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 characterised 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.

Annual survey theme

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. In the table below, you can see the themes chosen.

Year ​Marine accident ​Occupational health
2024 Safety during port call Workplace assessment / Risk assessment (RA) translated into reality
2023 Systems integrity in case of fire Working at height and entering enclosed spaces
2022 Electric vehicles and cargo securing  Hours of rest
​2021 ​Safety of navigation/bridge resource management ​Mental occupational health; welfare and harassment
​2020 ​​Collision and man-over-board ​Carcinogenic substances
​2019 ​Fire on car deck ​Ergonomics
​2018 ​Collision at sea with flooding, listing and evacuation Work with hazardous chemicals
​2017 Fire in the accommodation (incl. evacuation) ​Jamming injuries
​2016  ​Lost steering ​Falls
​2015  Fire on car deck ​Heavy lifts
​2014 ​Collision with 2-room damage ​Work with chemicals

This year's survey theme

Safety during port call

From 2020 to 2023, SFS has observed an increased number of incidents and accidents involving hard berthings for passenger ships. Some could be categorized as "minor," while others have resulted in more serious damage to both the vessel and the quay, fortunately without injury or pollution as a consequence. However, each of these incidents carries a potential risk of more serious consequences.

With this theme, SFS aims to shed light on and support the ongoing efforts of shipping companies and crews to conduct safe berthings. During inspections, a dialogue is held with the crew to ensure that the berthing operations are conducted appropriately and safely. The ship inspector will, among other things, focus on:

Layout of the bridge and equipment, as well as the ship's maneuverability.

  • How does a typical berthing operation proceed?
  • Are there any specific challenges?
  • How is the work organized during berthing?
  • Is there adequate and appropriate training provided by the shipping company?
  • How does the shipping company follow up on accidents/near-misses?

Additionally, we will, to the extent possible, test emergency steering during port stays.

Workplace assessment / Risk assessment (RA) translated into reality

Based on data on workplace accidents, it has been noted that injuries mainly occur due to tripping, twisting, falls, and impacts resulting in sprains, strains, and contusions. The injuries primarily occur on weather decks, galleys, and engine rooms. On larger passenger ships with a greater number of catering/hotel crew, there is a clear tendency indicating that injuries occur in the galley.

Falls often occur in connection with slippery surfaces.

The theme of workplace environment aims to illuminate and support:

  • That APVs are developed and updated in collaboration with the safety committee and individual crew members.
  • That prevention principles for each work process are communicated to those performing the tasks.
  • That measures, instructions, tools, and/or personal protective equipment for prevention are identified, accessible, and used.
  • That the loop is closed so that incidents, near-misses, and improvement suggestions lead to improvements in APVs and workplace safety.

Read more about passenger ship surveys


Ship Survey, Certification and Manning