After several years with a decline in the NIS, the trend has now turned around. So far this year, 104 ships have transferred to the NIS, and the NIS fleet now numbers 582 ships. With 57 deletions, this constitutes a net increase of 47 ships since last year.

"This is very good news. Despite times of hardship in the Norwegian shipping industry, we actually see a positive development for the flag state. This is important for Norway as a shipping nation," says Director General of Shipping and Navigation, Olav Akselsen.

It is not just the number of Norwegian-flagged ships that has gone up this year. With the substantial nine per cent increase, the NIS fleet now has a gross tonnage of 15,214,803. We have to go all the way back to the end of 2008 to find a higher tonnage in the NIS.

"The tonnage is important because it gives Norway weight in international fora such as the IMO," explains Akselsen.

35 of the ships that transferred to the NIS in 2016 can be related to the changes in the trade area provisions, that i.a. made it possible for construction vessels operating on the Norwegian continental shelf to be registered in the NIS.

"The regulatory changes have without a doubt played an important part. But the Norwegian Maritime Authority also gets positive feedback on the job that we do for our customers, and that praise is passed on to all employees in the NMA," says Akselsen.