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: nwrc@bsh.de

Wreck removal liability

Insurance for costs of wreck removal

Registered owners of a ship as defined by article 1 paragraph 2 of the Wreck Removal Convention are liable for the costs of locating, marking and removing wrecks in accordance with the convention.

They require an insurance or other financial security (e. g. a bank guarantee) in accordance with article 12 paragraph 1 of the convention to cover liability under the convention if the ship

  • has a gross tonnage of at least 300 and flies the flag of a State Party, or
  • flies the flag of state that is a non-State Party to the Wreck Removal Convention, and is calling on or leaving an inland port or an offshore infrastructure within the territorial sea of the Federal Republic of Germany.

The convention generally applies to the exclusive economic zone offshore the territorial sea. It contains the obligation for the registered owner of a ship to remove a wreck at one’s own expense, if the affected coastal state has determined that the wreck poses a hazard to the safety of navigation or the marine environment or the coastline or related interests. The coastal state can also take action at the owner’s expense, if the owner fails to take action or in cases of imminent danger.

A ship according to the Wreck Removal Convention is a seagoing vessel of any type whatsoever and includes hydrofoil boats, air-cushion vehicles, submersibles, floating craft and floating platforms. An explicit exception is made platforms which are on location engaged in the exploration, exploitation or production of seabed mineral resources.

Issuance of a Wreck Removal Liability Certificate

The BSH confirms with this certificate in accordance with the Wreck Removal Convention the existence of the relevant insurance or other financial security for this liability.

Prerequisite for the application of the Wreck Removal Liability Certificate is that

  • the ship flies the German flag, or
  • the ship flies the flag of a non-State Party to the Wreck Removal Convention.

The period of validity of the wreck removal liability certificate is in principle the same as that of the insurance in place or other financial security provided; it does however not exceed one year.

The Wreck Removal 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 Wreck Removal Liability Certificate

The BSH issues the Wreck Removal Liability Certificate only on written or electronic application of the registered owner. 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 must be presented in the following cases:

  • 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 "Authorisation to receive communication".

All further details regarding the application and possible authorisations, the electronic certificates as well as the verification of electronic certificates note the information on electronic liaibility certificates.

Please Note: The registered owner must notify the BSH immediately of any changes in the security covers provided, which are indicated in the Wreck Removal Liability Certificate.

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Wreck Removal Liability Certificate on board

On board the electronic Wreck Removal Liability Certificate must be presented on demand as electronic copy on the display or as printed hardcopy. You can verify the authenticity and validity of the Wreck Removal Liability Certificate on the following website:

Either via this link: http://www.deutsche-flagge.de/en/certificates-verification/e-certificates
Once you follow the link a pop-up window will open where the TID (at the bottom of the document) can be entered. This results in the display of the liability certificate.

Or with the QR code at the bottom left of the certificate: Scan the QR code and the electronic liability certificate will be displayed directly.

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

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Legal basis

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