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Ship survey

Danish Maritime Authority

General information on passenger ship survey

The Danish Maritime Authority is the main authority as regards passenger ship surveys. Thus, it is the task of the Danish Maritime Authority to inform about and survey all classed ships flying the Danish flag.

Passenger ship surveys

The Danish Maritime Authority surveys all Danish passenger ships at least once a year. The survey is to contribute to a high level of safety on board Danish passenger ships so that it is safe to be carried by them and so that it is possible to rescue everybody in case of an accident.

The purpose of the survey is to verify that the ship has, as a minimum, a technical standard complying with current regulations and the intentions behind the regulations and that the daily work is characterized by safety work and a safety culture enabling the crew to operate the ship safely and act effectively in case of an accident.

Consequently, the shipowner must ensure and the Danish verify through the survey:

  • That the ship and equipment is in working order so as to avoid accidents insofar as possible – or alternatively be able to manage them.

  • That the crew has knowledge about and is capable of handling worst case scenarios.

  • That the crew's health, safety and social conditions are under control.

Every year, the Danish Maritime Authority selects a theme related to marine accidents and a theme related to occupational health which will be in focus during the surveys.

Large passenger ships

In 2014, the Danish Maritime Authority changed the manner in which passenger ship surveys are held. In the view of the Danish Maritime Authority, safety management, operations and maintenance are different aspects of the same issue. Therefore, the survey covers technical issues (renewal surveys), safety management (ISM) and maritime social security issues (MLC). This means that the renewal survey, ISM audit and MLC survey of a ship are combined into one survey. Surveys of maritime security issues (ISPS) are held separately, but can however take place during the same period.

All passenger ships must meet the provisions of the conventions and legislation in force. Therefore, the survey areas have been constructed on the basis of existing requirements deriving from conventions and acts. Each survey area may cover several specific requirements and should, therefore, be considered overall areas.

The survey consists of a number of modules which are carried out in the order that is best suited for the operation of the ship. Some of the modules are carried out continuously during the entire survey – such as the dialogue with various crew members about marine accidents, occupational health, MLC and ISM.

The shipowner must plan at least one operational drill which is based on the theme of the year. The shipowner is responsible for the planning, arrangement and carrying out of the drill, and it must reflect how the shipowner is working with safety on a daily basis. Following the drill, the crew must evaluate the drill so that the Danish Maritime Authority can evaluate the shipowner’s safety management in practice.

Please observe that a technical test, such as the launching of a lifeboat, is not considered an operational drill. An operational drill must be able to verify the crew's effectivity, communication, interaction and confidentiality with the operation of the equipment in consideration of the ship's procedures and the human factor. A technical test consists in testing the equipment to demonstrate the correct operation and functioning of it. The Danish Maritime Authority recommends that the shipowner submits a plan for the carrying out of the survey no later than 14 days before the survey. The plan is to be submitted to the ship surveyor who is to perform the survey.

When planning the survey, consideration must be paid to the involved persons' hours of rest, including the ship's crew and the ship surveyors of the Danish Maritime Authority. In this connection, the shipowner should be aware that the ship surveyors of the Danish Maritime Authority are subject to the shore-based provisions on hours of rest.

The safety stewards/shop stewards on board the ship must, insofar as possible, be present during the survey.

The shipowner is not required to submit the ship's SMS (safety management system) to the Danish Maritime Authority prior to the survey since this will be discussed and verified by means of random checks during the survey. The Danish Maritime Authority and the shipowner can conclude an individual agreement to submit documentation before the survey. This may, for example, consist in the ship's safety plan (ISPS) or the latest internal audit of the ship and the shipowner.

Furthermore, the shipowner must be aware that the Danish Maritime Authority does not forward checklists for preparing surveys.

After the survey, the shipowner will receive a report consisting of an overall evaluation that pays just as much attention to the conditions on board that work well as those where there is room for improvements. The evaluation is discussed with the crew at a final meeting.

The evaluation consists of the following:

  1. The crew's handling of a marine accident (competences and quality of drills and training)

  2. Safety management and communication (how is the safety culture on board?)

  3. Maintenance management system.

The report will also contain any requirements and non-conformities that may have been found during the survey.

Small passenger ships and tour boats

In 2014, the Danish Maritime Authority changed the manner in which passenger ship surveys are held. In the view of the Danish Maritime Authority, safety management, operations and maintenance are different aspects of the same issue. Therefore, the survey covers technical issues (renewal surveys), safety management (ISM) and maritime social security issues (MLC). This means that the renewal survey, ISM audit and MLC survey of a ship are combined into one survey.

The Danish Maritime Authority recommends that the shipowner agrees on a survey plan no later than 14 days before the survey in cooperation with the ship surveyor who is to carry out the survey.

The survey consists of a number of modules which are carried out in the order that is best suited for the operation of the ship. Some of the modules are carried out continuously during the entire survey – such as the dialogue with various crew members about marine accidents, occupational health, MLC and ISM. The modules consist of a kick-off meeting, a theme on marine accidents and occupational health, an operational drill, maintenance, technical tests, certificates and a final meeting.

