1. Established in 1987

Main objectives:

  • To ensure that Norwegian owned ships were registered under the Norwegian flag.
  • To improve the competitive conditions for Norwegian registered ships in foreign trade.
  • To maintain employment of Norwegian seafarers.

Upon establishment of the NIS, it was opened up for employment of foreign crew on their homeland's pay conditions.

Registration in the NIS ensures legal protection of registered rights and is also a part of the public's control with ships and their owners.

2. Legislation

Ships registered in the NIS fly the Norwegian flag and are subject to Norwegian jurisdiction.
Norway’s ordinary shipping legislation applies to them with some exceptions and special rules specific to the NIS.
Norway’s comprehensive code of maritime law also gives creditors the assurance that it represents a secure and professional alternative.
Norwegian law is recognized in the maritime related field as sophisticated and predictable.

3. Good working conditions

Great emphasis has been placed on maintaining a quality register which ensures that vessels operating under the NIS regulations meet highly acceptable safety and working standards.

To ensure this, the rules are based on the obligations accepted by Norway, particularly with regard to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions.

4. Which ships may be registered with the NIS?

  • Self-propelled passenger and cargo ships
  • Hovercrafts
  • Drilling platforms
  • Other movable installations

Fishing- and pleasure vessels may not be registered in the NIS.

5. Ownership

The register is open to owners of all nationalities.

6. Management of ships 

Management of ships registered according to the Act of 12 June 1987 No. 48 relating to a Norwegian International Ship Register (NIS) Section 1 no. 2 and 3.
When the shipowner does not satisfy the nationality requirements set out in § 1 no.1 of the Norwegian Maritime Code the technical or commercial management must be carried out by a Norwegian shipping company with its head office in Norway or by one of its management offices abroad.
The management agreement is to be entered into between the owner and the Norwegian registered head office. The Norwegian registered head office will be recorded in the register.

Technical management

Those functions that are necessary in order to ensure the ship is operational. This covers manning, outfitting and maintenance.

Commercial management

Ensures occupation of the ship.  This includes preparation for contract negotiations, marketing and entering into charters.

7. Trading area restrictions

The Act of 12 June 1987 No. 48 relating to a Norwegian International Ship Register (NIS) Section 4:
Ships registered in the Norwegian International Ship Register are not permitted to carry cargo or passengers between Norwegian ports or to engage in regular scheduled passenger transport between Norwegian and foreign ports. For the purpose of this Act, oil and gas installations on the Norwegian continental shelf are regarded as Norwegian ports.The King has issued regulations prescribing other trading areas for ships registered in the Norwegian International Ship Register than those specified above.
Please follow this link for further information on trade areas for ships in the NIS.

8. International conventions

Norway has ratified the most IMO/ILO Conventions, Protocols and Amendments which also apply to the NIS, such as Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS), including the International Safety Management Code (ISM), the Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) 1995, the Marine Pollution Prevention Convention (MARPOL) and ILO Convention No.147 Merchant Shipping (Minimum Standards).

9. Competitive shipping taxation

Norway offers a highly competitive shipping taxation.