The ARK project is a Danish initiative established in order to support Denmark’s obligation in relation to the NATO meeting at Prague November 2002 (Prague Capability Commitment meeting). At the meeting nations obliged themselves not only to commit combat units for NATO Response Forces, but also to support the commitment with strategic sealift for the committed forces.
11 nations, hereunder Denmark, signed June 2003 a declaration of intent which later was cemented by 9 nations in December 2003 by signing of the Multinational Implementation Agreement, in which the nations committed themselves to establish a strategic lift capacity within the maritime area.
In order to rectify parts of the limitation in the maritime lift capacity Denmark decided to establish the ARK project. The ARK project is named after a quote from a former secretary general, who at a time said “there is no reward for predicting rain. There is only a prize for building an ARK”.
When the concept together with the necessary political and economical foundation was in place Denmark chartered in May 2003 a Roll on Roll off ship (RoRo ship) TOR ANGLIA, as the first obvious sign on our commitment in relation to NATO Response Forces.
In connection with the restructuring of the Danish Defence in the direction of enhanced capacity for international operations together with the experiences from TOR ANGLIA it was decided to charter yet another ship TOR FUTURA. This was executed I September 2004.
TOR FUTURA is still serving the ARK project but has changed name to ARK FUTURA. At the same time it was decided to enter a new contract for TOR ANGLIA until 2007. Totally Denmark places in this way 5000 lane metres at disposal for the member countries of the alliance.
In 2007 TOR ANGLIA was again extended until May 2010.
In 2006 the ARK project was expanded with cooperation with Germany. The agreement concerning this cooperation was signed 29 November 2006 and by that Germany and Denmark were the owners of the ARK project in common.
Thereby the ARK project was also responsible for the strategic sealift for the German Defence, which meant that furthermore two ships had to be fulltime chartered. ARK FORWARDER was chartered in November 2006, but due to lack of candidates FAST ARROW was chartered temporarily until TOR DANIA was full time chartered from November 2007 until November 2011.
The first cooperation agreement with Germany expired end 2011 and an extension of the agreement was signed June 2009. In connection with the extension of the agreement it was decided to invite for a tender to deliver all the ships for the ARK project as one package with five RoRo ships, namely three German and two Danish with a third optional RoRo ship for Denmark if the market situation dictated this. The tender was awarded to DFDS.