January 14, 2005

Aker Arctic Technology starts operations

Global warming and shrinking polar ice caps are prompting a growing interest in vessel operations in areas that once seemed just too daunting. As this interest grows, there should be a payoff for Aker Yards. Now the group's strategy of seeking growth in the business of Arctic technology has taken a step forward. At year's end a new entity, Aker Arctic Technology Inc. (AARC), was registered in Finland and the new company started operations on January 1, 2005.

As a subsidiary to the new Aker Finnyards, AARC will not only continue the activity of the former Masa-Yards Arctic Technology Center (MARC), but will also start offering its own portfolio of conceptual ship designs for various yards, shipowners and offshore operators interested in operations in ice-infested cold waters. During 2005 the new company will erect a modern new office and ice model test facility in the Vuosaari district of Helsinki, where along with the new port development a marine business park will be created.

"This represents a new and important step in our continuous endeavour to master the challenging arctic environment and will contribute to consolidate our position as the world leader in arctic designs", states Oddvar Slettevold, Executive Vice President, Projects & Technology, Aker Yards ASA.

Due to the attractive market and growth potential in arctic shipbuilding, ABB, Wartsila Corporation and Aker Kvaerner Engineering and Technology AS of Norway have each taken a 12.5 percent stake in the new entity. These partners will bring their expertise to actively contribute to the technology developed by AARC, which will lead to enhanced overall performance of ice going vessels.

The Arctic Technology Center was originally established in 1969 for the "Manhattan" project, a test voyage of a 100,000 dwt tanker that explored the potential for Prudhoe Bay oil exports. The center has been operating its own ice model basin for 35 years. The current laboratory was the biggest in the world when completed in 1983. Now, an ice laboratory of third generation will be introduced.

Aker Arctic Technology and its predecessors have been involved in projects in all frozen water areas on the globe. The accumulated knowledge of the problems and the technologies has made AARC capable of creating innovative solutions for operations impacted by the presence of ice.

The most advanced ship designs in this area today, including the double acting tanker, the double acting icebreaker-supply vessel, and the oblique icebreaker, originate from AARC.

Mikko Niini has been appointed Managing Director. He has a long experience in the market segment with previous positions as Vice President, Marketing and Sales of Kvaerner Masa-Yards, Wartsila Marine and Valmet Corporation. . 

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