The warnings are made over the coastal radio and through Notices to Mariners (EFS), which are issued by the Norwegian Mapping Authority (sea). It is the mariner's duty to familiarise himself with the navigational warnings that apply to the waters he/she will be operating in.
The navigational warnings are transmitted over the coastal radio by telephony and NAVTEX, and they provide mariners with notices of incidents/conditions that are hazardous to shipping.
These warnings include:
• Reporting of faults to NAVCO
• Active navigational warnings
• General navigational warnings
The Norwegian Coastal Administration coordinates and transmits around 600 navigational warnings inside Norwegian waters annually.
The responsibility for distributing information on conditions that are of significance to safe navigation to mariners is based on the Plan for the worldwide navigational warning system, published by the UN's International Maritime Organisation (IMO). This plan has been ratified by Norway, and in 1979 the Norwegian Coastal Administration was assigned responsibility as the national coordinator of the navigational warning system (NAVCO).
NAVAREA – NAVTEX charts
NAVAREA-1 is divided into areas that are covered by a NAVTEX transmitter. Norway has five NAVTEX areas covered by the following stations: Svalbard (A), Varde (V), Bodø (B), Ørlandet (N) and Rogaland (L).
1. General navigational warnings
Norway participates, through the Norwegian Coastal Administration, in international cooperation on navigational warnings.
The Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) shall provide mariners with information and communication on emergency situations and safety at sea. GMDSS includes, for example, safety reports, including navigational warnings from the World-Wide Navigational Warning Service (WWNWS).
WWNWS is administrated by the UN's International Maritime Organisation (IMO). IMO regulates the entire warning service, with regard to what irregularities or incidents should be reported, the type of warnings and the formulation of the warnings.
The World-Wide Navigational Warning Service (WWNWS) includes:
- NAVAREA warning, SafetyNet on satellite (INMARSAT).
- Coastal Warning, NAVTEX 518 KHz and by telephony.
- Local Warning, NAVTEX 490 KHz and by telephony.
- NAVAREA warning.
- NAVAREA ocean warning. Navigational warnings that are only of significance to ocean-going vessels.
These warnings are transmitted via satellite (SafetyNET) in English. For the Norwegian NAVAREA, NAVCO ensures that the content of the warning is forwarded to the United Kingdom, which is the area coordinator for NAVAREA-1. The United Kingdom issues all the NAVAREA warnings in NAVAREA-1 on request from the national coordinators in the area.
2. Coastal Warnings
A Coastal Warning is a navigational warning of significance to traffic along the Norwegian coast and in fjords.
The warnings are transmitted over NAVTEX in English and by telephony from the coastal radio stations in Norwegian and English. The national coordinator (NAVCO) issues Norwegian coastal warnings. There are strict guidelines for what can be categorised as a coastal warning. The incident must be of a sudden nature and represent a hazard to shipping.
Planned and non-acute incidents shall be reported through Notices to Mariners (EFS).
Incidents that are not a hazard to shipping, but are a hazard to other structures or life and health, shall be reported through EFS. Notices of such incidents are not transmitted except in special circumstances.
3. Local Warnings
Local Warnings are navigational warnings that are only of significance to small vessels, in areas outside fairways, or warnings that do not fall under the category Coastal Warning due to the requirement that the incident must represent a hazard to shipping and be of a sudden nature.
For example, diving work is not a hazard to shipping, but the diver may be exposed to danger if the diving site is trafficked by ships.
Local Warnings on 490 KHz are not implemented in Norway (nor in Denmark or Sweden), but they are used, for example, in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Portugal and Iceland. However, the coastal radio in Norway has registered and been assigned transmission codes. There are already NAVTEX receivers on the market today that can receive both frequencies, 518 and 490 KHz. As a trial project, local warnings are issued by telephony in special circumstances.
Local warnings are issued by the national coordinator (NAVCO) during normal office hours.