VIKING’s history begins with the Sørensen family

... and the transformation of a small startup company in the port of Esbjerg into a global market leader. All in the space of 60 years. ​​​​​​​

The story of VIKING begins in a town where people know that the sea gives and the sea takes away. For decades, anxious women have waited through storms for signs of life from their men at sea. Some in vain, others relieved when their loved ones managed to defy nature’s power and rescue themselves.

The fishermen have almost disappeared from Esbjerg, Denmark’s most western town.
But VIKING remains – now as a global corporation that has long since conquered the world’s oceans and whose name is synonymous with safety at sea. For fishermen, merchant seafarers, ship passengers, offshore workers, sports and leisure sailors, and everyone who sails the seas.

VIKING is also the story of the Sørensen family, whose generations have made their mark on the town and its harbor. Tage Sørensen (1915-2016) founded Nordisk Gummibådsfabrik, now known as VIKING Life-Saving Equipment A/S, in 1960. He remained the company’s active chairman until 2010, when he retired at the age of 95.

Tage Sørensen was influenced by the Boy Scout movement and its ideals: honesty, responsibility, helpfulness and respect for others. His values still shape the culture of our company and define its character, helping to guide us as we grow.


VIKING Thailand inaugurates new 16,000 m2 facility and celebrates 20th anniversary at the same time.


VIKING sets new ambitious goal for sustainability: Carbon neutral by 2030.

VIKING acquires HydroPen, the company behind the unique HydroPenTM container firefighting solution.

VIKING Evacuation Dual Slide - VEDS - receives certification.

Staying safe: 2.3 million working hours without accidents (LTI).

VIKING Safety Academy reaches 19,000 users.


VIKING Life-Saving Equipment A/S celebrates 60 years in business.

Coronavirus means working from home for many employees.

VIKING Safety Academy reaches 3,000 users.


VIKING acquires the fire safety division of Drew Marine.

The acquisition is a significant boost to VIKING’s marine fire service capability base and global market presence within this field.

VIKING reaches 3,000 employees worldwide.

VIKING Dubai moves to a new facility in Dubai Maritime City.

LifeCraftTM receives world’s first approval and wins multiple awards: Safety at Sea, Electric & Hybrid Marine Award 2019 and Seatrade Awards.

The VIKING solution has been approved as a novel life-saving appliance system – a well understood and accepted category in the maritime industry.

VIKING Safety Academy is established.

VIKING Safety Academy is a unique concept that can accommodate specific competency and training needs.


VIKING becomes exclusive worldwide distributor for Rosenby Engineering’s HydroPenTM System.

HydroPen™ System enables crew to safely and efficiently tackle costly container fires at heights.

VIKING acquires leading lifeboat manufacturer Norsafe.

The acquisition of Norsafe, the Norwegian boatbuilder whose lifeboats are used throughout the world, is another boost for VIKING’s worldwide capabilities, ensuring a unique and unmatched product and service offering in the maritime safety industry.

Skandinavisk Brandteknik A/S becomes VIKING Life-Saving Equipment.

VIKING acquires marine fire service specialist Skandinavisk Brandteknik A/S, integrating its services tightly into the larger company’s safety portfolio, and scaling up the development of VIKING’s marine fire competencies to meet evolving customer needs.


VIKING becomes IMPA ACT preferred supplier.

VIKING is now a Preferred Supplier under the IMPA ACT program. IMPA ACT is an initiative of the International Marine Purchasing Association (IMPA) that commits its member shipowners, ship operators, and ship suppliers to demonstrate responsible supply chain management (RSCM) and corporate social responsibility (CSR).

VIKING’s CEO, Henrik Uhd Christensen, celebrates his 25th anniversary at VIKING in July.

He started as a trainee in 1992 and in 1996 he was assigned to establishing the German subsidiary in Hamburg. In 2000, he was appointed Global Sales and Marketing Director and in 2010 he assumed the post of CEO.

VIKING Saatsea introduces 24/7 onboard ISPS courses.

VIKING Saatsea, the maritime E-learning unit of marine and offshore safety equipment leader VIKING Life-Saving Equipment, releases a new set of 24/7-accessible, train-at-your-convenience courses to make the International Ship and Port Security code training more efficient and affordable.

VIKING Spain celebrates 25 years in great shape.

