The Norwegian Merchant Fleet

Updated: 2 February 2022

Next update: 1 February 2023

Vessels in the Norwegian Merchant Fleet
Vessels in the Norwegian Merchant Fleet
1 603

About the statistics

The statistics show the size and structure of the Norwegian Merchant Fleet. The Norwegian Merchant Fleet consists of vessels for transport, with a gross tonnage of 100 tonnes or more, registered in NIS and NOR.

Ship register

Norway has two ship registers; The Norwegian International Ship Register (NIS) and The Norwegian Ship Register (NOR). NIS was established in 1987 in order to improve the competitiveness of Norwegian ships. NIS is also open to foreign owned ships. NOR is primarily limited to Norwegian ships operating in Norwegian waters.

Gross tonnage

Gross tonnage is a function of the moulded volume of all enclosed spaces of the ship.

Classification of ship types has changed from 2007 and on. Through 2006 ships in the merchant fleet was split between wet bulk and dry bulk. Wet bulk includes gas tankers, chemical tankers, crude oil tankers, product tankers and other wet bulk tankers. Dry bulk includes combined tankers (OBO; Oil Bulk Ore, and OO; Oil Ore), dry cargo, passengers/ferries, general cargo, offshore supply/standby vessels. The new standard, Classification of type of vessel 2008 , in use from 2007, does not constitute a change in which vessels are included in the merchant fllet.

Name: The Norwegian Merchant Fleet

Topic: Transport and tourism

1 February 2023

Division for Energy, Environmental and Transport Statistics

By home port of vessel.


Not relevant

Production data are kept in SAS and stored long term in ASCII format.

The purpose is to measure the Norwegian registered merchant fleet's size and structure. Until 1957 the statistics comprised of all vessels required to be registered according to Norwegian law - that is, all vessels of steam and motor engine of 25 gross tons and above, and sail ships of 50 gross tons and above. The statistics comprised therefore of many vessels not included in the merchant fleet, e.g. all fishing vessels, whale catching vessels and other specialized vessels (towing, rescue and salvage, ice brakers, cabel laying vessels, and so forth) of 25 (for sail ships 50) gross tons. In 1957 all the Nordic countries agreed to limit the merchant fleet to vessels carrying cargo and passengers of 100 gross tons and above.

The statistics are used by National Accounts, governmental departments, shipping enterprises, research institutions and universities. The statistics are also used by individuals with interest in Norwegian shipping.

No external users have access to the statistics and analyses before they are published and accessible simultaneously for all users on at 8 am. Prior to this, a minimum of three months' advance notice is given in the Statistics Release Calendar. This is one of Statistics Norway’s key principles for ensuring that all users are treated equally.

The register was until 2001 used for collection of data in the survey Domestic Maritime Transportation

Arrivals of vessels at Norwegian and foreign ports is an additional source of information on ships registered in NIS.

The Statistics Act $2-2 and 3-2

Not relevant

The statistics was through the year 2009 based on The Maritime Directorate's control system for Norwegian registered vessels, and included all merchant vessels of 100 gross tons and above for passenger and goods transport. The statistics do not include fishing vessels and special vessels such as towing, rescue and salvage, ice breakers, research/weather/seismic vessels, cable laying vessels, drilling vessels and so forth. Statistics over fish catching vessels are published on Fishing and fish farming

All vessels in NIS and NOR must hold certificates issued by the directorate

Through 2008 data was supplied by The Maritime Directorate who through the control system manages certificates needed for the various types of traffic. All vessels in NIS and NOR must hold certificates issued by the directorate. The data supplied to Statistiscs Norway was based on a criteria of valid main certificate in parts of the year.

Starting with the year of 2009 data is collected directly from Skipsregistrene NIS/NOR. This change in sourcing does not impact the type of vessels included in the merchant fleet.

With the shift to Skipsregistrene NIS/NOR, as data supplier, the requirement of valid main certificate is abandoned.

The statistics is a total count of all Norwegian registered vessels given the limitations described earlier.

With Skipsregistrene NIS/NOR as new data supplier in 2009, all vessels in the registrer can be found in tables of Statbank. Main focus is nevertheless on the merchant fleet.

The situation described in the data is as of 31st of december.

The information on the vessels are transmitted electronically, and are adapted to the computer system in Statistics Norway.

Statistics Norway makes few changes on submitted data beyond checking classification codes. In the event that these are found to be wrong or missing the data supplier is consulted. Tabulated data is compared to previous years.

Data is receieved with the vessel types given by The Maritime Directorate which are coded into the standard used by Statistics Norway

No computations are made beyond those required for aggregate numbers.

Not relevant
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The extraction of data from The Norwegian Maritime Directorate control system was altered from 2000 and onwards to include only vessels with valid main certificate.

Starting with 2009, data supplier is Skipsregistrene NIS/NOR. This means that the requirement of a valid main certificate is abandoned.

In May 2011 there were discovered errors in classifications for the posted figures for the years 2007-2009. For the merchant fleet in total the error was limited to two vessels in 2007 and 2008, and eight vessels in 2009. The error affected all categories. Revised figures were posted in Statbank while auxiliary tables in the main posting are left unchanged.

Beginning from 2017, the Norwegian Maritime Directorate (SDIR) decided to categorize "construction ships" as part of the Norwegian merchant fleet. This originally led to a deviation between the figures published by SDIR and Statistics Norway for 2017 by 41 vessels. The deviation was corrected on February 1, 2019.

A possible error is deviation of procedure regarding the extraction of data from the Norwegian Maritime Directorate control system, but this is assumed to be small. Errors in data processing can occur if new codes or other non-defined information isn't discovered, and may be wrongly processed. The data has not been changed after receiving the data from the Norwegian Maritime Directorate.

The above source of error pertains to previous data supplier. This will also apply to Skipsregistren NIS/NOR.

The statistics are a full count of all Norwegian registered vessels with the restrictions mentioned in the chapter about production.

The quality of the statistics depends on the quality in the control system at the Norwegian Maritime Directorate. The control system is assumed to be of good quality.

Not relevant