Tuesday 28 February 2023

Swan Hellenic Diana to launch, Vega continues to sail while Minerva dispute unresolved. [updated]

#expeditioncruising .

The revived expedition cruising brand Swan Hellenic is celebrating the forthcoming launch of the newbuild, Diana, with the naming ceremony of its third expedition ship to take place in Amsterdam on 4 May 2023.

According to press reports, Diana’s maiden cruise will be the ‘Norway Explored’ itinerary, setting sail on the same day with luxury travel expert, Valerie Ann Wilson, as the ship’s godmother.

In the meantime, the 152-guest sister ship, Vega, which launched in July 2022 is sailing a busy schedule including Antarctica, Africa, the British Isles and the Arctic.

However, the third vessel in the planned Vega-class fleet, the 2021-built SH Minerva (IMO: 9895240)*, has been the subject of a protracted custody dispute and is currently in port in Uruguay awaiting the outcome which appears to be some way off.

Just this week, stakeholders were advised by Swan Hellenic senior management of the cancellation of the entire 2023 Pacific season until such time as the ownership matter is resolved. The fact that the ship is under the control of the Russian-owned leasing company GTLK Europe, currently under EU sanctions, further complicates matters.

Swan Hellenic issued the following statement dated 30 January and received by ExpeditionCruising 28 February:

Following negotiations and discussions ongoing since September 2022 and concluded in January this year, Swan Hellenic and its Irish counsels have identified a legal mechanism that allows it to take ownership of SHMinerva by acquiring the GTLK subsidiary company which is currently the registered owner of the vessel. The necessary application to the Central Bank of Ireland was finalised some weeks ago and has already been submitted. Approval of the transaction is expected to take some weeks. Pending the issue of this license by the Central Bank of Ireland, Swan Hellenic has decided to postpone the reactivation of SH Minerva. Which is why the 2023 season has therefore regrettably been cancelled, until the first cruise planned by our website on 23th of October 2023.

At the time of publication, SH Minerva's 2023 itineraries are still published on their website

Sources for this report included Seatrade Cruise News, Maritime Executive and MarineTraffic

* Not to be confused with the 1996-built MV Minerva, IMO 9144196

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