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Extension of trading areas for ships registered in the Norwegian International Ship Register

Aktuelt | 08.03.16

Shipping og offshore
The recent extension of trading areas for certain offshore vessels registered in the Norwegian International Ship Register is one of several relaxations in the trading areas for NIS registered vessels granted in the last year.

A container ship

Cargo ships, passenger ships and vessels and mobile offshore units engaged in petroleum activities registered in the Norwegian International Ship Register ("NIS") are generally prohibited to go between Norwegian ports, including Svalbard and the main land pursuant to three regulations on the limitation of trading areas for NIS vessels (Forskriftene om særskilt fartsområde for lasteskip, passajerskip fartøyer og flyttbare innretninger i petroleumsvirksomhet registrert i norsk internasjonalt skipsregister).

In the last year these regulations have been subject to a number of amendments extending the trading areas for NIS registered vessels.

Cruise Ships and another Passenger vessels

Last year amendments came into effect allowing cruise ships to go between one or more Norwegian ports if the minimum two preceding or succeeding port calls are in foreign ports. The passengers may not buy tickets for travel between Norwegian ports only and they may only board or leave the ship in a Norwegian port if the ticket includes minimum two foreign port calls.    

On 1 January 2016 changes came into force for passenger ships permitting them to transport passengers between ports on Svalbard and between Svalbard and the mainland and between Svalbard and foreign ports as a part of a regular route. NIS registered passenger vessels are still prohibited from going in regular routes between Nordic countries.   

Cargo Ships, including Special Cargo Ships

From the same date cargo ships where a significant part of the ship’s activities takes place outside of Norwegian waters are permitted to carry cargo between Norwegian ports as a part of a regular route between a Norwegian and a foreign port or as carriage of petroleum in bulk from a unit on the Norwegian continental shelf or occasionally for up to 3 months. The Norwegian Maritime Authority controls that the conditions are satisfied. Cargo ships may also carry cargo between ports on Svalbard and between Svalbard and the main land.

Special cargo ships, which is cargo ships constructed or equipped to carry special types of cargo, are permitted to carry such cargo between Norwegian ports when the ship is en route to or from a foreign port and the carriage does not form part of a regular scheduled route. The master must be a Norwegian national or a national of an EEA country. It is a condition that such carriage leads to a rational utilization of available tonnage, and does not cause undesirable consequences for ships registered in the Norwegian Ordinary Ship Register. The Norwegian Maritime Authority will keep a list of such special cargo vessels.

Offshore Vessels

With effect from 1 March 2016 an extension of trading areas has also been granted with respect to vessels involved in petroleum activities. Construction vessels, meaning vessels performing construction work, subsea activities, pipe laying activities or maintenance work on units, can now go between Norwegian ports. The same still apply to seismic vessels, which have always been excluded from the limitation on trading areas. 


Contact: Senior lawyer Anita Gerdin


Read also "NIS flag services restrictions in violation of the EEA Agreement" on page 26 in our newest maritime newsletter.