BW entered the tanker market in the mid-1960s under the stewardship of Sir Yue-Kong (Y.K.) Pao with World-Wide Steamships Company Limited. It began with the purchase of a second-hand tanker that had a British Petroleum charter attached before expanding with newbuilds in 1969 with the delivery of World Chief. World-wide Shipping continued to expand its fleet size and by 1979, had over 200 vessels in different shipping segments.
The 1980s saw a slump in the shipping business and this prompted World-Wide Shipping to reduce its fleet size to avoid financial difficulties. Loans were repaid and assets were written down to their market values, avoiding the overhang of debt that was to put many other owners into financial jeopardy. This allowed the company to ride through the slump and come out as one of the few financially-stable shipping companies. Sir Y.K. Pao retired in 1986 and his son-in-law Dr Helmut Sohmen became Chairman of World-Wide Shipping.
In April 2003, World-Wide Shipping acquired Bergesen d.y. ASA, a tanker business in Stavanger, Norway. Bergesen was a market leader for crude oil, dry bulk and gas transportation, having acquired marine gas transportation company Havtor ASA in 1995.
Bergesen together with the Sohmen family’s World-wide Shipping was reorganized to form Bergesen World-wide in 2003. In 2005, a re-organisation and rebranding exercise brought all businesses under a single group brand, BW. BW Group Ltd was incorporated in Bermuda and became the holding company of the Group in April 2007.
BW Group today is a leading global maritime company involved in oil and gas transportation, floating gas infrastructure, environmental technologies and deepwater production. The BW Group comprises BW Gas, BW Pacific, BW Offshore, BW Maritime, BW Fleet Management, BW Shipping and BW LPG. BW Offshore and BW LPG are public companies listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange.