Mandatory pilotage in Greenland

Skib i arktis

Order no. 1697 for Greenland on the safe navigation, etc. of ships issued by the Danish Maritime Authority stipulates the following. "Ships carrying more than 250 passengers shall, in connection with voyages in the inner and outer territorial waters around Greenland (i.e. to a distance of 3 nautical miles from the baseline), take a pilot certified to perform pilotage assignments in the area concerned. Ships may be permitted to navigate without a pilot if the applicant documents that he has the necessary qualifications and experience navigating the waters concerned."


Application for exemption from the mandatory pilota​​ge requirement

Applications for exemptions must relate to a specific voyage by a specific ship with a specific crew. Applications for exemptions are made by the shipowner.
In order for a ship to be exempted from the mandatory pilotage requirement, it must be ensured that the relevant part of the bridge team has the experience needed from the ship type applied for, solid experience navigating polar areas, long-term experience navigating Greenland waters (including ice conditions, the nature of the waters and weather conditions), and in-depth knowledge about the area of navigation applied for.
In order to be exempted from the mandatory pilotage requirement, the applying shipowner must therefore document that the relevant part of the bridge team* meet the following:
  • The navigating officer concerned must have completed 2 years' navigational experience as a senior officer on board ships where he was required to hold a certificate of competency at the same level as that required for the ship applied for.
  • The navigating officer concerned must, in general, have completed 360 days at sea as a navigating officer in polar areas or areas of a similar nature during the last 5 years. At least 180 of these days at sea must have taken place in Greenland waters.
  • The navigating officer concerned must, in general, have been responsible for the voyage** as a master or a navigating officer at least 10 times in the area of navigation applied for. This is required to secure sufficient local knowledge.
It is possible for a shipowner to apply for an exemption of longer duration (up to one calendar year) for ships with at least 120 annual days at sea in Greenland waters.
* In order to ensure that it is possible to comply with the requirements on hours of rest during the voyage applied for, the application may have to cover more​ than one member of the bridge team since the presence of one watch-keeping navigating officer meeting the criteria is constantly required on the bridge for as long as the ship is in areas subject to mandatory pilotage.
** A voyage is defined as a passage of the local voyage area applied for or as arrival at or departure from a port/village in the voyage area applied for.


Safety of Navigation, National Waters