New cruise line Havila caught up in EU sanctions against Russia

By Lisa James
Home » New cruise line Havila caught up in EU sanctions against Russia

New cruise line Havila Voyages has said sailings on its ship Havila Capella will continue, after the Russian-owned parent of its financier was sanctioned by the European Union.

On Friday, the EU sanctioned Russian company GTLK, which owns the Hong Kong leasing business that financed Havila Capella, currently the only ship sailing in the fleet.

The cruise line says it assumes the sanctions will prevent GTLK from financing three other ships currently being built at the Tersan shipyard in Turkey and it is looking at alternative finance options.

Havila Voyages CEO Bent Martini said: “We support sanctions against Russia in this dire situation the world is in and are now working to refinance Havila Capella to break all ties with sanctioned and Russian-owned companies.

Havila Capella is the only one of our ships that is financed and leased from GTLK. The remaining ships are owned by the Tersan shipyard until we take delivery of them.”

Sailings on Havila Capella won’t be affected and the cruise line still plans to take delivery of its second ship, Havila Castor, within a week, ahead of its scheduled start date of 10 May from Bergen.

“Havila Voyages is the operator of Havila Capella,” Mr Martini explained.

“The ship is approved by the Norwegian authorities and satisfies all requirements in the Norwegian Maritime Act so that it can sail under the Norwegian flag. Even though we have paid rent to a Russian-owned company, the ship is Norwegian for all practical purposes.”

Mr Martini said: “We have to work with several options. The short-term solution is to take delivery of Havila Castor as soon as we can. The slightly more long-term solution is to find an alternative financing for the last two ships under construction, as well as how we will solve Havila Capella, which is already in operation.

“The ships at the Tersan shipyard are owned by the shipyard until delivery.

“The plan was to finance the ships through leasing agreements with GTLK Europe and GTLK Asia, two reputable companies in ship financing, but today’s situation makes it impossible for us to use GTLK as a financing institution for our ships.”

He said it was difficult to say when new financing will be in place, but a solution is ‘well underway’.

“It is about significant sums of money to finance four coastal cruise ships, and these are complex exercises.

“It will take some time before everything is landed. We will comply with current sanctions, regulations and Norwegian legislation when refinancing our ships,” added Mr Martini.

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