• 1. General Information

General Information

Custom authorities will board on arrival. The Customs Officer is also Health Officer. The Police act as Immigration Authorities and will only attend if the vessel is embarking and disembarking personnel. All plans for embarking and disembarking must be advised by cable prior to arrival. 

Regulations On Compulsory Pilotage
The obligation either to use a state pilot or to hold a P.E.C.

Geographical extent of the regulations
The regulations apply with certain exceptions to all waters inside the base line drawn between the outermost points along the entire coast.

Vessels For Which Pilotage Is Compulsory
The following vessels must as a general rule take on a state pilot:

  • Vessels in excess of 500 GT. GT means gross tonnage as stated in the vessel's international certificate of registered tonnage pursuant to the International Convention of 1969 on Tonnage Measurement.
  • Vessels pushing or towing an object that exceeds a total length of 50 metres.
  • Vessels, regardless of size, carrying particularly hazardous and/or polluting bulk cargo. (This includes all condensed gases, all substances in pollution category A and B as defined in Marpol 73/78 Annex II and all other substances requiring type 1 ships or type 2 ships).
  • Vessels exceeding 100 GT with a single bottom and vessels exceeding 300 GT with a double bottom that are carrying hazardous and/or polluting cargo other than cargo mentioned in the preceding point. (This category of vessels inlcudes vessels that carry substances as mentioned in Marpol Annex I for petroleum oil, all substances requiring type 3 ships and all liquids with a flash point below 23 degrees Celsius).
  • Nuclear-powered vessels.
  • Vessels with a maximum length of 24 metres or more and which do not have a valid international certificate of registered tonnage pursuant to the 1969 Convention.
  • The authorities may in isolated cases instruct vessels to use a pilot all the way out to the territorials limit.

Compulsory Pilotage Does Not Apply To:

  • Vessels licensed for carriage of persons pursuant to the Transport Act.
  • Vessels exclusively engaged in domestic trade. The person responsible for navigation must have had at least 12 months' service in domestic trade on the same or similar vessel during the preceding 30 months. A vessel having been on an incidental trip abroad may still be regarded as being in domestic trade.
  • Vessel carrying hazardous and/or polluting cargo must either use a pilot or possess a P.E.C.
  • Fishing vessels registered in Norway. Foreign fishing vessels that are based in Norway may enter and leave harbours without a pilot provided the vessel and ship master have entered and departed from such a harbour on at least 12 occasions over the preceding 12 months under the guidance of a pilot.
  • Vessels under military command and vessels operated under contract by Norwegian military authorities.

Exemption From The Regulations
A vessel may cross the base line without taking a pilot abroad provided the responsible navigator has a valid P.E.C.. Moreover, flexibility has been introduced into the regulations by allowing for dispensation - always provided that safety is not adversely affected. For example, the local pilot master may in isolated cases grant dispensation if no pilot is available.

Pilotage Exemption Certificate (P.E.C.)
Possession of a P.E.C. may qualify for exemption from compulsory pilotage:Exemption may be granted provided the ship master and any other navigators on board can prove that they have thre required competence, and provided no other factors relating to the ship, cargo or fairway make exemption inadvisable.

Who Qualifies For a P.E.C. And What is Required?
A P.E.C. may be issued to the ship master and other permanent navigators on board upon application. The shipmaster/navigator must have been in charge of navigation on at least six trips in both directions in the fairways to which the certificate is to apply. The trips must have been carried out in the 12 months prior to submission of the application, and at least two of them must have been in darkness. The applicant's familiarity with the waters and the rules in force is tested, together with his command of a Scandinavian language or English. The test may be waived if the applicant provides proof of equivalent qualifications, e.g. in the form of long service in the waters in question.

Which Vessels Qualify For A P.E.C.?
P.E.C. is valid for one or more specific vessels and is only issued for waters involving no safety risks. The following factors are assessed in addition to the competence of the applicant:

  • Risk associated with the vessel - e.g. size or cargo.
  • Risk associated with the waters in question.
  • Risk associated with other factors of significance for safe vessel traffic.

A P.E.C. may be withdrawn for a specific period or indefinitely if the holder contravenes safety rules or otherwise breaches the conditions attached to the certificates.

Entry Of Foreign Non-Military Vessel Into Norwegian Waters
All foreign ship masters are obliged to familiarise themselves with the regulations governing coastal traffic before they reach Norwegian territorial waters.

