Havila Voyages has received a dispensation from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to operate ‘Havila Capella’ for six months.
The company will now continue to work towards insuring the ship.
The exemption was granted in accordance with the regulations on restrictive measures regarding actions that undermine or threaten Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty, independence and stability.
During this period, Havila Voyages will continue its efforts to secure refinancing and change ‘Havila Capella’s ownership.
“We are very happy that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has given us a dispensation from the sanctions regulations. This means that the ship is now not sanctioned, since we do not operate in violation of any current regulations”, said CEO, Bent Martini.
“We would like to thank our partners who have actively assisted us in this matter. The Ministry of Transport and Communications has been a great support to us, and the assistance we have received from the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association has also been very useful to us. There are many who have turned around quickly and worked around the clock with this complex case related to the sanctions issue,” he added.
Martini also said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ conclusion was very clarifying also with regard to suppliers that are crucial for the ships’ operations.
“Even though we had expected and hoped for a positive solution, it is very good to get the confirmation that ‘Havila Capella’ has not been sanctioned.
“Havila Voyages is a Norwegian company, and our ships sail under the Norwegian flag. This decision by the authorities gives us security for the future,” Martini said.
The challenge Havila Voyages now faces is that some suppliers treated ‘Havila Capella’ as a sanctioned ship and announced termination of agreements.
At the same time, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in its reply letter emphasised that it did not take a position on dispensation for insurance. ‘Havila Capella’s’ insurance will require a special dispensation upon application from the insurance companies.
“With the decision of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we hope for positive feedback from the insurance companies and that they apply for a dispensation. As we interpret it, it should be possible to get this dispensation.
“We fully understand that the insurance companies must make their own assessments, but we hope they will reinstate our insurance coverage to get ‘Havila Capella’ sailing along the Norwegian coast as soon as possible,” Martini said.
In its decision, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs considered several elements that Havila Voyages believed were crucial in obtaining a dispensation from the sanction regulations.
“This is based on facts about our operations. ‘Havila Capella’ was built to operate the coastal route between Bergen and Kirkenes in an agreement with the Ministry of Transport and Communications and will consequently operate exclusively in Norwegian waters.
“The agreement with the Ministry of Transport and Communications ensures daily stops at 34 port of calls in Norway, which means that the population in these areas has access to critical infrastructure, which in addition to normal operation can be used in critical and unforeseen situations. This provides security for the coastal population.
“We also operate in the northern areas, areas with geographical conditions that very often have harsh climatic conditions where it is difficult to travel on land. During periods of the year, the ships on the coastal route will therefore contribute as a safety guarantee for the population for stable and safe transport when weather and other conditions make it difficult to travel over land, and air transport is excluded.
“Our operations contribute to significant synergy effects for the business community, where the ships that sail the coastal route ensure the regions stable and good supply of goods and services, which in turn creates a basis for diverse business operations. This also includes the tourism industry, where the ships contribute far beyond their own activity to tourism and tourism activities in the areas where we have port of calls. The ships that sail the coastal route are clearly important for value creation, locally and nationally,” Martini explained.
He added, “Havila Voyages will continue to work actively for refinancing ‘Havila Capella’ to get a change of ownership, with the aim of finding a solution before the dispensation period expires.
“Our goal is for the ship to be 100% owned by Havila Kystruten Operations AS, with a different financing solution than the one we have today. Until that is settled, the ship will return to route as soon as possible, for us to carry out our social mission, which is to operate the classic coastal route between Bergen and Kirkenes,” he concluded.
Despite problems encountered with the financing of its first ship, ‘Havila Capella’, due to its leasing company GTLK Asia being sanctioned as having alleged Russian connections, Havila Voyages took delivery of its second ship ‘Havila Castor’ on 22nd April.
She was delivered from the Tersan shipyard in Turkey and will start sailing on the Norwegian coastal route on 10th May.
‘Havila Castor’ has a market value of around NOK1.2 bill and was financed with equity and a loan of €46 mill from Tersan and the shipyard’s bank. The loan is for a period of three months, the company explained.
“This solution gives us time to find a proper refinancing of the ship, at the same time as it means that our company owns the ship from this date,” Martini said.
The ship’s original financing could not be carried out. The leasing company’s lack of financing of the delivery terms resulted in Havila Kystruten having to take over the ship by means of alternative funds.
“The solution also means that GTLK has no security in ‘Havila Castor’, and the result is that our shipping company owns the ship 100% from today’s date,” Martini further explained.
‘Havila Castor’ is now owned by HK Ship V AS – a 100% owned subsidiary of Havila Kystruten Operations AS.
“’Havila Castor’ will now be cleared through customs in Turkey before she starts sailing for Norway. On that voyage, she will have a crew of 60 people who will work to get the ship ready for the start of the route. We expect ‘Havila Castor’ to arrive in Bergen around 5th May and will then put in all the resources we can for her to get on schedule as planned,” Martini added.
’At the beginning of April, ‘Havila Capella’ was awarded the ‘Next Generation Ship Award’ during the Nor-Shipping event outside Oslo.
“Since the ships are identical, ‘Havila Castor’ has the same assets as ‘Havila Capella’. Among other things this means that they will be the first ships that can sail emissions free, while at the same time, we are sailing more environmentally friendly than has ever been done along the Norwegian coast. ‘Havila Castor’ is clearly also the ship of the future,” Martini said.
A battery pack fitted on board ‘Havila Castor’ weighs 86 tonnes and has an output of 6.1 MW. The ship can sail up to four hours on battery power alone, completely emissions free. In addition, the ship runs on LNG, which reduces CO2 emissions by around 25% and NOx emissions by up to 90%.
They are also designed to operate on future fuels. Liquid biogas (LBG) can basically be used immediately mixed into the LNG tank. In addition, the systems on board are prepared to be able to use hydrogen or ammonia in the future.
“We have a clear goal of using liquid biogas as soon as we can. It all boils down to both cost and not least, availability. We are ready to contribute to even less emissions from our sailings,” Martini said.