Foreigner can serve on both NOR and NIS registered ships,

Foreigner can serve on both NOR and NIS registered ships, provided they can obtain a COE from Norwegian Maritime Authorities.

The difference between NIS and NOR is pay. Anybody serving on NOR ships must be paid Norwegian wages, with conditions according to Norwegian Union agreements, regardless of where the ship is operating.

This MAY also be extended to NIS and foreign vessels in Norwegian waters:

Both NOR and NIS registered ships has to comply with Norwegian and IMO laws and rules, incl. STCW’10 requirements.

Foreign nationals from countries that Norway recognize (as listed here) MAY be granted COEs:

Special agreement with US:

Sweden doesn’t have an International Register, but foreigners may serve on Swedish ships, incl. in officer positions:

PS> All must meet STCW’10 requirements and have obtained a COE for their position.

For both NOR and NIS ships the language requirement are; “understanding Maritime English” per STCW’10.
The only exception is for ships (ferries) carrying passengers between Norwegian ports, where a “good understanding of spoken Norwegian” is required.

Norway has no Maritime Cabotage Law so a lot of the coastal vessels are flying foreign flags (many FOC registered) and are manned by East Europeans, even if Norwegian owned and operated.
NIS registered Offshore vessels have only recently been allowed to operate in Norwegian EEZ , therefore many Norwegian owned OSVs have been registered in IoM, GiB, MT, and Cy. to be able to operate freely in both Norwegian, UK and EU waters without having to change crews.

Since NIS registered OSVs are now allowed in Norwegian EEZ many owners are “bringing their ships home” (I.e. into NIS register, especially the more complex OSVs) They are still able to operate worldwide with mixed crews.

PS> The attempt to enforce Norwegian pay on foreign OSVs and rigs working in may not work, since it buts up against international treaties Norway has signed up to:


There MAY be companies that require Norwegian proficiency on their ship, but from what I see most advertisement for jobs, both offshore and onshore positions, are in English.

There definitely are and if you truly don’t know that I’m amazed.

I haven’t seen or heard of any OSV owner/manager specifying Norwegian proficiency as a condition for employment, whether shore based or on their vessels.

A requirement for English proficiency are often specified for shore based positions, although not always, as all Norwegians below the age of 55 would have had English in school from 4th Grade. (Those below 30 sounds almost like Americans, since they have been exposed to Netflix and American sitcoms all their life)

For seagoing personnel good understanding of Maritime English is a condition of their STCW certificate. (No “national licenses” are issued, except for pleasure crafts between 15.0 and 7.5 m. LOA)

Maybe you can find some proof of that?? I haven’t seen any.