"I guess I was about 11 or 12 when I took apart the enitire engine. When dad came home to see this he was very upset. He said I would never be able to put it back together the right way and make it run again. I put the engine back together and it ran like before."
- Excerpt from the memoirs of Anders Utkilen (1906 – 1987)
The Utkilen family has its roots in Kilstraum, located in the municipality of Austrheim, situated at the seaside about one hour drive north of Bergen. The sea was, and still is, important to the people in this community. The sea was previously the most important means of communication for this district, fisheries played an important role as well as transportation of various goods along the coast.
In a way the history of the company goes back to 1916, when the father of Anders Utkilen bought a small freight vessel called "Alstein". His sons, among them Anders, worked onboard this vessel and learned their skills the hard way. Anders Utkilen, in fact, became a captain onboard "Alstein" at the age of 17.
At the age of 23 he bought a share of 1/3 of "Alstein". In 1930 Anders and his brothers bought an old sailing ship which was completely rebuilt to a motor ship and used for transportation of living fish as well as other goods. Anders had undoubtedly a technical talent and was very inventive in many ways as far as technical solutions onboard the ships were concerned.
Anders and his brothers engaged in the transportation of goods, mainly on the Norwegian coast, as well as fisheries (trawling) until the early 1950s. In 1945 the administration of the company was moved to Bergen. Anders and his brothers bought and sold smaller ships over the years and managed to build up equity in their jointly owned company (Brødrene Utkilen). In 1958 and 1962 Anders' two brothers left the company, and in 1962 the company changed name to Anders Utkilens Rederi. In 1967 the company was established as a stockholding company, Anders Utkilens Rederi AS (now Utkilen AS). At this time the present owner, Ove Utkilen, joined the company.
In the latter half of the sixties the company started its specialization towards operation of small tankers. As early as back in 1946 Brødrene Utkilen bought their first small tank vessel, "Empire Cricketer", which was renamed "Havstraum". This vessel was on timecharter to Norske Fina for 7 years and thereafter to Norske Esso for 12 years. Consequently, the company has long experience operating tanker vessels.
In 1970 the company took delivery of its first small tank newbuilding from a Norwegian yard. The vessel was about 820 dwt. and was given the name "Fostraum". This vessel was sold some 20 years later and taken back on a timecharter.
At the end of 1973 the company bought a Danish built small tanker (built 1969) which was named "Havstraum". This vessel was delivered to the company early 1974, and at that time Anders Utkilens Rederi owned altogether three small tankers ("Solstraum" abt. 730 dwt., "Fostraum" abt. 820 dwt. and "Havstraum" abt. 1 320 dwt.). At the end of the 1980s "Havstraum" was sold and taken back on timecharter.
The company was able to operate profitably and in this way build up a healthy financial position. In December 1979 a milestone was reached. The company took delivery of a newbuilding of 2 500 dwt. built at Bolsoenes yard in Molde. This was probably the most modern and well equipped small tank vessel at that time. She had double bottom and deep-well pumps in all her cargo tanks. In 1980 and 1981 the company took delivery of two more vessels from the same yard. These vessels were named "Saltstraum" and "Sydstraum" and were in fact basically sister vessels to "Golfstraum" apart from one feature which appeared to have a crucial effect on the later development of the company; namely the fact that these ships had stainless steel center tanks and thus were able to carry high grade chemical (IMO 2) cargoes as well as acid products.
In 1982 the company started transportation of calcium carbonate slurry from Elnesvaagen on the west coast of Norway (close to the city of Molde). In order to carry this product it was absolutely essential to have vessels with stainless steel cargo tanks, not because it was a dangerous cargo, but due to the fact that the cargo, which is used by the paper industry, is very easily contaminated. The only cargo tanks which provide a sufficiently clean environment for transportation are in fact stainless steel cargo tanks. The volumes of calcium carbonate slurry increased significantly. Parallel to this development Utkilen managed to build up a portfolio of transportation contracts ("Contracts of Affreightment").
