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

Fax: +49 40 361 37-204

Tilo Berger
Phone: +49 40 361 37-213

Sven Reese
Phone: +49 40 361 37-313

Kathrin Saß
Phone: +49 40 361 37-260

Florian Reise
Phone: +49 40 361 37-214

Documents · certificates

Living and working conditions of seafarers are subject to periodical statutory inspections

According to the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) all seagoing ships are inspected with regard to working and living conditions on board. Each flag state is responsible for all merchant ships flying its flag.

The inspection scheme of the MLC applies to both:

  • ships to be certified, and
  • ships not to be certified.

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Ships of 500 GT and above require a maritime labour certificate and a declaration of maritime labour compliance

All merchant ships of 500 GT and above engaged on international voyages must carry a maritime labour certificate and a declaration of maritime labour compliance (DMLC). This provides evidence for inspectors that the ship has already been inspected by its flag state and that the actual conditions on board comply with the requirements of the MLC and of the flag state’s national law.

The maritime labour certificate is valid for five years. An intermediate inspection during the third year of the certificate’s period of validity is performed to ensure the ship’s ongoing compliance.

The DMLC has two parts: In part 1 the (German) flag state explains how the provisions of the MLC have been implemented into national (German) law. In part 2 the shipowner describes the measures taken to ensure compliance with the flag state’s (Germany’s) national law.

The maritime labour certificate and the DMLC are issued by the competent authority, in Germany the ship safety division of the BG Verkehr, after a detailed inspection of the ship.

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Ships of less than 500 GT need not to be certified

Ships of less than 500 GT and all ships solely engaged on domestic voyages need neither a maritime labour certificate nor a DMLC. These ships are however inspected in three year intervals with respect to living and working conditions on board. This means that there are no loopholes for any ship.

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Documents to be carried on board

During the MLC inspections on board not only the maritime labour certificate and the DMLC are checked, but also the following documents:

  • certificates of medical fitness for sea service,
  • certificates of competence and proficiency of crew members,
  • seafarers’ employment agreements and tariff agreements, if applicable,
  • certificate of approval for private maritime recruitment and placement services, issued by the flag state,
  • records of working hours and organigram of on-board duties,
  • logbook,
  • crew list,
  • proof of the ship’s cook’s qualification,
  • minutes of the meetings of the ship safety committee on board,
  • medical report forms, medical instructions,
  • information on the on-board complaint procedure with contact details.

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