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Mar­itime Se­cu­ri­ty

Licensing of security companies on board ocean-going vessels

In order to take account of the specific needs of guarding ocean-going vessels, the trade of maritime security companies has been subjected to licensing requirement with the latest amendments of the Law Introducing a Licensing Procedure for Security Companies on Board Ocean-Going Vessels of March 4., 2013 (Federal Gazette I page 362 of 12.03.2013).

Man with binoculars Source: © Fotolia.com/Masson

Private security companies who wish to perform security functions to counter piracy on board ocean-going vessels sailing under German flag  – independently of the place where their head office is established - need a licence issued by the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA) since 1 December 2013.

The license is granted in consultation with the Federal Police which mainly reviews the procedures and maritime standards.

Similarly the German security companies also have to apply for licence if they wish to offer security services on vessels sailing under other flags in international waters.

The licence is thus required for

  • national and foreign security companies intending to offer security functions on board ocean-going vessels flying the German flag
  • security companies that are established in Germany and intend to operate on ocean-going vessels under other flags since tasks of maritime security provided outside the German exclusive economic zone are generally removed from the scope of section 34 a of the Trade Regulation Code because of their specific requirements.

Due to section (sect.) 31 of the Trade Regulation Code, special demands are set on internal organisation and procedures of the companies as well as on technical and personal reliability, personal aptitude and competence of the managements and security operatives entrusted with armed maritime operations.

BAFA in consultation with the Federal Police reviews the compliance with these requirements according to their dutiful discretion. The inspection focuses on the company that means BAFA and the Federal Police scrutinize the company’s organization and the internal procedures as well as the demands set on the responsible designated executive.

However, the security company itself has to make sure that the security personnel meet all the requirements.

These requirements are laid down in the Ordinance on the Licensing of Security Companies on Ocean-Going Sea Vessels and the Ordinance Implementing the Ocean-Going Vessel Security Ordinance.

For Licensing under sect. 31 of the Trade Regulation Code please submit the Licensing application for guarding ocean-going vessels pursuant to sect. 31 Trade Regulation Code using the electronic procedure. Further information is available at “Application”.

Application Procedure

Application

How to file an application:

An application for licensing under sect. 31 (1) Trade Regulation Code may be filed if you intend to safeguard commercially life and property of other persons on board ocean-going vessels seaward the boundaries of the German exclusive economic zone to ward off external dangers (guarding and security missions).

The application may be filed using the electronic application form.

There are only three steps to file the application:

  1. Complete electronic application form online and send it
  2. Upload the necessary verification documents
  3. Print out completed application form, sign it and upload it via the electronic upload form

You have to provide information about your company, the responsible principle executive, liability insurance and, if applicable, certification or licences issued by other states etc.

For an initial licence the following proofs or evidence documents have to be enclosed:

  1. Documentation of company’s organization, according to sect. 4 (1) of the Ordinance on the Licensing of Security Companies on Ocean-Going Vessels Ordinance on the Licensing of Security companies on Ocean-Going Sea Vessels
  2. Process manual on procedures, sect. 5 (1) Ordinance on the Licensing of Security companies on Ocean-Going Sea Vessels
  3. Standing orders, sect. 5 (2) Ordinance on the Licensing of Security companies on Ocean-Going Sea Vessels
  4. List of equipment used by security company, sect. 6 (1) first sentence Ordinance on the Licensing of Security companies on Ocean-Going Sea Vessels
  5. records under sect. 11 (2) to (4) Ordinance on the Licensing of Security companies on Ocean-Going Sea Vessels for the designated executive under sect. 4 (1) second 2 number 1 Ordinance on the Licensing of Security companies on Ocean-Going Sea Vessels
  6. Proof of liability insurance under sect. 12 Ordinance on the Licensing of Security companies on Ocean-Going Sea Vessels
  7. Company profile containing a description of the market position of the security company in the field of maritime security, sect. 2 (2) Ordinance on the Licensing of Security companies on Ocean-Going Sea Vessels

Thereof, a certified translation of an extract from judicial records (police clearance certificate) or equivalent document by the foreign competent judicial or administrative authority for presentation to an authority pursuant to sect. 30 (5) of Federal Central Criminal Register Act of the following documents – unless available in German – must be presented.

All the other documents may be submitted in English language. However, BAFA may request translations of selected documents.

Note

Please note that you have to retain all records on business transactions and operations under sect. 13 Ordinance on the Licensing of Security companies on Ocean-Going Sea Vessels.

Self-Assessment

In order to check whether you fulfil the conditions for licensing, and you can provide all the required documents, please complete the self-assessment sheet with the checklist and send it together with the application documents to BAFA.

