THE HISTORY OF TURKU SHIPYARD – BUILDING SHIPS SINCE 1737
The Meyer Turku shipyard’s history goes back nearly 300 years. In 1737, two businessmen, Esaias Wechter and Heinrich Remgean, started building wooden vessels in Turku.
BURGEONING SHIPYARD INDUSTRY
Two new shipyards were built in the latter half of the 19th century: the Hietalahti shipyard in Helsinki (1865) and the Vulcan shipyard in Turku by the Aurajoki river (1898). The latter soon merged with the Ab Crichton shipyard from across the river. In 1936, Wätrsilä acquired both the Hietalahti shipyard and Ab Crichton-Vulcan.
Following the second World War, the shipbuilding industry saw a period of rapid growth. The first vessels built were simple ships, barges and brigantines, but over the years the shipyard expanded into research and passenger ships.
The name Crichton-Vulcan was used until 1965 when the shipyard became known as the Wärtsilä Turku shipyard. In 1971, the Wärtsilä Turku shipyard with its 5,300 employees was the largest employer in Finland.
THE TIME OF MERGERS
In 1945, leading Finnish shipyards had founded the Oy Laivateollisuus Ab shipyard in Pansio, Turku. Valmet assumed ownership of the shipyard in 1973.
The Wärtsilä shipyard on the Aurajoki shore was becoming outdated in the 1970s. Additionally, the housing that had sprung up around the shipyard was hindering growth. In 1976, Wärtsilä opened the modern Perno shipyard.
In 1986, Wärtsilä and Valmet decided to merge their ship-building activity into jointly owned operation at the Perno shipyard. And in 1989, this company continued operations under a new name, Masa-Yards. Since 1991, the Turku and Helsinki shipyard was co-owned by Norwegian Kvaerner ASA. Mergers continued until 2002 when Aker and Kvaerner joined forces to become Kvaerner Yards.
UNDER KOREAN OWNERSHIP
In 2004, Aker brought the Finnish shipyards under a single roof, and the company took the new name Aker Finnyards. In August 2008, Korean STX Shipbuilding bought Aker Yards, and the company was renamed STX Europe. Its Finnish operations were run under the name STX Finland.
FROM WOODEN SHIPS OF THE 18TH CENTURY TO MODERN SHIPS
Today the Turku shipyard is owned by the German family business Meyer Group. The current CEO, Tim Meyer, represents a 7th generation under the same ownership.
From their humble beginnings, the Turku shipyard has come far in its nearly 300 years of operation: Meyer Turku Oy now specializes in highly demanding, innovative and environmentally friendly cruise ships, ferries and special vessels. Along with the other Meyer shipyards operating in Germany, Meyer Turku is one of the world’s leading builders of cruise ships.