Wasserstraßen- und Schifffahrtsverwaltung des Bundes

Wasserstraßen- und Schifffahrtsamt Emden

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The Waterways and Shipping Administration in Germany is represented on all significant
federal navigable waters including rivers, canals, locks, and seaward approaches within the sovereign territory of the Federal Republic, and is organized on 3 administrative levels:

Furthermore, various authorities are responsible for special duties,e.g. naval construction, hydrology and hydrography, marine casualties investigation, combat of oil and harmful substances pollutions.

Field of duties to be performed by the WSA Emden:

The Board is predominantly competent and responsible for the accomplishment of the following principal duties within its administrative district:

  1. Administration of the federal waterways Ems, Leda and the Waddensea as well as the
    territorial Waters (since 1 January 1995: ,,12 miles'') fiscal and by sovereignty.
  2. Providing the safety of navigation by:
    • maintenance of a deep shipping channel in the river Ems including sounding and dredging;
    • buoyage, lighthouses and other aids to marine navigation;
    • operation of a common Dutch-German Vessel Traffic Service Centre (VTS) with complete functions according to IMO VTS guidelines, including
    • identifying and tracking of all vessels within VTS area,
    • localizing positions of vessels in case of need by radar
    • shore based pilotage, executed by Sea Pilots/Shipping Police measures,
    • broadcasting of information and situation reports and warnings with regard to shipping in German and English;
    • grant of Navigation Permits and Shipping Police Instructions;
    • issue of Notices to Mariners;
    • shipping police functions of m/v "Gustav Meyer" (Multi Purpose Vessel) and other ships of the authority.
  3. River Police Competence (Strompolizei):
  4. grant of permissions for installations and constructions to be established by third parties within the federal waterway (e.g. jetties, dolphins);
  5. affairs of wrecks, lost anchors etc.
  6. Land and marine surveys to determine changes above and below water surface.
  7. Construction, maintenance and operation of installations and devices owned by the Federal Ministry of Traffic.
  8. Operation of a buoy yard with all necessary work and repair shops, buoys storage; berthes for the WSA fleet.
  9. Construction for the coastal protection of the Island of Borkum.

Main building WSA Emden

Main building WSA Emden


Legal basis

  1. The competence of the Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration is based on articles 74, 87 and 89 of the German 'Constitutional Law? (Grundgesetz).
  2. Principal laws which are authoritative for the execution of duties and activities are:
    • Bundeswasserstraßengesetz ("Act for the waterways")
    • Seeaufgabengesetz and Binnenschifffahrtsaufgabengesetz ("Acts on the scope of duties with concern to marine navigation/inland navigation")
    • Verwaltungsverfahrensgesetz ("Act on the administration procedures").