Recognition of Foreign Licences and Certifications

For an application pursuant to sect. 15 Ordinance on the Licensing of Security companies on Ocean-Going Sea Vessels for the recognition of a foreign government licence or state-recognized certification it is sufficient to provide first of all:

  1. Copy of licence or certification (with certified translation into German language) and
  2. All the legal bases relevant for granting the foreign licence or certification (with certified translation into German language)

Subsequent Licence

The licence is issued for a period of two years. If you intend to continue security operations on board ocean-going vessels after expiry of the licence duration, then you will have to file an application for a subsequent licence, in due time (preferably 6 months before expiry of the initial licence). It is also required for a subsequent application to submit the documents according to sect. 2 (2) Ordinance on the Licensing of Security companies on Ocean-Going Sea Vessels. In this respect, there is no change to an application for initial licence.

Subsequent licences are likewise issued for a period of two years.

Fees

When you file an application fees are payable.

The amount of the fees is determined by the Regulation on fees and expenses of the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control in connection with the licencing of security companies on board ocean-going vessels. Only the legally binding version in German is available (Federal Gazette I p. 4110).

Reports

The duties of security companies licensed under section 31 of the Trade Regulations Code include regular reporting and notification under sect. 14 (1) to (3), (4) Ordinance on the Licensing of Security companies on Ocean-Going Sea Vessels.

The obligations include, inter alia:

  • notification about a security deployment on ocean-going vessels
  • reports about
    • organisational changes
    • exchange of the designated executive
    • changes regarding procedures
    • use of firearms (must additionally be reported via e-mail to the Federal Police BPOL.SEE.PPZ@polizei.bund.de)
    • loss or replacement of weapons or ammunition

Please use the electronic Report Form for deployment notifications.

In case of notifications of changes according to sect. 14 (3) Ordinance on the Licensing of Security companies on Ocean-Going Sea Vessels, as well as the loss or replacement of weapons and ammunition you are required to upload a corresponding declaration and the relevant documents via the Upload Form.

Please note that the reports and notifications must be submitted only after the completion of the licensing procedure.

List of Licensed Companies

Below BAFA publishes a list of the security companies presently licensed under section 31 (1) Trade Regulation Act. The list is regularly updated.

List of licensed companies
Company NameAddressPhoneE-MailFaxLicensed since
Bowline Defence Ltd.25 Park Lane, London W1K 1RA (U.K.)+44 (0) 2035193505enquiry@bowlinedefence.com+44 (0) 207 499499105.12.2016
Condor IMS GmbHEssener Straße 4, Haus D3, 22419 Hamburg+49 (0)20184153113sekretariat@condor-sicherheit.de+49 (0)2018415315125.07.2016
ESC OÜVabaõhumuuseumi 3/ Mõisa 4, 14th floor, 13522 Tallinn, Estonia+372 6076406info@escgs.com+372 651000920.11.2017
i.b.s International Bodyguard- & SicherheitsagenturLindenstraße 11, 27419 Sittensen+49 (0)4087979850ops1@bodyguardagentur.com+49 (0)4087979851115.03.2017
ISN International Security Network GmbHMontreal Avenue D415, 77836 Rheinmünster+49 (0) 72296976900info@isn.eu.com+49 (0) 7229697699902.03.2017
Protection Vessels International Ltd.Unit 13-14, Swallowcourt, Devonshire Gate, Tiverton, Devon, EX16 7EJ (U. K.)+44 (0)1884 849 430customerservices@pviltd.com-17.11.2017
Salama Fikira International Ltd.Level 3 Alexander House, 35 Cybercity Ebene, Mauritius+254 702 114 144maritime@salamafikira.com+254 (0)20 269 384621.11.2017
ZST Security Service Consulting and Technology GmbHBahnhofstraße 50a, 24582 Bordesholm+49 (0)4322 8899037management@zst-maritime.com+49 (0)4322 88991514.07.2016

The reporting is pursuant to section 31 (6) Trade Regulation Code.

The listed companies have agreed to the publication of their data.

Licence under the Weapons Act

To enable security operatives to acquire, possess and carry guns and ammunition necessary for their security tasks on vessels flying the German flag it is necessary to apply for a permit under the Weapons Act pursuant to section 28a in conjunction with section 48 (1) sentence 2 Weapons Act in addition to the licence issued by BAFA.

This permit under Weapons Act is issued for all applying companies throughout Germany by the Authority for Internal Affairs and Sports – Weapons Authority – of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg.

Security companies which are established in Germany and intend to take over guarding and security missions on board ocean-going vessels under a foreign flag, using weapons acquired in Germany, have to apply for the permission to acquire and possess weapons on German sovereign territory at the local regulatory authority. The special responsibility of the Hamburg weapons authority does not apply in this case.

War weapons in accordance with the Annex to the War Weapons Control Act (War Weapons List) are excluded from the licence.

