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Navigation rules

The Maritime Traffic Regulations contain navigation rules in certain waters along the coast and at Svalbard. Also, separate navigation rules apply to traffic separation systems and recommended routes in the Norwegian economic zone.

Navigation rules in the Norwegian economic zone (TSS)

Vessels in international traffic that may represent a high environmental risk must follow route measures that take these vessels further off the coast.

Route measures established in the Norwegian economic zone have been prepared by the Norwegian Coastal Administration and approved by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). Norway currently has one route system consisting of a traffic separation system and associated recommended sailing routes in the following areas:

  • Vardø - Træna (entered into force in 2007)
  • Halten - Utsira (entered into force in 2011)
  • Egersund - Risør (entered into force in 2011)

IMO-approved traffic separation systems in Norwegian waters are included in Chapter 4 of the Maritime Traffic Regulations. See an unofficial translation here

The Norwegian Coastal Administration prevents accidents at sea primarily through maritime services such as Aids to Navigation, pilotage service and Vessel Traffic Services (VTS). Another important maritime safety measure is to develop and establish sailing rules in Norwegian coastal and sea areas.

The route system is a risk-reducing measure that gives the Norwegian authorities better response time in the event of an unwanted situation. Better response time and a greater distance from the coast will also contribute to reducing the consequences of an oil spill should an accident occur.

The route system applies to the following categories of vessels:

  • Oil tankers as defined in MARPOL 73/78, Annex I.
  • Chemical tankers transporting hazardous liquid substances in bulk when the substances have been assessed or provisionally assessed as Category X or Y in accordance with MARPOL 73/78, Annex II.
  • Vessels carrying radioactive substances as defined in the International Code for the Safe Carriage of Packaged Irradiated Nuclear Fuel, Plutonium and High-level Radioactive Waste on Board Ships (INF Code).
  • Nuclear-powered vessels.
  • Vessels of 5000 gross tonnes and more.

Changes in routing schemes in 2021

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has approved changes to the route measures in the Norwegian economic zone from 1 June 2021.

See information about changes to Routing Schemes in Norwegian Waters from June 1 2021 

Map of TSS and recommended routes

The map shows the TSS and recommended routes, and approach corridors and precautionary areas specified in the Maritime Traffic Regulations.

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