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News 2019

The Jens-Peter and Betsy Schlüter Foundation for Shipping and Environment holds an international symposium on the issue of "Anthropogenic Underwater Noise" on 10 September 2019. Top-tier experts from international organizations and academic institutions will report about the sources and impacts of underwater noise caused by humans and discuss with the audience how the noise might be reduced.

There are many sources of noise underwater: on the one hand, natural sounds like the wash of the waves or communication sounds of marine animals, on the other hand, sounds created by men. The underwater noise that is caused by merchant ships is significant and can harm marine wildlife, especially marine mammals. Ship propellers, but also on-board machinery, generate a constant sound in the water. This disturbs the communication and echo localisation of the animals among each other as well as of other objects which can lead to collisions. According to the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation underwater noise has doubled every decade over the last 35 years.

On an international symposium supported by the IMO this increasingly important environmental topic becomes the focus. On 10 September 2019 experts of various maritime areas engage with the phenomenon of noise in the sea. In the morning and early noon experts will report about the sources and impacts of anthropogenic underwater noise. In the afternoon, the focus lies on the exploration of solutions: How can the underwater noise caused by humans be reduced?

The symposium is held in English. For more information, the programme and registration refer to the website of the foundation.


With its "Day of the Seafarer" on 25 June, the International Maritime Organization IMO draws attention to 1.2 million seafarers worldwide and their interests. This year the day is themed "gender equality". The IMO arranges their campaign mostly in social media. Some seamen's missions celebrate this day together with the seafarers.

I am on board

This year the maritime world is dedicated to women. And such the World Maritime Day makes Empowering Women in the Maritime Community the subject of discussion. The motto of the Day of the Seafarer on 25 June takes up this topic too: "I Am on Board with gender equality". The IMO calls to participate under the hashtag #IamOnBoard on their presences on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and to witness interactively how the community picks up this topic. Another way to participate is offered on the IMO website where suggestions to achieve gender equality in seafaring can be made on a virtual wall.

Some seaman's missions also seize the Day of the Seafarer as an opportunity to draw attention to the hard work of seafarers with events to celebrate them. For example: the Seamen's Mission Cuxhaven organizes a barbeque party from 5 pm (rsvp until 21 June cuxhaven@seemannsmission.org) and the Seaman's Mission Bremerhaven throws a party at the Seamen's Club Welcome from 5 pm with a game of basketball cheered on by the local cheerleader team and food off the barbeque.

Reflective close proximity clothing must meet EN 1486 or ISO 15538

Close proximity clothing for fire fighting as maritime equipment in accordance with the European Marine Equipment Directive 2014/90/EU (hereinafter MED) must successfully undergo a specified conformity assessment procedure ("EU approval") prior to their supply on the European single market and their subsequent use on board an EU ship as defined by the MED.

The relevant testing standards for the conformity assessment procedure stem from the provisions of the current implementing regulation of the European Commission on design, construction and performance requirements as well as testing standards for marine  equipment. In the implementing regulation – which is currently regulation (EU) 2018/773 – the testing standards EN 469(2005), EN 1486 (2007) as well as ISO 15538 (2001) are listed under item "MED/3.3 Fire-fighter's outfit: protective clothing (close proximity clothing)".

A ruling on 20 October 2017 (under the number 3 Bf 152/16) of the higher administrative court of Hamburg has bindingly found that for reflective close proximity clothing and close proximity clothing with a reflectiveouter surface only the testing standards EN 1486 or ISO 15538 are to be applied in a MED conformity assessment procedure. The testing standard EN 469 is not pertinent and therefore may not be the basis of an "EU approval procedure".

Reflective close proximity clothing, which has solely been tested in accordance with EN 469, lacks the proper conformity assessment procedure and the proof that the clothing conforms with the applicable legal requirements for the product and may therefore be indicated as MED conform and bear the wheel mark.

All economic operators , manufacturers and distributors in particular, are legally obliged to ensure that they are not responsible for any reflective close proximity clothing solely tested with EN 469 to make it available as a MED conform product on the German market and consequently used.

The BSH, as the competent market surveillance authority explicitly reserves the right to take the regulatory measures against the economic operators  concerned in case an infringement of the legal prohibition is established.

Market surveillance department is at your disposal in case of any questions.

