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

Christian Troska
Phone: +49 40 3190-7290
Fax: +49 40 3190-5003

Webcode for this Content: 16928534

Tonnage measurement

Tonnage measurement and tonnage certificate

All seagoing ships of 24 m in length and above require an „International Tonnage Certificate 1969“ (ITC 69), ships of less than 24 m in length a (national) tonnage certificate. The length is to be measured according to article 2, paragraph 8 of the International Convention on Tonnage Measurement of Ships, 1969 – (ITC). Please read our additional information on this international measurement procedure.

The Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie (BSH) (Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency) is in charge of tonnage measurement for all seagoing ships (including recreational craft) under the German flag and, on application, also for ships under foreign flags. The tonnage certificate reflects the result of the measurement of the volume of the ship’s spaces and shows both, the gross tonnage and the net tonnage. These tonnage figures affect, inter alia, harbour dues, canal- and pilotage charges, safety requirements, technical equipment, number of crew, fleet- and traffic statistics as well as the registration and the insurance of ships.

Transit charges for the Suez- and the Panama canal are calculated according to different provisions, which are reflected by special Suez- and Panama canal tonnage certificates.

Follow the link for the application form for tonnage measurement.

Additional tonnage related services of the BSH

Volume measurement of cargo holds (application form)

In addition to the tonnage measurement of the entire ship the volume of cargo holds (mainly on fishing vessels) is measured as well and a “Certificate for the volume of cargo holds” is issued.

Entry in the shipbuilding register (application form)

The BSH can issue a certificate to allow a ship under construction, which requires registration, to be registered in the shipbuilding register (e. g. if it is to be mortgaged to finance its construction). The shipbuilding register is part of the shipping register.

Tonnage related consultancy (no application form required)

The service of the BSH also includes tonnage related advice for shipping companies and individual persons on inquiry.

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How is tonnage measurement carried out?

Tonnage measurement is carried out according to internationally agreed regulations and also according to national regulations. On application, ships are measured based on design documents combined with measurements taken on board, in accordance with the International Convention on Tonnage Measurement of Ships, (London 69), the regulations of the Suez canal authority and the provisions of the Panama canal authority for issuance of the relevant tonnage certificates. Computations are executed by means of modern CAE-software.

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Tonnage measurement for ships changing to the German flag

Most ships changing to the German flag are already registered in a German shipping register, have however temporarily been operated under a foreign flag. In such cases the International Tonnage Certificate is handed over to the shipping company free of charge, if it is available in the BSH files. However, this is only possible, if no modifications have been made to the ship since that tonnage certificate was issued. If the ship has been converted or other ship particulars (e. g. name, call sign or home port) have changed, a new tonnage certificate has to be issued.

Ships changing to the German flag for the first time need a new International Tonnage Certificate (ITC 69). This certificate will be issued, if the following documents are submitted to the BSH:

  • Completed application form,
  • Copy of the latest tonnage certificate valid until changing to the German flag,
  • Measurement protocol on volume computations by the previous flag state,
  • General arrangement plan of the ship,
  • Declaration of the shipping company that neither conversions to the ship nor modifications to the purpose of ship’s spaces have been made since the latest official tonnage measurement

If the ship has been since converted, a re-measurement is required. Existing tonnage certificates for the Suez- and for the Panama canal, issued by the previous flag state, remain valid and need not to be re-issued, as long as neither conversions to the ship nor modifications to the purpose of ship’s rooms or spaces have been made. The ship is sufficiently identified with the IMO identification number, even if the ITC 69 has been changed.

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Measurement of recreational craft

Internationally recognized tonnage certificates for recreational craft (including motor and sailing yachts) are available from BSH. They are a prerequisite for the registration in a shipping register and are issued following one of two procedures. Further information about these two procedures and the corresponding tonnage certificate as well as the respective application form can be found on the BSH-website.

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