Owners and operators of marine vessels and offshore rigs are astonished at what they get from providers in the Faroe Islands — such as MEST, the shipyard and engineering company that is also a stainless steel equipment manufacturer.
Nobody would blame the uninitiated for assuming that in the Faroe Islands not much can possibly be found in the way of industrial services and manufacturing — certainly, nobody would contest that the size of the population in that windswept archipelago in the middle of the North Atlantic is absolutely minimal.
They would, however, be in for a big surprise.
“What? We get that in the Faroe Islands? That’s unbelievable!” is not an uncommon reaction from foreigners visiting the Faroes for the first time.
Said Mouritz Mohr, the CEO of Faroese shipyard group MEST, formerly known as Tórshavnar Skipasmiðja (FaroeYard): “The amount and quality of services you can get in the Faroes is something that seems to amaze many foreigners. They just can’t get their heads around that with only 50,000 inhabitants we can still do so many things while meeting high international standards.”
Indeed, an impressive amount of work is being carried out in the Faroe Islands, where MEST for many decades has played an important part in the economy as the country’s main shipyard and engineering company.
Originally founded in 1936, MEST has a long history of shipbuilding and ship maintenance. Besides thousands of repairs and overhauls, the company’s yards in Tórshavn and at Skála have delivered more than a hundred newbuilds over the years, mainly fishing vessels but also other types of vessels, including car ferries and offshore support vessels.
As newbuilds are increasingly ordered from yards in low-wage countries, however, MEST focuses mostly on services nowadays to make good use of its mechanical and electrical engineering expertise and wide range of tools and equipment for anything from engine overhauls to ship stability calculations, from noise measurement to vibration analysis.
Steel frames for construction of industrial buildings on shore is another segment that has helped the company adapt to change.
“We work with marine vessels, offshore rigs, and land based industries,” Mr. Mohr said.
“We do have the occasional newbuild, about one in every two years or so but it varies — we hope for two such orders within the near future. Most of the business today is about maintenance and repairs and related services.”
MEST has a comprehensive spares department, are general agents for a number of leading brands in marine equipment and accessories, and offer rental of tugboats and cranes.
With an extensive and detailed database of all vessels that have been serviced at MEST, competitive technical consulting is provided in connection with conversions and purchase of vessels.
Since 2004, MEST also owns a Runavík-based stainless steel equipment manufacturing company, earlier known as FJM.
“The Runavík entity has contributed to further developing our engineering skills while at the same time expanding our business into offering food processing equipment made of stainless steel,” Mr. Mohr said.
“We’ve also started developing advanced computerized systems for factories to help increase time efficiency and product quality through automatization of processes.”
With 300 employees — specialized in mechanics, steel, electricity, timber and paint — MEST caters to a demanding client base consisting of mostly Faroese businesses however with other countries representing a growing proportion, not least in the oil and gas industry.
“This diversity gives us a head start,” Mr. Mohr added.