StealthGas confirms life saving rescue operation amid new charter deals

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Following an eventful month, in which crew onboard the StealthGas-owned LPGC Gas Kalogeros rescued four stranded Chinese fishermen, Chief Executive Harry Vafias has announced new charter arrangements for three fellow StealthGas LPGC vessels, the Gas Moxie, the Gas Sincerity and the Gas Evoluzione, marking a positive new trend for chartering on a period basis.

The rescue occurred on October 25, when crew onboard the 5,100 cu m, Maltese-flagged Gas Kalogeros spotted a white distress signal before discovering a life raft with the fishermen onboard, whose vessel had sunk during Typhoon Migi. The men, who had been adrift in the raft for eight days were given first aid and food by the crew before being repatriated to Yantian in China two days later.

Mr Vafias said: “I am pleased to report that our vessel the Gas Kalogeros performed a life saving rescue in the South China Sea in late October which resulted in the saving of four lives. We are very proud of the vessel’s crew under the command of Captain Gerundio B. Vidal and we wish to express our thanks to him and his crew for their seamanship and expertise in conducting this rescue. This is the fourth time that a StealthGas vessel has rushed to save people in distress.”

Meanwhile, the new charter agreements for the 6,526 cu m Gas Moxie and the 3,504 cu m Gas Evoluzione will commence early this month, while the 4,100 cu m Gas Sincerity will begin a three year bare boat charter to an international gas operator in June 2011.

The Gas Moxie will begin a series of fixtures, covering a period until early December while the Gas Evoluzione will commence a nine month charter to a state-owned natural gas company, with the option to extend the charter by a further three months. The average time charter equivalent rate for the three vessels is $232,010 per calendar month or $7,632 per day.

Mr Vafias added: “These fixtures now bring the total of ships fixed recently to 13, representing 38% of our LPG fleet. The period charters also enhance our fixed charter coverage for 2011 to around 60%. The charter of the Gas Evoluzione is particularly pleasing as she has been trading in the spot market for sometime. In addition, StealthGas is starting a new relationship with this major charterer.

“This fixture, along with the appetite we have seen recently from charterers to take vessels on a period basis leads us to believe that positive signs may be beginning to emerge in our core market sector and I look forward to further discussing the outlook for our LPG fleet during our earnings call on November 16.”