Nasdaq-listed DryShips has written a cheque worth $21.4mto an unidentified third party to get the 158,000-dwt Esperona and Blanca offits balance sheet.

George Economou, CEO of the owner, said: “As we havestated recently, the reduction or elimination of CAPEX has become a toppriority for the company.

“With the sale of these vessels, Dryships has reduced itsCAPEX by approximately $101m, after taking into consideration the payment of$21.4 m to the buyer of the vessels.’’

Analysts tell TradeWinds the structure of the deal is alittle unusual, but in economic terms it does make sense for the owner giventhe ships were priced at way above today’s market level.

DryShips ordered the tankers at around $70m each, but theresale value of the ships in today’s market is about $56m.

Given the owner had $54m to pay on the vessels it doesmark progress to take the unfunded vessels off its books, a source explains.

DryShips has capital expenditure commitments of around$400m on its 10 dry-cargo newbuildings and an around $50m to pay on itsremaining three tankers after today’s pact, one top analyst tells TradeWinds.

“This is clearly progress, but they still have a long wayto go if they don't want to sell any more Ocean Rig shares,” the analyst said.

Attempts to reach DryShips’ executives for comment werenot immediately successful at the time of writing Monday.