The Spanish subsidiary, VIKING Life-Saving Equipment Iberica S.A., covers Portugal and Morocco as well as its own national market. Customers are served from Vigo, a key port for one of Europe’s largest fishing fleets; Algeciras, the largest container port in Spain and starting point for several passenger ferry services; and Barcelona, the home base for a large proportion of Spanish cruise ships.

VIKING’s oldest subsidiary celebrates its 40th anniversary.

The subsidiary in the Netherlands was established in 1977 as the very first international subsidiary of VIKING. The organization has during the last 40 years grown from 3 employees to 46, and now has two servicing stations – one in Zwijndrecht and another one in Den Helder.


Founder of VIKING and chairman for 50 years, Tage Sørensen, passes away in May.

Mr. Sørensen passed away peacefully in his home, surrounded by family. Until his passing, Tage was in full vigor, active and in good spirits.

VIKING Singapore celebrates its 25th anniversary.

In 1991, VIKING started the Singapore subsidiary with 15 employees. Today they are approximately 70, enjoying success at the heart of the world’s second-largest port,where more than 30 million TEU container units pass through annually.

Exhaustive Range of Quality PPE Makes VIKING the Offshore Wind Favorite.

VIKING Life-Saving Equipment’s expands portfolio of PPE making choosing safety equipment and servicing much easier for offshore wind developers, operators and contractors. Digitalized on-board training eases compliance headaches. Shipowners and offshore operators have a powerful new, digitalized tool for tackling the costs, delays and sheer hassle associated with traditional land-based training.

Falck and VIKING Saatsea launch ‘blended learning’ STCW refresher training.

The new offering, launched on 1 January 2016, forms an innovative answer to the maritime industry’s need to achieve full compliance with the STCW Convention and Code by January 1, 2017 regarding training, certification and competency management.

North Sea gets 360-degree safety equipment servicing coverage.

VIKING Life-Saving Equipment has now received EASA Part 145 approval of its Bergen, Norway, servicing station, establishing an unmatched level of coverage around the North Sea that brings new safety compliance efficiencies to offshore operators and protects their ability to operate.

VIKING and Daemyung Marine invest in Korea.

VIKING Life-Saving Equipment establishes a local presence in Korea through a joint venture agreement with leading Korean marine safety equipment and servicing company Daemyung Marine Co. Ltd. The new joint venture, VIKING LIFE-SAVING EQUIPMENT KOREA LLC has VIKING as the majority shareholder.

VIKING leads offshore evacuation to greater heights.

VIKING Life-Saving Equipment A/S receives type approval from Lloyd’s Register for its new offshore evacuation chute system, certified to operate at an unprecedented evacuation height of 81 meters to sea level.


VIKING’s founder Tage Sørensen, celebrates his 100th birthday December 5th.

VIKING acquires hook retrofit leader.

VIKING acquisition takes Maersk Group hook retrofit company Nadiro A/S to the next level.

VIKING moves to expand Australasian activities.

VIKING Life-Saving Equipment A/S has announced it has acquired a part of Australia-based Wiltrading Pty Ltd.’s maritime safety equipment activities effective 1 September. The move strengthens VIKING’s offering in Australasia, adding 4 locations to the company’s global network of wholly-owned servicing stations as well as several products and services, bringing new advantages for shipowners and offshore operators in the region.

Approvals launch VIKING Nadiro into new markets, shorten delivery times.

New lifeboat release systems and bracket type approvals for VIKING Nadiro SOLAS products are extending the company’s core capabilities beyond cargo to offshore and passenger segments – and speeding up delivery times.

VIKING Saatsea gets flag-state approval for new onboard STCW e-training and certification management system.

VIKING Saatsea has become the first and only provider to achieve flag state approval for its unique STCW on-board training solution with refresher modules according to the new STCW 2010 Manila Amendments for Basic Training.

VIKING signs global service alliance with another major fire safety supplier.

VIKING Life-Saving Equipment has signed a multi-year global servicing agreement with NK Group, a major Korean supplier of firefighting systems and related equipment, laying the foundations for a strong business alliance between the two companies.

New VIKING ETSO transport suit.

New ETSO- and SOLAS-approved helicopter transfer suit in high visibility yellow promises higher comfort and safety, combined with a unique equipment exchange scheme that ensures serviced suits are always on hand.


VIKING opens new European production facility in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

VIKING opens a new servicing station in Recife, Brazil.

Featuring a uniquely detachable outer shell, the VIKING Guardian fire suits reduces exposure to carcinogens and dangerous particles.

