Nordic American Tankers (NYSE:NAT) has decided to pull up anchor on a $55 million Suezmax tanker it had agreed to buy in March, saying the seller wouldn't be able to deliver the ship on time.

The new tanker was to have been Nordic's 21st vessel and would have represented a "very modern double-hull tanker." Although the fleet operator never identified the ship its was buying, industry sources believe it was the Almi Sun, a 157,000-deadweight tonnage vessel owned by Greece's Almi Tankers and delivered from Daewoo Shipbuilding.

Nordic American said it had been agreed the vessel would be delivered by mid-May, but as the deadline loomed the ship's owner asked for and received a one-month extension to June 15. However, toward the end of May, Nordic was notified that deadline couldn't be met either, the company said in today's press release.

As a result, Nordic canceled the ship as allowed under its contract, but said this wouldn't affect the tanker operator's expansion plans, which it wants to use to increase its dividend and earnings capacity. Nordic American has only Suezmax vessels. They can carry 1 million barrels of oil and the company describes the Suezmax as "highly versatile, able to be utilized on most long-haul trade routes."

Nordic American Tankers is domiciled in Bermuda. Its stock has lost more than a quarter of its value over the past year as a vessel glut and economic malaise has weighed on the industry.


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