Documents required when applying for weapons permits for maritime security missions on ocean-going vessels at the Hamburg weapons authority:

  • Application for a permit under section 28a Weapons Act (permit to acquire, possess and carry guns and ammunition by security operators and their personnel on ocean-going vessels flying the German flag)
  • Company manager: identity card or passport, including certificate of registration; a foreign manager needs a police clearance certificate in addition
  • Staff: Copy of ID, copy of employment contract, foreign personnel: police clearance certificate, certificate of weapons expertise and knowledge of the German arms legislation and the related laws and regulations
  • Executive staff/ in charge of weapons: must have the power of procuration! Proof of weapons expertise (other than the general knowledge examination of the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce) and instructions on the German arms legislation and the related laws and regulations
  • Proof of safekeeping at German company headquarters or respective storage location and safekeeping policy on board

Fees and charges

Depend on complexity of each case

Contact:

Office of Internal Affairs and Sports – Weapons Authority – Hamburg
Grüner Deich 1
20097 Hamburg

Phone: +49 40 42 8667 601
Fax: +49 40 427314042

E-mail: waffenbehoerde@polizei.hamburg.de

Licence under Export Control Law

The private security companies established in Germany also need an export licence granted by the BAFA in addition to the permission under trade regulation code and the weapon owner’s licence.

The delivery or carrying of weapons and listed equipment out of Germany for use on ocean-going vessels in international waters is an export subject to licensing pursuant to section 8 of the Foreign Trade and Payments Regulation and, if applicable, under Article 4 (1) of Regulation (EU) Number 258/2012 (firearms regulation). Since the weapons and other equipment necessary for the security company are not supposed to remain in the third countries the transaction is considered a temporary export of these goods which also requires an export licence.

BAFA offers the collective licence procedure for repeated temporary exports; it permits exports and transfers of goods subject to licensing to different countries and different consignees. The application for such a collective licence procedure licence requires in particular a well-functioning internal export control system (ICP). In this case the private security services can benefit from the insights into the admission procedure (see above). In fact, private security services have to install their own ICP in order to manage and comply with the collective licence procedure licences granted.

The permit under section 31 Trade Regulation Code is necessary for the granting of the collective licence procedure. The validity of the collective licence procedure is basically identical with that of the permit under section 31 Trade Regulation Code.

War weapons within the meaning of the Annex to the War Weapons Control Act (War Weapons List) are excluded from approval.

The collective licence procedure may be applied for at www.ausfuhrkontrolle.info (sub-title application filing in the electronic application portal "ELAN-K2").

The reports required under collective licence procedure may also be submitted electronically.

Frequently Asked Questions

General remarks on the licensing procedure

What is the legal basis of the licensing procedure?

The business of maritime security companies was subjected to licensing by the law introducing a licensing procedure for security companies on ocean-going vessels dated March 4, 2012 (Federal Law Gazette I page 362 of 12.03.2013). The legal basis for the licensing procedure is section 31 of the Trade Regulation Code. In order to take into account the specific requirements for guarding ocean-going vessels security companies were generally excluded from the scope of section 34a Trade Regulation Code (permit under trade law of security companies).

Who can apply for a licence?

Natural and legal persons who wish to perform security functions on ocean-going vessels seaward of the boundary of the German exclusive economic zone may apply for a licence, section 2 (1) of the ordinance on the licensing of security companies on ocean-going vessels Ordinance on the Licensing of Security companies on Ocean-Going Sea Vessels.

Who must apply for a licence?

  • Resident and foreign security companies who wish to perform security functions on ocean-going vessels flying a German flag.
  • Security companies established in Germany who wish to offer security services on ocean-going vessels flying foreign flags.

Who is in charge of the licensing procedure?

The competent licensing authority is the BAFA in Eschborn; it decides on the licence applications in consultation with the Federal Police agency.

How long does the licensing procedure take?

The duration of the licensing procedure depends on different factors. It takes longer to process applications where supporting documents are missing, than applications with all documents enclosed.

How can I apply for a licence?

The application can only be submitted using the electronic application form provided by BAFA. This form should also be used for uploading the necessary documents to prove compliance with the approval requirements.

Note:

After sending the electronic application form, you will receive a pdf-file which was generated on the basis of your application. This document must be signed by the designated executive and be sent back electronically via the upload form within a period of 14 days.

How does BAFA proceed with the applications?

The applications will be processed in the order of in which they are received.

How long is the licence valid?

The period of validity of the licence is 2 years (section 3 Ordinance on the Licensing of Security companies on Ocean-Going Sea Vessels).

Do I need further certifications or authorizations in addition to the licence of the security trade on ocean-going vessels?

It depends on the type of operation. Operations on ships flying the German flag are based on the new sect. 28a of the Weapons Act which stipulates the conditions for the acquisition, possession and carrying of guns and ammunition by security companies on board sea-going vessels. The appropriate legal weapons permit is granted by the Office of Internal Affairs and Sports – Weapons Authority – of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg. Moreover, security companies established in Germany need a licence under export control law in addition to the approval under trade regulation code and the permit pursuant to the weapons act. The delivery and carrying of weapons and listed equipment out of Germany for operations on board of ocean-going vessels in international waters is an export subject to licensing in accordance with section 8 (1) Foreign Trade and Payments Regulation.

Details on the licence required under weapons act and export control legislation are explained below.

Do I need the support of a German lawyer or external expert for the implementation of the Ordinance on the Licensing of Security companies on Ocean-Going Sea Vessels?

