New US Open Registry?

NIS was established to stop Norwegian Owners from reflagging their ships to foreign registries, whether FoCs, or others. This was not by prohibiting but as an incentive to use Norwegian flag and to maintain Norwegian standard of the vessels and their operation.
Only the Master has to be Norwegian, or EU/EEA citizen, but dispensation for qualified persons of other nationalities can be given (some say too easily)
All other Officers and crews have to meet STCW requirements for certification and training, which can be verified on Signing on, which take place at Norwegian mustering offices, or at Norwegian Consulates abroad.

The entire NIS Act can be downloaded here:

A shorter and simpler explanation on the difference between the NOR and NIS register can be found here:

Who can register ships in NIS and the limitation for domestic trade is here:

A tax incentive to hire Norwegian citizens and residents was also established:

For foreign crews on ships in NIS ITF wages are minimum, but Norwegian seaman’s unions has established wage standard agreements in cooperation with unions in many other countries:

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Thread creep, but Delaware very much IS a FOC internally in the USA. Plenty of boats with Delaware no-tax state registrations or homeports all over the USA and airplanes too.
Back to the original idea, this seems like a scheme to end-around the Jones Act somehow. If I tie up in Baltimore with the “Miss American Pie” sporting a nice big American flag to discharge cargo, it sure looks like an American ship :wink:

Just for info, the BVI Ship Registry has 69 ships, (total GT of 25,196) - predominantly Yachts, with some tugs.
Svitzer and Seabulk are the main companies with them for commercial vessels. The USVI will have competition in the market, and it will be interesting to see their benefits.

Thank you for making the information about NIS available to gCaptain forum members.

Again, I think the US ought to have an international register. It probably ought to look and function a lot like NIS.

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Yeah right, it’s not like our training is better than the 3rd worlders that have put Americans out of the job market. American people, politicians in particular, look at seafarers as low life not worth investing in unless there is a military component. Why don’t we just buy an extra pint of toner powder and change the rules to allow American mariners to receive credit for foreign training?

No, but my bet is on the bottom of the barrel. No way in Hell is the CG or any congress critter going to write laws that protect American workers when there are campaign checks and post retirement jobs being held over their heads.

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You are welcome…

PS> I do not say that the NIS model fits the USVI situation, nor that it is the best solution in existence.

BTW; I forgot to mention that in 2016 there have been a change to the allowed trading area for certain vessel in the NIS register.
This especially pertaining to vessel engaged in construction work in the oil & gas industry (now also offshore wind) in the Norwegian sector:

This was brought on because Norwegian Owners registered their CSVs under various foreign registries to be able to move between jobs abroad and in Norway without restrictions. (IOM, Gibraltar, Malta, Cyprus flags were popular because they are (where) EU flags)

Coastal service is now also allowed, since it did not make sense that EU flag ships could operate freely, while NIS ships could not. (Norway doesn’t have a Cabotage Law)


Not disagreeing, but it’s not that simple. Under STCW, the training for a “certificate” has to be approved by the administration issuing the certificate (See STCW Convention Regulation I/6 and STCW Code Section A-I/6). Approval requires oversight (audits, etc.) and that requires $$$. As you have noted, it is not easy [understatement] to get funds to support such a program.

Other countries accept each other’s STCW courses.

Some even accept US STCW courses.

Aren’t every country’s STCW courses audited by someone?

If there is an STCW rules issue with accepting foreign courses. That calls for an IMO rule change.

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Maybe the US should allow reciprocity for other foreign mariners to obtain same equivalent from their home country. Then if they did that, it would be understood that training for that mariners license would have same value as training for a US mariner. US mariners should stop thinking they are trained or more experienced than foreign seafarers, and the USCG should agree with that as well.


