During the first quarter of 2013, NAT acquired another Suezmax tanker, built to top specifications and launched this year. We expect the ship to be delivered to us by June 15, bringing our total fleet to 21 ships. In April, NAT completed an equity offering, with net proceeds of $102.2 million. The same month, the Board declared a dividend of $0.16 per share for 1Q 2013, identical to the dividend for 4Q 2012.
The tanker market remains challenging, though there are underlying signs of improvement. The orderbook for Suezmax tankers is shrinking and should have a positive impact on the tanker market rates in the future. The Imarex index, which measures the average daily rate for leasing a ship, was $12,466 for 1Q2013, approximately at the same level of what our operating fleet attained. In 4Q 2012, the index was $11,533. By contrast, Imarex stood at $22,804 during the 1Q 2012. When the market turns, which can take place quickly, the dividend can be expected to increase. NAT is very well placed to reap the economic benefits of a market upswing. Our fleet is in excellent technical and operational condition, and NAT has the financial resources to maintain it that way. Clients know that we do not compromise on the quality of our operations.
The Company will pay the dividend on or about May 14, 2013 to shareholders of record as of April 30, 2013. Starting in the fall of 1997, when NAT began its operations, the Company has paid a quarterly dividend for 63 consecutive quarters. Including the dividend to be paid in May, the total dividend payments over this period amount to $44.26 per share.
Earnings per share (EPS) from ongoing operations in 1Q 2013 was -$0.59 of which -$0.16 were non-recurring. EPS in 4Q2012 were -$0.61 of which -$0.22 were non-recurring. EPS in 1Q2012 was -$0.18 of which -$0.03 were non-recurring.
NAT took full control of the Orion Tanker Pool as of January 1, 2013. The cost of increasing our ownership in this management company from 50% to 100% was $270,000.
We continue to focus on cost efficiency -- both in administration and onboard our vessels. Later in this report we have outlined some of the measures we are implementing to reduce energy use on the ships.
Spot rates achieved for 1Q 2013 were slightly above the level of 4Q2012. Continued recovery in the world economy is required to increase vessel demand and rates.
During the quarter the Company completed the acquisition of the management company Scandic American Shipping Ltd. There will be no change in the management of the Company following this takeover.
"Financial Vetting", or focus on the financial strength of shipowners, continues to be an important consideration. With NAT this is not a concern for our clients.
The Company does not engage in any type of derivatives.
A stock issue was launched April 1, and closed April 5. The total number of shares issued was 11,212,500, strengthening the financial basis of the Company by $102,258,000 which will be reflected in the 2Q 2013 accounts.
Investors who seek exposure to the tanker market, should consider Nordic American.
The complete first quarter 2013 report can be viewed here: http://hugin.info/201/R/1701030/561521.pdf