Norway has implemented a comprehensive range of preventive safety measures in its coastal waters by establishing and operating maritime infrastructure and services and has instituted a government oil spill response system to prevent or limit negative impacts of incidents and accidents at sea. The maritime infrastructure consists of lighthouses, buoys, signs and the physical improvement of channels to keep them clear and safe. The maritime services include the pilot service, traffic surveillance and control, electronic navigation aids, charts and notification and information services.
Traffic regulation and surveillance, reporting systems and extensive international cooperation to improve maritime safety are among the most important accident prevention measures for maritime transport. In view of the growing transit of oil tankers to and from Northwestern Russia, a mandatory routing and traffic separation scheme was established with effect from 1 January 2004 in Norway’s territorial waters off the coast of Finnmark. Previously, ships carrying dangerous or polluting cargo could sail through these territorial waters close to the baseline. A minimum distance from the coast has now been set for these ships. The traffic lanes are positioned as far out towards Norway’s new 12-nautical-mile territorial limit as practically possible.