VIKING moves first - and launches a complete high-visibility programme of protective suits.

The Global Safety Product Agreement (GSPA) concept ensures round-the-clock availability of 50 key safety products in 12 selected ports worldwide.

VIKING opens a new automated state-of-the-art European distribution centre at the Esbjerg headquarters.

VIKING’s 81-metre high offshore evacuation system passes the test - a world record!


VIKING expands its global safety solution with onboard training by acquiring a major stake in SAATSEA.

VIKING takes 360° safety servicing offshore with the customizable VIKING Offshore Service Agreement concept.

VIKING opens a new servicing station in Mexico.

VIKING is first on the market with a new dual-approved thermal lifejacket.

Her Royal Highness Princess Benedikte of Denmark visits VIKING headquarters in Esbjerg.

The double chute undergoes significant updates, which establishes VIKING as the leader in evacuation chute capacity.

Launch of a complete protective clothing program with ETSO SOLAS approvals for offshore transportation.

VIKING develops and launches new slim profile solid SOLAS lifejacket.

New office and warehouse opens in Houston, Texas.

Opening of service station in Ningbo, China.


VIKING launches SOLAS ISO approved work suit designed exclusively for the offshore wind industry.

A servicing station is opened in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The global servicing network is extended to Australia and New Zealand.

VIKING enters into a global sales and service agreement with Nadiro for the Drop-In-Ball lifeboat hook systems.

Long-serving CEO Jens Oluf Bjerre Madsen passes away on 27 July 2012 at the age of 81 years. Jens helped found VIKING in 1960, served as CEO for 32 years and was a dedicated board member until 2005.

3 new servicing stations are opened in Quingdao, China, Chennai, India and Odessa, Ukraine.

VIKING acquires de Vries, marine fire service company in Germany.


Five new servicing stations are opened in Brest (France), Split (Croatia), Kaohsiung (Taiwan) Port Klang (Malaysia), and Colon (Panama).

VIKING expands its presence in Brazil with a new branch office in São Paulo and a new station in Santos.


VIKING celebrates its 50 year anniversary on 1 February 2010.

Director MSc (Economics) Tage Sørensen, OD steps down as Chairman of the Board after 50 years and appoints Managing Director Jens Lindholm as his successor.

CEO Kjeld Amann retires after 13 years at VIKING. Global Sales and Marketing Director Henrik Uhd Christensen is appointed new CEO.

The entire SOLAS portfolio of lifejackets is upgraded to new MSC.200 requirements - including a "design our own" customization option for clients.

VIKING acquires fire suit manufacturer Quest Enterprises, Inc. in Walsenburg, Colorado, USA.

A new branch office is established in Mumbai, India.

VIKING opens a new servicing station in Norfolk, Virginia, USA.

A new servicing station opens in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

VIKING acquires Hygrapha, marine safety company in Germany.


A servicing station is opened in Liverpool, UK.

Global Sales and Marketing Director Henrik Uhd Christensen is named "Young Business Leader of the Year 2009" in Esbjerg Municipality.

VIKING opens new subsidiary in Istanbul, Turkey.

VIKING develop and launches a uniquely customizable concept called the VIKING Shipowner Agreement (SOA).

A new subsidiary is opened in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


VIKING continues to lead the way in global maritime and offshore safety and reaches its long awaited milestone of DKK in turnover despite stiff competition in several markets and fluctuating currencies.

VIKING Life-Saving Equipment Istanbul Denizcilik Ticaret AS opens its doors for servicing maritime life-saving equipment in the Turkish region.

Denmark’s Crown Prince Frederik tours VIKING Life-Saving Equipment’s Laem Chabang-based facility in Thailand. Trip part of bi-lateral anniversary celebrations marking 150 years of diplomatic relations between two proud maritime nations.

VIKINGs double slide is certified as the highest capacity marine evacuation system on the market.

Offshore safety reaches new heights with VIKING’s new ETSO compliant helicopter transportation suit.

A new SOLAS approved breathable constant wear suit is launched ideal for operations in both cold and warmer climates (PS4170).

VIKINGs new dual chute evacuation system is short-listed for the prestigious Safety At Sea Award.


VIKING wins international SASMEX Safety at Sea award for the VELS SMS system.

VIKING is nominated for the prestigious DI product award for innovation in protecting lives by integrating sensor technology into lightweight and flexible fire-fighter suits.

