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Port State Control Inspections

PSC inspections are carried out under the authority of international conventions to verify that a vessel:

  • Maintains valid documents and certificates in accordance with relevant conventions
  • Is fit for intended service (e.g. hull and machinery)
  • Is not a pollution risk
  • Provides the crew a healthy and safe working environment

Initially, the PSC inspection generally consists of a visit on board to verify that necessary certificates and documents are valid. The initial visit also gives the inspector an opportunity to judge the general appearance and condition of the vessel.

Detailed Inspections are warranted when the vessel does not pass the above criteria to determine whether the ship is substandard and/or not fit for service.

Grounds for a PSC inspectors carrying out a detailed inspection:

  • A report or notification received from another authority
  • A report or complaint from the master, a crew member (or any person or organization with a legitimate interest in the safe operation of the ship or in the prevention of pollution)
  • The finding of serious deficiencies during the preliminary inspection

In many instances, the problems noted by the PCS are rectified while the inspector is still aboard and allowed to leave the port on schedule. Other deficiencies require further action to rectify and the ship is detained.

Once detained, inspectors verify deficiencies are rectified before the ship is allowed to proceed to sea. Additionally, the inspector may:

  • Notify flag State of the detention
  • Allow the ship to proceed to another port for repairs if it cannot be repaired at the local port, notifying the authority of the vessel's next port of call and the flag State

Numerous Port Authorities throughout the world have implemented Port State Control inspections and are maintaining databases to track owners who are running substandard vessels. Based on the number of times an owner has been entered into the database, it may be targeted as a substandard vessel, with no regard to the severity of the infraction.

The most active Port Authorities are USA, Australia, Canada, The Netherlands, Germany and the UK.

Additionally, a PSC may target specific ship types and ages.

NEW Interactive Port State Control Reference Checklist

Guidance for reducing port state detentions Learn More

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