The association was foundet in 1985 as a non-govermental organisation for historic vessels. The main purpose of the organisation is to promote the preservation of historic ships as a part of our cultural heritage, encourage the co-operation between owners and co-ordinate the work toward the authorities.
Norwegian ship preservation started more than 30 years ago. Due to fundamental changes in shipping after the Second World War, entire groups of traditional vessels were in danger of being lost and neglected. Private persons reacted to this problem and started the first attempt to stop the destruction of ships.
This group of people, in general, had a background experience connected to fishing, whaling, cargo trading, shipping etc. In 1985 these people saw the necessity to establish a national interest group especially for larger vessels.
- 187 vessels
- owners: museums, associations, institutions, foundations and private owners
- sailing vessels, steamboats, ferries, fishing boats etc.
The Association, the Norwegian Maritime Directorate and the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage started a collaboration that in 1989 introduced the classification “Preserved Ship” as a part of the maritime safety legislation. In this classification, the ships are given limited sailing permission to avoid acquired changes in construction to meet modern safety rules.
The Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage has the authority to give the classification “Preserved Ship”, based on an agreement between the ship owner and the Directorate for Cultural Heritage. In this agreement, the owner is restricted not to damage the ship/vessel by modifications and is obliged to preserve the vessel in a certain way. Major changes can not be done without the approval of the Directorate for Culture Heritage.
Sailing permission for passengerships are given by the Norwegian Maritime Directorate. Limited sailing permission is a compromise between modern safety rules and protecting maritime heritage. Problems concerning safety often raises between the Maritime Directorate and owners of historical vessels when sailing permission is issued. Because of our own term “Preserved Ship” the Maritime Directorate, at the moment; the term ”Historical Ship” is not accepted.
The Norwegian Parliament grants approximately 60 mill NOK a year for ship preservation. The grants are administered by the Directorate for Cultural Heritage. Applications from ship-owners amounts to 170 mill NOK each year. Most of the money needed for preservation is raised locally by voluntary workers and gifts. Tax refunds for donations have been available for the last years.