockholders are entitled to vote, including the election of our entire board of directors and other significant corporate actions. The interests of the Hajioannou family may be different from yours.

Our status as a foreign private issuer within the rules promulgated under the Exchange Act exempts us from certain requirements of the SEC and New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”).

We are a “foreign private issuer” within the rules promulgated under the Exchange Act. Under the NYSE listing rules, a foreign private issuer may elect to comply with the practice of its home country and to not comply with certain NYSE corporate governance requirements, including the requirements that (a) a majority of the board of directors consist of independent directors, (b) a nominating and corporate governance committee be established that is composed entirely of independent directors and has a written charter addressing the committee’s purpose and responsibilities, (c) a compensation committee be established that is composed entirely of independent directors and has a written charter addressing the committee’s purpose and responsibilities, (d) an annual performance evaluation of the nominating and corporate governance and compensation committees be undertaken and (e) the obligation to obtain shareholder approval in connection with certain issuances of authorized stock or the approval of, and material revisions to, equity compensation plans. Moreover, we are not required to comply with certain requirements of the SEC that domestic issuers are required to comply with, including (a) the rules under the Exchange Act requiring the filing with the SEC of quarterly reports on Form 10-Q or current reports on Form 8-K, (b) the sections of the Exchange Act regulating the solicitation of proxies, consents or authorizations in respect of a security registered under the Exchange Act, (c) the provisions of Regulation FD aimed at preventing issuers from making selective disclosures of material information and (d) the sections of the Exchange Act requiring insiders to file public reports of their stock ownership and trading activities and establishing insider liability for profits realized from any “short-swing” trading transaction (i.e., a purchase and sale, or sale and purchase, of the issuer’s equity securities within less than six months). Therefore, you will not have the same protections afforded to shareholders of companies that are subject to all NYSE corporate governance requirements or SEC requirements.

For example, in reliance on the foreign private issuer exemption to the NYSE listing rules, a majority of our board of directors may not consist of independent directors; our board’s approach may therefore be different from that of a board with a majority of independent directors, and as a result, the management oversight of our Company may be more limited than if we were subject to the NYSE listing rules.

See “Item 16G. Corporate Governance” for more information.

Future sales of our Common Stock could cause the market price of our Common Stock to decline and our existing stockholders may experience significant dilution.

We may issue additional shares of our Common Stock in the future and our stockholders may elect to sell large numbers of shares held by them from time to time, subject to applicable restrictions and limitations under Rule144 of the Securities Act.

In April 2011, we issued and sold 5,000,000 shares of Common Stock in a public offering. The gross proceeds of the April 2011 public offering were approximately $42.0 million. In March 2012, we issued and sold 5,750,000 shares of Common Stock in a public offering. The gross proceeds of the March 2012 public offering were approximately $37.4 million. In November 2013, we issued and sold 5,750,000 shares of Common Stock in a public offering. Concurrently with that public offering, we issued and sold 1,000,000 shares of Common Stock to an entity associated with our chief executive officer, Polys Hajioannou, in a private placement. The gross proceeds of the November 2013 public offering and private placement were approximately $50.2 million. In December 2016, we issued and sold 15,640,000 shares of Common Stock in a public offering, in which an entity associated with Polys Hajioannou purchased 2,727,272 shares of Common Stock. The gross proceeds of the December 2016 public offering were approximately $17.2 million. In April 2017, we completed an exchange offer (the “Exchange Offer”) for our Series B Cumulative Redeemable Perpetual Preferred Shares, par value $0.01 per share, liquidation preference $25.00 per share (“Series B Preferred Shares”), in which we issued an additional 2,212,508 shares of Common Stock to holders of Series B Preferred Shares who tendered such preferred shares in the Exchange Offer.
 
In November 2018, one of our subsidiaries entered into a memorandum of agreement with an unaffiliated seller to acquire a Japanese-built, dry-bulk Post-Panamax class resale newbuild vessel, expected to be delivered within the first half of 2020. We have the option to finance up to 50% of the purchase price of the vessel through the issuance of our Common Stock to the seller. In November 2018 and November 2019, we exercised our option and issued 1,441,048 and 3,963,964 shares of our Common Stock respectively to the seller, to finance the first instalment of $3.3 million and the second instalment of $6.6 million respectively of the purchase price of the vessel.





We have the option to finance up to $3.3 million of the remaining capital expenditure of the vessel through the periodic issuance of our Common Stock to the seller. Any such Common Stock issued by us is subject to a restriction on transfer for a period of six months from the date of such issuance.

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 existing stockholders may also experience significant dilution in the future as a result of any future offering.

We also entered into a registration rights agreement in connection with our initial public offering with Vorini Holdings Inc., one of our principal stockholders, pursuant to which we have granted it and certain of its transferees the right, under certain circumstances and subject to certain restrictions, to require us to register under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), shares of our Common Stock held by them. Under the registration rights agreement, Vorini Holdings Inc. and certain of its transferees have the right to request us to register the sale of shares held by them on their behalf and may require us to make available shelf registration statements permitting sales of shares into the market from time to time over an extended period. In addition, those persons have the ability to exercise certain piggyback registration rights in connection with registered offerings initiated by us. Registration of such shares under the Securities Act would, except for shares purchased by affiliates, result in such shares becoming freely tradable without restriction under the Securities Act immediately upon the effectiveness of such registration.

Our share repurchase programs may affect the market for our Common Stock and Preferred Shares, including affecting our share price or increasing share price volatility.
 
The Company may, from time to time, repurchase Common Stock or Preferred Shares in the open market, in privately negotiated transactions or otherwise, depending upon several factors, including market and business conditions, the trading price of our Common Stock and other investment opportunities. The repurchase programs may be limited, suspended or discontinued at any time without prior notice. In June 2019, we announced a share repurchase program under which we may, from time to time, purchase up to 5,000,000 shares of Common Stock in the aggregate on the open market. In March 2020, we expanded such share repurchase program to provide for the repurchase of an additional 1,500,000 shares of Common Stock on the open market. In March 2020, we announced a preferred share repurchase program under which we may, from time to time, purchase up to 100,000 shares of each of our Series C Preferred Shares and Series D Preferred Shares on the open market. Repurchases of our Common Stock or Preferred Shares pursuant to any repurchase programs could affect our stock price and increase trading volatility.

There is no guarantee of a continuing public market for you to resell our common or preferred stock.

