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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It's perhaps fitting that DryShips (DRYS) - Get DryShips Inc. Report kicks off the third-quarter earnings season for the dry-bulk shipping sector this week. The company, which reports after the market closes on Monday, is by far and away the most widely held and most frequently traded and, therefore, the most "popular" publicly traded shipper in the world.

Part of that stems from the company's early move to raise money in the equity markets -- it was the first Greek dry-bulk shipping outfit to do so, and its pioneering move set the stage for a series of maritime IPOs in the U.S. Part of it also stems from DryShip's chief executive, George Economou, a controversial figure. (He has also pushed the company into

offshore oil exploration

, a move that has increasingly impressed certain Wall Street constituents.)

As for the company's core business, much of its fleet is locked up in long-term charters into 2011. Other dry-bulkers can't say the same. With shipping rates fluctuating wildly during the third quarter one wonders how these companies will perform relative to one another and to Wall Street expectations when they report quarterly results over the coming weeks.

With that in mind, we ask our loyal dry-bulk fan base: Which shipping concern do you think will post the strongest third quarter? As always, please leave a comment explaining your pick.

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-- 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.