The newfound success of Klaksvík’s repair yard is getting noticed as KSS continues to deliver at the highest standards of quality, including advanced variable-frequency controlled winch systems for top-notch fishing vessels in the Faroe Islands and elsewhere.

FBR16_LORES_7677[By B. Tyril and Q. Bates]

Klaksvík ship repair yard KSS is growing rapidly. Its new 1500-tonne capacity slipway has recently opened for business and this step forward means that the yard can accommodate the whole of the domestically active fishing fleet in the Faroe Islands, excluding the largest pelagic and factory vessels that fish distant waters.

There’s a great deal that can be done without the need to take a boat out of the water. Still, as CEO Frimodt Rasmussen pointed out, there is always going to be a need at intervals to haul these boats up the slipway to carry out routine repairs and maintenance.

The Klaksvík slipway and the origins of the company today also known as KSS go all the way back to the 1920s as it provided essential services to vessel owners across the Faroes. The business was hit by hard times during the financial difficulties of the early 1990s and the company’s ownership changed hands more than once. In 2011, Mr. Rasmussen, with a background as technical supervisor at a Faroese shipping company, was part of a group able to make a successful bid for it. The rest is history and the yard’s activities have grown steadily since then.

“There is a fleet of around a hundred vessels of 50 tonnes and over in the Faroe Islands,” he said. “These are mainly fishing vessels but also ferries, freight carriers of several kinds and a variety of support vessels and workboats. We can do all the repairs and maintenance that they require and we have a track record of delivering full package solutions.”

“Aside from the new slipway, we have an excellent amount of quayside space here,” Mr. Rasmussen noted, adding that the company has expanded from only sixteen staff five years ago to a workforce of sixty today as the business of ship repair becomes steadily more and more about sophisticated on-board systems.

KSS has a strong reputation for its engine work that makes it a leader in its field, and the yard has attracted people with outstanding technical skills, providing it with a platform to increasingly supply complete solutions as it becomes a one-stop shop.

Ruth success story

With technicians and specialists available day and night, year-round, KSS is able to take pride in its primary business of providing a range of services whenever needed, whether related to installation of new systems or other repair and maintenance work. But alongside these core services, the company has also grown into increasingly specialized fields, not least in high-level engine and deck machinery work.

Obtaining the Caterpillar Marine dealership for the Faroes, with the license to supply original Caterpillar parts and to service Caterpillar engines, was a milestone for KSS’s development in the marine engine field, and this also includes the dealership for German-built MAK engines, a brand owned by Caterpillar.

This is about more than simply supplying parts, as the agreement with Caterpillar and MAK also brings with it access to training facilities and programs that those manufacturers have at their disposal, and KSS engineers have to be trained to their standards.

“We have engines in our workshops at the moment that are being stripped down for full overhauls and we are among the leading companies in the Faroes for this kind of work,” Mr. Rasmussen said. “It’s very much about delivering on time, gaining customers’ trust by completing work as agreed and getting on with the job in hand without having to talk too much about it.”

The company’s reputation has been built up over some years, not least for the quality of its work with engines and its steelwork. Meanwhile electronics are becoming a growing focus as KSS’s IT collaborates increasingly with Spanish winch manufacturer Ibercisa.

KSS delivered the full suite of Ibercisa electric winches to the impressive new Danish pelagic vessel Ruth.

“The equipment has worked perfectly for Ruth, and they have just made a 3500-tonne landing,” Mr. Rasmussen remarked.

Ibercisa is one of the best-known names in the deck machinery business and its latest generation of variable-frequency controlled winches have shown how efficient they are in terms of low energy consumption. Feedback from customers who have opted for these winch systems has been overwhelmingly positive as KSS’s role in supplying these to customers in Greenland, the UK, Ireland, Denmark and Sweden—as well as in the Faroes—continues to grow.

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