BG Verkehr / Dienststelle Schiffssicherheit
Referat ISM/ILO
Brandstwiete 1
20457 Hamburg

Tilo Berger
Phone: +49 40 361 37-213

Sven Reese
Phone: +49 40 361 37-313

Kathrin Saß
Phone: +49 40 361 37-260

Florian Reise
Phone: +49 40 361 37-214

Passenger registration

Shipowners have to register persons on board of passenger ships

Be a equipped for an emergency - this motto also applies at sea. In case of a larger ship accident it is important for the rescue team to know how many people are on board. Without this knowledge an effective search and rescue is impossible in case of an emergency - especially not on a ferry or an excursion ship with several hundred passengers.

That is why the European legislator requires from shipowners of passenger ships departing from an EU-port an exact counting and registration of anyone on board. This required registration system, in accordance with directive 98/41/EC, has the additional advantage that there are never more people on board than is permitted for the ship and its safety equipment.

Registration systems on passenger ships have to be certified by an EU member state.

The shipowner of a passenger ship is obliged to appoint a passenger registrar. This person is responsible for keeping the registered information and its transmission to the responsible authority in case of an emergency or in the aftermath of an accident.

Requirements of a registration system

The European legislator divided passenger ships into two categories, to which different requirements to the registration system apply:

Category I - voyage of not more than 20 nautical miles from the point of departure

If the ship departs from a port and undertakes a voyage of not more than 20 nautical miles from the point of departure, all persons on board shall be counted and the number of persons shall be communicated to the master and the shipping company (passenger registrar) before departure.

Category II - voyage of more than 20 nautical miles from the point of departure

If the ship departs from a port and undertakes a voyage of more that 20 nautical miles from the point of departure, in addition to the counting and registration (category I) the following information about the people on board have to be registered:

  1. Last name and first name or initial,
  2. sex,
  3. age group (adult, child or baby)
  4. when volunteered by a passenger, information concerning the need for special care or assistance in emergency situations.

This information shall be communicated to the shipping company (passenger registrar) not later than 30 minutes after departure.

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bild fahrgastregistrierung

Approval of the registration system for passenger ships under German flag

BG Verkehr is responsible for the approval of the registration systems on board ships flying the German flag. Details regarding the approval vary depending on the actual area of deployment of the individual passenger ship:

  • Category I (up to a maximum of 20 nm from the point of departure)

The registration system on ships of category I is considered as approved if it complies with the requirements according to the general ruling of the Ship Safety Division (Dienststelle Schiffssicherheit) of BG Verkehr for the approval of registration systems on passenger vessels dated 09.06.2015.

  • Category II (more than 20 nm from the point of departure)

Shippping companies of passenger ships of category II have to apply for approval of their registration system at the Ship Safety Division of BG Verkehr.

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Passenger ships under foreign flag in German waters

Shipowners of passenger ships under foreign flag departing from a German port have to demonstrate evidence to the Ship Safety Division that the requirements of Directive 98/41/EC are being complied with before the departure. For this the registration system was either already approved by a member state of the European community or, if an approval does not yet exist, approval must be applied for at the Ship Safety Division.

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Application for the approval of the registration system

The application and reference documents, if any, can be sent by e-mail to

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