A leading tanker operator

– The ships, the shipyard & the expansion

Our modern story begins when the founder Sven-Olof Kristensson after several years at sea went ashore to take over the management of Tärntank from his mother Karin Nordin and her husband, reverend Olle Nordin.

In 1972 Sven-Olof Kristensson went ashore after several years at sea to manage the family business. By then the office of Tärntank was situated in the home of his mother, Karin and her husband Reverend Olle Nordin, but already two years later it was time to get larger premises to house the five employees, so Tärntank Rederi AB bought the shipyard on Donsö, which gave room for office facilities but also smooth access to service of the company’s own tankers, as well as an opportunity to offer shipyard services to other shipowners.

An interesting project was launched at the company’s shipyard when the wreck of a Norwegian tanker, the Winjona, was bought by Tärntank Rederi AB. The tanker had suffered a major fire in the superstructure and had been declared a total loss. In May 1976, she was delivered as the Tärnfors from the Donsö shipyard and was so thoroughly overhauled that she could be considered a newbuilding. This tanker was later lengthened by 30 metres and then able to carry 4,800 tons of cargo.

Two years later, in 1979, a second-hand tanker of 6,060 dwt was bought from Finland and was named the Tärnvåg. The same year, Sven-Olof Kristensson’s daughter Ann Olofsson began working at the Donsö shipyard, which Tärntank Rederi AB had acquired. From there she later advanced in the family business, becoming Managing Director and thereafter Chairman of the board, positions which she holds today. During the years to come the position as Managing Director was also held by Tryggve Möller who is son in law to Sven-Olof Kristensson. When the company was reorganised in 2007 Tryggve Möller become Managing Director in Tärntank Ship Management AB, and Sven-Olof Kristensson´s son Olle Kristensson, become Managing Director, in Tärntank Rederi AB.

In May 1976, Winjona was delivered as Tärnfors from the Donsö shipyard. The ship was so thoroughly overhauled that she could be considered a newbuilding.


Tärnbris, 1980.
Tärnfjord, 1984.
Tärnsjö, 1993.

Years of Change

During the following years, changes were made in the ownership structure of Tärntank Rederi AB when partners moved on to start businesses of their own. Two ships left the fleet, the newly acquired Tärnfors and Tärnvåg. Orders were placed at Karlstad shipyard to replace the two tankers, which resulted in the delivery of the Tärnbris, 6,150 dwt, and the Tärnvind, 6,047 dwt in 1980 and 1981 respectively.

After that, Tärntank Rederi AB was ready to advance considerably in tanker size. When the Tärnfjord was delivered from Kaldnes in Tønsberg, Norway, in 1984, she had a deadweight of 20,000 tons and thereby became, and still is, the largest ship ever in the history of the shipping company.

Some of the older tankers were sold and by 1984, Tärntank Rederi AB had five modern tankers in operation. It took until the end of the decade before the company had need for another newbuilding. In 1989, the Tärnsund of 8,828 dwt was delivered from Aukra Industrier in Norway.

Despite the weak market in the beginning of the 1990s, Tärntank Rederi AB could take delivery of another Tärnsjö, the fourth tanker with that name, in 1993. She was built by Kvaerner Kleven in Leirvik, Norway, and had a deadweight of 10,887 tons. The next addition to the fleet came three years later from the same shipyard, the Tärnland of 9,960 dwt. By the mid 1990s, Tärntank Rederi AB had a vast experience of building tankers. They had no thought of stopping there, but were planning for an extensive newbuilding programme.

Negotiations with North European shipyards were going on for years, but when an offer came from a Shanghai shipyard to buy an almost ready tanker, initially built for another Swedish shipowner and with an attractive price, Tärntank Rederi AB said yes. The new Tärnfors of 8,245 dwt was delivered in 1998 from Qui Xin Shipyard, and this was the start of a long relation with Chinese shipyards. Another four tankers were built for Tärntank Rederi AB in China during the years 2001–2005 at Shanghai Edward, a shipyard that delivered many ships to both Tärntank and other shipowners on Donsö before it was closed down in 2008. The four tankers built there for Tärntank Rederi AB were named the Tärnvik, Tärnhav, Tärnvåg and Tärnholm, all with a deadweight just below 15,000 tons.

