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: clc@bsh.de

Liability for maritime claims

Insurance covering maritime claims

Shipowners of sea-going ships are liable for damages of carried goods or persons due to collision or other accidents. According to Directive 2009/20/EC, they require an insurance covering maritime claims. However, the liability is not unlimited; the limits of liability for claims are calculated in accordance with the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims, 1976. 

An insurance certificate is required for ships of 300 GT and above which are either

  • flying the German flag; or
  • call on or leave a German port or an offshore facility within the territorial sea of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Insurance certificate

An insurance certificate is issued by the insurance. It proves that the shipowner provides sufficient financial security for maritime claims. The insurance certificate must contain the following particulars:

  • name of ship, its IMO registration number and port of registry
  • name and address of the principal place of business of the ship owner;
  • type and duration of the insurance;
  • name and principal place of business of the insurance provider as well as place of business, where the insurance is provided, if applicable.

If the insurance certificate is written neither in French or English, a translation in one of the languages must be enclosed.

Upon request, the insurance certificate must be presented on board.

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Legal basis

  • Most important applicable international instrument is the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims, 1976. This Convention has been updated and amended with a Protocol in 1996
  • Directive 2009/20/EC implements the provisions of the Convention in European law.
  • In Germany the Convention an Directive 2009/20/EC are implemented with the "Seeversicherungsnachweisgesetz" (Act on specific proof of insurance in maritime shipping). The most important part of this Act is the obligation to carry the insurance certificate on board.

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