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 04.03.2013 (Federal Gazette I p. 362 of 12.03.2013).
All 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 - will need a licence issued by the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA) as from 1 December 2013.
The license is granted in consultation with the Federal Police (BPol) 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 34a of the Trade Regulation Code (GewO) because of their specific requirements.
Due to the new rule introduced in section 31 of the Trade Regulation Code (GewO), special demands are set on internal organisation and procedures as well as on technical and personal reliability, personal aptitude and competence of the companies, 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 i. e. BAFA and the Federal Police scrutinize the company’s organisation and the internal procedures as well as the demands set on the responsible executive designated.
However, the security company itself has to make sure that the security personnel meets 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 section 31 of the Trade Regulation Code please submit the Licensing application for guarding ocean-going vessels pursuant to sect. 31 of the Trade Regulation Code using the electronic procedure by clicking on the link on the right side.
Further information is available at Application.
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 for Economic Affairs and Export Control in connection with the Certification of Security Companies on Board Sea-going Vessels (Seeschiffbewachungs-Gebührenverordnung – SeeBewachGebV). At present, only the legally binding version in German is available (Federal Gazette I p. 4110).
In addition, the new Section 28a of the Weapons Act (WaffG) stipulates the pre-requisites for the acquisition, possession and carrying of guns or ammunition by security companies on board ocean-going vessels (further information and contacts go to Applications).
War weapons pursuant to the Annex to the War Weapons Control Act (KWKG) (War Weapons List) are excluded from licensing!
Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control
Division 224 - Certification for private maritime security companies
Frankfurter Straße 29 – 35
Phone: +49 6196 908-587
Telefax: +49 6196 908-800