Medical fitness certificates:

BG Verkehr / Dienststelle Schiffssicherheit
Seeärztlicher Dienst
Brandstwiete 1
20457 Hamburg

Phone: +49 40 361 37-365
Fax: +49 40 361 37-333


Dr. Philipp Langenbuch
Phone: +49 40 36137-350
Fax: +49 40 36137-333


Jörg Labrenz
Phone: +49 40 36137-365
Fax: +49 40 36137-333



Endorsement of certificates of competency:

Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie
Sachgebiet S 12
Bernhard-Nocht-Straße 78
20359 Hamburg


Phone: +49 40 31 90-71 25
Fax: +49 40 31 90-50 10



Employment agreements:

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

Fax: +49 40 361 37-204

Webcode for this Content: 16219178

Documents for seafarers

Medical certificates

All crew members working aboard must have a valid medical certificate. As seafarer or shipowner you have the choice when changing the flag: you can either go for a German medical fitness certificate or for a foreign one, if it complies with the requirements of the STCW Convention. The Maritime Medical Service of the BG Verkehr takes care of a high quality examination regarding German medical certificates; find out about further advantages under "Fitness for Sea Service". How and if a certificate complies with the STCW standard, can be read about in the category "Training and Competence".

bild bescheinigungen für seeleute

Competence endorsements

Masters from EU member states without a German certificate of competency must have participated in a 9-day in-house "German shipping law" course in Germany prior to changing the flag. The required command of the German language can be proven with this course.

EU ship officers in leading positions (chief mate, chief engineer, second engineer) require a one day course on “German shipping law”. Different to the one for the EU master, this course can be participated in as a correspondence course. Furthermore, in exceptional cases where the ship officer cannot be removed from the operating crew on the ship, this course can also be taken after the change of flag. In this case, the registration for the course, which will take place at a later date, needs to be presented. Until then, the endorsement of the officer’s certificate of competency is only temporary.

Ship officers need to have their certificates endorsed in good time before the change of flag. The Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie - BSH) verifies the authenticity and validity of the original certificate in consultation with the foreign flag state. If everything proves to be in order, the BSH will issue an endorsement.

For foreign navigational certificates of competency, the BSH may only issue an endorsement when the seafarer concerned presents a valid German or foreign marine radio certificate of proficiency at the same time. The endorsement for the navigational certificate of competency is valid for as long as the marine radio certificate of proficiency is. In cases of a restricted operator's certificate (ROC) the BSH will also mark the endorsement of the navigational certificate of competency with a restriction of the trading area.

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Employment agreements

Germany is State Party to the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC). Employment agreements for seafarers on German flagged ships must therefore correspond to the minimum standards of the MLC. When changing the flag, you should check whether the employment agreements correspond to the German “Seearbeitsgesetz” (maritime labour act). You are always on the safe side with our specimen employment agreement of the Ship Safety Division of BG Verkehr.

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