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As filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 15, 2024

 


UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

--12-31

 

FORM 20-F

 

 

  REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR (g) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

OR

 

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934 

 

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2023

 

OR

 

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

OR

 

SHELL COMPANY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

 

Date of event requiring this shell company report ________________

 

For the transition period from ___________ to ___________

 

Commission file number 001-34985

 

 

 

 

Globus Maritime Limited

(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)

 

128 Vouliagmenis Ave., 3rd Floor, 166 74 Glyfada, Attica, Greece

(Address of Principal Executive Offices)

 

Athanasios Feidakis

128 Vouliagmenis Avenue, 3rd Floor

166 74 Glyfada, Attica, Greece

Tel: +30 210 960 8300

Facsimile: +30 210 960 8359

(Name, Telephone, E-mail and/or Facsimile Number and Address of Company Contact Person)

 

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

 

Title of each class Trading Symbol Name of each exchange on which registered
     
Common Shares, par value $0.004 per share, including the preferred stock purchase rights GLBS Nasdaq Capital Market

 

 

 

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act.

 

None

(Title of Class)

 

Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act.

 

None

(Title of Class)

 

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, 2023, there were 20,582,301 of the registrant’s common shares outstanding and 10,300 Series B preferred shares outstanding.

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.

 

¨ Yes x 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 x No

 

Note – Checking the box above will not relieve any registrant required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 from their obligations under those Sections.

 

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.

 

x Yes ¨ No

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted 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). 

x 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. See definition of “large accelerated filer”, “accelerated filer”, and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):

 

Large accelerated filer ¨ Accelerated filer ¨ Non-accelerated filer x
      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 whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. x

 

If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements. ¨

 

Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the registrant’s executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to §240.10D-1(b). ¨

   

Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filling:

 

U.S. GAAP ¨ International Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board x 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. N/A  

 

¨ 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

 

(APPLICABLE ONLY TO ISSUERS INVOLVED IN BANKRUPTCY PROCEEDINGS DURING THE PAST FIVE YEARS)

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed all documents and reports required to be filed by Sections 12, 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 subsequent to the distribution of securities under a plan confirmed by a court. N/A

 

¨ Yes ¨ No

 

 

 

 

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS 3
PART I 4
Item 1.  Identity of Directors, Senior Management and Advisers 4
Item 2.  Offer Statistics and Expected Timetable 4
Item 3.  Key Information 4
Item 4.  Information on the Company 43
Item 4A.  Unresolved Staff Comments 68
Item 5.  Operating and Financial Review and Prospects 68
Item 6.  Directors, Senior Management and Employees 92
Item 7.  Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions 96
Item 8.  Financial Information 100
Item 9.  The Offer and Listing 101
Item 10.  Additional Information 101
Item 11.  Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk 111
Item 12.  Description of Securities Other than Equity Securities 113
PART II 113
Item 13.  Defaults, Dividend Arrearages and Delinquencies 113
Item 14.  Material Modifications to the Rights of Security Holders and Use of Proceeds 113
Item 15.  Controls and Procedures 114
Item 16A.  Audit Committee Financial Expert 115
Item 16B.  Code of Ethics 115
Item 16C.  Principal Accountant Fees and Services 115
Item 16D.  Exemptions from the Listing Standards for Audit Committees 116
Item 16E.  Purchases of Equity Securities by the Issuer and Affiliated Purchasers 116
Item 16F.  Change in Registrant’s Certifying Accountant 116
Item 16G.  Corporate Governance 116
Item 16H.  Mining Safety Disclosure 117
Item 16I.  Disclosure Regarding Foreign Jurisdictions that Prevent Inspections 117
Item 16J.  Insider trading policies 117
Item 16K. Cybersecurity 117
PART III 118
Item 17.  Financial Statements 118
Item 18.  Financial Statements 118
Item 19.  Exhibits 118

 

 

 2 

 

CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

 

This annual report on Form 20-F contains forward-looking statements and information within the meaning of U.S. securities laws and Globus Maritime Limited desires to take advantage of, among other things, the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and is including this cautionary statement in connection with this safe harbor legislation.

 

Forward-looking statements provide our current expectations or forecasts of future events. Forward-looking statements include statements about our expectations, beliefs, plans, objectives, intentions, assumptions and other statements that are not historical facts or that are not present facts or conditions. Forward-looking statements and information can generally be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology or words, such as “anticipate,” “approximately,” “believe,” “continue,” “estimate,” “expect,” “forecast,” “intend,” “may,” “ongoing,” “pending,” “perceive,” “plan,” “potential,” “predict,” “project,” “seeks,” “should,” “views” or similar words or phrases or variations thereon, or the negatives of those words or phrases, or statements that events, conditions or results “can,” “will,” “may,” “must,” “would,” “could” or “should” occur or be achieved and similar expressions in connection with any discussion, expectation or projection of future operating or financial performance, costs, regulations, events or trends. The absence of these words does not necessarily mean that a statement is not forward-looking. Forward-looking statements and information are based on management’s current expectations and assumptions, which are inherently subject to uncertainties, risks and changes in circumstances that are difficult to predict.

 

Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, all statements in this annual report on Form 20-F concerning or relating to estimated and projected earnings, margins, costs, expenses, expenditures, cash flows, growth rates, future financial results and liquidity are forward-looking statements. In addition, we, through our senior management, from time to time may make forward-looking public statements concerning our expected future operations and performance and other developments. Such forward-looking statements are necessarily estimates reflecting our best judgment based upon current information and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Other factors may affect the accuracy of these forward-looking statements and our actual results may differ materially from the results anticipated in these forward-looking statements. While it is impossible to identify all such factors, factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those estimated by us may include, but are not limited to, those factors and conditions described under “Item 3.D. Risk Factors” as well as general conditions in the economy, dry bulk industry and capital markets and effects of pandemics and world conflicts. We undertake no obligation to revise any forward-looking statement to reflect circumstances or events after the date of this annual report on Form 20-F or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events or new information, other than any obligation to disclose material information under applicable securities laws. Forward-looking statements appear in a number of places in this annual report on Form 20-F including, without limitation, in the sections entitled “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects,” “Item 4.A. History and Development of the Company” and “Item 8.A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information—Our Dividend Policy and Restrictions on Dividends.”

 

Terms Used in this Annual Report on Form 20-F

 

The “Company,” “Globus,” “Globus Maritime,” “we,” “our” and “us” refer to Globus Maritime Limited and its subsidiaries, unless the context otherwise requires.

 

References to our common shares are references to Globus Maritime Limited’s registered common shares, par value $0.004 per share, or, as applicable, the ordinary shares of Globus Maritime Limited prior to our redomiciliation into the Marshall Islands on November 24, 2010.

 

References to our Class B shares are references to Globus Maritime Limited’s registered Class B shares, par value $0.001 per share, none of which are currently outstanding. We refer to both our common shares and Class B shares as our shares. References to our shareholders are references to the holders of our common shares and Class B shares. References to our Series A Preferred Shares are references to our shares of Series A preferred stock, par value $0.001 per share, none of which were outstanding on December 31, 2022 and 2023 as well as on the date of this annual report on Form 20-F. References to our Series B Preferred Shares are references to our shares of Series B preferred stock, par value $0.001 per share. References to our Series C Preferred Shares are references to our shares of Series C preferred stock, par value $0.001 per share.

 

On July 29, 2010, we effected a 1-4 reverse stock split of our common shares. On October 20, 2016, we effected a 1-4 reverse stock split which reduced the number of outstanding common shares from 10,510,741 to 2,627,674 shares (adjustments were made based on fractional shares). On October 15, 2018, we effected a 1-10 reverse stock split which reduced the number of outstanding common shares from 32,065,077 to 3,206,495 shares (adjustments were made based on fractional shares). On October 21, 2020, we effected a 1-100 reverse stock split which reduced number of outstanding common shares from 175,675,651 to 1,756,720 shares (adjustments were made based on fractional shares). Unless otherwise noted, all historical share numbers and per share amounts in this annual report on Form 20-F have been adjusted to give effect to these reverse stock splits.

Unless otherwise indicated, all references to “dollars” and “$” in this annual report on Form 20-F are to, and amounts are presented in, U.S. dollars. References to our ships, our vessels or our fleet or ships that we own relates to the ships that we own or bareboat charter through financing arrangements, unless context otherwise requires.

 3 

Rounding

 

Certain financial information has been rounded, and, as a result, certain totals shown in this annual report on Form 20-F may not equal the arithmetic sum of the figures that should otherwise aggregate to those totals.

 

Market and Industry Data

 

Unless otherwise indicated, information contained in this annual report on Form 20-F concerning our industry and the markets in which we operate, including our general expectations and market position, market opportunity and market size, is based on industry publications and other published industry sources prepared by third parties, as well as publicly available information. In some cases, we do not expressly refer to the sources from which this data is derived. In that regard, when we refer to one or more sources of this type of data in any paragraph, you should assume that other data of this type appearing in the same paragraph is derived from the same sources, unless otherwise expressly stated or the context otherwise requires. We believe the data from third party sources to be reliable based on our management’s knowledge of the industry.

Trademarks

This annual report on Form 20-F may contain trademarks, service marks and trade names of third parties, which are the property of their respective owners. Our use or display of third parties’ trademarks, service marks, trade names or products in this annual report on Form 20-F is not intended to, and does not, imply a relationship with, or endorsement or sponsorship by, us. Solely for convenience, the trademarks, service marks and trade names presented in this annual report on Form 20-F may appear without the ®, TM or SM symbols, but such references are not intended to indicate, in any way, that we will not assert, to the fullest extent under applicable law, our rights or the rights of the applicable licensor to these trademarks, service marks and trade names.

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

 

A.[Reserved]

B. Capitalization and Indebtedness

 

Not Applicable.

 

C. Reasons for the Offer and Use of Proceeds

 

Not Applicable.

 

 4 

 

D. Risk Factors

 

This annual report on Form 20-F contains forward-looking statements and information within the meaning of U.S. securities laws that involve risks and uncertainties. Our actual results may differ materially from the results discussed in the forward-looking statements and information. Factors that may cause such a difference include those discussed below and elsewhere in this annual report on Form 20-F.

 

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 shares. The occurrence of any of the events described in this section could significantly and negatively affect our business, financial condition, operating results, and ability to pay dividends or the trading price of our common shares, and you may lose all or part of your investment. 

 

Summary of Risk Factors

 

Below is a summary of the principal factors that make an investment in our common shares speculative or risky. This summary does not address all of the risks that we face. Additional discussion of the risks summarized in this risk factor summary, and other risks that we face, can be found below under the headings “Risks relating to Our Industry,” “Company Specific Risk Factors” and “Risks Relating to our Common Shares” and should be carefully considered, together with other information in this annual report on Form 20-F and our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), before making an investment decision regarding our common shares. 

 

•        General dry bulk market conditions, including seasonal fluctuations and fluctuations in charter hire rates, vessel values, vessel supply, and need and demand for vessels and for dry bulk products;

 

•        General economic, financial, political and business conditions and disruptions, including counterparty risk, competition, inflation, sanctions, public health, piracy, terrorist attacks and other measures;

 

•        Compliance with, and our liabilities under, governmental, tax, environmental, ESG and safety laws and regulations;

 

•        Changes in governmental regulation, tax and trade matters and actions taken by regulatory authorities;

 

•        Capital expenditures and other costs necessary to operate and maintain and our vessels and to replace our vessel as they age;

 

•        Operational risks and labor interruptions;

 

•        Potential funding calls by our protection and indemnity clubs, and our insurers and our clubs may not cover losses or otherwise have sufficient resources to cover claims;

 

•        Increases in operating costs, including crew costs and fuel prices;

 

•        Arrest or requisition of our vessels;

 

•        Conducting business in China and changes in the economic, regulatory and political environment in the Asia Pacific region;

 

•        Fraud, fraudulent and illegal behavior, including the smuggling of drugs or other contraband onto our vessels;

 

•        Attracting and retaining key management personnel and other employees, and managing growth and improving our operating and financial systems and recruiting suitable employees;

 

•        Refinancing our existing indebtedness or obtaining additional financing, and compliance with covenants in existing financing arrangements;

 

•        Reliance on short-term or spot charters in volatile shipping markets and not benefiting from long-term charters;

 

•        Contracts for newbuilding vessels presenting certain economic and other risks;

 

 5 

 

•        Reliance on information systems and potential security breaches;

 

•        A limited number of financial institutions may hold our cash;

 

•        Purchasing and operating secondhand vessels may result in increased operating costs and reduced fleet utilization;

 

•        Ability to provide reports as to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting;

 

•        We depend upon a few significant customers for a large part of our revenues;

 

•        Fluctuations in foreign currency exchange and interest rates;

 

•        Effects of U.S. federal tax law on us and our shareholders;

 

•        Compliance with economic substance requirements;

 

•        Volatility of our stock price and dilution of shareholders;

 

•        Whether an active and liquid stock market will exist and/or remain and our common shares could be delisted from Nasdaq;

 

•        Our ability to declare and pay dividends; and

 

•        Anti-takeover provisions of our articles of incorporation and bylaws and shareholders rights agreement.

 

Risks relating to Our Industry

 

The international dry bulk shipping industry is cyclical and volatile.

 

The international seaborne transportation industry is cyclical and has high volatility in charter rates, vessel values and profitability. Fluctuations in charter rates result from changes in the supply and demand for vessel capacity and changes in the supply and demand for energy resources, commodities, semi-finished and finished consumer and industrial products internationally carried at sea. For more information see “—The dry bulk vessel charter market remains significantly below its high in 2008.” Currently all of our vessels are chartered on short-term time charters or on the spot market, and we are exposed, therefore, to changes in spot market and short-term charter rates for dry bulk vessels and such changes affect our earnings and the value of our dry bulk vessels at any given time. For more information, see “—We depend on short-term or spot charters in volatile shipping markets.” The supply of and demand for shipping capacity strongly influences freight rates. The factors affecting the supply and demand for vessels are outside of our control, and the nature, timing and degree of changes in industry conditions are unpredictable.

 

Factors that influence demand for vessel capacity include:

 

supply of and demand for energy resources, commodities, and semi-finished consumer and industrial products and the location of consumption versus the location of their regional and global exploration production or manufacturing facilities;
the globalization of production and manufacturing;
port and canal congestion charges;

 

general dry bulk shipping market conditions, including fluctuations in charter hire rates and vessel values and demand for and production of dry bulk products;

 

global and regional economic and political conditions, including exchange rates, trade deals, trade disputes or the imposition of tariffs on various commodities or finished goods, conflicts and wars (including the Ukraine conflict, the war between Israel and Hamas or the Houthi crisis in the Red Sea), and the rate and geographic distributions of economic growth;

 

 6 

 

environmental and other regulatory developments;

 

changes in seaborne and other transportation patterns, including the distance dry bulk cargoes are to be moved by sea;

 

embargoes and strikes;

 

natural disasters and weather; and

 

public health threats, pandemics, such as COVID-19 (and various variants that may emerge), epidemics and other disease outbreaks and governmental responses thereto.

 

Factors that influence the supply of vessel capacity include:

 

the size of the newbuilding orderbook;

 

the price of steel and vessel equipment;

 

technological advances in vessel design and capacity;

 

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;
the availability of financing for new vessels and shipping activity;
vessel casualties; and
the number of vessels that are out of service, namely those that are laid-up, dry docked, awaiting repairs, or otherwise not available for hire.

 

port and canal congestion, speed of vessel operation and waiting times;

 

the number of vessels that are in or out of service, including due to vessel casualties; and

 

changes in national or international regulations (including, but not limited to, environmental regulations) that may limit the useful lives of vessels and effectively cause reductions in the carrying capacity of vessels.

 

In addition to the prevailing and anticipated freight rates, factors that affect the rate of newbuilding, scrapping and laying-up include newbuilding prices, secondhand vessel values in relation to scrap prices, costs of bunkers and other operating costs, costs associated with classification society surveys, normal maintenance costs, insurance coverage costs, the efficiency and age profile of the existing dry bulk fleet in the market, and government and industry regulation of maritime transportation practices, particularly environmental protection laws and regulations. These factors influencing the supply of and demand for shipping capacity are outside of our control, and we may not be able to correctly assess the nature, timing and degree of changes in industry conditions.

 

We anticipate that the future demand for our dry bulk vessels and charter rates will be dependent upon continued economic growth in the world’s economies, seasonal and regional changes in demand and changes to the capacity of the global dry bulk vessel fleet and the sources and supply of dry bulk cargo to be transported by sea. Adverse economic, political, social or other developments could negatively impact charter rates and therefore have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and ability to pay dividends. We may also decide that it makes economic sense to lay up one or more vessels. While our vessels are laid up, we will pay lay-up costs, but those vessels will not be able to earn any hire.

 

 7 

 

The dry bulk vessel charter market remains significantly below its high in 2008.

 

The revenues, earnings and profitability of companies in our industry are affected by the charter rates that can be obtained in the market, which is volatile and has experienced significant declines since its highs in 2008. The Baltic Dry Index, or the

BDI, which is published daily by the Baltic Exchange Limited, or the Baltic Exchange, a London-based membership organization that provides daily shipping market information to the global investing community, is an average of selected ship brokers’ assessments of time charter rates paid by a customer to hire a dry bulk vessel to transport dry bulk cargoes by sea. The BDI has long been viewed as the main benchmark to monitor the movements of the dry bulk vessel charter market and the performance of the entire dry bulk shipping market. The BDI declined from an all-time high of 11,793 in May 2008 to a low of 663 in December 2008, which represents a decline of 94% within a single calendar year. Since 2009, the BDI has remained fairly depressed compared to historical numbers. The BDI reached a new all-time low of 290 on February 10, 2016. In the following years volatility was less extreme, although there were still multiple instances where the index decreased or increased by more than 50% in short periods of time. In 2023, the BDI ranged from a low of 530 on February 16, 2023 to a high of 3,346 on December 4, 2023. In 2024 through March 13, 2024, the BDI ranged from a high of 2,377 on March 11, 2024 to a low of 1,308 on January 17, 2024, but, due to its volatile nature, there can be no assurance of the future performance of the BDI.

 

The decline from historic highs and volatility in charter rates following 2008 is due to various factors, including the over-supply of dry bulk vessels, the lack of trade financing for purchases of commodities carried by sea, which resulted in a significant decline in cargo shipments, and trade disruptions caused by natural or other disasters, such as those that resulted from the dam collapse in Brazil in 2019 and the outbreak of the coronavirus infection in China. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the U.S., the EU, the UK, and other countries have imposed sanctions against Russia and certain disputed regions of Ukraine. The sanctions imposed by the U.S. and other countries against Russia include, among others, restrictions on selling or importing goods, services, or technology in or from affected regions, travel bans, and asset freezes impacting connected individuals and political, military, business, and financial organizations in Russia, severing large Russian banks from U.S. and/or other financial systems, and barring some Russian enterprises from raising money in the U.S. market. The U.S., the EU, and other countries could impose wider sanctions and take other actions. The war in Ukraine has resulted in higher freight market volatility and while the initial effect on the dry bulk freight market was positive, the long-term effects so far remain unclear. More recently, the war between Israel and Hamas has resulted in increased tensions in the Middle East region, including missile attacks by the Houthis on vessels in the Red Sea.

 

The decline and volatility in charter rates in the dry bulk market also affects the value of our dry bulk vessels, which generally follows the trends of dry bulk charter rates, and earnings on our charters, and similarly affects our cash flows, liquidity and compliance with the covenants contained in our loan arrangements.

 

The international shipping industry and dry bulk market are highly competitive.

 

The shipping industry and dry bulk market are capital intensive and highly fragmented with many charterers, owners and operators of vessels and are characterized by intense competition. Competition arises primarily from other independent and state-owned vessel owners, some of whom have substantially greater resources than we do. The trend towards consolidation in the industry is creating an increasing number of global enterprises capable of competing in multiple markets, which may result in a greater competitive threat to us. Our competitors may be better positioned to devote greater resources to the development, promotion and employment of their businesses than we are. Competition for the transportation of cargo by sea is intense and depends on customer relationships, operating expertise, professional reputation, price, location, size, age, environmental, social, and governance criteria, condition and the acceptability of the vessel and its operators to the charterers. Competition may increase in some or all of our principal markets, including with the entry of new competitors, who may operate larger fleets through consolidations or acquisitions and may be able to sustain lower charter rates and offer higher quality vessels than we are able to offer. We may not be able to continue to compete successfully or effectively with our competitors and our competitive position may be eroded in the future, which could have an adverse effect on our fleet utilization and, accordingly, business, financial condition, results of operations and ability to pay dividends.

 

We also face competition from companies with more modern vessels with more fuel-efficient designs than our current vessels. Competition from more technologically advanced vessels could adversely affect the chartering opportunities available to us and the charter rates we will be able to negotiate, therefore adversely affecting our business, operating results, cash flows, and financial condition, while also significantly decreasing the resale value of our vessels.

 

Political instability, terrorist or other attacks, war and international hostilities could affect our business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition

 

Our business, operating results, cash flows, financial conditions, and available cash may be adversely affected by changing economic, political, and governmental conditions in the countries and regions in which our vessels or other vessels we may acquire are employed or registered. We operate in a sector of the economy that is likely to be adversely impacted by the effects of political conflicts, including the war between Ukraine and Russia and between Israel and Hamas, Russia and NATO tensions, China and Taiwan disputes, United States and China trade relations, instability between Iran and the West, hostilities between the United States and North Korea, political unrest and conflicts in the Middle East, the South China Sea region, the Red Sea region (including missile attacks controlled by the Houthis on vessels transiting the Red Sea), and other countries and geographic areas, geopolitical events, such as Brexit, terrorist or other attacks (or threats thereof) around the world, and war (or threatened war) or international hostilities.

 

 8 

 

The continuing war and recent developments in Ukraine, the Middle East, including tensions between the U.S. and Iran, the war between Israel and Hamas and the conflict in the Red Sea, as well as other geographic countries and areas, terrorist or other attacks, and war (or threatened war) or international hostilities, such as the ones currently in progress between Russia and Ukraine, Israel and Hamas, China and Taiwan, or the U.S. and North Korea, have recently and may in the future lead to armed conflict or acts of terrorism around the world continue to cause uncertainty and volatility in the world financial markets and may affect our business, results of operations and financial condition. These uncertainties could also adversely affect our ability to obtain additional financing on terms acceptable to us or at all.

 

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which commenced in February 2022 and the length and breadth of which remains highly unpredictable, may lead to further regional and international conflicts or armed action. This conflict has disrupted supply chains and caused instability and significant volatility in the global economy, with effects on shipping freight rates, which have experienced volatility. Much uncertainty remains regarding the global impact of the conflict in Ukraine, and it is possible that such instability, uncertainty and resulting volatility could significantly increase our costs and adversely affect our business, including our ability to secure charters and financing on attractive terms, and as a result, adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operation and cash flows.

 

As a result of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Switzerland, the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom and others have announced unprecedented levels of sanctions and other measures against Russia and certain Russian entities and nationals, including removing Russian-based financial institutions from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication payment system and restricting imports of Russian oil, liquefied natural gas, and coal. Such sanctions against Russia may adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operation and cash flows. For example, apart from the immediate commercial disruptions caused in the conflict zone, escalating tensions and fears of potential shortages in the supply of Russian crude have caused the price of oil to trade above historical pricing. The ongoing conflict could result in the imposition of further economic sanctions against Russia, with uncertain impacts on the dry bulk market and the world economy. While we currently do not have any Ukrainian or Russian crew and our vessels currently do not sail in the Black Sea, it is possible that the conflict in Ukraine, including any increased shipping costs, disruptions of global shipping routes, any impact on the global supply chain and any impact on current or potential customers caused by the events in Russia and Ukraine, could adversely affect our operations or financial performance. Due to the recent nature of these activities, the full impact on our business is not yet known.

 

The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine could result in the imposition of further economic sanctions by the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, or other countries against Russia, trade tariffs, or embargoes with uncertain impacts on the markets in which we operate. In addition, the U.S. and certain other North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries have been supplying Ukraine with military aid. U.S. officials have also warned of the increased possibility of Russian cyberattacks, which could disrupt the operations of businesses involved in the dry bulk industry, including ours, and could create economic uncertainty particularly if such attacks spread to a broad array of countries and networks. Although Ukraine and Russia reached an agreement to extend an arrangement allowing shipment of grain from Ukrainian ports through a humanitarian corridor in the Black Sea in November 2022, Russia terminated this agreement in July 2023. While much uncertainty remains regarding the global impact of the war in Ukraine, it is possible that such tensions could adversely affect our business, financial condition, operating results, and cash flows.

 

Furthermore, the intensity and duration of the recently declared war between Israel and Hamas is difficult to predict and its impact on the world economy and our industry is uncertain. While much uncertainty remains regarding the global impact of the war between Israel and Hamas, it is possible that such tensions could result in the eruption of further hostilities in other regions, including the Red Sea, and could adversely affect our business, financial conditions, operating results, and cash flows.

 

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 Black Sea, South China Sea and the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia. The ongoing war in Ukraine has previously resulted in missile attacks on commercial vessels in the Black Sea and the recent outbreak of conflict in the Red Sea has also resulted in missile attacks on vessels. Acts of terrorism and piracy have also affected vessels trading in regions such as the Gulf of Guinea, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia, and the Indian Ocean. The International Maritime Organization’s (“IMO”) extraordinary council session held on March 10-11, 2022 addressed the impacts on shipping and seafarers, as a result of the war in Ukraine. The IMO called for the need to preserve the integrity of maritime supply chains and the safety and welfare of seafarers and any spillover effects of the military action on global shipping, logistics and supply chains, in particular the impacts on the delivery of commodities and food to developing nations and the impacts on energy supplies. Any of these occurrences could have a material adverse impact on our operating results, revenues and costs.

 

 9 

 

The current state of the world financial market and current economic conditions could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows, and could cause the market price of our common shares to decline.

 

Various macroeconomic factors, including rising inflation, higher interest rates, global supply chain constraints, and the effects of overall economic conditions and uncertainties, such as those resulting from the current and future conditions in the global financial markets, could adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition, and ability to pay dividends. Inflation and rising interest rates may negatively impact us by increasing our operating costs and our cost of borrowing. Interest rates, the liquidity of the credit markets, and the volatility of the capital markets could also affect the operation of our business and our ability to raise capital on favorable terms, or at all. Adverse economic conditions also affect demand for goods and oil. Reduced demand for these or other products could result in significant decreases in rates we obtain for chartering our vessels and other vessels we may acquire. In addition, the cost for crew members, oils and bunkers, and other supplies may increase. Furthermore, we may experience losses on our holdings of cash and investments due to failures of financial institutions and other parties. Difficult economic conditions may also result in a higher rate of losses on our accounts receivable due to credit defaults. As a result, downturns in the worldwide economy could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition, and ability to pay dividends.

 

The world economy continues to face a number of actual and potential challenges, including the war between Ukraine and Russia and between Israel and Hamas, tensions in the Red Sea or Russia and NATO tensions, China and Taiwan disputes, the United States and China trade relations, instability between Iran and the West, hostilities between the United States and North Korea, political unrest and conflict in the Middle East, the South China Sea region, and other geographic countries and areas, terrorist or other attacks (including threats thereof) around the world, war (or threatened war) or international hostilities, and epidemics or pandemics, such as COVID-19 and its variants, and banking crises or failures, such as the recent Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank, and First Republic Bank failures. See also “—Pandemics such as the coronavirus (COVID-19) may make it very difficult for us to operate in the short-term and have unpredictable long-term consequences, all of which could decrease the supply of and demand for the raw materials we transport, the rates that we are paid to carry our cargo, and our financial outlook.” In addition, the continuing war in Ukraine, the length and breadth of which remains highly unpredictable, has led to increased economic uncertainty amidst fears of a more generalized military conflict or significant inflationary pressures, due to the increases in fuel and grain prices following the sanctions imposed on Russia. Furthermore, it is difficult to predict the intensity and duration of the war between Israel and Hamas or the Houthi rebel attacks on shipping in the Red Sea and their impact on the world economy is uncertain. If such conditions are sustained, the longer-term net impact on the dry bulk market and our business would be difficult to predict with any degree of accuracy. Such events may have unpredictable consequences and contribute to instability in the global economy or cause a decrease in worldwide demand for certain goods and, thus, shipping.

 

In Europe, concerns regarding the possibility of sovereign debt defaults by European Union, or EU, member countries, although generally alleviated, have in the past disrupted financial markets throughout the world, and may lead to weaker consumer demand in the EU, the U.S., and other parts of the world. The withdrawal of the UK from the EU, or Brexit, further increases the risk of additional trade protectionism. Brexit, or similar events in other jurisdictions, could continue to impact global markets, including foreign exchange and securities markets; any resulting changes in currency exchange rates, tariffs, treaties and other regulatory matters could in turn adversely impact our business, cash flows and operations.

 

Further, as a result of the economic situation in Greece, which has been slowly recovering from the sovereign crisis and the related austerity measures implemented by the Greek government and the influx of refugees from Syria and other areas, the operations of our Manager located in Greece may be subjected to new regulations and potential shift in government policies that may require us to incur new or additional compliance or other administrative costs and may require the payment of new taxes or other fees. We also face the risk that strikes, work stoppages, civil unrest and violence within Greece could disrupt the shoreside operations of our Manager located in Greece.

 

 10 

 

In addition, the recent economic slowdown in the Asia Pacific region, particularly in China, may exacerbate the effect of the weak economic trends in the rest of the world. Before the global economic financial crisis that began in 2008, China had one of the world’s fastest growing economies in terms of gross domestic product, or GDP, which had a significant impact on shipping demand. China’s GDP growth rate for the year ended December 31, 2022, was approximately 3.0%, one of its lowest rates in 50 years, thought to be mainly caused by the country’s zero-COVID policy and strict lockdowns. For the year ended December 31, 2023, China’s GDP growth rate was claimed by China to have recovered to 5.2%, but the economy continues to be weighed down by the ongoing crisis in the property market. It is possible that China and other countries in the Asia Pacific region will continue to experience volatile, slowed, or even negative economic growth in the near future. Changes in the economic conditions of China, and changes in laws or policies adopted by its government or the implementation of these laws and policies by local authorities, including with regards to tax matters and environmental concerns (such as achieving carbon neutrality), could affect vessels that are either chartered to Chinese customers or that call to Chinese ports, vessels that undergo drydocking at Chinese shipyards and Chinese financial institutions that are generally active in ship financing, and could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results, cash flows, and financial condition.

 

Furthermore, governments may turn to trade barriers to protect their domestic industries against foreign imports, thereby depressing shipping demand. There is significant uncertainty about the future relationship between the United States, China, and other exporting countries, including with respect to trade policies, treaties, government regulations, and tariffs. Protectionist developments, or the perception that they may occur, may have a material adverse effect on global economic conditions, and may significantly reduce global trade. Moreover, increasing trade protectionism may cause an increase in (i) the cost of goods exported from regions globally, particularly from the Asia-Pacific region, (ii) the length of time required to transport goods, and (iii) the risks associated with exporting goods. Such increases may further reduce the quantity of goods to be shipped, shipping time schedules, voyage costs, and other associated costs, which could have an adverse impact on our charterers’ business, operating results, and financial condition and could thereby affect their ability to make timely charter hire payments to us and to employ our vessels. This could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results, and financial condition.

 

Credit markets in the United States and Europe have in the past experienced significant contraction, deleveraging, and reduced liquidity, and there is a risk that the U.S. federal government and state governments and European authorities may continue to implement a broad variety of governmental action and/or introduce new financial market regulations. Global financial markets and economic conditions have been, and continue to be, volatile and we face risks associated with the trends in the global economy, such as changes in interest rates, instability in the banking and securities markets around the world, the risk of sovereign defaults, and reduced levels of growth, among other factors. Major market disruptions and the current adverse changes in market conditions and regulatory climate worldwide may adversely affect our business and operating results or impair our ability to borrow under our current financial arrangements or future financial arrangements we may enter into contemplating borrowing from the public and/or private equity and debt markets. Many lenders have increased interest rates, enacted tighter lending standards, refused to refinance existing debt at all or on terms similar to current debt and reduced (or in some cases ceased to provide) funding to borrowers and other market participants, including equity and debt investors and, in some cases, have been unwilling to provide financing on attractive terms or even at all. Due to these factors, we cannot be certain that financing will be available if needed and to the extent required, on acceptable terms or at all. In the absence of available financing or financing on favorable terms, we may be unable to complete vessel acquisitions, take advantage of business opportunities, or respond to competitive pressures.

 

An over-supply of dry bulk carrier capacity may depress charter rates.