Our Common Stock and Preferred Shares trade on the NYSE. We cannot assure you that an active and liquid public market for our Common Stock or Preferred Shares will continue, which would likely have a negative effect on the price of our Common Stock or Preferred Shares, as applicable, and impair your ability to sell or purchase our Common Stock or Preferred Shares, as applicable, when you wish to do so. In January 2016, we announced that we received notice from the NYSE indicating that the trading price of our Common Stock was not in compliance with the NYSE’s continuing listing standard that requires a minimum average closing price of $1.00 per share over a period of 30 consecutive trading days. On June 1, 2016, the NYSE notified us that our average stock price for the 30-trading days ended May 31, 2016 was above the NYSE’s minimum requirement of $1.00 based on a 30-trading day average and, accordingly, that the Company was no longer considered below the NYSE’s $1.00 continued listing standard.

In the future, if our Common Stock falls below the continued listing standard of $1.00 per share again or otherwise fails to satisfy any of the NYSE continued listing requirements, and if we are unable to cure such deficiency during any subsequent cure period, our Common Stock could be delisted from the NYSE. If our Common Stock ultimately were to be delisted for any reason, we could face significant material adverse consequences, including:

limited availability of market quotations for our Common Stock;
a limited amount of news and analyst coverage for us;
a decreased ability for us to issue additional securities or obtain additional financing in the future;
limited liquidity for our shareholders due to thin trading; and
loss of preferential tax rates for dividends received by certain non-corporate United States holders, loss of “mark-to-market” election by United States holders in the event we are treated as a passive foreign investment company (“PFIC”), and loss





of our tax exemption under Section 883 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”) (although we believe that we will not satisfy the requirements for this exemption).
Anti-takeover provisions in our organizational documents and Management Agreements could make it difficult for our stockholders to replace or remove our current board of directors and together with our adoption of a stockholder rights plan could have the effect of discouraging, delaying or preventing a merger or acquisition, which could adversely affect the market price of the shares of our Common Stock.

Several provisions of our 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 our management. In addition, the same provisions may discourage, delay or prevent a merger or acquisition that stockholders may consider favorable. These provisions:

authorize our board of directors to issue “blank check” preferred stock without stockholder approval;
provide for a classified board of directors with staggered, three-year terms;
prohibit cumulative voting in the election of directors;
authorize the removal of directors only for cause;
prohibit stockholder action by written consent unless the written consent is signed by all stockholders entitled to vote on the action;
establish advance notice requirements for nominations for election to our board of directors or for proposing matters that can be acted on by stockholders at stockholder meetings; and
provide that special meetings of our stockholders may only be called by the chairman of our board of directors, chief executive officer or a majority of our board of directors.
We have adopted a stockholder rights plan pursuant to which our board of directors may cause the substantial dilution of the holdings of any person that attempts to acquire us without the approval of our board of directors.

Each Manager may terminate the applicable Management Agreement prior to the end of its term if there is a change in directors after which at least one of the members of our board of directors is not a continuing director. “Continuing directors” means, as of any date of determination, any member of our board of directors who was (a) a member of our board of directors on May 29, 2018 or (b) nominated for election or elected to our board of directors with the approval of a majority of the directors then in office who were either directors on May 29, 2018 or whose nomination or election was previously so approved. In the event that either Management Agreement is so terminated, the Company shall pay to Safe Bulkers Management an amount in cash equal to the Management Fees paid or payable to either Manager, in the aggregate, during the 36 months preceding the applicable termination.

These anti-takeover provisions, including the provisions of our prospective 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.

We may not have sufficient cash from our operations to enable us to pay dividends on or to redeem our Preferred Shares following the payment of expenses and the establishment of any reserves.

We pay quarterly dividends on our Preferred Shares only from funds legally available for such purpose when, as and if declared by our board of directors. We may not have sufficient cash available each quarter to pay dividends. On February 20, 2018 (the “Redemption Date”), we completed the redemption of the outstanding 379,514 Series B Preferred Shares at a redemption price of $25.00 per Series B Preferred Share plus all accumulated and unpaid dividends to, but excluding, the Redemption Date. From and after the Redemption Date, all distributions on the Series B Preferred Shares ceased to accumulate, such Series B Preferred Shares are no longer outstanding, and all rights of the holders of such shares terminated. However, in the future, we may have insufficient cash available to redeem other series of our Preferred Shares. The amount of dividends we can pay or use to redeem Preferred Shares depends upon the amount of cash we generate from our operations, which may fluctuate.

The amount of cash we have available for dividends on or to redeem our Preferred Shares will not depend solely on our profitability.

The actual amount of cash we will have available for dividends or to redeem our Preferred Shares will depend on many factors, including the following:






changes in our operating cash flow, capital expenditure requirements, working capital requirements and other cash needs;
restrictions under our existing or future credit facilities or any future debt securities, including existing restrictions under our existing credit facilities on our ability to pay dividends if an event of default has occurred and is continuing or if the payment of the dividend would result in an event of default and restrictions on our ability to redeem securities;
the amount of any cash reserves established by our board of directors; and
restrictions under the laws of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, which 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.

The amount of cash we generate from our operations may differ materially from our net income or loss for the period, which will be affected by non-cash items, and our board of directors in its discretion may elect not to declare any dividends. As a result of these and the other factors mentioned above, we may pay dividends during periods when we record losses and may not pay dividends during periods when we record net income.

The Preferred Shares represent perpetual equity interests.

The Preferred Shares represent perpetual equity interests in us and, unlike our indebtedness, will not give rise to a claim for payment of a principal amount at a particular date. As a result, holders of the Preferred Shares may be required to bear the financial risks of an investment in the Preferred Shares for an indefinite period of time. In addition, the Preferred Shares rank junior to all our indebtedness and other liabilities, and to any other senior securities we may issue in the future with respect to assets available to satisfy claims against us. Each series of our Preferred Shares rank pari passu with one another and any class or series of capital stock established after the original issue date of such preferred shares that is not expressly subordinated or senior to such preferred shares as to the payment of dividends and amounts payable upon liquidation, dissolution or winding up.

Our Preferred Shares are subordinate to our debt, and your interests could be diluted by the issuance of additional preferred shares, including additional Preferred Shares, and by other transactions.

