Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie
Sachgebiet S 43 - Schifffahrtsrecht, Internationale Haftungsübereinkommen, Querschnittsaufgaben
Bernhard-Nocht-Straße 78
20359 Hamburg

Bereich NWRC

Mail: nwrc@bsh.de

Webcode for this Content: 16213844

Wreck removal liability

Wreck Removal Certificates

The Wreck Removal Convention has been entered into force on the 14. April 2015. In Germany the provisions of the convention have been implemented by the Seeversicherungsnachweisgesetz (evidence of maritime insurance act) and the Seeversicherungsnachweisverordnung (evidence of maritime insurance ordinance). The Wreck Removal Convention has achieved another milestone of improving the safety of international navigation, of the protection of the marine environment and especially of the protection of coastal states from hazards to navigation and the environment caused by wrecks.

The convention generally applies to the exclusive economic zone offshore the territorial sea. It contains the obligation for the registered owner of a ship to remove a wreck at one’s own expense, if the affected coastal state has determined that the wreck poses a hazard to the safety of navigation or the marine environment. The coastal state can also take action at the owner’s expense, if the owner fails to take action or in cases of imminent danger. To ensure the enforceability of this claim and for reasons of practicability the Wreck Removal Convention provides for compulsory insurance of the registered owner and a direct claim of the coastal states against the insurance following the example of the Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage of 29. November 1969 (Liability Convention of 1969; BGBl. 1975 II p. 301, 305).

Wreck removal liability certificate in accordance with the Wreck Removal Convention

To secure the obligations of the Wreck Removal Convention, the obligation is imposed on the registered owner of a ship with a gross tonnage of 300 and above to maintain insurance over the liability of a wreck removal. The existence of insurance has to be proven with a federal certificate (wreck removal liability certificate - Wrackbeseitigungshaftungsbescheinigung). The Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie, BSH) is responsible for the issuance of wreck removal liability certificates.

A ship within the meaning of the Wreck Removal Convention is a seagoing watercraft of any kind and includes hydrofoil boats, air-cushion vehicles, submersibles, floating craft and floating platforms. This excludes only those platforms which are on location engaged in the exploration, exploitation or production of seabed mineral resources.

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Issuance of wreck removal liability certificates

The BSH confirms with a wreck removal liability certificate in accordance with the Wreck Removal Convention the existence of relevant insurance or other financial security. You can apply for a wreck removal liability certificate, if

  • the ship flies the German flag
  • the ship is registered in a German register but has changed to a foreign flag which is not a State Party to the Wreck Removal Convention or
  • is neither registered in a shipping register of a State Party nor flying the flag of a State Party.

The period of validity of the wreck removal liability certificate is in principle the same as that of the insurance in place or other financial security provided; it does however not exceed one year.

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Carriage of the wreck removal liability certificate on board

The Civil liability Certificate is issued electronically and is valid without a written signature or stamp.
On board it must be presented electronically on a screen or as a printed paper copy upon request. the certificates contain a QR Code and a Tracking Identification Number (TID) for verification on this website.

Important note:
The liability certificates issued by the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) may not contain handwritten or any other kind of changes by a third party, particularly not by classification societies. Any changes are inadmissible and may be relevant under criminal law.

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The BSH issues CLCs only on written or electronic application of the registered owner or the authorised applicant.  If the registered owner is represented by someone authorised for the application, a written or electronic authorisation has to be attached. In case the language of the application or of any of the documents enclosed with the application is neither German nor English, a translation by an officially certified translator has to be enclosed with the application.

Please complete this application form and submit it with a simple e-mail to the BSHand submit the application form and the application documents (PDF files) with a simple e-mail to the BSH. Please send the documents via e-mail to the following designated e-mail address:  nwrc@bsh.de. Originals do not have to be submitted anymore.

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The application has to include the following information:

  • name of the ship
  • gross tonnage, distinctive numbers and letters as well as home port of the ship
  • IMO ship identification number
  • name of the registered owner
  • full address of the registered owner including telephone and, if applicable, fax number
  • name and full address of the principal place of business of the insurer or the provider of another form of security and, if applicable, the place of business at which the insurance or other security is provided.
  • the type and duration of the insurance or other form of financial security (e.g. a so-called "Blue card")

Please submit the following documents together with the application:

  • a declaration of the provider of insurance  (e.g. "Blue Card") that
    • the security is in compliance with the Wreck Removal Convention
    • it remains effective with regard to third parties for three months after advising the BSH about its modification or early termination, resulting in the security not to comply with the Wreck Removal Convention any longer.
  • proof of the ship’s tonnage and, if applicable,
  • if the application is not made by the owner: a completed authorisation form for application; and
  •  if the ship does not fly the German flag and/or the registered owner does not permanently reside in Germany: an authorization to receive communication in which a natural person with permanent residency in Germany has to be named.

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Obligation to report changes

The owner of a seagoing ship must notify the BSH immediately of any changes in the security cover provided, which is indicated in the wreck removal liability certificate.

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Legal basis

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A fee of 60 € is charged for each any liability certificate in accordance with the BSH fee ordinance (BSHGebV).

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If you have any questions please refer to our https://www.deutsche-flagge.de/de/haftung/personenhaftung/mitarbeiter.