The Pilot Exemption Certificate ensures that the holder on board is qualified to sail in specified fairways or areas with the specified vessel, without a pilot. The Pilot Exemption Certificate can be issued to deckoffisers.The regulations regarding mandatory pilotage is inforce on the Norwegian Coast and in Svalbard.
See also: Compulsory Pilotage Regulations
Dangerous cargoes that require Pilot - PECs may not be used when transporting the cargoes mentioned here:
A Pilot Exemption Certificate cannot be used for the transport of substances regulated by the INF Code or when transporting the following liquid cargoes in bulk (also applies to supply vessels):
- Condensed gases, cf. the IGC code, chapter 19.
- Substances in pollution category X regulated by MARPOL Annex II, cf. IBC Code, Chapter 17.
- Substances in pollution category Y regulated by MARPOL Annex II, cf. IBC Code, Chapter 17, all substances regulated by MARPOL Annex I and substances with a flash point lower than 23 degrees (Celsius), when the vessel has a single hull and a length of 70 metres or more.
- Substances in pollution category Y regulated by MARPOL Annex II, cf. IBC Code, Chapter 17, all substances regulated by MARPOL Annex I and substances with a flash point lower than 23 degrees (Celsius), when the vessel has a double hull and a length of 90 metres or more.
- Vessels that have carried the substances mentioned in the first paragraph are classified the same as vessels carrying the substances until the tanks have been cleaned and are free of such substances.
Note: These rules do not exclusively apply to bulk/tank vessels, but to any vessel that by way of its cargo comes under the aforementioned criteria.
In special cases the Norwegian Coastal Administration may determine, upon an application, that a pilot exemption certificate may nevertheless be used when carrying the substances mentioned above.
The vessel is always responsible for determining whether it can use its pilot exemption certificate for the cargo on board or if a pilot is needed according to the pilotage regulations.
Is your vessel fully discharged, but holds washing-water (Cargo-SLOP)?
As mentioned above tankers must use a pilot and may not use PEC when holding cargoes as mentioned in section 17 (1) letters b,c and d – while operating in fairways on the Norwegian coast.
But, when the cargo is discharged and all tanks cleaned and only contains cleaning-water (Cargo-SLOP) it may use PEC for navigation. The cleaning water must hold no less than 98% water.
Vessels that cannot use a PEC
- Vessels with a length of 150 metres or more.
- Nuclear-powered vessels.
Section 3 of the regulations regarding PECs - second paragraph letter e) exempts tugs from mandatory pilotage in the following situations:
when towing live-fish-installations between anchoring locations and the:
a) towed objects total length is no longer than 130 meters
b) towed objects total length is no longer than that of the fairway width
c) the vessel has a functioning AIS-system, ship installed VHF to communicate with VTS and other vessels
d) the vessel informs the pilot dispatch no later than 1 hour before commencing the operation. If the operation is conducted within a VTS area the VTS shall be informed 1 hour before commencing the operation.
(The dispensation form that was mandatory and sent on each operation, is no longer in use.)
Section 16 second paragraph list the following restrictions for towing when the vessel uses a PEC:
- Maximum length of the object(s) being towed cannot exeed: length of 75m, width of 30m and depth of 8m, except when:
- a) the vessel is certified for towing it may tow plastic pipes within the following limitations; length 505m, width 12m, depth 0,5m.
- b) the vessel is certified for towing it may tow live-fish-cages within the following limitations: length of towed cages 300m, depth 0,7m.
Use of PEC on ship longer than 150m in certain situations, Section 9 - 4th paragraph in the regulation
If your vessel is over 150 metres and (all criteria must be fulfilled)
- traffics specific waters more than twice a month
- has a bridge crew and shift roster that allows it to have two deckofficers on duty in waters with compulsory pilotage, of which at least one deckoffiser hold a valid PEC for the fairways.
- and does not carry hazardous or polluting cargo (see Compulsory Pilotage Regulations Sections 3, 6 and 17)
... you may pursuant to the Compulsory Pilotage Regulations Section 9 - 4th paragraph apply to the Norwegian Coastal Administration to use a pilot exemption certificate to satisfy the obligation to use a pilot even if the vessel is longer than 150 metres.
About the application
Your application must fulfill the criteria given above in order for the Norwegian Coastal Administration to consider an application for an exception from the Compulsory Pilotage Regulations Section 11.
Such an exception will apply to the vessel and the application must therefore also be formed to apply for the vessel.