Our Preferred Shares are subordinate to all of our existing and future indebtedness. As of December 31, 2019, we had aggregate debt outstanding of $605.8 million, of which $65.5 million was the current portion of long term debt payable within the next 12 months. Our existing indebtedness restricts, and our future indebtedness may include restrictions on, our ability to pay dividends on or redeem preferred shares. Our articles of incorporation currently authorize the issuance of up to 20,000,000 shares of blank check preferred stock, par value $0.01 per share, of which, as of December 31, 2019, 2,300,000 shares of Series C Preferred Shares and 3,200,000 shares of Series D Preferred Shares were issued and outstanding. Of the blank check preferred stock, 1,000,000 shares have been designated Series A Participating Preferred Stock in connection with our adoption of a stockholder rights plan as described under “Item 10. Additional Information—B. Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws—Stockholder Rights Plan.” The issuance of additional preferred shares on a parity with or senior to the Preferred Shares would dilute the interests of holders of such shares, and any issuance of preferred shares senior to such preferred shares or of additional indebtedness could affect our ability to pay dividends on, redeem or pay the liquidation preference on our Preferred Shares.

The liquidation preference amount on our Preferred Shares is fixed and you will have no right to receive any greater payment regardless of the circumstances.

The payment due upon a liquidation to holders of any series of our Preferred Shares is fixed at the redemption preference of $25.00 per share plus accumulated and unpaid dividends to the date of liquidation. If, in the case of our liquidation, there are remaining assets to be distributed after payment of this amount, you will have no right to receive or to participate in these amounts. Furthermore, if the market price for our Preferred Shares is greater than the liquidation preference, you will have no right to receive the market price from us upon our liquidation.

Holders of Preferred Shares have extremely limited voting rights.

The voting rights of holders of Preferred Shares are extremely limited. Our Common Stock is the only class or series of our shares carrying full voting rights. Holders of Preferred Shares have no voting rights other than the ability (voting together as a class with all other classes or series of preferred stock upon which like voting rights have been conferred and are exercisable, including all of the Preferred Shares), subject to certain exceptions, to elect one director if dividends for six quarterly dividend periods (whether or not consecutive) payable on our Preferred Shares are in arrears and certain other limited protective voting rights.






Our ability to pay dividends on and to redeem our Preferred Shares is limited by the requirements of the laws of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the laws of the Republic of Liberia and existing and future agreements.

The laws of the Republic of Liberia and of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, where our vessel-owning subsidiaries are incorporated, generally prohibit the payment of dividends other than from surplus or net profits, or while a company is insolvent or would be rendered insolvent by the payment of such a dividend. Our subsidiaries may not have sufficient funds, surplus or net profits to make distributions to us. In addition, under guarantees we have entered into with respect to certain of our subsidiaries’ existing credit facilities, we are subject to financial and other covenants, which may limit our ability to pay dividends and redeem the Preferred Shares. These and future agreements may limit our ability to pay dividends on and to redeem the Preferred Shares. We also may not have sufficient surplus or net profits in the future to pay dividends.

Tax Risks

In addition to the following risk factors, you should read “Item 10. Additional Information—E. Tax Considerations—Marshall Islands Tax Considerations,” “Item 10. Additional Information—E. Tax Considerations—Liberian Tax Considerations,” and “Item 10. Additional Information —E. Tax Considerations—United States Federal Income Tax Considerations” for a more complete discussion of expected material Marshall Islands, Liberian and United States federal income tax consequences of owning and disposing of our Common Stock and Preferred Shares.

We may earn shipping income that will be subject to United States income tax, thereby reducing our cash available for distributions to you.

Under United States tax rules, 50% of our gross income attributable to shipping that begins or ends in the United States may be subject to a 4% United States federal income tax (without allowance for deductions). The amount of this income may fluctuate, and we may not qualify for any exemption from this United States tax. Many of our charters contain provisions that obligate the charterers to reimburse us for this 4% United States tax. To the extent we are not reimbursed by our charterers, the 4% United States tax will decrease our cash that is available for dividends.

For a more complete discussion, see the section entitled “Item 10. Additional Information—Tax Considerations—E. United States Federal Income Tax Considerations—Taxation of Our Shipping Income.”

United States tax authorities could treat us as a “passive foreign investment company,” which could have adverse United States federal income tax consequences to United States holders.

A non-United States corporation will be treated as a “passive foreign investment company,” or PFIC, for United States federal income tax purposes if either (a) at least 75% of its gross income for any taxable year consists of certain types of “passive income” or (b) 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, gains from the sale or exchange of investment property, and rents and royalties other than rents and royalties that 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.” United States stockholders of a PFIC are subject to a disadvantageous United States 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. In particular, United States holders who are individuals would not be eligible for preferential tax rates otherwise applicable to qualified dividends.

Based on our current operations and anticipated future operations, we believe that it is more likely than not that we currently will not be treated as a PFIC. In this regard, we intend to treat gross income we derive or are deemed to derive from our period time chartering activities as services income, rather than rental income. Accordingly, we believe that our income from our period time chartering activities should not constitute “passive income,” and that the assets we own and operate in connection with the production of that income should not constitute passive assets.

There are legal uncertainties involved in this determination. In Tidewater Inc. v. United States, 565 F.3d 299 (5th Cir. 2009), the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that, contrary to the position of the United States Internal Revenue Service, or the “IRS,” in that case, and for purposes of a different set of rules under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, or the “Code,” income received under a period time charter of vessels should be treated as rental income rather than services income. If the reasoning of this case were extended to the PFIC context, the gross income we derive or are deemed to derive from our period time chartering activities would be treated as rental income, and we would probably be a PFIC. The IRS has stated that it disagrees with the holding in Tidewater and has specified that income from period time charters should be treated as services income. However, the IRS’ statement with respect to the Tidewater decision was an administrative action that cannot be relied upon or





otherwise cited as precedent by taxpayers. In light of these authorities, the IRS or a United States court may not accept the position that we are not a PFIC, and there is a risk that the IRS or a United States court could determine that we are a PFIC. Moreover, we may constitute a PFIC for a future taxable year if there were to be changes in our assets, income or operations.

If the IRS were to find that we are or have been a PFIC for any taxable year, our United States stockholders will face adverse United States tax consequences. See “Item 10. Additional Information—E. “Tax Considerations—United States Federal Income Tax Considerations—United States Federal Income Taxation of United States Holders” for a more comprehensive discussion of the United States federal income tax consequences to United States stockholders if we are treated as a PFIC.

ITEM 4.
INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY

A.    History and Development of the Company

Safe Bulkers, Inc. was incorporated in the Republic of the Marshall Islands on December 11, 2007, under the BCA, for the purpose of acquiring ownership of various subsidiaries that either owned or were scheduled to own vessels. We are controlled by the Hajioannou family, which has a long history of operating and investing in the international shipping industry, including a long history of vessel ownership. Vassos Hajioannou, the late father of Polys Hajioannou, our chief executive officer, first invested in shipping in 1958. Polys Hajioannou has been actively involved in the industry since 1987, when he joined the predecessor of Safety Management.

