Liability for oil pollution

Insurance for pollution damage caused by oil

Oil in bulk as cargo

The owner of a ship as defined by Article I No. 1 of the 1992 Liability Convention is liable for pollution damage caused by oil in bulk as cargo. They require an insurance in accordance with Article VII paragraph 1 or other financial security (e.g. a bank guarantee) to cover their liability for the pollution damage in accordance with the 1992 Liability Convention if the ship

  • carries more than 2000 tons of oil in bulk as cargo; and
  • is either registered in a shipping register of a State Party to the 1992 Liability Convention or flies the flag of a State Party to the 1992 Liability Convention; or
  • is registered in a shipping register of a non-State Party to the 1992 Liability Convention or flies the flag of a non-State Party to the 1992 Liability Convention and operates in the area covered by the German "Ölschadengesetz" (oil pollution damage act).

Bunker oil

The owner of a ship as defined by Article I No. 1 of the Bunkers Convention is liable for pollution damage by bunker oil. They require an insurance in accordance with Article 7 paragraph 1of the Bunkers Convention or other financial security (e.g. a bank guarantee) to cover their liability for the pollution damage in accordance with the Bunkers Convention if the ship

  • has a gross tonnage greater than 1000; and
  • is either registered in a shipping register of a State Party to the Bunkers Convention or flies the flag of a State Party to the Bunkers Convention; or
  • is registered in a shipping register of a non-State Party to the Bunkers Convention or flies the flag of a non-State Party to the Bunkers Convention but operates in the area covered by the German "Ölschadengesetz" (oil pollution damage act).

Issuance of a liability certificate

The Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) confirms that the relevant insurance or other financial security regarding liability for pollution damage by oil is in place in accordance with

  • 1992 Liability Convention (for oil in bulk as cargo); or
  • the Bunkers Convention (for bunker oil).

Prerequisite for an application for a liability certificate at the BSH is that the ship

  • flies the German flag; or
  • flies the flag of a non-State Party to the 1992 Liability Convention (oil in bulk as cargo) or the Bunkers Convention (bunker oil) respectively.

The liability certificate is issued for a maximum period of one year. The fee for each liability certificate is 118,- EUR (in accordance with the "BSH-Gebührenverordnung" (ordinance on fees)).

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bild öl als bulkladung

Application of an oil liability certificate

The BSH issues a liability certificate only upon written or electronic application of the registered owner. Please complete this application form and submit the form and the application documents (PDF files) with an e-mail to the BSH.

In addition, an authorisation may be required in the described cases below:

  • If not the registered owner but a person authorised by him or her submits the application, please submit an authorisation form;
  • if the ship does not fly the German flag and/or the registered owner does not have a registered office in Germany, a person authorised to receive communication with a registered office in Germany has to be dedicated. In this case, please submit the form "Authorisation to receive communication".

For any further details regarding the application and possibly required authorisations, electronic certificates as well as verifying the electronic certificates, please note our information on electronic liability certificates (in German only).

Note: The owner must notify the BSH immediately of any changes regarding the security cover listed in the liability certificate.

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Oil liability certificate on board

On board the electronic oil liability certificate must be presented on demand in electronic copy/form or as hardcopy of the electronic copy/form. The verification of authenticity can be done via the following link: 

  • Either via this link http://www.deutsche-flagge.de/en/certificates-verification/e-certificates: when you follow the link, a pop-up window will open where you can enter the TID (at the bottom-left of the document). Following this, the electronic liability certificate is displayed.
  • Or via the QR code at the bottom-left of the certificate: when you scan the QR code, the electronic liability certificate will be shown directly.

Further information is given in an INFORMATION LETTER of the German Flag State Administration.

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Legal basis

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