The only liferaft designed and tested specifically for Arctic sailing is launched.


Lean manufacturing principles streamline production.

Combined helicopter transportation and immersion suit - PS4173 for offshore purpose nominated for the honoured Seatrade Awards.

The new MiniSlide system, the VELS SMS, was launched for the first time in March 2006 in Norway.


VIKING establishes two new subsidiaries in St. Petersburg, Russia and Shanghai, China.

Initiated the implementation of our global IT system, SAP.

Employee no. 1.000 joined VIKING in October 2005 in Thailand.


VIKING Iceland takes over a new service station in Akranes, Western Iceland.


VIKING achieves the OHSAS 18001:1999, 923 working environment certification.

VIKING implements the new quality system, VMS (VIKING Management System) that complies with ISO 9001:2000. - VIKINGs electronic product catalogue - is launched.

VIKING Singapore gains ISO 9001:2000 certification.

VIKING Singapore moves to a new 4000m2 building.


VIKING's new MiniSlide system, the VEMS (VIKING Evacuation Minislide System) for fast and safe evacuation from low heights is type approved.

VIKING's 150 DKS (self-righting) and 150 DKR/IBA (open reversible) liferafts are type approved.

VIKING opens 9,000 m2 factory in Bangkok, Thailand.

VIKING establishes a new subsidiary company in Hafnarfjordur, Iceland: VIKING LIFE-SAVING EQUIPMENT Iceland ehf.


VIKING takes over activities of a the Norwegian company, Norsafe Selantic, that manufactures offshore life-saving equipment: VIKING LIFE-SAVING EQUIPMENT Bergen AS.

An extension of 7,800 m2 to the existing head offices is built with 6,600 m2 for production and 1,200 m2 for offices, conference rooms and lecture rooms.

VIKING Denmark is awarded a prize for the best working environment by the Danish Workers' Union, Denmark.

VIKING receives the biggest order ever in 41 years of existence by winning a public tender with Tirrenia Navigation, Italian shipowners and their four regional shipyards Toremar, Siremar, Saremar and Caremar.

VIKING Asian Centre, a new hub for Asian markets, is established in Singapore and made fully responsible for handling all countries in the Asian region, including Australia and New Zealand.


Katty Tørnæs, VIKING's Managing Director since 1992, passed away and VIKING's Group Finance Director, Kjeld Amann, is appointed new Managing Director.


VIKING evacuation chutes are introduced onto the market.

VIKING establishes a subsidiary company in Stockholm, Sweden:VIKING LIFE-SAVING EQUIPMENT Sweden AB.

VIKING establishes a subsidiary company in Vancouver, Canada:VIKING LIFE-SAVING EQUIPMENT Canada Ltd.


A servicing station is established in Estonia.

VIKING´s new Fast Rescue Boat is approved.

The VIKING MiniSlide is introduced to the market.


VIKING's 50 person automatically self-righting liferaft is approved according to the new international regulations - the first on the global market.

The production in Batam is certified according to ISO.

Esbjerg is elected town of the year and VIKING is elected its best workplace.


Katty Tørnæs, Managing Director of VIKING receives the "La Veuve Cliquot" prize of 1996, as Business Woman of the Year.

VIKING launches its first internet site.

VIKING consolidates their position in the market by establishing the following servicing stations: VIKING USA, Cape Canaveral;  VIKING UK, Southampton; VIKING France, Marseille and VIKING Spain, Algeceiras.

VIKING's MES (Marine Evacuation System) is approved for ships with no speed limits - a global first.

VIKING establishes a new production site on Batam Island, Indonesia: PT VIKING LIFE-SAVING EQUIPMENT Indonesia.

VIKING establishes a subsidiary company in Hamburg: VIKING LIFE-SAVING EQUIPMENT Deutschland GmbH.


VIKING establishes a servicing station in Le Havre: VIKING Service.

VIKING lifejackets and fire-fighter suits are approved according to CE.

VIKING establishes a subsidiary company in Hong Kong:VIKING LIFE-SAVING EQUIPMENT Hong Kong Ltd.


Marine evacuation systems are used during a real emergency for the first time. The Finnish cruiseliner Sally Albatross is shipwrecked and within 90 minutes the VIKING MES systems installed on board evacuates all 1100 passengers and 158 crew.


VIKING changes its name from Nordisk Gummibådsfabrik to VIKING LIFE-SAVING EQUIPMENT A/S and all of our products (VIKING, MUSK OX, NORVIK) are unified under the product name of VIKING.

VIKING establishes a subsidiary company in France:VIKING LIFE-SAVING EQUIPMENT France S.a.r.l.


Jens O. Bjerre-Madsen, Managing Director during VIKING's 32 years,retires and is succeeded by Katty Tørnæs.

VIKING 2nd sales office in Holland is established.

VIKING is certified by DnV to DS/ISO 9001.

VIKING establishes a subsidiary company in Spain:VIKING LIFE-SAVING EQUIPMENT Iberica S.A.

VIKING establishes a subsidiary company in Singapore:VIKING LIFE-SAVING EQUIPMENT PTE LTD. Singapore.


VIKING and MUSK OX are certified by the British MOD to AQAP 1.

VIKING establishes a subsidiary company in Turku, Finland:OY VIKING SERVICE Ab - now VIKING LIFE-SAVING EQUIPMENT (FINLAND) OY.


VIKING London establishes a sales office and servicing station in Aberdeen, Scotland.


VIKING establishes a servicing station in Miami, Florida: High Seas Safety of America, Inc. - later (1994) incorporated in VIKING LIFE-SAVING EQUIPMENT (America) INC.

"VIKING I", a floating training centre, is opened in the UAE.


VIKING establishes a sales office and servicing station in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

VIKING introduces a 50 person throw-overboard liferaft specially designed for the dual-track marine evacuation slide.


MUSK OX production is enlarged and moved to new premises in Bramming just outside Esbjerg.


VIKING starts Inflatable Constructions, a new line of alternative inflatable products.

The 1983 Amendments to the SOLAS '74 regulations of the IMO enter into force. VIKING's liferafts must now comply with newer, stricter regulations.


VIKING establishes a subsidiary company in Dubai, UAE: VIKING LIFE-SAVING EQUIPMENT Middle East.


VIKING licenses production of VIKING enclosed fibre glass lifeboats, VIKING-DODWELL, to a Japanese company.

VIKING establishes a subsidiary company in Oslo, Norway: A/S Nordisk Gummibåtsfabrikk - now VIKING LIFE-SAVING EQUIPMENT Norge A/S.

VIKING evacuation slides are introduced onto the market.

VIKING Denmark receives an award from the town of Esbjerg for outstanding community service and for promoting Esbjerg.


IMO introduces amendments to the SOLAS '74 regulations.

The largest davit-launched liferaft in the world is introduced onto the market, the VIKING 35 DKF with a capacity of 35 persons.

Inauguration of new VIKING servicing facilities in Copenhagen: VIKING Service.


VIKING establishes a subsidiary company in Miami, Florida (USA): VIKING LIFE-SAVING EQUIPMENT (America) INC.

VIKING takes over production of MUSK OX immersion and fire-fighting suits.


VIKING extends activities to include fully enclosed fiberglass lifeboats in the product range.


VIKING Denmark is awarded a diploma and honour in recognition of their efforts of merit in connection with Danish export.

VIKING is awarded a diploma by the National Association of Danish Work in recognition of outstanding production initiatives and service to the community.

VIKING establishes a subsidiary company in London, UK: VIKING LIFE-SAVING EQUIPMENT UK LTD.


VIKING establishes a subsidiary company in Rotterdam, Holland: VIKING LIFE-SAVING EQUIPMENT Holland B.V.


The International Maritime Organization (IMO) introduces new regulations, SOLAS '74. VIKING liferafts are subsequently manufactured in accordance.


VIKING takes over the production of fiberglass boats from "Nakskov Shipyard".


VIKING builds a swimming pool for testing products.


VIKING introduces a new product on the market: the davit-launched liferaft enabling passengers to enter liferafts directly from the ship's deck.


The passenger ferry "Skagerak" is shipwrecked on the 7th of September 22, VIKING 20 person liferafts are used in the successful rescue of those on board, drawing worldwide attention to VIKING liferafts.


VIKING moves from the small harbour facilities to newer and larger facilities on Sædding Ringvej.


VIKING liferafts experience a break through as a result of two incidents: The rescue of survivors from the shipwrecked cutter "Dagmar Larsen" of Esbjerg after a 3½ day stay in the liferaft, and the Navy's 6 day test of a VIKING liferaft in the North Sea.


Production of inflatable VIKING rubber liferafts starts at the harbour of Esbjerg under the company name of A/S Nordisk Gummibådsfabrik.