“There are more competitors now than there was before. It has certainly been noticed”

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“Several Norwegian shipyards have gained experience in building wellboats. At the same time, abroad has delivered a number of wellboats in recent years,” says Aas Mek. Workshop’s administration manager Bjørn-Magne Aas.

In the dry dock in the newest building on Aas Mek. Verksted’s shipyard in Vestnesbukta, Western Norway, is Rostein’s almost 20-year-old wellboat “Langsund”. The boat shows clear signs of being well-used, aside from the 14.5m red-brown part in the middle of the hull. This is a new part of the wellboat, which is in the workshop for an overhaul and upgrade.

When “Langsund” was built in 2002, the boat was almost 41m long, when it will be ready for use again in mid-February, it will be almost 66m. “Such an upgrade takes about three months,” said Bjørn-Magne Aas as he goes down the dry dock and passes the propeller.

PHOTO: Andreas Witzøe

Good order book
Although Bjørn-Magne Aas wants the yard to build new boats, they also accept this type of assignment. He added that Aas Mek. Verksted has a good order book at the moment.

“As of today, we are in a good position, we have a number of contracts for wellboats for both new and old customers. And we have several job advertisements to bring in more permanent employees. But it is so in the shipyard industry that it goes up and down. Today we are around 60 permanent employees, and we have up to 300 hired from Baltic countries,” said Bjørn-Magne Aas.

Despite the fact that these are good times for the shipyard, they have noticed increased competition.

“There are more competitors now than there was before. It has certainly been noticed,” said Bjørn-Magne Aas.

There is a lot of work left before “Langsund” is ready to leave the dry dock on Aas Mek. Workshop. PHOTO: Andreas Witzøe

Hoping for an increase in biomass
In the building next to the dry dock, hard work is afoot to prepare pipes and other metals that’ll be placed in the boat. This building is insulated and maintains a constant temperature to prevent the metal from changing with temperature changes in its surroundings.

“Most preferably we would prefer to do everything indoors. It is something we work to achieve, but it is not possible when we build the larger boats,” said Bjørn-Magne Aas.

“Langsund”, in addition to an extension, needs among other things, higher pump capacity and a new generator.

Bjørn-Magne Aas is happy for all the work they get at the yard and hopes for growth in the industry in the years to come.

“It is good for us that most people work to increase biomass because then they’ll need more, larger and newer boats,” he said.

Do everything on-site
Aas Mek. Verksted not only builds boats, they also have their own design department in the yard.

“We mainly build our own design,” Bjørn-Magne Aas points out before adding that “everything is done on-site, the engineers and the designers are sitting right over here. So we get input all the time. It is a great advantage for us that everyone is so close to each other.”

Close cooperation with customers is crucial to Aas Mek. Verksted’s success, according to the manager.

“We sit down with customers and discuss what size they need and what kind of capacity they need. What kind of waters should the boat go in, and so on. Then the wellboat is packed up based on what kind of equipment they want and in relation to what kind of task the boat will do,” concluded Bjørn-Magne Aas.

The head office of Aas Mek. Workshop. PHOTO: Andreas Witzøe