 

The market supply of vessels generally increases with deliveries of new vessels and decreases with the recycling of older vessels, conversion of vessels to other uses, such as floating production and storage facilities, and loss of tonnage as a result of casualties. An oversupply of dry bulk vessel capacity, particularly during a period of economic recession, may result in a reduction of charter hire rates. If we cannot enter into charters on acceptable terms, we may have to secure charters on the short-term or 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 recent years, the market supply of dry bulk vessels had increased due to the high level of new deliveries. Dry bulk newbuildings were delivered in significant numbers starting at the beginning of 2006 and continued to be delivered in significant numbers through 2017. In addition, the dry bulk newbuilding orderbook, extending up to 2028, was approximately 8.66% of the existing world dry bulk fleet as of December 31, 2023, according to Clarksons Research, and the orderbook may increase further in proportion to the existing fleet. A material increase in the net supply of dry bulk vessel capacity without corresponding growth in dry bulk vessel demand could have a material adverse effect on our fleet utilization (including ballast days) and our charter rates generally, and could, accordingly, materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and ability to pay dividends. An uptick in charter rates generally discourages scrapping older vessels, but recent regulatory actions have increased the economic incentive to scrap certain older vessels. Accordingly, it remains to be seen in the coming year whether the number of worldwide dry bulk carrying capacity, net of scrapped vessels, will increase.

 

We may also decide that it makes economic sense to lay up one or more vessels. While our vessels are laid up, we will pay lay-up costs, but those vessels will not be able to earn any hire.

 

 11 

 

Our industry is subject to complex laws and regulations.

 

Our operations are subject to numerous laws and regulations in the form of international conventions and treaties, national, state and local laws and national and international regulations in force in the jurisdictions in which our vessels operate or are registered, which can significantly affect the ownership and operation of our vessels. These requirements include but are not limited to: U.S. Oil Pollution Act 1990, as amended, which we refer to as OPA; International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, as amended, which we refer to as SOLAS; International Convention on Load Lines, 1966; International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as amended by the 1978 Protocol, which we refer to as MARPOL; International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage, 2001, which we refer to as the Bunker Convention; International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea, 1996, as superseded by the 2010 Protocol, which we refer to as the HNS Convention; International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage of 1969, as amended by the 1992 Protocol and further amended in 2000, which we refer to as the CLC; International Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage, 1971, as amended, which we refer to as the Fund Convention; and Marine Transportation Security Act of 2002, which we refer to as the MTSA.

 

Government regulation of vessels, particularly in the area of environmental requirements, can be expected to become more stringent in the future and could require us to incur significant capital expenditures on our vessels to keep them in compliance, or even to scrap or sell certain vessels altogether. Compliance with such laws, regulations and standards, where applicable, may require installation of costly equipment or operational changes and increased management costs and may affect the resale value or useful lives of our vessels. We may also incur additional costs in order to comply with other existing and future regulatory obligations, including, but not limited to, costs relating to air emissions, the management of ballast water, recycling of vessels, maintenance and inspection, elimination of tin-based paint, development and implementation of safety and emergency procedures and insurance coverage or other financial assurance of our ability to address pollution incidents. For instance, the IMO’s global 0.5% sulphur cap on marine fuels came into force on January 1, 2020, as stipulated in 2008 amendments to Annex VI to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from ships (“MARPOL”). Our vessels require pricier low-sulphur fuel, which may reduce the amount charterers are willing to pay to charter our vessels. In addition, on January 1, 2023, regulations came into force that aim to reduce carbon emissions from both new and existing ships as measured by two main energy efficiency indicators. Ships that fail to comply with these 2023 regulations may be subject to penalties and require modifications to the ship to ensure compliance. It is difficult to determine the cost, if any, until our ships’ performance is measured in accordance with these new regulations. If our ships fail to comply with the IMO 2023 regulations or otherwise do not have good performance, this can result in penalties and require modifications to the ship to ensure compliance. Any such modifications may be costly and those ships will be off hire during any period of modification. These and other costs could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition and our ability to pay dividends.

 

These requirements can also affect the resale prices or useful lives of our vessels or require reductions in capacity, vessel 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 impairment of the environment, 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. Events of this nature would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

The operation of our vessels is affected by the requirements set forth in the International Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and for Pollution Prevention, or ISM Code. The ISM Code requires the party with operational control of the vessel to develop, implement and maintain an extensive “Safety Management System” that includes, among other things, the adoption of a safety and environmental protection policy setting forth instructions and procedures for safe vessel operation and protection of the environment and describing procedures for dealing with emergencies. Further details in relation to the ISM Code are set out below in the section headed “Environmental and Other Regulations.” The failure of a shipowner or bareboat charterer to comply with the ISM Code may subject it to increased liability, and, if the implementing legislation so provides, to criminal sanctions, may invalidate or result in the loss of existing insurance or decrease available insurance coverage for the affected vessels and may result in a denial of access to, or detention in, certain ports. In addition, if we fail to maintain ISM Code certification for our vessels, we may also breach covenants in our financial arrangements 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 our financial arrangements or otherwise terminate charters for any sale and leaseback transaction to which we are a party. As of the date of this annual report on Form 20-F, each of our vessels is ISM Code-certified.

 

 12 

 

Reactions to climate change may impose additional requirements.

Due to concern over the risk of climate change, a number of countries and the IMO have adopted, or are considering the adoption of, regulatory frameworks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These regulatory measures may include, among others, adoption of cap and trade regimes, carbon taxes, increased efficiency standards and incentives or mandates for renewable energy. For instance, the IMO imposed a global 0.5% sulphur cap on marine fuels which came into force on January 1, 2020. Our vessels do not have scrubbers and use low-sulphur fuel instead, and now may require pricier low-sulphur fuel, which may reduce the amount charterers are willing to pay to charter our vessels. In addition, charterers may focus on how environmentally friendly our vessels are, generally, and our rates may be adjusted downwards accordingly.

 

We discuss this further in this annual report on Form 20-F. See “Item 4.B. Business Overview—Environmental and Other Regulations—Regulations to Prevent Pollution from Ships” and “Item 3.D. Risk Factors—Risks Relating to our Industry—Our industry is subject to complex laws and regulations.”

 

In addition, although the emissions of greenhouse gases from international shipping currently are not subject to the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (this task was delegated under the Kyoto Protocol to the IMO for action), which required adopting countries to implement national programs to reduce emissions of certain gases, a new treaty may be adopted in the future that includes restrictions on shipping emissions.

 

Furthermore, on January 1, 2024 the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, or the ETS, for ships sailing into and out of EU ports came into effect, and the FuelEU Maritime Regulation is expected to come into effect on January 1, 2025. The ETS is to apply gradually over the period from 2024 to 2026. 40% of allowances would have to be surrendered in 2025 for the year 2024; 70% of allowances would have to be surrendered in 2026 for the year 2025; and 100% of allowances would have to be surrendered in 2027 for the year 2026. Compliance is to be on a companywide (rather than per ship) basis and “shipping company” is defined widely to capture both the ship owner and any contractually appointed commercial operator/ship manager/bareboat charterer who not only assume full compliance for ETS but also under the ISM Code. If the latter contractual arrangement is entered into this needs to be reflected in a certified mandate signed by both parties and presented to the administrator of the scheme. The cap under the ETS would be set by taking into account EU MRV system emissions data for the years 2018 and 2019, adjusted, from year 2021 and is to capture 100% of the emissions from intra-EU maritime voyages; 100% of emissions from ships at berth in EU ports and 50% of emissions from voyages which start or end at EU ports (but the other destination is outside the EU). Furthermore, the newly passed EU Emissions Trading Directive 2023/959/EC makes clear that all maritime allowances would be auctioned and there will be no free allocation. 78.4 million emissions allowances are to be allocated specifically to maritime. If we do not have allowances, we will be forced to purchase allowances from the market, which can be costly, especially if other shipping companies are similarly looking to do the same. New systems, personnel, data management systems, costs recovery mechanisms, revised service agreement terms and emissions reporting procedures will have to be put in place, at significant cost, to prepare for and manage the administrative aspect of ETS compliance. The cost of compliance, and of our future EU emissions and costs to purchase an allowance for emissions (if we must purchase in order to comply) are unknown and difficult to predict, and are based on a number of factors, including the size of our fleet, our trips within and to and from the EU, and the prevailing cost of allowances.

 

Compliance with changes in laws, regulations and obligations relating to climate change could increase our costs related to operating and maintaining our vessels and require us to install new emission controls, acquire allowances or pay taxes related to our greenhouse gas emissions, or administer and manage a greenhouse gas emissions program. Revenue generation and strategic growth opportunities may also be adversely affected, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition and our ability to pay dividends.

 

 13 

 

Our operations may be adversely impacted by severe weather, including as a result of climate change.

 

Tropical storms, hurricanes, typhoons, and other severe maritime weather events could result in the suspension of operations at the planned ports of call for our vessels and other vessels we may acquire and require significant deviations from planned routes. In addition, climate change could result in an increase in the frequency and severity of these extreme weather events. The closure of ports, rerouting of vessels, damage of production facilities, as well as other delays caused by increasing frequency of severe weather, could stop operations or shipments for indeterminate periods and have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results, and financial condition.

 

Pending and future tax law changes may result in significant additional taxes to us.

 

Pending and future tax law changes may result in significant additional taxes to us. For example, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development published a “Programme of Work,” which was divided into two pillars. Pillar One focused on the allocation of group profits among taxing jurisdictions based on a market-based concept rather than the historical “permanent establishment” concept. Pillar Two, among other things, introduced a global minimum tax. The foregoing proposals (in the event international consensus is achieved and implementing laws are adopted) and other possible future tax changes may have an adverse impact on us. Any requirement or legislation that requires us to pay more tax could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition and our ability to pay dividends.

 

We are dependent on our charterers and other counterparties fulfilling their obligations under agreements with us, and their inability or unwillingness to honor these obligations could significantly reduce our revenues and cash flow.

 

Payments to us by our charterers under time charters are and will be our sole source of operating cash flow. Weaknesses in demand for shipping services, increased operating costs due to changes in environmental or other regulations and the oversupply of large vessels as well as the oversupply of smaller size vessels due to a cascading effect would place certain of our customers under financial pressure. Any declines in demand could result in worsening financial challenges to our customers and may increase the likelihood of one or more of our customers being unable or unwilling to pay us contracted charter rates or going bankrupt.

 

Our charters provide the charterer the right to terminate the charter on the occurrence of stated events or the existence of specified conditions. In addition, the ability and willingness of each of our charterers to perform its obligations under its charter with us will depend on a number of factors that are beyond our control. These factors may include general economic conditions, the condition of the dry bulk shipping industry and the overall financial condition of the counterparties, and the supply and demand for dry bulk commodities. The costs and delays associated with the default of a charterer of a vessel may be considerable and may adversely affect our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends.

 

In the recent depressed dry bulk market conditions, there have been numerous reports of charterers renegotiating their charters or defaulting on their obligations under their charters. If a current or future charterer defaults on a charter, we will seek the remedies available to us, which may include arbitration or litigation to enforce the contract, although such efforts may not be successful and for short-term charters may cost more to enforce than the potential recovery. We cannot predict whether our charterers will, upon the expiration of their charters, re-charter our vessels on favorable terms or at all.

 

If we lose a time charter because the charterer is unable to pay us or for any other reason, we may be unable to re-deploy the related vessel on similarly favorable terms or at all. Also, we will not receive any revenues from such a vessel while it is un-chartered, but we will be required to pay expenses necessary to maintain and insure the vessel and service any indebtedness on it. The combination of any surplus of dry bulk vessel capacity, the expected entry into service of new technologically advanced ships, and the expected increase in the size of the world dry bulk fleet over the next few years may make it difficult to secure substitute employment for any of our vessels if our counterparties fail to perform their obligations under the currently arranged time charters, and any new charter arrangements we are able to secure may be at lower rates. Furthermore, the surplus of dry bulk vessels available at lower charter rates could negatively affect our charterers’ willingness to perform their obligations under our time charters, particularly if the charter rates in such time charters are significantly above the prevailing market rates. Accordingly, we may have to grant concessions to our charterers in the form of lower charter rates for the remaining duration of the relevant charter or part thereof, or to agree to re-charter vessels coming off charter at reduced rates compared to the charter then ended. Because we enter into short-term and medium-term time charters from time-to-time, we may need to re-charter vessels coming off charter more frequently than some of our competitors, which may have a material adverse effect on business, results of operations and financial condition, as well as our cash flows, including cash available for distributions to our shareholders.

 

The loss of any of our charterers, time charters or vessels, or a decline in payments under our time charters, could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition, as well as our cash flows, including cash available for distributions to our shareholders.

 

 14 

 

In addition to charter parties, we may, among other things, enter into contracts for the sale or purchase of secondhand dry bulk vessels or shipbuilding contracts for newbuildings, provide performance guarantees relating to shipbuilding contracts to sale and purchase contracts or to charters, enter into credit facilities or other financing arrangements, accept commitment letters from banks, or enter into insurance contracts and interest or exchange rate swaps or enter into joint ventures. Such agreements expose us to counterparty credit risk. The ability and willingness of each of our counterparties to perform its obligations under a contract with us will depend upon a number of factors that are beyond our control and may include, among other things, general economic conditions, the state of the capital markets, the condition of the ocean-going dry bulk shipping industry and charter hire rates. Should a counterparty fail to honor its obligations under agreements with us, we could sustain significant losses, which in turn could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition, as well as our cash flows, including cash available for distributions to our shareholders.

 

Capital expenditure and other costs necessary to operate and maintain our vessels may increase.

 

Changes in safety or other equipment standards, as well as compliance with standards imposed by maritime self-regulatory organizations and customer requirements or competition, may require us to make additional expenditure. In order to satisfy these requirements, we may, from time to time, be required to take our vessels out of service for extended periods of time, with corresponding losses of revenues. In the future, market conditions may not justify these expenditures or enable us to operate some or all of our vessels profitably during the remainder of their economic lives.

 

Seasonal fluctuations in industry demand could affect us.

 

We operate our vessels in markets that have historically exhibited seasonal variations in demand and, as a result, in charter rates. This seasonality may result in quarter-to-quarter volatility in our results of operations, which could affect the amount of dividends, if any, that we pay to our shareholders. The market for marine dry bulk transportation services is typically stronger in the fall and winter months in anticipation of increased consumption of coal and other raw materials in the northern hemisphere during the winter months. In addition, unpredictable weather patterns in these months 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.

 

We may also decide that it makes economic sense to lay up one or more vessels. While our vessels are laid up, we will pay lay-up costs, but those vessels will not be able to earn any hire.

 

Our insurance may not be adequate to cover our losses that may result from our operations.

 

We carry insurance to protect us against most of the accident-related risks involved in the conduct of our business, including marine hull and machinery insurance, war risk insurance, protection and indemnity insurance, which includes pollution risks, crew insurance and war risk insurance. However, we may not be adequately insured to cover losses from our operational risks, which could have a material adverse effect on us. Additionally, our insurers may refuse to pay particular claims and our insurance may be voidable by the insurers if we take, or fail to take, certain action, such as failing to maintain certification of our vessels with applicable maritime regulatory organizations. Any significant uninsured or underinsured loss or liability could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition and our ability to pay dividends. It may also result in protracted legal litigation. In addition, we may not be able to obtain adequate insurance coverage at reasonable rates in the future during adverse insurance market conditions. We maintain, for each of our vessels, pollution liability coverage insurance for $1.0 billion per event. If damages from a catastrophic spill exceed our insurance coverage, it would have a materially adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition and our ability to pay dividends to our shareholders.

 

Moreover, insurers have over the last few years increased premiums and reduced or restricted coverage for losses caused by terrorist acts generally.

 

In addition, we do not currently carry and may not carry loss-of-hire insurance, which covers the loss of revenue during extended vessel off-hire periods, such as those that occur during an unscheduled drydocking due to damage to the vessel from accidents. Accordingly, any loss of a vessel or extended vessel off-hire, due to an accident or otherwise, could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and our ability to pay dividends.

 

 15 

 

Our vessels are exposed to operational risks.

 

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 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, market disruptions, delays, and rerouting and could also subject us to litigation. Epidemics and other public health incidents may also lead to crew member illness, which can disrupt the operations of our vessels or other vessels we may acquire, or result in the imposition of public health measures, which may prevent our vessels or other vessels we may acquire from calling on ports or discharging cargo in the affected areas or in other locations after having visited the affected areas.

 

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. The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has previously resulted in missile attacks on commercial vessels in the Black Sea and the recent outbreak of conflict in the Red Sea has also resulted in missile attacks on vessels. Acts of terrorism and piracy have also affected vessels trading in regions such as the South China Sea, the Gulf of Guinea region off the coast of Nigeria, which has experienced increased incidents of piracy in recent years, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden off the Coast of Somalia and parts of the Indian Ocean and West Africa. Continuing conflicts and recent developments in the Middle East and North Africa, including Egypt, Syria, Iran, Iraq and Libya, the recent conflict in Ukraine and between Israel and Hamas, and the presence of United States and other armed forces in the Middle East and Asia could produce armed conflict or be the target of terrorist attacks, and lead to civil disturbance and uncertainty in financial markets. If these attacks and other disruptions result in areas where our vessels are deployed being characterized by insurers as “war risk” zones or Joint War Committee “war, strikes, terrorism and related perils” listed areas, premiums payable for such coverage could increase significantly and such insurance coverage may be more difficult or impossible to obtain. In addition, we face the risk of a marine disaster, which could include an oil spill and other environmental damage. Although our vessels carry a relatively small amount of oil used for fuel (“bunkers”), a spill of oil from one of our vessels or losses as a result of fire or explosion could be catastrophic under certain circumstances.

 

The operation of certain vessel types, such as dry bulk vessels, also carry certain unique risks. With a dry bulk vessel, the cargo itself and its interaction with the vessel can be a risk factor. By their nature, dry bulk cargoes are often heavy, dense, easily shifted and react badly to water exposure. In addition, dry bulk vessels are often subjected to battering during unloading operations with grabs, jackhammers (to pry encrusted cargoes out of the hold) and small bulldozers. This may cause damage to the vessel. Vessels damaged due to treatment during unloading procedures may be more susceptible to breach while at sea. Hull breaches in dry bulk vessels may lead to the flooding of the vessels holds. If a dry bulk vessel suffers flooding in its forward holds, the bulk cargo may become so dense and waterlogged that its pressure may buckle the vessels bulkheads leading to the loss of a vessel. If we are unable to adequately maintain our vessels, we may be unable to prevent these events. Any of these circumstances or events could negatively impact our business, financial condition, results of operations and ability to pay dividends. In addition, the loss of any of our vessels could harm our reputation as a safe and reliable vessel owner and operator.

 

If our vessels or other vessels we may acquire suffer damage, they may need to be repaired at a drydocking facility. The time and costs of repairs are unpredictable and may be substantial. We may have to pay repair costs that our insurance does not cover in full. The loss of earnings while our vessels or other vessels we may acquire are being repaired and repositioned, as well as the actual cost of these repairs and repositioning, would decrease our earnings. In addition, space at drydocking facilities is sometimes limited and not all drydocking facilities are conveniently located. We may be unable to find space at a suitable drydocking facility and be forced to travel to a drydocking facility that is not conveniently located to our vessels’ positions. The loss of earnings while these vessels are forced to wait for space or to travel to more distant drydocking facilities, or both, would decrease our earnings.

 

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 financial arrangements, 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 may 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.

 

 16 

 

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 could occur during an unscheduled drydocking, unscheduled repairs due to damage to the vessel, or as a result of acts of piracy. Accordingly, any loss of a vessel or any extended period of vessel off- hire, due to an incident, accident or otherwise, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

We may also decide that it makes economic sense to lay up one or more vessels. While our vessels are laid up, we will pay lay-up costs, but those vessels will not be able to earn any hire.

 

We may be subject to funding calls by our protection and indemnity clubs, and our clubs may not have enough resources to cover claims made against them.

 

We are indemnified for legal liabilities incurred while operating our vessels through membership of protection and indemnity, or P&I, associations, otherwise known as P&I clubs. P&I clubs are mutual insurance clubs whose members must contribute to cover losses sustained by other club members. The objective of a P&I club is to provide mutual insurance based on the aggregate tonnage of a member’s vessels entered into the club. Claims are paid through the aggregate premiums of all members of the club, although members remain subject to calls for additional funds if the aggregate premiums are insufficient to cover claims submitted to the club. Claims submitted to the club may include those incurred by members of the club, as well as claims submitted by other P&I clubs with which our club has entered into interclub agreements. We cannot assure you that the P&I club to which we belong will remain viable or that we will not become subject to additional funding calls, which could adversely affect us.

 

We may be subject to increased inspection procedures, tighter import and export controls and new security regulations.

 

International shipping is subject to various security and customs inspection and related procedures in countries of origin and destination and trans-shipment points. Inspection procedures can result in the seizure of the cargo and contents of our vessels, delays in the loading, offloading or delivery and the levying of customs duties, fines or 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, results of operations and our ability to pay dividends.

 

 17 

 

Rising fuel prices may adversely affect our profits.

 

Fuel is a significant, if not the largest, expense if vessels are under voyage charter or if consumed during ballast days. Moreover, the cost of fuel will affect the profit we can earn on the short-term or spot market. Upon redelivery of vessels at the end of a time charter, we may be obliged to repurchase the fuel on board at prevailing market prices, which could be materially higher than fuel prices at the inception of the time charter period. As a result, an increase in the price of fuel may adversely affect our profitability. The price and supply of fuel is unpredictable and fluctuates based on events outside our control, including geopolitical events, supply and demand for oil and gas, actions by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other oil and gas producers, the imposition of new regulations adopted by the IMO, war and unrest in oil producing countries and regions, regional production patterns and environmental concerns. While fuel prices remained generally lower in 2023 as compared to 2022, fuel has or may become much more expensive in the future, including as a result of the developments in Ukraine and the sanctions against Russia, the imposition of sulfur oxide emissions limits in January 2020 and reductions of carbon emissions from January 2023 under new regulations adopted by the International Maritime Organization, or the IMO, which may reduce the profitability and competitiveness of our business versus other forms of transportation, such as truck or rail.

 

As a result of the sulfur oxide emissions limits, because we do not have scrubbers on our vessels, our vessels require pricier low-sulfur fuel, which may reduce the amount charterers are willing to pay to charter our vessels. This could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition and our ability to pay dividends.

 

Increases in crew costs may adversely affect our profits.

 

Crew costs are a significant expense for us under our charters. There is a limited supply of well-qualified crew. We generally bear crewing costs under our charters. Increases in crew costs may adversely affect our profitability. 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. Furthermore, while we do not have any Ukrainian or Russian crew and the Company’s vessels currently do not sail in the Black Sea, the extent to which this will impact the Company’s future results of operations and financial condition will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted. Changes in labor laws and regulations, collective bargaining negotiations and labor disputes, and potential shortage of crew due to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, 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.

 

Maritime claimants could arrest our vessels.

 

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 even if we are not at fault, for example, if we pay a supplier for bunkers who subcontracts the supply and does not pay such subcontractor. 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, could cause us to default on a charter, breach covenants in our financial arrangements, interrupt our cash flow and require us to pay large sums of money to have the arrest or attachment lifted. Please see “Item 5.B. Liquidity and Capital Resources—Indebtedness” for further information.

 

In addition, in some jurisdictions, such as South Africa, under the “sister ship” theory of liability, a claimant may arrest both the vessel that 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.

 

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 the owner. Requisition for hire occurs when a government takes control of a vessel and effectively becomes the charterer at dictated charter rates. Generally, requisitions occur during a period of war or emergency, although governments may elect to requisition vessels in other circumstances. Although 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 of such compensation would be uncertain. Government requisition of one or more of our vessels may negatively impact our business, financial condition, results of operations and ability to pay dividends.

 

 18 

 

Compliance with safety and other vessel requirements imposed by classification societies may be costly.

 

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. All of the vessels that we operate or manage are classed by one of the major classification societies, for example Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (Class NK), DNV GL, Lloyds and ABS. Vessels must undergo annual surveys, immediate surveys and special surveys. In lieu of a special survey, a vessel’s machinery may be on a continuous survey cycle, under which the machinery would be surveyed over a five-year period. Our vessels are on special survey cycles for hull inspection and continuous survey cycles for machinery inspection. Every vessel is also required to be drydocked every two to three years for inspection of its underwater parts. If any vessel does not maintain its class and/or fails any annual, intermediate or special survey, certain covenants in our existing financial arrangements or future credit arrangements may be triggered, including as a result of the vessel being unable to trade between ports and being unemployable. Such an occurrence could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, results of operations and ability to pay dividends. Please see “Item 5.B. Liquidity and Capital Resources—Indebtedness” for further information.

 

A further economic slowdown or changes in the economic, regulatory and political environment in the Asia Pacific region could reduce dry bulk trade demand.

 

A significant number of the port calls made by our vessels involve the transportation of dry bulk products to ports in the Asia Pacific region. As a result, continued economic slowdown in the region or changes in the regulatory environment, and particularly in China or Japan, could have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition. Before the global economic financial crisis that began in 2008, China had one of the world’s fastest growing economies as measured by gross domestic product, or GDP, which had a significant impact on shipping demand. China’s GDP growth rate for the year ended December 31, 2023 was approximately 5.2% according to China. In addition, China previously imposed measures to restrain lending, which may further contribute to a slowdown in its economic growth. China and other countries in the Asia Pacific region may continue to experience slowed or even negative economic growth in the future.

 

Many of the economic and political reforms adopted by the Chinese government are unprecedented or experimental and may be subject to revision, change or abolition based upon the outcome of such experiments. If the Chinese government does not continue to pursue a policy of economic reform, the level of imports of exports of dry bulk products to and from China could be adversely affected by changes to these economic reforms by the Chinese government, as well as by changes in political, economic and social conditions or other relevant policies of the Chinese government, such as changes in laws, regulations or restrictions on importing commodities into the country. Notwithstanding economic reform, the Chinese government may adopt policies that favor domestic shipping companies and may hinder our ability to compete with them effectively. Moreover, a significant or protracted slowdown in the economies of the United States, the European Union or various Asian countries or changes in the regulatory environment may adversely affect economic growth in China and elsewhere. Our business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition could be materially and adversely affected by an economic downturn or changes in the regulatory environment in any of these countries.

 

Pandemics such as the coronavirus (COVID-19) may make it very difficult for us to operate in the short-term and have unpredictable long-term consequences, all of which could decrease the supply of and demand for the raw materials we transport, the rates that we are paid to carry our cargo, and our financial outlook.

 

Global public health threats, such as the COVID-19 outbreak, and its variants, influenza, and other highly communicable diseases or viruses, outbreaks of which have from time to time occurred in various parts of the world in which we operate, including China, could disrupt global financial markets and economic conditions and adversely impact our operations, the timing of completion of any outstanding or future newbuilding projects, as well as the operations of our charterers and other customers. For example, the outbreak of COVID-19 caused severe global disruptions, with governments in affected countries imposing travel bans, quarantines, and other emergency public health measures. Companies have also taken precautions, such as requiring employees to work remotely, imposing travel restrictions, and temporarily closing businesses.

 

 19 

 

Our business may be adversely affected by the lingering effects of COVID-19 and the reimposition of governmental responses to the virus, which has introduced uncertainty into our operational and financial activities and has negatively impacted, and may continue to impact negatively, global economic activity. Average charter rates for dry bulk vessels, as measured by the Baltic Dry Index, improved significantly in 2021 and part of 2022 since the second quarter of 2020, reduced in the beginning of 2023 and rebounded towards the end of 2023; the underlying reasons for this improvement, such as tight supply lines, increased demand for bulk commodities on the back of firmly rebounding industrial activity, increased demand for containerized cargo due to increased consumption mainly from developed countries, and newbuild construction being put on hold due to the pandemic, has somewhat reversed, which could negatively impact our business. Although the incidence and severity of COVID-19 and its variants have diminished over time, periodic spikes in incidence occur and similar restrictions, and future prevention and mitigation measures against outbreaks of epidemic and pandemic diseases, are likely to have an adverse impact on global economic conditions, which could materially and adversely affect our future operations. As a result of such measures, our vessels and other vessels we may acquire may not be able to call on or disembark from ports located in regions affected by the outbreak. In addition, we may experience severe operational disruptions and delays, unavailability of normal port infrastructure and services including limited access to equipment, critical goods and personnel, disruptions to crew changes, quarantine of ships or crew, counterparty solidity, closure of ports and custom offices, as well as disruptions in the supply chain and industrial production, which may lead to reduced cargo demand, among other potential consequences attendant to epidemic and pandemic diseases. Continued uncertainties associated with the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide may cause an adverse impact on the global economy and the rate environment for tanker and other cargo vessels may deteriorate and our operations and cash flows may be negatively impacted.

 

The extent to which our business, operating results, cash flows, financial condition, financings, value of our vessels or other vessels we may acquire, and ability to pay dividends may be negatively affected by a resurgence of COVID-19 or future pandemics, epidemics, or other outbreaks of infectious diseases is highly uncertain and will depend on numerous evolving factors that we cannot predict, including, but not limited to, (i) the duration and severity of the infectious disease outbreak; (ii) the imposition of restrictive measures to combat the outbreak and slow disease transmission; (iii) the introduction of financial support measures to reduce the impact of the outbreak on the economy; (iv) shortages or reductions in the supply of essential goods, services, or labor; and (v) fluctuations in general economic or financial conditions tied to the outbreak, such as a sharp increase in interest rates or reduction in the availability of credit. We cannot predict the effect that an outbreak of a new COVID-19 variant or strain, or any future infectious disease outbreak, pandemic, or epidemic may have on our business, operating results, cash flows, and financial condition, which could be material and adverse.

 

Sulphur regulations to reduce air pollution from ships may require retrofitting of vessels and may cause us to incur significant costs.

 

Since January 1, 2020 the IMO regulations have required vessels to comply with a global cap on the sulphur in fuel oil used on board of 0.5%, down from the previous 3.5%. The interpretation of “fuel oil used on board” includes use in main engine, auxiliary engines and boilers. Shipowners may comply with this regulation by (i) using 0.5% sulphur fuels on board, which costs more than higher sulphur fuel; (ii) installing scrubbers for cleaning of the exhaust gas (which we have not done to any of our vessels); or (iii) by retrofitting vessels to be powered by liquefied natural gas (which we have not done to any of our vessels), which may not be a viable option due to the lack of supply network and high costs involved in this process. Additionally, in July 2023, IMO adopted the 2023 IMO Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships, which identifies a number of levels of ambition, including (1) decreasing the carbon intensity from ships through the implementation of further phases of EEDI for new ships; (2) reducing carbon dioxide emissions per transport work, as an average across international shipping, by at least 40% by 2030, and (3) pursuing net-zero GHG emission by or around 2050. Costs of compliance with these regulatory changes may be significant and may have a material adverse effect on our future performance, results of operations, cash flows and financial position. It is unclear how the new emissions standard will affect the employment of our vessels, given that the cost of fuel is borne by our charterers when our vessels are on time charter employment. Over time, however, it is possible that ships not retrofitted to comply with the new emissions standard may become less competitive (compared with ships equipped with exhaust gas scrubbers that can utilize less expensive high sulphur fuel), may have difficulty finding employment, may command lower charter hire and/or may need to be scrapped.

 

Worldwide inflationary pressures could negatively impact our results of operations and cash flows.

 

It has been recently observed that worldwide economies have experienced inflationary pressures, with price increases seen across many sectors globally. For example, the U.S. consumer price index, an inflation gauge that measures costs across dozens of items, rose 3.4% percent from December 2022 to December 2023. It remains to be seen whether inflationary pressures will continue, and to what degree, as central banks begin to respond to price increases. In the event that inflation becomes a significant factor in the global economy generally and in the shipping industry more specifically, inflationary pressures would result in increased operating, voyage and administrative costs. Furthermore, the effects of inflation on the supply and demand of the products we transport could alter demand for our services. During an inflationary period, such as one we are currently experiencing, the SOFR or similar reference rate will generally be increased, thus costing us more money to service our debt obligations and reducing our net revenues. Interventions in the economy by central banks in response to inflationary pressures may slow down economic activity, including by altering consumer purchasing habits and reducing demand for the commodities and products we carry, and cause a reduction in trade. As a result, the volumes of goods we deliver and/or charter rates for our vessels may be affected. Any of these factors could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and operating results.

 

 20 

 

Environmental, social and governance matters may impact our business and reputation.

 

In addition to the importance of their financial performance, companies are increasingly being judged by their performance on a variety of environmental, social and governance matters, or ESG, which are considered to contribute to the long-term sustainability of a company’s performance.

 

A variety of organizations measure the performance of companies on such ESG topics, and the results of these assessments are widely publicized. In addition, investment in funds that specialize in companies that perform well in such assessments are increasingly popular, and major institutional investors have publicly emphasized the importance of such ESG measures to their investment decisions. Topics taken into account in such assessments include, among others, the company’s efforts and impact on climate change and human rights, ethics and compliance with laws, and the role of the company’s board of directors in supervising various sustainability issues.

