(Updated February 2011)
The maritime sector can be divided into two main categories: coastal and international deep sea. Coastal shipping includes car ferries, fishing boats, fast passenger crafts, coastal express steamers, tugs, cargo ships, tankers, reefers, cable ships, rescue boats and the oil & gas related fleet.
The deep sea category includes the Norwegian foreign-going fleet, both those flying the Norwegian flag (NIS) and those registered under another country’s flag. More than 90 per cent of the Norwegian merchant fleet never calls at a Norwegian port, but cross-trades between other countries.
Many Norwegian shipping companies muster personnel from Eastern Europe (Poland, Latvia), the Nordic countries and from countries outside the EU/EEA (China and the Philippines) for work; predominantly on foreign-going vessels.
In 2010, due to a sharp reduction in long-term contracts owing to the international climate of financial recession, a large number of vessels are laid up. Many operate in the spot market working short-term contracts.
The average age for Norwegians working in the maritime sector is relatively high, and there are occasional job opportunities mainly for qualified officers. Common requirements for all jobs advertised are relevant formal qualifications (diplomas, education etc.) and/or long-term experience. Job opportunities that arise are normally for qualified and/or certified personnel in the following roles:
If you are looking for a job in Norway, contact your nearest EURES adviser for information about vacancies. They can give you information about working conditions, accommodation, wages and more.
The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) has a database containing all published vacancies.Go to www.nav.no and choose “ledige stillinger ” to find the job vacancies.
For access to the abovementioned vacancies via telephone, call the NAV Service Centre EURES : +47 800 33 166 (lines open 08:00 -15:30).
Many shipping companies use their own networks and collaborate with other companies to find personnel. You can look up Norwegian shipping companies in the Yellow Pages (www.gulesider.no) under the category: "Ship-owning companies", and contact them directly. Many companies have their own homepages and some publish their vacancies directly on their web sites. Sending an e-mail or letter or making a phone call directly to the employers’ personnel department could be helpful.
You will need to compose a CV (preferably in English), giving your personal details and a description of your key skills, practical experience, training and a little about your general interests and hobbies.
General information about working and living in Norway is available on the NAV EURES ( www.eures.no/english) web sites.
There are 16 NAV Maritime Control offices along the coast of Norway that are responsible for mustering, recruiting and issuing discharge books for seamen in both domestic and international trade. These offices also verify that labour contracts adhere to Norwegian law, and that crew members have valid health certificates, passports for international service and the necessary security clearances and training for work at sea. You will get more information from these NAV offices (only in Norwegian).
In general, the shipping industry seeks skilled personnel, from workers with current professional certificates to college educated technicians and engineers. The employers themselves must meet standards for safety training and quality control in compliance with FTCW conventions, so you will need documentation of your skills and training when applying for maritime jobs.
Command of a Scandinavian language (Norwegian, Swedish or Danish) is not only desirable, but often a requirement. For work on Norwegian ferries and fast boats it is an absolute requirement for reasons of safety. In the international maritime sector, a good command of English is essential.
This overview is not exhaustive, and other, more specific requirements (or limitations) may arise. Please consult the Norwegian Maritime Directorate (details below) web site for more on norms and regulatory frameworks.
Wages in shipping vary widely. Depending on roster, ship owner’s margins, seniority, routing etc. a qualified able seaman may earn NOK 235,000-335,000/€ 28,000-42,000 per year gross. Taxes and trade-specific deductions vary correspondingly.
When you work for a Norwegian employer, you are required to pay tax in Norway. If you reside in Norway for less than six months, special tax rules apply. Bring your employment contract and passport to the nearest tax office ("skattekontor") and apply for a tax card (“skattekort”). If you start working without a tax card, the employer will deduct 50% tax. Otherwise the tax usually amounts to around 1/3 of your pay. See the Norwegian Tax Authority (www.taxnorway.no) for more information. The typical tax deduction in Norway, irrespective of job type and before deductions are made, is 36 per cent, including the mandatory national insurance contribution of 7, 8 per cent.
Trade unions play an important role in the Norwegian workplace and most Norwegian workers across the job sectors are organised. You may wish to contact a trade union – some of the largest unions for maritime workers are listed below.