Then go get a foreign license. Reciprocity my butt. I have dealt with a large amount of professionals outside the US (in Belgium, Germany, UK and other Northern European Ports) who think that the “substitute” or replacement crews that displaced the Swedes and Norwegians over the past 4 years are the worst sea going officers that these shoreside support professionals have ever had the displeasure of working with. This came from a majority of the people I talked about this with. Not US foreign flag bashing as you usually allude to- Europeans who hold that opinion.

They botch everything from bunkering to emergency ops and repairs- 16 hours to take 2000 MT of bunkers? Can’t properly sound vessel tanks, can’t make sure that bunkers go in the proper tanks? Can’t get underway because the EDG won’t start because of a slipped limit switch? Come On… Go sail with them…

Feel free to participate:

There is a meeting (open to public) planned for Feb. 22 and 23. I can provide more details when they become available.

As far as accepting foreign courses, there is also an issue with how those courses will mesh with the U.S. requirements. Each party has discretion to set its own specific requirements for how the STCW requirements will be met. There is not a standard set of training requirements, e.g. the U.S. may require a course in “Basic Ship Construction and Stability” for an OICNW endorsement, but other countries may not, and choose to meet the relevant STCW requirements in a different manner. Note also that there is currently a delay in getting courses approved, adding foreign courses will exacerbate that backlog.

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Spoken like a true ignorant mariner. “They” as in everyone non American? Discrimination at its core.

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I think a lot of the foreign training is better.

For example: observing Americans and Canadians in the deck crew during drills, I cannot help but conclude that the Canadian STCW M.E.D. (Marine Emergency Duties), their version of our BT, courses are a lot better than our STCW BT courses.

For another example: the American First Aid course is 4 hours. The Canadian Marine First Aid course is 16 hours with hands on practice. The American 3-1/2 day Med Care Provider Course is quite basic, but the Canadian Advanced Marine First Aid course is 5 days and covers a lot more.

US GMDSS certificates are not accepted by some other countries (I e., UK), but Panama and most other countries are.

Most of us have taken enough of these US STCW courses conducted by these halfass, take the money and run, everybody passes, American for profit schools, to know that many of them are not very worthwhile. And that’s putting it mildly.

I think that American mariners, and our industry, would find foreign STCW courses to be quite eye opening, and of benefit.


I’m neither agreeing, or disagreeing. But consider that there is often a contrary argument, often a louder and more voluminous constituency than those advocating for more and longer training, for example, here. Requiring costly compliance has not been a popular position for the Federal government since about January 20, 1981.

Consider also longer courses are more expensive, and many mariners look first at the cost of training and may shop for the cheapest. For example, this guy.


@PDCMATE The more I have been exposed to the international industry the more I find the US maritime industry to be highly insulated from and uneducated on how the rest of the world works. The idea that the US is better educated, better trained, and more competent does not match with what I have seen.


It wouldn’t bother me too much to pay more for a quality course that’s worth the money, but if its going to be a bullshit time and money wasting course, why pay more than necessary for it?

The idea of paying Northeast Maritime over $400 for a bullshit “1 day” ONLINE Advance Firefighting course is nauseating.

I took the combined Basic and Advanced 5 day course three times over the years before the Refresher and Revalidation courses became available.

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The USCG approved 1 day First Aid course costs $129 at MPT.

The Canadian two day Marine Basic First Aid course is $145 at St Johns Ambulance.

First Aid is an important and useful skill. It’s worth taking a good course.

We have deviated again from the original topic, like always. Back to the US Open Registry. A source told me high up MARAD people and a previous MARAD Admin contacted the ex CEO of one of the largest ship registries asking about this, not understanding if it’s real or not.

Advanced Firefighting is more about the management of a fire than it is the actual donning and using of gear. The 1 day revalidation I just took had zero field time, but they had a fire simulator that they used for the on-scene leader to use to call the shots.

The fire field course is covered in the Basic Safety…which for some reason was the day after Advanced??

Not more about, that is the purpose of the course. It’s not bigger and more involved fires, it’s how to manage and coordinate shipboard firefighting. See STCW Code Section A-VI/3 and 46 CFR 11.303.