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

Marktüberwachung / market surveillance

Mail: marktueberwachung@bsh.de

Ingolf Eckert
Phone: +49 40 3190-7110
Fax: +49 40 3190-5000
Mail: ingolf.eckert@bsh.de

In March of last year, the BSH tested the first maritime Galileo satellite navigation receiver worldwide to be used on board.

In March of last year, the BSH tested the first maritime Galileo satellite navigation receiver worldwide to be used on board for an EU approval. This receiver of the company Fugro Norway AS with the name Fugro Oceanstar had already been approved as a receiver for GPS and the Russian system GLONASS.

Aside from the real satellite environment, the BSH also used an extensive satellite simulation for the testing. The simulation facilitates the near optional combination of all signals available for civilian application of the satellite navigation systems GPS, GLONASS and Galileo. The approval after the completion of the testing was carried out by DNV GL Group.

In its Annual Report 2018 on maritime labour rights, the Ship Safety Division of BG Verkehr shows at a glance how it monitored compliance with the provisions of the Maritime Labour Act over the last year. Since last year, the BG Verkehr has been issuing Maritime Labour Certificates and Fishing Labour Certificates electronically. The Ship Safety Division also published its MLC-Guidelines in a completely revised format.

Since 2013 the Maritime Labour Act implements the International Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) on ships under German flag. With these provisions, mandatory and comprehensive regulations regarding working and living conditions of seafarers have been established. Important topics like hours of work and rest, food and catering, payment of wages, occupational health on board and many more are now clearly regulated and are verified on a regular basis.

40 MLC surveyors inspect international ships abroad and nationally regarding their compliance with the requirements of the Convention for the Ship Safety Division of BG Verkehr. The employees of the ISM / ILO Department attend to complaints of seafarers about working and living conditions, approve private recruitment agencies and ensure that shipping companies under German flag are informed about current topics of this topic area. The ISM / ILO Department has now published its Annual Report 2018.

MLC Annual Report 2018

Since last year, the German Flag has been issuing Maritime Labour Certificates and Fishing Labour Certificates as electronic certificates. The validity of a ship certificate can be verified electronically with a certificate identification number on this website.

In the middle of the year 2018, the fully revised Guidelines on the implementation of the Maritime Labour Act on board of German flagged ships (this version in German only) was published. Compared to its previous version, the experts of the Ship Safety Division completely revised the topic area health and safety protection and accident prevention. New information about drinking water on sea-going ships as well as maps of the trading areas for medical equipment were added. For the first time, the Guidelines contain specific information about contracts of employment and hours of work and rest for work on board fishing vessels.

With this QR Code, you can download the MLC Guidelines directly to your phone and have them at the ready whenever you need them:

QR-Code MLC-Leitfaden

The German Flag State Administration gets more and more digital. In addition to e-certificates, online application procedures and many other interactive applications on the website, the Hamburg shipping register, as the first shipping register in Germany, will become digital. A user-friendly and time-saving procedure will facilitate the registration of ships for the shipowners and the administration staff.

"Time is money" – this is especially true for the shipping industry, because any day that a ship is not in transit, it is costing the shipowner money rather than making it. So far a ship registration may take up to a week. During this time the documents are being processed, handed from one department to the next and are thoroughly checked legally.

To considerably reduce this bureaucratic effort, the Hamburg shipping register has decided to undergo a comprehensive digitalisation. On 1. January 2020, the first digital shipping register in Germany will be able to carry out registrations and register entry changes in less than half the time thanks to online applications, automatic processes, such as call sign designation and verification of double naming, as well as digital files.

digital shipping register Hamburg

The Hamburg shipping register counts almost 7,000 entries of which 4,866 are of sea-going vessels. This makes it the largest shipping register in Germany. Last year it had 420 new entries and 3,500 applications for changes. The registration of a ship at the competent district court of the home port is required when a new ship is built or a ship changes flag. Applications for a change of the entry need to be filed when for example a ship undergoes a conversion or changes its name. The online application allows for a submission of the application forms independent of the opening hours of the authority from all around the world. It will also not be necessary to visit the shipping register personally for a file inspection, this can rather be done at one's own desk.

Some other shipping registers have already shown interest in this digitalisation project. The possible digitalisation of other shipping registers could facilitate a closer cooperation in the future. The digital shipping register will be a real gain for the maritime and legal location Hamburg and a valuable service for the shipowner.