Over the past 26 years under the leadership of Polys Hajioannou, we have sold 14 drybulk vessels during periods of what we viewed as favorable secondhand market conditions and have contracted to acquire 49 drybulk newbuilds and six drybulk secondhand vessels. Also under his leadership, we have expanded the classes of drybulk vessels in our fleet and the aggregate carrying capacity of our fleet has grown from 887,900 dead weight tons prior to our initial public offering in May 28, 2008 to 3,777,000 dwt as of March 13, 2020. Information on our capital expenditure requirements are discussed in “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—B. Liquidity and Capital Resources.” The quality and size of our current fleet, together with our long-term relationships with several of our charter customers, are, we believe, the results of our long-term strategy of maintaining a high quality fleet, our broad knowledge of the drybulk industry and our strong management team. In addition to benefiting from the experience and leadership of Polys Hajioannou, we also benefit from the expertise of our Managers which, along with their predecessor, have specialized in drybulk shipping since 1965, providing services to over 50 drybulk vessels. In June 2008, we completed an initial public offering of our Common Stock in the U.S. and our Common Stock began trading on the NYSE. Our principal executive office is located at Apt. D11, Les Acanthes, 6, Avenue des Citronniers MC 98000 Monaco. Our registered address in the Republic of the Marshall Islands is Trust Company Complex, Ajeltake Road, Ajeltake Island, Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands MH96960. The name of our registered agent at such address is The Trust Company of the Marshall Islands, Inc.

B.    Business Overview

We are an international provider of marine drybulk transportation services, transporting bulk cargoes, particularly coal, grain and iron ore, along worldwide shipping routes for some of the world’s largest consumers of marine drybulk transportation services. As of March 13, 2020, we had a fleet of 41 drybulk vessels, with an aggregate carrying capacity of 3,777,000 dwt.

We employ our vessels on both period time charters and spot time charters, according to our assessment of market conditions, with some of the world’s largest consumers of marine drybulk transportation services. The vessels we deploy on period time charters provide us with relatively stable cash flow and high utilization rates, while the vessels we deploy in the spot market allow us to maintain our flexibility in low charter market conditions.

During 2019, we continued our environmental investments, focusing on strict compliance with existing rules and regulations. We have already installed 15 Scrubbers and we expect to conclude our exhaust gas cleaning program by retrofitting the last five Scrubbers within 2020, obtaining operational flexibility and materializing financial benefits on the basis of the price differential between high sulfur fuel oil with 3.5% sulfur content and the new fuel with reduced sulfur content below 0.5%.

As of December 31, 2019, we had 19 vessels equipped with BWTS and we expect to retrofit 9 vessels with BWTS within the remainder of 2020, obtaining operational flexibility worldwide. We cooperate with key market players, shipyards, charterers, financial institutions and others to advance our business and create value for our stockholders.

General






As of March 13, 2020, our fleet comprised 41 vessels, of which 14 are Panamax class vessels, 10 are Kamsarmax class vessels, 13 are Post-Panamax class vessels and four are Capesize class vessels, with an aggregate carrying capacity of 3,777,000 dwt and an average age of 9.5 years. Assuming delivery of the last of our contracted vessels in 2020, our fleet will be comprised of 14 Panamax class vessels, 10 Kamsarmax class vessels, 14 Post-Panamax class vessels and four Capesize class vessels, and the aggregate carrying capacity of our 42 vessels will be 3,862,000 dwt. As of March 13, 2020, the average remaining duration of the charters for our existing fleet was 0.6 years.

The majority of vessels in our fleet have sister ships with similar specifications in our existing or newbuild fleet. We believe using sister ships provides cost savings because it facilitates efficient inventory management and allows for the substitution of sister ships to fulfill our period time charter obligations.

Our Fleet and Newbuild

The table below presents additional information with respect to our drybulk vessel fleet, including our newbuild, and its deployment as of March 13, 2020. Scrubber benefit for scrubber fitted vessels is calculated on the basis of the price differential between high sulfur fuel oil with 3.5% sulfur content and the new fuel with reduced sulfur content below 0.5%t for the specific voyage and is either presented as part of the daily charter hire or, in cases where it cannot be defined, is not part of the stated daily charter hire.
Vessel Name
 
Dwt
 
Year
Built 1
 
Country of
Construction
 
Charter
Type
 
Charter
Rate 2
 
Commissions 3
 
Charter Period 4
 
Sister
Ship 5
CURRENT FLEET
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Panamax
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Maria
 
76,000
 
2003
 
Japan
 
Period
 
$9,349
 
5.00%
 
Feb 2020 - Dec 2020
 
A
Koulitsa
 
76,900
 
2003
 
Japan
 
Period
 
$5,986
 
5.00%
 
Dec 2019 - Apr 2020
 
 
Paraskevi
 
74,300
 
2003
 
Japan
 
Spot
 
$4,500
 
5.00%
 
Mar 2020 - Apr 2020
 
 
Vassos
 
76,000
 
2004
 
Japan
 
Spot
 
$12,900
 
5.00%
 
Sep 2019 - Mar 2020
 
A
Katerina
 
76,000
 
2004
 
Japan
 
Spot
 
$8,097
 
5.00%
 
Feb 2020 - Dec 2020
 
A
Maritsa
 
76,000
 
2005
 
Japan
 
Period
 
$9,436
 
5.00%
 
Feb 2020 - Nov 2020
 
A
Efrossini
 
75,000
 
2012
 
Japan
 
Spot
 
$5,972
 
3.75%
 
Jan 2020 - Apr 2020
 
B
Zoe 12
 
75,000
 
2013
 
Japan
 
Spot
 
$7,899
 
5.00%
 
Jan 2020 - Apr 2020
 
B
Kypros Land 12
 
77,100
 
2014
 
Japan
 
Spot
 
$5,616
 
5.00%
 
Jan 2020 - Apr 2020
 
H
Kypros Sea
 
77,100
 
2014
 
Japan
 
Spot
 
$13,850
 
5.00%
 
May 2019 - Mar 2020
 
H
Kypros Bravery
 
78,000
 
2015
 
Japan
 

 

 

 

 
I
Kypros Sky 10
 
77,100
 
2015
 
Japan
 
Spot
 
$8,926
 
5.00%
 
Jan 2020 - Mar 2020
 
H
Kypros Loyalty
 
78,000
 
2015
 
Japan
 
Spot
 
$6,367
 
5.00%
 
Feb 2020 - Apr 2020
 
I
Kypros Spirit 10
 
78,000
 
2016
 
Japan
 
Spot
 
$4,044
 
5.00%
 
Jan 2020 - Apr 2020
 
I
Kamsarmax
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Pedhoulas Merchant
 
82,300
 
2006
 
Japan
 
Spot
 
$7,000
 
5.00%
 
Feb 2020 - Mar 2020
 
C
Pedhoulas Trader
 
82,300
 
2006
 
Japan
 
Period
 
$12,000
 
5.00%
 
May 2019 - Mar 2020
 
C
Pedhoulas Leader
 
82,300
 
2007
 
Japan
 
Spot
 
$7,681
 
5.00%
 
Feb 2020 - Apr 2020
 
C
Pedhoulas Commander
 
83,700
 
2008
 
Japan
 
Period
 
$10,850
 
5.00%
 
Apr 2019 - May 2020
 
 
Pedhoulas
Builder
 
81,600
 
2012
 
China
 
Spot 14
 
$8,321
 
5.00%
 
Feb 2020 - Apr 2020
 
D
Pedhoulas Fighter
 
81,600
 
2012
 
China
 
Spot 14
 
$9,548
 
5.00%
 
Jan 2020 - Apr 2020
 
D
Pedhoulas Farmer 6
 
81,600
 
2012
 
China
 
Spot 14
 
$10,614
 
5.00%
 
Dec 2019 - Mar 2020
 
D





Vessel Name
 
Dwt
 
Year
Built 1
 
Country of
Construction
 
Charter
Type
 
Charter
Rate 2
 
Commissions 3
 
Charter Period 4
 
Sister
Ship 5
Pedhoulas Cherry
 
82,000
 
2015
 
China
 
Spot 14
 
$10,999
 
5.00%
 
Jan 2020 - Apr 2020
 
K
Pedhoulas Rose 6
 
82,000
 
2017
 
China
 
Spot 14
 
$11,529
 
5.00%
 
Mar 2020 - Jun 2020
 

Pedhoulas Cedrus
 
82,000
 
2017
 
China
 
Spot 14
 
$8,633
 
5.00%
 
Mar 2020 - Jun 2020
 

Post-Panamax
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Marina
 
87,000
 
2006
 
Japan
 
Spot 14
 
$6,616
 
5.00%
 
Feb 2020 - Apr 2020
 
E
Xenia
 
87,000
 
2006
 
Japan
 
Spot 15
 
$1,867
 
5.00%
 
Jan 2020 - Mar 2020
 
E
Sophia
 
87,000
 
2007
 
Japan
 
Spot 13
 
$8,780
 
5.00%
 
Feb 2020 - Mar 2020
 
E
Eleni
 
87,000
 
2008
 
Japan
 
Spot 13
 
$10,222
 
5.00%
 
Jan 2020 - Apr 2020
 
E
Martine
 
87,000
 
2009
 
Japan
 
Spot 14
 
$10,710
 
5.00%
 
Feb 2020 - Mar 2020
 
E
Andreas K
 
92,000
 
2009
 
South Korea
 
Spot 14
 
$6,765
 
5.00%
 
Feb 2020 - May 2020
 
F
Panayiota K 11
 
92,000
 
2010
 
South Korea
 
Spot 14
 
$8,743
 
5.00%
 
Feb 2020 - Mar 2020
 
F
Agios Spyridonas 11
 
92,000
 
2010
 
South Korea
 
Spot 14
 
$6,901
 
5.00%
 
Feb 2020 - Apr 2020
 
F
Venus Heritage 12
 
95,800
 
2010
 
Japan
 
Spot 14
 
$5,951
 
5.00%
 
Jan 2020 - Mar 2020
 
G
Venus History 12
 
95,800
 
2011
 
Japan
 
Spot 14
 
$8,681
 
5.00%
 
Feb 2020 - Apr 2020
 
G
Venus Horizon
 
95,800
 
2012
 
Japan
 
Spot 14
 
$7,166
 
5.00%
 
Feb 2020 - Apr 2020
 
G
Troodos Sun
 
85,000
 
2016
 
Japan
 
Spot
 
$5,193
 
5.00%
 
Jan 2020 - Mar 2020
 
J
Troodos Air
 
85,000
 
2016
 
Japan
 
Spot
 
$5,875
 
5.00%
 
Feb 2020 - Mar 2020
 
J
Capesize
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mount Troodos
 
181,400
 
2009
 
Japan
 
Dry docking 9
 

 

 

 
 
Kanaris
 
178,100
 
2010
 
China
 
Period 7
 
$26,562
 
2.50%
 
Sep 2011 – Jun 2031
 
 
Pelopidas
 
176,000
 
2011
 
China
 
Period
 
$38,000
 
1.00%
 
Feb 2012 – Jan 2022
 
 
Lake Despina
 
181,400
 
2014
 
Japan
 
Period 8
 
$24,376
 
1.25%
 
Jan 2014 – Jan 2024
 
 
Subtotal
 
3,777,000
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
NEW BUILD
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Post-Panamax
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1772 TBN
 
