Havila Voyages has received a dispensation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to operate Havila Capella for 6 months. The company will now continue to work with insurance of the ship.
The exemption is granted in accordance with §21 of the regulations on restrictive measures regarding actions that undermine or threaten Ukraine's territorial integrity, sovereignty, independence, and stability. During this period, the Havila Voyages will continue its efforts to secure refinancing and change ownership of Havila Capella.
“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”, says 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”.
Martini says that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' conclusion is very clarifying also with regard to suppliers that are crucial for the operation of the ships.
“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”, he says.
“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”.
The challenge Havila Voyages now faces is that some suppliers have treated Havila Capella as a sanctioned ship and announced termination of agreements entered.
“We expect that our suppliers will continue to provide us with support and service in line with our agreements now that the Norwegian authorities confirm that Havila Capella will not be sanctioned”, Martini says.
At the same time, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has in its reply letter emphasized that they have not taken a position on dispensation for insurance in the matter. Insurance of Havila Capella 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”, says Martini.
“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”.
The importance of the coastal route
In its decision, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has considered several elements that Havila Voyages believes 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”, Martini explains.
“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”.
The ships along the coastal route are also a significant contributor to employment and business along the coast and at sea.
“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”, says Martini.