Havila Aims for First Quarter Start on Norwegian Coast

Havila Ship Rendering

Havila’s launch of service on the Norwegian coast will be delayed due to pandemic-related difficulties at Tersan shipyard in Turkey.

“It’s not possible to have so many workers on the ship as you would in a normal situation,” Havila Voyages CEO Arild Myrvoll told Cruise Industry News, before adding that there are also some delays with sub suppliers.

The company had previously won a contract from the Norwegian government to provide coastal transportation service with four ships starting on Jan. 1, 2021, splitting the coastal service deal with Hurtigruten.

According to Myrvoll, Tersan normally has 4,000 to 5,000 employees working at the yard at the same time, which is difficult to achieve at a time when social distancing is paramount. In addition to that, the shipyard is handling several other projects besides Havila’s.

“It’s just difficult (for them) to have the same schedule,” he said.

The coastal service project was meant to start fully operating in January 2021, but now that deadline will have to move.

The company even considered getting two replacement vessels to meet the old deadline.

“We had planned to use replacement vessels, but then this pandemic caused so many troubles, so there isn’t any market for these kinds of ships right now,” Myrvoll said, adding that the Norwegian government has since waived its claims against Havila Voyages to put vessels in to service in the first quarter 2021,  now the ships’ estimated completion date.

The vessels are then meant to start operating on the traditional  route along the Norwegian coast in spring 2021.

“It’s difficult for us to predict how (the pandemic) will affect the construction going forward. If it’s possible to keep the delivery date in March next year or if there can be further delays. I hope the shipyard is able to stick to that date, but as we know, this pandemic has caused it so many problems. So, there is still a risk that we can see further delays,” Myrvoll said.

The other two ships were originally meant to be built in Spain, but after problems at Barreras, they are now also being built at Tersan. According to Myrvoll, a lot of work has already been done on them. Their current estimated completion date is the first quarter of 2022.

Asked whether the pandemic affects the coastal service in Norway, Myrvoll said that currently two out of 11 coastal service vessels are operating. This number will increase to five in January.

“And as soon as we complete our vessels, they will operate that month,” Myrvoll said.

Havila Voyages is currently not working on any other projects, as Myrvoll said this project is taking up “more than 100 percent” of his time.

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