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Norwegian emergency towing service

The Coast Guard is responsible for the operational part of the emergency towing service, by agreement with the Norwegian Coastal Administration.

The agreement provides more efficient use of state resources, at the same time as it strengthens the emergency towing service along the entire Norwegian coast.

Towing contingency is managed by the Norwegian Coastal Administration's maritime traffic center in Vardø. This maritime traffic center is responsible for monitoring the outer sailing routes along the Norwegian coast, where vessels with the greatest pollution potential sail. In addition, there are maritime traffic centers with their own areas of responsibility in Horten, Brevik, Kvitsøy and Fedje. When there is a need to use state towage service, Vardø Maritime Traffic Center shall notify the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard will then dedicate vessels to the mission.

The agreement between NCA and the Coast Guard entails a risk-based approach to positioning and mobilizing state towing capacities. Together with Sintef, NCA and the Coast Guard have developed an analysis tool, based on simulations of a number of parameters, such as wind direction and wind strength, as well as an ongoing assessment of the risk picture associated with the traffic of selected ship categories.

This tool provides very good conditions for making day-to-day analyzes of the risk picture along the Norwegian coast. The new tool makes it possible to predict, and thus also respond to an increased risk of unwanted incidents at sea. It forms the basis for how Vardø VTS recommends the disposal of the state towing contingency from day to day. If, for example, there is a strong onshore wind off the Agder coast, special attention will be paid to this area from the state's emergency preparedness. Then a state tug can position itself close to identified risk areas to ensure a short response time if necessary.

All vessels on standby have at least 100 tonnes of towing capacity. 

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