Havila Kystruten took legal action to become the owner of the Havila Capella ferry and to secure its interest in the vessels under construction.
Since April 12, Havila Capella has been at the quay in Bergen (Norway), after the insurance companies terminated the insurance of the ship due to sanctions against Russian interests. The financing with GTLK Asia of the vessel is financial leasing where the loan documentation gives Havila all rights and responsibility for the operation of Havila Capella as if she were wholly owned by Havila Kystruten.
The company has a purchase right from the leasing company 2 years after delivery as well as a purchase obligation at the end of the contract with the Ministry of Transport and Communications. On April 8, GTLK was added to the European Union’s list of sanctioned companies due to the crisis in Ukraine.
On April 26, the company received a dispensation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to operate the vessel for 6 months. In the extension of the dispensation, the Ministry did not take a position on the dispensation applying to the insurance of the ship.
This had to be applied for by the insurance provider, and the application was rejected on May 9. During the period, Havila has worked with short-term solutions to get the vessel back into operation, at the same time as it has worked with solutions for a change of the ship's ownership.
Havila Kystruten recently filed a case “The High Court of Justice, Business and Property Courts of England and Wales, Commercial Court (QBD)” in London UK to force a change of the ship's ownership.
Havila has been in dialogue with a number of ministries in Norway to find a solution to be able to operate the ferry on the route along the coast to which the brand is obliged in accordance with a contract with the Ministry of Transport. No political solution has been found so far.
In case the Havila Coastal Route succeeds in legal action, the Havila Capella ferry will be put back into operation.
GTLK Asia is the vessel's formal owner after the financing solution chosen back in 2019. This was a “sale and lease back” financing, which means that the Havila Capella ferry was transferred to the leasing company, at the same time as they leased the vessel back to the Havila Coastal Route.
Martini explained that in the agreement, they were obligated to purchase the ship in ten years, at the same time as they had the right to buy it back during the contract period.
"At the same time, this type of agreement presupposes that Havila Kystruten has all other responsibilities on the ship, so that the real ownership and ownership relationship lies with our shipping company. The financial solution also means that Havila Capella is capitalized as owned by Havila Kystruten and also tax resident in Norway."
The company is also trying to refinance the entire fleet. The legal steps taken include requirements to secure its interests in ships under construction at the Tersan shipyard. On June 16, they had received a ruling from the English judiciary which stated that no activity or transaction could be carried out related to the 2 cruiseferries (that are currently under construction in Turkey) "without the approval of the Havila Coastal Route”.
On June 16, a petition for temporary arrest was submitted to Hordaland District Court and forced the use of Havila Capella.