Putting the environment on the agenda

“Our goal with this focus is to influence the industry to think and act environment-friendly. At the same time, we wish to increase awareness about all the new rules and regulations regarding emissions to air and discharges to sea,” says Director General of Shipping and Navigation, Olav Akselsen.


An english version of the brochure can be downloaded here

Clear environmental focus

Environmental protection is a key topic at the Safety at Sea Conference as well, which was held by the NMA in Haugesund on 26 and 27 September. On the first day of the conference, one of the topics was the ship Tide Carrier, which suffered an engine breakdown outside Jæren last year.

Thanks to clever and early action, a major environmental disaster was averted. In addition, there was a presentation of MilliAmpère, the prototype of Norway’s first autonomous ferry, offering the possibility of a trial run.

The environmental focus continued on the second day of the Safety at Sea Conference, where the topics included how the use of alternative fuels, such as LNG, electricity and hydrogen, can contribute to a cleaner environment.

Great potential

The shipping industry generates only around 2.2% of the global CO2 emissions, despite the fact that almost 90% of all freight transportation in the world is done by boat. Shipping is the most environment friendly form of transport by far. Nevertheless, there is a substantial potential for reduction of emission of e.g. sulphur oxides (NOx) and nitrogen oxides (NOx).

A number of ports experience issues from time to time related to emissions from e.g. ships. In order to reduce as much of the harmful emissions as possible, the NMA’s inspectors check whether the ships comply with the applicable legislation regarding the sulphur content of the fuel.

As part of this work, the NMA will now start using a new tool to detect environmental offenders: drones equipped with sensors for measuring the sulphur content of the exhaust gases. Several tests earlier this year have shown that drones can be very beneficial in the fight against sulphur emissions from the shipping industry.

Annual focus area

Since 2014, the NMA has had an annual focus area for what we call risk-based supervision. The focus areas have been chosen based on annual risk analyses, which in turn have been based on accident statistics, reports from the Accident Investigation Board Norway, and findings from surveys and inspections, among other things. In the same period, we have seen that the number of accidents on board and including commercial vessels has been significantly reduced.

“We hope and believe that this is (at least partly) due to more focused efforts from the NMA and the companies,” says Olav Akselsen.

Since 2014, the NMA has had the following focus areas: ”Fire on board”, ”Safe workplace on board”, “Rest periods and manning”, “Safety management” and “Safety management on small vessels”. Now, it is time to focus on how the shipping industry can contribute to a cleaner environment.