Floating football love

October 7, 2021

With clearly visible Manchester United emblems on the wheelhouse, the FFS boats melt football hearts in every port. However, not everyone is equally excited.

2021-09-22 11.16.30

John W. Nilsen and Leif Steinar Simonsen like to pose in front of the United emblem on FFS Athos.

Text and photo: Sveinung W. Jensen, Tellus Kommunikasjon AS

- No one has thrown rotten eggs yet. We've only got positive feedback. People like to come over and take pictures of the boats and the United logo. Some times this trigs a good football chat, says John W. Nilsen, general manager of FFS.

The United emblem gives the FFS fleet it's own identity. As part of the rebranding, all new boats are painted in FFS colors and equipped with the red and yellow club badge.

- IT STARTED with the tugboat FFS Achilles all the way back in 2010. When we bought FFS Atlas a couple of years later, it could not be differently equipped. Then it evolved from there, says Nilsen.

All four tugboats, the crane vessel FFS Amon and the largest workboat, FFS Argo, all bear the United logo. Exceptions have only been made for one boat - Hakka, which is a strange, small icebreaker with 265 horsepower. This boat has got another club's logo on it.

- Liverpool supporters working for us badly wanted to have a boat. We could not keep them completely out. But I'm not so worried. We filmed Hakka while it was next to FFS Arion, which has around 6,500 horsepower. The film illustrates very well the balance of power between the clubs, Nilsen laughs.

MANY ARE MAYBE surprised that Liverpool fans have gained a foothold at FFS at all. But Nilsen will not close the door on good employees, even though they support the wrong club.

- Besides, there are actually some nice Liverpool supporters, he says.

Most people in Farsund, where FFS is based, have realized that FFS is a true United fortress. At least those who are looking for a job in the company.

- Many Liverpool supporters have these tattoos. But in job interviews, they are usually well covered up, Nilsen smiles.

IN ORDER TO become a skipper on an FFS boat, however, you must have feelings for the right club. The management department is actually somewhat divided. Operations Manager Leif Steinar Simonsen is an avid United supporter, while Technical Manager Stian Holholm and HSM Manager Odd Svein Hansen cheer on Liverpool.

Nilsen himself has supported "The Red Devils" for as long as he can remember.

- I got a United poster from my cousin when I was little. I kept it in the boys' room until I was 16 years old. Besides, I wore a United shirt whmen I played football as a young lad, says Nilsen, and insists that the love for the club is great.

- I follow my team closely and try to watch most of the United matches from the TV chair, he says.


Barge / 1990


Barge / 1990


Barges / 2000


Work boat / Rope boat /


Work boat / 1990


Crane vessel / 1980