Kick-off meeting

The survey is initiated by a kick-off meeting at which the ship surveyors, the ship management and the crew are present. At the meeting, the final plan and the frames of the survey are agreed, including for example the scenario for the planned operational drill, the times of the technical tests (such as black-out test and sprinkler test) and the crew's involvement.

The shipowner must plan at least one operational drill which is based on the theme of the year. The shipowner is responsible for the planning, arrangement and carrying out of the drill, and it must reflect how the shipowner is working with safety on a daily basis. Following the drill, the crew must evaluate the drill so that the Danish Maritime Authority can evaluate the shipowner’s safety management in practice.

Please observe that a technical test, such as the launching of a lifeboat, is not considered an operational drill. An operational drill must be able to verify the crew's effectivity, communication, interaction and confidentiality with the operation of the equipment in consideration of the ship's procedures and the human factor. A technical test consists in testing the equipment to demonstrate the correct operation and functioning of the equipment.

Tour of the ship

After the kick-off meeting, the ship surveyors will typically walk around the ship and talk to the crew members at their usual place of work. They might have a talk with a ship's assistant who is engaged in painting, a catering assistant who is engaged in cleaning, or a mate who has the bridge watch. The dialogue with the crew members will be based on the individual persons' field of work and responsibility and may, for example, be about occupational health (chemicals, heavy lifts or falls), marine accidents, maintenance, conditions of work (MLC) as well as certification, education and training.

In addition, the operational drill and technical tests will have the form of random checks. The technical tests may, inter alia, consist in black-out tests, tests of emergency lights, batteries, alarms, public address systems, fire doors, pumps, emergency generators, sprinkler tests, the launching of lifeboats, fast rescue boats (FRB) and rescue boats (MOB). It could be an advantage to include the technical tests as an element in the operational drill.

Final meeting

At the final meeting, the shipowner will receive a report consisting, inter alia, of an overall evaluation that pays just as much attention to the conditions on board that work well as those where there is room for improvements. The evaluation will be discussed with the crew.

The evaluation consists of the following:

  1. The crew's handling of a marine accident (competences and quality of drills and training)

  2. Safety management and communication (how is the safety culture on board?)

  3. Maintenance management system.

The report will also contain any requirements and non-conformities that may have been found during the survey.

Ships with no more than 12 passengers

The requirements that apply when you are about to go sailing depend on whether it concerns commercial or recreational sailing. For example, voyages for schools and institutions are commercial voyages, whereas voyages for the members of sailing clubs and associations are recreational voyages. Furthermore, there are additional regulations if the vessel carries more than 12 passengers. The requirements that apply when you go sailing depend on whether the voyage is for recreational or commercial purposes. For example, voyages for schools and institutions are commercial, whereas voyages for members of sailing clubs and associations are recreational. Furthermore, a number of additional requirements apply if the vessel carries more than 12 persons.

It is always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the regulations that apply if you are going sailing.

The following voyages are commercial:

  • Voyages with school children

  • Voyages with kindergarten children

  • Voyages with youth school pupils

  • Voyages with continuation school or folk high school pupils

  • Voyages with rest home residents

  • Voyages with residents at young people's hostels

You are not covered by the regulations if the activity at sea is not part of a commercial context. Examples can be associations such as the sea scouts under the Danish Guide and Scout Association or the Boys' Brigade and rowing, canoeing, kayaking, sailing and water-skiing clubs organized under the Sports Confederation of Denmark which are engaged in activities at sea for its own members. If the activity is directed at persons outside the club, you are covered by the regulations.

When are you covered by the regulations on small commercial vessels?

You are covered if the vessel carries up to 12 persons and if it is used as part of a commercial context, as explained in the definition above.

In case of doubt, the Danish Maritime Authority will decide whether or not the vessel is covered by the regulations.

Everyone organising and being in charge of safety in connection with commercial passenger voyages must draw up a safety plan. We refer to the plan as safety instructions. The instructions are to help the organiser translate "good seamanship" into good, safe solutions for a voyage or activity. At the same time, the safety instructions are to give the participants and passengers an overview of how the organiser works with safety. The safety instructions are to explain what you have done, as the organiser and the one responsible for safety, to make the voyage or the activity at sea safe. The safety instructions must be available to the participants and passengers at any time.

Sailing clubs' general activities with their members are not generally covered by the regulations on commercial voyages. This is the case because their general activities are not considered to be of a commercial nature.

However, the activities of sailing clubs may be covered by the regulations on commercial voyages. When we assess a particular activity, we inter alia attach importance to whether the sailing club receives a fee for the voyages concerned and to the participating yachtsmen's affiliation with the clubs. In case of, for example, a stag party or a team-building event where the club receives a fee for the activity, the voyage of the sailing club may be covered by the regulations on commercial voyages.

There are exceptions from the above-mentioned examples of commercial voyages. Though the participants pay for the costs related to a voyage with the club's vessels on a few occasions, it is not necessarily a question of a commercial voyage. The sailing club can arrange special days when the club members, volunteers and other especially interested parties can take part in a match-race or other voyages without them being considered commercial. This can, for example, be the case in connection with the club's anniversary or open house events with a view to promoting the sailing club's activities.

Fee

DDK 885,00 pr. Hour for time spent on surveys and case consideration.

Written by: Danish Maritime Authority Updated 18.11.2020

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