A ship shall be so designed, constructed and equipped that it according to its purpose and trade area provides for the satisfactory protection of life, health, property and the environment. The company is responsible for the construction and operation of the ship.

The legislation of the Norwegian Maritime Authority provides minimum requirements for technical, operational and organisational safety. The legislative requirements are based on international rules and standards established by the IMO, EMSA, standardisation bodies and recognises classification societies. Together, these provide functional and performance requirements, as well as detailed requirements on the construction, equipment and operation of vessels.

In this context, innovation and new technology include vessel concepts or technological solutions which will have the same function but are completely or partly left out of these underlying requirements.

Solutions for alternative designs

Most of the rules administered by the Norwegian Maritime Administration contain mechanisms for testing new technology or so-called alternative designs. Such designs must prove that the technology as a minimum has the same level of safety as required by existing legislation.

Examples of new technology which the NMA has been involved in assessing and approving include propulsion machineries and fuels, such as batteries, methanol, hydrogen and ammonia. Other examples are the use of more autonomy and projects moving in the direction of unmanned or autonomous vessels. Individual pieces of equipment may also be included in this definition, such as new navigation, rescue or communication equipment or new work equipment on board.