--- In LinersList, ****** wrote:
> Wait... I thought the swallow-tailed Norwegian Post
> flag was Norway's Mechant Ensign, or at least was
> in the old days. I don't think it meant the ship was
> carring mail necessarily. NCL's ships used it and I
> don't think they carried mail!
> *.*. ******
The swallowtailed flag is most certainly not the regular Norwegian merchant-ensign - the merchant ensign of Norway is the rectangular flag. The swallowtailed flag with no emblem is for the use on state-owned buildings, military installations, and navy ships - and only those, without exception. Variations of the swallow-tail and tongue flag are used by the customs-service and by ships under contract to carry mail, or with specific permission by the Norwegian Mail Board. Members of the Royal Norwegian Yacht Club may also fly a swallow-tailed flag with a white field at the centre of the cross containing the cypher of the King in yellow or gold, surmounted by a crown. This was warranted by Royal Resolution on January 26th 1906.
The law that governs use of the flag is the Act of 10th December 1898 relating to the Flag of the Realm of Norway, and this is further detailed in the Regulation Concerning Use of the State Flag and the Merchant Flag:
Current spelling has "TOLL" rather than "TOLD" in the customs flag.
§ 1. In accordance with the law of Norway's flag of December 10th 1898 § 1 the Norwegian merchant ensign shall be high red and divided in four rightangled rectangles by a dark blue cross which is separated from the red rectangles by a white bordure.
The width of the flag shall relate to its length as 16 does to 22. The two red rectangles nearest to the hoist shall be square and each of them occupy 6/16 of its width or 6/22 of its length. The two outer rectangles which are of the same width as the square rectangles, shall occupy 12/22 of the length of the flag.
The width of the blue cross shall constitute 2/16 of the width of the flag or 2/22 of the length its length, and the width of the white bordure 1/16 of the width of the flag or 1/22 of its length.
§ 2. In § 2 of the same law it is decided that the aforementioned flag shall be used by merchantvessels when they in foreign harbour which to gain the protection and assistance of Norway's legations, consulates, or trade agents.
Furthermore it is determined that on public buildings, mail and customs vessels,the same flag, but with a swallow-tail and tongue, shall be used, with this difference, however, that a white field shall be inserted in the centre of the mail and customs flag, bearing respectively the words "Post" or "Told", surmounted by a crown.
§ 3. In accordance with § 2 of the law the employment of flag with swallow-tail and tongue should, as far as buildings are concerned, be limited to only include such building that are used by state institutions or agencies, and which either are the property of the state (or the state church) or which are leased by the state, and for the main part used by the specific state institutions or agencies.
This limitation does not however come into use as far as Norway's Foreign Stations are concerned. On the other hand there is not, however, permission to use flag with swallow-tail and tongue on buildings which are state property, when the building entirely, or for the most aprt, is leased to private persons.
Furthermore vessels which are leased by the customs service and by the state harbour service, should be permitted to fly flag with swallow-tail and tongue while in service.
Mailcarrying vessels may use the mailflag only when the vessel is Norwegian and the company has a contract with the government for carriage of mail, and only on those services the mail carriage contract encompasses. Ships which only carry shipletters or which only have mailbox onboard, may only use mailflag when given specific permission from the Norwegian Mail Board.
At exhibitions, expositions, fairs, parties, and similar, which are not arranged by the state, the state flag must not be used.
All Norwegian-flagged vessels not authorised to fly the navy/state ensign, the post ensign, the customs ensign, or the royal yacht ensign, are supposed to fly the rectangular merchant ensign. It will seem that there is either some laxity in enforcing rules as far as the mailflag is concerned, or the Norwegian Mail Board is very generous with permissions to fly the mail flag. I take the clause about shipletters to mean letters written aboard the ship, and to be sent from the ship, which might explain why NCL-ships would have such permission (if they do in fact have permission, rather than just fly the flag without permission).
www.fotw.net/flags/no.html has plenty of information about Norwegian flags.