All Norwegian activity in Antarctica must be done in accordance with the regulations set forth in regulations relating to the protection of the environment and safety in Antarctica. Notification about planned activity must be sent the Norwegian Polar Institute no later than one year before commencement.

The Environmental protocol to the Antarctic Treaty has been included in Norwegian legislation in separate regulations relating to the protection of the environment and safety in Antarctica, which will ensure that Norwegian activities in the Antarctic comply with the Environmental protocol.

The Norwegian Polar Institute has been given the authority to follow up the regulations.

Breach of the regulations may be punished with fines, imprisonment for up to one year, or both.


Does the notification requirement apply to you?

The regulations apply to all Norwegian activity in Antartica including private expeditions, research projects and cruise operators. The notification must be sent to the Norwegian Polar Institute as early as possible, and no later than one year ahead of the visit.

No notification is required if you intend to participate in

  • an expedition which is organised from another country with corresponding regulations, and which has been granted the permissions required by that country.
  • an organised cruise where the cruise operator sends notification on behalf of the participants.

It is your own responsibility to check that the activity has been granted the necessary permits, and that you are covered by them.

When and where do you send the notification?

Submission deadline: as early as possible, and no later than one year ahead of the activity.

The Norwegian Polar Institute provides forms that can be used to submit notifications.  If the forms are not suitable for proper description of the expedition, they can nevertheless serve as a guide for what the notification should contain.

Notification and final report can be submitted by mail or e-mail.


Norwegian Polar Institute
Fram Centre
P.O. Box 6606 Stakkevollan
N-9296 Tromsø

Requirement for final report

A condition laid down for undertaking activities in the Antarctic is that a final report is submitted. This requirement is part of the Antarctic Regulations. The report is intended to help the Norwegian Polar Institute to learn of any departures, incidents or experience concerned with the various expeditions. It also assists Norway to fulfil her obligations with respect to the Antarctic Treaty by maintaining an overview of activities undertaken in the Antarctic.

Forms: notification, insurance and final report

The notification form can be used to submit notification regardless of type of activity.  If the forms are not suitable for proper description of the expedition, they can nevertheless serve as a guide for what the notification should contain.

Activities that do not fit these forms must formulate appropriate notification and provide a consequence analysis. We recommend that the individuals in charge of such activities contact the Norwegian Polar Institute in advance for further guidance.

Download forms (Norwegian)

Requirement for what the notification must include

All notifications – including research activity and private activity – must include

Environmental impact assessment

All notifications must include a preliminary assessment of the consequences for the environment (i.e., a preliminary impact assessment). This is to ensure that all activities are planned and carried out so as to have as little impact as possible on the Antarctic environment.

  • For small-scale activities (such as skiing, climbing and sailing), filling in the notification form is usually sufficient to meet the requirement for a preliminary impact assessment.
  • Activities on a larger scale require a more comprehensive preliminary impact assessment. The Norwegian Polar Institute can assist in such cases.
  • Activities that might potentially have more than a negligible and brief impact on the environment require a thorough evaluation (a full impact assessment).

Contact the Polar Institute for further information.

Contingency plans and insurance

If you are planning activities in or a visit to Antarctica, you must be able to document adequate contingency plans and arrangements to cover:

  • Health and safety. The plans should be based on risk analyses of possible scenarios.
  • Search and rescue (SAR), including evacuation from Antarctica. The SAR plan must be described in detail in the notification.
  • Medical treatment and evacuation. The preparations must include plans for evacuation from Antarctica, which should be formulated on the basis of risk analyses of possible scenarios.

If a plan requires support from others in any way, there must be signed agreements to that effect.

In the case of activities at sea, those responsible must be aware that it is not sufficient to count on other vessels being present in the vicinity to aid in search and rescue. Relevant initiatives may be to notify the rescue coordination centre for the area you are travelling in and supply regular position updates to the relevant rescue coordination centre or have agreements with other vessels you know are in the same area. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has drawn up guidelines for contingency plans for passengers ships operating remote from official search and rescue facilities.

Insurance or guarantee

Those in charge of the activity must ensure adequate insurance coverage, or provide a guarantee for reimbursement of all costs incurred by others in conjunction with rescue missions and medical evacuation related to the activity. The Norwegian Polar Institute determines the insurance sum on the basis of information and details about each specific activity

In the case of activities at sea, agreements and regulations which apply at sea (§ 135 of the Norwegian Maritime Code and the Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue) state that all vessels are obliged to render necessary assistance to those in distress or threatened by danger at sea. It is therefore not usual to take out search and rescue insurance cover for maritime activity.

In such cases, the insurance required for search, rescue and medical evacuation should cover the cost of search and rescue undertaken in connection with sojourn and activities on land, and any expenses others incur in connection with medical evacuation that may be called for during sailing and land-based activity.

The Norwegian Polar Institute has drawn up a guide for insurance cover for search, rescue and medical evacuation. We advise everyone to use this when the activity is being planned.

The insurance must be confirmed and documented before the activity is undertaken.

Documentation of experience and equipment

Those planning activities in or visits to Antarctica must be able to document the following, preferably as part of their notification:

  • The participants must have sufficient experience of operations in polar areas (or corresponding knowhow). This experience must be relevant to the activity being planned and can for example include
    • courses on survival in cold/remote regions
    • flying
    • sailing
    • operating other types of vehicles over corresponding distances
  • All equipment, including clothing, communication gear, navigation equipment, first aid kits, and logistics equipment must be in prime condition. The expedition must have an adequate supply of spare parts. The equipment must also function efficiently under Antarctic conditions.
  • All participants must know how to use the equipment.
  • All participants must be in sufficiently good medical, physical and psychological condition to carry out the activity in Antarctica.
  • At least one of the participants must be capable of providing advanced first aid. As long as the activity is ongoing, adequate first aid supplies must be available.

For maritime activity

Parties to the Antarctic Treaty have jointly drawn up a guidelines for those planning expeditions with leisure craft.

For vessels that fall under the IMO Polar Code,  relevant certification may suffice.

Certain additional requirements come into effect in the case of larger-scale activities involving vessels, vehicles, transport or storage of fuel and so on, or which may lead to sudden pollution in other ways. For such activities, the notification must also contain

Contingency plans and insurance to deal with environmental emergency

If the planned activity is of such a scale or such a nature that it may have a major, harmful effect on the environment in the Antarctic (sudden pollution) should a mishap occur, you must have the equipment, expertise and contingency plans required to deal with it. In addition, you must have insurance to cover the costs incurred in tackling sudden pollution.

The contingency plans must be attached to the notification and must include, for example:

  • procedures for warning of environmental emergency
  • procedures to assess the scale of environmental emergency and plans for countermeasures
  • knowledge about available resources and how these can be mobilised
  • procedures for documentation and training

In many cases, the person responsible for the activity, for instance the cruise operator, already has contingency plans.  If so, it is sufficient to present the existing plans and documentation.

Insurance or guarantee

The person responsible for the activity must have insurance cover or be able to present an alternative form of guarantee for his liability for costs associated with damages resulting from environmental emergency if sufficient countermeasures have not been taken.

Chapter 7 of the Regulations regulates responsibility in the event of environmental emergency and demands effective response action if an environmental emergency occurs as a result of the activity. Should countermeasures not be put in place, you could be judged financially responsible.

The insurance cover or indemnity has a ceiling which is laid down in § 31 of the Regulations and which varies according to the category the activity belongs to.

Many operators already have liability insurance attached to their activity which satisfies this requirement for insurance. This particularly applies to ship-based operators. In such cases, it is sufficient to present documentation of existing insurance arrangements.

We advise you to contact the Norwegian Polar Institute for further guidance if the activity is of such a nature that it may result in sudden pollution.

Special conserns and requirements

For activities or areas with specific requirements, a separate application may be needed.

Protected areas and guidelines for specific places

Those travelling to Antarctica are obliged to acquaint themselves with specially protected areas, cultural heritage sites and historic sites, and to comply with rules applying to the area concerned.

Those who wish to enter or engage in activities in the Antarctic Specially Protected Areas (ASPA) must have a permit from the Norwegian Polar Institute. Any conditions for the visit will be set forth in the permit. The permit holder is required to carry a copy of the permit at all times while in the protected area.

If you intend to enter an Antarctic Specially Managed Area (ASMA), you must adhere to the regulations established for that area. These can be found in each area’s management plan which the Norwegian Polar Institute can provide for you.

It is prohibited to damage, remove or destroy Historic Sites and Monuments (HSM) that have been registered according to the Antarctic Treaty.

The parties to the Antarctic Treaty have established a set of guidelines for visitors to a selection of sites in Antarctica. If you are planning to visit one of these sites you must familiarise yourself with the relevant guidelines and follow them.

Current lists of areas and places

Protection of flora and fauna

The flora and fauna in Antarctica are very vulnerable and are therefore protected. This means that it is forbidden to collect or in other ways cause harm to plants and animals.

Harmful effects on plants and animals may include

  • helicopters or other aircraft which fly or land in such a way as to disturb concentrations of birds and seals
  • use of vehicles or ships, including hovercrafts and small boats, in such a way as to disturb concentrations of birds and seals
  • use of explosives or weapons in such a way as to disturb birds and seals
  • deliberate disturbance of breeding or moulting birds, or concentrations of birds and seals, as a consequence of people travelling on foot
  • significant damage to concentrations of naturally occurring terrestrial plants due to landing of aircraft, driving of vehicles, trampling, or in other ways
  • all activities which result in a significantly harmful alteration of the habitat of all species or populations of naturally occurring marine mammals, birds, plants or invertebrates

Ban on introduction of alien species

The Regulations forbid the introduction of plants and animals. The ban also includes dogs.

Note that alien species may also be introduced inadvertently, for example in clothing, footwear and other equipment or materials. Equipment that has been used elsewhere must therefore be disinfected before being taken to the Antarctic. Organisms from arctic regions are more likely to establish in the Antarctic, and consequently the risk of unintended introduction of alien species is higher if the equipment has previously been used in the Arctic. More about non-native species and measures to avoid unintended introduction:

Ban on activity with minerals

Any activity with minerals i banned.

Ban on leaving waste

The Antarctic Regulations require that everyone transports their waste out of the Antarctic after an activity has ceased. There is a total ban on leaving waste in Antarctica.

The Norwegian Polar Institute may, nevertheless, grant exemption if it concerns very small amounts of waste with limited environmental effect, for example sewage from small skiing expeditions. This requires specific permission.

Waste may be incinerated provided this takes place in specially constructed incinerators without producing environmentally harmful emissions; this must be specially documented. If the waste is to be stored and fetched later, particularly stringent demands apply regarding its storage so that any emission or dispersal into the environment is prevented.

Regulations of 30 May 2012 no. 488 on environmental safety for ships and mobile offshore units apply to waste from leisure craft and vessels.