The Aker Yards Design House came into existence in 2004, combining the ship-building activities of Aker and Kvaernar. At  this point it is important to say that Aker as a ship-builder and as a designer no longer exists having been bought by the Korean company STX. To add to the confusion Aker Marine Solutions are still operating as well intervention specialists and own and charter offshore vessels.

The company was based on Akers Mek Verksted located in the Oslo area, which started as a constructor of various types of mechanical equipment and moved into ship-building as the requirement for iron and then steel hulls began to dominate the marine industry.

Over a number of years the company acquired a selection of Norwegian shipyards which became Aker Aukra, Aker Brattvaag, Aker Brevik, Aker Langsten and Aker Soviknes, as well as two other yards in what we used to know as Eastern Europe, Aker Braila and Aker Tulcea in Rumania. They also operated yards in Brazil and Vietnam. Initially as far as the offshore industry is concerned, they built ships to other people’s designs, particularly the UT brand.

Of course when other people’s designs are used there is a cost which is finally passed on to the customer, and often it is necessary to use systems and components provided by the designers of the ship, often at high cost. Therefore for Aker yards there was the immediate attraction of designing their own craft, the first possibly being the AKER AH 03, which may at the time have been known just as an AH03 (For offshore anoraks). A number of this class were built for Tidewater in 2005.

 Spurred on by this success they produced a number of futuristic designs employing the semi-enclosed or completely enclosed forecastle, justified one presumes because the ingress of water onto the forecastle would be reduced during rough weather. Back in about 2010 four of the AKER AH 04 CDs are under construction for District Offshore, and were probably later known as  STX somethings. There are already a number of platform ships built in this style with completely enclosed forecastles. This is an alternative and slightly more conventional approach to the problem of digging into head seas solved, some consider, by the Ulstein Xbow.

Later in February 2013 Vard, a Fincantieri company, made a cash offer for STX and took over the company in total, so ships from then on were known as VARD something.  So now we have ships with the designation AKER, STX and VARD.

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