In the legal sense, all non-state ships (the merchant fleet ) are referred to as merchant ships or outdated merchant ships . Article 27 of the German Basic Law states: "All German merchant ships form a single merchant fleet."
In a narrower sense is meant by a merchant vessel the transport of goods or people for commercial purposes serving ship . Fishing ships , research ships and pleasure craft , on the other hand, are not merchant ships, but belong to merchant ships if the intention is to make a profit .
Merchant ships are ocean-going ships that are operated with the intention of making a profit.
Every merchant ship requires:
Work on German merchant ships is regulated in the Maritime Labor Act (SeeArbG). The SeeArbG is a special part of the German Labor Act, which contains the special regulations for work at sea. It results from the implementation of the international maritime labor convention of 2006. Before that, the Seaman's Act regulated this area.
- Pleasure craft
Pleasure craft flying the German flag that are operated with the intention of making a profit are counted as merchant ships. This includes, for example, all ships flying the German flag with which training is carried out for a fee (sailing school, motorboat school).
Types of merchant ships
A distinction is made between merchant ships depending on the trade area:
Common types of ships include:
- Container ships
- Bulk carriers (also known as bulk carriers), for example for the transport of coal and ore
- Tankers , including oil tankers , product tankers and gas tankers (LNG liquefied natural gas, LPG liquefied petroleum gas)
- General cargo ships , including refrigerated ships for fish, meat and tropical fruits and heavy-lift ships
- Ro-ro ships with navigable decks onto which the cargo is rolled
- Car carrier (also Car carrier called)
- Special ships for special transport tasks, such as animal transporters
- Passenger ships or passenger ships
In addition, there are many types of special ships for other tasks that also count as merchant ships, such as
- Christian Bubenzer, Runa Jörgens: Praxishandbuch Searbeitsrecht , Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, 2015, p. 19ff
- Federal Foreign Office: International Maritime Transport