Not everyone gets to celebrate a milestone shortly after having started a new job, but that was the case for Monika Borge, who took over as head of the Ship Registers in December. The Ship Registers are responsible for registrations both into and out of the Norwegian International Ship Register (NIS) and the Norwegian Ordinary Ship Register (NOR), and for the registration of newbuildings. They are also responsible for registering encumbrances related to the ships.

"This is a very exciting position with an important social responsibility. Naturally, there is a lot to acquaint myself with, and at the moment, my main focus is getting to know the organisation," Borge says. Her last post was as head of department at NAV appeal body, dept. Bergen. She also has solid knowledge of public administration from management positions at the Norwegian Customs Authorities and the Norwegian Tax Administration.


Background from the public sector

The 52-year-old legal professional, who has two grown-up sons and a 16-year-old daughter, is not afraid of challenges.

"In 1993, I went to Copenhagen with my boys, who were very young at the time, in order to study EU law. All went well, but it was quite an unusual thing to do back then, so people were taken by surprise," recounts Borge. After completing her studies, she worked at the Norwegian Customs Authorities and pursued further education within management and economic crime prevention, before being appointed office manager at the Bergen Tax Office.

"After that, I received a scholarship from the Nordic Council of Ministers and worked for the tax authorities in Copenhagen. That was very interesting," says Borge.


Experienced employees

The head of department is smiling as she shows us around her new workplace at the address Nygårdsgaten 144, where the 20 employees at the Ship Registers share office premises with the NMA’s regional office in Bergen. It soon becomes clear that many of the employees have been working at the Ship Registers for a long time. Some of them ever since the NIS was established in 1987.

"This is a workplace where people want to stay, and that is a very good sign," says Borge. Having had the same workplace since 1992, Bjørg Ovaldsen is among those with long experience at the Ship Registers. Until 2005, she did mostly accounting work, but since 2005, she has primarily dealt with administrative procedures. Ovaldsen and three colleagues work a shift rotation to ensure that the Ship Registers are available 24/7.

"The reason for this arrangement is that we must take into consideration the time differences around the world. There are many parties involved in the registration processes. For instance, the ship may be in Singapore, the company in another country, whereas the bank and insurance company are located in a third country. If a ship is to be re-registered from Canada into the NIS, for example, we have to be available during their office hours to ensure a smooth process. Certificates and documents must be sent out instantly, as the ship is not allowed to leave the port without them," she explains.


Thrilling processes

It is impossible to predict how long such a process will take. This makes the workdays exciting.

"It is a thrilling moment when you receive an email confirming that a ship is ready to be registered. Quite often, we are indeed talking about staggering sums of money," says Ovaldsen. She refers to the fact that the total collateral value of the Norwegian-registered ships amounts to more than NOK 1,500 million.

"Today, for instance, we have registered a ship with a mortgage of over NOK 2 billion. That is an overwhelming amount," she laughs. 


Many pop in

Even though much of the daily contact with customers takes place through email and telephone, customers drop in at our office in Bergen nearly every day," says Marijke Taverne, who has a good overview of the activity in the building from her desk at the reception.

"Working at the service desk gives me good insight, and it is always a pleasure to welcome visitors," says Taverne. The new head of department is also looking forward to interacting with customers.

"The contact with customers was something that I missed in my last post, and I look forward to getting to know the maritime industry," says Monika Borge.