Tank you very much. That was investors' response to Nordic American Tanker Shipping's (NYSE:NAT) quarterly earnings release yesterday.

The operator of crude-oil tankers landed buoyant spot rates for its double-hulled Suezmax fleet in the quarter. While industry spot rates -- the going market rate to employ a tanker -- have fallen below their elevated post-Katrina levels, they firmed up by more than 5% sequentially, to just south of $42,000 a day, according to the Imarex Tanker Index. Dividing Nordic American's revenue by the number of vessel revenue days also shows us that Nordic earned above-average rates for its relatively young, advanced fleet.

Nordic American also expanded its fleet, as it tends to do. Since it took delivery of its first three tankers a decade ago, the company has quadrupled the number of tankers it owns. With the addition of three additional vessels, operating cash flow was up 22.4% over last year on 45.4% higher revenue days.

The company is what our Income Investor guru James Early refers to as a high-risk dividend stock. The firm pays out all of its residual earnings as dividends -- hence the eye-popping payout ratio. When earnings drop, Nordic American doesn't run itself into the ground by paying out a fixed amount; it merely pays a proportionally smaller dividend. With a cash breakeven level of $9,500 per ship, per day, I don't see any major problems there.

When asked to predict what stocks would do, it is reported that J.P. Morgan replied: "They will fluctuate." Well, that is my prognostication for Nordic American's results, and consequently its dividend, going forward. In the relatively near term, I see the tanker companies to be at risk, to the extent that a U.S.-led global slowdown is a real possibility. Yes, I'm well aware that there's a resource-hungry country called China out there, so there's no need to email me about that particular angle.

Over the longer term, however, I expect companies like Nordic American, Frontline (NYSE:FRO), and Overseas Shipholding Group (NYSE:OSG) to perform well, until the world stops relying on crude oil for its transportation needs.

Earlier this year, we identified competitor OMI (NYSE:OMM) as a potentially dynamic dividend stock, but it's since been acquired by Teekay Shipping (NYSE:TK). For other ideas on how to build your dividend dynasty, take a free 30-day trial of Motley Fool Income Investor. It's the newsletter oriented toward those who prefer a side of yield with their capital gains.

Fool contributor Toby Shute's college nickname was not Toby the Tank. He doesn't own shares in any company mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.