NEW YORK – Eagle Bulk Shipping Inc, the largest US-based owner of Handymax dry-bulk vessels, yesterday announced it had agreed to acquire the m/v Nordbright, a 52,827-deadweight-ton (dwt) Supramax dry-bulk vessel, and the m/v Norsund, a 50,296 dwt Supramax dry-bulk vessel from Norden. Upon delivery, each vessel will immediately begin service under their respective time charters with Norden for a period of 24 to 26 months at a rate of $24,000 per day. Eagle Bulk will acquire the two 2001 Japanese-built vessels for a total purchase price of $70 million, and plans to rename the vessels m/v Heron and m/v Merlin, respectively. Eagle Bulk will finance the purchase through borrowings on its $330 million revolving credit facility. «The purchase of these vessels is consistent with our growth strategy, and further enhances the company’s ability to benefit from increasing global demand for dry-bulk shipping… These new vessels will expand our fleet from 11 vessels to 13 vessels, enhance our cargo-carrying capacity by 19 percent to 643,619 deadweight tons, and reduce our fleet’s average age to 5.5 years,» said Chairman and CEO Sophocles N. Zoullas.