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Surveillance authority expects to be consulted on controversial Norwegian bill

The EFTA Surveillance Authority has taken note of the ongoing debate on a Norwegian law proposal on equal pay for international seafarers operating in Norway. The bill has caused strong reactions from several shipowners’ associations.

Photo: PR / Torm

The EFTA Surveillance Authority ESA expects to be consulted on issues covered by EEA law, it stresses in a reply to ShippingWatch.

This will probably also apply to a Norwegian bill on seafarers’ pay and working conditions that has several shipowners’ associations in Northern Europe up in arms.

”We do expect to be consulted on issues covered by EEA law, such as the freedom to provide coastal maritime transport services within Norway, maritime cabotage, and on state aid matters,” ESA writes in its reply.

ESA oversees and ensures compliance with the EEA Agreement in Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway.

ShippingWatch reached out to the authority following Norway’s law proposal about making conditions and salaries for international seafarers the same as for their Norwegian colleagues when operating in Norwegian waters and the country’s economic area.

”We have taken note of the debate in Norway concerning the issue, but since this is still a proposal, we are not in a position to comment on what may or may not become law,” ESA comments.

Strong reactions

The law proposal has provoked strong reactions from several shipowners’ associations, including the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association, Danish Shipping, the Swedish Shipowners’ Associations, and the Royal Association of Netherlands Shipowners.

As previously reported by ShippingWatch, shipowners’ associations in Norway, the Netherlands, and Denmark have all argued that the proposed legislation seems to be in breach of the EEA Agreement. The European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) has recently echoed this criticism.

If the proposed law is confirmed, it can end up on ESA’s table either on ESA’s own initiative or by receiving complaints. If so, it is ESA that will determine if it is in breach of the EEA Agreement, the surveillance authority confirms to ShippingWatch.

ECSA: Norwegian bill on seafarers could be in breach of EEA Agreement

European shipowners strongly oppose Norwegian bill on seafarers’ work conditions

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