“The Government wishes to reduce the emissions and discharges from cruise ships and other vessels. The entry into force of these new requirements is a step in the right direction for the environment and more particularly for the world heritage fjords,” says Minister of Climate and Environment, Ola Elvestuen.

Environmental mapping over the past few years has identified large-scale emissions and discharges from ships in the world heritage fjords, particularly in the summer season. The NMA has therefore, on assignment from the Ministry of Climate and Environment, laid down new environmental requirements with the aim of reducing the emissions and discharges. Both national and international shipowners and local authorities have been involved in this work. Furthermore, the provisions have been widely circulated for review to provide as many as possible with the opportunity to comment on the new requirements before making them final.


The new rules involve stricter requirements for emissions and discharges from ships. Moreover, the NOx emission requirements and the regulation of the use of exhaust gas cleaning systems will gradually become stricter. In addition, a requirement for an environmental instruction for the individual ship and a prohibition against incineration of waste on board will be introduced. The sulphur emissions shall comply with international requirements in all the world heritage fjords. Ships which are protected or given status as historical by the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage may apply for exemption from certain provisions.


“The new requirements are based on international requirements well-known to the cruise ship industry,” says Bjørn Pedersen, who is Head of Department of Legislation and International Relations in the NMA. “What is remarkable, though, is that the requirements will apply to ships irrespective of the year of construction.”


In 2005, the West Norwegian Fjords* were inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The fjord areas around the Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord are located 120 km from each other and geologically, they are examples of classic fjord landscape. They show how the landscape has evolved from the last ice age up until today. Norway is committed to ensuring that the world heritage site the West Norwegian Fjords is not exposed to harm or influences that threaten the outstanding universal values that formed the basis for the inscription on the World Heritage List. The world heritage sites enjoy a high status in Norway.


The new requirements are expected to lead to reduced emissions and discharges already in the summer of 2019. Over the next few years, the requirements will gradually become stricter, and the emissions and discharges are expected to be further reduced.


The NMA will verify that the requirements are being met by measuring emissions and discharges and carrying out inspections on board the vessels. Moreover, the NMA is in the process of considering potential measures to reduce emissions and discharges from ships elsewhere in Norway.


 Read the amendments to the regulation here.

*  The West Norwegian Fjords consist of the five fjords the Nærøyfjord, Aurlandsfjord, Geirangerfjord, Synnulvsfjord and Tafjord.