Safety · Security

  • What do I, as a shipowner, have to consider when I want to use privately contracted armed security personnel against pirates on a German flagged ship?

You need to see that the security company that employs the armed security personnel has a licence issued by the Bundesamt für Wirtschaft und Ausfuhrkontrolle (BAFA, Federal Office of Economics and Export Control). In addition, you have to apply for an addendum to the ship security plan (SSP) at the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) as well as report the deployment of privately contracted armed security personnel to the German Point of Contact. Click here for further information on privately contracted armed security personnel.

  • Where can I get the current ISM information on topics regarding the German flag?

Our ISM circulars contain current information on safety management under the German flag. You are welcome to be added to our mailing list of the ISM circulars - please send us a short e-mail:


  • May the container be weighed on a vehicle in accordance with Method No.1?

Yes, clause 11.1 of the circular MSC.1/1475 is to be observed.

  • How is the certification arranged for those using Method No.2?

The application of Method No.2 is an alternative to weighing the packed container. Using the calculation method, the single masses of the cargo, dunnage and securing material as well as the tare of the container have to be added up.

Those who use this method must be certified for it. A current quality certification (e.g. ISO 9001, ISO 28001) or a recognition as AEO are sufficient. if the certified calculation method is included in the appropriate standards and provisions. A special certification for the determination of the gross ass of cargo containers is not required and there is also no additional approval procedure for the application of Method 2 in Germany.

For companies without a valid quality certification, Method 2 can be applied if the model procedure BG Verkehr has developed, and which is provided in our "documents" section, is adhered to.

  • Can the manufacturer specifications be used with Method 2?

It is permissible to use manufacturer specifications about the single masses of packed cargo or dunnage and securing materials. It is however strongly advised to verify the specifications periodically by weighing oneself.

  • May Method No.2 be used for sawn timber?

There are no objections to that. Only for certain cargo items, such as scrap and cargo in bulk, are Method No.2 inappropriate.

  • How can the net mass (tare) of the container be determined when using Method No.2?

You can read the container’s net mass (tare) on the container door or copy it from a list provided by the shipping company, if applicable. This also applies when the weight of an empty container is given.

Weighing equipment

  • How are the requirements for weighing instruments for determining the gross mass of a cargo container regulated?

In Germany weighing instruments used for weighing packed containers have to be of accuracy class III (IV) of the EU Directive 2014/31/EC. When using Method No.2 weighing instruments of accuracy class III have to be used .

  • Do the weighing instruments have to be verified?

Verification is not a prerequisite for the use of weighing instruments for determining the gross mass of cargo containers. The weighing instruments have to be calibrated and certified. For different use, e.g. as public scales or to determine a price, an obligation to have the weighing instruments verified may apply based on verification regulation provisions. Before the acquisition of a weighing instrument, its purpose has to be thoroughly checked.

  • Are there additional tolerances?

The gross mass has to be determined as accurately as possible. Tolerances are specified by the inaccuracies (maximum permissible errors in service) of the used weighing instrument.

Different states

  • Which law applies if the shipper packs and weighs the container in country A, but loads it onto a ship in country B?

The shipper has to work in accordance with the legislation of country A and based on SOLAS, i.e. he has to use calibrated weighing instruments of the accuracy specifications of country A and – when using Method No.2 – has to be certified in accordance with the regulation of country A. Country B has to consider the regulations in place in country A during any inspections.

Transmission of the verified gross mass

  • How should the verified gross mass be transmitted?

The verified gross mass has to be documented by the shipper in the shipping documents. The document can be part of the shipping instructions to the shipping company or a separate communication. The documentation can also happen electronically. In any case, it has to be signed by a person authorized by the shipper. When electronic transmission is used, the signature may be made with simple electronic signature. SOLAS VI/2: “Reference to documents in this regulation does not preclude the use of electronic data processing (EDP) and electronic data interchange (EDI) transmission techniques as an aid to paper documentation.”

  • What exactly means the transmission has to be “sufficiently in advance"?

The transmission of the verified gross mass to the shipping company has to be sufficiently in advance to leave enough time to prepare a proper ship stowage plan. This can vary depending on the shipping company and is to a large extent dependent on the individual size of the ship. Therefore, what exactly “sufficiently in advance” means is determined by the shipping company. Public authorities will not set any provisions regarding this.


  • How will the checks look like?

There will be random checks of the ship stowage plans regarding the loading ban of containers without declaration of the verified gross mass.

    Consequences in case of non-compliance with the requirements

    • What happens if the verified gross mass is not available?

    The container may not be loaded and is left at its current place.