In 2016, the NMA was assigned by the Ministry of Climate and Environment the task of mapping environmentally harmful emissions and discharges in three of the world heritage fjords. In periods, the cruise traffic in the Nærøyfjord, Aurlandsfjord, Geirangerfjord, Synnulvsfjord and innermost part of the Tafjord causes emissions and discharges that are harmful to health and the environment. These fjords are on UNESCO's World Heritage List and shall be given particular protection in accordance with the requirements of the international World Heritage Convention.

The Ministry has now asked the NMA to prepare a set of rules based on the following measures proposed in the NMA's report:

  • requirement for ships to have NOx reducing technology installed on board
  • only allowing fuels with low sulphur content
  • visible smoke emissions from ships shall meet transparency requirements
  • reporting requirements for all ships entering world heritage fjords
  • reducing the number of calls at port; total number or per day/week
  • setting a maximum speed in defined zones in order to reduce fuel consumption and emissions
  • prohibition against discharge of scrubber water
  • prohibition against discharge of grey water
  • prohibition against discharge of sewage, untreated and treated

"An investment in newer environmental technology, is an investment in the future. It is only fair that the shipping companies that invest in environment-friendly technology are given priority over the ones who do not, when it comes to visiting the world heritage sites," says Bjørn Pedersen, Head of Department of Legislation and International Relations in the NMA.

The NMA has also been asked to consider speed restrictions in the fjords in cooperation with the Norwegian Coastal Administration. The NMA will work towards laying down more requirements for the ships by the end of 2018, such as limits for emission of nitrogen oxides (NOx) to air and for the sulphur content of fuel, as well as a prohibition against discharge of i.a. sewage into the fjords. The work should be conducted in close contact with concerned parties.

"With these measures in place, the discharges and emissions from ships in the world heritage fjords will be significantly reduced. This is good for the local environment, and shows that we take our responsibility for managing the world heritage sites seriously. It could also give tourists and others visiting the areas an even better experience, and could strengthen the marketing thereof," says Minister of Climate and Environment, Vidar Helgesen.

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