Scope And Extent Of The Regulations
The rules apply to foreign non-military vessels above 50 GT or more than 24 metres in length in Norwegian waters, i.e. all waters inside the base line and four nautical miles beyond the base line. The rules do not apply to waters off Svalbard, Jan Mayen and Norwegian dependencies. All vessels with a foreign master, whether registered with the Norwegian Ordinary Ship Register or the Norwegian International Ship Register, are regarded as foreign vessels.

Passage In Territorial Waters Outside the Base Line
The rules governing innocent passage apply between the base line and Norway's territorial limits. All foreign vessels have such right of passage through this sea area.

Passage Inside The Base Line
In general foreign vessels need not apply in advance for written permission to cross the base line. The authorities may however refuse entry to internal waters if there are special grounds for doing so.

Restrictions On Entry To Norwegian Internal Waters
The following vessels must obtain written permission in advance form Norwegian military authorities in order to cross the base line:

  • Research vessels
  • Seismological vessels and other vessels carrying equipment for surveying and charting the sea bed.
  • Factory ships, repair vessels and expeditionary vessels.
  • Special-purpose vessels, including self-propelled platforms, tugboats, dredgers, ice-breakers and floating cranes. (Prior permission is not needed if entry is in fulfilment of an agreement with a Norwegian firm carrying out an assignment in a Norwegian harbour).
  • Non-military government vessels as well as standby and support vessels for naval units.
  • Nuclear-powered government vessels and vessels carrying nuclear material.
  • Vessels carrying aircraft on board.

Applications, in writing, to enter Norwegian waters shall reach the military authorities no later than 7 days before the expected date of arrival at the base line. The requirement as to prior written permission does not apply to vessels compelled to put into a port of refuge. Such vessels must immediately report the event to the Norwegian military authorities.

Obligations To Notify In Advance
All foreign, non-military vessels above 50 GT or longer than 24 metres intending to enter Norwegian internal waters shall notify Norwegian military authorities no later than 24 hours before they reach the base line. All enquiries, notifications, reports, applications etc., to Norwegian military authorities in connection with crossing the base line or with passage inside the base line north of 65 degrees N shall be firected to Headquarters Defence Command North Northway in Bodoe (Hq DEFCOMNON). Similarly, communications in connection with crossing the base line or with passage inside the base line south of 65 degrees N shall be directed to Headquarters Defence Command South Norway in Stavanger (Hq DEFCOMSONOR). Communications shall be in Norwegian, Danish, Swedish or English.
All notifications in connection with entrance and sailing in Norwegian Territorial Waters (NTW), are to be routed to a Norwegian Coast Radio Station. The Coast Radio Station will distribute the notification to the appropriate Norwegian authorities.

Obligation To Report Progress Under Way
Foreign non-military vessels above 50 GT or with a total length exceeding 24 metres shall report to Norwegian military authorities when crossing the base line in either direction and when passing specified geographical positions while under way in the fairway. Reports shall state the name of the vessel, its radio call-sign and destination. Any deviation from the vessel's original navigation plan must be reported without delay. Detailed instructions on reporting procedures will be distributed to all users in good time before the regulations go into effect on 1 May, 1995.

Mandatory Use Of Certain Fairways
Inside the base line all foreign vessels, regardless of size, (apart from pleasure craft) are required to use fairways prescribed by the Ministry of Defence. An overview of fairways will be published separately. If it is imperative for a vessel to proceed outside the prescribed fairways, permission to do so must first be obtained from Norwegian military authorities. All navigation outside prescribed fairways shall be under the guuidance of a Norwegian state pilot.

Special Rules For Pleasure Craft
Pleasure craft exceeding 24 metres or 50 GT are required to notify Norwegian military authorities and to use prescribed fairways. Such craft may otherwise move freely in Norwegian coastal waters.

No vessels, of whatever size, may take measurements other than those required for navigation. Nor is it permitted to make charts or sketches or to photograph or by other means describe military installations.

Right To Inspect Vessels
The military authorities are entitled to inspect any non-military vessels and to give the vessel instructions for proceeding. The master of the inspected vessel is required to provide all possible assistance to facilitate inspection, and is obliged to comply with any instructions for proceeding.

Contravention and Penalties
A vessel that contravenes the regulations may be ordered to leave Norwegian territorial waters, or it may be brought into port and handed over to the police. Contravening the regulations is an offence and could affect the shipmaster's chances of obtaining permission to enter Norwegian waters at a later date.

Latest Related News

View All News