Shipping stocks were floating up Thursday, led by DryShips ( DRYS), which announced a three-year contract for an exploratory project with Petrobras ( PBR).

DryShips said Thursday that its wholly owned subsidiary Ocean Rig ASA has received a letter of award from Petrobras for a three-year contract for exploration drilling in the Black Sea. The contract value is approximately $630 million, DryShips said in a news release. DryShips shares were recently up 24.5% to $5.19.

In other shipping news, Excel Maritime ( EXM) on Wednesday said it had sold the M/V Swift for $3.7 million, the sale of which will result in a loss of roughly $2.4 million. The company's board determined the sale necessary because the Swift's impending fifth special survey, which would have cost more than $2 million and rendered the ship offline for 60 days. The company also announced it was delaying its fourth-quarter and full-year earnings report while it negotiates covenant waivers. Excel shares were recently up 5.7% to $4.83.

Elsewhere:

  • Star Bulk (SBLK) were up 7% to $2.44.
  • Teekay Corp. (TK) rose 2.7% to $16.40.
  • Frontline (FRO) rose 8.8% to $18.86.
  • Seacor Holding (CKH) rose 2.5% to $59.90.
  • Tidewater (TDW) rose 4.2% to $39.22.
  • Kirby (KEX) rose 1.2% to $26.52.
  • Genco Shipping (GNK) was up 7.1% to $13.46.
  • Diana Shipping (DSX) was up 6.7% to $13.76.
  • Eagle Bulk ( EGLE) was up 6.6% to $4.70.
  • Horizon Lines (HRZ) was up 2.1% to $3.45.
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