Merchant vessel

As a merchant ship is referred to in the legal sense any non-governmental ships ( the Merchant Navy ). Article 27 of the Basic Law provides: " All German merchant vessels form one merchant fleet. " In the strict sense is meant by merchant ships all commercial purposes serving vessels. Fishing vessels, research vessels and pleasure craft, however, do not belong to the merchant ships, but are in profit merchant vessels.


Merchant ships are ocean-going vessels that are operated for profit.

Each merchant ship needed:

Be issued these documents by the Ship Safety BG traffic, (formerly known as See-BG ).

The work on German merchant ships is governed by the Maritime Labour ( SeeArbG ). The SeeArbG is a special part of the German labor law, which contains the specifications for the work at sea. It results from the implementation of the International Maritime Labour Convention, 2006. Previously, the sailor law governed this area.

Sport boats flying the German flag, which are operated for profit, are merchant vessels. These include all ships flying the German flag, with which education is operated for remuneration (sailing school, Motorbootschule ).

Types of commercial vessels

A distinction merchant ships, depending on the shipping area in:

  • Ocean-going vessels (including coasters ) and
  • Barges

The main types are:

  • Container ships
  • Bulk carriers ( also bulk ships or bulk carriers ), such as the transport of coal and ore
  • Tankers, including oil tankers, product tankers and gas carriers (LNG liquefied natural gas, LPG liquefied petroleum gas )
  • General cargo vessels, reefers here, for example, fish, meat and tropical fruit and heavy lift
  • Ferries
  • RoRo ships with navigable with decks on which the charge is rolled
  • Car transporter (also called Car carrier )
  • Specialized vessels for special transport tasks such as animal transport
  • Passenger ships or passenger ships

In addition, there are many types of specialized vessels for other tasks that are also among the merchant ships, as

  • Tractor for ocean and harbor
  • Dredging
  • Offshore supply

Merchant Shipping

While the importance of passenger ships has decreased for long-distance travel, the great trading nations to a large extent are still in freight transport from sea trade and thus of merchant ships dependent.

The German merchant fleet has been growing for some time. Nearly a third of the world's container capacity belongs German owners. There is again a need for German leadership personnel on board, so especially nautical and technical ship's officers.