Three generations gathered
Johannes Solstad had his first season job offshore this summer and was followed by two seafarers before him.
“I am 16 years old and currently studying to become an electrician at Åkrehamn vocational school”, Johannes says. This means that the possibility for a career offshore are far from impossible. “Hard to tell what the future brings, and I am not 100% certain what I want to do. However, the odds of a career offshore are still present”, he adds with a smile.
Ocean water flows in his blood. Johannes, and now we are talking about Lars Peder’s father, and grandfather to young Johannes, went himself at the age of 17 with his father to the fisheries outside Iceand back in 1947, only two years after World War two. This was on the cutter “Ivan”. One year after he started as a deckhand on M/S Rena with Oslo as home port. It was not until 1964 Johannes Solstad decided to start the new chapter onshore. As Maritim Inspector on Madagaskar for Scandinavia East Africa Line, a daughter company of the Norwegian Americaline, he had met with Polack Synek Drotkowski at Rudolf Eidensen’s home. During their interaction, and shortly after hearing Solstad’s plan to establish his own shipping company, Mr. Drotkowski was quick with raising capital to invest in the new company.
Soldrott, the first vessel in Solstad Rederi, was acquired in the fall of 1964 and there have been many vessels since then, very many. Which number Normand Server has is not certain, but it was on board Normand Server young Johannes worked during this summer. “The vessel has a route going from Tananger to Ekofisk, so I entered the vessel in Tanager and was on board for approximately 14 days. During my period on board I learned a lot and got to know the crew”, Johannes adds.
He accompanied the Captain and crew on the bridge in addition to painting and cleaning, as makes sense for a first trip boy, but the most rewarding was to acompany the electrician. “I got to see how everything worked and got to know the routines.”
Lars Peder Solstad also started his career as a seaman. He had his first summer job offshore as a 14-year-old onboard Normand Jarl back in 1985. During his time offshore he held various positions on several vessels and the last one was on Normand Neptun as Chief Officer. In 1996 he went onshore where he started as Charterer before taking on the CEO position for Solstad Shipping in 1999. In 2002 he took over the leadership of Solstad Offshore ASA. Lars Peder has been CEO in Solstad Offshore ever since then.
The close link between offshore and onshore characterize Solstad Offshore. The company has evolved from 1964 till what it is today on the basis of shipping competence. Nevertheless, young Johannes has not yet made the decision to become a seaman nor to work in a shipping company.
“My main interest when I am not at school or do my homework is football. All year through! During winter I like to ski and in the summer many hours are spent at sea in my boat. Anyhow, I had a nice time on board Normand Server, and we were fortunate with the weather”, he says.