A long and proud history

Artic-group has a long and proud history of building and operating vessels within the Aqua Marine Service-segment. The company started its journey with transportation of fish feed and was the world’s leading player both when it came to size and technology when the business was sold in 2018.

Artic-group has been involved in 10 new-builds during the last 15 years, in addition to a number of rebuilding’s of used tonnage. Today we are involved in the construction of a processing vessel for a third party in Spain. We have several “ready to go” designs in our data base, in order to shorten the period from planning to delivery for our clients.

Ove N. Vilnes - Artic Group AS

Ove Vilnes

Entrepreneur and innovator through the last 15 years

Ove Vilnes has more or less grown up with sea water in his veins.  He comes from a family of fishermen from the island Atloy, and learned early in his life how to contribute on the vessels. From the age of 12 he had a mandatory summer job on the family’s purse seiner “Vilnes Senior”. The future plans were nailed, and there was never any doubt that Ove would work at sea.

He took his coastal skipper exam when he was in the military, and was soon after hired as a first mate on “Vilnes Senior”. After a few years he took his skipper exam at Bergen Maritime School. From there he started as a shipbroker of smaller fishing vessels and other vessels together with Noralf Lekva.

In 1987 Artic Shipping was founded, and the following year they acquired their first freight vessel. I.e. They transported animal feed for Felleskjøpet, in addition to other types of bulk transportation in the municipality. The activities within shipbroking increased substantially during the 90s. From 1993 Artic Shipping AS started to transport fish feed for a company who later became NorAqua– which in turn merged with Ewos around the year 2000.

Artic had a close corporation with the fish feed producer to improve the solutions for transportation of fish feed, and in 2001 the transportation of fish feed was revolutionized. Together with EWOS the system of bulk-transportation was developed. This meant that there were no longer need for big bags during the transportation, and the fish feed went straight from the vessel to the fish farmer. This non-contact-system were continuously developed – and when «Artic Fjord» was completed in 2004, it had a unique loading- and unloading system where the feed was unloaded using air. This was a gentle solution, in addition to being hygienic and good for the food safety. With the long loading cranes and own weights in the vessel, the job was handled very rational, without any risk of carrying contamination from cage to cage. This system is developed by Ove Vilnes in corporation with EWOS represented by Ernst Strøm.

Ove Vilnes has been innovative and thinking outside the box through his whole career. His primary target has always been to deliver what the client request. There is for example less need for freight of fish feed during the winter months, but increasingly need for transportation of raw materials to the fish feed factories in the same period. Since it is not possible to transport fish feed and raw materials in the same tanks, a new pilot project was launched in 2010. The pilot project was a combination vessel named «Artic Ocean», where portable tanks for fish feed was tested. Outside the main season these tanks were removed from the vessel, and it was possible to transport raw materials in the vessel’s main tanks. «Artic Ocean» was later followed by the new builds «Artic Fjell» and «Artic Junior», which were the new generation of combination vessels in this sector.

The activities related to transportation of fish feed grew steadily during the 2000s. New vessels with unique and innovative solutions was developed. Artic-group’s success factor has been the drive and ability to think outside the box, to always deliver according to the request of the clients. In recent years, the group has increased its focus on finding solutions for the future, and in 2018 a strategic decision to sell Artic Shipping AS and other ship owning companies was made. Today, the group has no ship-owning companies, as the focus is to sell and deliver its concepts to third parties.

Ove Vilnes has a passion for seafood – and has been involved in the development of vessels that serve the fish farming industry. He has therefore developed and sold both well boats and service vessels to third parties. Recently, Ove Vilnes together with Maritime Engineering and Samlaks AS, has developed the processing vessel MS «Fonnalaks». This is a new generation processing vessel, with focus on fish welfare, quality, and sustainability. MS «Fonnalaks» is currently under construction in Spain, and is expected to be delivered during 1H 2022.

ESG, a green and sustainable future, is key words for the concepts of Artic-group and Ove Vilnes’ going forward. This is necessary to be relevant, to maintain values for the ship-owner, but most importantly to contribute to an even more sustainable fish farming industry. New designs and concepts are under development and will continuously be presented in the years to come.

Milestones in the history of Artic Group

  • 1987

    Artic Shipping was founded

    Founders Noralf Lekva and Ove Vilnes.
    Brokering of schooners and boats.

  • 1988

    Bought the first cargo boat

    Contract for the transport of animal feed for Felleskjøpet. Transport of Leca + various freight assignments in Sogn og Fjordane.


  • 1993

    Fish feed for Felleskjøpet

    Contract with Felsekjøpet, which later became NorAqua – which again merged with Ewos in 2000.

  • 1995

    Bought a new "Syklus"

    Transportation of fish feed for Felleskjøpet.


  • 2001 - 2004

    Develop a new method of transportation

    Together with Ewos, developed a new method for bulk transport of fish feed. Ewos built a pilot in Florø and Artic developed a new boat in collaboration with Multi Maritime. Factory and boat adapt non-contact delivery in DP mode.

  • 2004

    Artic Fjord

    The world’s first boat with bulk / non-contact delivery. Weights on board led to better capacity and control routines. All control and steering functions on board were moved to the bridge.


  • 2007

    Artic Lady

    Bulk ship with approved weights on board. Control of unloading facilities and the bulk tanks from the bridge. Contact-free delivery of fish feed.

  • 2010

    Artic Ocean

    Pilot project with a combined load of raw materials and feed, using portable feed tanks inside the boat.


  • 2014

    Artic Fjell and Rubin

    The world’s first combi ship with the most flexible and cost-effective solution due to the modular method of loading. The ships carry feed in both silos and sacks, in combination with raw material transport in the low season.

  • 2015

    Artic Sea Service

    Service boat for the aquaculture industry. Net washing, ROV, mooring work and lice treatment.


  • 2015

    Firda Fighter

    Newly built service boat, delivered to the fish farmer. Equipped with Optilicer for de-lice.

  • 2016

    Artic Junior

    Combi boat that transports both raw materials and finished goods / fish feed for Ewos. Equipped with a new type of unloading facility developed by Ove Vilnes.


  • 2018

    Sale of shipping company

    All freighters sold. Ingar Fiskerstrand and Rune Førde lead Artic Group.

  • 2018

    Aqua Tromøy

    New build. Modern and efficient well boats, with the world’s largest RO facility. Produces 6 million liters of water per day.


  • 2019

    Aqua Kvaløy

    Same type of boat as Aqua Tromøy, delivered to customer.

  • 2019

    Fish farming service

    Investment in service tasks for the aquaculture industry.


  • 2020

    Concept sold to customer

    Slaughter- and service boat, for delivery of farmed fish to the slaughterhouse. Artic Group has construction management for the project in Spain.

  • 2021


    Acquisition of Stan Shipping Ltd. – Poland.


  • 2021

    Sustainable future

    Artic Group is investing in the future, with sustainability at all levels.