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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.



Maritime 24/7 hotline

Mitarbeiterin am Telefon

The German flag is always available for you - on 365 days of the year. You can reach our specialists under the phone number +49 3190-7777 for all questions about maritime shipping under German flag.

The maritime 24/7 hotline is offered by the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency, BSH. In addition, the stand-by service of the Ship Safety Division of BG Verkehr is also available. More information is given under "Contact Details".



German flag completely reimburses non-wage labour costs for shipowners

Deutsche Flagge

The German flag has become even more competitive: shipowners can have their paid employers’ contribution to social security fully reimbursed. Mostly shipping companies operating ships under German flag engaged in international maritime navigation and which pay social security contributions for their seafarers in Germany will profit from this subsidisation by the federal government.

So far the federal government paid shipping companies on application generalised subsidies to cover their non-wage labour costs. Since the beginning of this year maritime shipping companies can apply for subsidies covering their employers’ contributions to social security. Additionally, newly introduced is the reimbursement of non-wage labour costs for shipping companies flying the flag of an EU/EEA member state registered in a German shipping register of sea-going ships. Prerequisite is that their seafarers are insured in the German social security by the insurance by power of an area of the law (Ausstrahlungsversicherung).
Shipping companies can apply for the reimbursement of non-wage labour costs for 2017 from now on at the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH).
The concrete requirements for subsidisation are included in “Richtlinie zur Senkung der Lohnnebenkosten in der Seeschifffahrt vom 28.10.2016” (guidelines of 28th October 2016 on the reduction of non-wage labour costs in ocean shipping).
The reimbursement of the complete non-wage labour costs is the last component of a package of measures of the federal government to strengthen the training and employment in Germany as a place of maritime importance.
More Information is available in our section "Financial matters"



More time to install ballast water treatment plants

MS Cellus

On 8th September 2017 the new International Ballast Water Management Convention will come into force. Newbuildings are required to have an approved ballast water treatment plant on board. After the convention has come into force, ships already in operation have to be set up at the next renewal of the IOPP certificate at the latest. The German flag offers shipowners up to the 8th September the option of having their IOPP certificate renewed before the end of its term to have enough time to set up the ship within the 5-year term of the certificate.


This way shipowners can, for their ships under German flag, unlink the IOPP certificate from the rest of the ship safety certificates and thereby the class term.

Shipping companies who are interested in renewing their IOPP certificate early are asked to contact the Ship Safety Division of BG Verkehr.

Further information on this topic is available in our latest ISM Circular.



Fitness for Sea Service
Recognized Medical Practitioners for medical fitness examinations
Apply for financial support for training places now!
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 Schiffsbesatzungszeugnis
One click gets you an e-certificate
Since 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 350 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.