Maersk Line


The history of Maersk is too long and complicated to do it any kind of justice here so only the briefest outline will be provided. It is not entirely clear when the name Maersk Line was first used but the name comes the family of the founder. The “founding father” was in fact Arnold Peter Møller who was born in Denmark in 1876. The Svendborg Steamship Company was set up in 1902 and had just one second-hand ship. Møller then set up the Steamship Company of 1912 which gave him total control of direction and operations. The objective was “To operate a freight business with steamships”.

As Denmark was neutral in WW1 the company was able to continue to trade in both the UK and Germany but lost one ship to action by a German submarine. The company continued to grow between the wars but during WW2, Denmark was occupied by the Germans in 1940. Attempts were made to keep the company going from Copenhagen but later operations moved to the USA and in 1941 the fleet was taken over by the US government. Most of the ships were in use during the war by the USA and UK and 25 vessels and many men were lost. By the end of the war there were 21 ships left.

Services were re-established quickly when peace broke out and A.P. Møller established the A.P. Møller and Chastine Mc-Kinney Møller Foundation - a trust aimed at preventing the company being taken over.

The company established shipbuilding facilities at Lindø in 1959 to complement their existing yard at Odense; this was further extended in 1969 with the addition of a dry dock for construction of vessels up to 650,000 tones. The worlds first double-hulled supertanker was built here and many containerships.

The company went into oil and gas in the 1960s and continues to take part in oil exploration and production in many parts of the world including the North Sea, the Middle East, Kazakhstan, South America and North Africa. During the 1960s the company built up business in supply vessels. In the 1970s the company went into air transport, gas carrying and oil rigs. In the 1980s the company moved into car carriers and started a program of acquisitions. The 1990s saw the opening of facilities to construct containers, records broken for the size of container vessels and the take over of both Safmarine and Sea-Land Services. The company name changed to Maersk Sealand in 1999.

In 2002 the company acquired Torms, in 2003 it launched the “jack-up” drilling rig, and in 2005 it acquired Royal P & O Nedlloyd N.V.


Vessel Type Launched/Completed Tonnage DWT Builder
Anna Maersk Cargo 114,097 G. 02/03/1928 Yard No: 22 Gross:5722 Net: 3406 8500 Odense Staalskibsvaerft, Odense
Aase Maersk No Info 1930??
Betty Maersk No Info 1922?
Christian Maersk No Info
Clifford Maersk No Info
Cornelia Maersk No Info
Eleo Maersk Cargo April 1959 Yard No: 148 Gross: 18164 Net: 10882 29400 Odense Staalskibsvaerft, Odense
Gjertrud Maersk No Info 1960
Herta Maersk No Info
Hulda Maersk No Info 1958?
Kirsten Maersk No Info 1920??
Knud Maersk No Info 1958
Laura Maersk No Info 1907 Yard No: 458 Gross: 1432 Net: 873 2550 Howaldtswerke A/G. Kiel
Louis Maersk Cargo 1967 Gross: 38636 Net: 28923 79800 Odense Staalskibsvaerft, Odense
Louis Maersk Container 1984
Oluf Maersk Cargo 1,527,000 June 1963. Gross: 21609 Net: 12141 35900 Odense Staalskibsvaerft, Odense
Oluf Maersk No Info
Robert Maersk No Info 1919?
Vibeke Maersk Cargo 85,000 G. June 1925 Yard No: 1139 Gross:1600 Net: 510 1330 F. Schichau G. m.b.H. Elbing.

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