In terms of the licensing process BAFA will assist you with regard to the requirements to be met for a licence. BAFA’s Homepage provides a lot of detailed information on the licensing procedure. By the help of our checklist, companies can find out whether they meet all the demands set. Besides this, you also find a list of all documents to be submitted with the application.

The Annex to Ordinance on the Licensing of Security companies on Ocean-Going Sea Vessels enumerates a considerable number of legal provisions. It is the task of the training and education institutes to impart the relevant knowledge to the security personnel. If you conduct in-house training, the lecturer has to command the necessary expertise.

Guidance and legal advice for the security personnel during their operations on ocean-going vessels must be provided by a qualified person in place 24/7. This is not necessarily a German lawyer.

Of course, you are free to contact a lawyer or other expert for legal advice concerning the requirements of the licensing procedure.

What to do if guards on board of vessels are not permitted in coastal or port states?

German ship owners are not obliged to employ security companies on board. Ship owners have to refrain from it if this is prohibited in the waters to be cruised. In this case they can contact the state in question.

Is the International Code of Conduct (ICOC) applied to the licensing procedure?

ICOC is to be seen in connection with the increasing deployment of private security companies on behalf of state forces in military conflicts. As a result of this problem, the so-called Montreux Document was drafted in 2008 describing the validity or applicability of international law to private paramilitary forces or security companies. In the following years the ICOC was developed on this basis, in November 2010 it was signed by 58 security companies. By signing this document, they commit themselves to adhere to certain humanitarian standards and subject themselves to certain checks. Until February 2013 592 private security companies had signed the ICOC. Since then, the number of signing companies has increased sharply.

The application of the two documents (Montreux document and ICOC) which was the basis of drafting the IMO guidelines, supported by some states, i.a. USA and UK was rejected in the sessions 89/90 in MSC because piracy was considered a police problem and not an armed military conflict and the aforementioned documents were not drafted for a maritime background.

Which is the importance of ISO/PAS 28007 or BIMCO´s GUARDCON for the licensing process?

The requirements for granting a licence are laid down in the detailed standards of the Ordinance on the Licensing of Security companies on Ocean-Going Sea Vessels and the Ordinance Implementing the Ocean-Going Vessel Security Ordinance. Acquiring a certification under ISO/PAS 28007 or signing contracts under Guardcon have no influence on the licensing process because it has to be proved that all the requirements of the relevant regulations are met in these cases, too.

ISO-certification is no government licence or state-recognised certification, therefore it is not sufficient for recognition and, thus, for granting a German licence. In case of doubt, the recognition depends on the conditions of section 15 Ordinance on the Licensing of Security companies on Ocean-Going Sea Vessels and remains subject to an individual decision.

The licensing procedure under section 31 Trade Regulation Code sets similar high demands on the Management Compliance System as ISO/PAS 28007. Some demands are more detailed in the German certification procedure for legal reasons and go beyond the requirements of ISO/PAS. Companies meeting the ISO/PAS 28007 standard are well prepared for the German licensing procedure.

Requirements and documents necessary for a licence

Which demands need to be fulfilled to get a licence?

Section 31 Trade Regulation Code lays down the demands to be fulfilled by a security company for being approved. In addition to the demands set on the company’s organization and processes, they also include the professional and personal aptitude, the reliability of staff and management as well as liability insurance.

BAFA checks in consultation with the Federal Police agency whether these demands are fulfilled. The checks focus on the company, that means BAFA and the Federal Police check the company’s operational framework and the internal processes as well as the demands on the senior executive designated as responsible person.

Which documents must be included?

The following documents are necessary for a decision on granting a licence:

  • Documents giving evidence of the company’s operational framework pursuant to section 4 (1) Ordinance on the Licensing of Security companies on Ocean-Going Sea Vessels:
    • Documents referring to the responsible person:
      • Documents on the designation of a senior executive, name and function in the company,
      • Excerpt from commercial register to prove the power of procuration of the designated executive, if possible
      • Description of tasks of responsible person,
      • Copy of verification that staff was informed,
    • Organization chart, if possible
    • Copy of staff information about the responsible persons (responsibilities, managerial authority and holiday replacement),
    • Description of organizational structure
    • Documentation of process framework in the form of a process manual
    • Staff requirements profile,
    • Description of staff selection,
    • Description of personnel audits,
    • Job familiarisation,
    • Further training of staff (training schemes, firearms training, information procurement, intelligences services)
    • Name of person in charge of legal advice, his/her qualification,
    • Presentation of internal control and audit processes,
    • Documentation system to meet the requirements,
    • Explanation of communication system,
  • Documents proving procedures pursuant to section 5 (1) Ordinance on the Licensing of Security companies on Ocean-Going Sea Vessels:
    • Process manual,
    • Export, import or transit licences as well as trafficking and brokering licences obtained
    • Internal rules and measures for safekeeping of weapons and ammunition
  • Standing orders pursuant to section 5 (2) Ordinance on the Licensing of Security companies on Ocean-Going Sea Vessels:
    • General standing order
    • Example of operations-specific standing order
    • Shift scheduling
  • List of weapons and equipment used, including their specific properties, secion 6 (1) Ordinance on the Licensing of Security companies on Ocean-Going Sea Vessels,
  • Documents proving the requirements under section 11 (2) to (4) Ordinance on the Licensing of Security companies on Ocean-Going Sea Vessels
    • List of former employers,
    • Statement on whether criminal proceedings or a preliminary investigation by public prosecutor are pending against the individual,
    • Certificate of good conduct for submission to an authority under section 30 (5) of the Federal Central Criminal Register Act or a comparable document with a certified translation,
    • Education or training certificates or other supporting papers proving expertise under section10 Ordinance on the Licensing of Security companies on Ocean-Going Sea Vessels
  • Proof of liability insurance under section 12 Ordinance on the Licensing of Security companies on Ocean-Going Sea Vessels.
  • The company’s profile giving a description of the market position of the security company in the area of maritime security and
  • An excerpt from the commercial register or a similar foreign document.

Do I have to submit the documents in German language?

The following documents – unless available in German language – have to be submitted with a certified translation into German:

  • Certificates of good conduct for submission to an authority under section 30 (5) of the Federal Central Criminal Register Act or comparable foreign documents
  • Foreign approvals or certifications the recognition of which is applied for
  • Legal basis of the foreign approvals or certifications

All other papers can generally also be submitted in English language. In individual cases it may be necessary to submit the translation later.

Is the contract between the security company and the shipping company also checked in the licensing process?

No, it isn’t. The relationship between the security company and the ship owner is not the subject of the licensing process. This is the task of the Federal Office of Maritime Shipping and Hydrography.

Requirements on the designated executive

Does the executive has to possess the full level of knowledge pursuant to section 10 Ordinance on the Licensing of Security companies on Ocean-Going Sea Vessels already at the time when the application is filed or is it possible to submit the evidence later, probably after licensing?

The designated executive serves as a role model for the security personnel. He/she must therefore possess the same level of knowledge. If his/her competence is not documented in full when the application is filed BAFA will ask for it.

What to submit if the country where my company is established does not issue certificates of good conduct?

In his case section 11 (3) Ordinance on the Licensing of Security companies on Ocean-Going Sea Vessels provides that a comparable foreign document may be submitted. If it is not in German language a certified translation is required.

Requirements on the persons deployed (staff selection, verification and further training)

What about freelance staff or subcontractors? Do they need their own licences?

This will be decided in the individual case. The essential criterion is that the freelance staff or the guards of the subcontractor are under the company’s authority. If the ordering (and approved) company has the full right to issue instructions to these persons, and they are informed about the responsibilities and procedures in the contracting company, they do not need their own licences.

The rule of thumb is: If the employed guards are treated in the same way as the own staff the subcontractor does not need a licence.

The security company must ensure that freelancers or subcontractors meet the requirements set on the professional and personal aptitude and reliability. Besides this, the security company must provide the freelance staff or subcontractors who are under its authority with all the required documents (for example process manual) and information on the organizational structure.

What about the weapons training as part of the further training process for personnel?

In accordance with section 7 of the Ordinance Implementing the Ocean-Going Vessel Security Ordinance, every security operative entrusted with security functions on board ocean-going vessels must participate in weapons training at least four times per year. The individual weapons training sessions may not be more than six months apart in each case.

There are no specific requirements for the organisation of the weapons training. The security company must ensure the secure handling of weapons by the help of this training. Therefore, the security company has to submit a weapons training concept focusing on the secure handling of weapons within the licensing process. In addition, the weapons training must be planned in conformity with the laws. Accordingly, weapons training on board German-flagged vessels may only be carried out if a permission pursuant to section 10 (5) Weapons Act has been granted.

Is it permitted to organise the weapons training on the high seas?

In accordance with section 10 (5) Weapons Act the permission to fire a gun requires a shooting licence. Such a licence is only granted by the weapons authority for specific reasons and if it is not in conflict with the interest in public security and order. If such a licence has been granted, it is allowed to carry out weapons training on board German-flagged vessels. For weapons training on board of vessels under foreign flag the law of the respective flag state applies.

Requirements on expertise

Does BAFA check the expertise of the security guards?

As part of the certification procedure, the company is subjected to an audit, that means it is checked whether the security companies meet the requirements under Ordinance on the Licensing of Security companies on Ocean-Going Sea Vessels. The individual security operatives are not checked within the application procedure. Moreover, the companies are responsible to ensure that the security personnel meet the demands in terms of reliability, qualification and expertise. Based on the submitted documents concerning personnel selection, personnel audits and further training, BAFA checks in consultation with the federal police whether the company is in the position to do so.

Following certification, BAFA will conduct reviews and request each company to provide documents referring to individual guards on a random basis in accordance with section 29 Trade Regulation Code.

The Ordinance on the Licensing of Security companies on Ocean-Going Sea Vessels does not specify the type of training for acquiring the necessary expertise. Does this also apply to specialized knowledge on weapons?

