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The Norwegian Coast Guard, or Kystvakten in Norwegian, is a military force and part of the Royal Norwegian Navy, but has separate vessels, many of which are purpose-built. All coast guard vessels have the prefix KV. Four of these vessels are capable of embarking one or more helicopters. Norway's exclusive economic zone, the Coast Guard's area of responsibility, is about 2.2 million square kilometers, the largest in Western Europe. The Coast Guard was formed in 1977 when Norway established a 200 nautical mile economic exclusion zone. At the same time, the former fisheries surveillance was disbanded. The Coast Guard's missions include enforcing Norwegian sovereignty in Norwegian waters, fisheries protection, customs enforcement, environmental protection, search and rescue, assistance at sea, and controlling foreign shipping in Norwegian waters. In 2013, the Coast Guard had a budget of NOK 1000 million and 370 employees. The flag of the Coast Guard is the international inspection pennant as ratified by the North Sea Fisheries Convention of 1882.
The Fisheries Surveillance Service was established in 1907 with three primary tasks: Border control—controlling that foreign vessels respected national boundaries and rules; auxiliary service—assisting vessels in distress or otherwise requiring assistance; and fisheries protection—protecting fisheries. After World War II, the Fisheries Surveillance Service was assigned to the Royal Norwegian Navy, and until 1961 many of the tasks were carried out by regular naval vessels and hired fishing boats. It is from these days that the practice of hiring private coast guard vessels for government tasks originate—a practice that is now under criticism from many areas and that the Armed Forces wish to reverse
In 1961, Norway expanded the fisheries zone to 12 nautical miles and the Fisheries Surveillance Service was reorganized and separated with its own commander, personnel and vessels under the name Det sjømilitære fiskerioppsyn (Naval Fisheries Surveillance). When the agreement on the regulations of fisheries in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean (NEAFC) became active in 1970, six Norwegian vessels were reported as inspection vessels. At this time, the Fisheries Surveillance had at its disposal six own vessels in continuous service, three that were used for shorter periods of time, and various fishing boats that were hired in for guarding fisheries. In the 1970s, it was clear that oil and gas enterprises and increased international attention to the fisheries resources increased the demands to the Fisheries Surveillance, and in 1974 the so-called Stoltenberg Commission was established. The commission's findings led to the establishment of the Coast Guard on 1 April 1977, at the same time that Norway's 200 nautical mile Economic Exclusion Zone was established. The Coast Guard was organized as a Coast Guard Inspectorate in the Navy, with a Coast Guard Inspector as its commander. The service was divided into two regional divisions. Coast Guard Squadrons South and North, with the divide being at 65 degrees north. Coast Guard Squadron South was established at Haakonsvern Naval Station, while Coast Guard Squadron North was established at Sortland after some political quarrel. As the Coast Guard was established, the materiel situation was greatly improved. The Coast Guard were assigned ten vessels, of which seven were leased and three large helicopter-carrying vessels of the Nordkapp-class were purchased. The Coast Guard was also assigned two Lockheed P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft.
In 1996, the Coast Guard was given the responsibility of carrying out various inspection, control and action functions in the inner coastal waters. This led to the establishment of the Indre Kystvakt (Inner Coast Guard), or IKV for short, where the coast was divided into seven zones, with one IKV-vessel in each zone. On 1 August 2012, the two administrative Coast Guard Squadrons (North and South) were disbanded and replaced by a single unified Coast Guard, headquartered at Sortland.
Active Coast Guard vessels
- Outer Coast Guard
- Inner Coast Guard
- Kystvaktflagget (Flag of the Coast Guard)
- Aftenposten 10.april 2008, side 14: Forsvaret vil eie kystvaktskipene.
- http://www.blv.no/lokalsider/sortland/article5311189.ece Lager helt ny kystvakt (Norwegian)
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