 

We actively manage a broad range of such ESG matters, taking into consideration their expected impact on the sustainability of our business over time, and the potential impact of our business on society and the environment. However, in light of investors’ increased focus on ESG matters, there can be no certainty that we will manage such issues successfully, or that we will successfully meet societal expectations as to our proper role. Any failure or perceived failure by us in this regard could have a material adverse effect on our reputation and on our business, share price, financial condition, or results of operations, including the sustainability of our business over time.

 

On December 31, 2018, EU-flagged vessels became subject to Regulation (EU) No. 1257/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 November 2013 on ship recycling (the “EU Ship Recycling Regulation” or “ESRR”) and exempt from the Regulation (EC) No. 1013/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 June 2006 on shipments of waste (the “European Waste Shipment Regulation” or “EWSR”), which had previously governed their disposal and recycling. The EWSR continues to be applicable to Non-European Union Member State-flagged (“non-EU-flagged”) vessels.

 

Under the ESRR, commercial EU-flagged vessels of 500 gross tonnage and above may be recycled only at shipyards included on the European List of Authorised Ship Recycling Facilities (the “European List”). The European List presently includes eight facilities in Turkey, but no facilities in the major ship recycling countries in Asia. The combined capacity of the European List facilities may prove insufficient to absorb the total recycling volume of EU-flagged vessels. This circumstance, taken in tandem with the possible decrease in cash sales, may result in longer wait times for divestment of recyclable vessels as well as downward pressure on the purchase prices offered by European List shipyards. We currently don’t have any vessels flagged in the EU, but in the future we may have vessels flagged in EU jurisdictions.

 

In addition, the EWSR requires that non-EU-flagged ships departing from European Union ports be recycled only in Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries. In March 2018, the Rotterdam District Court ruled that the sale of four recyclable vessels by third-party Dutch ship owner Seatrade to cash buyers, who then reflagged and resold the vessels to non-OECD country recycling yards, were effectively indirect sales to non-OECD country yards, in violation of the EWSR. If European Union Member State courts widely adopt this analysis, it may negatively impact revenue from the residual values of our vessels and we may be subject to a heightened risk of non-compliance, due diligence obligations and costs in instances where we sell older ships to cash buyers.

 

On March 6, 2024, the SEC adopted final rules to enhance and standardize climate-related disclosures by public companies and in public offerings. The final rules will become effective 60 days following publication of the adopting release in the Federal Register. As a non-accelerated filer, we will be required to provide the enhanced climate-related disclosures in our annual reports for the year ending December 31, 2027. Costs of compliance with these new rules may be significant and may have a material adverse effect on our future performance, results of operations, cash flows and financial position.

 

 21 

 

The smuggling of drugs or other contraband onto our vessels may lead to governmental claims against us.

 

We expect that our vessels will call at ports where smugglers may attempt to hide drugs and other contraband on vessels, with or without the knowledge of crew members. To the extent that our vessels are found with contraband, whether inside or attached to the hull of our vessel, and whether with or without the knowledge of any of our crew, we may face governmental or other regulatory claims that could have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends.

 

Labor interruptions could disrupt our business.

 

Our vessels are manned by masters, officers and crews (totaling 135 as of December 31, 2023). Seafarers manning the vessels in our fleet are covered by industry-wide collective bargaining agreements that set basic standards. Any labor interruptions or employment disagreements with our crew members could disrupt our operations and could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends. We cannot assure you that collective bargaining agreements will prevent labor interruptions.

 

Company-Specific Risk Factors

 

The market values of our vessels have fluctuated and have from time to time triggered certain financial covenants under our existing and potentially future financing arrangements.

 

The fair market values of our vessels and other vessels we may acquire are related to prevailing freight charter rates. While the fair market value of vessels and the freight charter market have a very close relationship as the charter market moves from trough to peak, the time lag between the effect of charter rates on market values of ships can vary. A decrease in the market value of our vessels and other vessels we may acquire could require us to raise additional capital in order to remain compliant with our loan covenants or the covenants in the other financing agreements and could result in the loss of our vessels and other vessels we may acquire (including, through foreclosure by our lenders and lessors) and adversely affect our earnings and financial condition.

 

The market value of dry bulk vessels has generally experienced high volatility. The market prices for secondhand and newbuilding dry bulk vessels in the recent past have declined from historically high levels to low levels within a short period of time.

 

The market value of our vessels may increase and decrease depending on a number of factors including:

     
  Ø

prevailing level of charter rates;

 

  Ø the environmental friendliness of our vessels;

 

  Ø general economic and market conditions affecting the shipping industry, including relating to COVID-19 and the Ukraine conflict and related sanctions;

 

  Ø competition from other shipping companies;

 

  Ø configurations, sizes and ages of vessels;

 

  Ø

sophistication and condition of vessels;

 

  Ø

advances in efficiency, such as introduction of autonomous vessels;

 

  Ø supply and demand for vessels;

 

  Ø other modes of transportation;

 

  Ø cost and number of newbuildings;

 

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  Ø

ability of buyers to access financing and capital;

 

  Ø

number of vessels scrapped or otherwise removed from the world fleet;

 

  Ø

lifetime maintenance record;

 

  Ø

the cost of retrofitting or modifying existing ships to respond to technological advances in vessel design or equipment, changes in applicable environmental or other regulations or standards, or otherwise;

 

  Ø governmental or other regulations; and

 

  Ø technological advances.

 

In addition, as vessels grow older, they generally decline in value. Our loan agreement with First Citizens Bank & Trust Company (formerly known as CIT Bank N.A.), which we refer to as our CIT Loan Facility, is secured by mortgages on six of our vessels, and requires us to maintain specified collateral coverage ratios and to satisfy financial covenants, including requirements based on the market value of our vessels and our liquidity. Our previous loan facilities had similar requirements, and any financing arrangements may have similar collateral requirements and provisions. Since the middle of 2008 through part of 2021, the prevailing conditions in the dry bulk charter market coupled with the general difficulty in obtaining financing for vessel purchases led to a decline in the market values of our vessels, which have increased since that time. However, we cannot predict when and if vessel values will again start to decline.

 

As of December 31, 2023, we were in compliance with the covenants included in our CIT Loan Facility. For a more detailed discussion see “Item 5.B Liquidity and Capital Resources—Indebtedness” and Note 11 in the Consolidated Financial Statements included herewith.

 

Further declines of market values of our vessels may affect our ability to comply with various covenants and could also limit the amount of funds we are permitted to borrow under our current CIT Loan Facility or future financing arrangements we may enter into. If we breach the financial and other covenants under our financial arrangements, our lenders or capital providers could accelerate our indebtedness, or require us to pay down our indebtedness to a level where we regain compliance with such covenants, and/or foreclose on vessels in our fleet or terminate a bareboat charter in the case where we have a sale and leaseback transaction, which would significantly impair our ability to continue to conduct our business. If our indebtedness were accelerated in full or in part, it would be very difficult in the current financing environment for us to refinance our debt or obtain additional financing and we could lose our vessels if our lenders foreclose upon their liens, which would adversely affect our business, financial condition, ability to continue our business and for Globus Maritime to pay dividends.

 

For a more detailed discussion on our loan covenants and cross-default provisions, see “Item 5.B Liquidity and Capital Resources—Indebtedness—CIT Loan Facility.”

 

If we sell any vessel at a time when vessel prices have fallen and before we have recorded an impairment adjustment to our consolidated financial statements, the sale price may be agreed at a value lower than the vessel’s depreciated book value as in our consolidated financial statements at that time, resulting in a loss and a respective reduction in earnings. If the market values of our vessels decrease, such decrease and its effects could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and ability for Globus Maritime to pay dividends.

 

If a determination is made that a vessel’s future useful life is limited or its future earnings capacity is reduced, it could result in an impairment of its value on our consolidated financial statements that would result in a charge against our earnings and the reduction of our stockholders’ equity. These impairment costs could be very substantial.

 

We may not be able to attract and retain key management personnel and other employees in the shipping industry.

 

Our success will depend to a significant extent upon the abilities and efforts of our management team consisting of our Chief Executive Officer, including our ability to retain our management team and the ability of our management to recruit and hire suitable employees. The loss of our Chief Executive Officer or other key employees could adversely affect our business prospects and financial condition. Difficulty in hiring and retaining personnel could adversely affect our results of operations.

 

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Our financial arrangements contain, and we expect that future loan agreements and financing arrangements will contain, restrictive covenants that may limit our liquidity and corporate activities, which could limit our operational flexibility and have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. In addition, because of the presence of cross-default provisions in our existing loan agreement and the expectation that such may exist in any future financing arrangements, a default by us under one loan could lead to defaults under multiple loans.

 

Our CIT Loan Facility contains, and future financing arrangements may contain, customary covenants and event of default clauses, financial covenants, restrictive covenants and performance requirements, which may affect operational and financial flexibility. Such restrictions could affect, and in many respects limit or prohibit, among other things, our ability to pay dividends, incur additional indebtedness, create liens, sell assets, change our chief executive officer or chairman or ship manager, or engage in mergers or acquisitions. These restrictions could limit our ability to plan for or react to market conditions or meet extraordinary capital needs or otherwise restrict corporate activities. There can be no assurance that such restrictions will not adversely affect our ability to finance our future operations or capital needs.

 

As a result of these restrictions, we may need to seek permission from our lenders and other financing counterparties in order to engage in some corporate actions. Our lenders’ and other financing counterparties’ interests may be different from ours and we may not be able to obtain their permission when needed. This may prevent us from taking actions that we believe are in our best interests, which may adversely impact our revenues, results of operations and financial condition.

 

If we fail to meet our payment and other obligations, including our financial covenants and any security coverage requirements, could lead to defaults under our financing arrangements. Likewise, a decrease in vessel values or adverse market conditions could cause us to breach our financial covenants or security requirements (the market values of dry bulk vessels have generally experienced high volatility), which are currently present in our CIT Loan Facility. In the event of a default that we cannot remedy, our lenders and other financing counterparties could then accelerate their indebtedness and foreclose on the respective vessels in our fleet. The loss of any of our vessels could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

 

Our CIT Loan Facility contains, and any financing agreements we may enter into in the future may contain, cross-default provisions, pursuant to which a default by us under a loan and the refusal of any one lender to grant or extend a waiver could result in the acceleration of our indebtedness under any other loans and financing agreements we have entered into.

 

There can be no assurance that we will obtain waivers and deferrals from our lenders in the future, if needed, as we have obtained in the past. We are currently in compliance with all applicable financial covenants under our financing arrangements. For more information regarding our current financing arrangements, see please see “Item 5.B. Liquidity and Capital Resources—Indebtedness.”

 

We cannot assure you that we will be able to refinance our existing indebtedness or obtain additional financing.

 

We currently have secured indebtedness under one loan agreement and are also party to one sale and leaseback transaction. For more information on our existing financing arrangements, please see “Item 5.B. Liquidity and Capital Resources—Indebtedness.” We may finance future fleet expansion with additional secured indebtedness or sale and leaseback arrangement or similar structures. Our ability to obtain bank financing 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. Significant contraction, de-leveraging and reduced liquidity in credit markets worldwide is reducing the availability and increasing the cost of credit.

 

If we are not able to obtain new debt financing on terms acceptable to us or refinance our existing debt, we will have to dedicate a portion of our cash flow from operations to pay the principal and interest of this indebtedness. If we are not able to satisfy these obligations, we may have to undertake alternative financing plans. In addition, debt service payments under our loan agreements or alternative financing may limit funds otherwise available for working capital, capital expenditures, the payment of dividends and other purposes. Our inability to obtain additional or replacement financing at anticipated costs or at all may materially affect our results of operation, our ability to implement our business strategy, our payment of dividends and our ability to continue as a going concern.

 

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We depend on short-term or spot charters in volatile shipping markets.

 

We currently charter most of the vessels in our fleet on the short-term charter market. The short-term or spot charter market is highly competitive and short-term or spot charter rates may fluctuate significantly based upon available charters and the supply of and demand for seaborne shipping capacity. While our focus on the short-term or spot market may enable us to benefit if industry conditions strengthen, we must consistently procure short-term or spot charter business. Conversely, such dependence makes us vulnerable to declining market rates for short-term or spot charters and to the off-hire periods including ballast passages. Rates within the short-term or spot charter market are subject to volatile fluctuations while longer-term time charters provide income at pre-determined rates over more extended periods of time. There can be no assurance that we will be successful in keeping our vessels fully employed in these short-term markets or that future short-term or spot rates will be sufficient to enable the vessels to be operated profitably. A significant decrease in charter rates would affect value and further adversely affect our profitability, cash flows and ability to pay dividends. Furthermore, we have in the past, and may in the future, employ our vessels on index-linked time charters. Index-linked charters, regardless of the length of charter, reflect similar rate volatility as spot/voyage rates, as they are usually dependent on market conditions that may be volatile, although the index-linked hire rate may enable us to capture increased profit margins during periods of improvements in vessel charter rates. We cannot give assurances that future available short-term spot charters or index-linked charters will enable us to operate our vessels profitably.

 

We may also decide that it makes economic sense to lay up one or more vessels. While our vessels are laid up, we will pay lay-up costs, but those vessels will not be able to earn any hire.

 

We may be unable to successfully employ our vessels on long-term time charters or take advantage of favorable opportunities involving short-term or spot market charter rates.

 

Our long-term strategy to maximize the value of our fleet is to employ our vessels on a mix of all types of charter contracts, including in the short-term or spot market and on bareboat charters and long-term or fixed-hire or index-linked hire time charters. We believe this strategy provides the cash flow stability, reduced exposure to market downturns and high utilization rates of the charter market, while at the same time enabling us to benefit from periods of increasing short-term or spot market rates. But our short-term strategy at any given point in time is dictated by a multitude of factors and the chartering opportunities before us. We may, for example, seek to employ a greater portion of our fleet on the short-term, spot market or index-linked time charters or on fixed-hire time charters with longer durations, should we believe it to be in our best interests. We generally prefer spot or short-term contracts in order to be versatile, to be able to move quickly to capture a market upswing, and to be more selective with the cargos we carry. Long-term charters, however, provide desirable cash flow stability, albeit at the cost of missing upswings in cargo rates. Index-linked charters, regardless of the length of charter, reflect similar rate volatility as spot/voyage rates, as the hire changes depending on then existing market conditions that may be volatile, although the index-linked hire rate may enable us to capture increased profit margins during periods of improvements in vessel charter rates. Accordingly, our mix between short-term or spot charters, longer-term charters and index-linked charters changes from time-to-time. When our ships are not all on the short-term or spot market, we generally seek to stagger the expiration dates of our charters to reduce exposure to volatility in the shipping cycle when our vessels come off of charter. We also continually monitor developments in the dry bulk shipping industry and, subject to market demand, will adjust the number of vessels on charters and the charter periods for our vessels according to market conditions.

 

We and our Manager have developed relationships with a number of international charterers, vessel brokers, financial institutions, insurers and shipbuilders. We have also developed a network of relationships with vessel brokers who help facilitate vessel charters and acquisitions.

 

Although time charters with durations of one to five years may provide relatively steady streams of revenue, if our vessels were committed to such charters they may not be available for re-chartering or for short-term or spot market voyages when such employment would allow us to realize the benefits of comparably more favorable charter rates. In addition, in the future, we may not be able to enter into new time charters on favorable terms. The dry bulk market is volatile. While charter rates are presently generally above our operating expenses, in the past charter rates have declined below operating costs of vessels. If we are required to enter into a charter when charter rates are low, employ our vessels on the short-term or spot market during periods when charter rates have fallen, have index linked charters when rates are low, or we are unable to take advantage of short-term opportunities on the spot or charter market, our earnings and profitability could be adversely affected. We cannot assure you that future charter rates will enable us to cover our costs, operate our vessels profitably or to pay dividends, or all of them.

 

We may also decide that it makes economic sense to lay up one or more vessels. While our vessels are laid up, we will pay lay-up costs, but those vessels will not be able to earn any hire.

 

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We conduct a substantial amount of business in China.

 

The Chinese legal system is based on written statutes and their legal interpretation by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. Prior court decisions may be cited for reference but have limited precedential value. Since 1979, the Chinese government has been developing a comprehensive system of commercial laws, and considerable progress has been made in introducing laws and regulations dealing with economic matters such as foreign investment, corporate organization and governance, commerce, taxation and trade. However, because these laws and regulations are relatively new, there is a general lack of internal guidelines or authoritative interpretive guidance and because of the limited number of published cases and their non-binding nature interpretation and enforcement of these laws and regulations involve uncertainties. We conduct a substantial portion of our business in China or with Chinese counterparties. For example, we enter into charters with Chinese customers, which charters may be subject to new regulations in China. We may, therefore, be required to incur new or additional compliance or other administrative costs, and pay new taxes or other fees to the Chinese government. Although the charters we enter into with Chinese counterparties are not governed by Chinese law, we may have difficulties enforcing a judgment rendered by an arbitration tribunal or by an English or U.S. court (or other non-Chinese court) in China. In addition, China enacted a tax for non-resident international transportation enterprises engaged in the provision of services to passengers or cargo, among other items, in and out of China using their own, chartered or leased vessels, including any stevedore, warehousing and other services connected with the transportation. The law and relevant regulations broaden the range of international transportation companies which may find themselves liable for Chinese enterprise income tax on profits generated from international transportation services passing through Chinese ports. This tax or similar regulations by China may reduce our operating results and may also result in an increase in the cost of goods exported from China and the risks associated with exporting goods from China, as well as a decrease in the quantity of goods to be shipped from or through China, which would have an adverse impact on 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. Changes in laws and regulations, including with regards to tax matters, and their implementation by local authorities could affect our vessels that are either chartered to Chinese customers or that call to Chinese ports and could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition and our ability to pay dividends.

 

The Chinese economy differs from the economies of western countries in such respects as structure, government involvement, level of development, growth rate, capital reinvestment, allocation of resources, bank regulation, currency and monetary policy, rate of inflation and balance of payments position. Although state-owned enterprises still account for a substantial portion of the Chinese industrial output, in general, the Chinese government is reducing the level of direct control that it exercises over the economy. There is an increasing level of freedom and autonomy in areas such as allocation of resources, production, pricing and management and a gradual shift in emphasis to a “market economy” and enterprise reform, although it still acts with greater control than a truly free-market economy. Many of the Chinese government’s reforms are unprecedented or experimental and may be subject to revision, change or abolition based upon the outcome of such experiments. The level of imports to and exports from China could be adversely affected by the failure to continue market reforms or changes to existing pro-export economic policies. The level of imports to and exports from China may also be adversely affected by changes in political, economic and social conditions (including a slowing of economic growth), the coronavirus, or other relevant policies of the Chinese government, such as changes in laws, regulations or export and import restrictions, internal political instability, changes in currency policies, changes in trade policies and territorial or trade disputes. A decrease in the level of imports to and exports from China could adversely affect our business, operating results and financial condition.

 

Contracts for newbuilding vessels present certain economic and other risks.

 

Four of our subsidiaries have contracts for the construction of four Ultramaxes for anticipated delivery in 2024-2026. We may also order additional newbuildings. During the course of construction of a vessel, we are typically required to make progress payments. While two of those four contracts have refund guarantees from banks to cover defaults by the shipyards and our construction contracts would be saleable in the event of our payment default, we can still incur economic losses in the event that we or the shipyards are unable to perform our respective obligations. Shipyards may periodically experience financial difficulties.

 

Delays in the delivery of these vessels, or any newbuilding or secondhand vessels our subsidiaries may agree to acquire, could delay our receipt of revenues generated by these vessels and, to the extent we have arranged charter employment for these vessels, could possibly result in the cancellation of those charters, and therefore adversely affect our anticipated results of operations. The delivery of newbuilding vessels could be delayed because of, among other things: work stoppages or other labor disturbances; bankruptcy or other financial crisis of the shipyard building the vessel; hostilities or political or economic disturbances in the countries where the vessels are being built, including any escalation of tensions involving countries in east Asia; weather interference or catastrophic events, such as a major earthquake, tsunami or fire; our requests for changes to the original vessel specifications; requests from our customers, with whom our commercial managers arrange charters for such vessels, to delay construction and delivery of such vessels due to weak economic conditions and shipping demand or a dispute with the shipyard building the vessel.

 

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The aging of our fleet may result in increased operating costs in the future.

 

In general, the cost of maintaining a vessel in good operating condition increases with the age of the vessel. As of December 31, 2023 and 2022, the weighted average age of the vessels in our fleet was 11.2 years. Our oldest vessel was built in 2007, and our youngest vessel was built in 2024. As our fleet ages, we will incur increased costs to operate and maintain the vessels. Older vessels are typically less fuel efficient and cost more to maintain than more recently constructed vessels due to improvements in engine technology. Cargo insurance rates, paid by charterers, increase with the age of a vessel, making older vessels less desirable to charterers, which could result in lower utilization and, therefore, lower revenues. 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. We cannot assure you that, as our vessels age, further market conditions will justify those expenditures or enable us to operate our vessels profitably during the remainder of their useful lives. We may also decide that it makes economic sense to lay up one or more vessels. While our vessels are laid up, we will pay lay-up costs, but those vessels will not be able to earn any hire.

 

We may have difficulty managing our planned growth properly.

 

Our recent vessel acquisitions have imposed additional responsibilities on our management and staff, as will any further acquisition of vessels, which may require us to add more personnel and find new customers. Attracting qualified staff and customers are difficult tasks, and we might struggle to do so on attractive terms.

 

We intend to continue to stabilize and then to try to grow our business through disciplined acquisitions of vessels that meet our selection criteria and newly built vessels if we can negotiate attractive purchase prices. Our ability to manage our planned growth will primarily depend on our ability to:

 

  Ø

generate excess cash flow so that we can invest without jeopardizing our ability to cover current and foreseeable working capital needs;

 

  Ø

finance our operations;

 

  Ø

identify opportunities to enter other seaborne transportation sectors;

 

  Ø locate and acquire suitable vessels;

 

  Ø identify and consummate acquisitions and/or joint ventures;

 

  Ø enhance our customer base;

 

  Ø

integrate any acquired businesses or vessels, including those operating in sectors in which we do not currently operate, successfully with our existing operations;

 

  Ø

hire, train, and retain qualified personnel and crew to manage and operate our growing business and fleet; and

 

  Ø obtain required financing on acceptable terms.

 

A delay in the delivery to us of any new 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 newbuilding on time or at all because of:

  

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  Ø work stoppages or other hostilities or political or economic disturbances that disrupt the operations of the shipyard;

 

  Ø quality or engineering problems;

 

  Ø bankruptcy or other financial crisis of the shipyard;

 

  Ø a backlog of orders at the shipyard;

 

  Ø weather interference or catastrophic events, such as major earthquakes or fires;

 

  Ø our requests for changes to the original vessel specifications or disputes with the shipyard;
     
  Ø shortages of or delays in the receipt of necessary construction materials, such as steel; or

 

  Ø shortages of or delays in the receipt of necessary equipment, such as main engines, electricity generators and propellers.

 

In addition, if we enter a newbuilding or secondhand purchase contract, we may seek to terminate the contract due to market conditions, financing limitations or other reasons. The outcome of contract termination negotiations may require us to forego deposits on construction or purchase and pay additional cancellation fees. In addition, where we have already arranged a future charter with respect to the terminated newbuilding contract, we would need to provide an acceptable substitute vessel to the charterer to avoid breaching our charter agreement.

 

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 newbuilding contracts at favorable prices. During periods when charter rates are low, we may be unable to fund the acquisition of newbuildings, 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.

 

Furthermore, our current operating and financial systems may not be adequate if we expand the size of our fleet, and our attempts to improve those systems may be ineffective. In addition, as we seek to expand our internal technical management capabilities and our fleet, we or our crewing agents may need to recruit suitable additional seafarers and shore based administrative and management personnel. We cannot guarantee that we or our crewing agents will be able to hire suitable employees or a sufficient number of employees if and as we expand our fleet. If we or our crewing agent encounter business or financial difficulties, we may not be able to adequately staff our vessels. If we are unable to develop and maintain effective financial and operating systems or to recruit suitable employees as we expand our fleet, our financial performance may be adversely affected and, among other things, the amount of cash available for distribution as dividends to our shareholders may be reduced or eliminated.

 

Growing any business by acquisition presents numerous risks, such as undisclosed liabilities and obligations, the possibility that indemnification agreements will be unenforceable or insufficient to cover potential losses and difficulties associated with imposing common standards, controls, procedures and policies, obtaining additional qualified personnel, managing relationships with customers and integrating newly acquired assets and operations into existing infrastructure. Recently, the limited supply of and increased demand for well-qualified crew, due to the increase in the size of the global shipping fleet, has created upward pressure on crewing costs, which we generally bear under our time and spot charters. Increases in crew costs may adversely affect our profitability, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay dividends. We cannot give any assurance that we will be successful in executing our growth plans or that we will not incur significant expenses and losses in connection with our future growth.

 

To the extent we scrap or sell vessels, we may decide to terminate the employment of some of our staff.

 

Legislative or regulatory changes in Greece may adversely affect our results from operations.

 

Globus Shipmanagement Corp., our ship management subsidiary, who we refer to as our Manager, is regulated under Greek Law 89/67, and conducts its operations and those on our behalf primarily in Greece. Greece has been implementing new legislative measures to address financial difficulties, several of which as a response from oversight by the International Monetary Fund and by European regulatory bodies such as the European Central Bank. Such legislative actions may impose new regulations on our operations in Greece that will require us to incur new or additional compliance or other administrative costs and may require that our Manager or we pay to the Greek government new taxes or other fees. Any such taxes, fees or costs we incur could be in amounts that are significantly greater than those in the past and could adversely affect our results from operations.

 

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For example, in 2013, tax law 4110/2013 amended the long-standing provisions of art. 26 of law 27/1975 by imposing a fixed annual tonnage tax on vessels flying a foreign (i.e., non-Greek) flag which are managed by a Law 89 company, establishing an identical tonnage tax regime as the one already in force for vessels flying the Greek flag. This tax varies depending on the size of the vessel, calculated in gross registered tonnage, as well as on the age of each vessel. Payment of this tonnage tax completely satisfies all income tax obligations of both the shipowning company and of all its shareholders up to the ultimate beneficial owners. Any tax payable to the state of the flag of each vessel as a result of its registration with a foreign flag registry (including the Marshall Islands) is subtracted from the amount of tonnage tax due to the Greek tax authorities.

 

The tax residents of Greece who receive dividends from such shipowning or their holding companies are taxed at 5% on the dividends which they receive and which they import into Greece, not being liable to any other taxation for these, which include those dividends which either remain with the holding company or are paid to the individual Greek tax resident abroad.

 

Changing laws and evolving reporting requirements could have an adverse effect on our business.

 

Changing laws, regulations, and standards relating to reporting requirements, including the EU General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, may create additional compliance requirements for us.

 

GDPR broadens the scope of personal privacy laws to protect the rights of EU citizens and requires organizations to report on data breaches within 72 hours and be bound by more stringent rules for obtaining the consent of individuals on how their data can be used. GDPR was enforced on May 25, 2018, and non-compliance exposes entities to significant fines or other regulatory claims which could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and operations.

 

A cyber-attack or our information systems otherwise not properly working could materially disrupt our business.

 

We rely on information technology systems and networks in our operations and administration of our business. Information systems are vulnerable to security breaches by computer hackers and cyber terrorists. The safety and security of our vessels or other vessels we may acquire as well as our business operations could be targeted by individuals or groups seeking to sabotage or disrupt our information technology systems and networks, or to steal data. Despite our cybersecurity measures, a successful cyber-attack, including as a result of spam, targeted phishing-type emails, and ransomware attacks, or other breach of or significant interruption or failure of our information technology systems, could materially disrupt our operations, including the safety of our operations, or lead to unauthorized release of information or alteration of information in our systems. Any such attack or other breach of our information technology systems could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations. In addition, the unavailability of the information systems or the failure of these systems to perform as anticipated for any reason could disrupt our business and could result in decreased performance and increased operating costs, causing our business and results of operations to suffer. Any significant interruption or failure of our information systems or any significant breach of security could adversely affect our business and results of operations.

 

Additionally, any changes in the nature of cyber threats might require us to adopt additional procedures for monitoring cybersecurity, which could require additional expenses and/or capital expenditures. Most recently, the escalation in conflict between Russia and Ukraine has been accompanied by cyber-attacks against the Ukrainian government and other countries in the region. It is possible that these attacks could have collateral effects on additional critical infrastructure and financial institutions globally, which could adversely affect our operations. It is difficult to assess the likelihood of such a threat and any potential impact at this time.

 

We expect that a limited number of financial institutions will hold our cash including financial institutions that may be located in Greece and the United States.

 

We expect that a limited number of financial institutions will hold all of our cash, including some institutions located in Greece and the U.S. Our bank accounts are with banks in Switzerland, the U.S. and Greece. Of the financial institutions located in Greece, none are subsidiaries of international banks. Depending on our cash balance in any of our accounts at any given point in time, our balances may not be covered by government-backed deposit insurance programs in the event of default by these financial institutions.

 

For example, a substantial amount of cash is currently held in U.S. banking institutions. While the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation provides deposit insurance of $250,000 per depositor, per insured bank, the amounts that we have in U.S. banks far exceeds that insurance amount, and therefore if the U.S. government does not impose measures to protect depositors, in the event the bank in which our funds are located fails, we may lose all or a substantial portion of our deposits. In addition, our bank accounts held in Swiss banking institutions are used for daily commercial transactions. Esisuisse, a self-regulatory organisation for banks in Switzerland, guarantees that it will cover protected deposits as part of the self-regulation of Swiss banks and securities firms which provides deposit insurance against loss up to the amount of CHF 100,000. The deposits we have in Swiss banks exceeds that insurance amount and therefore if the Swiss government does not impose measures to protect depositors, in the event the bank in which our funds are located fails, we may lose all or a substantial portion of our deposits. In addition, in the event any of our banks do not allow us to withdraw funds in the time and amounts that we want, we may not timely comply with contractual provisions in any of our contracts or our salary obligations, among other things.

 

The occurrence of any default of any of our banks could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows, and we may lose part or all of our cash that we deposit with such banks.

 

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Purchasing and operating secondhand vessels may result in increased operating costs and reduced fleet utilization.

 

While we have the right to inspect previously owned vessels prior to our purchase of them, such an inspection does not provide us with the same knowledge about their condition that we would have if these vessels had been built for and operated exclusively by us. A secondhand vessel may have conditions or defects that we are not aware of when we buy the vessel and which may require us to incur costly repairs to the vessel. These repairs may require us to put a vessel into drydocking, which would increase cash outflows and related expenses, while reducing our fleet utilization. Furthermore, we usually do not receive the benefit of warranties on secondhand vessels.

 

Management may be unable to provide reports as to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting or, when applicable, our independent registered public accounting firm may be unable to provide us with unqualified attestation reports as to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting when required.

 

Under Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which we refer to as Sarbanes-Oxley, we are required to include in each of our annual reports on Form 20-F a report containing our management’s assessment of the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. In addition, management may not conclude that our internal control over financial reporting is effective if a material weakness exists in our internal control over financial reporting. If in such annual reports on Form 20-F our management cannot provide a report as to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting or, when applicable, our independent registered public accounting firm is unable to provide us with an unqualified attestation report as to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting as required by Section 404, investors could lose confidence in the reliability of our consolidated financial statements, which could result in a decrease in the value of our common shares.

 

Unless we set aside reserves or are able to raise or borrow funds for vessel replacement, at the end of a vessel’s useful life our revenues will decline.

 

As of December 31, 2023 and December 31, 2022, the vessels in our fleet had a weighted average age of 11.2 years, for both years. Our oldest vessel was built in 2007, and our youngest vessel was built in 2024. Unless we maintain reserves or are able to raise or borrow or raise funds for vessel replacement, we will be unable to replace the vessels in our fleet upon the expiration of their remaining useful lives, which we expect to be 25 years from the date of their construction. Our cash flows and income are dependent on the revenues earned by the chartering of our vessels to customers. If we are unable to replace the vessels in our fleet upon the expiration of their useful lives, our business, results of operations, financial condition and ability to pay dividends will be materially adversely affected. Any reserves set aside for vessel replacement may not be available for dividends. 

 

We depend upon a few significant customers for a large part of our revenues.

 

We may derive a significant part of our revenue from a small number of customers. During the years ended December 31, 2023, 2022 and 2021, we derived substantially all of our revenues from approximately 28, 37 and 23 customers, respectively, and approximately 55%, 39% and 47%, respectively, of our revenues during those years were derived from four customers. If one or more of our major customers defaults under a charter with us and we are not able to find a replacement charter, or if such a customer exercises certain rights to terminate the charter, we could suffer a loss of revenues that could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash available for distribution as dividends to our shareholders.

 

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We could lose a customer or the benefits of a time charter if, among other things:

 

  the customer fails to make charter payments because of its financial inability, disagreements with us or otherwise;

 

  the customer terminates the charter because of our non-performance, including failure to deliver the vessel within a fixed period of time, the vessel is lost or damaged beyond repair, serious deficiencies in the vessel, prolonged periods of off-hire or our default under the charter; or

 

  the customer terminates the charter because the vessel has been subject to seizure for more than 30 days.

 

If we lose a key customer, we may be unable to obtain charters on comparable terms with charterers of comparable standing or we may have increased exposure to the volatile short-term or spot market, which is highly competitive and subject to significant price fluctuations. We would not receive any revenues from such 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 customers, time charters or vessels or a decline in payments under our charters could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition and our ability to pay dividends.

 

We generate revenues from the trading of our vessels in U.S. dollars but incur a portion of our expenses in other currencies.

 

We generate substantially all of our revenues from the trading of our vessels in U.S. dollars, but during the years ended December 31, 2023, 2022 and 2021 we incurred approximately 30%, 30% and 31%, respectively, of our vessel operating expenses, and certain administrative expenses, in currencies other than the U.S. dollar. This difference could lead to fluctuations in net profit due to changes in the value of the U.S. dollar relative to the other currencies. Expenses incurred in foreign currencies against which the U.S. dollar falls in value can increase, decreasing our results from operations. 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.

 

If volatility in the Secured Overnight Financing Rate, or SOFR, occurs, it could affect our profitability, earnings and cash flow.

 

The interest rates borne by our financing arrangements fluctuate with changes in SOFR (which replaced the previously used LIBOR), which fluctuations would affect the amount of interest payable on those debts, which, in turn, could have an adverse effect on our profitability, earnings and cash flow. In particular, the interest provisions in our CIT Loan Facility and our sale and leaseback arrangement are based on Term SOFR.

 

An increase in SOFR, including as a result of the interest rate increases effected by the United States Federal Reserve and the United States Federal Reserve’s recent hike of U.S. interest rates in response to rising inflation, would affect the amount of interest payable under our existing financing arrangement, which, in turn, could have an adverse effect on our profitability, earnings, cash flow and ability to pay dividends. Furthermore, as a secured rate backed by government securities, SOFR may be less likely to correlate with the funding costs of financial institutions. As a result, parties may seek to adjust spreads relative to SOFR in underlying contractual arrangements. Therefore, the use of SOFR-based rates may result in interest rates and/or payments that are higher or lower than the rates and payments that were expected when interest was based on LIBOR. If SOFR performs differently than expected or if our lenders insist on a different reference rate to replace SOFR in the future, that could increase our borrowing costs (and administrative costs to reflect the transaction), which would have an adverse effect on our profitability, earnings, and cash flows.

In order to manage our exposure to interest rate fluctuations under SOFR, or any other alternative rate, we have and may from time to time use interest rate derivatives to effectively fix some of our floating rate debt obligations. No assurance can however be given that the use of these derivative instruments, if any, may effectively protect us from adverse interest rate movements. The use of interest rate derivatives may affect our results through mark to market valuation of these derivatives. Also, adverse movements in interest rate derivatives may require us to post cash as collateral, which may impact our free cash position and have the potential to cause us to breach covenants in our financing arrangements that require maintenance of certain financial positions and ratios.

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We may have to pay tax on U.S. source shipping income.

 

Under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or the Code, 50% of the gross shipping income of a vessel-owning or chartering corporation that is attributable to transportation that begins or ends, but that does not both begin and end, in the United States is characterized as U.S. source shipping income and such income is subject to a 4% U.S. federal income tax without allowance for deductions, unless that corporation qualifies for exemption from tax under section 883 of the Code and the U.S. Treasury regulations promulgated thereunder, which we refer to as the Section 883 Exemption, or through the application of a comprehensive income tax treaty between the United States and the corporation’s country of residence. The eligibility of Globus Maritime and our subsidiaries to qualify for the Section 883 Exemption is determined each taxable year and is dependent on certain circumstances related to the ownership of our shares and on interpretations of existing U.S. Treasury regulations, each of which could change. We can therefore give no assurance that we will in fact be eligible to qualify for the Section 883 Exemption for all taxable years. In addition, changes to the Code, the U.S. Treasury regulations or the interpretation thereof by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or IRS, or the courts could adversely affect the ability of Globus Maritime and our subsidiaries to take advantage of the Section 883 Exemption.

 

If we are not entitled to the Section 883 Exemption or an exemption under a tax treaty for any taxable year in which any company in the group earns U.S. source shipping income, any company earning such U.S. source shipping income, would be subject to a 4% U.S. federal income tax on the gross amount of the U.S. source shipping income for the year (or an effective rate of 2% on shipping income attributable to the transportation of freight to or from the United States). The imposition of this taxation could have a negative effect on our business and revenues and would result in decreased earnings available for distribution to our shareholders.

 

For a more complete discussion, please read the section entitled “Item 10.E. Taxation— United States Tax Considerations— United States Federal Income Taxation of the Company.”

 

U.S. tax authorities could treat us as a “passive foreign investment company,” which could result in adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences to U.S. shareholders.

 

A foreign corporation will be treated as a “passive foreign investment company,” or PFIC, for U.S. federal income tax purposes if either at least 75% of its gross income for any taxable year consists of certain types of “passive income” or 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 and 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.”

 

U.S. shareholders of a PFIC are subject to a disadvantageous U.S. 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, unless those shareholders make an election available under the Code (which election could itself have adverse consequences for such shareholders). In particular, U.S. shareholders who are individuals would not be eligible for the preferential tax rate on qualified dividends. Please read “Item 10.E. Taxation—United States Tax Considerations—United States Federal Income Taxation of United States Holders” for a more comprehensive discussion of the U.S. federal income tax consequences to U.S. shareholders if we are treated as a PFIC.

 

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

 

There are legal uncertainties involved in this determination because there is no direct legal authority under the PFIC rules addressing our current and projected future operations. Moreover, a case decided in 2009 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that, contrary to the position of the IRS in that case, and for purposes of a different set of rules under the Code, income received under a 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 time chartering activities would be treated as rental income, and we would be a PFIC unless an active leasing exception applies. Although the IRS has announced that it will not follow the reasoning of this case, and that it intends to treat the income from standard industry time charters as services income, no assurance can be given that a U.S. court will not follow the aforementioned case. Moreover, no assurance can be given that we would not constitute a PFIC for any 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 U.S. shareholders will face adverse U.S. tax consequences and information reporting obligations, as more fully described under “Item 10.E. Taxation—United States Tax Considerations—United States Federal Income Taxation of United States Holders.”

 

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We could face penalties under European Union, United States or other economic sanctions.

 

Our business could be adversely impacted if we are found to have violated economic sanctions under the applicable laws of the European Union, the United States or another applicable jurisdiction against countries such as Iran, Syria, North Korea, Russia, and Cuba. U.S. economic sanctions, for example, prohibit a wide scope of conduct, target numerous countries and individuals, are frequently updated or changed and have vague application in many situations.

 

Many economic sanctions relate to our business, including prohibitions on certain kinds of trade with countries, such as exportation or re-exportation of commodities, or prohibitions against certain transactions with designated nationals who may be operating under aliases or through non-designated companies. The imposition of economic sanctions on Russian persons, first imposed in March 2014 and further in 2022, is an example of economic sanctions with a potentially widespread and unpredictable impact on shipping. Certain of our charterers or other parties with whom we have entered into contracts regarding our vessels may be affiliated with persons or entities that are the subject of sanctions imposed by the U.S. government, the European Union and/or other international bodies relating to the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014 and the current conflict in Ukraine. If we determine that such sanctions require us to terminate existing contracts or if we are found to be in violation of such applicable sanctions, our results of operations may be adversely affected or we may suffer reputational harm.

 

Additionally, the U.S. Iran Threat Reduction Act (which was signed into law in 2012) amended the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act, to require issuers that file annual or quarterly reports under Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act to include disclosure in their annual and quarterly reports as to whether the issuer or its affiliates have knowingly engaged in certain activities prohibited by sanctions against Iran or transactions or dealings with certain identified persons. We are subject to this disclosure requirement.

 

There can be no assurance that we will be in compliance with all applicable sanctions and embargo laws and regulations in the future, particularly as the scope of certain laws may be unclear and may be subject to changing interpretations. Any such violation could result in fines or other penalties and 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 us. Even inadvertent violations of economic sanctions can result in the imposition of material fines and restrictions and could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations, our reputation, and the market price of our common shares. 

 

Our vessels may call on ports subject to economic sanctions or embargoes.

 

From time to time on charterers’ instructions, our vessels may call on ports located in countries subject to sanctions and embargoes imposed by the United States government and countries identified by the U.S. government as state sponsors of terrorism, such as Iran, Cuba, North Korea, and Syria. It is also possible for us to call on a port in Russia, which is subject to substantial U.S. sanctions, although not a comprehensive embargo. The U.S. 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.

 

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 as such regulations and sanctions may be amended over time. 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 us. In addition, 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. The determination by these investors not to invest in, or to divest from, our common shares may adversely affect the price at which our common 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 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. Investor perception of the value of our common shares may be adversely affected by the consequences of war, the effects of terrorism, civil unrest and governmental actions in these and surrounding countries.

 

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As a Marshall Islands corporation with principal executive offices in Greece, and also having subsidiaries in the Marshall Islands and other offshore jurisdictions such as Malta, our operations may be subject to economic substance requirements.

 

On March 12, 2019, the Council of the European Union published a list of “non-cooperative jurisdictions” for tax purposes in which the Republic of the Marshall Islands, among others, was placed by the E.U. on this list for failing to implement certain commitments previously made to the E.U. by the agreed deadline. However, it was announced by the Council of the European Union on October 10, 2019 that the Marshall Islands had been removed from that list, but was put back on the list in February 2023 and removed again in October 2023. E.U. member states have agreed upon a set of measures, which they can choose to apply against the listed countries, including increased monitoring and audits, withholding taxes and non-deductibility of costs. The European Commission has stated it will continue to support member states’ efforts to develop a more coordinated approach to sanctions for the listed countries in 2019. E.U. legislation prohibits certain E.U. funds from being channeled or transited through entities in non-cooperative jurisdictions. 

 

We are a Marshall Islands corporation with principal executive offices in Greece. Our management company is also a Marshall Islands entity. Most of our subsidiaries are Marshall Islands entities, and one of our subsidiaries is organized in Malta. The Marshall Islands has enacted economic substance regulations with which we may be obligated to comply. Those regulations require certain entities that carry out particular activities to comply with an economic substance test whereby the entity must show that it (i) is directed and managed in the Marshall Islands in relation to that relevant activity, (ii) carries out core income-generating activity in relation to that relevant activity in the Marshall Islands (although it is being understood and acknowledged by the regulators that income-generated activities for shipping companies will generally occur in international waters) and (iii) having regard to the level of relevant activity carried out in the Marshall Islands has (a) an adequate amount of expenditures in the Marshall Islands, (b) adequate physical presence in the Marshall Islands and (c) an adequate number of qualified employees in the Marshall Islands.

 

If we fail to comply with our obligations under this legislation or any similar law applicable to us in any other jurisdictions, we could be subject to financial penalties and spontaneous disclosure of information to foreign tax officials, or with respect to Marshall Islands Economic substance requirements, revocation of the formation documents and dissolution of the applicable non-compliance Marshall Islands entity or struck from the register of companies in related jurisdictions. Any of the foregoing could be disruptive to our business and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial conditions and operating results. Accordingly, any implementation of, or changes to, any of the economic substance regulations that impact us could increase the complexity and costs of carrying on business in these jurisdictions, and thus could adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.

 

We do not know (i) if the E.U. will once again add the Marshall Islands from the list of non-cooperative jurisdictions, or add Malta to that list; (ii) what actions the Marshall Islands or Malta may take, if any, to remove itself from such list if it should be placed on the list of non-cooperative jurisdictions; (iii) how quickly the E.U. would react to any changes in legislation of the Marshall Islands or Malta; or (iv) how E.U. banks or other counterparties will react while we or any of our subsidiaries remain as entities organized and existing under the laws of listed countries. The effect of the E.U. list of non-cooperative jurisdictions, and any noncompliance by us with any legislation adopted by applicable countries to achieve removal from the list, including economic substance regulations, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial conditions and operating results.

 

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

 

Our business is operated primarily from our offices in Greece. In addition, a majority of our directors and officers are 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 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 Marshall Islands or Greece would enter judgments in original actions brought in those courts predicated on United States federal or state securities laws.

 

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The international nature of our operations may make the outcome of any bankruptcy proceedings difficult to predict.

 

We redomiciled into the Marshall Islands and our subsidiaries are incorporated under the laws of the Marshall Islands or Malta, we have limited operations in the United States, and we maintain limited assets, if any, in the United States. Consequently, in the event of any bankruptcy, insolvency, liquidation, dissolution, reorganization or similar proceeding involving us or any of our subsidiaries, bankruptcy laws other than those of the United States could apply. The Marshall Islands does not have a bankruptcy statute or general statutory mechanism for insolvency proceedings. If we become a debtor under U.S. bankruptcy law, bankruptcy courts in the United States may seek to assert jurisdiction over all of our assets, wherever located, including property situated in other countries. There can be no assurance, however, that we would become a debtor in the United States, or that a U.S. bankruptcy court would accept, or be entitled to accept, jurisdiction over such a bankruptcy case, or that courts in other countries that have jurisdiction over us and our operations would recognize a U.S. bankruptcy court’s jurisdiction if any other bankruptcy court would determine it had jurisdiction. These factors may delay or prevent us from entering bankruptcy in the United States and may affect the ability of our shareholders to receive any recovery following our bankruptcy.

 

Risks Relating to our Common Shares

 

Our stock price has been volatile and no assurance can be made that it will not substantially depreciate.

Our stock price has been volatile recently. The closing price of our common shares within 2023 has ranged from a peak of $2.97 on December 22, 2023 to a low of $0.85 on September 5, 2023, representing a 71% difference. We can offer no comfort or assurance that our stock price will stop being volatile or not substantially depreciate. Our stock price was $2.33 on March 13, 2024.

 

We may continue to incur rapid and substantial increases or decreases in our stock price in the foreseeable future that may not coincide in timing with the disclosure of news or developments by or affecting us. Accordingly, the market price of our common shares may decline or fluctuate rapidly, regardless of any developments in our business. Overall, there are various factors, many of which are beyond our control, that could negatively affect the market price of our common shares or result in fluctuations in the price or trading volume of our common shares, which include but are not limited to:

•       investor reaction to our business strategy;

•       the sentiment of the significant number of retail investors whom we believe to hold our common shares, in part due to direct access by retail investors to broadly available trading platforms, and whose investment thesis may be influenced by views expressed on financial trading and other social media sites and online forums;

•       the amount and status of short interest in our common shares, access to margin debt, trading in options and other derivatives on our common shares and any related hedging and other trading factors;

•       our continued compliance with the listing standards of the Nasdaq Capital Market;

•       regulatory or legal developments in the United States and other countries, especially changes in laws or regulations applicable to our industry;

•       variations in our financial results or those of companies that are perceived to be similar to us;

•       our ability or inability to raise additional capital and the terms on which we raise it;

•       our dividend strategy;

•       our continued compliance with our debt covenants;

•       variations in the value of our fleet;

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•       declines in the market prices of stocks generally;

•       trading volume of our common shares;

•       sales of our common shares by us or our shareholders;

•       speculation in the press or investment community about our Company or industry;

•       general economic, industry and market conditions; and

•       other events or factors, including those resulting from such events, or the prospect of such events, including war, terrorism and other international conflicts, public health issues including health epidemics or pandemics, including worldwide pandemics similar to the COVID-19 pandemic, and natural disasters such as fire, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados or other adverse weather and climate conditions, whether occurring in the United States or elsewhere, could disrupt our operations or result in political or economic instability.

In addition, some companies that have experienced volatility in the market price of their common shares have been subject to securities class-action litigation. If instituted against us, such litigation could result in substantial costs and diversion of management’s attention and resources, which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, operating results and growth prospects. There can be no guarantee that the price of our common shares will remain at its current level or that future sales of our common shares will not be at prices lower than those sold to investors.

 

We may issue additional common shares or other equity securities without shareholder approval, which would dilute our existing shareholders’ ownership interests and may depress the market price of our common shares.

 

We may issue additional common shares or other equity securities of equal or senior rank in the future without shareholder approval for cash or in connection with, among other things, future vessel acquisitions, the repayment of outstanding indebtedness, and the conversion of convertible financial instruments.

 

Our issuance of additional common shares or other equity securities of equal or senior rank in these situations would have the following effects:

 

• our existing shareholders’ proportionate ownership interest in us would decrease;

 

• the proportionate amount of cash available for dividends payable on our common shares could decrease;

 

• the relative voting strength of each previously outstanding common share could be diminished; and

 

• the market price of our common shares could decline.

 

In addition, we may be obligated to issue, upon exercise or conversion of outstanding warrants pursuant to the terms thereof:

 

388,700 common shares issuable upon the exercise of outstanding Class A Warrants (at an exercise price of $35.00 per share) which expire in June 2025;
458,500 common shares issuable upon exercise of outstanding June private placement warrants (at an exercise price of $18.00 per share) issued in a private placement that closed on June 30, 2020 and expire in December 2025;
833,333 common shares issuable upon exercise of outstanding July private placement warrants (at an exercise price of at $18.00 per share) issued in a private placement that closed on July 21, 2020 and expire in January 2026;
1,270,587 common shares issuable upon exercise of the December 2020 Warrants (at an exercise price of $6.25 per share) which expire in June 2026;
1,950,000 common shares issuable upon the exercise of the January 2021 Warrants (at an exercise price of $6.25 per share) which expire in July 2026; and

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4,800,000 common shares issuable upon the exercise of the February 2021 Warrants (at an exercise price of $6.25 per share) which expire in August 2026.

10,000,000 common shares issuable upon the exercise of the June 2021 Warrants (at an exercise price of $5.00 per share) which expire in December 2026.

In addition:

·We historically issued, on a quarterly basis, common shares to certain of our directors, although we have changed our compensation arrangements with directors to pay only cash.

·We have issued an aggregate of 10,300 of our Series B preferred shares, par value $0.001 per share, to Goldenmare Limited, which shares have 25,000 votes per share, subject to maximum voting rights of 49.99%.

Our issuance of additional common shares upon the exercise of such warrants and agreements would cause the proportionate ownership interest in us of our existing shareholders, other than the exercising warrant or agreement holder, to decrease; the relative voting strength of each previously outstanding common share held by our existing shareholders to decrease; and, depending on our share price when and if these warrants are exercised, may result in dilution to our shareholders. Because we are a foreign private issuer, we are not bound by Nasdaq rules that require shareholder approval for issuances of our securities. We therefore can issue securities in such amounts and at such times as we feel appropriate, all without shareholder approval. See “Item 16G. Corporate Governance.”

  

Future issuances or sales, or the potential for future issuances or sales, of our common shares may cause the trading price of our securities to decline and could impair our ability to raise capital through subsequent equity offerings.

 

We have issued a significant number of our common shares and may do so in the future. Shares to be issued pursuant to the exercise of our outstanding warrants could cause the market price of our common shares to decline and could have an adverse effect on our earnings per share. In addition, future sales of our common shares or other securities in the public or private markets, or the perception that these sales may occur, could cause the market price of our common shares to decline, and could materially impair our ability to raise capital through the sale of additional securities.

 

The market price of our common shares could decline due to sales, or the announcements of proposed sales, of a large number of common shares in the market, including sales of common shares by our large shareholders, or the perception that these sales could occur. These sales or the perception that these sales could occur could also depress the market price of our common shares and impair our ability to raise capital through the sale of additional equity securities or make it more difficult or impossible for us to sell equity securities in the future at a time and price that we deem appropriate. We cannot predict the effect that future sales of common shares or other equity-related securities would have on the market price of our common shares.

 

The market price of our common shares may be volatile, which could result in substantial losses for investors who purchase our shares; and the volatility in the stock prices of other companies may contribute to volatility in our stock price.

 

Our common shares have experienced price and volume fluctuations and may continue to experience volatility in the future. The closing price of our common shares within 2023 has ranged from a peak of $2.97 on December 22, 2023 to a low of $0.85 on September 5, 2023, representing a 71% change. You may not be able to sell your shares quickly or at the latest market price if trading in our stock is not active or the volume is low. Some of the factors that may cause the market price of our common shares to fluctuate include:

 

●       the trading of our ships, and whether one or more ships are not trading or otherwise off hire;

●       regulatory or legal developments in the United States and other countries;

●       the recruitment or departure of key personnel;

●       the level of expenses related to our business or to comply with changing laws, including in relation to environmental laws;

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●       actual or anticipated changes in estimates as to financial results or recommendations by securities analysts;

●       announcement or expectation of additional financing efforts;

●       sales of our securities by us, our insiders, or other shareholders, and the exercise of our warrants and other convertible securities and instruments;

●       variations in our financial results or those of companies that are perceived to be similar to us;

●       changes in estimates or recommendations by securities analysts, if any, that cover our stock;

●       market conditions in the shipping industry and dry bulk sector; and

●       general economic, industry, and market conditions.

The closing price of our common shares was $2.97 on December 22, 2023 to and $0.85 on September 5, 2023. In addition, there has been volatility for our intra-day common share price. For example, the high and low intra-day prices on October 19, 2023 were $2.29 and $1.63, respectively, and the high and low intra-day prices on December 1, 2023 were $2.50 and $1.96, respectively. As a result, there is a potential for rapid and substantial decreases in the price of our common shares, including decreases unrelated to our operating performance or prospects.

 

In recent years, the stock market in general, Nasdaq, and the markets for shipping companies, has experienced significant price and volume fluctuations and depressions that have often been unrelated or disproportionate to changes in the operating performance of the companies whose stock is experiencing those price and volume fluctuations. Broad market and industry factors may seriously affect the market price of our common shares, regardless of our actual operating performance. Following periods of such volatility in the market price of a company’s securities, securities class action litigation has often been brought against that company. Because of the potential volatility of our stock price, we may become the target of securities litigation in the future. Securities litigation could result in substantial costs and divert management’s attention and resources from our business.

 

A possible “short squeeze” due to a sudden increase in demand of our common shares that largely exceeds supply may lead to further price volatility in our common shares.

 

Investors may purchase our common shares to hedge existing exposure in our common shares or to speculate on the price of our common shares. Speculation on the price of our common shares may involve long and short exposures. To the extent aggregate short exposure exceeds the number of common shares available for purchase in the open market, investors with short exposure may have to pay a premium to repurchase our common shares for delivery to lenders of our common shares. Those repurchases may in turn, dramatically increase the price of our common shares until investors with short exposure are able to purchase additional common shares to cover their short position. This is often referred to as a “short squeeze.” A short squeeze could lead to volatile price movements in common shares that are not directly correlated to the performance or prospects of our company and once investors purchase the common shares necessary to cover their short position the price of our common shares may decline.

 

Our common shares could be delisted from Nasdaq, which could affect their market price and liquidity.

 

We are required to meet certain qualitative and financial tests (including a minimum bid price for our common shares of $1.00 per share, at least 500,000 publicly held shares, at least 300 public holders, a market value of publicly held securities of $1 million and net income from continuing operations of $500,000), as well as other corporate governance standards, to maintain the listing of our common shares on the Nasdaq Capital Market, or Nasdaq. It is possible that we could fail to satisfy one or more of these requirements. There can be no assurance that we will be able to maintain compliance with the minimum bid price, shareholders’ equity, number of publicly held shares, net income requirements or other listing standards in the future. We may receive notices from Nasdaq that we have failed to meet its requirements, and proceedings to delist our stock could be commenced. We have received in the past (most recently on July 12, 2023), a written notification from Nasdaq, indicating that because the closing bid price of our common shares for the last 30 consecutive business days was below $1.00 per share, we no longer meet the minimum bid price continued listing requirement for Nasdaq, as set forth in Nasdaq Listing Rule 5450(a)(1). On some occasions we were able to regain compliance within the grace period prescribed by Nasdaq pursuant to a reverse stock split. We discuss this reverse stock split and others further in this annual report on Form 20-F. See “Item 4.A. History and Development of the Company— History relating to our shares.” In such event, Nasdaq rules permit us to appeal any delisting determination to a Nasdaq Hearings Panel. If we are unable to maintain or regain compliance in a timely manner and our common shares are delisted, it could be more difficult to buy or sell our common shares and obtain accurate quotations, and the price of our shares could suffer a material decline. Delisting may also impair our ability to raise capital. Delisting of our shares may breach our financing arrangements, which contain cross default provisions, and the purchase agreement pursuant to which we sold some of our outstanding warrants. There could also be adverse tax consequences—please read “Item 10.E Taxation – United States Tax Considerations - United States Federal Income Taxation of United States Holders – Distributions” for further information.

 

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In addition, if we, within a two year period, conduct reverse stock splits with a cumulative ratio of 250:1 or more, or if the closing bid price of our common shares is $0.10 or less for a period of ten consecutive trading days during any bid compliance period, then Nasdaq will immediately initiate delisting procedures.

 

There can be no assurance that we will be able to maintain compliance with the minimum bid price, shareholders’ equity, number of publicly held shares or other listing standards in the future. We may receive notices from Nasdaq that we have failed to meet its requirements, and proceedings to delist our stock could be commenced. If we are unable to maintain or regain compliance in a timely manner and our common shares are delisted, it could be more difficult to buy or sell our common shares and obtain accurate quotations, and the price of our shares could suffer a material decline. The Company agreed, in its securities purchase agreements relating to share and warrant issuances in 2020 and 2021, to use commercially reasonable efforts to maintain the listing or quotation of the common shares on Nasdaq, and to take all action reasonably necessary to continue the listing and trading of our common shares on Nasdaq. 

 

Our ability to declare and pay dividends to holders of our common shares will depend on a number of factors and will always be subject to the discretion of our board of directors.

 

If we are not in compliance with our loan covenants and received a notice of default and were unable to cure it under the terms of our loan covenants, we may be forbidden from issuing dividends. There can be no assurance that dividends will be paid to holders of our shares in any anticipated amounts and frequency at all. We may incur other expenses or liabilities that would reduce or eliminate the cash available for distribution as dividends, including as a result of the risks described in this section of this annual report on Form 20-F.

 

For instance, the CIT Loan Facility presently prohibits our declaration and payment of dividends under certain circumstances. Please read “Item 5.B. Liquidity and Capital Resources—Indebtedness” for further information.

 

We may also enter into new financing or other agreements that may restrict our ability to pay dividends even without an event of default or make it less desirable for us to do so. In addition, we may pay dividends to the holders of our preferred shares prior to the holders of our common shares, depending on the terms of the preferred shares.

 

If we pay a dividend, the terms of our outstanding warrants provide that the exercise price shall be decreased by the amount of cash and/or the fair market value of any securities or other assets paid on each common share in respect of such dividend in order that subsequent thereto upon exercise of the warrants the holder of the warrants may obtain the equivalent benefit of such dividend.

 

The declaration and payment of dividends to holders of our shares will be subject at all times to the discretion of our board of directors, and will be paid equally on a per-share basis between our common shares and our Class B shares, to the extent any are issued and outstanding. We can provide no assurance that dividends will be paid 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:

 

  Ø the rates we obtain from our charters as well as the rates obtained upon the expiration of our existing charters;

 

  Ø the level of our operating costs;

 

  Ø the number of unscheduled off-hire days and the timing of, and number of days required for, scheduled drydocking of our vessels;

 

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  Ø vessel acquisitions and related financings;

 

  Ø restrictions in our current and future debt arrangements;

 

  Ø our ability to obtain debt and equity financing on acceptable terms as contemplated by our growth strategy;

 

  Ø prevailing global and regional economic and political conditions;

 

  Ø the effect of governmental regulations and maritime self-regulatory organization standards on the conduct of our business;

 

  Ø our overall financial condition;

 

  Ø our cash requirements and availability;

 

  Ø the amount of cash reserves established by our board of directors; and

 

  Ø restrictions under Marshall Islands law.

 

Marshall Islands law generally prohibits the payment of dividends other than from surplus or certain net profits, or while a company is insolvent or would be rendered insolvent by the payment of such a dividend. We may not have sufficient funds, surplus, or net profits to make distributions.

 

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 newbuildings or selective acquisitions of vessels through a combination of our operating cash flow and debt financing through our subsidiaries or equity financing. If financing is not available to us on acceptable terms, our board of directors may decide to finance or refinance 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 or make it less desirable for us to do so.

 

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, if we pay dividends at all.

 

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

 

We are a holding company and our subsidiaries, which are all directly and wholly owned by us, will conduct all of our operations and own or charter through financing arrangements all of our operating assets. We have no significant assets other than the equity interests in our wholly owned subsidiaries. As a result, our ability to make dividend payments depends on our subsidiaries and their ability to distribute funds to us. If we are unable to obtain funds from our subsidiaries, our board of directors may exercise its discretion not to declare or pay dividends. In addition, our subsidiaries are subject to limitations on the payment of dividends under Marshall Islands or Maltese law.

 

Provisions of our articles of incorporation and bylaws may have anti-takeover effects, which could depress the trading price of our common shares.

 

Several provisions of our articles of incorporation and bylaws, which are summarized below, may have anti-takeover effects. These provisions are intended to avoid costly takeover battles, lessen our vulnerability to a hostile change of control and enhance the ability of our board of directors to maximize shareholder value in connection with any unsolicited offer to acquire our company. However, these anti-takeover provisions could also discourage, delay or prevent the merger or acquisition of our company by means of a tender offer, a proxy contest or otherwise that a shareholder may consider in its best interest and the removal of incumbent officers and directors, which could affect the desirability of our shares and, consequently, our share price.

 

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Multi Class Stock.

 

Our multi-class stock structure, which consists of common shares, Class B common shares, and preferred shares, can provide holders of our Class B common shares or preferred shares a significant degree of control over all matters requiring shareholder approval, including the election of directors and significant corporate transactions, such as a merger or other sale of our company or its assets, because our different classes of shares can have different numbers of votes.

 

For instance, while our common shares have one vote on matters before the shareholders, each of our 10,300 outstanding Series B preferred shares has 25,000 votes on matters before the shareholders; provided however, that no holder of Series B preferred shares may exercise voting rights pursuant to any Series B preferred shares that would result in the total number of votes a holder is entitled to vote on any matter submitted to a vote of shareholders of the Company to exceed 49.99% of the total number of votes eligible to be cast on such matter. No Class B common shares are presently outstanding, but if and when we issue any, each Class B common share will have 20 votes on matters before the shareholders.

 

At present, and until a substantial number of additional securities are issued, our holder of Series B preferred shares exerts substantial control of the Company’s votes and is able to exert substantial control over our management and all matters requiring shareholder approval, including electing directors and significant corporate transactions, such as a merger. In addition, the current holder of our Series B stock is not subject to the limitations of our shareholders rights agreement, so it is able to acquire common shares. Such holder’s interest could differ from other shareholders’ interests.

 

Blank Check Preferred Shares.

 

Under the terms of our articles of incorporation, our board of directors has authority, without any further vote or action by our shareholders, to issue up to 100 million “blank check” preferred shares, almost all of which currently remain available for issuance. Our board could authorize the issuance of preferred shares with voting or conversion rights that could dilute the voting power or rights of the holders of common shares, in addition to preferred shares that are already outstanding. The issuance of preferred shares, while providing flexibility in connection with possible acquisitions and other corporate purposes, could, among other things, have the effect of delaying, deferring or preventing a change in control of us or the removal of our management and may harm the market price of our common shares.

 

Classified Board of Directors.

 

Our articles of incorporation provide for the division of our board of directors into three classes of directors, with each class as nearly equal in number as possible, serving staggered, three-year terms beginning upon the expiration of the initial term for each class. Approximately one-third of our board of directors is elected each year. This classified board provision could discourage a third party from making a tender offer for our shares or attempting to obtain control of us. It could also delay shareholders who do not agree with the policies of our board of directors from removing a majority of our board of directors for up to two years.

 

Election of Directors.

 

Our articles of incorporation do not provide for cumulative voting in the election of directors. Our bylaws require parties, other than the chairman of the board of directors, board of directors and shareholders holding 30% or more of the voting power of the aggregate number of our shares issued and outstanding and entitled to vote, to provide advance written notice of nominations for the election of directors. These provisions may discourage, delay or prevent the removal of incumbent officers and directors.

 

Advance Notice Requirements for Shareholder Proposals and Director Nominations.

 

Our bylaws provide that shareholders, other than shareholders holding 30% or more of the voting power of the aggregate number of our shares issued and outstanding and entitled to vote, seeking to nominate candidates for election as directors or to bring business before an annual meeting of shareholders must provide timely notice of their proposal in writing to the corporate secretary.

