Norway’s Havila Kystruten has lined up newbuilding finance worth €370m ($370m) after extricating itself from sanctions-hit Russian lessor GTLK.
The Saevik family-controlled company said the cash covers payment to Turkey’s Tersan Shipyard for delivery of the 10,000-gt cruise ferries Havila Polaris and Havila Pollux.
The loan also redeems existing debt related to all four vessels in the series, two of which have now been handed over.
The shipowner will release further details of the finance package after final documents are signed.
The company is being allowed to pay off the GTLK debt with special permission of the Norwegian government.
The newbuildings are listed by Clarksons as due this month and in November.
Havila Kystruten now says the Havila Polaris will start operations by the end of this year and the Havila Pollux no later than 22 March.
In June, the owner finally succeeded in bringing a new cruise ferry back into service following a legal battle over Russian sanctions.
The Oslo-listed firm had gone to court in Norway to extricate itself from a Catch-22 situation involving Russian lease financing for the 15,500-gt Havila Capella (built 2021).
The ship had been stuck in port since 12 April after insurer Gard dropped its cover when GTLK was sanctioned over the war in Ukraine.
But the Norwegian Maritime Authority issued certificates for the vessel after a decision at the Hordaland District Court.
This meant Norwegian insurer Skuld was able to provide valid protection and indemnity cover in the name of Havila Kystruten, which was awarded control of the cruise ferry.
The operator’s planned escape hatch in case of sanctions was a purchase option in the bareboat charter.
The problem was that any buyout payment to free the ship from sanctions would also have been sanctioned.