The new Swan Hellenic ship SH Vega has left Helsinki a day late on its inaugural voyage after what CEO Andrea Zito called ‘a landslide of administrative problems’.
He told a press conference earlier today that a vital email registering the ship in Panama had failed to arrive in time for it to leave as scheduled at 3pm yesterday, a few hours after its christening.
Vega was originally going to be registered in Malta, but problems arose after the Russian-based leasing company that was going to buy the ship was hit by sanctions following the invasion of Ukraine.
Swan Hellenic put in a winning bid at an auction but had to find a new flag country. A registration process that normally takes two weeks had to be condensed into days, Mr Zito said.
The company put in requests to both Nassau and Panama but the Bahamas was closed for a public holiday and the electronic documents from Panama did not arrive until after midnight.
Vega set sail at 7pm tonight and will arrive in Copenhagen 24 hours later than planned. It will then head to Tromsø in Norway for the maiden cruise starting on July 20.
Mr Zito’s comments explain why the ship’s registration on the stern was changed from Nassau to Panama while media and trade representatives were on board.
Swan Hellenic’s other ship, Minerva, remains sanctioned but Mr Zito said he has a reassurance that the purchase will be complete by August or September in time for the Antarctic season.