 

Generally, to be timely, a shareholder’s notice must be received at our principal executive offices not less than 150 days or more than 180 days prior to the first anniversary date of the immediately preceding annual meeting of shareholders. Our bylaws also specify requirements as to the form and content of a shareholder’s notice. These provisions may impede a shareholder’s ability to bring matters before an annual meeting of shareholders or make nominations for directors at an annual meeting of shareholders.

 

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Calling of Special Meetings of Shareholders

 

Our bylaws provide that special meetings of our shareholders may be called only by the chairman of our board of directors, by resolution of our board of directors or by holders of 30% or more of the voting power of the aggregate number of our shares issued and outstanding and entitled to vote at such meeting.

 

Action by Written Consent in Lieu of a Meeting

 

Our articles permit any action which may or is required by the Marshall Islands Business Corporations Act, or BCA, to be taken at a meeting of the shareholders to be authorized by consents in writing signed by the holders of outstanding shares having not less than the minimum number of votes that would be necessary to authorize or take such action at a meeting at which all shares entitled to vote thereon were present and voted. Presently and until and unless we issue a significant number of securities, Goldenmare Limited, a company affiliated with our Chief Executive Officer, holds Series B preferred shares controlling a significant portion of the voting power of our outstanding capital stock. Goldenmare could, together with shareholders possessing a relatively small number of shares, act by written consent in lieu of a meeting and authorize major transactions on behalf of the Company, all without calling a meeting of shareholders.

 

Business Combinations

 

Our articles prohibit us from engaging in a business combination with an interested shareholder for a period of three years following the date of the transaction in which the person became an interested shareholder, subject to certain exceptions. Please see “Anti-Takeover Effects of Certain Provisions of our Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws—Business Combinations” within the “Description of Securities” filed as Exhibit 2.1 hereto.

 

In addition, we have entered into a shareholders rights agreement that makes it more difficult for a third party, subject to certain exceptions, to acquire us without the support of our board of directors. See “Description of Securities” filed as Exhibit 2.1 hereto for a description of our shareholders rights agreement. These anti-takeover provisions, along with provisions of our shareholders rights agreement, could substantially impede the ability of our shareholders to impose a change in control and, as a result, may adversely affect the market price of our common shares and your ability to realize any potential change of control premium.

 

We are subject to Marshall Islands corporate law, which is not well-developed.

 

Our corporate affairs are governed by our articles of incorporation, our bylaws and by the 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 Marshall Islands interpreting the BCA. The rights and fiduciary responsibilities of directors under the laws 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 shareholders of corporations incorporated in or redomiciled into the Marshall Islands may differ from the rights of shareholders of corporations incorporated in the United States. While the BCA provides that it is to be applied and construed to make the laws of the Marshall Islands, for non-resident entities such as us, with respect of the subject matter of the BCA, uniform with the laws of the State of Delaware and other states with substantially similar legislative provisions (and adopts their case law to the extent it does not conflict with the BCA), there have been few court cases interpreting the BCA in 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 shareholders than would shareholders of a corporation incorporated in a United States jurisdiction that has developed a more substantial body of case law in the corporate law area.

 

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Increases in interest rates may cause the market price of our shares to decline.

 

An increase in interest rates may cause a corresponding decline in demand for equity investments in general. Any such increase in interest rates or reduction in demand for our shares resulting from other relatively more attractive investment opportunities may cause the trading price of our shares to decline. If the relevant SOFR increases, then our payments pursuant to certain existing loan will increase. See “Item 11. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk.”

 

The public market may not continue to be active and liquid enough for our shareholders to resell our common shares in the future.

 

The price of our common shares may be volatile and may fluctuate due to factors such as:

 

  actual or anticipated fluctuations in our quarterly and annual results and those of other public companies in our industry;
     
  mergers and strategic alliances in the dry bulk shipping industry;
     
  market conditions in the dry bulk shipping industry;
     
  changes in government regulation;
     
  shortfalls in our operating results from levels forecast by securities analysts;
     
  announcements concerning us or our competitors; and
     
  the general state of the securities market.

 

The dry bulk shipping industry has been highly unpredictable and volatile. The market for our common shares may be equally volatile.

 

Item 4. Information on the Company

 

A. History and Development of the Company

 

History relating to our shares and certain financings

 

We originally incorporated as Globus Maritime Limited on July 26, 2006 pursuant to the Companies (Jersey) Law 1991 (as amended) and began operations in September 2006. Following the conclusion of our initial public offering on June 1, 2007, our common shares were listed on the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market, or AIM, under the ticker “GLBS.L.” On July 29, 2010, we effected a 1-4 reverse stock split, with our issued share capital resulting in 7,240,852 common shares of $0.004 each. (These figures do not reflect the 1-4 reverse stock split which occurred in October 2016, the 1-10 reverse stock split which occurred in October 2018 or the 1-100 reverse stock split which occurred in October 2020.)

 

On November 24, 2010, we redomiciled into the Marshall Islands pursuant to the BCA and a resale registration statement for our common shares was declared effective by the SEC. Once the resale registration statement was declared effective by the SEC, our common shares began trading on the Nasdaq Global Market under the ticker “GLBS.” Our common shares were suspended from trading on the AIM on November 24, 2010 and were delisted from the AIM on November 26, 2010.

 

On April 11, 2016, our common shares began trading on the Nasdaq Capital Market and ceased trading on the Nasdaq Global Market.

On October 20, 2016, we effected a 1-4 reverse stock split which reduced the number of outstanding common shares from 10,510,741 to 2,627,674 shares (adjustments were made based on fractional shares). (These figures do not reflect the 1-10 reverse stock split which occurred in October 2018 or the 1-100 reverse stock split which occurred in October 2020.)

On October 15, 2018, we effected a 1-10 reverse stock split which reduced the number of outstanding common shares from 32,065,077 to 3,206,495 shares (adjustments were made based on fractional shares). (These figures do not reflect the 1-100 reverse stock split which occurred in October 2020.)

In November 2018, we entered into a credit facility for up to $15 million with Firment Shipping Inc., a related party to us, for the purpose of financing our general working capital needs, which facility was amended and restated on May 8, 2020. The Firment Shipping Credit Facility was unsecured and remained available until its final maturity date at October 31, 2021, as amended. We had the right to drawdown any amount up to $15 million or prepay any amount in multiples of $100,000. Any prepaid amount could have been re-borrowed. Interest on drawn and outstanding amounts was charged at 3.5% per annum until December 31, 2020, and thereafter at 7% per annum. No commitment fee was charged on the amounts remaining available and undrawn. Interest was payable the last day of a period of three months after the drawdown date, after this period in case of failure to pay any sum due a default interest of 2% per annum above the regular interest was charged. We had also the right, in our sole option, to convert in whole or in part the outstanding unpaid principal amount and accrued but unpaid interest under this Agreement into common shares. The conversion price would have equaled the higher of (i) the average of the daily dollar volume-weighted average sale price for the common shares on the Principal Market on any trading day during the period beginning at 9.30 a.m. New York City time and ending at 4.00 p.m. over the Pricing Period multiplied by 80%, where the “Pricing Period” equals the ten consecutive trading days immediately preceding the date on which the conversion notice was executed or (ii) $280.00. On July 27, 2020, the Company repaid the total outstanding principal and interest of the Firment Shipping Credit Facility of approximately $863,000. This facility expired by its terms on October 31, 2021.

 

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On March 13, 2019, the Company signed a securities purchase agreement with a private investor and on March 13, 2019 issued, for gross proceeds of $5 million, a senior convertible note (the “Convertible Note”) that was convertible into shares of the Company’s common shares, par value $0.004 per share. If not converted or redeemed beforehand pursuant to the terms of the Convertible Note, the Convertible Note was scheduled to mature on March 13, 2020, the first anniversary of its issue, but its holder waived the Convertible Note’s maturity until March 13, 2021. The Convertible Note was issued in a transaction exempt from registration under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act. The Convertible Note provided for interest to accrue at 10% annually, to be paid at maturity unless the Convertible Note was converted or redeemed pursuant to its terms beforehand. The interest could have been paid in common shares of the Company, if certain conditions described within the Convertible Note were met. The outstanding balance of the Convertible Note not previously converted into shares was fully repaid in June 2020.

 

On June 22, 2020, we completed a public offering of 342,857 units of the Company. Each unit consisted of one common share and one Class A Warrant to purchase one common share (a “Class A Warrant”), for $35 per unit. At the time of the closing, the underwriters exercised and closed a part of their over-allotment option, and purchased an additional 51,393 common shares and Class A Warrants to purchase 51,393 common shares.

 

The exercise price of the Class A Warrants is $35 per whole share at any time after their original issuance up to the date that is five years after their original issuance. If a registration statement registering the issuance of the common shares underlying the warrants under the Securities Act is not effective or available, the holder may, in its sole discretion, elect to exercise the warrant through a cashless exercise, in which case the holder would receive upon such exercise the net number of common shares determined according to the formula set forth in the warrant. We may be required to pay certain amounts as liquidated damages as specified in the warrants in the event we do not deliver common shares upon exercise of the warrants within the time periods specified in the warrants.

 

On June 30, 2020, we issued 458,500 of our common shares in a registered direct offering and 458,500 of June Private Placement (“PP”) Warrants in a concurrent private placement for a purchase price of $27 per common share and June PP Warrant. The exercise price of each June PP Warrant was initially $30 per share but in July 2020 was reduced to $18 per share.

 

On July 21, 2020, we issued 833,333 of our common shares in a registered direct offering and 833,333 of July PP Warrants to purchase common shares in a concurrent private placement for a purchase price of $18 per common share and July PP Warrant. The exercise price of each July PP Warrant is $18 per share.

 

On December 9, 2020, we issued (a) 1,256,765 common shares, (b) pre-funded warrants to purchase 155,000 common shares, and (c) warrants (the “December 2020 Warrants”) to purchase 1,270,587 common shares. The pre-funded warrants have all been exercised. No December 2020 Warrants have been exercised as of the date hereof, and may be exercised at any time prior to 5:00 PM New York time on June 9, 2026. The exercise price of the December 2020 Warrants was reduced from $8.50 per share to $6.25 per share on January 29, 2021.

 

On January 29, 2021, we issued (a) 2,155,000 common shares, (b) pre-funded warrants to purchase 445,000 common shares, and (c) warrants (the “January 2021 Warrants”) to purchase 1,950,000 common shares at an exercise price of $6.25 per share, which may be exercised at any time prior to 5:00 PM New York time on July 29, 2026. The pre-funded warrants were all exercised prior to the date of this annual report. No January 2021 Warrants have been exercised as of the date hereof.

 

On February 17, 2021, we issued (a) 3,850,000 common shares, (b) pre-funded warrants to purchase 950,000 common shares, and (c) warrants (the “February 2021 Warrants”) to purchase 4,800,000 common shares at an exercise price of $6.25 per share, which may be exercised at any time prior to 5:00 PM New York time on August 17, 2026. The pre-funded warrants have all been exercised. No February 2021 Warrants have been exercised as of the date hereof.

 

On June 29, 2021, we issued (a) 8,900,000 common shares, (b) pre-funded warrants to purchase 1,100,000 common shares, and (c) warrants (the “June 2021 Warrants”) to purchase 10,000,000 common shares at an exercise price of $5.00 per share, which may be exercised at any time prior to 5:00 PM New York time on December 29, 2026. The pre-funded warrants have all been exercised. No June 2021 Warrants have been exercised as the date hereof.

 

Each of the June PP Warrants, July PP Warrants, December 2020 Warrants, January 2021 Warrants, February 2021 Warrants and June 2021 Warrants is exercisable for a period of five and one-half years commencing on the date of issuance. The warrants are exercisable at the option of each holder, in whole or in part by delivering to us a duly executed exercise notice with payment in full in immediately available funds for the number of common shares purchased upon such exercise. If a registration statement registering the resale of the common shares underlying the private placement warrants under the Securities Act is not effective or available at any time after the six month anniversary of the date of issuance of the private placement warrants, the holder may, in its sole discretion, elect to exercise the private placement warrant through a cashless exercise, in which case the holder would receive upon such exercise the net number of common shares determined according to the formula set forth in the warrant. If a registration statement covering the issuance of the shares under the Securities Act is not effective or available at any time after the issuance of the December 2020 Warrants, January 2021 Warrants, February 2021 Warrants and June 2021 Warrants, the holder may, in its sole discretion, elect to exercise the such warrants through a cashless exercise, in which case the holder would receive upon such exercise the net number of common shares determined according to the formula set forth in the warrant. If we do not issue the shares in a timely fashion, each warrant contains certain liquidated damages provisions.

 

Each of the warrants described above, other than the Class A Warrants, were issued pursuant to a securities purchase agreement and a placement agency agreement.

 

From June 22, 2020 to the date hereof, we have issued 5,550 common shares pursuant to exercises of outstanding Class A Warrants. As of the date of this annual report, no June PP Warrants, July PP Warrants, December 2020 Warrants, January 2021 Warrants, February 2021 Warrants or June 2021 Warrants have been exercised.

 

On October 21, 2020, we effected a 1-100 reverse stock split which reduced the number of shares outstanding from 175,675,651 to 1,756,720 (adjustments were made based on fractional shares). Unless otherwise noted, all historical share numbers, per share amounts, including common share, preferred shares and warrants, have been adjusted to give effect to this reverse stock split.

 

On June 12, 2020, we entered into a stock purchase agreement and issued 50 of our newly designated Series B preferred shares, par value $0.001 per share, to Goldenmare Limited, a company controlled by our Chief Executive Officer, Athanasios Feidakis, in return for $150,000, which amount was settled by reducing, on a dollar for dollar basis, the amount payable by the Company to Goldenmare Limited pursuant to a consultancy agreement.

 

In July 2020, we issued an additional 250 of our Series B preferred shares to Goldenmare Limited in return for $150,000. The $150,000 was paid by reducing, on a dollar-for-dollar basis, the amount payable by the Company to Goldenmare Limited pursuant to a consultancy agreement. In addition, we increased the maximum voting rights under the Series B preferred shares from 49.0% to 49.99%.

 

In March 2021, we issued an additional 10,000 of our Series B preferred shares to Goldenmare Limited in return for $130,000, which was settled by reducing, on a dollar-for-dollar basis, the amount payable by the Company to Goldenmare Limited pursuant to a consultancy agreement.

 

Each Series B preferred share entitles the holder thereof to 25,000 votes per share on all matters submitted to a vote of the shareholders of the Company, provided however, that no holder of Series B preferred shares may exercise voting rights pursuant to Series B preferred shares that would result in the aggregate voting power of any beneficial owner of such shares and its affiliates (whether pursuant to ownership of Series B preferred shares, common shares or otherwise) to exceed 49.99% of the total number of votes eligible to be cast on any matter submitted to a vote of shareholders of the Company. To the fullest extent permitted by law, the holders of Series B preferred shares shall have no special voting or consent rights and shall vote together as one class with the holders of the common shares on all matters put before the shareholders. The Series B preferred shares are not convertible into common shares or any other security. They are not redeemable and have no dividend rights. Upon any liquidation, dissolution or winding up of the Company, the Series B preferred shares are entitled to receive a payment with priority over the common shareholders equal to the par value of $0.001 per share. The Series B preferred shareholder has no other rights to distributions upon any liquidation, dissolution or winding up of the Company. All issued and outstanding Series B preferred shares must be held of record by one holder, and the Series B preferred shares shall not be transferred without the prior approval of our Board of Directors. Finally, in the event the Company (i) declares any dividend on its common shares, payable in common shares, (ii) subdivides the outstanding common shares or (iii) combines the outstanding common shares into a smaller number of shares, there shall be a proportional adjustment to the number of outstanding Series B preferred shares.

 

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Each issuance of Series B preferred shares to Goldenmare Limited was approved by an independent committee of the Board of Directors of the Company, which (in each instance) received a fairness opinion from an independent financial advisor that the transaction was for a fair value.

 

In March 2021, the Company prepaid $6.0 million of the Entrust loan facility, which represented all amounts that would otherwise come due during calendar year 2021. As a result, after this pre-payment we had an aggregate debt outstanding of $31 million, gross of unamortized debt costs, from the Entrust Loan Facility.

 

On May 10, 2021, we reached an agreement with First Citizens Bank & Trust Company (formerly known as CIT Bank N.A.) for a loan facility of $34.25 million bearing interest at LIBOR plus a margin of 3.75% per annum. This loan facility is referred to as the CIT Loan Facility. The proceeds of this financing were used to repay the outstanding balance of the EnTrust Loan Facility. In August 2022, we entered into a deed of accession, amendment and restatement of the CIT Loan Facility with First Citizens Bank & Trust Company (formerly known as CIT Bank N.A.), whereby the CIT Loan Facility was amended and restated and an additional borrower, Salaminia Maritime Limited, acceded to the CIT Loan Facility. The CIT Loan Facility principal amount was increased to $52.25 million, by a top up loan amount of $18 million for the purpose of financing our vessel Orion Globe and for general corporate and working capital purposes. The CIT Loan Facility (including the new top up loan amount) became further secured by a first preferred mortgage over the vessel Orion Globe. Furthermore, the LIBOR interest provisions of the CIT Loan Facility were replaced with Term SOFR plus a margin of 3.35% (or 5.35% default interest). In August 2023, we entered into a second deed of accession, amendment and restatement of the CIT Loan Facility with First Citizens Bank & Trust Company (formerly known as CIT Bank N.A.), whereby the CIT Loan Facility was further amended and restated and two additional borrowers, Argo Maritime Limited and Talisman Maritime Limited, acceded to the CIT Loan Facility. The CIT Loan Facility was further increased to $72.25 million, by a top up loan amount of $25 million for the purpose of financing our vessels Diamond Globe and Power Globe and for general corporate and working capital purposes. The CIT Loan Facility (including the new top up loan amount) became further secured by first preferred mortgages over the vessels Diamond Globe and Power Globe. The CIT Loan Facility currently bears interest at Term SOFR together with an adjustment of 0.1% per annum plus a margin of 2.70% (or 4.70% default interest) per annum. For more information regarding the terms of the CIT Loan Facility, see “Item 5.B. Liquidity and Capital Resources — Indebtedness.”

 

On August 3, 2023, we entered into a Shareholders Rights Agreement between the Company and Computershare Trust Company, N.A., as rights agent, and our board of directors authorized and declared a dividend distribution of one right for each outstanding common share to shareholders of record as of the close of business on August 21, 2023. Each right entitles the registered holder to purchase from us one one-thousandth of a share of Series C Participating Preferred Stock at an exercise price of $5.00 per one one-thousandth of a preferred share, subject to adjustment. For additional information, please see “Description of Securities” filed as Exhibit 2.1 hereto.

 

As of December 31, 2023, our issued and outstanding capital stock consisted of 20,582,301 common shares and 10,300 Series B preferred shares.

 

Recent history relating to our ships

 

In October 2020, we purchased a 2015-built Kamsarmax dry bulk carrier for $18.4 million. The vessel was delivered on October 29, 2020 and was named Galaxy Globe. Galaxy Globe was built at the Hudong-Zhonghua Shipyard in China and has a carrying capacity of 81,167 dwt.

On June 9, 2021, we took delivery of the m/v “Diamond Globe”, a 2018-built Kamsarmax dry bulk carrier, through its subsidiary, Argo Maritime Limited, for a purchase price of $27 million financed with available cash. The m/v “Diamond Globe” was built at Jiangsu New Yangzi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd and has a carrying capacity of 82,027 dwt.

 

On July 20, 2021, we took delivery of the m/v “Power Globe”, a 2011-built Kamsarmax dry bulk carrier, through its subsidiary, Talisman Maritime Limited, for a purchase price of $16.2 million financed with available cash. The m/v “Power Globe” was built at Universal Shipbuilding Corporation in Japan and has a carrying capacity of 80,655 dwt.

 

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On November 29, 2021, we took delivery of the m/v “Orion Globe”, a 2015-built Kamsarmax dry bulk carrier, through its subsidiary, Salaminia Maritime Limited, for a purchase price of $28.4 million financed with available cash. The m/v “Orion Globe” was built at Tsuneishi Zosen in Japan and has a carrying capacity of 81,837 dwt.

On April 29, 2022, we entered into a contract, through our subsidiary Calypso Shipholding S.A., for the construction and purchase of one fuel efficient dry bulk carrier with a carrying capacity of approximately 64,000 dwt. The vessel was built at Nihon Shipyard Co. in Japan. The total consideration for the construction of the vessel was approximately $37.5 million. On January 22, 2024, we paid the final installment to Nihon Shipyard Co. in Japan and took delivery of the new Ultramax with carrying capacity of approximately 64,000 dwt that was named m/v “GLBS Hero”.

On May 13, 2022, we signed two contracts, through our subsidiaries Daxos Maritime Limited and Paralus Shipholding S.A., for the construction and purchase of two fuel efficient bulk carriers of approximately 64,000 dwt each. The sister vessels will be built at Nantong COSCO KHI Ship Engineering Co. in China, with the first one scheduled to be delivered during the third quarter of 2024 and to be named m/v “GLBS MIGHT” and the second one scheduled to be delivered during the fourth quarter of 2024. The total consideration for the construction of both vessels is approximately $70.3 million, which we intend to finance with a combination of debt and equity. In May 2022, we paid the first installment of $13.8 million and in November 2022 paid the second installment of $6.9 million for both vessels under construction. For more information regarding the sale and leaseback agreement that we entered into in February 2024 in respect of the vessel GLBS MIGHT, see “—Recent developments (post-2023).”

 

On March 6, 2023, we, through a wholly owned subsidiary, entered into an agreement to sell the 2007-built Sun Globe for a gross price of $14.1 million, before commissions, to an unaffiliated third party.

Following the agreement to sell Sun Globe and given the significant increase in the vessel’s market value, we assessed that there were indications that impairment losses recognized in the previous periods with respect to this vessel had decreased. Therefore, the carrying amount of the vessel was increased to its recoverable amount, determined based on its selling price less cost to sell, and we recorded a reversal of impairment in the amount of $4.4 million during the first quarter of 2023. The vessel was delivered to its new owners on June 5, 2023 and we recorded a gain of $71,000.

 

On August 11, 2023, we, through a wholly owned subsidiary, entered into an agreement to sell the 2009-built Sky Globe for a gross price of $10.7 million, before commissions, to an unaffiliated third party. The vessel was delivered to its new owners on September 7, 2023. We recognized a gain of approximately $2.2 million as a result of the sale.

 

On August 16, 2023, we through a wholly owned subsidiary, entered into an agreement to sell the 2010-built Star Globe for a gross price of $11.2 million, before commissions, to an unaffiliated third party. The vessel was delivered to its new owners on September 13, 2023. We recognized a gain of approximately $1.6 million as a result of the sale.

 

On August 18, 2023, we, through Thalia Shipholding S.A. and Olympia Shipholding S.A., signed two contracts for the construction and purchase of two fuel efficient bulk carriers of approximately 64,000 dwt each. The two vessels are expected be built at Nihon Shipyard Co. in Japan and are scheduled to be delivered during the second half of 2026. The total consideration for the construction of both vessels is approximately $75.5 million, which the Company intends to finance with a combination of debt and equity. In August 2023, we paid the first installment of $7.5 million for both vessels under construction.

 

As of December 31, 2023, our fleet was comprised of a total of six dry bulk vessels consisting of four Kamsarmaxes, one Panamax and one Supramax, and we had contracted for the construction of five additional Ultramaxes (one of which was delivered in January 2024). The weighted average age of the vessels in our fleet as of December 31, 2023 was 11.2 years, and their carrying capacity was 453,745 dwt. The weighted average age of the vessels in our fleet as of February 29, 2024 was 9.9 years, and their carrying capacity was 517,487 dwt.

 

Recent developments (post-2023)

 

On February 23, 2024, we, through our subsidiary Daxos Maritime Limited, entered into a $28 million sale and leaseback agreement with SK Shipholding S.A., a subsidiary of Shinken Bussan Co., Ltd. of Japan (“Shinken”), with respect to the approximately 64,000 dwt bulk carrier to be named “GLBS MIGHT,” which is scheduled to be delivered from the relevant shipyard during the third quarter of 2024. For more information regarding the terms of the sale and leaseback agreement, see “Item 5.B. Liquidity and Capital Resources — Indebtedness.”

 

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General

 

Our executive office is located at the office of Globus Shipmanagement Corp., which we refer to as our Manager, at 128 Vouliagmenis Avenue, 3rd Floor, 166 74 Glyfada, Attica, Greece. Our telephone number is +30 210 960 8300. Our registered agent in the Marshall Islands is The Trust Company of the Marshall Islands, Inc. and our registered address in the Marshall Islands is Trust Company Complex, Ajeltake Road, Ajeltake Island, Majuro, Marshall Islands MH96960. We maintain our website at www.globusmaritime.gr. The SEC maintains an internet site that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding us and other issuers that file electronically with the SEC at http://www.sec.gov. Information that is available on or accessed through these websites does not constitute part of, and is not incorporated by reference into, this annual report on Form 20-F.

 

B. Business Overview

We are an integrated dry bulk shipping company, providing marine transportation services on a worldwide basis. We own (or charter through finance leases), operate and manage a fleet of dry bulk vessels that transport iron ore, coal, grain, steel products, cement, alumina and other dry bulk cargoes internationally. We intend to grow our fleet through timely and selective acquisitions of modern vessels or acquisition through construction of new vessels in a manner that we believe will provide an attractive return on equity and will be accretive to our earnings and cash flow based on anticipated market rates at the time of purchase. There is no guarantee however, that we will be able to find suitable vessels to purchase or build or that such vessels will provide an attractive return on equity or be accretive to our earnings and cash flow.

 

Our operations are managed by our Glyfada, Greece-based wholly owned subsidiary, Globus Shipmanagement Corp., which we refer to as our Manager, which provides in-house commercial and technical management for our vessels and provided consulting services for an affiliated ship-management company. Our Manager has entered into a ship management agreement with each of our wholly owned vessel-owning (or bareboat chartering in through financial arrangements) subsidiaries to provide services that include managing day-to-day vessel operations, such as supervising the crewing, supplying, maintaining of vessels and other services.

 

The following table presents information concerning the vessels in our fleet as of March 14, 2024:

 

Vessel  

Year

Built

  Flag  

Direct

Owner/Lessee

  Shipyard   Vessel Type  

Delivery

Date

 

Carrying

Capacity

(dwt)

m/v River Globe   2007   Marshall Islands   Devocean Maritime Ltd.   Yangzhou Dayang   Supramax   December 2007   53,627
m/v Moon Globe   2005   Marshall Islands   Artful Shipholding S.A.   Hudong-Zhonghua   Panamax   June 2011   74,432
m/v Galaxy Globe   2015   Marshall Islands   Serena Maritime Limited   Hudong-Zhonghua   Kamsarmax   October 2020   81,167
 m/v Diamond Globe   2018   Marshall Islands   Argo Maritime Limited    Jiangsu New Yangzi Shipbuilding Co.    Kamsarmax    June 2021   82,027
m/v Power Globe   2011   Marshall Islands    Talisman Maritime Limited    Universal Shipbuilding Corporation    Kamsarmax    July 2021   80,655
 m/v Orion Globe   2015   Marshall Islands   Salaminia Maritime Limited   Tsuneishi Zosen    Kamsarmax    November 2021   81,837
m/v GLBS Hero   2024   Marshall Islands   Calypso Shipholding S.A.   Nihon Shipyard Co.   Ultramax   January 2024   63,742
                             
                    Total:       517,487

 

We own or charter in each of our vessels through separate, wholly owned subsidiaries, all of which are incorporated in the Marshall Islands. Our Supramax vessel is geared. Geared vessels can operate in ports with minimal shore-side infrastructure. Due to the ability to switch between various dry bulk cargo types and to service a wider variety of ports, the day rates for geared vessels tend to have a premium.

 

On January 22, 2024, we paid the final installment to Nihon Shipyard Co. in Japan and on January 25, 2024 we took delivery of a new Ultramax with carrying capacity of approximately 64,000 dwt that was named m/v “GLBS Hero”.

 

In addition to the above vessels, we have contracted for the construction of four additional Ultramaxes. See “Item 4.A. History and Development of the Company.”

 

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Employment of our Vessels

 

Our long-term strategy to maximize the value of our fleet is to employ our vessels on a mix of all types of charter contracts, including in the short-term or spot market and on long-term charters and index-linked charters. We believe this strategy provides the cash flow stability, reduced exposure to market downturns and high utilization rates of the charter market, while at the same time enabling us to benefit from periods of increasing short-term or spot market rates. But our short-term strategy at any given point in time is dictated by a multitude of factors and the chartering opportunities before us. We may, for example, seek to employ a greater portion of our fleet on the short-term or spot market or on time charters with longer durations, should we believe it to be in our best interests. We generally prefer spot or short-term contracts in order to be versatile, to be able to move quickly to capture a market upswing, and to be more selective with the cargos we carry. Long-term charters, however, provide desirable cash flow stability, albeit at the cost of missing upswings in cargo rates. Finally, the index-linked charters reflect similar rate volatility as spot/voyage rates, although the index-linked hire rate may enable us to capture increased profit margins during periods of improvements in vessel charter rates. Accordingly, our mix between short-term or spot charters, longer-term charters and index-linked charters changes from time-to-time. When our ships are not all on the short-term or spot market, we generally seek to stagger the expiration dates of our charters to reduce exposure to volatility in the shipping cycle when our vessels come off of charter. We also continually monitor developments in the dry bulk shipping industry and, subject to market demand, will adjust the number of vessels on charters and the charter periods for our vessels according to market conditions.

 

We and our Manager have developed relationships with a number of international charterers, vessel brokers, financial institutions, insurers and shipbuilders. We have also developed a network of relationships with vessel brokers who help facilitate vessel charters and acquisitions.

 

On the date of the filing of this annual report on 20-F, all of our vessels were employed on short-term time charters, of which three are index-linked.

 

Each of our vessels travels across the world and not on any particular route. The charterers of our vessels, whether time, bareboat or on the spot market, select the locations to which our vessels travel, subject to any restrictions under terms of employment.

 

Time Charter

 

A time charter is a contract for the use of a vessel for a fixed period of time at a specified daily rate. Under a time charter, the vessel owner provides crewing, insuring, repairing and maintenance and other services related to the vessel’s operation, the cost of which is included in the daily rate, and the customer is responsible for substantially all of the vessel voyage costs, including the cost of bunkers (fuel oil) and canal and port charges. The owner also pays commissions typically ranging from 0% to 6.25% of the total daily charter hire rate of each charter to unaffiliated ship brokers and to in-house brokers associated with the charterer, depending on the number of brokers involved with arranging the charter.

 

Basic Hire Rate and Term

 

“Basic hire rate” refers to the basic payment from the customer for the use of the vessel. The hire rate is generally payable semi-monthly or 15 days, in advance, in U.S. dollars as specified in the charter. A hire rate can be fixed or index-linked, with the latter reflecting similar rate volatility as spot/voyage rates, although the index-linked hire rate may enable us to capture increased profit margins during periods of improvements in vessel charter rates.

 

Off-hire

 

When the vessel is “off-hire,” the charterer generally is not required to pay the basic hire rate, and we are responsible for all costs. Prolonged off-hire may lead to vessel substitution or termination of the time charter. A vessel generally will be deemed off-hire if there is a loss of time due to, among other things, operational deficiencies; drydocking for examination or painting the bottom; equipment breakdowns; damages to the hull; or similar problems.

 

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Ship Management and Maintenance

 

We are responsible for the technical management of the vessel and for maintaining the vessel, periodic drydocking, cleaning and painting and performing work required by regulations. Globus Shipmanagement provides the technical, commercial and day-to-day operational management of our vessels. Technical management includes crewing, maintenance, repair and drydockings. During 2023, we paid Globus Shipmanagement $700 per vessel per day. All fees payable to Globus Shipmanagement for vessels that we own or charter in are eliminated upon consolidation of our accounts.

 

Termination

 

We are generally entitled to suspend performance under the time charter if the customer defaults in its payment obligations. Either party may terminate the charter in the event of war in specified countries.

 

Commissions

 

During the year ended December 31, 2023, we paid commissions of 5% to each time charter agreement then in effect.

 

Bareboat Charter

 

A bareboat charter is a contract pursuant to which the vessel owner provides the vessel to the charterer for a fixed period of time at a specified daily rate, and the charterer provides for all of the vessel’s operating expenses. The charterer undertakes to maintain the vessel in a good state of repair and efficient operating condition and drydock the vessel during this period as per the classification society requirements.

 

Redelivery

 

Upon the expiration of a bareboat charter, typically the charterer must redeliver the vessel in as good structure, state, condition and class as that in which the vessel was delivered.

