German Flag issues approvals for electronic record books

Record books on sea-going vessels flying the German Flag can be maintained electronically as well. So far, the BG Verkehr has approved the software of two manufacturers of electronic record books. Digital MARPOL record books can also be approved.

Digitalization is ever increasing on sea-going ships. This includes record books for sea-going ships. So far, records were written on paper, but demand for digital options is increasing for this form of documentation too.

The German Flag responds to this trend and has approved the software of two manufacturers of electronic record books. One electronic ship's logbook called "Anschütz eLog" (approved since 8.2.2021) is by the company Raytheon Anschütz GmbH in Kiel and the other is an electronic ship's and engine logobook called "Searecs" (approved since 2.2.2022) by the company MARSIG in Rostock. Shipping companies can use these softwares on their German-flagged ships and replace the hardcopy record books preciously used.

electronic record book teaser picFor good reasons, the German Flag relies on the two international technical standards ISO 21745 and IMO Resolution MEPC.312(74) for their approval – i.e. there are no German special requirements. Approval is issued by the BG Verkehr/Ship Safety Division, while the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) or a recognized organization (RO) is responsible for the technical verification.

The approval procedure covers a wide range of record books in digital form:

  • Ship's logbooks with bridge maintenance logbook as ancillary book,
  • engine logbook with sounding and bell book as ancillary books,
  • MARPOL record books for environment protection issues with oil, cargo and garbage record book as those of most significance,
  • medical record books (patients' register and controlled drugs register).

In addition, shipping companies can apply for product-specific approvals, as per request, for the ship-specific approvals of MARPOL record books at BG Verkehr. Such an approval is explicitly provided for in the Resolution MEPC.312(74) of the Marine Environment Protection Committee of IMO. Upon application, the BG Verkehr issues the approval for the respective ship – of course as an e-certificate.

The BG Verkehr has summarized further information about the approval procedure of electronic record books in a leaflet. There is also a list of all electronic record books that have so far been approved.