WORLD HERITAGE FJORDS: In 2018, the Storting decided to achieve zero emissions in the world heritage fjords by 2026. In March 2022, the Ministry of Climate and Environment tasked the NMA with creating a legislative proposal, which also adressed additional decisions made in February 2021 to ensure that these fjords would continue to be ports of call for cruise ships beyond 1 January 2026.


"The NMA has responded to the decisions of the Storting, and we are now presenting our response to the two-part assignment that was given to us by the Ministry. Our recommendation has been submitted to the Ministry of Climate and Environment for further processing and decision," says Knut Arild Hareide, Director General of Shipping and Navigation.

The environmental requirements for ships in the world heritage fjords are already among the strictest in the world, having been in effect since 2019. As of 1 January 2025, NOx Tier III requirements will also apply to ships in the world heritage fjords., in addition to the zero-emissions mandate.


"The NMA refers to two alternatives and recommends one. This recommendation is based on the recently introduced EU legislation for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and numerous consultative responses to the transitional arrangement. Alternative 2 strikes the best balance between zero emissions and continued cruise traffic in the world heritage fjords," says project manager Henrikke Roald in the Section for Legslation and Contracts at the NMA.

See the main charactersitics of the alternatives below.


Alternative 1:

  • The requirement for zero emissions by 2026 resembles the version that was cirulated for review.
  • The transitional arrangement permitting biogas remains, with adjustments  permitting the use of biogas based on mass balance. This maintains the essence of the circulated proposal, but makes the transitional arrangement more practical.
  • Consequently, more cruise ships can use the arrangement, leading to an increased number of port calls compared to the circulated proposal.


Alternative 2 (the NMA's recommendation):

  • The requirement for zero emissions by 2026 resembles the version that was circulated for review.
  • The transitional arrangement is extended to inculde other qualified fuel types based on definitions and requirements in EU legislation. This allows more cruise ships to call at ports in the world heritage fjords than if only biogas were permitted in the transitional arrangement.
  • The NMA believes that the consequences of the alternative transitional arrangement are very similar to the original arrangement, both in terms of innovation and emission reduction. This ensures that more is done to maintain the world heritage fjords as ports of call. This proposal adresses many of the consultative comments.


The NMA also recommends including an exemption for passenger ships put into regular service due to planned road work or emergency situtations. The NMA considered extending the transitional arrangement to smaller ships, but recommends maintaining the 10,000 gross tonnage limit.