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Havila Polaris and Havila Pollux delivered

On Tuesday 1 August the coastal cruise ships Havila Polaris and Havila Pollux were finally delivered to Havila Voyages during an official ceremony at the Tersan shipyard in Turkey. “A milestone for the shipping company,” says CEO Bent Martini.

The Norwegian flag and the shipping company flag of Havila Voyages were raised on the two coastal cruise ships, which are currently at the Tersan shipyard outside Yalova in Turkey.

“We have now reached our goal following a process that required a lot of time, resources, and perseverance. In particular, it has demanded a lot of patience from the Norwegian authorities with whom we have an agreement to operate, our customers, coastal communities, our partners, and all employees,” says CEO Bent Martini.

“We remained confident we would reach this moment, even though we have encountered new challenges at every turn. Now that we finally possess our own beautiful and state-of-the-art coastal route ships with spacious cabins and a high level of comfort for everyone on board, it’s a milestone for the shipping company.”

Osman Nurettin Paksu, the chairman of the board of Tersan Shipyard, was also present at the ceremonies.

“It is a fantastic day for us celebrating the deliveries of the beautiful coastal passenger ships to Havila Voyages. Despite challenges for both us and Havila Voyages during the construction process of these impressive ships, we are very happy today to have delivered four marvelous ships.

“These are the most modern and environmentally friendly ships on the Norwegian coastal route, and we are proud that these four sister ships carry the name of Tersan Shipyard along the beautiful Norwegian coast. We also thank Havila Voyages and its cooperative representatives for their support and efforts who made these deliveries possible, it has been pleasure working with them.” says Paksu.

In recent years, many employees of Havila Voyages have been involved in and contributed to the construction process in Turkey, and Martini emphasizes the importance of this.

“We want to thank Tersan Shipyard for their excellent cooperation and great understanding of our challenges over the last few years. They have built four fantastic ships, and without them, as well as other suppliers and partners, we would not be standing here today,” says Martini.

“In addition, we have had our own employees down here in Turkey throughout the entire process. Having our own people close by has been absolutely crucial for us, and I thank each and every one of them for their dedication and hard work.”

Havila Polaris is scheduled to start operations from Bergen on 17 August and will be the first to leave the Tersan Shipyard. Not long after, Havila Polaris is planned to follow the same route before she starts operating from Bergen on 23 August.

“Our crews will shortly move on board, and we will now get the necessary equipment customs cleared before the final checks. Then Havila Polaris will depart and head towards Bergen. Depending on the weather conditions we encounter on our way home, it will take 10 to 12 days to bring the ships back to Norway,” said Martini.

Ownership of all ships

After Havila Voyages received the required licenses earlier this year to finance its coastal fleet and release the security the original financing partner had in the ships; they have been working hard to find the right financing partner for the shipping company.

“The four coastal route ships represent significant value, and we wanted to find a financing partner that would give us full ownership of our ships. We now own all our ships ourselves, and with that, we have succeeded in our goal in the refinancing process,” says Martini.

He described a legal process regarding the sanction issues that has been exceptionally demanding.

“We have sought solutions from various authorities and institutions to find a legal solution to the challenges we faced on 24 February last year. Significant resources have been used for legal assistance, and with the outcome in hand, we can say that we have gone through and succeeded in a process that is entirely unique on a global scale. We are not aware of others having found a similar solution, so this has been pioneering work all the way,” says Martini.

Each of Havila Voyage’ ships are valued at approximately 150 million euros, and the shipping company has financed the fleet by raising 305 million euros from the investment firm HPS Investment Partners LLC. Additionally, the largest owners and investors of the shipping company have raised 65 million euros in additional equity, and Havila Holding AS has contributed loan of 20 million euros.

Positive feedback

Havila Voyages’ two existing ships on the coastal route, Havila Capella and Havila Castor, have received positive feedback from their passengers. The company uses the Net Promoter Score (NPS) scale to measure customer satisfaction and is currently scoring nearly 80.

Ships Montly - January 2024

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