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Welcome to the German flag

As maritime administration we are there for our customers. This is where you find
everything important for seafarers and shipowners about maritime shipping under
German flag.



One click gets you an e-certificate

Bild SchiffsbesatzungszeugnisSince the beginning of July BG Verkehr issues electronic Safe Manning Certificates for German-flagged ships. This is another consequence of the modernization of the German flag.

For ships on national voyages e-certificates were already introduced in the beginning of 2015. Now BG Verkehr offers this service to shipping companies with ships on international voyages as well – at first for Safe Manning Certificates and the other certificates will subsequently follow.

Since the beginning of July BG Verkehr has already issued over 100 Safe Manning Certificates.

One click on and an ID Number, which will be sent to you by BG Vekehr, are all it takes to access your Safe Manning Certificate electronically. The e-certificates are fully valid. New E-Safe Manning Certificates can be applied for as of now.

The German flag has informed IMO about the new e-certificates and a model certificate has been put into the IMO data system GISIS.



Changes in Ship's Manning

Ausguck auf der Brücke

Since 1. July, there are new requirements for the crewing of ships under German flag: On larger vessels, only the master and one officer have to be EU-citizens. Furthermore, the legal requirement for a ship mechanic is omitted.
This change is part of a package of measures taken by the Federal Government in order to enhance the attractiveness of the German flag. After the increase of the wage tax relief from 40% to 100 % had entered into force recently, the change of the Safe Manning Ordinance (Schiffsbesetzungsverordnung) followed on 1. July. A new matter is the reduction of the required number of EU-officers. Whereas before, up to 4 EU-officers were compulsory for larger vessels, German ship owners now need only employ one EU-officer on their ships over 8000 GT. The requirement of an EU-master on all German-flagged ships, however, does still remain valid.
The changes are effected by Erste Verordnung zur Änderung der Schiffsbesetzungsverordnung which was published in the Federal Law Gazette on 17. June. It will be evaluated after four years of time which effects the introduction of these alterations will have had, among others, on the maritime know-how in Germany. On application, BG Verkehr issues changed Safe Manning Certificates in electronic form at short notice.


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Determining the gross mass of a packed container from 01.07.2016


Picture Container Port Hamburg
Determining the gross mass of a cargo container
The International Maritime Organization IMO has included new regulations regarding weighing of containers in chapter VI Regulation 2 of the SOLAS Convention.
Based on these changes, the verified gross mass of cargo containers loaded onto SOLAS ships has to be documented. Otherwise, the cargo container may not be loaded. The SOLAS Amendment comes into force on 1. July 2016.
We have now compiled your most frequently asked questions and answered them in our section FAQ.
Subsequent to the information event of the BMVI (Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure) on 11.04.2016, the presentations are now available.
BG Verkehr has approved a procedure to calculate the gross mass in accordance with Method 2.
The IMO recommends their members to conduct the introduction of the new regulation with a sense of proportion. For containers loaded before 1. July 2016 without statement of the verified gross mass a loading ban at a reloading to another ship will be desisted from. The coming into force will not be postponed; the record date remains the 1. July 2016. Germany will follow this recommendation.
Current information on this topic can be found in our rubric "Safety and Security".
Bild deutsche Flagge
As of now 100% wage tax relief
The planned increase of wage tax relief from 40% to 100% for the German flag has become reality: as of now shipowners do not have to pay wage tax to the tax office for their seafarers working on German-flagged merchant ships.
Basis for the change is the "Gesetz zur Änderung des Einkommenssteuergesetzes zur Erhöhung des Lohnsteuereinbehaltes in der Seeschifffahrt" (Act of the amendment of the Income Tax Act to increase wage tax relief in maritime shipping). This act also repeals the previous 183-day-regulation. Crew members do not have to be in a 183 day long employment relationship anymore for the shipowner to be able to make use of this tax benefit.
The European Commission has declared its consent to this aid on 3. May. With the publication of this resolution in the Federal Law Gazette (Bundesgesetzblatt), this new regulation will come into force.
With this act the federal government and states make good on their promise to make the German flag more competitive. The shipowners deduct the full wage tax from the wages of their seafarers, but may keep it rather than forwarding it to the tax office. This puts German shipowners on equal footing with many shipping companies abroad that do not have to pay wage tax for their seafarers.
Shipowners may utilize the full wage tax relief from the June wage payment period.


Bild Signet Havariekommando
Central Command for Maritime Emergencies (Havariekommando) with new phone number
Since 5. July the Central Command for Maritime Emergencies (CCME, Havariekommando) has a new phone number. From now on, the Martime Emergency Reporting and Assessment Centre (MERAC, Maritime Lagezentrum) is available under the number +49 (0)30 18 54 20 – 14 00 and the Central Casualty Command under the extension – 14 01.
The reason for the change is the CCME’s move to the new building of the Maritime Safety and Security Centre (Maritime Sicherheitszentrum) in Cuxhaven.
The fax number has changed as well:
- Fax of MERAC: +49 (0)30 18 54 20 – 20 09
- Fax of Casualty Command: +49 (0)30 18 54 20 – 24 09
The previous address Am Alten Hafen 2 in 27472 Cuxhaven as well as the e-mail addresses remain the same.
SOV "Windea la Cour"
New offshore ship flagged in
On 4. July the wind service ship “Windea la Cour” of the shipping company Bernhard Schulte in Cuxhaven was flagged in. The 88m long special ship was built in the Norwegian Ulstein shipyard and initially sailed under the flag of Gibraltar.
With this newly designed service operation vessel (SOV) the charterer Siemens wants to considerably reduce the installation and maintenance costs of offshore wind turbines. The “Windea la Cour” will remain in an offshore wind park for up to two weeks and will call at the individual wind turbines. During their time on board, the crew members and up to 40 Siemens technicians have many amenities at their disposal for example a spa bath on deck and an onboard cinema.

Among the crew members is, next to many young German officers, a ship mechanic. The shipping company Bernhard Schulte points out that, due to latest political improvements like the 100% wage tax relief, the German flag pays off.