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Norwegian cruise line cancels tour over Russia sanctions

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
Norwegian cruise line cancels tour over Russia sanctions
Illustration photo of a Norwegian cruise ship. Photo: Erika SANTELICES / AFP

Norway's Havila Voyages said on Thursday it was finally cancelling a scheduled cruise, after being delayed in port for two days, due to uncertainties about how the ship was impacted by sanctions on Russia.

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About 230 passengers had been stranded in the port of Bergen in southwest Norway after boarding the Havila Capilla for a 12-day cruise that was meant to depart on Tuesday night.

"They've spent two nights on the ship at quay, so they were treated as they would have been during the sailing with food and service," Lasse Vangstein, head of communications at Havila Voyages, told AFP.

The trip was initially delayed "due to an uncertainty related to insurance coverage," the company said late Tuesday, as a "result of sanctions against the leasing company that has financed Havila Capella."

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"Havila Capella is financed via a leasing agreement with GTLK Asia, which was put on the EU sanction list last Friday," Vangstein explained.

GTLK Asia is a Hong Kong-based but Russian-owned leasing company. Most passengers stayed onboard while the company tried to work out whether how it would be affected by sanctions as it was running a Norwegian flag, with a Norwegian crew and a Norwegian operating company.

"Originally, we had 232 passengers that were set to depart Bergen on April 12. Mostly Norwegians and Germans, but also other nationalities like people from the UK, Greece, Austria, Netherlands, Switzerland, Finland, France, Mexico, Denmark, and Sweden," Vangstein said.

According to the company it had originally been told that the ship should not be affected by the adopted sanctions since Havila Voyages was "responsible for the operation and financing of the ship".

But it said on Thursday that it was the "Norwegian authorities' assessment that the ship's insurance is affected by sanctions against the leasing company," meaning the trip would be cancelled.

Havilia Voyages said it would "now look at solutions to get Havila Capella back into operation as soon as possible."

While Norway is not a member of the EU, it has adopted almost all the sanctions imposed by the union.

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