Yes, it does. Section 7 (2) Weapons Act was rendered ineffective for this purpose. It is the company’s decision whether the specialized knowledge of weapons is acquired by in-house training or external training courses. The Hamburg arms authority checks whether the necessary knowledge was acquired on the basis of the documents submitted.

How does the Hamburg arms authority verify the security operatives’ specialized knowledge of weapons? Do they have to appear in person or is it sufficient to submit documents?

The security operatives need not appear in person, it is sufficient to submit written evidence. The security operatives are checked afterwards, the weapons owner’s licence for the approved company is issued in advance.

Can a person who is changing to another company take along the specific documentation proving his expertise and is this accepted?

Yes, he can. If an approved company educates its staff in in-house training courses, as far as possible, it has to keep records on this. These records are also valid if the staff changes to another company.

Does this also apply to foreign staff?

Yes, if the foreign company is approved.

How and to what extent should the legal knowledge training be organized?

The legal knowledge may be taught by in-house training or in external courses. The Ocean-going Vessel Security Ordinance does not specify where this knowledge is acquired. Thus, the companies are free to choose the instructor, exempli gratia lawyers, training centres or their own experts to conduct in-house training. The legal training has thereby to be conducted by a lawyer or equally qualified person.

The training has to familiarize the security operatives with the basic legal provisions. The content of the training required is listed in the Annex to section 10 Ordinance on the Licensing of Security companies on Ocean-Going Sea Vessels.

Which criteria apply to the documentation of knowledge of first aid and lifesaving at sea?

In accordance with the Annex to section 10 Ordinance on the Licensing of Security companies on Ocean-Going Sea Vessels “competence”, all security operatives have to take part in first-aid training. Taking into consideration that it is often not possible to quickly get professional medical care on board ocean-going vessels, at least one trained paramedic should be in the team.

The ordinance does not provide that BAFA itself conducts competence reviews, charges or recommends other companies/institutions to conduct the necessary training, or draws up concepts. The company must prove that the relevant training was conducted. Where this knowledge is acquired is deliberately not laid down in the Ordinance on the Licensing of Security companies on Ocean-Going Sea Vessels. The company is free to select the institution, for example rescue organization.

The legislating body has taken into account the courses offered. Security operatives meet the requirements in terms of first aid knowledge if they possess evidence of safety familiarization and basic training in accordance with Part A-VI/1, table A-VI/1-3 of the Annex to STCW Convention. This evidence must not be more than one year old. The demands on a paramedic are satisfied if the security operative has successfully completed the “paramedics” course of a recognized relief organization. In order to take into account the specific situation at sea, the documentation of basic maritime knowledge under number 8.2 of the Annex to section 10 Ordinance on the Licensing of Security companies on Ocean-Going Sea Vessels and of technical knowledge with reference to ocean-going vessels and equipment is required. Advanced education in the medical care of bullet wounds, burns and injuries etc. is also required.

The recognition of foreign documents or training certificates depends on their content; they are compared with first-aid courses or paramedic courses in Germany. Decisions will depend on an individual review in all cases.

Is there a list of courses recommended for acquiring competence?

No, there is no such list. A certification of training institutes is also not planned. Thus, the company is free to select the institution. When filing an application, the companies must submit their training concepts which are then checked for suitability.

Equipment

Which pieces of equipment may be used?

Each team member must be equipped at least with the following items, section 14 paragraph 2 Ordinance Implementing the Ocean-Going Vessel Security Ordinance:

  • night vision equipment
  • range finder
  • binoculars
  • long firearm
  • short firearm
  • sufficient ammunition
  • ballistic helmet
  • camera
  • ballistic vest
  • radio equipment with microphone headset, satellite telephone
  • medical equipment
  • automatic life vest.

The individual model types and their specific features have to be designated in the licence application. The equipment list must at least contain the following information: manufacturer, model and serial number.

What applies if the equipment is to be procured after licensing?

If the equipment shall be purchased after the licence was granted the equipment list should contain the models the company intends to use. After the licence is granted the company is obliged to use these types. Since the supply chain has to be described under section 12 (8) sentence 1 Ordinance Implementing the Ocean-Going Vessel Security Ordinance the company must indicate where the weapons will be purchased. The company must therefore have obtained quotes already.

The licence will contain a clause obliging the company to produce evidence that the equipment applied for was purchased from the given supplier.

Which arms may be used?

In Annex 2 to section 2 (2) to (4) Weapons Act the banned weapons are listed in Part 1. The use of inter alia weapons of war or fully automatic firearms is prohibited. Arms not contained in the Annex are permitted, in principle.

The weapons used and their specific characteristics have to be indicated on the licence application. Then BAFA decides on the suitability of the weapons in accordance with the above Annex and in consultation with the Federal Police SEA.

Section 14 (2) Ordinance Implementing the Ocean-Going Vessel Security Ordinance lists the minimum equipment to be provided to security guards.

Is it necessary to carry short firearms?

