Norwegian fjords rules to get tougher

Malcolm Latarche

Malcolm Latarche · 28 February 2019


A ban on operating scrubbers in Norway’s heritage fjords is to come into force on 1 March this year and heralds even more stringent regulations over the coming years. The introduction of the rules was planned for earlier this year but was delayed due to an EU requirement for a longer consultation period.

The new rules are part of a package of measures that cover emissions to air, discharge of grey and black water, and visible exhaust from the funnel. Grey water, sewage discharge and visible exhaust are generally acknowledged as manageable issues, while eliminating SOx and NOx are seen as posing larger challenges. The Norwegian parliament has decreed that the country’s UNESCO-protected fjords shall be free from cruise and ferry emissions no later than 2026.

The regulations ban the use of scrubbers for removing SOx and NOx from emissions. For those not running on clean energy like batteries or hydrogen, this will mean a shift to low-sulphur fuel, use of catalytic converters, or other alternatives. In addition to protecting the environment and preserving the natural integrity of the heritage fjords, a key goal with the regulations is to reduce health risks for area residents.

The full package of measures for the heritage fjords include some that are aimed at improving the aesthetics of the areas and which may be difficult to meet. As an example there will be a requirement for ‘a device to be installed to reduce emissions of visible smoke’. While there is not yet a means to determine any limits, the definition of visible smoke will include mostly harmless water vapour which under certain conditions allows mist and fog to form affecting the view of the fjords.

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