The Norwegian government is being sued by approximately 200 Spanish seafarers for what they believe is there entitlement to pension benefits. For many years and particularly in the 1960s the Norwegian Merchant Navy was a big employer of Spanish Seafarers. Many of the seafarers worked for Norwegian shipping companies for well over 15 years and taxes were paid to the Norwegian government – except for the ‘trygdeavgift’ which is a small element intended to contribute towards pensions in later years. Therefore the foreign seafarers were not granted membership to the Norwegian Pension system.
Unfortunately, because no taxes were paid to the Spanish government from the Norwegian income the seafarers have no entitlement to the Spanish Pension either.
With over 12,000 Spanish seafarers having worked for Norwegian shipping companies since the second world war, the Norwegian Government is expected to vigorously defend the claim to avoid having to pay pensions to Spanish seafarers up until 1994….which is when these seafarers did receive pension rights via Norway’s market access agreement with the EU.