BG Verkehr / Dienststelle Schiffssicherheit
Referat Schiffbau
Brandstwiete 1
20457 Hamburg


Alexander Dierichs
Phone: +49 40 361 37-244
Fax: +49 40 361 37-204

Detlef Rathke
Phone: +49 40 361 37-232
Fax: +49 40 361 37-204

Webcode for this Content: 16617061

Special vessels and small craft

What is a “special vessel”?

Special vessels are cargo ships with more than 100 GT with a particular purpose. Special vessels are subdivided into several categories:

  • tugboat: a cargo ship which is built and designed to haul and push water craft, floating tools and other floating equipment;
  • authority vessel: a cargo ship which is used for official and not commercial purposes, in particular a service vessel within the meaning of § 3c) of the German Flag Act;
  • water craft with no independent propulsion: a cargo ship which is built so as to be hauled or pushed by other craft, in particular barges or pontoons;
  • floating tool: a cargo ship built in such a way that it can only accommodate a specific tool and which does not have any other loading possibility, in particular dredgers, floating cranes, pile drivers, hoisting devices, drilling, jack-up and production platforms;
  • jack-up vessel: a cargo ship which is built and designed to transport and erect structures at sea;
bild sonder- und kleinfahrzeuge 

Legal base for special vessels

If a special vessel is not covered by the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), the German "Schiffssicherheitsverordnung" applies, in particular annex 1a part 6 chapter 4 and part 7 on load line requirements.

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Small craft

Small craft are cargo ships with a minimum length of 8 metres and a maximum of 100 GT. The safety requirements for small craft are outlined in the German "Schiffssicherheitsverordnung", in particular annex 1a part 6 chapter 3.

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Surveys of special vessels and small craft

The Ship Safety Division of BG Verkehr inspects special vessels and small craft for compliance with ship safety provisions on regular basis. An application is required for the survey.

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