Minimum safe manning

According to Regulations of 18 June 2009 No. 666 on the manning of Norwegian ships (Manning Regulations 09), the minimum safe manning shall carry out duties and functions listed in section 8, third paragraph and is the absolute minimum manning.

In order to ensure safe manning, the master must carry out his duties in accordance with Section 19 of the Ship Safety and Security Act, including assessing whether additional manning is necessary, cf. Section 12 of the Manning Regulations 09.

The shipowner has an overriding responsibility to ensure that the ship is manned in a safe and secure manner, cf. Section 6 og the Ship Safety and Security Act.

On determining minimum safe manning

The proposed safe manning shall cover all relevant operations, tasks and functions for the safe operation of the the ship.

The Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA) determines Minimum Safe Manning Certificate issued under the provision of the Administration's Regulations of 18 June 2009 No. 666 on the manning of Norwegian ships (Manning Regulations 09) pursuant to regulation V/14 of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), 1974.

The NMA is determined to support tripartite cooperation and therefore requires  that employee representatives are involved in the application process.

The Regulation applies to

  • Norwegian passenger  vessels irrespective of size
  • Cargo vessels of 50 gross tonnage and upwards
  • Norwegian fishing vessels med lengde 24 (L) meter eller mer,

unless otherwise provided by the individual provisions.

For vessels that are  only used for training and teaching purposes, and for vessels employed in pilot  or rescue service, the Regulation only applies as stipulated by the Norwegian  Maritime Authority in each individual case.

Assessment on sufficient manning onboard

In the application, the shipowner must substantiate that the crew members proposed for safe manning are capable of carrying out these responsibilities.

Safe manning  is the minimum manning level a ship may have in order to operate.

The NMA regulation must not be understood to be a regulation determining the correct manning in all situations.

Actual work load on the vessel may vary greatly depending on type of vessel,  market segment, route, other traffic, etc. Furthermore, the shipowner may instruct the crew to carry out tasks in addition to the tasks  attributed to safe manning. Examples of such tasks may be the running of a  restaurant, sale of tickets, carrying out maintenance not critical to safety. The shipowner has thus a duty to make constant  assessments of the manning of the vessel. This requirement is stipulated both in the Manning Regulation and in Regulations of 5 January 2014 No. 1191 on a safety management system for Norwegian ships and mobile offshore units. It is  the shipowner’s duty to ensure that the operation of the vessel is within the boundaries of rules and regulations.

Hours of rest

The manning must be adequate to ensure that the seafarers get sufficient and minimum hours of rest in accordance with the provisions in Section 24 of Act of 16 February 2007 No. 9 relating to ship safety and security (Ship Safety and Security Act).

More information related to hours of work and rest can be found on the following website: Hours of work and rest - Norwegian Maritime Authority (

Inadequate safe manning

If the circumstances should arise resulting in the ship not being manned in accordance with the stipulated minimum safe manning, the ship cannot leave the port, unless for short passages where the areas listed in the third paragraph of section 8 are attended to and provided that the working hours arrangements and provisions relating to hours of rest are not impinged upon. In such cases, an entry shall be made in the deck log concerning the deficiency. The Norwegian Maritime Authority shall be notified through a transcript of the entry, cf. Section 11 of the Manning Regulations 09.

Manning during a transit

When the ship is not carrying cargo, passengers or is on a non-commercial voyage, the company may determine the manning level in agreement with the master. The manning shall in such cases be justifiable in terms of safety, cf. Section 13 of the Manning Regulations 09.

Watch Arrangements in Engine-rooms

On ships which have permission to reduce manning due to the Class’ or the NMA’s approval of operation with periodically unattended machinery spaces, the engine-room shall be continuously manned if the technical conditions on which the permission was based are no longer present, cf. chapter 3 of Regulations of 15 September 1992 No. 704 on operating arrangements on Norwegian ships.

Personnel Alarm (Dead Man's Alarm)

On ships without approved personnel alarm (dead man's alarm), a one-man watch only, is not permitted in the engine room. This is in accordance with Section 10 of Regulations of 15 September 1992 No. 704 on operating arrangements on Norwegian ships.

Navigational Watch

On ships without approved autopilot and intercom, the bridge personnel must consist of one navigation officer, and two qualified crew members. This is in accordance with Section 7 of Regulations of 27 April 1999 No. 537 on watchkeeping on passenger ships and cargo ships.

Gross Tonnage

Gross tonnage on the Safe Manning Certificate means Gross tonnage in accordance with the International Convention on Tonnage Measurement of Ships, 1969, as amended, as indicated in the vessel’s Tonnage Certificate.

Doctor on board

Ships with a crew of 100 employees or more engaged on an international voyage exceeding three days shall have a doctor on board responsible for the medical treatment of employees.

Other ships shall have a doctor on board where necessary. In considering whether a doctor is necessary, regard shall be had to such factors as risk, trade area, etc., cf. Section 15 of Regulations of 9 March 2001 No. 439 on medical supplies on ships,

On requirements for Minimum Safe Manning Certificate on fishing vessels

In connection with the implementation of ILO 188 in Norwegian legislation, the NMA has laid down a requirement for a Minimum Manning Certificate for fishing vessels with a length (L) of 24 meters or more.

Fishing vessels that are under construction apply for a Minimum Safe Manning Certificate when they apply for a Trading Certificate of Compliance for fishing vessel.

Application for Minimum Safe Manning

Application for Safe Manning Certificate should be submitted by the shipowners.

The application forms in pdf-format can be filled in on-screen and submitted as an enclosure to an e-mail sent to