From the beginning
Norway has been a seafaring nation since the Viking Age. Our Norwegian origins testify to a long tradition of maritime knowledge. For 100 years, the demanding conditions of the North Sea have shaped ULSTEIN’s quality and safety standards and created a strong foundation for meeting future challenges.
The company was established in 1917 by the then-23-year-old Martin Ulstein and his brother-in-law, Andreas Flø. It started as a mechanical workshop to modify local fishing boats undergoing a global transition from sail-power to motorization. After Martin's sudden death in 1948, his eldest son, Magnulf, took over as yard manager, while his widow, Inga, took the position of Chair of the Board.
Workers at Ulstein Mek. Verksted in 1948, shortly after the founder's death. The eldest son and new yard manager, Magnulf Ulstein, is in the middle of the front row. His brother, Kolbein Ole, is in the front row, utmost right. The youngest one present is their third brother, Idar, 14 years old, in a home-knitted sweater.
Passenger vessels and propeller production
In the years to follow, Ulstein would grow to a global player and take part in many technological transformations in the maritime industry. From the mid-1960s this development took place under the management of Martin's youngest son, Idar Ulstein (read full story).
In the 1960s, it was important for Ulstein Group to get started on some form of production, and the choice was to produce propellers.
Norwegian ship designs adapted to offshore North Sea conditions
The oil age in Norway started in the late 1960s. During this period, the company received regular enquiries concerning the construction of supply vessels of American designs. The company believed these vessels would not be particularly suitable for the prevailing weather conditions in the North Sea. Ulstein began to develop new types of vessels in-house. The hulls were broader, with higher freeboards for the vessels to operate safely in rough seas. Ulstein began selling their UT designs to other yards worldwide, giving the financial strength to carry on an extensive operation within this field.
In 1999, most of the company was sold to Vickers (later acquired by Rolls-Royce), but the Ulstein family kept the shipbuilding division and started building the new Ulstein. A new portfolio of ship designs was developed under the brand name ULSTEIN designs, and many products and solutions within power & control (automation) and ship designs were later developed.
The X-BOW was introduced in 2005, and the anchor-handling tug supply vessel, the 'Bourbon Orca' was the first to be delivered. Today, more than 100 X-BOW vessels are being constructed or delivered.
From 1999 to 2020, the company was headed by the third generation of the family, Gunvor Ulstein and Tore Ulstein. Today, they hold positions as Chair of the Board or board members in the various Ulstein companies.
Innovation, solid technological solutions, and on-time delivery has been important from the very beginning. The 'ULSTEIN quality' is legendary. Our position as an innovator in marine equipment and ships comes from decades of focusing on sophisticated products and services to satisfy the most challenging requirements.
100 and young at heart
In 2017, we celebrated our 100 years of history. Since the beginning one hundred years ago, ULSTEIN has vigorously sought new opportunities.Highlights from 100 years
Ulstein was established in 1917, starting with the repair and construction of fishing vessels, followed by steel newbuilds including passenger ships, ferries and design and construction of offshore vessels. Recent references include exploration cruise, RoPax, heavylift and offshore wind (SOVs, cable lay, installation).Ship references
Ulstein Expo is Ulstein Group's corporate exhibition, and is situated next to the reception in the head offices in Ulsteinvik, Norway.Ulstein Expo - company exhibition