Havila Kystruten finally took delivery of the Havila Polaris and Havila Pollux on 1st August during an official ceremony at the Tersan Shipyard near Yalova in Turkey. Soon after this the ships each departed on the 10-12 day voyage home to Norway. After arrival, the crew of the Havila Pollux (above) assisted onboard the Havila Polaris along with the onshore team to ensure the scheduled debut.
After Havila Voyages received the required licenses earlier in 2023 to finance the coastal fleet and release the security the original financing partner had in the ships the company had been working hard to find the right financing partner for the shipping company. The original financing partner became illegal due to sanctions against Russia, where the company was based. Each of Havila Kystruten’s ships are valued at approximately €150 million, and the shipping company has financed the fleet by raising €305 million from the investment firm HPS Investment Partners LLC. Additionally, the largest owners and investors of the shipping company raised €65 million in additional equity, and Havila Holding AS has contributed a loan of €20 million. Like their sister ships, the Havila Polaris and Havila Pollux have energy-efficient hull designs created to handle the varied conditions along the Norwegian coast. The ships are equipped with a battery pack of 6.1 megawatt-hours (MWh), allowing them to operate emission-free for up to 4 hours. This means they can visit the UNESCO World Heritage area of Geirangerfjorden silently and emission-free, three years before the authorities’ requirement for emission-free ferries and cruise ships in World Heritage fjords comes into effect. The ships’ propulsion is a hybrid solution, with a combination of the 86-ton battery packs and liquefied natural gas (LNG) providing the power. The battery packs can be charged while the ships are docked, using clean Norwegian power. This reduces CO2 emissions by up to 35% and local emissions (NOx and SOx) by 90% compared to equivalent ships running on traditional fossil fuels. This makes Havila Voyages’ ships the most environmentally friendly ships to have ever operated the historic coastal route between Bergen and Kirkenes. The ships are also designed, built, and prepared for emission-free fuel alternatives such as hydrogen and ammonia. With current technology, a gradual addition of biogas will further reduce CO2 emissions. In addition to reduced emissions, some of the ships’ features include heat recovery from sea and cooling water to warm up the ships and the water on board, as well as a food concept that includes ingredients from locally sourced producers. The onboard menu changes during the voyage to reflect the regions the coastal route ships sail through.
On the evening of 15th August, the 15,519gt/2023-built Havila Polaris arrived home at the Jektevik Terminal in Bergen. When the Havila Polaris approached Bergen, she was greeted by the 6,455gt/2009-built supply ship Havila Venus. Two days later the 15,519gt/2023-built Havila Pollux completed the Havila Kystruten fleet when she too arrived at Bergen from the Tersan shipyard in Turkey. The ship remained at Festningskaien in Bergen until 23rd August when she was set to enter service along the Norwegian coast whilst the Havila Polaris was scheduled to start operations from Bergen on 17th August. Havila Kystruten (Havila Voyages) is part of the Havila Group that dates to the 1950s. It all started when the founder, Per Sævik, bought his first fishing boat in his teens. From fishing and herring fishing, Havila is now a group operating in shipping technology, offshore, transport and tourism.