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Norwegian flag to allow bareboat charter registration and deregistration

In a bid to become more competitive, the Norwegian Maritime Authority has announced that it is making regulatory amendments to allow bareboat registration in and deregistration from the Norwegian International Ship Register (NIS) and the Norwegian Ordinary Ship Register (NOR). 

The change will come into effect from July 1, and will allow much greater flexibility for owners using the flag.

Bareboat registration can be useful to owners for ships brought into their fleet on bareboat charters, or for ships financed with sale and leaseback transactions with foreign financial institutions.

Temporary bareboat deregistration will allow owners to charter out ships without permanently deleting them from the Norwegian ship registers. Ownership and mortgages can remain registered in Norway, even as the ship flies a foreign flag during the charter period. There is no restriction as to which flag a vessel can be bareboat-registered to, and after the charter the ship can return to the Norwegian flag.  

Lars Alvestad, director general of shipping and navigation at the Norwegian Maritime Authority, said: “The industry has desired this change, which is an important step for Norway to remain a competitive and attractive flag state.”

Harald Solberg, CEO of the Norwegian Shipowner’s Association, commented: “By permitting bareboat registration, the government’s maritime strategy is continued. Bareboat is a common form of hiring ships in international shipping, and the new rules can contribute to more ships being registered in the Norwegian ship registers and prevent ships from flagging out. Today, many ship registers in other countries allow for such registration. Permitting bareboat registration in Norway will further strengthen the Norwegian flag and the Norwegian ship registers’ competitiveness.”

This latest amendment has a validity of 10 years and the scheme will be evaluated after five years.

A recent report from UNCTAD ranked the Norwegian flag the 15th largest in the world by deadweight tonnage, citing data from Clarksons Research.

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Grant Rowles

Grant spent nine years at Informa Group based in London, Sydney, Hong Kong and Singapore. He gained strong management experience in publishing, conferences and awards schemes in the shipping and legal areas, working on a number of titles including Lloyd's List. In 2009 Grant joined Seatrade responsible for the commercial development of Seatrade’s Asia products. In 2012, with Sam Chambers, he co-founded Asia Shipping Media.

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