85,000
 
1H 2020
 
Japan
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Subtotal
 
85,000
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
TOTAL
 
3,862,000
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

(1)
For existing vessels, the year represents the year built. For our newbuild, the date shown reflects the expected delivery dates.
(2)
Quoted charter rates are the recognized daily gross charter rates. For charter parties with variable rates among periods or consecutive charter parties with the same charterer, the recognized gross daily charter rate represents the weighted average gross daily charter rate over the duration of the applicable charter period or series of charter periods, as applicable. In the case of a charter agreement that provides for additional payments, namely ballast bonus to compensate for vessel repositioning, the gross daily charter rate presented has been adjusted to reflect estimated vessel repositioning expenses. Gross charter rates are inclusive of commissions. Net charter rates are charter rates after the payment of commissions. In the case of voyage charters, the charter rate represents revenue recognized on a pro rata basis over the duration of the voyage from load to discharge port less related voyage expenses.
(3)
Commissions reflect payments made to third-party brokers or our charterers.
(4)
The start dates listed reflect either actual start dates or, in the case of contracted charters that had not commenced as of March 13, 2020, the scheduled start dates. Actual start dates and redelivery dates may differ from the referenced scheduled start and redelivery dates depending on the terms of the charter and market conditions and does not reflect the options to extend the period time charter.
(5)
Each vessel with the same letter is a “sister ship” of each other vessel that has the same letter, and under certain of our charter contracts, may be substituted with its “sister ships.”
(6)
MV Pedhoulas Farmer and MV Pedhoulas Rose were sold and leased back, in 2015 and 2017, respectively, on a bareboat charter basis for a period of 10 years, with a purchase obligation at the end of the bareboat charter period and purchase options in favor of the Company after the second year of the bareboat charter, at annual intervals and predetermined purchase prices.
(7)
Charterer agreed to reimburse us for part of the cost of the Scrubbers and BWTS to be installed on the vessel, which is recorded by increasing the recognized daily charter rate by $634 over the remaining tenor of the time charter party.
(8)
A period time charter of 10 years at a gross daily charter rate of $23,100 for the first two and a half years and of $24,810 for the remaining period. In January 2017, the period time charter was amended to reflect substitution of the initial charterer with its subsidiary guaranteed by the initial charterer and changes in payment terms; all other period charter terms remained unchanged. The charter agreement grants the charterer the option to purchase the vessel at any time beginning at the end of the seventh year of the period time charter period, at a price of $39.0 million less 1.00% commission, decreasing thereafter on a pro-rated basis by $1.5 million per year. The Company holds a right of first refusal to buy back the vessel in the event that the charterer exercises its option to purchase the vessel and subsequently offers to sell such vessel to a third party. The charter agreement also grants the charterer an option to extend the period time charter for an additional twelve months at a time at a gross daily charter rate of $26,330, less 1.25% total commissions, which option may be exercised by the charterer a maximum of two times.
(9) Vessel in dry-docking.
(10)
MV Kypros Sky and MV Kypros Spirit were sold and leased back in December 2019 on a bareboat charter basis for a period of eight years, with purchase options in favor of the Company commencing three years following the commencement of the bareboat charter period and a purchase obligation at the end of the bareboat charter period, all at predetermined purchase prices.
(11) MV Panayiota K and MV Agios Spyridonas were sold and leased back in January 2020 on a bareboat charter basis for a period of six years, with purchase options in favor of the Company commencing three years following the commencement of the bareboat charter period and a purchase obligation at the end of the bareboat charter period, all at predetermined purchase prices.





(12) MV Zoe, MV Kypros Land, MV Venus Heritage and MV Venus History were sold and leased back in November 2019, on a bareboat charter basis, one for a period of eight years and three for a period of seven and a half years, with a purchase option in favor of the Company five years and nine months following the commencement of the bareboat charter period at a predetermined purchase price.
(13) Scrubber benefit was agreed on the basis of fuel consumption of heavy fuel oil and the price differential between the heavy fuel oil and the compliant fuel cost for the voyage and is included on the daily gross charter rate presented.
(14) Scrubber benefit was agreed on the basis of fuel consumption of heavy fuel oil and the price differential between the heavy fuel oil and the compliant fuel cost for the voyage and is not included on the daily gross charter rate presented.
(15) Voyage related to repositioning close to the shipyard where the vessel would undertake dry-docking.







From the beginning of 1995 through March 13, 2020, we have taken delivery of 49 newbuilds and six secondhand vessels. As of March 13, 2020, we were contracted to take delivery of one Japanese-built Post-Panamax class resale newbuild vessel. As of March 13, 2020, our remaining capital expenditure requirements to shipyards or sellers with respect to our newbuild amounted to $20.2 million all of which is due in 2020. The Company has the option to pay for up to $3.3 million of the remaining capital expenditure of the vessel through the issuance of our Common Stock to the seller.

Chartering of Our Fleet

Our vessels are used to transport bulk cargoes, particularly coal, grain and iron ore, along worldwide shipping routes. We may employ our vessels in time charters or in voyage charters.

A time charter is a contract to charter a vessel for a fixed period of time at a set daily rate and can last from a few days up to several years, where the vessel performs one or more trips between load port(s) and discharge port(s). Based on the duration of vessel’s employment, a time charter can be either a long-term, or period, time charter with duration of more than three months, or a short-term, or spot, time charter with duration of up to three months. Under our time charters, the charterer pays for most voyage expenses, such as port, canal and fuel costs, agents’ fees, extra war risks insurance and any other expenses related to the cargoes, and we pay for vessel operating expenses, which include, among other costs, costs for crewing, provisions, stores, lubricants, insurance, maintenance and repairs, tonnage taxes, drydocking and intermediate and special surveys.

Voyage charters are generally contracts to carry a specific cargo from a load port to a discharge port, including positioning the vessel at the load port. Under a voyage charter, the charterer pays an agreed upon total amount or on a per cargo ton basis, and we pay for both vessel operating expenses and voyage expenses. We infrequently enter into voyage charters. Voyage charters together with spot time charters are referred to in our industry as employment in the spot market.

We intend to employ our vessels on both period time charters and spot time charters, according to our assessment of market conditions, with some of the world’s largest consumers of marine drybulk transportation services. The vessels we deploy on period time charters provide us with relatively stable cash flow and high utilization rates, while the vessels we deploy in the spot market allow us to maintain our flexibility in low charter market conditions.

Our Customers

Since 2005, our customers have included over 30 national, regional and international companies, including Bunge, Cargill, Daiichi, Intermare Transport G.m.b.H., Energy Eastern Pte. Ltd., NYK, NS United Kaiun Kaisha, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Oldendorff GmbH and Co. KG, Louis Dreyfus Armateurs, Louis Dreyfus Commodities, ArcelorMittal or their affiliates. During 2019, two of our charterers, namely Glencore Agriculture B.V. and Bunge S.A., accounted for 31.40% of our revenues, with each one accounting for more than 10.0% of total revenues. During 2018, two of our charterers, namely Glencore Agriculture B.V. and Bunge S.A., accounted for 28.49% with each one accounting for more than 10.0% of total revenues. During 2017, one of our charterers, Bunge S.A., accounted for 12.72% of total revenues. We seek to charter our vessels primarily to charterers who intend to use our vessels without sub-chartering them to third parties. A prospective charterer’s financial condition and reliability are also important factors in negotiating employment for our vessels.

Management of Our Fleet

In May 2008, we entered into a management agreement with Safety Management and in May 2015, we entered into a management agreement with Safe Bulkers Management, pursuant to which our Managers provided us with our executive officers, technical, administrative, commercial and certain other services. Each of these management agreements expired on May 28, 2018. In May 2018, we entered into new Management Agreements, pursuant to which our Managers continue to provide us with technical, administrative, commercial and certain other services. Each of the Management Agreements was effective as of May 29, 2018 and has an initial three-year term which may be extended on a three-year basis up to two times. Our arrangements with our Managers and their performance are reviewed by our board of directors. Our chief executive officer, president, chief financial officer and chief operating officer, collectively referred to in this annual report as our “executive officers,” provide strategic management for our company and also supervise the management of our day-to-day operations by our Managers. Our Managers report to us and our board of directors through our executive officers. The Management Agreements with our Managers have a maximum expiration date in May 2027 and we expect to enter into new agreements with the Managers upon their expiration. The terms of any such new agreements have not yet been determined.
 
