Cruise ship Havila Capella (IMO 9865570) had to cancel a planned voyage on May 15th after the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign affairs ruled against the application for getting it insured via an exemption to sanction rules.
An exemption of six months was granted for the ship’s operation on April 26th (IMO April 28th). The cruise line company was looking at ways to refinance its fleet, because at the moment Russian company GTLK has a financial interest in the vessels.
In mid-April Havila Kystruten announced the cancellation of its next sailing of the Norwegian coastal cruise ship due to concerns that its insurance had been invalidated as a result of the EU’s sanctions against Russia.
The potential insurance snag only emerged on April 12th, after a reported 232 passengers had boarded the cruise ship ahead of their planned round-trip voyage from Bergen to Kirkenes and back.
Havila said at the time that it would refinance its operations after the sanctions were expanded to include Russian-owned leasing company GTLK, which is financing the company’s four cruise ships.
The EU included GTLK in the sanctions, stating that the company was both Russian-owned and had direct ties to the Russian government. They reported that both Vladimir Putin and several influential Russian businessmen were on the board of the company and said the company could be directly contributing to financing the government and its war efforts.
Havila contended that the Havila Capella was a Norwegian ship, with no ties to Russia. The company said that it operated the ship and that it met all of Norway’s requirements. Previously they said that the only connection to Russia was that they were making lease payments on the first ship to GTLK.
However, the Norwegian Foreign Ministry has said that the right to get the vessel insured was not a part of the exemption, as this would imply that the ship was made available to the registered owner, GTLK, a company under EU sanctions.
Brent Martini, CEO of Havila Kystruten, stated that the structure of the sanctions already ensured that no insurance payment would benefit the ship’s registered owner. Even in the event of a total loss, other parties would receive the insurance payment. Havila however had to agree to the decision of Norwegian authorities.
2021-built, Norway-flagged, 15,519 gt Havila Capella is owned by GTLK Asia M11 Ltd care of manager Havila Kystruten Operations AS of Fosnavaag, Norway. It had previously been entered with Gard (according to Equasis). No current P&I entry.