Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie, The Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH), is a superior federal authority in Germany with responsibility for maritime matters. It comes under the jurisdiction of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) and was formed in 1990 by merging the German Hydrographic Institute (DHI) and the Federal Board of Tonnage Measurement. Some 850 employees work at the offices in Hamburg and Rostock, at the laboratory in Hamburg-Sülldorf, in its supervisory departments and aboard its ships.
The BSH represents the Federal Republic of Germany in national and international committees within the scope of fulfilment of its duties.
The objectives of the BSH are:
- General shipping matters such as law of the flag, tonnage measurement etc.
- The type testing and approval of navigational systems and equipment;
- Hydrographic surveying and wreck search, issuing official nautical charts and publications;
- Marine scientific investigations to enhance the knowledge of the sea;
- Nautical and oceanographic services such as tide calculations, water level forecasts, storm surge warnings, and ice service
- Operational modelling of hydrodynamics, biogeochemistry and dispersion of substances
- Matters concerning the protection of the marine environment, monitoring the changes of marine environment;
- Supporting maritime shipping and fisheries through scientific and technical research.
The BSH participates in numerous federal and state committees and co-operates with more than 20 international organisations (e.g. IMO, IHO, IOC, ICES, OSPAR, HELCOM, GOOS). The BSH is member of EuroGOOS, the Baltic Operational Oceanographic System (BOOS) and North West Shelf Operational Oceanographic System (NOOS).