Pursuant to the Management Agreements, in return for providing such services our Managers receive a ship management fee of €875 per day per vessel and one of our Managers receives an annual ship management fee of €3 million. Our Managers also receive a commission of 1.0% based on the contract price of any vessel sold by it on our behalf, and a commission of 1.0% based on the





contract price of any vessel bought by it on our behalf, including the acquisition of each of our contracted newbuilds. We also pay our Managers a supervision fee of $550,000 per newbuild, of which 50% is payable upon the signing of the relevant supervision agreement, and 50% upon successful completion of the sea trials of each newbuild, which we capitalize, for the on-premises supervision by selected engineers and others on the Managers’ staff of newbuilds we have agreed to acquire pursuant to shipbuilding contracts, memoranda of agreement, or otherwise.

Our Managers have agreed that, during the term of our Management Agreements and for a period of one year following their termination, our Managers will not provide management services to, or with respect to, any drybulk vessels other than (a) on our behalf or (b) with respect to drybulk vessels that are owned or operated by companies affiliated with our chief executive officer or his family members, and drybulk vessels that are acquired, invested in or controlled by companies affiliated with our chief executive officer or his family members, subject in each case to compliance with, or waivers of, the restrictive covenant agreements entered into between us and such companies. Our Managers have also agreed that if one of our drybulk vessels and a drybulk vessel owned or operated by any such company are both available and meet the criteria for a charter being arranged by our Managers, our drybulk vessel will receive such charter.

The foregoing description of the Management Agreements does not purport to be complete and is qualified in its entirety by reference to the Management Agreements, copies of which are attached as Exhibit 4.1 and Exhibit 4.2 and incorporated herein by reference.

See “Item 7. Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions—B. Related Party Transactions—Management Agreements” for more information.

Competition

We operate in highly competitive markets that are based primarily on supply and demand. Our business fluctuates in line with the main patterns of trade of the major drybulk cargoes and varies according to changes in the supply and demand for these items. We believe we differentiate ourselves from our competition by providing modern vessels with advanced designs and technological specifications. As of March 13, 2020, our fleet had an average age of 9.5 years. Upon delivery of our contracted newbuild vessel, the majority of our fleet will have been built in Japanese shipyards, which we believe provides us with an advantage in attracting large, well-established customers, including Japanese customers.

The drybulk sector is characterized by relatively low barriers to entry, and ownership of drybulk vessels is highly fragmented. In general, we compete with other owners of Panamax class or larger drybulk vessels for charters based upon price, customer relationships, operating expertise, professional reputation and size, age, location and condition of the vessel.

Crewing and Shore Employees

Our management team consists of our chief executive officer, president, chief financial officer, chief operating officer, chief financial controller, chief compliance officer and our internal auditor. Our Managers are responsible for the technical management of our fleet and therefore also handle the recruiting, either directly or through crewing agents, of the senior officers and all other crew members for our vessels. As of December 31, 2019, approximately 952 people served on board the vessels in our fleet, and our Managers employed approximately 117 people on shore.

Permits and Authorizations

We are required by various governmental and other agencies to obtain certain permits, licenses, certificates and financial assurances with respect to each of our vessels. The kinds of permits, licenses, certificates and financial assurances required by governmental and other agencies depend upon several factors, including the commodity being transported, the waters in which the vessel operates, the nationality of the vessel’s crew and the type and age of the vessel. All permits, licenses, certificates and financial assurances currently required to operate our vessels have been obtained. Additional laws and regulations, environmental or otherwise, may be adopted which could limit our ability to do business or increase the cost of doing business.

Risk of Loss and Liability Insurance

General

The operation of our fleet involves risks such as mechanical failure, collision, property loss, cargo loss or damage as well as personal injury, illness and loss of life. In addition, the operation of any oceangoing vessel is subject to the inherent possibility of marine disaster, including oil spills and other environmental mishaps, the risk of piracy and the liabilities arising from owning





and operating vessels in international trade. The U.S. Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (“OPA 90”), 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 vessel owners and operators trading in the United States market.

Our Managers are responsible for arranging insurance for all our vessels on the terms specified in our Management Agreements, which we believe are in line with standard industry practice. In accordance with our Management Agreements, our Managers procure and maintain hull and machinery insurance, war risks insurance, freight, demurrage and defense coverage and protection and indemnity coverage with mutual assurance associations. Due to our low incident rate and the relatively young age of our fleet, we are generally able to procure relatively low rates for all types of insurance.

While our insurance coverage for our drybulk vessel fleet is in amounts that we believe to be prudent to protect us against normal risks involved in the conduct of our business and consistent with standard industry practice, our Managers may not be able to maintain this level of coverage throughout a vessel’s useful life. Furthermore, all risks may not be adequately insured against, any particular claim may not be paid and adequate insurance coverage may not always be obtainable at reasonable rates.

Hull and machinery insurance

Our marine hull and machinery insurance covers risks of partial loss or actual or constructive total loss from collision, fire, grounding, engine breakdown and other insured risks up to an agreed amount per vessel. Our vessels will each be covered up to at least their fair market value after meeting certain deductibles per incident per vessel. We also maintain increased value coverage for each of our vessels. Under this increased value coverage, in the event of the total loss of a vessel, we are entitled to recover amounts in excess of the total loss amount recoverable under our hull and machinery policy.

Protection and indemnity insurance

Protection and indemnity insurance is a form of mutual indemnity insurance provided by mutual marine protection and indemnity associations (“P&I Associations”) formed by vessel owners to provide protection from large financial loss to one club member by contribution towards that loss by all members.

Protection and indemnity insurance covers our third-party liabilities in connection with our shipping activities. This includes third-party liability and other related expenses of injury or death of crew members, passengers and other third parties, 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. Our coverage, except for pollution, will be unlimited. Furthermore, within this aggregate limit, club coverage is also limited to the amount of the member’s legal liability.

