ABS Top Ten Deficiencies During Port State Activity January – December 2017

Statutory Certificates, Overdue Surveys

Port State Control inspectors are thoroughly reviewing a vessel's documentation (certificates) to verify that they have been endorsed for all required surveys during the intervals mandated by the various conventions.

The deficiencies found during PSC inspections of a vessel's documentation normally are related to overdue statutory surveys. Surveys must be completed within the required survey window.

Cargo Ship Safety Radio Surveys

The major deficiencies recorded in this category were observed in main radiotelegraph transmission and reception equipment. In some cases, the power output of transmitters was observed to be below an acceptable level, causing a reduction in the range of transmissions. Faults observed in receiving equipment included unsatisfactory reception. Typical examples of other deficiencies in this category were deteriorated aerials; broken aerial insulators; improperly rigged aerials for very high frequency equipment; inoperable automatic alarms; defective speakers; and faulty emergency power sources.

Cargo Ship Safety Equipment Surveys

Lifesaving Appliance - More deficiencies related to lifesaving appliances were found in the lifeboats and life buoys than any other type of lifesaving appliance.


  • Structural defects in lifeboats
  • Inoperative lifeboat engines or flemming gear
  • Life buoy lights not working or missing
  • Excessive wear on lifting hooks in lifeboats
  • Lifejacket lights missing
  • Retro-reflective tape missing from equipment
  • Lifeboat engine mountings badly corroded
  • Safety equipment not in lifeboats
  • Float free arrangements on liferafts not satisfactory
  • Lifeboat launching systems inoperative
Firefighting Equipment - Firefighting equipment must be properly maintained and ready for immediate use at all times.


  • Inoperable fire pumps (especially the emergency fire pumps)
  • Firemain leaking or fitted with doublers or soft-patches
  • Fire hoses missing or leaking
  • Defective breathing apparatus
  • Excessive oil accumulation in machinery spaces
  • Fire detectors broken
Navigation Equipment


  • Missing or uncorrected navigation charts for the intended voyage
  • Magnetic compasses requiring repair or correction
  • Faulty echo depth sounders, radars, gyro repeaters, and navigation lights
  • Outdated Tide Tables, List of Lights, and Sailing Directions, etc.
  • Copies of regulations (e.g., SOLAS, MARPOL, etc.) not on board

Cargo Ship Safety Construction Surveys

Deficiencies found deal mainly with steering gear and mooring arrangement requirements.


  • Steering control system malfunctioning
  • Officers were not knowledgeable about emergency steering procedures
  • Communications in emergency steering room not working
  • Anchor chains, windlasses, wire ropes and mooring lines were in a deteriorated physical condition and potentially dangerous
  • Defective guards on winches and windlasses
  • Missing anchors and chain

Other deficiencies found, which relate to structural items, are discussed under Classification Surveys, hull.

Housekeeping & Fire Safety, Documentation, Manning, Accommodations

  • Manning - The majority of deficiencies in this category relate to the minimum international standards for certificates issued under the STCW Convention.
  • Documentation - Deficiencies relate to the vessel's certificates: certificate expired, overdue annual or intermediate surveys, and failure to issue new certificates when a vessel changed flag from one flag to another.
  • Accommodations, provisions, and working spaces
  • Crew accommodation deficiencies found: infestation by cockroaches, blocked drains; dirty hospitals and bathrooms; toilet piping leaking; shower nozzles and shower controls missing; sinks and toilets broken or not working; crew members living in hospital spaces, doors to accommodations not closing adequately, and light fixtures and switches broken.
  • Provision deficiencies related to poor standards of cleanliness. Other deficiencies included in this category are insulation in galleys sufficiently deteriorated to pose a potential health hazard, refrigeration machinery for cooling storerooms not operating properly, and insufficient food for the intended voyage.
  • Working space deficiencies found by PSC included lack of adequate lighting and ventilation as well as defective or missing guards to protect the operator from the moving parts of machinery.

MARPOL Surveys

With marine pollution being a major concern, Port State Control inspectors are taking a thorough look at pollution prevention arrangements on board.


  • Inoperable oily water separator
  • Oil Record book not properly maintained
  • Sludge overboard lines not permanently blanked or disconnected

Load Line Surveys

In many cases of PSC detention, the condition of ventilators, air pipes doors and hatchways had deteriorated sufficiently to warrant repair. Many of these detentions could have been avoided by adequate maintenance.


  • Cargo hatch cover securing devices missing or inoperable
  • Sounding pipe caps missing
  • Air pipes holed
  • Securing devices on weathertight doors missing
  • Holes in cargo hatch covers
  • Doors not weather tight
  • Manhole covers corroded
  • Unsafe external ladders and rails at the side of ship

Other deficiencies associated with the Load Line Convention are discussed under Classification Surveys, hull.

Classification Surveys

Hull - The deficiencies noted in this category were of a structural nature (damaged hull, decks, bulkheads, tanks, etc.).


  • Damage and deterioration of the hull (included were distorted bulbous bow plating and side shell plating deformations)
  • Damaged gang ways, accommodation ladders, deck walkways/platforms, and pilot ladders
  • Faulty closing appliances
  • Serious wastage, fracture or detachment of hull side frames
  • Cracks or wastage of transverse deck beams and deck plating
  • Cracks, holes, or severe wastage in bulkheads including collision bulkhead, chain locker, forecastle storage space, and engine room bulkheads
  • Vent pipes/closure heads holed or damaged
  • Hatches and weathertight doors not weathertight
  • Overdue classification survey
Machinery - The cleanliness of engine rooms was the major deficiency in this category (i.e., excessive oil in bilges and throughout the engine room).


  • Inoperable remote controls on boiler safety valves
  • Defective fuel oil valves on main and auxiliary engines
  • Severe amount of water leaking on auxiliary engines
  • Sea water inlet valves incapable of operating
  • Defective generators
  • Excess oil leakage from boiler fuel pumps and boiler fuel burners
  • Defective fuel oil pumps and air compressors (causing shortage of air for starting main engines)
  • Deck hydraulic lines and hydraulic lines for hatches leaking or wasted
  • Main engine exhaust leaking
Cargo Gear


  • Absence of identification marks on hooks, blocks and shackles and other small items of equipment
  • Documentation on examinations and testing unavailable
  • Cargo winch bed plates, winch drums and brakes sufficiently corroded to pose a danger to those using the equipment and thus requiring repair
  • Ladders giving access to cargo holds or tanks, and hydraulic pipes on cargo winches are badly corroded