Yes, it is. The rule in section 14 (2) Ordinance Implementing the Ocean-Going Vessel Security Ordinance is clear. Derogations cannot be permitted. In case pirates enter the ship a short firearm is necessary for self-defence.

Are the armed guards expected to carry the firearms at all times whilst on board?

No, they aren’t. Section 12 (4) third sentence of Ordinance Implementing the Ocean-Going Vessel Security Ordinance only lays down that in areas where attacks on the ocean-going vessel are imminent the deployed security operatives must carry their weapons with them ready for use. No distinction is made between rifles and handguns.

Do I need a licence under section 29 Weapons Act to take the equipment back?

Taking weapons and ammunition into or through the territory is not subject to licensing under section 29 Weapons Act. The licence includes the taking by its holder (confer section 32 (5) Number 1 Weapons Act).

Is there an advance entry in the weapon owner’s licence for foreign companies?

If no weapons are in place yet, an advance entry in the weapon owner’s licence is necessary. Available weapons are directly entered on the weapon owner’s licence.

May floating armouries be used for the storage of equipment?

For goods requiring approval and exported from Germany, floating armouries may only be used if those are approved as consignee within the framework of the collective export licence. Floating armouries are only approvable if they are under state supervision and not located in international waters. The companies have to submit the relevant documentation. For the storage of goods exported from other states, floating armouries may only be used if those are approved by the exporting state. The approval must be submitted to BAFA.

May I lend the weapons for an on-site operation?

The legal procurement of weapons is the company’s task. Where they are procured in accordance with the legal provisions and the required licences (export control regulations, weapons law) are available, it is possible to lend weapons, in principle.

Do all weapons have to be indicated or only those used on German vessels?

The weapons used on German vessels only need to be indicated.

Which are the standards for the ballistic vests?

The ballistic vests must at least fulfil the standards of the German safety class 1, independently of the type and quantity of the equipment in place and the applicant’s tactical concept of protection. A higher protective class may be optionally required.

Employer's liability insurance

Are foreign insurance companies not established in Germany accepted?

The public and employers liability insurance constitutes a compulsory insurance and must therefore be taken out with an insurance company authorised to conduct business in Germany, according to section 113 (1) Insurance Contract Act. Authorised to conduct business are on the one hand insurance companies based in Germany and, on the other hand, all insurance companies based in Member States of the European Community or any of the contracting states of the Agreement on the European Economic Area, according to section 105 (1) Insurance Supervision Act (VAG).

Also insurance companies outside of the EU and the EEC come into question as compulsory insurer, if the German supervisory authority has granted permission in accordance with sections 105 et sequentes Insurance Supervision Act.

Security companies have not only the option to choose an insurance company based in Germany but also an insurer outside of the EU/EEC and others with permission according to section 105 Insurance Supervision Act.

Was GUARDCON taken into consideration when fixing the minimum coverage?

No, it wasn’t. The German standard is the only basis.

Recognition of foreign licences

Are my foreign licences recognised?

The recognition of foreign licences and certifications is based on section 15 Ordinance on the Licensing of Security companies on Ocean-Going Sea Vessels.

Basically, it must be a state approval or state-recognised certification for security functions on ocean-going vessels. Other certifications can only be recognised if they were issued by a state-recognised accreditation office.

Prior to the recognition it is checked which parts of the foreign legal basis and of the German law are essentially equal. These are recognised without a review of the company’s documents. Non-equivalent parts have to be separately documented in accordance with German law by the company.

Are the rules to recognise foreign licences in the Ordinance on the Licensing of Security companies on Ocean-Going Sea Vessels compatible with EU law?

The rules were subjected to legal verification and are in conformity with the European law.

How do I apply for recognition of my foreign state approval or state- recognised certification?

The recognition may be applied for using the electronic form.

Note:

After sending the electronic application form, you will receive a pdf-file which was generated on the basis of your application. This document must be signed by the responsible person and be sent back electronically and via the upload form to BAFA within a period of 14 days.

Which supporting documents do I have to submit for recognition?

The following papers have to be submitted with the application for recognition:

  • The foreign certification and
  • All foreign legal bases relevant for granting the certification,

including a certified translation, if the documents are not in German language.

Where the requirements under German law go beyond the requirements of the foreign regulations, separate evidence is necessary to prove that the requirements are fulfilled. In this case, you will get a request to submit further documents. Papers proving that the German licensing requirements are met may generally also be submitted in English because no legal comparison is made in this case.

Is there a list of recognised certifications?

Such a list does not exist. Decisions are taken individually.

What can I do if the foreign certification cannot be recognised?

If the foreign certification cannot be recognised the procedure will lead – if desired – to the procedure for granting an initial German licence.

Fees and charges

Do I have to pay fees when I want to apply for a licence?

The fees are based on the Regulation on Fees and Expenses of the Federal Office for Economics and Export Control in connection with the Licencing of Security Companies on board ocean-going Vessels. The exact amount depends on the type of the requested official act (initial licence, subsequent licence, recognition of a foreign licence) as well as the administrative expenditures.

