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The Dutch Ships Act (Schepenwet) aims at preventing shipping disasters at sea and addresses such issues as ship safety and shipping disaster investigations. It applies to all Dutch ships with the exception of pleasure craft that do not carry paying passengers and lifeboats.
Safety and reporting accidents
A ship must have certain certificates before it can be used. In addition, it must fulfil a number of requirements, such as the presence of sea charts and rescue and safety equipment. The captain must also fulfil a number of obligations. Accidents such as collisions, grounding, fire or capsizing must be reported immediately to the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (Inspectie Leefomgeving en Transport, ILT).
Notification duty weight shipping containers
Freight forwarders or hauliers are obliged to notify the correct weight of sea containers to the shipping line before loading. If they fail to do so, the ship's master must refuse to load these containers.
Insurance against bunker oil damage
In the Netherlands, if you own an ocean-going vessel larger than 1,000 tons, you must be insured against damage from leakage of bunker oil (fuel for ocean-going vessels). The mandatory insurance guarantees that victims of damage will be compensated for a part of their loss. ILT issues bunker certificates that prove that you are insured.
Wreck removal insurance
Ship owners need to have insurance for wreck removal in the event of a maritime casualty. If the shipowner is unable to remove the wreck, Rijkswaterstaat will have it removed for them. Shipowners can address their insurance company to cover the wreck removal costs.
Shipping disaster investigations
ILT carries out an investigation after a shipping disaster at sea. In some cases, the Dutch Safety Board (Onderzoeksraad voor Veiligheid, OVV) also carries out an investigation.