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Hottest Small Dry-Bulker: OceanFreight

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- This week we asked or readers to register their opinions on the smaller players in the dry-bulk world: those shippers with tiny market caps (each of the four stocks on our list save one trades for under $2 a share) and tiny fleets, but who may nonetheless show signs of growing into the next DryShips.

As it turns out, the vote was a tight race. None of the contenders won a majority, but two stood out from the rest.

Taking the trophy, with 33.7% of the vote, was [drum roll] OceanFreight (OCNF), of Athens, which owns one capesize and eight panamax dry-bulk vessels, as well as four tanker ships. The company has trailing 12-month revenue of $134.7 million, with about $105 million in cash and $289 million in debt, as of the end of the most-recent quarter.

The choice was relevant. OceanFreight executives have evidently been conducting some schmoozing of late. The company's operating chief, Demetrius Nemes, will ring the opening bell on the Nasdaq Exchange on Monday. Doubtless he'll have a few sit-downs with investors and analysts while in the city, giving his OceanFreight spiel. Prescient readers of TheStreet appear to be familiar with it already.

In a close second-place, Paragon Shipping (PRGN - Get Report) took 30.5% of your clicks. Based in Voula, Greece, the company doesn't own any of the huge capesize vessels, but does run a dozen ships in a variety of smaller classes, generating about $163 million in revenue over the last 12 months.

The remaining three of our candidates ran close together, with FreeSeas (FREE) garnering 14.7%, Top Ships (TOPS) 11.5%, and Euroseas (ESEA - Get Report), bringing up the rear, with 9.6%.

-- Written by Scott Eden in New York

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Scott Eden has covered business -- both large and small -- for more than a decade. Prior to joining, he worked as a features reporter for Dealmaker and Trader Monthly magazines. Before that, he wrote for the Chicago Reader, that city's weekly paper. Early in his career, he was a staff reporter at the Dow Jones News Service. His reporting has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Men's Journal, the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, and the Believer magazine, among other publications. He's also the author of Touchdown Jesus (Simon & Schuster, 2005), a nonfiction book about Notre Dame football fans and the business and politics of big-time college sports. He has degrees from Notre Dame and Washington University in St. Louis.

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