It’s not often that WWL supplies transportation services to movie stars. But when one of the lead players in the Oscar-nominated Kon-Tiki needed help, WWL rolled out the red carpet and got her to the show on time.

In May, the Weinstein Company launched the Norwegian film Kon-Tiki in New York City and Los Angeles, taking the weekend’s highest per screen average revenue with $11,167 among limited releases. In New York it opened with extra pomp and flair, the actors sailing up the Hudson River to the gala event on the Kon-Tiki raft, brought to the USA by WWL.

Whilst a brilliant idea by the Weinstein team, the need to transport the raft came rather last minute. In the end, WWL’s frequent sailing schedules and global network made it possible, and the Kon-Tiki made it from its home berth in Stavern, Norway to the New York premier just in time and in pristine condition.

Not just a movie prop
The 15 tonne raft was first lifted onboard a UECC vessel for transportation to Bremerhaven, where it was transferred to a mafi trailer and stowed safely under deck on the M/S Mignon for the journey across the Atlantic. Once the Kon-Tiki completed her duties on the Hudson River, WWL took her home to Norway.

This raft is not a regular film prop made especially for the movie; the balsawood logs on the raft have actually sailed from Peru to Polynesia back in 2006, under the name Tangaroa. WWL helped with the logistics for the world’s most valuable balsa wood logs at that time as well, taking her from Tahiti to Larvik.  

The raft was on display in New York harbour at the time of the premier and garnered quite some attention both from the public and media.  CBS even featured it on its Sunday morning show with Serena Altschul. You can see the TV-program here.  

A special connection to WWL
WWL has a special connection to Heyerdahl, as winners of the Thor Heyerdahl International Maritime Environmental Award in 2007, for “its commitment to improving the environmental standards in the shipping industry”.  To continue to make a difference, WWL used the award money to set up its own annual Orcell Award to support innovative solutions for zero-emissions maritime transport and logistics.

About the Kon-Tiki
With a crew of five Norwegians, one Swede, and a Spanish-speaking parrot named Lorita, the Kon-Tiki left the harbor at Callao, Peru, on April 28, 1947. The expedition leader, anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl, set out to disprove the accepted scientific theory that the people of Polynesia came from Asia. He was convinced that they came from South America, and were carried there, pushed along by winds and tides, on balsa rafts.

One hundred and one days and approximately 4,300 miles later, after drifting through violent storms and shark-infested seas and enduring an invasion of small crabs, the Kon-Tiki landed on a reef off the island of Raroia, Polynesia, concluding an expedition that proved Thor Heyerdahl right and made him famous.

Heyerdahl subsequently sold 50 million copies of his book about the trip, and won a best feature documentary Oscar for the 1950 film account that he directed. This new film “Kon-Tiki” is a dramatic feature film, produced in both Norwegian and English.

The Thor Heyerdahl International Maritime Environmental Award was launched in 1999 by Thor Heyerdahl and the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association. The prize recognizes candidates from the shipping industry that have made an outstanding contribution for the environment.