Posted on December 15, 2022
Helsinki Shipyard completed the tender for Hull no. 518, the third expedition cruise ship under construction at the shipyard awarding ownership to Swan Hellenic, which had ordered the cruise ship in 2020 to become the SH Diana. It was the latest machinations taken by the shipping industry to deal with the sanctions imposed this year on Russian financial institutions after the invasion of Ukraine.
“Helsinki Shipyard has exercised the right to sell the ship by tender, provided for by the shipbuilding contract after the original buyer failed to take delivery of the ship,” the yard said in a written statement. “The auction ended at midnight on Friday the 9th of December and was satisfactory for Helsinki Shipyard, which analyzed the bids and declared Swan Hellenic the winner.”
The tender process for the incomplete cruise ship was started on November 25 by the shipyard, following a similar process used previously to gain a free title for Swan Hellenic’s second cruise ship SH Vega. Swan Hellenic contracted with Helsinki Shipyard to build three luxury expedition cruise ships which were being financed by the leasing company GTLK Europe. Under the original plan, Swan Hellenic would have operated the cruise ships on long-term charters from the leasing company, but after the sanctions were imposed GTLK was not able to make progress payments on the ships under construction.
The shipyard reported that it received several inquiries and responses to the tender before awarding the 12,145 gross ton cruise ship to Swan Hellenic. The incomplete ship, which is approximately 410 feet long, is an enlarged version of the two previous vessels built by Helsinki Shipyard for Swan Hellenic. She is designed to accommodate 192 passengers, with a crew of 141, versus the earlier ships which accommodate 152 passengers. Each of the ships was designed for expedition and polar cruising, although the third ship is a P6 class vessel versus the first two which are PC 5 expedition cruise ships with ice-strengthened hulls.
The shipyard and Swan Hellenic will now enter into a new agreement for the completion of the vessel, which is scheduled to be delivered to Swan Hellenic in March 2023. Andrea Zito, CEO of Swan Hellenic Limited, noted that they were pleased to have secured the SH Diana and are looking forward to placing her in service as planned at the beginning of April 2023. She is scheduled to operate in the Mediterranean before repositioning to Northern Europe and the Arctic in 2023.
Swan Hellenic laid up its first cruise ship SH Minerva earlier this year while it worked to exercise a purchase option under the contract with GTLK. Helsinki Shipyard also conducted a tender for the second ship SH Vega after GTLK Europe failed to take delivery. Swan Hellenic is currently operating its first two expedition cruise ships in Antarctica.