Terms of Use for Message Service Accounts

Message Service Accounts

Waterway users, typically skippers meeting specific criteria (referred to as the target group of ships), are required to register with the relevant authorities prior to their departure. This registration can be done via VHF radio or electronically. According to international regulations, certain waterway users are obliged to do this electronically.

Waterway users can send electronic notifications (known as ERI messages) to the authorities responsible for waterways and/or ports using a suitable notification application and a message service account provided by Rijkswaterstaat.

You can apply for Message Service Accounts through the BICS account request form on the BICS website (www.bics.nl), managed by Rijkswaterstaat.

Terms of Use

These terms of use apply to the use of the Message Service account provided by Rijkswaterstaat, as well as the associated Messaging Service, for the purpose of electronic reporting for navigation purposes. By accepting the terms of use (during the completion of the BICS account application form), the user declares that he/she is aware of these conditions and agrees to them.


  • (Rijkswaterstaat) Message Service: A Message Service offered by Rijkswaterstaat with mailboxes designed for electronic reporting in navigation.
  • Message Service Account: An account linked to an electronic mailbox (reporting ID) within the Rijkswaterstaat Message Service. Through this account, a user can exchange messages with various authorities responsible for waterways and/or ports.
  • User: Any individual who has access to the Rijkswaterstaat Message Service with a unique username and password (an activated account).
  • Notification Application: An appropriate electronic reporting application that complies with the applicable ERI standards.
  • ERI Standards and Messages: Internationally established standards and definitions of messages within the "Electronic Reporting International" domain.

Data Exchange and Account Usage

  • A Message Service Account is assigned to a specific user according to the provided request and is non-transferable. The designated user is responsible for it throughout the account's lifetime and also serves as the point of contact for the account.
  • Users are responsible for the correct and appropriate use of the account. The account may only be used for submitting their (own) operational notifications.
  • Additionally, users are obligated to maintain the accuracy, completeness, and timeliness of the data in their notifications, in accordance with applicable regulations and any additional instructions from the competent authorities.
  • Under no circumstances can the use of the account or the Message Service result in liability of Rijkswaterstaat for direct or indirect consequences or potential damage of any kind.

Protection of Personal Data

  • Rijkswaterstaat will use the provided personal data solely for the purpose of complying with the electronic reporting obligation, in accordance with the relevant European regulations.
  • Personal data is used and stored by Rijkswaterstaat only during the account's duration (as long as it is not terminated).
  • Additional provisions regarding the protection of personal data can be found in the privacy statement on the BICS website (www.bics.nl). Together with the disclaimer on this website, these are an integral part of these terms.


To prevent unauthorized access to data, the following steps have been taken:

  • Users can only access the Message Service through a unique and valid account, including the associated password.
  • After the one-time activation of the requested account, the user assumes full responsibility for the account.
  • Data exchange with the Message Service is conducted through encrypted communication.


  • The information exchanged via the Message Service is treated confidentially in accordance with the "Privacyreglement verkeersregistratiesystemen Rijkswaterstaat". Rijkswaterstaat will not disclose this data unless legally required.
  • In accordance with the RIS Directive (2005/44/EC), where applicable, data will be shared with adjacent waterway authorities as part of traffic management.

Change and Termination

  • As the account holder, the user is obligated to notify Rijkswaterstaat of any changes in personal, ship, and/or address information. This can be done through the change form on the BICS website.
  • The user has the option to terminate their account via the termination form on the BICS website. Upon confirmation, the account will be deactivated and cleaned up, with all responsibility for the user ceasing.

Closure and Inactivity

  • Abuse of the account and/or the Message Service can, after a warning, result in closure (deactivation). This will terminate access to the Message Service for that specific account, and it will no longer be possible to exchange messages.
  • Rijkswaterstaat reserves the right to close accounts after prolonged (> 2 years) inactivity and potentially clean them up.

Modification of Terms of Use

Rijkswaterstaat reserves the right to modify and update these terms of use as needed.

Questions and Complaints

For questions or complaints regarding the account and/or the Message Service, contact should be made with the BICS helpdesk.

Disputes and Applicable Law

Any dispute between the parties regarding these terms of use will be exclusively submitted to the competent court in the district of The Hague.

Dutch law applies to these terms of use.