Havila Kystruten announced it has taken legal action to become the owner of the Havila Capella and to secure its interest in the ships under construction.
Since April 12, the Havila Capella has been in Bergen, after the insurance companies terminated the ship’s insurance due to sanctions against Russian interests.
The long-term financing with GTLK Asia of the ship is a financial leasing where the loan documentation gives Havila Kystruten all rights and all responsibility for the operation of the ship as if the ship were wholly owned by Havila Kystruten, according to a press release.
The company has a purchase right from the leasing company two years after delivery and a purchase obligation at the end of the contract with the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
On April 26, the company said it received a dispensation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to operate the ship for six months. In the extension of the dispensation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not take a position on the dispensation that applies to the insurance of the ship. This had to be applied for specifically by the insurance provider, and that application was rejected on 9thof May. During the period, Havila Kystruten has worked with short-term solutions to get the ship back into operation, at the same time as it has worked with solutions for a change of ownership of the ship.
This week, Havila Kystruten filed a case “The High Court of Justice, Business and Property Courts of England and Wales, Commercial Court (QBD)” in London to force a change of ownership of the ship.
“It is important for us to take over the ownership of Havila Capella. We have tried to find a solution with GTLK Asia, but the only solution they have put forward is to pay the amount due. It would be illegal for us to pay the amount due to a sanctioned company. We want to settle by paying the amount we owe GLTK Asia to a blocked account. The amount will be paid to GTLK Asia when the sanctions are lifted,” said CEO Bent Martini of Havila Kystruten.
“We have also not met very much willingness from our financing partner to find an amicable solution, and fear that they will sell our debt to a third party who will further complicate the situation. Therefore, we now choose to take legal action to demand a change of ownership.”
Havila Kystruten has been in continuous dialogue with several ministries in Norway to find a temporary solution to be able to operate the ship on the route along the coast to which the company is obliged in accordance with a contract with the Ministry of Transport. So far no solution has been found.
If the Havila Coastal Route succeeds in legal action, Havila Capella will be put back into operation.
GTLK Asia is the formal owner of the ship after the financing solution chosen in 2019, almost three years before the tragic Russian invasion of Ukraine. The company said this was a so-called “sale and lease back” financing, which meant that Havila Capella was transferred to the leasing company, at the same time as they leased the ship back to the Havila Coastal Route.
The company is also working to refinance the entire fleet.