Our protection and indemnity insurance coverage for pollution is limited to $1.0 billion per vessel per incident. Our protection and indemnity insurance coverage in respect of passengers is limited to $2.0 billion and in respect of passengers and seamen is limited to $3.0 billion per vessel per incident. The 13 P&I Associations that comprise the International Group of P&I Clubs (the “International Group”) insure approximately 90.0% of the world’s commercial blue-water tonnage and have entered into a pooling agreement to reinsure each P&I Association’s liabilities. As a member of a P&I Association that is a member of the International Group, we are subject to calls payable to the P&I Association based on the International Group’s claim records, as well as the claim records of all other members of the individual associations.

Although the P&I Associations compete with each other for business, they have found it beneficial to mutualize their larger risks among themselves through the International Group. This is known as the “Pool.” This pooling is regulated by a contractual agreement which defines the risks that are to be covered and how claims falling on the Pool are to be shared among the participants in the International Group. The Pool provides a mechanism for sharing all claims in excess of $10.0 million up to, currently, approximately $8.2 billion. On that basis, all claims up to $10.0 million will be covered by each Club’s Individual Retention and all claims in excess of $10.0 million up to $100.0 million will be covered by the Pool. The Pool is structured in three layers from $10 million to $100 million. For amounts in excess of $30 million, the Pool is reinsured by the Group captive reinsurance vehicle, Hydra Insurance Company Limited. Hydra is a Bermuda incorporated Segregated Accounts company in which each of the 13 Group Clubs has its own segregated account (or “cell”) ring fencing its assets and liabilities from those of the company or any of the other Club cells. Hydra reinsures each Club in respect of that Club's liabilities within the Pool and reinsurance layers in which it participates. Through the participation of Hydra, the Group Clubs can retain, within their Hydra cells, premium which would otherwise have been paid to the commercial reinsurance markets.
For the 2020/2021 policy year, the International Group maintained a three layer GXL reinsurance program, together with an additional Collective Overspill layer, which combine to provide commercial reinsurance cover of up to $3.1 billion per vessel per





incident, comprising of reinsurance for all claims of up to $2.1 billion per vessel per incident in excess of the $100.0 million insured by the Pool and an additional $1.0 billion in excess of the aforesaid $2.1 billion per vessel per incident in respect of claims for overspill.

War Risks Insurance

Our war risk insurance covers hull or freight damage, detention or diversions risks and P&I liabilities (including crew) arising out of confiscations, seizure, capture, vandalism, sabotage and/or other war risks and is subject to separate limits of:

(i) each vessel’s hull and machinery value and each vessel’s corresponding increased value insured up to $400.0 million per vessel per incident, and

(ii) for war risks P&I liabilities including crew up to $400.0 million per vessel per incident.

Inspection by Classification Societies

Every oceangoing vessel must be “classed” by a classification society. The classification society certifies that the vessel is “in class,” signifying that the vessel has been built and maintained in accordance with the rules and regulations of the classification society. In addition, each vessel must comply with all applicable laws, rules and regulations of the vessel’s country of registry, or “flag state,” as well as the international conventions of which that flag state is a member. A vessel’s compliance with international conventions and corresponding laws and ordinances of its flag state can be confirmed by the applicable flag state, port state control or, upon application or by official order, the classification society, acting on behalf of the authorities concerned.

The classification society also undertakes, upon request, other surveys and checks that are required by regulations and requirements of the flag state. These surveys are subject to agreements made in each individual case or to the regulations of the country concerned.

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 maintenance of class, regular and extraordinary surveys of a vessel’s hull and machinery, including the electrical plant, and any special equipment classed are required to be performed as follows:

Annual Surveys. For oceangoing vessels, annual surveys are conducted for their hulls and machinery, including the electrical plants, and for any special equipment classed, at intervals of 12 months from the date of commencement of the class period indicated in the certificate.
Intermediate Surveys. Extended annual surveys are referred to as “intermediate surveys” and typically are conducted on the occasion of the second or third annual survey after commissioning and after each class renewal.
Class Renewal / Special Surveys. Class renewal surveys, also known as “special surveys,” are more extensive than intermediate surveys and are carried out at the end of each five-year period. During the special survey the vessel is thoroughly examined, including thickness-gauging to determine any diminution in the steel structures. Should the thickness be found to be less than class requirements, the classification society would prescribe steel renewals. It may be expensive to have steel renewals pass a special survey if the vessel is aged or experiences excessive wear and tear. A vessel owner has the option of arranging with the classification society for the vessel’s machinery to be on a continuous survey cycle, according to which all machinery would be surveyed within a five-year cycle. At an owner’s application, the surveys required for class renewal may be split according to an agreed schedule to extend over the entire period of class.
Vessels are drydocked during intermediate and special surveys for repairs of their underwater parts. Intermediate surveys may not be required for vessels under the age of 15 years. If “in water survey” notation is assigned by class, as is the case for our vessels, the vessel owner has the option of carrying out an underwater inspection of the vessel in lieu of drydocking, subject to certain conditions. In the event that an “in water survey” notation is assigned as part of a particular intermediate survey, drydocking would be required for the following special survey thereby generally achieving a higher utilization for the relevant vessel. Drydocking can be undertaken as part of a special survey if the drydocking occurs within 15 months prior to the special survey due date. Special survey may be extended under certain provisions for a period of up to three months from their due date. In some vessels, BWTS installation will be undertaken concurrently with the scheduled drydocking. Scrubber retrofit may be undertaken either as a stand-alone retrofit or concurrently with the scheduled drydocking. The following table lists the dates by which we expect to start the next drydocking, BWTS retrofit and/or Scrubber retrofit and the special survey for the vessels in our current drybulk vessel fleet:






Vessel Name
 
Drydocking/BWTS/Scrubber(1)
 
Special Survey(2)
Mount Troodos (3),(4),(5)
 
March 2020
 
December 2019
Troodos Sun (3),(4),(5)
 
April 2020
 
January 2021
Troodos Air (3),(4),(5)
 
April 2020
 
March 2021
Xenia (3),(4),(5)
 
April 2020
 
April 2021
Kanaris (3),(4),(5)
 
May 2020
 
May 2020
Kypros Sky (3),(4)
 
June 2020
 
April 2020
Kypros Bravery (3),(4)
 
June 2020
 
June 2020
Kypros Loyalty (3),(4)
 
September 2020
 
September 2020
Venus History (3), (4)
 
January 2021
 
September 2021
Pedhoulas Merchant (3),(4)
 
February 2021
 
March 2021
Pedhoulas Trader (3),(4)
 
March 2021
 
May 2021
Pelopidas (3),(4)
 
March 2021
 
November 2021
Venus Horizon (3), (4)