Surveys regarding ship safety:

BG Verkehr / Dienststelle Schiffssicherheit
Zentrale Einsatzplanung
Brandstwiete 1
20457 Hamburg

Phone: +49 40 36 137-239 oder +49 40 361 37-879
Fax: +49 40 361 37-204

Christoph Bamberg
Phone: +49 40 361 37-879
Fax: +49 40 361 37-204
Mobile: +49 171 50 57 040

Oya Sönmez
Phone: +49 40 361 37-239
Fax: +49 40 361 37-204
Mobile: +49 171 88 53 239



Ship safety surveys from Rostock:

BG Verkehr / Dienststelle Schiffssicherheit
Außenstelle Rostock
Doberaner Straße 47
18057 Rostock

Julia Klaus
Phone: +49 381 45 49 343
Fax: +49 381 45 49 345



Ship safety surveys from Bremerhaven:

BG Verkehr / Dienststelle Schiffssicherheit
Außenstelle Bremerhaven
Bartelstraße 1
27570 Bremerhaven


Silvia Carroll
Phone: +49 471 922 05 20
Fax: +49 471 922 05 23



Surveys regarding maritime labour law:

BG Verkehr / Dienststelle Schiffssicherheit
Referat ISM/ILO - Bereich Seearbeitsrecht
Brandstwiete 1
20457 Hamburg

Fax: +49 40 361 37-204



Surveys regarding radio and navigation equipment:

Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie
Sachgebiet S 21
Bernhard-Nocht-Straße 78
20359 Hamburg

Matthias Lafrentz
Phone: +49 40 31 90-7210
Fax: +49 40 31 90-50 00

Webcode for this Content: 16383366

Ship surveys

Surveys improve ship safety and protect seafarers

Upon delivery or change of flag of a ship, and on ships in service, periodical surveys by the flag state administration or by a recognized organization (classification society) are required. These surveys form the base for the issuance of ship safety certificates and their renewal or extension of validity. By means of the surveys flag states ensures compliance of ships under their flag with the requirements regarding ship safety or working and living conditions on board.

Scope and scheme of surveys are specified by international conventions

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has adopted mandatory regulations for the safety of seagoing ships with several international conventions. In particular the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) provides in chapter I of its annex detailed requirements for survey and certification of ships. The IMO has compiled the scope and scheme of all ship safety surveys in the resolution A.1120(30).

Surveys under the German flag

The following two institutions are in charge of surveys on merchant ships under the German flag:

  • the Ship Safety Division of the BG Verkehr, and
  • the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH)

The ship safety division is in charge of all surveys regarding ship safety and maritime labour law, except surveys of navigational and radio equipment for which the BSH is responsible.

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Surveys regarding ship safety and maritime labour law

No special application is required for the surveys regarding ship safety and maritime labour law (except for navigational and radio equipment). The ship safety division arranges automatically for surveys when it receives an application for changing to the German flag or an announcement of newbuilding. Many surveys, especially abroad, are performed by surveyors of recognized organisations.

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Survey of navigational and radio equipment as well as navigational lights

For any newly constructed, modified or refitted ship, plan approval of the ship's navigational and radio equipment as well as navigational lights should be conducted prior to a survey. This plan approval serves to prepare the on-board survey and may helps to avoid otherwise necessary and expensive modifications.  

The plan approval is followed by the initial survey. The initial survey verifies whether the approved plans were followed when the navigational and radio equipment was installed, the equipment meets the approved conditions and functions correctly. The functional testing of pieces of equipment is generally done on board. Replicate tests, which are performed periodically, focus not only on the correct functioning of the equipment, but also on modifications which could have been made since the previous survey.

The list of navigational equipment to be tested also indicates which equipment requires on-board survey. 

Please use the following form:

Please submit the required documents in time. This minimizes the risk of costly modifications to faultily arranged items of equipment.

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Frequency of the surveys for navigational and radio equipment

The frequency of the surveys for equipment depends on the period of validity of the certificate and on the ship type: Passenger ships annually, fishing vessels of more than 24 m length biannually, other ships quinquennially and after substantial maintenance work. Radio equipment is to be surveyed annually on all ships.

The surveys are carried out by the BSH in accordance with the „Bedingungen für die Prüfung der Aufstellung/Anbringung von Navigations- und Funkausrüstung sowie Ausrüstung nach COLREG 72“ (BfA) (Conditions for arrangement).

Please use the following form:

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Compass adjustment

Standard-magnetic compasses and steering-magnetic compasses which are permanently fitted on board of ships under the German flag must be adjusted before being used and later periodically at two year intervals. This has to be done by a person recognized either by the BSH, based on proven competence, or by an IMO member state. Special recognition by the BSH of compass adjustments performed abroad is no longer required.

Please click here for the list of recognized experts for compass adjustment.

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Recognized bodies for testing of navigational and radio equipment

The BSH may authorize other bodies to perform parts of ship surveys and individual laboratory tests. Such bodies must possess the status of a recognized body and are scrutinized accordingly. Recognized bodies of the BSH must fulfil the „Bedingungen für die Anerkennung als Einrichtung zur Durchführung von Besichtigungen und Laboreinzelprüfungen im Auftrag des BSH“ (BfE) (Conditions for recognition).

Please click here for a list of recognized bodies for testing of navigational and radio equipment.

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