‘Havila Polaris’ and ‘Havila Pollux’ delivered

2023-08-15T18:42:22+00:00 August 15th, 2023|Ships|

On 1st August, the Norwegian coastal cruise ships ‘Havila Polaris’ and ‘Havila Pollux’ were finally delivered to Havila Voyages from the Tersan shipyard in Turkey.

CEO, Bent Martini, said. “We have now reached our goal following a process that required a lot of time, resources, and perseverance. In particular, it has demanded a lot of patience from the Norwegian authorities with whom we have an agreement to operate, our customers, coastal communities, our partners, and all employees.

“We remained confident we would reach this moment, even though we have encountered new challenges at every turn. Now that we finally possess our own beautiful and state-of-the-art coastal route ships with spacious cabins and a high level of comfort for everyone on board, it’s a milestone for the shipping company,” he added.

Osman Nurettin Paksu, the chairman of the board of Tersan Shipyard, added: “It is a fantastic day for us celebrating the deliveries of the beautiful coastal passenger ships to Havila Voyages.

Despite challenges for both us and Havila Voyages during the construction process of these impressive ships, we are very happy today to have delivered four marvellous ships .

“These are the most modern and environmentally friendly ships on the Norwegian coastal route, and we are proud that these four sister ships carry the name of Tersan Shipyard along the beautiful Norwegian coast. We also thank Havila Voyages and its co-operative representatives for their support and efforts who made these deliveries possible, it has been pleasure working with them.

“It’s gratifying to hear about the positive feedback Havila Voyages receives from passengers travelling along the historic route with ‘Havila Capella’ and ‘Havila Castor’. With four magnificent ships in operation, even more people will have the opportunity to experience these ships in their fantastic surroundings,” he said.

In recent years, many Havila Voyages’ employees were involved in and contributed to the construction process in Turkey.

Martini emphasised: “We want to thank Tersan Shipyard for their excellent co-operation and great understanding of our challenges over the last few years. They have built four fantastic ships, and without them, as well as other suppliers and partners, we would not be standing here today.

“In addition, we have had our own employees in Turkey throughout the entire process. Having our own people close by has been absolutely crucial for us, and I thank each and every one of them for their dedication and hard work,” he said.

‘Havila Polaris’ is scheduled to start sailing from Bergen on 17th August and was the first to leave the Tersan Shipyard. ‘Havila Pollux’ will start operating from Bergen on 23rd August.

“The crew of ‘Havila Pollux’ will assist on board ‘Havila Polaris’ when they arrive in Bergen, and together with our onshore team, will work to ensure a successful launch. It will be a joint effort that I look forward to. I believe the days in Bergen will also strengthen us as one team, no matter where in the company one works. It is important for us to stand united, as we have done all along, and we are all eagerly looking forward to welcoming our first guests on board,” Martini added.

After Havila Voyages received the required licenses earlier this year to finance its coastal fleet and release the security the original financing partner had in the ships; the company has been working hard to find the right financing partner for the shipping company, Martini further explained.

“The four coastal route ships represent significant value, and we wanted to find a financing partner that would give us full ownership of our ships. We now own all our ships ourselves, and with that, we have succeeded in our goal in the refinancing process.

“We have sought solutions from various authorities and institutions to find a legal solution to the challenges we faced on 24th February last year.

“Significant resources have been used for legal assistance, and with the outcome in hand, we can say that we have gone through and succeeded in a process that is entirely unique on a global scale. We are not aware of others having found a similar solution, so this has been pioneering work all the way.

“Now we choose to look ahead and do everything we can to make up for lost time,” Martini stressed.

Each of Havila Voyage’ ships are valued at around €150 mill and the shipping company has financed the fleet by raising €305 mill from the investment firm HPS Investment Partners.

The largest owners and investors in Havila have also raised €65 mill of additional equity, and Havila Holding has contributed a loan of €20 mill.

“We are satisfied with the solutions we have reached, and they provide us with the necessary flexibility and leeway we need to deliver as expected with our mission along the Norwegian coast,” Martini said.

Like their sister ships, ‘Havila Polaris’ and ‘Havila Pollux’ have energy efficient hull designs created to handle the varied conditions along the coast.

The ships are equipped with a battery pack of 6.1 MWh, allowing them to operate emission-free for up to four hours.

This means they can visit the UNESCO World Heritage area of Geirangerfjorden silently and emission-free, three years before the authorities’ requirement for emission-free ferries and cruise ships in World Heritage fjords comes into effect.

The ships’ propulsion is a hybrid solution, utilising a combination of 86 tonne battery packs with LNG providing the power. The battery packs can be charged while the ships are berthed.

This reduces CO2 emissions by up to 35% and local emissions (NOx and SOx) by 90%, compared to equivalent ships running on traditional fossil fuels.

“For us, it is important to prove our commitment to climate, environment, and sustainability. This is not just a marketing stunt or empty words. From the very first day ‘Havila Capella’ entered service, we have exceeded the requirements set out in our contract with the (Norwegian) Ministry of Transport,” Martini said.

The ships are also designed, built, and prepared for emission-free fuel alternatives, such as hydrogen and ammonia. With current technology, a gradual addition of biogas will further reduce CO2 emissions.

“We have the capability to operate in a carbon-neutral way today by using biogas as fuel in combination with the battery packs. It’s a matter of access and cost, and now that we have finally completed a complicated refinancing, we can focus on finding a solution for transitioning to biogas,” Martini added.

In addition to reduced emissions, some of the ships’ other features include heat recovery from sea and cooling water to warm up the ships and the water on board, as well as a food concept that includes ingredients from locally sourced producers. The on board menu changes during the voyage to reflect the regions that the coastal route ships are sailing through.

“We had an ambitious goal to reduce food waste to only 75 grams per person per day on board. With four ships in operation, that means a reduction of more than 60 tonnes of food waste per year.

“In 2022, we achieved 71 grams of food waste on ‘Havila Capella’ and ‘Havila Castor’, which is a fantastic achievement by everyone involved in developing, producing, and serving our guests’ food.

“We don’t have a buffet, and we believe that our food concept is the way to go to make the dining experience on board flavourful, nutritious, and above all, sustainable, economically, and environmentally,” concluded Martini.