 

Ship Management and Maintenance

 

Under a bareboat charter, the charterer is responsible for all of the vessel’s operating expenses, including crewing, insuring, maintaining and repairing the vessel, any drydocking costs, and the stores, lube oils and communication expenses. Under a bareboat charter, the charterer is also responsible for the voyage costs, and generally assumes all risk of operation. The charterer covers the costs associated with the vessel’s special surveys and related drydocking falling within the charter period.

 

Commissions

 

Commissions on bareboat charters typically range from 0% to 3.75%.

 

Our Customers

 

We seek to charter our vessels to customers who we perceive as creditworthy thereby minimizing the risk of default by our charterers. We also try to select charterers depending on the type of product they want to carry and the geographical areas in which they tend to trade.

 

Our assessment of a charterer’s financial condition and reliability is an important factor in negotiating employment for our vessels. We generally charter our vessels to operators, trading houses (including commodities traders), shipping companies and producers and government-owned entities and generally avoid chartering our vessels to companies we believe to be speculative or undercapitalized entities. Since our operations began in September 2006, our customers have included Hyundai Glovis Co. Ltd., Dampskibsselskabet NORDEN A/S, NYK Bulk & Projects Carriers Ltd. and Olam Global Agri Pte Ltd. In addition, during the periods when some of our vessels were trading on the spot market, they have been chartered to charterers such as Cargill International SA, Oldendorff GmbH & Co KG, Western Bulk Pte. Ltd., Ausca Shipping HK Limited and others, thus expanding our customer base.

 

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Competition

 

Our business fluctuates in line with the main patterns of trade of the major dry bulk cargoes and varies according to changes in the supply and demand for these items. We operate in markets that are highly competitive and based primarily on supply and demand. We compete for charters on the basis of price, vessel location, size, age and condition of the vessel, as well as on our reputation as an owner and operator. We compete with other owners of dry bulk vessels in the Panamax, Supramax and Kamsarmax dry bulk vessels, but we also compete with owners for the purchase and sale of vessels of all sizes. Those competitors may be better capitalized or have more liquidity than we do. In this period of significantly depressed pricing and over capacity, better liquidity may be a major competitive advantage, and we believe that some of our competitors may be better capitalized than we are.

 

Ownership of dry bulk vessels is highly fragmented. It is likely that we will face substantial competition for long-term charter business from a number of experienced companies. Many of these competitors will have larger dry bulk vessel fleets and greater financial resources than us, which may make them more competitive. It is also likely that we will face increased numbers of competitors entering into our transportation sectors, including in the dry bulk sector. Many of these competitors have strong reputations and extensive resources and experience. Increased competition may cause greater price competition, especially for long-term charters. We believe that no single competitor has a dominant position in the markets in which we compete.

 

The process for obtaining longer term time charters generally involves a lengthy and intensive screening and vetting process and the submission of competitive bids. In addition to the quality and suitability of the vessel, longer term shipping contracts may be awarded based upon a variety of other factors relating to the vessel operator, including:

 

  Ø environmental, health and safety record;

 

  Ø compliance with regulatory industry standards;

 

  Ø reputation for customer service, technical and operating expertise;

 

  Ø shipping experience and quality of vessel operations, including cost-effectiveness;

 

  Ø quality, experience and technical capability of crews;

 

  Ø the ability to finance vessels at competitive rates and overall financial stability;
     
  Ø environmental, social, and governance criteria;

 

  Ø relationships with shipyards and the ability to obtain suitable berths;

 

  Ø construction management experience, including the ability to procure on-time delivery of new vessels according to customer specifications;

 

  Ø willingness to accept operational risks pursuant to the charter, such as allowing termination of the charter for force majeure events; and

 

  Ø competitiveness of the bid in terms of overall price.

 

As a result of these factors, we may be unable to expand our relationships with existing customers or obtain new customers for long-term time charters on a profitable basis, if at all. However, even if we are successful in employing our vessels under longer term charters, our vessels will not be available for trading on the short-term or spot market during an upturn in the market cycle, when short-term or spot trading may be more profitable. If we cannot successfully employ our vessels in profitable charters, our results of operations and operating cash flow could be materially adversely affected.

 

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The Dry Bulk Shipping Industry

 

The world dry bulk fleet is generally divided into seven major categories, based on a vessel’s cargo carrying capacity. These categories consist of: Handysize, Handymax/Supramax, Panamax, Kamsarmax, Capesize and Very Large Ore Carrier.

 

Ø Handysize. Handysize vessels have a carrying capacity of up to 39,999 dwt. These vessels are primarily involved in carrying minor bulk cargoes. Increasingly, vessels of this type operate on regional trading routes, and may serve as trans-shipment feeders for larger vessels. Handysize vessels are well suited for small ports with length and draft restrictions. Their cargo gear enables them to service ports lacking the infrastructure for cargo loading and unloading.

 

Ø Handymax/Supramax. Handymax vessels have a carrying capacity of between 40,000 and 59,999 dwt. These vessels operate on a large number of geographically dispersed global trade routes, carrying primarily iron ore, coal, grains and minor bulks. Within the Handymax category there is also a sub-sector known as Supramax. Supramax bulk vessels are vessels between 50,000 to 59,999 dwt, normally offering cargo loading and unloading flexibility with on-board cranes, while at the same time possessing the cargo carrying capability approaching conventional Panamax bulk vessels. Hence, the earnings potential of a Supramax dry bulk vessel, when compared to a conventional Handymax vessel of 45,000 dwt, is greater.

 

Ø Ultramax. Ultramax vessels are medium-sized vessels. Larger than Supramax vessels, they have a carrying capacity generally between 60,000 to 65,000 dwt.

 

Ø Panamax. Panamax vessels have a carrying capacity of between 60,000 and 79,999 dwt. These vessels carry coal, grains, and, to a lesser extent, minor bulks, including steel products, forest products and fertilizers. The term “Panamax” refers to vessels that were able to pass through the Panama Canal before the Panama Canal was expanded in June 2016 (to allow vessels of up to 120,000 dwt, a size sometimes referred to as New Panamax). Panamax vessels are more versatile than larger vessels.

 

Ø Kamsarmax. Kamsarmax vessels typically have a carrying capacity of between 80,000 and 109,999 dwt. These vessels tend to be shallower and have a larger beam than a standard Panamax vessel with a higher cubic capacity. They have been designed specifically for loading high cubic cargoes from draught restricted ports. The term Kamsarmax stems from Port Kamsar in Guinea, where large quantities of bauxite are exported from a port with only 13.5 meter draught and a 229 meter length overall restriction, but no beam restriction.

 

Ø Capesize. Capesize vessels have carrying capacities of between 110,000 and 199,999 dwt. Only the largest ports around the world possess the infrastructure to accommodate vessels of this size. Capesize vessels are mainly used to transport iron ore or coal and, to a lesser extent, grains, primarily on long-haul routes.

 

Ø VLOC. Very large ore carriers are in excess of 200,000 dwt. VLOCs are built to exploit economies of scale on long-haul iron ore routes.

 

The supply of dry bulk shipping capacity, measured by the amount of suitable vessel tonnage available to carry cargo, is determined by the size of the existing worldwide dry bulk fleet, the number of new vessels on order, the scrapping of older vessels and the number of vessels out of active service (i.e., laid up or otherwise not available for hire). In addition to prevailing and anticipated freight rates, factors that affect the rate of newbuilding, scrapping and laying-up include newbuilding prices, secondhand vessel values in relation to scrap prices, costs of bunkers and other voyage expenses, costs associated with classification society surveys, normal maintenance and insurance coverage, the efficiency and age profile of the existing fleets in the market and government and industry regulation of marine transportation practices. The supply of dry bulk vessels is not only a result of the number of vessels in service, but also the operating efficiency of the fleet. Dry bulk trade is influenced by the underlying demand for the dry bulk commodities which, in turn, is influenced by the level of worldwide economic activity. Generally, growth in gross domestic product and industrial production correlate with peaks in demand for marine dry bulk transportation services.

 

Dry bulk vessels are one of the most versatile elements of the global shipping fleet in terms of employment alternatives. They seldom operate on round trip voyages with high ballasting times. Rather, they often participate in triangular or multi-leg voyages.

 

Charter Rates

 

In the time charter market, rates vary depending on the length of the charter period and vessel specific factors such as age, speed, size and fuel consumption. In the voyage charter market, rates are influenced by cargo size, commodity, port dues and canal transit fees, as well as delivery and redelivery regions. In general, a larger cargo size is quoted at a lower rate per ton than a smaller cargo size. Routes with costly ports or canals generally command higher rates. Voyages loading from a port where vessels usually discharge cargo, or discharging from a port where vessels usually load cargo, are generally quoted at lower rates. This is because such voyages generally increase vessel efficiency by reducing the unloaded portion (or ballast leg) that is included in the calculation of the return charter to a loading area.

 

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Within the dry bulk shipping industry, the freight rate indices issued by the Baltic Exchange in London are the references most likely to be monitored. These references are based on actual charter hire rates under charters entered into by market participants as well as daily assessments provided to the Baltic Exchange by a panel of major shipbrokers. The Baltic Exchange, an independent organization comprised of shipbrokers, shipping companies and other shipping players, provides daily independent shipping market information and has created freight rate indices reflecting the average freight rates (that incorporate actual business concluded as well as daily assessments provided to the exchange by a panel of independent shipbrokers) for the major bulk vessel trading routes. These indices include the Baltic Panamax Index, the index with the longest history and, more recently, the Baltic Capesize Index.

 

Charter (or hire) rates paid for dry bulk vessels are generally a function of the underlying balance between vessel supply and demand. Over the past 25 years, dry bulk cargo charter rates have passed through cyclical phases and changes in vessel supply and demand have created a pattern of rate “peaks” and “troughs.” Generally, spot/voyage charter rates will be more volatile than time charter rates, as they reflect short-term movements in demand and market sentiment. The BDI remained significantly depressed from 2008-2020. In 2021, the BDI rose to a high of 5,650 on October 7, 2021 and had a low of 1,303 on February 10, 2021. In 2022, the BDI ranged from a low of 965 on August 31, 2022 to a high of 3,369 on May 23, 2022. In 2023, the BDI ranged from a high of 3,346 on December 4, 2023 to a low of 530 on February 16, 2023. In 2024 through March 13, 2024, the BDI ranged from a high of 2,377 on March 11, 2024 to a low of 1,308 on January 17, 2024.

 

Vessel Prices

 

Newbuilding vessel prices generally fell as part of the sudden and steep decline in freight rates after August 2008, and continued to gradually decline, but started to increase in 2021 (although not at the 2008 levels) although they declined in the latter half of 2022 and in the beginning of 2023. Since the beginning of 2023, they have been on an increasing trend with normal fluctuations.

 

In broad terms, the secondhand market is affected by both the newbuilding prices as well as the overall freight expectations and sentiment observed at any given time. As with newbuild prices, secondhand vessel values have continued to gradually decline since August 2008 until 2021, when they started to increase, although they declined in the latter half of 2022 and in the beginning of 2023. Price declines were observed until the fourth quarter of 2023 when values rebounded to levels noted at the beginning of the year. Since then, dry bulk vessels’ prices have been following an upward pattern due to resilient ton-mile demand, limited effective supply of vessels and modest orderbook.

 

Seasonality

 

Our fleet consists of dry bulk vessels that operate in markets that have historically exhibited seasonal variations in demand and, as a result, in charter rates. The dry bulk sector is typically stronger in the fall and winter months in anticipation of increased consumption of coal and other raw materials in the northern hemisphere during the winter months. Such seasonality will affect the rates we obtain on the vessels in our fleet that operate on the short-term or spot market.

 

Permits and Authorizations

 

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

 

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Disclosure of Activities pursuant to Section 13(r) of the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934

 

Section 219 of the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 added Section 13(r) to the Exchange Act. Section 13(r), as amended, requires an issuer to disclose whether it or any of its affiliates knowingly engaged in certain activities, transactions or dealings relating to Iran or certain other sanctioned parties. Disclosure is required even where the activities, transactions or dealings are conducted in compliance with applicable law. Provided in this section is information concerning the activities of us and our affiliates that occurred in 2023 and which we believe may be required to be disclosed pursuant to Section 13(r) of the Exchange Act.

In 2023, our vessels did not complete any port call in Iran, and we are not aware of any vessels owned or controlled by our affiliates completing any port call in Iran.

 

Our charter party agreements for our vessels restrict the charterers from calling in Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions, or carrying any cargo to Iran which is subject to U.S. sanctions. However, there can be no assurance that our vessels will not, from time to time in the future on charterer’s instructions, perform voyages which would require disclosure pursuant to Exchange Act Section 13(r).

 

We currently have no intention to charter our vessels to charterers and sub-charterers, including, as the case may be, Iran-related parties, who may make, or may sub-let the vessels to sub-charterers who may make, port calls to Iran, but we always evaluate and reevaluate our legally available options.

 

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 of the classification society and complies with applicable rules and regulations of the vessel’s country of registry and the international conventions of which that country is a member. In addition, where surveys are required by international conventions and corresponding laws and ordinances of a flag state, the classification society will undertake them on application or by official order, acting on behalf of the authorities concerned.

 

The classification society also undertakes on 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 and/or to the regulations of the country concerned. For maintenance of the class certification, regular and extraordinary surveys of hull, machinery, including the electrical plant, and any special equipment classed are required to be performed as follows:

 

  Ø Annual Surveys. For seagoing vessels, annual surveys are conducted for the hull and the machinery, including the electrical plant and where applicable for special equipment classed, at intervals of 12 months from the date of commencement of the class period indicated in the certificate.

 

  Ø Intermediate Surveys. Extended annual surveys are referred to as intermediate surveys and typically are conducted two and one-half years after commissioning and each class renewal. Intermediate surveys may be carried out on the occasion of the second or third annual survey.

 

  Ø Class Renewal Surveys. Class renewal surveys, also known as special surveys, are carried out for the vessel’s hull, machinery, including the electrical plant, and for any special equipment classed, at the intervals indicated by the character of classification for the hull. At the special survey the vessel is thoroughly examined, including audio-gauging to determine the thickness of the steel structures. Should the thickness be found to be less than class requirements, the classification society would prescribe steel renewals. The classification society may grant a one-year grace period for completion of the special survey. Substantial amounts of money may have to be spent for steel renewals to pass a special survey if the vessel experiences excessive wear and tear. In lieu of the special survey every four or five years, depending on whether a grace period was granted, a shipowner has the option of arranging with the classification society for the vessel’s hull or machinery to be on a continuous survey cycle, in which every part of the vessel 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. This process is referred to as continuous class renewal.

 

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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.

 

Most insurance underwriters make it a condition for insurance coverage that a vessel be certified as “in class” by a classification society that is a member of the International Association of Classification Societies. All the vessels in our fleet are certified as being “in class” by Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (Class NK) or Lloyds. Typically, all new and secondhand vessels that we purchase must be certified “in class” prior to their delivery under our standard purchase contracts and memoranda of agreement. Under our standard purchase contracts, unless negotiated otherwise, if the vessel is not certified on the date of closing, we would have no obligation to take delivery of the vessel. Although we may not have an obligation to accept any vessel that is not certified on the date of closing, we may determine nonetheless to purchase the vessel, should we determine it to be in our best interests. If we do so, we may be unable to charter such vessel after we purchase it until it obtains such certification, which could increase our costs and affect the earnings we anticipate from the employment of the vessel.

 

Vessels are drydocked during intermediate and special surveys for repairs of their underwater parts. If “in water survey” notation is assigned, there is an 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 and other requirements as stipulated by class rules permit, dry docking required as part of an Intermediate Survey may be carried out “in lieu” thereby achieving a higher utilization for the relevant vessel. As per rules each vessel must dry dock twice within a five year cycle. One drydock must coincide with the special survey while the time distance between two dry docks must not exceed 36 months. We budget 30 days per drydocking per vessel. Actual length will vary based on the condition of each vessel, shipyard schedules and other factors.

 

The following table lists the dates by which we expect to carry out the next drydockings and special surveys for the vessels in our fleet:

 

Vessel Name Drydocking Special Survey Classification Society
m/v River Globe June 2025 August 2027 Class NK
m/v Moon Globe November 2025 November 2025 Class NK
m/v Galaxy Globe October 2025 October 2025 Class NK
m/v Diamond Globe May 2026 May 2028 Lloyds
m/v Power Globe October 2024 June 2026 Class NK
m/v Orion Globe March 2025 March 2025 Class NK
m/v GLBS Hero January 2027 January 2029 Class NK

 

Following an incident or a scheduled survey, if any defects are found, the classification surveyor will issue a “recommendation” or “condition of class” which must be rectified within the prescribed time limits.

 

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Risk Management and Insurance

 

General

 

The operation of any cargo vessel embraces a wide variety of risks, including the following:

 

  Ø mechanical failure or damage, for example by reason of the seizure of a main engine crankshaft;

 

  Ø cargo loss, for example arising from hull damage;

 

  Ø personal injury, for example arising from collision or piracy;

 

  Ø losses due to piracy, terrorist or war-like action between countries;

 

  Ø environmental damage, for example arising from marine disasters such as oil spills and other environmental mishaps;

 

  Ø physical damage to the vessel, for example by reason of collision;

 

  Ø damage to other property, for example by reason of cargo damage or oil pollution; and

 

  Ø business interruption, for example arising from strikes and political or regulatory change.

 

The value of such losses or damages may vary from modest sums, for example for a small cargo shortage damage claim, to catastrophic liabilities, for example arising out of a marine disaster, such as a serious oil or chemical spill, which may be virtually unlimited. While we maintain the traditional range of marine and liability insurance coverage for our fleet (hull and machinery insurance, war risks insurance and protection and indemnity coverage) in amounts and to extents that we believe are prudent to cover normal risks in our operations, we cannot insure against all risks, and we cannot be assured that all covered risks are adequately insured against. Furthermore, there can be no guarantee that any specific claim will be paid by the insurer or that it will always be possible to obtain insurance coverage at reasonable rates. Any uninsured or under-insured loss could harm our business and financial condition.

 

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Hull and Machinery and War Risks

 

The principal coverages for marine risks (covering loss or damage to the vessels, rather than liabilities to third parties) are hull and machinery insurance and war risk insurance. These address the risks of the actual or constructive total loss of a vessel and accidental damage to a vessel’s hull and machinery, for example from running aground or colliding with another ship. These insurances provide coverage which is limited to an agreed “insured value” which, as a matter of policy, is never less than the particular vessel’s fair market value. Reimbursement of loss under such coverage is subject to policy deductibles that vary according to the nature of the coverage. The hull and machinery deductible is $100,000 per incident, whereas the collision deductible is $50,000 per incident. In case that a Particular Average and a Collision Liability Claim arise from the same casualty, the total deductible shall not exceed USD 100,000. The war risk insurance has no deductible for hull and machinery and increased value, however loss of hire is subject to a 7 days deductible.

 

Protection and Indemnity Insurance

 

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

 

Each of the vessels that we operate is entered in the Gard P&I (Bermuda) Ltd. which we refer to as the Club, for third party liability marine insurance coverage. The Club is a mutual insurance vehicle. As a member of the Club, we are insured, subject to agreed deductibles and our terms of entry, for our legal liabilities and expenses arising out of our interest in an entered ship, out of events occurring during the period of entry of the ship in the Club and in connection with the operation of the ship, against specified risks. These risks include liabilities arising from death of crew and passengers, loss or damage to cargo, collisions, property damage, oil pollution and wreck removal.

 

The Club benefits from its membership in the International Group of P&I Clubs, or the International Group, for its main reinsurance program, and maintains a separate complementary insurance program for additional risks.

 

The Club’s policy year commences each February. The mutual calls are levied by way of Estimated Total Premiums, or ETP, and the amount of the final installment of the ETP varies in accordance with the actual total premium ultimately required by the Club for a particular policy year. Members have a liability to pay supplementary calls which may be levied by the Club if the ETP is insufficient to cover the Club’s outgoings in a policy year.

 

Cover per claim is generally limited to an unspecified sum, being the amount available from reinsurance plus the maximum amount collectable from members of the International Group by way of overspill calls. Certain exceptions apply, including a $1.0 billion limit on each incident or occurrence each Owner’s Entry on claims in respect of oil pollution, a $3.0 billion limit each Ship any one event on cover for passengers and seamen/crew combined and a sub-limit of $2.0 billion for passenger claims each ship and any one event.

 

To the extent that we experience either a supplementary or an overspill call, our policy is to expense such amounts. To the extent that the Club depends on funds paid in calls from other members in our industry, if there were an industry-wide slow-down, other members might not be able to meet the call and we might not receive a payout in the event we made a claim on a policy.

 

Uninsured Risks

 

Not all risks are insured and not all risks are insurable. The principal insurable risk which nevertheless remains uninsured across our fleet is the “loss of hire” due to strikes and/or delays arising from H&M and/or P&I perils. We generally do not insure the risk of loss of hire because we regard the cost as disproportionate. This insurance provides, subject to a deductible, a limited indemnity for hire that is not receivable by the shipowner for reasons set forth in the policy. An example of a “strike and delay insurance policy” would cover the loss of hire on a 10 or 17 days basis for delays arising from H&M perils such as collision, stranding or machinery damage. For a 17 days cover the premium per annum pro rata would be calculated on the 120% of the daily hire.

 

Delays arising from P&I perils such as illness, injury or saving life at sea, can also be covered by this policy. In the case of loss of hire deriving from P&I perils, the annual premium per vessel for a 17 days cover would be the 25% of the daily hire per annum pro rata however this is not a standalone cover and can only be combined with the aforementioned H&M perils cover.

 

This kind of a “strike and delay insurance policy” would have an annual aggregate claims limit of USD 1,500,000 per annum pro rata and its purpose would be to secure the hire income during periods described above.

 

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Environmental and Other Regulations

 

Sources of Applicable Rules and Standards

 

Shipping is one of the world’s most heavily regulated industries, and it is subject to many industry standards. Government regulation significantly affects the ownership and operation of vessels. These regulations consist mainly of rules and standards established by international conventions, but they also include national, state and local laws and regulations in force in jurisdictions where vessels may operate or are registered, and which may be more stringent than international rules and standards. This is the case particularly in the United States and, increasingly, in Europe.

 

A variety of governmental and private entities subject vessels to both scheduled and unscheduled inspections. These entities include local port authorities (the U.S. Coast Guard, harbor masters or equivalent entities), classification societies, flag state administration (country vessel of registry), port state control, charterers and particularly terminal operators. Certain of these entities require vessel owners to obtain permits, licenses and certificates for the operation of their vessels. Failure to maintain necessary permits or approvals could require a vessel owner to incur substantial costs or temporarily suspend operation of one or more of its vessels.

 

Heightened levels of environmental and quality concerns among insurance underwriters, regulators and charterers continue to lead to greater inspection and safety requirements on all vessels and may accelerate the scrapping of older vessels throughout the industry. Increasing environmental concerns have created a demand for vessels that conform to stricter environmental standards. Vessel owners are required to maintain operating standards for all vessels that will emphasize operational safety, quality maintenance, continuous training of officers and crews and compliance with U.S. and international regulations. Because laws and regulations are frequently changed and may impose increasingly stricter requirements, we cannot predict the ultimate cost of complying with these requirements, or the impact of these requirements on the resale value or useful lives of our vessels. In addition, a future serious marine incident that causes significant adverse environmental impact could result in additional legislation or regulation that could negatively affect our profitability.

 

The following is a non-exhaustive overview of certain material conventions, laws and regulations that affect our business and the operation of our vessels. It is not a comprehensive summary of all the conventions, laws and regulations to which we are subject.

 

The IMO is a United Nations agency setting standards and creating a regulatory framework for the shipping industry and has negotiated and adopted a number of international conventions. These fall into two main categories, consisting firstly of those concerned generally with vessel safety and security standards, and secondly of those specifically concerned with measures to prevent pollution from vessels.

 

Ship Safety Regulation

 

A primary international safety convention is the Safety of Life at Sea Convention of 1974, as amended, or SOLAS, including the regulations and codes of practice that form part of its regime. Much of SOLAS is not directly concerned with preventing pollution, but some of its safety provisions are intended to prevent pollution as well as promote safety of life and preservation of property. These regulations have been and continue to be regularly amended as new and higher safety standards are introduced with which we are required to comply.

 

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Under Chapter IX of the SOLAS Convention, or the International Safety Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and for Pollution Prevention, or the ISM Code, our operations are also subject to environmental standards and requirements. The purpose of the ISM Code is to provide an international standard for the safe management and operation of vessels and for pollution prevention. Under the ISM Code, the party with operational control of a vessel is required to develop, implement and maintain an extensive safety management system that includes, among other things, the adoption of a safety and environmental protection policy setting forth instructions and procedures for operating its vessels safely and protecting the environment and describing procedures for responding to emergencies. The ISM Code requires that vessel operators obtain a Safety Management Certificate for each vessel they operate. This certificate issued after verification that the vessel’s operator and its shipboard management operate in accordance with the approved safety management system and evidence that the vessel complies with the requirements of the ISM Code. No vessel can obtain a Safety Management Certificate unless its operator has been awarded a document of compliance, issued by the respective flag state for the vessel, under the ISM Code.

 

Effective July 1, 2024, amendments to the International Code on the Enhanced Programme of Inspections during Surveys of Bulk Carriers and Oil Tankers, 2011 will become effective, addressing inconsistencies on examination of ballast tanks at annual surveys for bulk carriers and oil tankers.

 

Amendments to SOLAS chapter II-2, intended to prevent the supply of oil fuel not complying SOLAS flashpoint requirements, requiring that ships carrying oil fuel must, prior to bunkering, be provided with a declaration certifying that the oil fuel supplied is in conformity with regulation SOLAS II.2/4.2.1, will enter into effect January 1, 2026.

 

Another amendment of SOLAS, made after the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001, introduced special measures to enhance maritime security, including the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code, or ISPS Code, which sets out measures for the enhancement of security of vessels and port facilities. To trade internationally, a vessel must attain an International Ship Security Certificate, or ISSC, from a recognized security organization approved by the vessel’s flag state.

 

The vessels that we operate maintain ISM and ISPS certifications for safety and security of operations.

 

Regulations to Prevent Pollution from Ships

 

In the second main category of international regulation which deals with prevention of pollution, the primary convention is the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships 1973 as amended by the 1978 Protocol, or MARPOL, which is applicable to dry bulk, tanker and LNG carriers, among other vessels, and imposes environmental standards on the shipping industry set out in its Annexes I-VI. These contain regulations for the prevention of pollution by oil (Annex I), by noxious liquid substances in bulk (Annex II), by harmful substances in packaged forms within the scope of the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (Annex III), by sewage (Annex IV), by garbage (Annex V) and by air emissions (Annex VI).

 

These regulations have been and continue to be regularly amended and supplemented as new and higher standards of pollution prevention are introduced with which we are required to comply.

 

For example, MARPOL Annex VI sets limits on Sulphur Oxides (SOx) and Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) and particulate matter emissions from vessel exhausts and prohibits deliberate emissions of ozone depleting substances. It also regulates the emission of volatile organic compounds (VOC) from cargo tankers and certain gas carriers, as well as shipboard incineration of specific substances. Annex VI also includes a global cap on the sulphur content of fuel oil with a lower cap on the sulphur content applicable inside special areas, the “Emission Control Areas” or ECAs. Already established ECAs include the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, including the English Channel, the North American area and the US Caribbean Sea area. Recently the IMO approved a proposal for a new ECA for the Mediterranean Sea as a whole to apply from July 1, 2025 such that the sulphur content of marine fuels does not exceed 0.1%. The global cap on the sulphur content of fuel oil was reduced to 0.5% as of January 1, 2020, regardless of whether a ship is operating outside a designated ECA. From January 1, 2015 the cap on the sulphur content of fuel oil for vessels operating in ECAs has been 0.1%; however ships operating in this ECA will be exempted from compliance with the 0.1% m/m sulfur content standard for fuel oil until July 1, 2025. Additional amendments to Annex VI revising, among other terms, the definition of “Sulphur content of fuel oil” and “low-flashpoint fuel”, and pertaining to the sampling and testing of onboard fuel oil, which became effective in 2022. Amendments to Annex VI requiring bunker delivery notes to include a flashpoint of fuel oil or a statement that the flashpoint has been measured at or above 70°C as mandatory information, will become effective May 1, 2024. These regulations subject ocean-going vessels to stringent emissions controls and may cause us to incur substantial costs.

 

Annex VI also provides for progressive reductions in NOx emissions from marine diesel engines installed in vessels. Limiting NOx emissions is set on a three tier reduction, the final tier (“Tier III”) applying to engines installed on vessels constructed on or after January 1, 2016 and which operate in the North American ECA or the US Caribbean Sea ECA, and to engines installed on vessels constructed on or after January 1, 2021 and which operate in the Baltic Sea ECA or the North Sea ECA. The Tier III requirements would also apply to engines of vessels operating in other ECAs as may be designated in the future by the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (or MEPC) for Tier III NOx control. The Tier III requirements do not apply to engines installed on vessels constructed prior to January 1, 2021, if they are of less than 500 gross tons, of 24 meters or over in length, and have been designed and used solely for recreational purposes. We anticipate incurring costs at each stage of implementation on all these areas. Currently we are compliant in all our vessels. Additionally, amendments to Annex II, which strengthen discharge requirements for cargo residues and tank washings in specified sea areas (including North West European waters, Baltic Sea area, Western European waters and Norwegian Sea), came into effect in January 2021.

 

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Greenhouse Gas Emissions

 

In February 2005, the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change entered into force. Pursuant to the Kyoto Protocol, adopting countries are required to implement national programs to reduce emissions of certain gases, generally referred to as greenhouse gases, which are suspected of contributing to global warming. Currently, the greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping do not come under the Kyoto Protocol (this task having been delegated to the IMO). In December 2009, more than 27 nations, including the United States, entered into the Copenhagen Accord. The Copenhagen Accord is non-binding, but is intended to pave the way for a comprehensive, international treaty on climate change. On December 12, 2015 the Paris Agreement was adopted by 195 countries. The Paris Agreement deals with greenhouse gas emission reduction measures and targets from 2020 in order to limit the global temperature increases above pre-industrial levels to well below 2˚ Celsius. Although shipping was ultimately not included in the Paris Agreement, it is expected that the adoption of the Paris Agreement may lead to regulatory changes in relation to curbing greenhouse gas emissions from shipping. The Paris Agreement has been ratified by a large number of countries and entered into force on November 4, 2016. The United States rejoined the Paris Agreement in February 2021.

 

In July 2011 the IMO adopted regulations imposing technical and operational measures for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. These new regulations formed a new chapter in Annex VI of MARPOL and became effective on January 1, 2013. The new technical and operational measures include the “Energy Efficiency Design Index,” which is mandatory for newbuilding vessels, and the “Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan,” which is mandatory for all vessels. In October 2016 the MEPC adopted updated guidelines for the calculation of the Energy-Efficiency Design Index. In addition, the IMO is evaluating various mandatory measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping, which may include market-based instruments or a carbon tax. In October 2016, the IMO adopted a mandatory data collection system under which vessels of 5,000 gross tonnage and above are to collect fuel consumption data and to report the aggregated data to their flag state at the end of each calendar year. The new requirements entered into force on March 1, 2018. In April 2018, the MEPC adopted an initial strategy on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships. In July 2023, the IMO adopted the 2023 IMO Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships, which identifies a number of levels of ambition, including (1) decreasing the carbon intensity from ships through implementation of further phases of energy efficiency for new ships; (2) reducing carbon dioxide emissions per transport work, as an average across international shipping, by at least 40% by 2030; and (3) pursuing net-zero GHG emissions by or around 2050. These regulations could cause us to incur additional substantial expenses.

 

IMO’s MEPC 76 adopted amendments to Annex VI that will require ships to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions; effective January 2023, the Revised MARPOL Annex VI includes requirements for ships to calculate their Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index, or “EEXI,” following technical means to improve their energy efficiency and to establish their annual operational carbon intensity indicator and rating, or “CII,” and are expected to become effective on May 1, 2024. Beginning in January 2023, MARPOL Annex VI requires EEXI and CII certification. MEPC 76 also adopted guidelines to support implementation of the amendments. The EEXI measures apply to newbuild ships and all existing ships above 400 GT and CII requirements apply to all ships of 5000 GT or above. This means that the first annual reporting was to be completed in 2023, with the first rating awarded in 2024. With respect to the CII, taking effect from January 1, 2023, ships of 5,000 gross tonnage are required to document and verify their actual annual operational CII achieved against a determined required annual operational CII. The CII regulations state that a ship rated D for three consecutive years, or E for one year, will be required to submit a corrective action plan showing how C or above will be achieved.

