Management, MEO Class1 Orals




  • PORT STATE CONTROL is a system of harmonized inspection-procedures designed to target substandard vessels with the main objective being their eventual elimination
  • In March 1978 the grounding of the supertanker “Amoco Cadiz” off the coast of Brittany (France) resulted in a massive oil spill, causing a strong political and public outcry in Europe, calling for more stringent regulations with regard to the safety of shipping

Basic principle of PSC

  • The prime responsibility for the compliance with the requirements laid down in the international maritime conventions lies with the ship-owner/operator; responsibility for ensuring such compliance remains with the flag State;
  • The member- countries agree to inspect a given percentage of their estimated number of individual foreign merchant vessels entering their ports;
  • As a general rule, ships will not be inspected within six months of a previous inspection in a MOU port, unless there are “clear grounds” for inspection (see “Selection of ships for inspections”);
  • All possible efforts are made to avoid unduly detaining or delaying a vessel;
  • Inspections are generally unannounced.


  • International Convention on Load Lines 1996, as amended, its 1998 protocol, (LOADLINES 66/88);
  • International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) 1974, its Protocol of 1978, as amended, and the Protocol of 1998, (SOLAS 74/78/88);
  • International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978, as amended (MARPOL 73/78);
  • International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch keeping for Seafarers 1978, as amended (STCW 78);
  • Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collision at Sea 1972, as amended (COLREG 72);
  • International Convention on Tonnage Measurement of Ships 1969 (TONNAGE 1969);
  • Merchant Shipping (Minimum Standards) Convention, 1976 (ILO Convention No. 147).
  • MLC

“Clear grounds” for a more detailed inspection are:

  • Vessels whose statutory certificates on the vessel’s construction or equipment, issued in accordance with the conventions, and the classification certificates have been issued by an organization which is not recognized by the authority;
  • Ships that have deficiencies to be rectified in the next port;
  • Ships that have deficiencies to be rectified within 14 days;
  • Ships flying the flag of a non-Party to a relevant instrument;
  • Ships that are in a category for which “expanded inspection” has been decided, i.e.: oil tankers older than 20 years, bulk carriers older than 12 years, gas and chemical carriers older than 10 years, and passenger ships;
  • During examination of the certificates and documents inaccuracies have been revealed or the documents have not been properly kept updated;
  • Indications that the crew members are unable to communicate with each other, or that the ship is unable to communicate with shore- based authorities;
  • Evidence of cargo and other operations not being conducted safely or in accordance with IMO guidelines;
  • Failure of the master of an oil tanker to produce the record of the oil discharge monitoring and control system for the last ballast voyage;
  • Absence of an up to date muster list, or crew members not aware of their duties in the event of fire or an order to abandon ship;
  • The emissions of false alerts not followed by proper cancellation procedures;
  • The absence of principal equipment or arrangements required by the conventions;
  • Evidence from the PSCO’s general impression and observations that there are serious hull and structural deteriorations or deficiencies that may jeopardize the structural, watertight or weather tight integrity of the vessel;
  • Excessively unsanitary conditions on board the vessel;
  • Information or evidence that the master or crew is not familiar with essential shipboard operation relating to the safety of the vessel or the prevention of pollution, or that such operations have not been carried out.

Action codes

  • Each deficiency is commonly given in a codified form in the inspection report, called “action code”.
  • The action codes most frequently used are:
    • 10 deficiency rectified
    • 15 to be rectified at the next port of call;
    • 16 to be rectified within 14 days;
    • 17 master instructed to rectify deficiency before departure;
    • 30 grounds for detention;
    • 40 next port of call informed;
    • 50 flag State/ consul informed;
    • 70 classification society informed


