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   Feb 14, 2006

Indian bulker owner West Asia Maritime (WAM) is signalling ambitious growth plans to match those of its parent, the ETA-Ascon group of Dubai.

WAM says means to expand its current fleet of 25 vessels to 50 owned and chartered vessels within the next three years.

On that background WAM announced today that it is taking a Japanese supramax bulker newbuilding on bareboat charter in a 12.5 year, $33.5m deal with purchase option.

The ship under construction at Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries (IHI) is being chartered from Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co. Delivery is set for the first quarter of 2008.

WAM managing director Abdul Qadir said in an announcement that the ship can be acquired at any time during the charter period for a fixed price, which he did not reveal.

Qadir says WAM and subsidiaries earned INR 747m ($16.9m) on turnover of INR 9.97bn in 2005, moving 69% more cargo than in 2004 and enjoying a 116% annual growth in revenues.

Last month ETA-Ascon said it means to add a whopping 76 vessels to its fleet of 16 vessels of up to VLCC size.

Bob Rust, Stamford
Trade Winds

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