The Norwegian Coastal Administration has presently 25 pilot boats stationed at 18 pilot stations along the coast. This service was outsourced in 2016 and is operated by the tug boat company Bukser og Berging.
The pilot vessels log around 29,000 operating hours annually. With so many operating hours the pilot boat skippers gain detailed knowledge and expertise of the maritime geography, weather conditions, vessel traffic, etc. in their local regions. The pilot vessel fleet therefore participates in local rescue preparedness and has the authority to assist the rescue services as required. Managing emergency situations is therefore an important part of the training for personnel onboard the pilot vessels.
Helicopter transport service for pilots
A helicopter transport service is currently offered to vessels classified to carry hazardous and/or pollutive cargo to the oil and gas terminals at Kårstø, Sture, Mongstad, Nyhamna and Melkøya.
The helicopter service is offered to certain types of vessel that receive pilots outside the sea boundary. This is done out of consideration to the environment and the safety of the vessel and pilot, as well to ensure the regularity and predictability of the traffic.
Vessels over 30,000 gross tonnes that are classified to carry hazardous and/or pollutive cargo will be offered pilot transport by helicopter. This applies to vessels over 25,000 gross tonnes (maximum draught of 9 metres) at Nyhamna and over 20,000 gross tonnes at Melkøya.
This service is currently organized as a contracted service, in which the Norwegian Coastal Administration manages the service and Airlift AS performs the service with its helicopters from bases in Bergen and Hammerfest.
The service is currently fully user-financed and is offered as a round-the-clock service year round.
Airlift AS has a contract with the Norwegian Coastal Administration for the provision of helicopter services. Around 1,100 helicopter assignments are performed annually. The helicopter service started in 1992 as a trial scheme at Mongstad in Hordaland.