Norway - a maritime "great power" also in the future

Innlegg statssekretær Dilek Ayhan i forbindelse med 75-årsjubileet for Skipsmodelltanken i Trondheim

Ladies and gentlemen!

First of all, let me join the congratulators in marking the 75th anniversary of the Ship Model Tank here at Tyholt.

It is truly an honor to take part in this celebration.


Since the beginning in 1939 the research institution has been an important contributor in ocean related research. Let us not forget the spectacular fact that the tank from 1939 still is used in conducting experiments!

What is the greatest success as a result of the Ship Model Tank is the research environment represented by Marintek and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, which today is world leading at its field and the largest of its kind in Europe.

It also stands out as a great example of a fruitful cooperation between industry and academia.

Several successes have sprung out of these facilities, technologies which illustrate the wide span of competence at these facilities:

  • Offshore technologies such as the Ormen Lange subsea project, the Sevan and Troll platform and the Ulstein X-bow design.
  • Cutting edge ship design – illustrated by the fact that every “Ship of the year” in the period 2001 to 2012 was developed in close cooperation with Marintek.
  • The technology related to LNG as fuel for ships was developed here – giving Norway a world leading position in the use of this environmentally friendly fuel. 

But there is more:

  • Hywind – the world’s first floating wind turbine has been developed here.
  • Marintek has also been heavily involved in Norway’s aquaculture industry.
  • And finally, given the current development in the High North, research on satellite communications and search and rescue in the Arctic are now ongoing projects.


The history of these research facilities is a reflection of Norway as a maritime nation where innovation, environmental technologies and solutions for the future such as operating in Arctic waters have been – and will be - important components.

And we can all agree that Norway is a great power in a maritime context.

It is in the ocean that we have found the source of our growth and the welfare state which characterizes the Norwegian society today.

Our economic activity is still oriented towards the ocean:

  • More than 90 percent of our population lives less than 10 kilometers from the coast.
  • There is a maritime industry which employs over 100 000 with a value creation estimated to be 160 billion Norwegian Kroner.
  • And measured in the value of our fleet we are the fifth largest, measured in size we are the eight largest. Another sign of an advanced and knowledge driven industry – having a ship fleet based on and loaded with cutting edge technological solutions.

In other words, the ocean is - literally speaking – our watermark and we have a solid foundation.

But in answering today’s question on how we will remain a maritime superpower – also in the future, I believe we must choose our next steps wisely.

The Norwegian government has already chosen some of these steps:

Steps which will improve our whole economy and Norwegian competitiveness.


The first step is a focus on knowledge and innovation. We have strengthened programs which we know contributes to industrial research and development, schemes which you know in Norwegian as MAROFF, Skattefunn and “BIA-ordningene” under the Norwegian Research Council.

These efforts will hopefully lead to more research activity in the laboratories at Tyholt.

A second important step is our ambitious project to simplify, renew and improve Norwegian public sector.

  • Simplifying is about giving individuals more freedom, more choices and to eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy and red tape.
  • Improving is about quality. We will make the public sector more competent and use this competence where it is most needed.
  • And renewing is about working smarter, interacting better and taking greater advantage to the possibilities which technologies give us.

Our goal is to save Norwegian businesses 15 billion kroner by the end of 2017.


These efforts will also be an advantage for our maritime industries, just to mention the public procurement of ships and maritime services or regulations on maritime safety.

But the greatest impact will probably be on our maritime administration. We want the Norwegian Maritime Administration with its ship registry to be both visible and user friendly.

Here, digitalization is an important key and the administration has done a tremendous job in developing their ICT-services so that more applications can be reported electronically.

This is all about simplifying, renewing and improving.      


We believe further steps are needed to ensure that Norway will remain a maritime super power.

Therefore, the Norwegian government has decided to develop a new comprehensive maritime strategy.  The strategy will provide an overview of the policies that form the basis for the maritime issues in Norway.

The aim of the strategy is to provide an overview of initiatives and specific measures that either exist already or will be launched soon. On this basis, we will look for ways to increase the value creation in our ocean related sectors in a sustainable manner through coordinating and improving current efforts and policies.

The government’s efforts will focus on eight overarching topics:

1)   ”Blue growth”.

2)   International regulation and competitive framework conditions.

3)   Maritime competence and education.

4)   Research and innovation.

5)   Green shipping.

6)   Modern and efficient maritime administration.

7)   Competitiveness of the Norwegian ship-register.

8)   Maritime operations in the High North.


We plan to present the strategy in spring 2015.


 The laboratories of Marintek and NTNU bears witness that research and development has been crucial to profitability and innovation in the maritime, marine and energy sector.

It is quite evident that the need for knowledge, research and innovation will increase even further in future, something which this strategy will deal with.

Through our most important tools, Innovation Norway and the Norwegian Research Council, Norwegian authorities facilitates for research and innovation in the maritime industry.

But we believe that improvements can be made. That is why we will go through the public support system – because we need to make sure that the resources we use to promote innovation – actually gives more innovation.

An important part of the strategy is therefore to asses our support system for research, development and innovation in our ocean based industries.


What is perhaps the greatest milestone for future research and knowledge development is the Ocean Space Center project.


We want these laboratories to continue to play a vital part in the development of the industry – and have granted the necessary funds for the primary stages of the project.

When and if realized, I am sure the Ocean Space Center will be a world leading center for ocean space. The project is now going through a demanding and perhaps time consuming phase, this is because we want to ensure quality.

Let me also remind you that it took 26 years, from the first initiatives to the realization of the tank in 1939 – which we celebrate today. This shows the stamina which characterizes the research environment at Tyholt – a stamina which will come in great use in the development of the Ocean Space-project.


Ladies and gentlemen!

If we look at Norway’s proud modern maritime history and what characterizes us as a maritime super power, the facility here at Tyholt has been a very important ingredient in achieving our current position.

The Norwegian government will do what it can so we may remain in this position also in the future – assisted by world class research in world class facilities.

On behalf of the Norwegian government – to the staff and all those involved in the ground breaking work taking place here – congratulations and the best of luck in your future ventures!

Thank you for your attention!