The Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration
The Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration ensure safe and smooth maritime shipping traffic along the German coasts.
The Vessel Traffic Services (VTS), which are located along the North Sea and Baltic coasts, provide a modern traffic management which guarantees high safety standards, especially in the densely frequented harbour entrances and shipping channels to the ports such as the river Elbe.
In the Maritime Safety and Security Centre, the Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration is responsible for the Point of Contact (PoC). In the event of a security threat, such as a critical situation or a terror attack, it acts as the central information hub between shipping and security authorities. Ships sailing unter the German flag can set off a "silent alarm" to the PoC at any time and from anywhere in the world whenever their security is endangered, e.g. in case of a pirate attack.
Furthermore, any ship which is equipped with the "Automatic Identification System" (AIS), sailing in the German Exklusive Economic Zone or the territorial waters, can activate an alarm. As soon as the PoC receives an alarm signal, the appropriate measures will be initiated.
Safe maritime traffic needs highly effective traffic routes. The Waterways and Shipping Administration is responsible for the development, the operation and the maintenance of the federal waterways throughout Germany.
Ensuring safety and protecting the coasts is the guiding principle of the actions at the Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration.