Master who then became a broker
Per Mansson grew up in Kalmar, on Swedens eastern Baltic Sea coast, south of Stockholm.
Kalmar was home to a seafaring training school, and the young Mansson came into contact with many who were heading for careers at sea.
He started as a deckhand in 1970 and spent 10 years at sea earning his masters ticket, serving on a mixture of general cargoships, container vessels, reefers and a suezmax tanker. He describes it as old-style seafaring and says he loved it.
In 1980, his shipowner, Axel Johnson Group, asked him to come ashore and take up a position on operations and later commercial in Bergen, western Norway, at what was then a cooperation on chemical tankers with Odfjell.
But Norway could not hold him and he was transferred to New York to work under the outfits Jo Tankers name for the next two years.
In 1986, he was invited to start a tanker arm for gas brokerage Stemoco Shipping and got his first taste of VLCCs.
Id never done crude in my life, he says, so he called his friend John Fredriksen and asked how difficult it was.
My mother can do that, came the reply.
Mansson says he built the tanker arm from six people to 42 when he left in 1990.
But Sven Salens company heard there was a Swede in Norway who could do commercial things, Mansson recalls. He was hijacked to join what quickly became Uddevalla Shipping in Sweden, which was later renamed Frontline, starting as a commercial manager before moving on to become executive vice president.
In 1997, Fre....