Euronav is the successor to tanker-owner European Navigation Company Ltd, an Isle of Man company incorporated by Compagnie Nationale de Navigation (CNN), at that time a subsidiary of the Worms Group. In 1995 European Navigation Company Ltd sold vessels, subsidiary, crewing and technical, management companies and goodwill to Euronav Luxembourg NV to form a joint venture between CNN and Compagnie Maritime Belge (CMB). In 1997 CMB acquired CNN and transferred Euronav Luxembourg NV into the full ownership of CMB.
Euronav had thus become the wholly owned tanker division of CMB. Euronav's vessels at this time comprised Aframaxes, Suezmaxes and VLCCs both old and new.
At the time CMB was and continues to be controlled by the Belgian family Saverys. The Saverys Family started in shipping during the lifetime of Bernard Boel (1798-1872) who founded the Boel shipyard at Themse on the Schelde river slightly upriver from Antwerp. The Family diversified into shipping with the formation together with the Cigrang family of a dry cargo tramping business Bocimar (BOel, CIgrang,MARitime) and a liquefied gas tramping business Exmar. Bocimar was acquired by CMB in 1986 following which all of the Saverys family shipping interests were then focused in Exmar which added both dry cargo and tanker vessels to its fleet. In June 1991 the Saverys family acquired CMB and completed a reverse takeover by selling Exmar to CMB.
Marc Saverys was appointed Managing Director of CMB. Nicholas Saverys was managing director of Exmar which was then reorganised to be the Liquefied Gas Division of CMB, Bocimar was the Drycargo division and eventually Euronav would become the Tanker division.
CMB was rationalized between 1992 and 2003 by selling assets which did not focus on the direct ownership and operation of ships. The Euronav group was restructured under an owning company based in CMB's offices in Luxembourg, Euronav Luxembourg SA.
With the emergence of Belgian tonnage tax the group was further restructured with the incorporation of Euronav NV as the owner of non French flag tonnage and the acquisition by Euronav NV of Euronav Luxembourg so as to prepare the Euronav Group for the split from CMB and the eventual public listing on Euronext.
The Group has consistently employed European crew officers crews and supported the European skill base in the maritime industry. The policy of using national flag and experienced professional employees both on board and ashore is constantly vindicated in the reputation of the company and the long-term preservation of its assets.
The high quality of the crew and shore management teams' crisis management was demonstrated following the terrorist attack in October 2002 against the Limburg. On this occasion, the French ministry of transport on behalf of the French president Jacques Chirac recognized the professionalism of the company and its personnel and awarded the master of the Limburg the highest distinction of medal the legion d'honneur.
The Euronav fleet has been through several evolutions but in 1997 the decision was taken to order a series of six double hull VLCCs built by Daewoo. This was the start of Euronav's focus on the larger ship size and the most modern assets. In the pursuit of finding intelligent and imaginative ways to exploit such quality assets Euronav pursued with audacity and resolve the formation of a VLCC Pool which it achieved together with its pool partners in January 2000. The TI pool is responsible for the spot trading of Euronav's VLCC fleet.
In the Summer of 2003 a demerger of Exmar from CMB occurred, allowing Exmar to follow its plans of expansion in LNG with direct access to public markets as a Belgian stock listed company. In December 2004, following a year of stunning results for Euronav it was recognized that Euronav was sufficiently mature to benefit from the same access to a publicly quoted share and on the 1st of December was demerged by the issuance of Euronav stock to the holders of record of CMB stock.
In April 2005, Euronav completed a major strategic alliance with Tanklog Ltd, acquiring the 16 vessels of Tanklog managed by Ceres Hellenic in Greece, consisting of 14 Suezmaxes and 2 Aframaxes. The transaction, valued at USD 1.1 billion, made Tanklog the second largest shareholder of Euronav. This alliance brought together the Saverys and Livanos families, both with deep roots in shipping that can be traced to the 1800s.
For almost two centuries the Livanos family has had a strong presence in most shipping sectors and markets including crude oil, chemical products, dry cargo and passenger transportation (hydrofoils), Ceres Hellenic Shipping Enterprises, formed in 1961 in Piraeus, developed into a leading owner and ship manager that operated for many years with the highest standards in safety and quality. In 1998 Ceres became the first ship management company to achieve ISO 14001 certification for Environmental Management and ISO 9002 for Quality Management. Following the strategic alliance with Euronav, Ceres LNG Services was formed to provide technical management services for LNG vessels. In the last decade the group has focused on the development of its LNG business through GasLog Ltd. At present Ceres LNG Services, a subsidiary of GasLog Ltd, operates a fleet of 10 modern LNG carriers and has undertaken the supervision of a number of new-buildings. The Group has been strengthening its presence in the dry bulk sector through DryLog Ltd, owning and managing a number of dry bulk carriers and through commercial management of an owned and third party fleet. In parallel, the group has become a strong shipping financial investor being a major shareholder in leading companies such as Euronav and Odfjell with about a 20% stake in each.
In November 2005 Euronav Ship Management Hellas was launched to manage the vessels acquired from Tanklog; most of the shore staff as well as seagoing staff were sourced from Ceres Hellenic thereby ensuring a continuity of service. All vessels would retain the Greek flag. This acquisition was not only a significant increase in the size of the fleet but brought a renewed commitment to the highest standards in shipping.