Large passenger ships

On this page, you will get more information about the Danish Maritime Authority's surveys of large Danish passenger ships. Typically, large passenger ships are engaged on international voyages.

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.

Survey areas

  • Maritime social security issues (MLC)
  • Safety management (ISM)
  • Certificates
  • Drills
  • Maintenance systems
  • Safety management
  • Safety communication
  • Occupational health
  • Records, logbooks and recordings
  • Stability
  • Evaluation of the ship's general
  • condition
  • Hoistable platforms
  • Knowledge of emergency procedures
  • Personal competences and responsibility
  • Structural fire safety
  • Fire‐fighting equipment
  • Pollution prevention
  • Life‐saving appliances and escape routes
  • Safety of navigation
  • Ship Oil Pollution Emergency Plan – SOPEP
  • Dangerous goods (IMDG)
  • Class control
  • Watertight integrity
  • Emergency systems
  • Alarms and indications
  • Emergency stop – machinery

Kick-off meeting

  • The Danish Maritime Authority introduces the survey.
  • The ship management and the crew (for example safety stewards/shop stewards) must be represented.
  • Information is given about the crew's involvement in the survey, and the ship management informs about the scenario of the planned operational drill.
  • Presentation of the survey plan.

Theme – marine accident

  • Continued dialogue with the ship management and various crew groups about technical and operational issues related to this year's theme on marine accidents.

Theme – occupational health

  • Continued dialogue with the ship management and various crew groups about this year's theme on occupational health.

Operational drill

  • In connection with this year's theme, an operational drill is carried out in order to evaluate the crew's competences.

Maintenance conversation

  • The crew must explain how they ensure – by means of their maintenance systems – that the ship complies with the provisions in force and is maintained in a satisfactory manner.

Technical test through random checks

  • Such as black-out test, test of emergency lights, batteries, alarms, public address systems, fire doors, pumps, emergency generators and sprinklers or the launching of fast rescue boats (FRB).

Documentation – certificates

  • Ship's certificates and other documentation.
  • The crew's personal certificates.

Final meeting

  • Debate about the report with the shipowner, ship management and crew.

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.

Various draft survey plans..

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.


Ship Survey, Certification and Manning