Counting and registration system on passenger ships

Passenger ships operating to or from ports of EU Member States may be obliged to implement an approved passenger counting and registration system. The rules governing this are described in European Directive 98/41/EC. The directive applies to Dutch and foreign passenger ships.

Which ships

The counting and registration system must be implemented on ships:

  • that carry more than 12 passengers
  • that sail under a Dutch and foreign flag
  • operating to or from EU Member States

Counting and registration systems

Two different systems apply:

  • Passenger ships that operate a route of a maximum of 20 nautical miles within the EU only need to implement a passenger counting system (Article 4).
  • Passenger ships that leave a Member State port to operate a route of more than 20 nautical miles from the point of departure need to implement a correctly functioning passenger registration system.

When is Flag approval required?

Find out whether the directive applies to your ship or ships. You can find this in Directive 98/41/EC. If an approved counting and registration system is required, you must apply for approval of the registration system.

How to apply for approval by Flag

  • Approval for a registration system on a Netherlands’ Flag ship can be applied for using the form ‘Application additional certificates for merchant ships’.
  • Send documentation for authentication by the Netherlands Shipping Inspectorate (ILT) together with the form, such as the counting and registration system and ISM procedures (if applicable).
  • Also send proof of approval by other EU Member State(s) if available.
  • ILT will assess the application following receipt of the documentation.
  • After approval ILT will send an approved copy of your passenger counting and registration system.

Any changes to the approved counting and registration system must be assessed and approved by ILT. Changes must be notified by a new application form with clear documentation concerning the changes.

Identical ships: one application

Only one application needs to be submitted in case of more than one identical vessels. Application and documentation must clearly state name of identical ships.
To save costs, the application may be submitted through a branche organisation or other maritime consultancy and combined with applications for more shipowners for identical vessels.

European Directive 98/41/EC

Article 8 of European Directive 98/41/EC states that the company responsible for the operation of a passenger ship must implement a passenger registration system.

Objectives of the Directive

To improve the safety and rescue of passengers and crew on board of passenger ships. More effective search and rescue operations and the efficient handling of the aftermath of any accident that might occur.


Please contact the ILT callcentre if you have any questions, telephone +31 (0)88 489 00 00 or e-mail ILT at Contact.