Tanker Olympic Storm. The magnificent shipyard model shown here was built by the Unterweser Modellbau workshop on a scale of 1:100. It is on display in our exhibition on deck 9 of the museum.
The „Olympic Storm“ was one of the six crude oil tankers built by the Greek magnate Aristotle Onassis at the AG Weser shipyard in Bremen, northern Germany. Aristotle Onassis began his career at a very young age as an immigrant to Argentina in the 1920s. His business acumen and profound knowledge of international financial markets made him one of the richest men in the world and the owner of the largest merchant fleet of his time. He was already rich before the Second World War, but he mastered the geopolitical situation after the conflict particularly well. His fleet made extensive use of the „flag of convenience“ regulation: this involves flagging out a ship to a country where financial, labour and/or safety regulations are less stringent in order to make the operation more profitable. The “Olympic Storm”, for example, sailed under the Liberian flag. The flag of Panamá was also frequently used by Onassis‘ ships.
Onassis also saw an opportunity for shipbuilding in West Germany after the Second World War. Heavy industry had been destroyed and was being rebuilt. Labour was comparatively cheap, but know-how was high. This was also true of AG Weser. The shipyard could look back on a successful history since its foundation in 1872. Reconstruction after 1945 was slow and complicated both financially and politically. But from 1951 the shipyard was allowed to start building ships again. This is where Onassis came into play.
The Greek shipowner had concluded lucrative oil deals with Saudi Arabia. In this context, Onassis saw the need to expand his tanker fleet. Six tankers were ordered from AG Weser. The first sister ship, the „Olympic Cloud“, was launched in 1953. The „Olympic Wind“ and the „Olympic Storm“ followed in the same year. The „Olympic Breeze“ and the „Olympic Rainbow“ were launched in 1954 and the „Olympic Sky“ finally in 1955. This class of ship was only one of the shipbuilding projects that Onassis had carried out in West Germany. His activities contributed significantly to the West German economic miracle, a process in which the country, devastated by dictatorship and war, rose to become an economic power in the 1950s and 1960s.
The magnificent shipyard model shown here was built by the Unterweser Modellbau workshop on a scale of 1:100. It is on display in our exhibition on deck 9 of the museum.