The Tärndal of 8,245 tons, a sister vessel to Tärnfors, was bought from Norway in 2005. In 2007 , the company took delivery of its latest newbuilding, the Tarnbris, of 11,289 dwt, built in Tuzla, Turkey.

50 year anniversary

When Tärntank Rederi AB celebrated its 50-year anniversary in 2008, a great shift had been made. The deliveries of new tonnage and sale of older vessels meant they had a fleet of nine modern tankers. Already in 2009 new challanges appeared. In order to be able to compete in a global market Tärntank Rederi AB had to move to Denmark. The move enabled the company to compete at the same conditions as most of the shipping companies around the globe. Olle Kristensson and his family moved to Denmark, and in June 2009 the headquarter of Tärntank Rederi AB was established in Skagen. In June 2012 a cross border merger was completed and Tärntank Rederi AB becomes Terntank Rederi A/S.

With expense control, chargeable services, and a prosperous relation with employees and customers, we could do what we want – to build the best tankers in the world.

Olle Kristensson, Managing Director Tärntank Rederi AB who sadly passed away in 2011.

The concept indeed shows great result when looking at the retention rate

Tryggve Möller, the Managing Director of Tärntank Ship Management AB.

Tryggve Möller, a Donsö native, is the Managing Director of Tärntank Ship Management AB and the driving force behind the newbuilding programme. An essential part of the programme was the new thoughts on management:

“We had to come up with something new to attract our customers – simply an even more professional way of operating oil and chemical cargoes. One of the most important issues was how to get hold of a new kind of seafarer to crew our tankers: university graduate 25-year-olds. We put all of our focus on creating a good and satisfying working environment for the crew. We were confident that if we succeeded in that, the other, the best performance toward the customer, would come as a result. On that concept, we have built all our tankers ever since.”

The concept indeed shows great result when looking at the retention rate, the company’s ability to retain officers and ratings within the organisation. The target is a 90 per cent retention rate.

Good retention rates

“Today we can show retention rates that exceeds the target significantly for senior officers, junior officers and ratings. We are proud of the fact that around 80 per cent of our senior officers have started their seagoing careers on our vessels and worked their way up in the organisation”, says Tryggve Möller.

Close relationships with the customers are essential when building a new ship. The size, design and equipment of a vessel are determined from the demands of the customers and also by the waters and the port terminals in the area where the vessel is expected to operate.

When a new vessel is designed and built, everyone is engaged. “Our aim is to build a vessel in which we ourselves would like to work in any position”, says Tryggve Möller.

The importence of good working environment

The working environment and living conditions on the ships is of highest priority in Terntank, and the crews are actively involved in all aspects of a ship project, from the design of the cargo space to the furniture in the accommodation. Navigators are involved in all aspects of bridge design and equipment, engineers are engaged in the development of all engine and energy systems, cooks work on the galley structure and so forth.

“When we plan and design our vessels, the ambition is that there should be as few extraordinary tasks for the crew as possible”, says Tryggve Möller. “Whether it is a difficult loading/discharging operation or a transit through a navigationally difficult area, it should be just another day on the job for the crew.”

Historically, Terntank’s vessels were mainly manned by local people. Today this have changed completely, and the company is active on the international maritime labour market.

Terntank strives for a company culture where the ships and the shore-based organisation are as closely connected as possible to create an atmosphere in which all personnel is considered as colleagues, irrespective if they work at sea or ashore.

Our aim is to build a vessel in which we ourselves would like to work in any position

Tryggve Möller making plans with Financial Manager Dick Höglund.