Send your application to:
Mail: Postboks 1502, N-6025 Ålesund
Using PECs during Towing-operations:
In "the regulation regarding compulsory pilotage in norwegian waters" Section 6 says that vessels conducting tow of an object or several objects with a length of more than 50 meters total length is subjected to this regulation. In order to conduct towing of larger objects the vessel needs to use a pilot or a have a navigator on board that holds a Pilot Exemption Certificate.
There is also a last resort to apply to the Pilot master for a dispensation from the regulation for a single towing operation.The application form for a dispensation is also found on the same page as the conditions for a towing operation can be read, here.
Exemptions from the Compulsory Pilotage Regulations Section 17 - 4th paragraph
Your application must fulfil the below criteria in order for the Norwegian Coastal Administration to consider an application to increase the length limitation of the Compulsory Pilotage Regulations Section 17.4, from 90 to 110 metres for a vessel.
The exception may only be granted for a vessel and the application must therefore be formulated to apply for the vessel (not the holder of the pilot exemption certificate).
- The vessel must have an approved ECDIS system.
- If the vessel uses heavy oil for propulsion, this must comply with requirements adopted by IMO in 2006, protection of bunkers with double hull corresponding to cargo tanks.
- Redundant propulsion “Emergency propulsion.
Vessels that are carrying vegetable oils and fish oils. (IBC name rapeseed oil, fish oil) must only comply with the first criteria regarding ECDIS. It must additionally be specifically considered whether the number of cargo tanks may limit the consequences of an eventual accident.
Send the application to:
Mail: Postboks 1502, N-6025 Ålesund
Note: remember to document compliance with criteria.
Confiscation and control of pilot exemption certificates
The Norwegian Coastal Administration can confiscate a pilot exemption certificate or trainee pilot exemption certificate for a specific period of time or permanently, if:
- The holder violates provisions prescribed by law, regulations or individual decisions that ensure safety at sea.
- The holder violates the conditions for holding a pilot exemption certificate or a trainee pilot exemption certificate.
- The holder is involved in situations, or there are circumstances, entailing that he or she clearly is not qualified to hold a pilot exemption certificate or a trainee pilot exemption certificate.
- The holder does not provide the information or documentation that is necessary to verify that he or she fulfils the conditions for having a pilot exemption certificate or a trainee pilot exemption certificate.
- Significant prerequisites on which the issuance of the pilot exemption certificate or trainee pilot exemption certificate were based have changed.
The Norwegian Coastal Administration has the right to conduct an inspection to ensure that the conditions for holding and using a pilot exemption certificate or a trainee pilot exemption certificate have been met. The pilot exemption certificate or trainee pilot exemption certificate shall be presented to the public authorities on request.
Transitional scheme in connection with new Compulsory Pilotage Regulations
The holder of a PEC that by Dec 31. 2014 has the right to sail i fairways in which new local restrictions are added, or where the existing local restrictions are altered and taking force Jan 1. 2015, will maintain their rights as before Jan 1. 2015 until the PEC is renewed. Upon renewal the requirements in Section 19 will apply.
A pilot exemption certificate fee applies for undergoing examinations, issue, extension, renewal and changing vessels linked to the pilot exemption certificate.
The Cadet PEC arrangement is available for those that lack the experience to apply for a ordinary PEC. Read more about the Cadet PEC here...
How to apply for a PEC:
In order to get a PEC you first have to fulfill one of the requirements given in the Compulsory Pilotage Regulations and hold a valid Deck Officers Certificate. Read more here...
New regulation on Svalbard
On 12 March 2021, the Norwegian Ministry of Transport and Communications laid down a new regulation on ports and fairways on Svalbard. From the same date two other regulations were repealed.
Seeking new technology to secure GNSS signals
Would you like to help develop new support tools for the pilot service? Then you should join the dialogue conference on 28 September.
Introducing New Regulations for Pilot Bookings
On April 3, 2018, the Norwegian Coastal Administration (NCA) will introduce new booking regulations for requesting marine pilots. The regulations will thus be formalized and merged into one set ‒ Regulations on Compulsory Pilotage.
Fees for 2018: Reduction in Safety Fees and moderate increase in Pilotage Fee
The fees for 2018 set by the Ministry of Transport and Communications, are noticeably lower than 2017. For 2018, safety fees are reduced by 8.5 per cent on average and the pilot readiness fee is increased by 1.9 per cent on average.
Automated control of vessels using Pilot Exemption Certificates
In November, the Norwegian Coastal Administration introduced a digital tool that improves and automates the process of uncovering compulsory pilotage violations. Monitoring compulsory pilotage, including the Pilot Exemption Certificate (PEC) scheme, helps ensure a high degree of safety along the coast.
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