Three generations of enterprise



Calm and storm

It was the 1970s. The selfmade businessman Sven Salén was gone, the old sailing, singing chums had exited. Enter the young lions, well-educated achievers with profits dancing before their eyes, hungry, business-savvy and recruited and encouraged by the dashing Sture Ödner, schooled in his predecessor’s spirit.

During these years, there was a long way to a recession – between 1967 and 1974, the sun never set on the Swedish shipping companies. In 1974, the maritime net income, which refers to the export revenue Sweden obtained through the activities of shipowners, was three billion Swedish kronor, and 30,000 individuals were employed in the maritime industry.

Freight rates were excellent, especially for tankers, and due to the substantial profits made there, Salén’s could also maintain its position as the third-largest refrigerated cargo fleet in the world. Even dry cargo began to perform reasonably well after the initial tentative years with the old ships of Rederi AB Rex.

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Winter Water dry docked at the City shipyard in Göteborg for additions and repairs after a fire in No. 1 hold in 1979. The ship was 169 metres long and equipped with an enormous bulb at its prow.

We were more used to quick action than the other shipping companies

Christer Salén
Naming the Sea Swift. From left: Christer Salén, Eva Salén, Eva Ödner, Sture Ödner, the ship’s godmother Birgitta Dybeck wife of Clarence Dybeck, Sven Hampus Salén and Ian Hamilton with wife.
To maintain its leading global position, the reefer company kept ordering new ships. Here, Snow Ball, one of eight Snow-series reefer ships built at the Chantiers Navals in La Ciotat, France, 1972–74. At 12,580 DWT, Snow Ball was the world’s biggest reefer.
Wrong time, wrong size. The Sea Swift, at 256,050 DWT, was another of the new generation of supertankers. The Kockums shipyard delivered the ship in 1973.
Not all launchings in the 1970s were glamorous. On 19 March 1975, the Sea Scape, at 356,000 DWT, slid down the slipway at the Kockums yard, watched by a launching party standing in snowy slush on the platform. The ship was mothballed, first in Haugesund sound and in August of that year in Singlefjorden.
Cargolux was started together with Iceland’s Loftleidir using Canadian CL44 turboprop planes with pivoting tails and a huge loading capacity.
Like gigantic insect legs, the platform pillars were sunk to the bottom of the sea and anchored on flat surfaces. They carried the entire weight of the platforms.