Safety at sea

Danish Maritime Authority

Ship safety

Ship safety covers safety on board, including the safety of crewmembers. Ship safety is one of the Danish Maritime Authority's overall focus areas and we have special focus on maritime occupational health regulations.

Occupational health

Danish Maritime Authority follows the developments in the maritime area closely. In this manner, we ensure that the safety level at sea corresponds to that ashore and that the ILO and EU provisions on occupational health are implemented.

We cooperate with, inter alia, the Danish Working Environment Authority and take part in ILO meetings when occupational health at sea is on the agenda.

According to the regulations of the Danish Maritime Authority, two occupational health services have been established for shipping and fishing, respectively:

Direct access to Sea Health & Welfare – Denmark Sea Health & Welfare – Denmark

Direct access to Danish Fishermen’s Occupational Health Services Danish Fishermen’s Occupational Health Services


According to Danish legislation, the seafarer and shipowner has to pay a daily fee for each seafarer on board a Danish Flag ship including the Captain to Sea Health and Welfare (Handelsflådens Arbejdsmiljø- og Velfærdsråd).

The seafarer has to pay a daily fee on 0,70 DKK and the shipowner has to pay 4,02 DKK for each seafarer. If however the ship is beneath 20 BT the shipowner only has to pay 0,70 DKK. For seafarer on board ships from Danish International Register on Shipping (DIS) the shipowner has to pay 5,32 DKK.


The Danish regulations focus on seafarer protection. Today, the act on seafarers' conditions of employment, etc. contains provisions giving seafarers and their relatives improved security in piracy situations and tightening the shipowners' obligations as regards the prevention, preparedness for and handling of acts of piracy. The regulations stipulate, inter alia, that a shipowner cannot give a seafarer held hostage in connection with piracy notice of termination and that shipowners are obliged to pay wages to seafarers throughout the hostage period as well as a maintenance contribution to the seafarers' closest relative(s). The international contact group on piracy off the coast of Somalia has approved guidelines on the welfare of seafarers and their families in case of Somali-based piracy. There are also special recommendations for yachtsmen, just as the European Commission has drawn up a recommendation on protective measures and precautions to be taken to prevent piracy and armed robbery against ships.

Civilian armed guards

It is possible for Danish merchant ships to use civilian armed guards in areas presenting a risk of piracy and armed robbery. The Danish National Police can, for example, grant shipowners general permission to use civilian armed guards on board for a one-year period, which is – contrary to an individual permit – not associated with a specific voyage, a specific security service, guards mentioned by name or specific arms.


Ships intending to navigate the so-called high-risk area off the coast of Somalia must register their planned voyage with The Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa (MSCHOA) and, at the same time, report to the UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO). Actual acts of piracy must be reported to the Danish Maritime Authority. Furthermore, it must be reported to the Ministry of Justice and the Danish National Police if force is employed on the part of the ship in case of acts of piracy.

Written by: Danish Maritime Authority Updated 15.03.2021