In 1985 the company took delivery of "Nordstraum". This ship, which had a deadweight of about 4 700 dwt., had double skin, double bottom and all the cargo tanks were made of stainless steel. This ship was in fact the first of a series of many newbuildings coming from Aukra Industrier AS, a relatively small, but high quality shipyard located in the vicinity of Molde. The yard is now owned by STX yards and has so far delivered a total of 11 chemical tankers to Anders Utkilens Rederi. These are:
abt. 4 700 dwt
abt. 4 700 dwt
abt. 6 500 dwt
abt. 6 500 dwt
abt. 8 000 dwt
abt. 9 500 dwt
abt. 9 500 dwt
abt. 16 000 dwt
abt. 16 000 dwt
abt. 16 000 dwt
abt. 17 000 dwt
In December 1991 the company took delivery of "Fostraum", a fully stainless steel tanker of about 3 000 dwt. to enter a long term timecharter to Dow Chemicals. It was built at Baatservice shipyard in Mandal.
In addition, the company has bought some chemical tankers second hand. In 1994 and 1995, respectively, the company bought two sister vessels today named "Mostraum" and "Vikstraum". These ships are built in Swedish, and like most of the vessels owned and operated by Utkilen, have highest ice class, making them suitable for trading in The Baltic waters. In 1996 the company bought a 4 700 dwt. Danish built vessel today named "Sundstraum" and in 2008 Utkilen aqcuired the two 5 800 dwt sistervessels "Fjordstraum" and "Fjellstraum".
In 2006 the company entered into newbuilding contracts for five advanced chemical tankers all with stainless steel cargo tanks. Three 9 500 dwt. chemical tankers were ordered at the DePoli yard in Italy and two 19 500 dwt. chemical tankers were ordered in China at the Qingshan yard in Wuhan. Early 2009 the contracts at the DePoli yard was cancelled due to financial difficulties at the shipyard. Two of the three hulls were reacquired late 2009 and completed at the 3MAJ shipyard in Croatia in November 2011 and March 2012. The Qingshan newbuildings were delivered in May 2009 and January 2010.
Most of the vessels contracted were delivered to single purpose companies in which Utkilen had substantial parts as well as being disponent owner. This was necessary to raise the equity and loan financing required to make this big expansion possible. Today most of the ships are either fully owned or majority owned by Utkilen.
In March 2007 the company changed its name from Anders Utkilens Rederi AS to Utkilen AS.
Today Utkilen owns and operates, in part or wholly, 20 modern chemical tankers altogether, ranging from around 5 000 dwt to 20 000 dwt., which makes the company one of the major operators in this market segment in Northern Europe. This remarkable development is rooted on the seamanship of Anders Utkilen and his people, on hard work and a skilled organization.
Ananias (the father of Anders) Utkilen buys "Alstein", a motor vessel of abt. 50 dwt.
Anders becomes captain onboard "Alstein" (at the age of 17) and later buys 1/3 of the vessel
Brødrene Utkilen buys "Nornen" (a sailing ship converted successfully to a motor ship). The vessel is used for transportation of living fish.
Brødrene Utkilen buys the steam ship "La Seine" (converted to a motor ship) and names it "Straum".
The first shareholding company called A/S Straum is established (still exists) with a share capital of NOK 10 000.
The Second World War comes to Norway. The next five years becomes a major setback for the Norwegian shipping industry - thousands of Norwegian sailors and a big part of the Norwegian trading fleet is lost.
Brødrene Utkilen have three small ships; "Alstein", "Finnaas" and "Kilstraum". The company moves its administration to Bergen.
Brødrene Utkilen buys their first tanker vessel "Havstraum". Trading for Norske Shell for the first 7 years, thereafter for Norske Esso for 12 years.
The company Skips A/S Straumfart established. Buys "Gerdhild", a 1 600 dwt. steamship. Converted to a motor vessel and renamed "Fostraum"(1951).
"Kilstraum" (with Anders' brother Alf as captain) engages in a dangerous salvaging operation of a Norwegian fishing vessel and saves seven of the crew members.
"Alstein" sold after having been owned by the family for 37 years.
Brødrene Utkilen takes delivery of "Golfstraum", probably the most modern and well equipped fishing vessel at the time.
Alf Utkilen leaves the company (Brødrene Utkilen) to start his own business.
