Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie
Sachgebiet S 43
Bernhard-Nocht-Straße 78
20359 Hamburg

Susanne Cordes
Phone: +49 40 3190 7437
Fax: +49 40 3190 5008
Mail: plc@bsh.de

Liability for passengers

Insurance for damages of passengers at sea

Carriers of passengers by sea are liable for the loss suffered as a result of the death or injuries of passengers as well as the loss of or damage to their cabin luggage and other luggage. The carrier is liable if the incident causing the damage happened due to shipping incident or a fault or neglect of the carrier.

The carrier shall maintain insurance or other financial security (e. g. a bank guarantee) to cover liability in case of the death or personal injury of passengers, if

  • the carrier actually performs the whole or a part of the carriage; and
  • the ship is licensed to carry more than twelve passengers.

Compulsory insurance applies initially for

  • international carriage and
  • carriages by sea within the Federal Republic of Germany on ships of Class A in accordance with Article 4 paragraph 1 of the Directive 2009/45/EC from 31 December 2018 also for carriage by sea within the Federal Republic of Germany on ships of Class B in accordance with Article 4 paragraph 1 of the Directive 2009/45/EC.

International carriages are carriages where according to the contract of carriage the where the place of departure and the place of destination are situated in

  • two different states; or
  • a single state if according to the contract of carriage or the scheduled itinerary an intermediate port of call is in another state.

Carriages on ships of Class A are carriages on other domestic voyages than voyages covered by Classes B, C and D. Carriage of ships of Class B are carriages on domestic voyages in the course of which it is at no time more than 20 miles from the line of coast, where shipwrecked persons can land, corresponding to the medium tide height.

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Issuance of a Passenger Liability Certificate

By issuing a Passenger Liability Certificate under Regulation (EC) No 392/2009, the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency, BSH, confirms that the relevant insurance or other financial security is in place.

You can apply for a Passenger Liability Certificate if the ship

  • flies the German flag, or
  • flies the flag of a non-EU Member State and/or a non-State Party to the Athens Convention relating to the carriage of passengers and their luggage by sea, 1974, as amended by the Protocol of 2002.

Important note:
A Passenger Liability Certificate issued by the BSH must not contain handwritten or any other kind of changes by a third party, particularly not by classification societies. Any changes are inadmissible and may be relevant under criminal law.

The Passenger 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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Application of a Passenger Liability Certificate

The BSH issues the Passenger Liability Certificate only on written or electronic application of the carrier that is actually performing the carriage. Please use this application form and submit it 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 carrier 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 carrier 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 for "Authorisation to receive communication".

Please note: One electronic copy of each authorisation suffices.

Please send the documents via e-mail to the following designated e-mail address: plc@bsh.de. Originals do not have to be submitted anymore.

The carrier must notify the BSH immediately of any changes in the security covers provided, which are indicated in the Passenger Liability Certificate.

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Passenger Liability Certificate on board

On board the electronic Passenger Liability Certificate must be presented on demand in electronic copy/form or as hardcopy of the electronic copy/form. The verification of authenticity and validity of the Passenger Liability Certificate is carried out via the following link:


Further information is given here and in an explanatory information letter which explains how the authenticity and validity of electronic certificates can be verified.

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Legal basis

  • Regulation (EC) No 392/2009 of the European Parliament and Council of 23rd of April 2009 on the liability of carriers of passengers by sea in the event of accidents;
  • Directive 2009/45/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 May 2009 on safety rules and standards for passenger ships
  • Act on particular proofs of insurance in maritime shipping (Seeversicherungsnachweisgesetz – SeeVersNachwG)
  • Ordinance on the issuance of liability certificates in aacordance with the Seeversicherungsnachweisgesetz (Seeversicherungsnachweisverordnung – SeeVersNachwV)

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