BG Verkehr / Dienststelle Schiffssicherheit
Bereich Hafenstaatkontrolle
Brandstwiete 1
20457 Hamburg

Phone: +49 40 361 37-297 (office hours)/+49 40 361 37-100 (24h)
Fax: +49 40 361 37-295

Mike Meklenburg
Phone: +49 40 361 37-202

Detention of ships

What happens, when deficiencies are revealed on board?

Often port state control officers reveal deficiencies during the inspection of a ship. The inspector discusses these deficiencies with the ship’s master and notes them in his inspection report. He determines a deadline for the rectification of each deficiency.

A port state control officer has various options to require rectification:

  • The deficiency has to be rectified prior to the ship’s departure,
  • The deficiency has to be rectified latest in the next port of call,
  • The deficiency has to be rectified within 14 days,
  • The inspector informs the flag state of the ship,
  • The inspector requests corrective measures by the shipping company according to the International Safety Management-Code (ISM-Code).

As all deficiencies and required rectifications are entered into the European control database THETIS, other port states can check whether the deficiencies have been rectified.

Ships with major deficiencies can be detained

Port state control officers may impose a detention on ships with major deficiencies, i. e. the ship must not leave the port of inspection. A ship is detained when it is unfit to proceed to sea or the deficiencies pose an unreasonable risk to the ship, its crew or the environment.

The ship is kept under detention until the rectification of all deficiencies has been verified by a port state control officer by means of a re-inspection.

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bild durchsetzung und festhaltung

The re-inspection following a detention

The detention of a ship causes considerable cost for the ship’s company. Any delay in the schedule of a ship’s voyage means a real loss of money for the ship owner. Therefore crews of affected ships will usually try to rectify deficiencies as soon as possible. Once the ship’s master is satisfied with the rectification efforts he has to apply to the port state for the re-inspection.

In case of a detention in a German port the master has to apply to the Ship Safety Division of the BG-Verkehr for a re-inspection:

The re-inspection can also be performed outside office hours (except from 22.00 to 07:00), on weekends and on holidays. In such case the master has to apply to the Ship Safety Division not later than by Fridays 14:00 by fax or e-mail.

In each case of a detention the Ship Safety Division of the BG-Verkehr charges a fee to cover the costs of the inspection. Normally the appropriate shipping agent is held liable.

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The shipowner can appeal against the detention of his ship

When a ship is detained the port state control officer will inform the shipowner on his right of appeal. The appeal shall be made either by:

  • the shipping company or
  • the operator

The appeal shall be made by letter or fax within one month of the date of notification on the detention order to the following address:

Berufsgenossenschaft Verkehrswirtschaft Post-Logistik und Telekommunikation
Dienststelle Schiffssicherheit
Ottenser Hauptstraße 54
D-22765 Hamburg

Fax: +49  40 36 13 72 95

An appeal by e-mail will only be effective, if the email contains a document which is personally signed by the appellant.

In accordance with the provisions of section 80(2)(4) of the Code of Administrative Procedures, any such appeal will not suspend the detention in case the immediate enforcement is ordered. The reinstatement of the suspensory effect can be applied for at the Verwaltungsgericht Hamburg, Lübeckertordamm 1, 20099 Hamburg, Germany.

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