 

The EU adopted Regulation (EU) 2015/757 on the monitoring, reporting and verification of carbon dioxide emissions from vessels (or the MRV Regulation), which was published in the Official Journal on May 19, 2015 and entered into force on July 1, 2015 (as amended by Regulation (EU) 2016/2071). The MRV Regulation applies to all vessels over 5,000 gross tonnage (except for a few types, such as, amongst others, warships and fish catching or fish processing vessels), irrespective of flag, in respect of carbon dioxide emissions released during intra-EU voyages and EU incoming and outgoing voyages. The first reporting period commenced on January 1, 2018. The monitoring, reporting and verification system adopted by the MRV Regulation was the precursor to a market-based mechanism to be adopted in the future (see below).

  

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Furthermore, the 70th MEPC meeting in October 2016 adopted a mandatory data collection system (DCS) which requires ships above 5,000 gross tonnes to report consumption data for fuel oil, hours under way and distance travelled. Unlike the EU MRV (see below), the IMO DCS covers any maritime activity carried out by ships, including dredging, pipeline laying, ice-breaking, fish-catching and off-shore installations. The system, adopted by resolution MEPC.278(70), entered into force on 1 March 2018. Reporting commenced with the year 2019. The Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plans of all ships covered by the IMO DCS must include a description of the methodology for data collection and reporting. After each calendar year, the aggregated data are reported to the flag state. If the data have been reported in accordance with the requirements, the flag state issues a statement of compliance to the ship. Flag states subsequently transfer this data to an IMO ship fuel oil consumption database, which is part of the Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS) platform. IMO will then produce annual reports, summarising the data collected. Thus, currently, data related to the GHG emissions of ships above 5 000 gross tonnes calling at ports in the European Economic Area (EEA) must be reported in two separate, but largely overlapping, systems: the EU MRV – which applies since 2018 – and the IMO DCS – which applies since 2019. The proposed revision of Regulation (EU) 2015/757 adopted on 4 February 2019 aims to align and facilitate the simultaneous implementation of the two systems.

 

MEPC 79 adopted amendments to Annex VI on the reporting of mandatory values related to the implementation of the IMO short-term GHG reduction measure, including attained EEXI, CII and rating values to the IMO DCS, which will become effective May 1, 2024. MEPC 80 adopted the 2023 IMO Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships with enhanced targets to mitigate harmful emissions. The revised IMO GHG Strategy comprises a common ambition to ensure an uptake of alternative zero and near-zero GHG fuels by 2030 and to achieve net-zero emissions from international shipping by 2050. MEPC 81 will take place in spring 2024 in which the IMO will decide on the market-based mechanism to reach the emission reduction targets– either through a global emissions trading scheme for shipping or a global carbon levy.

 

MEPC 77 adopted a non-binding resolution which urges Member States and ship operators to voluntarily use distillate or other cleaner alternative fuels or methods of propulsion that are safe for ships and could contribute to the reduction of black carbon emissions from ships when operating in or near the Arctic.

 

MEPC 79 adopted amendments to Annex VI on the reporting of mandatory values related to the implementation of the IMO short-term GHG reduction measure, including attained EEXI, CII and rating values to the IMO DCS, which will become effective May 1, 2024. MEPC 80 adopted the 2023 IMO Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships with enhanced targets to mitigate harmful emissions. The revised IMO GHG Strategy comprises a common ambition to ensure an uptake of alternative zero and near-zero GHG fuels by 2030 and to achieve net-zero emissions from international shipping by 2050. MEPC 81 will take place in spring 2024 in which the IMO will decide on the market-based mechanism to reach the emission reduction targets– either through a global emissions trading scheme for shipping or a global carbon levy.

 

In the United States, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, issued an “endangerment finding” regarding greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. While this finding in itself does not impose any requirements on our industry, it authorizes the EPA to regulate directly greenhouse gas emissions through a rule-making process. Any passage of new climate control legislation or other regulatory initiatives by the IMO, EU, the United States or other countries or states where we operate that restrict emissions of greenhouse gases could have a significant financial and operational impact on our business through increased compliance costs or additional operational restrictions that we cannot predict with certainty at this time.

 

Anti-Fouling Requirements

 

In 2001, the IMO adopted the International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships, or the Anti-fouling Convention. The Anti-fouling Convention, which entered into force in September 2008, prohibits and/or restricts the use of organotin compound coatings to prevent the attachment of mollusks and other sea life to the hulls of vessels. Vessels of over 400 gross tons engaged in international voyages must obtain an International Anti-Fouling System Certificate and undergo a survey before the vessel is put into service or before the Anti-fouling System Certificate is issued for the first time and when the anti-fouling systems are altered or replaced. In 2023, amendments to the Anti-fouling Convention came into effect and will include controls on the biocide cybutryne; ships shall not apply or re-apply anti-fouling systems containing this substance from January 1, 2023. MEPC 76 adopted amendments to the Anti-fouling Convention to include controls on the biocide cybutryne; ships shall not apply or re-apply anti-fouling systems containing that substance starting January 1, 2023. The amendments require ships to remove this substance, or apply a coating to anti-fouling systems with this substance, at the next scheduled renewal of the anti-fouling system after January 1, 2023.

 

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Other International Regulations to Prevent Pollution

 

In addition to MARPOL, other more specialized international instruments have been adopted to prevent different types of pollution or environmental harm from vessels.

 

In February 2004, the IMO adopted an International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments, or the BWM Convention. The BWM Convention, which entered into force globally on September 8, 2017, aims to prevent the spread of harmful aquatic organisms from one region to another, by establishing standards and procedures for the management and control of vessels’ ballast water and sediments. The BWM Convention’s implementing regulations require vessels to conduct ballast water management in accordance with the standards set out in the convention, which include performance of ballast water exchange in accordance with the requirements set out in the relevant regulation and the gradual phasing in of a ballast water performance standard which requires ballast water treatment and the installation of ballast water treatment systems on board the vessels. Under the BWM Convention, vessels are required to implement a Ballast Water and Sediments Management Plan, carry a Ballast Water Record Book and an International Ballast Water Management Certificate. Pursuant to the BWM Convention, ballast water management systems (“BWMSs”) installed on or after October 28, 2020 shall be approved in accordance with BWMS Code, while BWMSs installed before October 23, 2020 must be approved taking into account guidelines developed by the IMO or the BWMS Code. Additionally, many countries already regulate the discharge of ballast water carried by vessels from country to country to prevent the introduction of invasive and harmful species via such discharges. The U.S., for example, requires vessels entering its waters from another country to conduct mid-ocean ballast exchange, or undertake some alternate measure, and to comply with certain reporting requirements. Ships sailing in U.S. waters are required to employ a type-approved BWMS which is compliant with USCG regulations. The U.S. Coast Guard has approved a number of BWMS. Amendments to the BWM Convention concerning commissioning testing of BWMS became effective in June 2022.

 

The Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships adopted by the IMO in 2009, or the Recycling Convention, deals with issues relating to ship recycling and aims to address the occupational health and safety, as well as environmental risks relating to ship recycling. It contains regulations regarding the design, construction, operation, maintenance and recycling of vessels, as well as regarding their survey and certification to verify compliance with the requirements of the Recycling Convention. The Recycling Convention, amongst other things, prohibits and/or restricts the installation or use of hazardous materials on vessels and requires vessels to have on board an inventory of hazardous materials specific to each vessel. It also requires ship recycling facilities to develop a ship-recycling plan for each vessel prior to its recycling. Parties to the Recycling Convention are to ensure that ship-recycling facilities are designed, constructed and operated in a safe and environmentally sound manner and that they are authorized by competent authorities after verification of compliance with the requirements of the Recycling Convention. The Recycling Convention (which is not effective yet) is to enter into force 24 months after a specified minimum number of states with a combined gross tonnage and maximum annual recycling volume during the preceding 10 years have ratified it.

 

A MARPOL regulation and the International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation, 1990 also require owners and operators of vessels to adopt Shipboard Oil Pollution Emergency Plans. Another MARPOL regulation sets out similar requirements for the adoption of shipboard marine pollution emergency plans for noxious liquid substances with respect to vessels carrying such substances in bulk. Periodic training and drills for response personnel and for vessels and their crews are required.

 

European Union Regulations

 

European regulations in the maritime sector are in general based on international law most of which were promulgated by the IMO and then adopted by the Member States. However, since the Erika incident in 1999, when the Erika broke in two off the coast of France while carrying heavy fuel oil, the European Union (or EU) has become increasingly active in the field of regulation of maritime safety and protection of the environment. It has been the driving force behind a number of amendments of MARPOL (including, for example, changes to accelerate the timetable for the phase-out of single hull tankers, and prohibiting the carriage in such tankers of heavy grades of oil), and if dissatisfied either with the extent of such amendments or with the timetable for their introduction it has been prepared to legislate on a unilateral basis. In some instances where it has done so, international regulations have subsequently been amended to the same level of stringency as that introduced in the EU, but the risk is well established that EU regulations (and other jurisdictions) may from time to time impose burdens and costs on shipowners and operators which are additional to those involved in complying with international rules and standards.

 

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In some areas of regulation the EU has introduced new laws without attempting to procure a corresponding amendment of international law. Notably, it adopted in 2005 a directive on ship-source pollution (which was amended in 2009), imposing criminal sanctions for discharges of oil and other noxious substances from vessels sailing in its waters, irrespective of their flag not only where such pollution is caused by intent or recklessness (which would be an offense under MARPOL), but also where it is caused by “serious negligence.” The directive could therefore result in criminal liability being incurred in circumstances where it would not be incurred under international law. Experience has shown that in the emotive atmosphere often associated with pollution incidents, retributive attitudes towards vessel interests have found expression in negligence being alleged by prosecutors and found by courts on grounds which the international maritime community has found hard to understand. Moreover, there is skepticism that the notion of “serious negligence” is likely to prove any narrower in practice than ordinary negligence. Criminal liability for a pollution incident could not only result in us incurring substantial penalties or fines but may also, in some jurisdictions, facilitate civil liability claims for greater compensation than would otherwise have been payable.

 

The EU has also adopted legislation (Directive 2009/16/EC on Port State Control, as subsequently amended) which requires the Member States to refuse access to their ports to certain sub-standard vessels according to various factors, such as the vessel’s condition, flag and number of previous detentions within certain preceding periods; creates obligations on the part of EU member port states to inspect minimum percentages of vessels using their ports annually; and provides for increased surveillance of vessels posing a high risk to maritime safety or the marine environment. If deficiencies are found that are clearly hazardous to safety, health or the environment, the state is required to detain the vessel or stop loading or unloading until the deficiencies are addressed. Member states are also required to implement their own separate systems of proportionate penalties for breaches of these standards.

 

Commission Regulation (EU) No 802/2010, which was adopted by the European Commission in September 2010, as part of the implementation of the Port State Control Directive and came into force on January 1, 2011, as subsequently amended by Regulation 1205/2012 of December 14, 2012, introduced a ranking system (published on a public website and updated daily) displaying shipping companies operating in the EU with the worst safety records. The ranking is judged upon the results of the technical inspections carried out on the vessels owned by a particular shipping company. Those shipping companies that have the most positive safety records are rewarded by being subjected to fewer inspections, whilst those with the most safety shortcomings or technical failings recorded upon inspection are to be subjected to a greater frequency of official inspections of their vessels.

 

By Directive 2009/15/EC of April 23, 2009 (on common rules and standards for ship inspection and survey organizations and for the relevant activities of maritime administrations) as amended by Directive 2014/111/EU of December 17, 2014, the European Union has established measures to be followed by the Member States for the exercise of authority and control over classification societies, including the ability to seek to suspend or revoke the authority of classification societies that are negligent in their duties.

 

The EU has also adopted legislation requiring the use of low sulphur fuel. Under Council Directive 1999/32/EC as subsequently amended, from January 1, 2015, vessels have been required to burn fuel with a sulphur content not exceeding 0.1% while within EU member states’ territorial seas, exclusive economic zones and pollution control zones falling within sulphur oxide (SOx) Emission Control Areas (or SECAs), such as the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, including the English Channel. Further sea areas may be designated as SECAs in the future by the IMO in accordance with MARPOL Annex VI. Directive 1999/32/EC was repealed and codified by 2016/802/EU to align with the revised Annex VI.

 

Regulation (EU) 2015/757 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2015 ( amended by Regulation (EU) 2016/2071 with respect to methods of calculating, inter alia, emission and consumption) governs the monitoring, reporting and verification of carbon dioxide emissions from maritime transport, and, subject to some exclusions, requires companies with ships over 5,000 gross tonnage to monitor and report carbon dioxide emissions annually, which may cause us to incur additional expenses. As of January 2019, large ships calling at EU ports have been required to collect and publish data on carbon dioxide emissions and other information. The system entered into force on 1 March 2018.

 

July 2020 saw the European Parliament’s Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety vote in favor of the inclusion of vessels of 5000 gross tons and above in the EU Emissions Trading System (in addition to voting for a revision to the monitoring, reporting and verification of CO2 emissions). In April 2023, the European Parliament adopted the proposal from the European Commission to amend the regulation on monitoring carbon dioxide emissions from maritime transport.

 

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On July 14, 2021, the European Commission published a package of draft proposals as part of its ‘Fit for 55’ environmental legislative agenda and as part of the wider EU Green Deal growth strategy. There are two key initiatives relevant to maritime arising from the Proposals: (a) a bespoke emissions trading scheme for maritime (Maritime ETS) which is due to commence in 2024 and which is to apply to all ships above a gross tonnage of 5000; and (b) a FuelEU draft regulation which seeks to require all ships above a gross tonnage of 5000 to carry on board a ‘FuelEU certificate of compliance’ from 30 June 2025 as evidence of compliance with the limits on the greenhouse gas intensity of the energy used on-board by a ship and with the requirements on the use of on-shore power supply (OPS) at berth. More specifically, Maritime ETS is to apply gradually over the period from 2024-2026. The cap under the ETS would be set by taking into account EU MRV system emissions data for the years 2018 and 2019, adjusted, from year 2021 and is to capture 100% of the emissions from intra-EU maritime voyages; 100% of emissions from ships at berth in EU ports; and 50% of emissions from voyages which start or end at EU ports (but the other destination is outside the EU). More recent proposed amendments signal that 100% of non-EU emissions may be caught if the IMO does not introduce a global market-based measure by 2028. Furthermore, the proposals envisage that all maritime allowances would be auctioned and there will be no free allocation. From a risk management perspective, new systems, personnel, data management systems, costs recovery mechanisms, revised service agreement terms and emissions reporting procedures may have to be put in place, which may be at a significant cost, to prepare for and manage the administrative aspect of ETS compliance. FuelEU was passed into law on July 25, 2023 and will apply from January 1, 2025.

 

Concerned at the lack of progress in satisfying the conditions needed to bring the Hong Kong Convention into force, the EU published its own Ship Recycling Regulation 1257/2013 (SRR) in 2013, with a view to facilitating early ratification of the Hong Kong Convention both within the EU and in other countries outside the EU. The 2013 regulations are vital to responsible ship recycling in the EU. The SRR Regulation applies to vessels flying the flag of a Member State and certain of its provisions apply to vessels flying the flag of a third country calling at a port or anchorage of a Member State. For example, when calling at a port or anchorage of a Member State, the vessels flying the flag of a third country will be required, amongst other things, to have on board an inventory of hazardous materials which complies with the requirements of the Regulation and to be able to submit to the relevant authorities of that Member State a copy of a statement of compliance issued by the relevant authorities of the country of their flag and verifying the inventory. Pursuant to the Regulation, the EU Commission publishes from time to time a European List of approved ship recycling facilities meeting the requirements of the Regulation. On November 11, 2020 the EU Commission published an implementing decision which included an updated version of the European List. Furthermore, the SRR requires that, from 31 December 2020, all existing ships sailing under the flag of EU member states and non-EU flagged ships calling at an EU port or anchorage must carry on-board an Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHM) with a certificate or statement of compliance, as appropriate. For EU-flagged vessels, a certificate (either an Inventory Certificate or Ready for Recycling Certificate) will be necessary, while non-EU flagged vessels will need a Statement of Compliance. Now that the HKC has been ratified and will enter into force on June 26, 2025, it is expected that the EU Ship Recycling Regulation will be reviewed in light of this.

 

Compliance Enforcement

 

The flag state, as defined by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, has overall responsibility for the implementation and enforcement of international maritime regulations for all vessels granted the right to fly its flag. The “Shipping Industry Guidelines on Flag State Performance” issued by the International Chamber of Shipping in cooperation with other international shipping associations evaluates flag states based on factors such as port state control record, ratification of major international maritime treaties, use of recognized organizations conducting survey work on their behalf which comply with the IMO guidelines, age of fleet, compliance with reporting requirements and participation at IMO meetings. The vessels that we operate are flagged in the Marshall Islands. Marshall Islands-flagged vessels have historically received a good assessment in the shipping industry.

 

Noncompliance with the ISM Code or other IMO regulations may subject the shipowner or bareboat charterer to increased liability and, if the implementing legislation so provides, to criminal sanctions, may lead to decreases in available insurance coverage for affected vessels or may invalidate or result in the loss of existing insurance cover and may result in the denial of access to, or detention in, some ports. The U.S. Coast Guard and European Union authorities have, for example, indicated that vessels not in compliance with the ISM Code will be prohibited from trading in U.S. and European Union ports, respectively. As of the date of this annual report on Form 20-F, each of our vessels is ISM Code certified. However, there can be no assurance that such certificate will be maintained.

 

The IMO, the EU and other regulatory authorities continue to review and introduce new regulations. It is impossible to predict what additional regulations, if any, may be passed by the IMO, the EU and/or other regulatory authorities and what effect, if any, such regulations may have on our operations.

 

European Mandatory Non-Financial Reporting Regulations

 

On November 28, 2022, the EU Parliament adopted the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (“CSRD”). EU member states have 18 months from this date (by July 6, 2024) to integrate it into national law. The CSRD will create new, detailed sustainability reporting requirements and will significantly expand the number of EU and non-EU companies subject to the EU sustainability reporting framework. The required disclosures will go beyond environmental and climate change reporting to include social and governance matters (for example, respect for employee and human rights, anti-corruption and bribery, corporate governance and diversity and inclusion). In addition, it will require disclosure regarding the due diligence processes implemented by a company in relation to sustainability matters and the actual and potential adverse sustainability impacts of an in-scope company’s operations and value chain. The CSRD will begin to apply on a phased basis starting from financial year 2024 through to 2028, applicable to large EU and non-EU undertakings with substantial presence in the EU, subject to certain financial and employee thresholds being met. New systems, personnel, data management systems and reporting procedures will have to be put in place, at significant cost, to prepare for and manage the administrative aspect of CSRD compliance.

 

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United States Environmental Regulations and Laws Governing Civil Liability for Pollution

 

Environmental legislation in the United States merits particular mention as it is in many respects more onerous than international laws, representing a high-water mark of regulation with which shipowners and operators must comply, and of liability likely to be incurred in the event of non-compliance or an incident causing pollution.

 

U.S. federal legislation, including notably the OPA, establishes an extensive regulatory and liability regime for the protection and cleanup of the environment from oil spills, including bunker oil spills from dry bulk vessels as well as cargo or bunker oil spills from tankers. The OPA affects all owners and operators whose vessels trade in the United States, its territories and possessions or whose vessels operate in United States waters, which includes the United States’ territorial sea and its 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone. Under OPA, vessel owners, operators and bareboat charterers are “responsible parties” and are jointly, severally and strictly liable without regard to fault (unless the spill results solely from the act or omission of a third party, an act of God or an act of war) for all containment and clean-up costs and other damages arising from discharges or substantial threats of discharges of oil from their vessels. The OPA expressly allows the individual states of the United States to impose their own liability regimes for the discharge of petroleum products. In addition to potential liability under the OPA as the relevant federal legislation, vessel owners may in some instances incur liability on an even more stringent basis under state law in the particular state where the spillage occurred.

 

The OPA requires the owner or operator of any non-tank vessel of 400 gross tons or more that carries oil of any kind as a fuel for main propulsion, including bunkers, to prepare and submit a response plan for each vessel. The vessel response plans must include detailed information on actions to be taken by vessel personnel to prevent or mitigate any discharge or substantial threat of such a discharge of oil from the vessel.

 

The OPA contains statutory caps on liability and damages; such caps do not apply to direct clean-up costs. On December 23, 2022, the USCG adjusted the limits of OPA liability for a non-tank vessel, to the greater of $1,300 per gross ton or $1,076,000 (subject to periodic adjustment for inflation). However, these limits of liability do not apply if an incident was proximately caused by violation of applicable United States federal safety, construction or operating regulations or by a responsible party’s gross negligence or willful misconduct, or if the responsible party fails or refuses to report the incident or to cooperate and assist in connection with oil removal activities.

 

In addition, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, or CERCLA, which applies to the discharge of hazardous substances (other than oil) whether on land or at sea, contains a similar liability regime and provides for cleanup, removal and natural resource damages. Liability under CERCLA is limited to the greater of $300 per gross ton or $0.5 million for vessels not carrying hazardous substances as cargo or residue (or the greater of $300 per gross ton or $5.0 million for vessels carrying hazardous substances) unless the incident is caused by gross negligence, willful misconduct or a violation of certain regulations, in which case liability is unlimited.

 

We maintain, for each of our vessels, protection and indemnity coverage against pollution liability risks in the amount of $1.0 billion per event. This insurance coverage is subject to exclusions, deductibles and other terms and conditions. If any liabilities or expenses fall within an exclusion from coverage, or if damages from a catastrophic incident exceed the $1.0 billion limitation of coverage per event, our cash flow, profitability and financial position could be adversely impacted.

 

We believe our insurance and protection and indemnity coverage as described above meets the requirements of the OPA.

 

The OPA requires owners and operators of all vessels over 300 gross tons, even those that do not carry petroleum or hazardous substances as cargo, to establish and maintain with the U.S. Coast Guard evidence of financial responsibility sufficient to meet their potential liabilities under the OPA. Under the regulations, vessel owners and operators may evidence their financial responsibility by showing proof of insurance, surety bond, self-insurance or guaranty.

 

Under the OPA, an owner or operator of a fleet of vessels is required only to demonstrate evidence of financial responsibility in an amount sufficient to cover the vessel in the fleet having the greatest limited liability under the OPA.

 

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The U.S. Coast Guard’s regulations concerning certificates of financial responsibility provide, in accordance with the OPA, that claimants may bring suit directly against an insurer or guarantor that furnishes the guaranty that supports the certificates of financial responsibility. In the event that such insurer or guarantor is sued directly, it is prohibited from asserting any contractual defense that it may have had against the responsible party and is limited to asserting those defenses available to the responsible party and the defense that the incident was caused by the willful misconduct of the responsible party.

 

The OPA specifically permits individual states to impose their own liability regimes with regard to oil pollution incidents occurring within their boundaries, and some states have enacted legislation providing for unlimited liability for oil spills. In some cases, states that have enacted such legislation have not yet issued implementing regulations defining vessels owners’ responsibilities under these laws. We intend to comply with all applicable state regulations in the ports where our vessels call.

 

The United States Clean Water Act, or CWA, prohibits the discharge of oil or hazardous substances in U.S. navigable waters and imposes strict liability in the form of penalties for unauthorized discharges. The CWA also imposes substantial liability for the costs of removal, remediation and damages and complements the remedies available under CERCLA. In 2015, the EPA expanded the definition of “waters of the United States,” or WOTUS, thereby expanding federal authority under the CWA. On December 30, 2022, the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced the final revised WOTUS rule, which was published on January 18, 2023. In August 2023, the EPA and Department of the Army issued a final rule to amend the revised WOTUS definition to conform the definition of WOTUS to the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Clean Water Act in its decision dated May 25, 2023. The final rule became effective September 8, 2023 and operates to limit the Clean Water Act.

 

The EPA enacted rules governing the regulation of ballast water discharges and other discharges incidental to the normal operation of vessels within U.S. waters. Under the rules, commercial vessels 79 feet in length or longer (other than commercial fishing vessels), or Regulated Vessels, are required to obtain a CWA permit regulating and authorizing such normal discharges. This permit, which the EPA had designated as the Vessel General Permit for Discharges Incidental to the Normal Operation of Vessels, or VGP, incorporated the then current U.S. Coast Guard requirements for ballast water management as well as supplemental ballast water requirements, including limits applicable to specific discharge streams, such as deck runoff, bilge water and gray water. Several U.S. states have added specific requirements to the VGP, including submission of a Notice of Intent, or NOI, or retention of a PARI form and submission of annual reports. The Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (or VIDA) was signed into law on December 4, 2018, and establishes a new framework for the regulation of vessel incidental discharges under the CWA. On October 26, 2020, the EPA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Vessel Incidental Discharge National Standards of Performance under VIDA, and in November 2020, held virtual public meetings. On October 18, 2023, the EPA published a Supplemental Notice to the Vessel Incidental Discharge National Standards of Performance, which shares new ballast water information that the EPA received from the USCG. Comments to the Supplemental Notice were due by December 18, 2023. Under VIDA, all provisions of the VGP 2018 and the USCG ballast water regulations remain in force and effect as currently written until the EPA publishes standard. The new regulations could require the installation of new equipment.

 

Vessels that are constructed after December 1, 2013, are subject to the ballast water numeric effluent limitations. Several U.S. states, including California, have added specific requirements to the VGP and, in some cases, may require vessels to install ballast water treatment technology to meet biological performance standards.

 

Security Regulations

 

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, there have been a variety of initiatives intended to enhance vessel security. In November 2002, the MTSA came into effect. To implement certain portions of the MTSA, in July 2003, the U.S. Coast Guard issued regulations requiring the implementation of certain security requirements aboard vessels operating in waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. Similarly, in December 2002, amendments to SOLAS created a new chapter of the convention dealing specifically with maritime security. The chapter imposes various detailed security obligations on vessels and port authorities, most of which are contained in the newly created ISPS Code. Among the various requirements are:

 

  Ø on-board installation of automatic information systems to enhance vessel-to-vessel and vessel-to-shore communications;

 

  Ø on-board installation of ship security alert systems;

 

  Ø the development of vessel security plans; and

 

  Ø compliance with flag state security certification requirements.

 

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The U.S. Coast Guard regulations, intended to be aligned with international maritime security standards, exempt non-U.S. vessels from MTSA vessel security measures, provided such vessels have on board a valid International Ship Security Certificate that attests to the vessel’s compliance with SOLAS security requirements and the ISPS Code. The vessels in our fleet that we operate have on board valid International Ship Security Certificates and, therefore, will comply with the requirements of the MTSA.

 

International Laws Governing Civil Liability to Pay Compensation or Damages

 

Although the United States is not a party to the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage of 1969, as amended by the 1992 Protocol and further amended in 2000, or the CLC (which has been adopted by the IMO and sets out a liability regime in relation to oil pollution damage), many countries are parties and have ratified either the original CLC or its 1992 Protocol. Under the CLC, a vessel’s registered owner is strictly liable for pollution damage caused in the territorial waters or, under the 1992 Protocol, in the exclusive economic zone or equivalent area, of a contracting state by discharge of persistent oil, subject to certain defenses and subject to the right to limit liability. The original CLC applies to vessels carrying oil as cargo and not in ballast, whereas the CLC as amended by the 1992 Protocol applies to tanker vessels and combination carriers (i.e., vessels which sometimes carry oil in bulk and sometimes other cargoes) but only when the latter carry oil in bulk as cargo and during any voyage following such carriage (to the extent they have oil residues on board). Vessels trading with states that are parties to these conventions must provide evidence of insurance covering the liability of the owner. In jurisdictions where the CLC has not been adopted, various legislative schemes or common law govern, and liability is imposed either on the basis of fault or in a manner similar to that of the convention. We believe that our protection and indemnity insurance will cover the liability under the regime adopted by the IMO.

 

The CLC is supplemented by the International Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage 1971, as amended (or the Fund Convention). The purpose of the Fund Convention was the creation of a supplementary compensation fund (the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund, or IOPC Fund) which provides additional compensation to victims of a pollution incident who are unable to obtain adequate or any compensation under the CLC.

 

In 2001, the IMO adopted the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage, or the Bunker Convention, which covers liability and compensation for pollution damage caused in the territorial waters or the exclusive economic zone or equivalent area of ratifying states by discharges of “bunker oil.” The Bunker Convention defines “bunker oil” as “any hydrocarbon mineral oil, including lubricating oil, used or intended to be used for the operation or propulsion of the ship, and any residues of such oil.” The Bunker Convention imposes strict liability (subject to certain defenses) on the shipowner (which term includes the registered owner, bareboat charterer, manager and operator of the vessel). It also requires registered owners of vessels over a certain size to maintain insurance for pollution damage in an amount equal to the limits of liability under the applicable national or international limitation regime (but not exceeding the amount calculated in accordance with the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims of 1976, as amended by the 1996 Protocol to it, or the 1976 Convention). The Bunker Convention entered into force in November 2008. In other jurisdictions, liability for spills or releases of oil from vessels’ bunkers continues to be determined by the national or other domestic laws in the jurisdiction where the events or damages occur.

 

The IMO’s International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea 1996, as superseded by the 2010 Protocol, or the HNS Convention, sets out a liability regime for loss or damage caused by hazardous or noxious substances carried on board a vessel. These substances are listed in the convention itself or defined by reference to lists of substances included in various IMO conventions and codes. The HNS Convention covers loss or damage by contamination to the environment, costs of preventive measures and further damage caused by such measures, loss or damage to property outside the ship and loss of life or personal injury caused by such substances on board or outside the ship. It imposes strict liability (subject to certain defenses) on the registered owner of the vessel and provides for limitation of liability and compulsory insurance. The owner’s right to limit liability is lost if it is proved that the damage resulted from the owner’s personal act or omission, committed with the intent to cause such damage, or recklessly and with knowledge that such damage would probably result. The HNS Convention has not entered into force yet.

 

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Outside the United States, national laws generally provide for the owner to bear strict liability for pollution, subject to a right to limit liability under applicable national or international regimes for limitation of liability. The most widely applicable international regime limiting maritime pollution liability is the 1976 Convention. However, claims for oil pollution damage within the meaning of the CLC or any Protocol or amendment to it are expressly excepted from the limitation regime set out in the 1976 Convention. Rights to limit liability under the 1976 Convention are forfeited where it is proved that the loss resulted from the shipowner’s personal act or omissions, committed with the intent to cause such loss, or recklessly and with knowledge that such loss would probably result. Some states have ratified the 1996 Protocol to the 1976 Convention, which provides for liability limits substantially higher than those set forth in the original 1976 Convention to apply in such states. Finally, some jurisdictions are not a party to either the 1976 Convention or the 1996 Protocol, and some are parties to other earlier limitation of liability conventions and, therefore, shipowners’ rights to limit liability for maritime pollution in such jurisdictions may be different or uncertain.

 

The Maritime Labour Convention

 

The International Labour Organization’s Maritime Labour Convention was adopted in 2006 (“MLC 2006”). The basic aims of the MLC 2006 are to ensure comprehensive worldwide protection of the rights of seafarers and to establish a level playing field for countries and ship owners committed to providing decent working and living conditions for seafarers, protecting them from unfair competition on the part of substandard ships. The Convention was ratified on August 20, 2012, and all our vessels have been certified, as required. The MLC 2006 requirements have not had a material effect on our operations.

 

C. Organizational Structure

 

Globus Maritime Limited is a holding company. As of the date of this annual report, Globus wholly owns 12 operational subsidiaries, all of which are Marshall Islands corporations seven of our operational subsidiaries each own one vessel, four of our operational subsidiaries each are a counterparty to a ship building contract (one of which is also the counterparty to the bareboat charterer under a sale and leaseback) and one of our operational subsidiaries is our Manager and does not own any vessels. Our Manager provides the technical and day-to-day commercial management of our fleet and our financial reporting. Our Manager provides consultancy services to an affiliated ship management company. Our Manager maintains ship management agreements with each of our vessel-owning or bareboat chartering subsidiaries. In addition, four additional Marshall Islands subsidiaries have each entered into a shipbuilding contract for the construction of a new vessel. See “Item 4.A. History and Development of the Company.” We also own a number of entities that used to own our ships that we sold. Those subsidiaries are formed in the Marshall Islands and Malta.

 

D. Property, Plants and Equipment

 

In 2016 our Manager entered into a rental agreement for 350 square meters of office space for our operations within a building owned by Cyberonica S.A., a related party to us at a monthly rate of €10,360 with a lease period ending January 2, 2025. However, in August 2021, our Manager entered into a new rental agreement for 902 square metres of office space for its operations within a building owned by Cyberonica S.A. (a company controlled by our chairman of the board) at a monthly rate of €26,000 with a lease period ending August 2024, and the 2016 rental agreement was terminated. In June 2022, we entered into a new rental agreement with F.G. Europe (an affiliate of our chairman) for the same office space, at the same rate of Euro 26,000 and with the same lease period ending of August 4, 2024. The previous rental agreement with Cyberonica was terminated. We do not presently own any real estate. As of December 31, 2023, we did not owe any amount of back rent to F.G. Europe.