Is a subsequent application subject to a complete review again and is a more favourable fee charged?

The subsequent application is cheaper. The complete papers have to be submitted and are then checked for amendments as compared to the first application.

Export Licence

Do I need an export licence for the weapons and / or equipment?

Yes, you do. For repeated temporary exports of weapons and other equipment listed in part I section A of the export list (Annex to Foreign Trade and Payments Regulation – Foreign Trade and Payments Regulation) or Annex I of the Council Regulation (EC) No 428/2009 an export control licence is required. For this case BAFA offers the possibility to apply for a Global Export Licence (Collective Licence Procedure)

Weapons and ammunition always require a licence when being exported from Germany. With regard to the other equipment it depends on the type used, whether a licence is required or not.

In addition, the export has to be declared to the competent customs office. For details see http://www.zoll.de.

Note:

A violation of the export control law may be subject to criminal prosecution or administrative fines. The manager or the acting staff may risk considerable punishment, for example prison sentence or fines in these cases (section 17 ff. Foreign Trade and Payments Act.

How do I apply for an export licence?

The application for an export licence is processed at BAFA, by Division 223.

In case of repeated temporary exports BAFA offers the possibility to apply for a Global Export Licence (Collective Licence Procedure), it permits exports and transfers of goods subject to licensing to different countries and to different consignees. If you want to apply for Collective Licence Procedure your company needs a well-functioning internal export control system (Internal Compliance Programme – ICP). In this case, the private security companies can profit from the results of the licensing procedure. Private security companies have to install an ICP on their own in order to meet the requirements in connection with the Collective Licence Procedure licences granted.

Can Global Export Licences (SAG) under export control law already be granted although the licence for a security company is still missing?

The licence is a condition for the granting of the SAG under export control law. Therefore the SAG can only be granted when the maritime security company has obtained its licence.

Firearms regulation

What is the content of the Firearms Regulation?

The Firearms Regulation contains provisions pertaining to the export of certain firearms; they apply in the entire European Union. Since September 30,  2013, exports of firearms listed in Annex I to this Regulation are subject to authorisation under Article 4, if not a licence is already required pursuant to section 8 (1) Foreign Trade and Payments Regulation.

Is the Firearms Regulation a German law or an EU regulation?

The Firearms Regulation is an EU Regulation which is directly applicable in Germany. It entered into force on September 30, 2013.

Why are the maritime security companies not removed from the scope of the Firearms Regulation?

At the time when the firearms regulation was drafted, the maritime security has not been in the process of discussion.

Permits under Weapons Law

Which permits under weapons law are necessary?

Security companies on ocean-going vessels flying the German flag whose activities involve the use of weapons, need a weapon owner’s licence to acquire and possess these weapons pursuant to section 10 (1) Weapons Act which is granted when the requirements are fulfilled under section 28a Weapons Act.

Where can I apply for a permit under weapons law?

The licences or permits for security companies on board ocean-going vessels under a German flag pursuant to section 28a Weapons Act are granted by the arms authority of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg in accordance with section 48 (1) sentence 2 Weapons Act.

German companies have to file the application to the local arms authority which transmits the papers to the arms authority of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg.

In addition, security companies which are established in Germany and intend to take over guarding and security missions on board sea vessels under a foreign flag using weapons acquired in Germany, have to apply for the permission to acquire and possess weapons on German sovereign territory at the local regulatory authority. The special responsibility of the Hamburg Weapons Authority does not apply in this case.

Contact:               

Office of Internal Affairs and Sports
– Weapons Authority – Hamburg
Grüner Deich 1
20097 Hamburg

Phone: +49 40 4286-67601
Fax: +49 (0)40 4273-14042
E-Mail: waffenbehoerde@polizei.hamburg.de

Is it possible to apply for the licence and the permit under weapons law at the same time (parallel)?

Yes, it is possible. The permit under weapons law will, however, be issued after the licence was granted.

Informations on the Subject

Informations on the Subject

Regulations

These documents are designed to provide interested companies and individuals with the legal and administrative bases underlying the licensing of security companies on board ocean-going vessels.

They are unofficial translations from German. Only the German text is authentic and legally binding.

Forms

Contact

  • Maritime SecurityFederal Office for Economic Affairs and Export ControlDevision 224 – Cooperation with Investigating and Monitoring Authorities, Approval of Private Security Services for Protection of Naval Ships Frankfurter Straße 29 – 35 65760 Eschborn Germany Phone: +49 (0)6196 908-2827 Fax: +49 (0)6196 908-1800ReachabilityMonday to Thursday: 08:30 a. m. – 04:00 p. m.
    Friday: 08:30 a. m. – 03:00 p. m.
    To Contact Form
  • Weapons AuthorityFree and Hanseatic City of HamburgOffice of Internal Affairs and Sports - Weapons Authority - Hamburg Grüner Deich 1 20097 Hamburg Germany Phone: +49 (0)40 4286-67601 Fax: +49 (0)40 4273-14042 E-Mail: waffenbehoerde@polizei.hamburg.de