The Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency of Germany (German: Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie, BSH) is a German federal authority based in Hamburg and Rostock. With some 800 employees, the agency's tasks include maritime safety, hydrographic survey, maritime pollution monitoring, and approvals of offshore installations. The agency can be traced back to Norddeutsche Seewarte (North German Naval Observatory), founded in 1867 by Wilhelm von Freeden, which issued individual sailing directions based on nautical and meteorological observations as early as 1868. After World War II, the Deutsches Hydrographisches Institut (DHI) [German Hydrographical Institute] was founded in 1945 and took over these tasks. While it was first active throughout all four zones of Allied-occupied Germany, operations in the Soviet zone ceased when the DHI became part of the Western Allies' unified zone which was to become the state of West Germany. After the German reunification of 1990, the DHI was merged with Bundesamt für Schiffsvermessung (BAS) [Federal Agency for Tonnage Measurement] to form the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency. At the same time, the Seehydrographischer Dienst [Maritime Hydrographical Service] of East Germany which was part of the People's Navy was taken over. More information...

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