The NSIA's sole objective of investigating a marine accident is to determine its circumstances and causes, with the aim of improving the safety of life at sea and the avoidance of accidents in the future. It is not the NSIA's task to apportion blame or liability.
In accordance with legislation, the NSIA will investigate all marine accidents involving Norwegian passenger ships, as well as accidents involving other Norwegian ships, including fishing vessels, where crew, shipmaster or others have or are assumed to have lost their life. Further, the board may investigate accidents involving foreign ships that occur in Norwegian territorial waters in addition to accidents with foreign ships in other waters when the flag State consents or if Norwegian jurisdiction can be applied in accordance with international law. The Norwegian Safety Investigation Authority may also investigate other marine accidents, including accidents with recreational craft, if clarification of the causes may contribute to increased safety at sea.
The former arrangement with maritime inquiries was terminated 1 July 2008 and replaced by the NSIA's mandate. The police will maintain the assessment of accidents and incidents with regard to criminal aspects.
The arrangement with the "Permanent board of inquiry for certain accidents in the fishing fleet" was also suspended from 1 July 2008.
The Marine Department of the NSIA is responsible for investigating both civil and military maritime accidents and serious incidents. The department has employees with both operational and technical expertise in civil and military seafaring.
The Marine Department is led by Department Director Dag S. Liseth