 

As of December 31, 2023 and 2022 our fleet consisted of six and nine vessels, respectively, with an aggregate carrying value of $100.6 and $129.5 million, respectively.

 

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A vessel-by-vessel carrying value summary as of December 31, 2023 and 2022 follows:

 

Dry bulk Vessels Dwt Year Built Month and Year of Acquisition Purchase Price (in millions of U.S. Dollars) Carrying Value
as of December 31, 2023 (in millions of U.S. Dollars)
Carrying Value
as of December 31, 2022 (in millions of U.S. Dollars)
m/v River Globe 53,627 2007 December 2007 57.5 6.9 7.6
m/v Sky Globe 56,855 2009 May 2010 32.8 - 9.8
m/v Star Globe 56,867 2010 May 2010 32.8 - 9.3
m/v Sun Globe 58,790 2007 September 2011 30.3 - 9.3
m/v Moon Globe 74,432 2005 June 2011 31.4 10.0 10.2
m/v Galaxy Globe 81,167 2015 October 2020 18.4 17.0 16.7
m/v Diamond Globe 82,027 2018 June 2021 27.0 25.4 25.0
m/v Power Globe 80,655 2011 July 2021 16.2 14.7 16.0
m/v Orion Globe 81,837 2015 November 2021 28.4 26.6 26.7
          100.6 129.5

  

Other than our vessels and contracts to construct vessels, we do not have any material property. Six of our vessels are subject to priority mortgages, which secure our obligations under the CIT Loan Facility. For more information on the vessels currently comprising our fleet, please see “Item 4.B. Business Overview.” For more information on our shipbuilding contracts, see “Item 4.A. History and Development of the Company.”

 

For more information on our financing arrangements, please see “Item 5.B. Liquidity and Capital Resources — Indebtedness.”

 

We have no manufacturing capacity, nor do we produce any products.

 

We believe that our existing financing arrangements are adequate to meet our needs for the foreseeable future.

 

Item 4A. Unresolved Staff Comments

 

None.

 

Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects

 

The following discussion should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and the accompanying notes thereto included elsewhere in this annual report on Form 20-F. We believe that the following discussion contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Actual results or plan of operations could differ materially from those anticipated by forward-looking information due to factors discussed under “Item 3.D. Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this annual report on Form 20-F. Please see the section “Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” at the beginning of this annual report on Form 20-F.

 

The following Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (MD&A) is intended to help the reader understand our results of operations and financial condition. The MD&A is provided as a supplement to, and should be read in conjunction with, our consolidated financial statements and notes thereto included in “Item 18. Financial Statements.”

 

The MD&A generally discusses 2023 and 2022 items and year-on-year comparisons between 2023 and 2022. Discussions of 2021 items and year-on-year comparisons between 2022 and 2021 that are not included in this Form 20-F can be found in “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 20-F for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022 filed with the SEC on March 20, 2023.

 

A. Operating Results

 

Overview and History

 

We are an integrated dry bulk shipping company, which began operations in September 2006, providing marine transportation services on a worldwide basis. We own, operate and manage a fleet of dry bulk vessels that transport iron ore, coal, grain, steel products, cement, alumina and other dry bulk cargoes internationally. Following the conclusion of our initial public offering on June 1, 2007, our common shares were listed on the AIM under the ticker “GLBS.L.” On November 24, 2010, we redomiciled into the Marshall Islands pursuant to the BCA and a resale registration statement for our common shares was declared effective by the SEC. Once the resale registration statement was declared effective by the SEC, our common shares began trading on the Nasdaq Global Market under the ticker “GLBS.” We delisted our common shares from the AIM on November 26, 2010.

 

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On April 11, 2016 our common shares began trading on the Nasdaq Capital Market and ceased trading on the Nasdaq Global Market, without a change in our ticker.

 

On July 29, 2010, we effected a 1-4 reverse stock split, with our issued share capital resulting in 7,240,852 common shares of $0.004 each. On October 20, 2016, we effected a 1-4 reverse stock split which reduced the number of outstanding common shares from 10,510,741 to 2,627,674 shares (adjustments were made based on fractional shares). (These figures do not reflect the 1-10 reverse stock split which occurred in October 2018 or the 1-100 reverse stock split occurred in October 2020.) On October 15, 2018, we effected a 1-10 reverse stock split which reduced the number of outstanding common shares from 32,065,077 to 3,206,495 shares (adjustments were made based on fractional shares). (These figures do not reflect the 1-100 reverse stock split occurred in October 2020.)

In November 2018, we entered into a credit facility for up to $15 million with Firment Shipping Inc., a related party to us, for the purpose of financing our general working capital needs, which facility was amended and restated on May 8, 2020. The Firment Shipping Credit Facility was unsecured and remained available until its final maturity date at October 31, 2021, as amended. We have the right to drawdown any amount up to $15 million or prepay any amount in multiples of $100,000. Any prepaid amount cannot be re-borrowed. Interest on drawn and outstanding amounts is charged at 3.5% per annum until December 31, 2020, and thereafter at 7% per annum. No commitment fee is charged on the amounts remaining available and undrawn. Interest is payable the last day of a period of three months after the drawdown date, after this period in case of failure to pay any sum due a default interest of 2% per annum above the regular interest is charged. We have also the right, in our sole option, to convert in whole or in part the outstanding unpaid principal amount and accrued but unpaid interest under this Agreement into common shares. The conversion price shall equal the higher of (i) the average of the daily dollar volume-weighted average sale price for the common shares on the Principal Market on any trading day during the period beginning at 9.30 a.m. New York City time and ending at 4.00 p.m. over the Pricing Period multiplied by 80%, where the “Pricing Period” equals the ten consecutive trading days immediately preceding the date on which the conversion notice was executed or (ii) $280.00. The outstanding amount under the Firment Shipping Credit Facility was fully repaid on July 27, 2020. This facility expired on its terms on October 31, 2021.

 

On April 23, 2019, the Company converted the outstanding principal amount of $3.1 million plus the accrued interest of $0.1 million with a conversion price of $2.80 per share and issued 1,132,191 new common shares on behalf of Firment Shipping Inc. in accordance with the provisions of the Firment Shipping Credit Facility. This conversion resulted in a gain of $0.1 million. As of December 31, 2020, $14.2 million was available to be drawn under the Firment Shipping Credit Facility. (These figures do not reflect the 1-100 reverse stock split occurred in October 2020.)

 

On June 22, 2020, we completed a public offering of 342,857 units of the Company. Each unit consisted of one common share and one Class A Warrant to purchase one common share (a “Class A Warrant”), for $35 per unit. At the time of the closing, the underwriters exercised and closed a part of their over-allotment option, and purchased an additional 51,393 common shares and Class A Warrants to purchase 51,393 common shares.

 

The exercise price of the Class A Warrants is $35 per whole share at any time after their original issuance up to the date that is five years after their original issuance. If a registration statement registering the issuance of the common shares underlying the warrants under the Securities Act is not effective or available, the holder may, in its sole discretion, elect to exercise the warrant through a cashless exercise, in which case the holder would receive upon such exercise the net number of common shares determined according to the formula set forth in the warrant. We may be required to pay certain amounts as liquidated damages as specified in the warrants in the event it does not deliver common shares upon exercise of the warrants within the time periods specified in the warrants.

 

On June 30, 2020, we issued 458,500 of our common shares in a registered direct offering and 458,500 of our June PP Warrants in a concurrent private placement for a purchase price of $27 per common share and June PP Warrant. No June PP Warrants have been exercised as of the date hereof, and may be exercised at any time prior to 5:00 PM New York time on December 30, 2025. The exercise price of each June PP Warrant was originally $30 per share, but in July 2020 was reduced to $18 per share.

 

On July 21, 2020, we issued 833,333 of our common shares in a registered direct offering and 833,333 of our July PP Warrants to purchase common shares in a concurrent private placement for a purchase price of $18 per common share and July PP Warrant. No July PP Warrants have been exercised as of the date hereof, and may be exercised at any time prior to 5:00 PM New York time on January 21, 2026. The exercise price of each July PP Warrant is $18 per share.

 

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On December 9, 2020, we issued (a) 1,256,765 common shares, (b) pre-funded warrants to purchase 155,000 common shares, and (c) warrants (the “December 2020 Warrants”) to purchase 1,270,587 common shares. The pre-funded warrants have all been exercised. No December 2020 Warrants have been exercised as of the date hereof, and may be exercised at any time prior to 5:00 PM New York time on June 9, 2026. The exercise price of the December 2020 Warrants was reduced from $8.50 per share to $6.25 per share on January 29, 2021.

 

On January 29, 2021, we issued (a) 2,155,000 common shares, (b) pre-funded warrants to purchase 445,000 common shares, and (c) warrants (the “January 2021 Warrants”) to purchase 1,950,000 common shares at an exercise price of $6.25 per share, which may be exercised at any time prior to 5:00 PM New York time on July 29, 2026. The pre-funded warrants were all exercised. No January 2021 Warrants have been exercised as of the date hereof.

 

On February 17, 2021, we issued (a) 3,850,000 common shares, (b) pre-funded warrants to purchase 950,000 common shares, and (c) warrants (the “February 2021 Warrants”) to purchase 4,800,000 common shares at an exercise price of $6.25 per share, which may be exercised at any time prior to 5:00 PM New York time on August 17, 2026. The pre-funded warrants have all been exercised. No February 2021 Warrants have been exercised as of the date hereof.

 

On June 29, 2021, we issued (a) 8,900,000 common shares, (b) pre-funded warrants to purchase 1,100,000 common shares, and (c) warrants (the “June 2021 Warrants”) to purchase 10,000,000 common shares at an exercise price of $5.00 per share, which may be exercised at any time prior to 5:00 PM New York time on December 29, 2026. The pre-funded warrants have all been exercised. No June 2021 Warrants have been exercised as the date hereof.

 

Each of the June PP Warrants, July PP Warrants, December 2020 Warrants, January 2021 Warrants, February 2021 Warrants and June 2021 Warrants is exercisable for a period of five and one-half years commencing on the date of issuance. The warrants are exercisable at the option of each holder, in whole or in part by delivering to us a duly executed exercise notice with payment in full in immediately available funds for the number of common shares purchased upon such exercise. If a registration statement registering the resale of the common shares underlying the private placement warrants under the Securities Act is not effective or available at any time after the six month anniversary of the date of issuance of the private placement warrants, the holder may, in its sole discretion, elect to exercise the private placement warrant through a cashless exercise, in which case the holder would receive upon such exercise the net number of common shares determined according to the formula set forth in the warrant. If a registration statement covering the issuance of the shares under the Securities Act is not effective or available at any time after the issuance of the December 2020 Warrants, January 2021 Warrants, February 2021 Warrants and June 2021 Warrants, the holder may, in its sole discretion, elect to exercise the such warrants through a cashless exercise, in which case the holder would receive upon such exercise the net number of common shares determined according to the formula set forth in the warrant. If we do not issue the shares in a timely fashion, each warrant contains certain liquidated damages provisions.

 

From June 22, 2020 through the date hereof, we have issued 5,550 common shares pursuant to exercises of outstanding Class A Warrants. As of the date of this annual report, no June PP Warrants, July PP Warrants, December 2020 Warrants, January 2021 Warrants, February 2021 Warrants or June 2021 Warrants have been exercised.

 

On October 21, 2020, we effected a 1-100 reverse stock split which reduced the number of shares outstanding from 175,675,651 to 1,756,720 (adjustments were made based on fractional shares). Unless otherwise noted, all historical share numbers, per share amounts, including common share, preferred shares and warrants, have been adjusted to give effect to this reverse stock split.

 

As of December 31, 2023, our issued and outstanding capital stock consisted of 20,582,301 common shares and 10,300 Series Preferred Shares.

 

On June 12, 2020, we entered into a stock purchase agreement and issued 50 of our newly-designated Series B preferred shares, par value $0.001 per share, to Goldenmare Limited, a company controlled by our Chief Executive Officer, Athanasios Feidakis, in return for $150,000, which amount was settled by reducing, on a dollar-for-dollar basis, the amount payable by the Company to Goldenmare Limited pursuant to the consultancy agreement.

 

In July 2020, we issued an additional 250 of our Series B preferred shares to Goldenmare Limited in return for $150,000. The $150,000 was paid by reducing, on a dollar-for-dollar basis, the amount payable by the Company to Goldenmare Limited pursuant to a consultancy agreement. In addition, we increased the maximum voting rights under the Series B preferred shares from 49.0% to 49.99%.

 

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In March 2021, we issued an additional 10,000 of our Series B preferred shares to Goldenmare Limited in return for $130,000, which was settled by reducing, on a dollar-for-dollar basis, the amount payable by the Company to Goldenmare Limited pursuant to a consultancy agreement.

 

Each Series B preferred share entitles the holder thereof to 25,000 votes per share on all matters submitted to a vote of the shareholders of the Company, provided however, that no holder of Series B preferred shares may exercise voting rights pursuant to Series B preferred shares that would result in the aggregate voting power of any beneficial owner of such shares and its affiliates (whether pursuant to ownership of Series B preferred shares, common shares or otherwise) to exceed 49.99% of the total number of votes eligible to be cast on any matter submitted to a vote of shareholders of the Company. To the fullest extent permitted by law, the holders of Series B preferred shares shall have no special voting or consent rights and shall vote together as one class with the holders of the common shares on all matters put before the shareholders. The Series B preferred shares are not convertible into common shares or any other security. They are not redeemable and have no dividend rights. Upon any liquidation, dissolution or winding up of the Company, the Series B preferred shares are entitled to receive a payment with priority over the common shareholders equal to the par value of $0.001 per share. The Series B preferred shareholder has no other rights to distributions upon any liquidation, dissolution or winding up of the Company. All issued and outstanding Series B preferred shares must be held of record by one holder, and the Series B preferred shares shall not be transferred without the prior approval of our Board of Directors. Finally, in the event the Company (i) declares any dividend on its common shares, payable in common shares, (ii) subdivides the outstanding common shares or (iii) combines the outstanding common shares into a smaller number of shares, there shall be a proportional adjustment to the number of outstanding Series B preferred shares.

 

Each issuance of the Series B preferred shares to Goldenmare Limited was approved by an independent committee of the Board of Directors of the Company, which (in each instance) received a fairness opinion from an independent financial advisor that the transaction was for a fair value.

 

In May 2021, we entered into an agreement with First Citizens Bank & Trust Company (formerly known as CIT Bank N.A.) for a loan facility of $34.25 million bearing interest at LIBOR plus a margin of 3.75% per annum. On May 10, 2021, we fully drew $34.25 million under this facility. The proceeds of this financing were used to repay the outstanding balance of the EnTrust Loan Facility.

 

In August 2022, we entered into a deed of accession, amendment and restatement of the CIT Loan Facility with First Citizens Bank & Trust Company (formerly known as CIT Bank N.A.), whereby the CIT Loan Facility was amended and restated and an additional borrower, Salaminia Maritime Limited, acceded to the CIT Loan Facility. The CIT Loan Facility principal amount was increased to $52.25 million, by a top up loan amount of $18 million for the purpose of financing our vessel Orion Globe and for general corporate and working capital purposes. The CIT Loan Facility (including the new top up loan amount) became further secured by a first preferred mortgage over the vessel Orion Globe. Furthermore, the LIBOR interest provisions of the CIT Loan Facility were replaced with Term SOFR plus a margin of 3.35% (or 5.35% default interest) per annum. On August 10, 2022, we fully drew the top up amount of $18 million.

 

On April 29, 2022, we entered into a contract, through our subsidiary Calypso Shipholding S.A., for the construction and purchase of one fuel efficient bulk carrier with a carrying capacity of approximately 64,000 dwt. The vessel was built at Nihon Shipyard Co. in Japan and was delivered on January 25, 2024. The total consideration for the construction of the vessel was approximately $37.5 million, which we financed with equity. In May 2022 we paid the first installment of $7.4 million, in March 2023 paid the second installment of $3.8 million, in September 2023 paid the third installment of $3.7 millionand in November 2023 paid the fourth installment of $3.7 million. On January 22, 2024, we paid the final installment of $18.5 million and on January 25, 2024 we took delivery of the new vessel which was named m/v GLBS Hero.

 

On May 13, 2022, we entered into two contracts, through our subsidiaries Daxos Maritime Limited and Paralus Shipholding S.A., for the construction and purchase of two fuel efficient bulk carriers with a carrying capacity of approximately 64,000 dwt each. The sister vessels will be built at Nantong COSCO KHI Ship Engineering Co. in China with the first one scheduled to be delivered during the third quarter of 2024 and to be named m/v “GLBS MIGHT” and the second one scheduled during the fourth quarter of 2024. The total consideration for the construction of both vessels is approximately $70.3 million, which we intend to finance with a combination of debt and equity. In May 2022 we paid the first installment of $13.8 million and in November 2022 we paid the second installment of $6.9 million for both vessels under construction. For more information regarding the sale and leaseback agreement that we entered into in February 2024 in respect of the vessel GLBS MIGHT, see “—Recent developments (post-2023).”

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On March 6, 2023, we, through a wholly owned subsidiary, entered into an agreement to sell the 2007-built Sun Globe for a gross price of $14.1 million, before commissions, to an unaffiliated third party. Following the agreement to sell Sun Globe and given the significant increase in the vessel’s market value, we assessed that there were indications that impairment losses recognized in the previous periods with respect to this vessel had decreased. Therefore, the carrying amount of the vessel was increased to its recoverable amount, determined based on its selling price less cost to sell, and we recorded a reversal of impairment in the amount of $4.4 million during the first quarter of 2023. The vessel was delivered to its new owners on June 5, 2023 and we recorded a gain of $71,000.

 

In August 2023, we entered into a second deed of accession, amendment and restatement of the CIT Loan Facility with First Citizens Bank & Trust Company (formerly known as CIT Bank N.A.), whereby the CIT Loan Facility was further amended and restated and two additional borrowers, Argo Maritime Limited and Talisman Maritime Limited, acceded to the CIT Loan Facility. The CIT Loan Facility was further increased to $72.25 million, by a top up loan amount of $25 million for the purpose of financing our vessels Diamond Globe and Power Globe and for general corporate and working capital purposes. The CIT Loan Facility (including the new top up loan amount) became further secured by first preferred mortgages over the vessels Diamond Globe and Power Globe. The CIT Loan Facility currently bears interest at Term SOFR together with an adjustment of 0.1% per annum plus a margin of 2.70% (or 4.70% default interest) per annum. On August 10, 2023, we fully drew the top up amount of $25 million.

 

On August 11, 2023, we, through a wholly owned subsidiary, entered into an agreement to sell the 2009-built Sky Globe for a gross price of $10.7 million, before commissions, to an unaffiliated third party. The vessel was delivered to its new owners on September 7, 2023. We recognized a gain of approximately $2.2 million as a result of the sale.

 

On August 16, 2023, we, through a wholly owned subsidiary, entered into an agreement to sell the 2010-built Star Globe for a gross price of $11.2 million, before commissions, to an unaffiliated third party. The vessel was delivered to its new owners on September 13, 2023. We recognized a gain of approximately $1.6 million as a result of the sale.

 

On August 18, 2023, we, through Thalia Shipholding S.A. and Olympia Shipholding S.A., signed two contracts for the construction and purchase of two fuel efficient bulk carrier of approximately 64,000 dwt each. The two vessels will be built at Nihon Shipyard Co. in Japan and are scheduled to be delivered during the second half of 2026. The total consideration for the construction of both vessels is approximately $75.5 million, which we intend to finance with a combination of debt and equity. In August 2023, we paid the first installment of $7.5 million for both vessels under construction.

 

Recent Developments (post-2023)

 

On February 23, 2024, we, through our subsidiary Daxos Maritime Limited, entered into a $28 million sale and leaseback agreement with SK Shipholding S.A., a subsidiary of Shinken, with respect to the approximately 64,000 dwt bulk carrier to be named “GLBS MIGHT,” which is scheduled to be delivered during the third quarter of 2024. For more information regarding the terms of the sale and leaseback agreement, see “Item 5.B. Liquidity and Capital Resources — Indebtedness.”

 

We intend to grow our fleet through timely and selective acquisitions of modern vessels or acquisition through construction of new vessels in a manner that we believe will provide an attractive return on equity and will be accretive to our earnings and cash flow based on anticipated market rates at the time of purchase. There is no guarantee however, that we will be able to find suitable vessels to purchase or that such vessels will provide an attractive return on equity or be accretive to our earnings and cash flow.

 

Our strategy is to generally employ our vessels on a mix of all types of charter contracts, including bareboat charters, time charters and spot charters. We may, from time to time, enter into charters with longer durations depending on our assessment of market conditions.

 

We seek to manage our fleet in a manner that allows us to maintain profitability across the shipping cycle and thus maximize returns for our shareholders. To accomplish this objective we have historically deployed our vessels primarily on a mix of bareboat and time charters (with terms of between one month and five years). According to our assessment of market conditions, we have historically adjusted the mix of these charters to take advantage of the relatively stable cash flow and high utilization rates associated with time charters or to profit from attractive spot charter rates during periods of strong charter market conditions.

 

The average number of vessels in our fleet for the year ended December 31, 2023 was 7.8, for the year ended December 31, 2022 was 9.0, and for the year ended December 31, 2021 was 7.1.

 

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Our operations are managed by our Glyfada, Greece-based wholly owned subsidiary, Globus Shipmanagement Corp., our Manager, who provides in-house commercial and technical management services to our vessels and consultancy services to an affiliated ship-management company. Our Manager enters into a ship management agreement with each of our wholly owned vessel-owning or bareboat chartering subsidiaries to provide such services and also entered into a consultancy agreement with an affiliated ship-management company.

 

Conflicts

 

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which commenced in February 2022, has disrupted supply chains and caused instability and significant volatility in the global economy. Much uncertainty remains regarding the global impact of the conflict in Ukraine, and it is possible that such instability, uncertainty and resulting volatility could significantly increase our costs and adversely affect our business, including our ability to secure charters and financing on attractive terms, and as a result, adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operation and cash flows.

 

As a result of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Switzerland, the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom and others have announced unprecedented levels of sanctions and other measures against Russia and certain Russian entities and nationals, including removing Russian-based financial institutions from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication payment system and restricting imports of Russian oil, liquefied natural gas, and coal. Such sanctions against Russia may adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operation and cash flows. For example, apart from the immediate commercial disruptions caused in the conflict zone, escalating tensions and fears of potential shortages in the supply of Russian crude caused the price of oil to trade above $100 per barrel in March 2022. The ongoing conflict could result in the imposition of further economic sanctions against Russia, with uncertain impacts on the dry bulk market and the world economy. While we do not have any Ukrainian or Russian crew and our vessels currently do not sail in the Black Sea, it is possible that the conflict in Ukraine, including any increased shipping costs, disruptions of global shipping routes, any impact on the global supply chain and any impact on current or potential customers caused by the events in Russia and Ukraine, could adversely affect our operations or financial performance. Due to the recent nature of these activities, the full impact on our business is not yet known.

 

The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine could result in the imposition of further economic sanctions by the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, or other countries against Russia, trade tariffs, or embargoes with uncertain impacts on the markets in which we operate. In addition, the U.S. and certain other North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries have been supplying Ukraine with military aid. U.S. officials have also warned of the increased possibility of Russian cyberattacks, which could disrupt the operations of businesses involved in the dry bulk industry, including ours, and could create economic uncertainty particularly if such attacks spread to a broad array of countries and networks. Although Ukraine and Russia reached an agreement to extend an arrangement allowing shipment of grain from Ukrainian ports through a humanitarian corridor in the Black Sea in November 2022, Russia terminated this agreement in July 2023. While much uncertainty remains regarding the global impact of the war in Ukraine, it is possible that such tensions could adversely affect our business, financial condition, operating results, and cash flows.

 

Furthermore, the intensity and duration of the recently declared war between Israel and Hamas is difficult to predict and its impact on the world economy and our industry is uncertain. While much uncertainty remains regarding the global impact of the war between Israel and Hamas, it is possible that such tensions could result in the eruption of further hostilities in other regions, including the Red Sea, and could adversely affect our business, financial conditions, operating results, and cash flows.

 

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 Black Sea, South China Sea and the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia. The ongoing war in Ukraine has previously resulted in missile attacks on commercial vessels in the Black Sea and the recent outbreak of conflict in the Red Sea has also resulted in missile attacks on vessels. Acts of terrorism and piracy have also affected vessels trading in regions such as the Gulf of Guinea, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia, and the Indian Ocean. The IMO’s extraordinary council session held on March 10-11, 2022 addressed the impacts on shipping and seafarers, as a result of the war in Ukraine. The IMO called for the need to preserve the integrity of maritime supply chains and the safety and welfare of seafarers and any spillover effects of the military action on global shipping, logistics and supply chains, in particular the impacts on the delivery of commodities and food to developing nations and the impacts on energy supplies. Any of these occurrences could have a material adverse impact on our operating results, revenues and costs.

 

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      IMO 2020 Compliance

 

On October 27, 2016, the Marine Environment Protection Committee (“MEPC”) of the International Maritime Organization (“IMO”) announced the ratification of regulations mandating reduction in sulfur emissions from 3.5% currently to 0.5% as of the beginning of 2020 rather than pushing the deadline back to 2025. Accordingly, ships now have to reduce sulfur emissions, for which the principal solutions are the use of exhaust gas cleaning systems (“scrubbers”) or buying fuel with low sulfur content. If a vessel is not retrofitted with a scrubber, it will need to use low sulfur fuel, which is currently more expensive than standard marine fuel containing 3.5% sulfur content. This increased demand for low sulfur fuel resulted in an increase in prices for such fuel during the beginning of 2020. Until September 2023 bunker prices increased and then started decreasing again.

 

None of our vessels currently have scrubbers. We will continue to evaluate all options to comply with IMO regulations. Our fuel costs and fuel inventories may increase as a result of these sulfur emission regulations. Low sulfur fuel is more expensive than standard marine fuel containing 3.5% sulfur content and may become more expensive or difficult to obtain as a result of increased demand. If the cost differential between low sulfur fuel and high sulfur fuel is significantly higher than anticipated, or if low sulfur fuel is not available at ports on certain trading routes, it may not be feasible or competitive to operate vessels on certain trading routes without installing scrubbers or without incurring deviation time to obtain compliant fuel.

 

Lack of Historical Operating Data for Vessels Before their Acquisition

 

Consistent with shipping industry practice, we were not and have not been able obtain the historical operating data for the secondhand vessels we purchase, in part because that information is not material to our decision to acquire such vessels, nor do we believe such information would be helpful to potential investors in our common shares in assessing our business or profitability. We generally purchase our vessels under a standardized agreement commonly used in shipping practice, which, among other things, provides us with the right to inspect the vessel and the vessel’s classification society records. The standard agreement does not provide us the right to inspect, or receive copies of, the historical operating data of the vessel. Accordingly, such information was not available to us. Prior to the delivery of a purchased vessel, the seller typically removes from the vessel all records, including past financial records and accounts related to the vessel. Typically, the technical management agreement between a seller’s technical manager and the seller is automatically terminated and the vessel’s trading certificates are revoked by its flag state following a change in ownership.

 

In addition, and consistent with shipping industry practice, we treat the acquisition of vessels from unaffiliated third parties as the acquisition of an asset rather than a business. We believe that, under the applicable provisions of Rule 11-01(d) of Regulation S-X under the Securities Act, the acquisition of our vessels does not constitute the acquisition of a “business” for which historical or pro forma financial information would be provided pursuant to Rules 3-05 and 11-01 of Regulation S-X.

 

Although vessels are generally acquired free of charter, we may in the future acquire some vessels with charters. Where a vessel has been under a voyage charter, the vessel is usually delivered to the buyer free of charter. It is rare in the shipping industry for the last charterer of the vessel in the hands of the seller to continue as the first charterer of the vessel in the hands of the buyer. In most cases, when a vessel is under time charter and the buyer wishes to assume that charter, the vessel cannot be acquired without the charterer’s consent and the buyer entering into a separate direct agreement, called a novation agreement, with the charterer to assume the charter. The purchase of a vessel itself does not transfer the charter because it is a separate service agreement between the vessel owner and the charterer.

 

If the Company acquires a vessel subject to a time charter, it amortizes the amount of the component that is attributable to favorable or unfavorable terms relative to market terms and is included in the cost of that vessel, over the remaining term of the lease. The amortization is included in line “amortization of fair value of time charter attached to vessels” in the income statement component of the consolidated statement of comprehensive income.

 

If we purchase a vessel and assume or renegotiate a related time charter, we must take the following steps before the vessel will be ready to commence operations:

 

  Ø obtain the charterer’s consent to us as the new owner;

 

  Ø obtain the charterer’s consent to a new technical manager;

 

  Ø in some cases, obtain the charterer’s consent to a new flag for the vessel;

 

        Ø arrange for a new crew for the vessel, and where the vessel is on charter, in some cases, the crew must be approved by the charterer;

 

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  Ø replace all hired equipment on board, such as gas cylinders and communication equipment;

 

  Ø negotiate and enter into new insurance contracts for the vessel through our own insurance brokers;

 

        Ø register the vessel under a flag state and perform the related inspections in order to obtain new trading certificates from the flag state;

 

  Ø implement a new planned maintenance program for the vessel; and

 

        Ø ensure that the new technical manager obtains new certificates for compliance with the safety and vessel security regulations of the flag state.

 

The following discussion is intended to help you understand how acquisitions of vessels affect our business and results of operations.

 

Our business is comprised of the following main elements:

 

        Ø

employment and operation of our dry bulk vessels and management of a vessel owned by a third party; and

 

  Ø management of the financial, general and administrative elements involved in the conduct of our business and ownership of our dry bulk vessels.

 

The employment and operation of our vessels and the vessel we manage require the following main components:

 

  Ø vessel maintenance and repair;

 

  Ø crew selection and training;

 

  Ø vessel spares and stores supply;

 

  Ø contingency response planning;

 

  Ø onboard safety procedures auditing;

 

  Ø accounting;

 

  Ø vessel insurance arrangement;

 

  Ø vessel chartering;

 

  Ø vessel security training and security response plans (ISPS);

 

  Ø obtaining ISM certification and audit for each vessel within the six months of taking over a vessel;

 

  Ø vessel hire management;

 

  Ø vessel surveying; and

 

  Ø vessel performance monitoring.

 

The management of financial, general and administrative elements involved in the conduct of our business and ownership of our vessels requires the following main components:

 

          Ø management of our financial resources, including banking relationships, i.e., administration of bank loans and bank accounts;

 

  Ø management of our accounting system and records and financial reporting;

 

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  Ø administration of the legal and regulatory requirements affecting our business and assets; and

 

  Ø management of the relationships with our service providers and customers.

 

The principal factors that affect our profitability, cash flows and shareholders’ return on investment include:

 

  Ø rates and periods of hire;

 

  Ø levels of vessel operating expenses, including repairs and drydocking;

 

  Ø purchase and sale of vessels;

 

  Ø management fees for any third party ships that we manage;

  

  Ø depreciation expenses;

 

  Ø

financing costs; and

 

  Ø fluctuations in foreign exchange rates.

 

Revenue

 

Overview

 

We generate revenues by charging our customers for the use of our vessels to transport their dry bulk commodities. Under a time charter, the charterer pays us a fixed daily charter hire rate and bears all voyage expenses, including the cost of bunkers (fuel oil) and port and canal charges. We remain responsible for paying the chartered vessel’s operating expenses, including the cost of crewing, insuring, repairing and maintaining the vessel, the costs of spares and consumable stores, tonnage taxes and other miscellaneous expenses. Under a bareboat charter, the charterer pays us a fixed daily charter hire rate and bears all voyage expenses, as well as the vessel’s operating expenses.

 

Spot charters can be spot voyage charters or spot time charters. Spot voyage charters involve the carriage of a specific amount and type of cargo on a load-port to discharge-port basis, subject to various cargo handling terms, and the vessel owner is paid on a per-ton basis. Under a spot voyage charter, the vessel owner is responsible for the payment of all expenses including capital costs, voyage expenses, such as port, canal and bunker costs. A spot time charter is a contract to charter a vessel for an agreed period of time at a set daily rate. Under spot time charters, the charterer pays the voyage expenses.

 

Voyage revenues and management & consulting fee income

 

Our voyage revenues are driven primarily by the number of vessels in our fleet, the number of days during which our vessels operate and the amount of daily hire rates that our vessels earn under charters or on the spot market, which, in turn, are affected by a number of factors, including:

 

  Ø the duration of our charters;

 

  Ø the number of days our vessels are hired to operate on the short-term or spot market;

 

  Ø our decisions relating to vessel acquisitions and disposals;

 

  Ø the amount of time that we spend positioning our vessels for employment;

 

  Ø the amount of time that our vessels spend in drydocking undergoing repairs;