Fewer voyages with pilot on board


The traditional pilot may become a rarer sight on ships along the Norwegian coast if the trend of recent years continues. In 2016, almost 39 000 voyages were carried out with an on-board pilot in Norwegian waters; a decrease of 7 per cent from the previous year.

Vessels above a certain size are subject to compulsory pilotage on voyages in Norwegian internal waters. The number of voyages with mandatory pilot requirements has increased in recent years, from around 100 000 in 2012 to slightly over 116 000 in 2016. During the same period, the share of these voyages with a pilot on board has decreased from 44 to 33 per cent.

Increase in pilot exemption certificates

A navigator with a valid pilot exemption certificate may in many cases meet the pilot requirements without the use of a pilot. The figures for the Norwegian Coastal Administration's activities show that an increasing share of the voyages requiring pilotage are handled by navigators with pilot exemption certificates.

The share of compulsory pilotage voyages handled by navigators with pilot exemption certificates grew from 53 per cent in 2012 to almost 66 per cent in 2016; an increase from about 53 000 to about 72 000 voyages. The number of voyages with pilot exemption certificates thus increased significantly more than the total number of voyages requiring pilotage during this period.

Figure 1. Sailings with compulsary pilotage by pilotage fulfilment

2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Navigator with pilot exemption certificate on board 53328 61339 68029 72926 76242
Pilot on board 44522 43773 44427 41946 38911
Pilot exemption 2363 2265 2277 1442 1202

Increased activity for vessel traffic service centres

The vessel traffic service centres (VTS centres) granted a total of 408 000 vessel clearances in 2016. This is an increase of almost 11 per cent from 2015, which is entirely due to an expansion of the service area of Horten VTS centre.

As of 1 October 2015, Horten VTS centre assumed responsibility for monitoring and regulating shipping traffic in Oslo harbour, thereby gaining responsibility for the entire waters from Faerder to Oslo. The expansion resulted in Horten granting almost 155 000 sailing clearances in 2016; an increase of 35 per cent from the previous year.

As a result, Horten surpassed Kvitsoey in Rogaland, which monitors traffic from Boemlafjorden in the north to Jaeren Rev in the south. Kvitsoey VTS centre granted almost 152 000 vessel clearances in 2016, which is about the same as the year before.

Figure 2. Vessel clearances, by VTS centre

2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Fedje¹ 49026 49840 93251 93466 93258
Kvitsøy 129744 130160 155438 151796 151631
Horten² 103956 106090 103580 114268 154716
Brevik 8063 8289 8608 9063 8571
¹ Enlargement of geographic area of responsibility for vessels clearances from 2014.² Enlargement of geographic area of responsibility for vessels clearances from 1 October 2015.