Hans Utkilen leaves the company to start his own company. The company changes name to Anders Utkilens Rederi.
The company becomes a shareholding company: Anders Utkilens Rederi AS. The Board of Directors are Anders and his son Ove (the present owner).
The smalltanker "Fostraum" delivered to the company.
Buys "Amalienborg" from Danish owners, renamed "Havstraum".
The first of a series of three vessel delivered to a partnership company. The vessel is named "Golfstraum" and is about 2 500 dwt.
The first stainless steel chemical tanker is delivered to a partnership company (in which Anders Utkilens Rederi AS has a majority part). The vessel is named "Saltstraum" and is about 2 500 dwt.
"Sydstraum" delivered - sister vessel to "Salstraum"
The first ship delivered by Aukra Industrier AS. The vessel is a fully stainless steel vessel of about 4 700 dwt. and is named "Nordstraum".
The sister vessel to "Nordstraum" is delivered. She is named "Kilstraum" and is built to highest ice class.
"Solstraum" delivered by Aukra - about 6 500 dwt.
"Listraum" (sister vessel to "Solstraum") and "Havstraum" (a lengthened version of "Solstraum and "Listraum") delivered by Aukra.
"Fostraum", a 3 000 dwt. fully stainless steel chemical tanker delivered by Baatservice shipyard in Mandal.
"Mostraum" bought (abt. 8 700 dwt.)
"Vikstraum" bought (sister vessel to "Mostraum").
The newbuildings "Bergstraum" and "Christina" (sister vessels) delivered by Aukra. A 4 700 dwt chemical tanker bought from Danish owners and named "Sundstraum".
The first of a series of three 16 000 dwt chemical tankers delivered by Aukra. Named "Doris".
"Finnstraum" delivered (sistervessel to "Doris").
"Latana" delivered (sistervessel to "Finnstraum").
"Xanthia" delivered (the last of the series of four sister vessels around 16-17 000 dwt).
Acquired 90% of ChemTrans Shipping AG in Switzerland (operating five chemical tankers).
Three 9 500 dwt. newbuildings contracted with the DePoli yard in Italy with deliveries in 2008 and 2009.
Contracts entered into for two 20 000 dwt. chemical tanker newbuildings from the Qingshan yard in Wuhan, China. The ships will be delivered in 2008 and 2009.
Anders Utkilens Rederi AS changes its name to Utkilen AS.
Acquired the two 5 870 dwt. chemical tankers "Fjordstraum" (ex. "Bow Bahia") and "Fjellstraum" (ex. "Multitank Bolognia") built in 1996 and 1997.
Sold ChemTrans Shipping AG in Switzerland.
Cancelled the three DePoli newbuildings due to financial difficulties at the shipyard. Two of the hulls reacquired late 2009 for completion at the 3MAJ shipyard in Croatia.
"Susana S" delivered (the first of two 19 500 dwt. sister vessels from Qingshan Shipyard in China).
"Straum" delivered (the second of two 19 500 dwt. sister vessels from Qingshan Shipyard in China).
"Golfstraum" delivered (the first of two 9 000 dwt. sister vessels from 3MAJ Shipyard in Croatia).
"Stream Mia" built 2008 and "Stream Luna" built 2010 (both about 19.900 dwt.) was acquired and chartered out to one of the major global chemical tanker operator.
"Rystraum" delivered (the second of two 9 000 dwt. sister vessels from 3MAJ Shipyard in Croatia).
Newbuilding contracts was entered into with Fukuoka Shipbuilding in Japan for up to five advanced eco-design 20.000 dwt. chemical tankers with stainless steel cargo tanks.
The order for newbuilding contracts with Fukuoka Shipbuilding was increased to eight advanced eco-design chemical tankers.
"Stream Mia", "Stream Luna" and the eight newbuilding contracts at Fukuoka Shipbuilding was sold to BW Tankers Limited in Singapore.
Acquired the 6 000 dwt. chemical tanker "Kilstraum " (ex. "Bow Pilot") built in 1999.
Acquired the 8 400 dwt. chemical tanker "Nordstraum " (ex. "Harbour Muran") built in 2012.