  • In several regions around the world, coastal countries have signed an agreement, “Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control, often abridged “MOU on PSC”.
  • At present there are the following Regional Agreement on PSC
    • Paris MOU for the European Region.
    • The Acuerdo de Viña del Mar (Latin America Agreement),
    • Tokyo MOU for the Asian Region signed in 1993,
    • Caribbean MOU for the Caribbean Region signed in 1996 in Barbados;
    • Mediterranean MOU for the Southern Mediterranean Region
    • Indian Ocean MOU signed in 1998 in Pretoria and comprising:
    • West and Central Africa MOU signed in Abuja (Nigeria).
    • Persian Gulf Region;
    • Black Sea Area,
    • In the United States PSC is carried out by US Coast Guard.
  • Information exchange
    • Whether deficiencies are found or not, all details from each inspection report are entered in an advanced central computer database
    • This database can be accessed by PSC authorities, for consulting inspection files, inserting new inspection reports or using the electronic mail facility
    • A monthly list of detentions is published. This list contains, amongst others, the ship name, the owner, the Classification society and the port and date of detention


  • According to the Ship Risk Profile vessels will be classified as Low Risk Ships (LRS) and High Risk Ships (HRS). If a vessel is neither Low Risk nor High Risk it will be classified as a Standard Risk Ship (SRS).
  • The Ship Risk Profile will be based on the following criteria, using details of inspections in the PMoU area in the last 3 years:
    • type of ship
    • age of ship
    • performance of the flag of the ship (including undertaking Voluntary IMO Member State Audit Scheme (VIMSAS)
    • performance of the recognised organisation(s)
    • performance of the company responsible for the ISM management
    • number of deficiencies
    • number of detentions
  • HRS: between 5-6 months after the last inspection in the PMoU region
  • SRS: between 10-12 months after the last inspection in the PMoU region
  • LRS: between 24-36 months after the last inspection in the PMoU region
  • The banning criteria for the first and second ban will be amended as follows:
    • If the ship flies a black listed flag it will be banned after more than 2 detentions in the last 36 months
    • if the ship flies a grey listed flag it will be banned after 2 or more detentions in the last 24 months.
  • Any subsequent detention after the second banning will lead to a ban, irrespective of the flag.
  • Moreover, a time period until the banning can be lifted will be introduced as follows:
    • 3 months after the first ban
    • 12 months after the second ban
    • 24 months after the third ban
    • permanent ban.


  • The prospect of global port State control, with exchange of information and harmonization of procedures and training, has even more exciting implications
  • As more and more statistics and data are gathered and exchanged by the different PSC Secretariats, that will result in a huge increase in knowledge about sub-standard shipping.
  • The development of PSC gives us the possibility to change that culture and replace secrecy with transparency and openness.
  • Although the efforts to improve flag State performance remain a top priority, effective regional agreements, including harmonized inspection and detention procedures, internationally approved qualifications of inspectors and transparency through increased information within regions and inter-regionally, will play an essential role for both flag and Port State responsibilities


  • Concentrated inspection campaigns focus on specific areas where high levels of deficiencies have been encountered by PSCOs, or where new convention requirements have recently entered into force.
  • Paris MoU Jointly with the Tokyo MoU a CIC on Crew Familiarisation for Enclosed Space Entry is scheduled from September to November, this year
  • The Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding (IOMOU) will embark on a concentrated inspection campaign (CIC) on Cargo Securing Arrangements. The three-month campaign will start on September 1, 2016 and end on November 30, 2016.

Learn more about port state jurisdiction here


About Ram Govindasamy

Ram Govindasamy is a sailing marine engineer working for a leading cruise company. Ram founded Dieselship to create an online platform for Marine engineers worldwide to bond, share knowledge & Resources. He is a computer enthusiast who loves creating web based activities, web pages & programs. He is also authoring technical articles, videos for Dieselship as well as for various other maritime websites. Ram is interested in Maritime Law and Technical Operations and looks forward to meeting new people especially those who are interested in creating web based platforms, Assets maintenance & inventory programs and Planned Maintenance software etc

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *