Norway Extends Zero-Discharge for Heritage Fjords to 2030

Geirangerfjord (Photo: JD SCHWARTZ / TRIBUTESTUDIOS)

The Norwegian Maritime Directorate (NMD) has recommended an extension of the zero discharge deadline for the so-called World Heritage Fjords from 2026 to 2030. The recommendation was sent to the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment.

According to a statement from the NMD, last year, the Directorate for Climate and Environment asked the NMD to assess the consequences of imposing zero emission requirements in the World Heritage fjords from 2026. After review, the NMD stated it changed its opinion and that the time perspective should be extended to 2030. It also said that at present there are zero discharge solutions for smaller vessels, but that there are practical solutions for large cruise ships getting zero discharge technology in place by 2026.

Simply introducing zero discharge requirements for smaller vessels would have contributed to disproportionately large disparities between the types of ships, according to Bjørn E. Pedersen, deputy director general. He said that strict requirements have already been introduced, including the content of sulfur in the fuel, emissions of NOx, emissions of sewage and gray water in the fjords, and this will be further tightened until 2025.

The NMD has also been commissioned to consider an extension of the existing emission requirements in the World Heritage fjords to other Norwegian waters. An expansion will prevent cruise ships from moving from the World Heritage fjords to other fjords so that the total environmental emissions remain unchanged. The NMD said it therefore considers it necessary to see all the measures in context.

“We are very keen on greening the shipping traffic in our fjords and our regulations for World Heritage Fjords are already the most stringent that have been introduced in an international context. In order for the zero emission requirements to work properly, the technology must be available and applicable. Therefore, we believe that the time horizon should be extended to 2030 at the latest so that the industry can get the technology required,” said Pedersen. 

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