Low interest rates are making the big difference these days in European countries busy with the booming ship-refit business. Because of the insistent demands of their buyers, commercial mackerel fishermen in Europe are lining up to have their seagoing boats re-equipped with new- style refrigerated sea-water tanks.
Renovations for an individual ship can cost as much as $750,000 and in most cases require sympathetic financing. Leaders in offering the modernization of ship facilities have been the energetic shipyards of Norway. More than 30 European ships have been refitted with the new cooling devices in Norwegian yards since early 1979. And the real reason, ship owners say, has been the low interest rates charged. British contracts of this kind call for as much as 16 percent, while Norway's ship refitters have garnered a good portion of this new business at 8 percent.