Specifically, One Ocean Expeditions, had leased cruise vessel, MV Akademik Ioffe and research vessel MV Akademik Sergey Vavilov in 2011 and 2012, respectively. The vessels each carried fewer than 100 passengers and were used for Arctic and Antarctic cruises.
In light of this incident, OOE wrote a letter to the booking agents stating that 'The owners’ refusal to provide the vessels is a breach of their contract with OOE.' Moreover, the company reported that it did everything it could to compel the owners to abide by the obligations stated in the contract. Meanwhile, the owners of the two vessels decided to return them to Kaliningrad, Russia for repairs, without communicating and informing OOE.
Thus, OOE proceeded to legal actions, filing an urgent application for arbitration proceedings.
Unfortunately, it is now clear that no matter what OOE does the vessels will not be provided for the upcoming 2019-20 cruising seasons, despite our contract. Given that the legal proceedings initiated by OOE following the contract breach could lead to the arrest of the vessels should they leave Russia, OOE has undertaken to share a full account of what has transpired with our agents and partners.
Concluding, the Russian government seized the ships in late May, claiming that the vessels needed to be taken to Kaliningrad to be worked on in part of a modernization project.