Port state control; administrative burden or safety for all?
Once an international convention comes into force , the key issue to maritime industry is, how to implement the related convention ? Contracting party, government, in general terms of seafarers: Flag state, implements the international conventions. In some cases original objectives of the conventions are not achieved due to improper implementations of these conventions, these cases may include:
- Insufficient enforcement by the administration
- Inadequate financial support
- Consideration of the interests of the country
- Human error
- Negligence of duty, and many more.
Port state controls play an important role in enforcement of theses conventions. PSC is described as a second tier of enforcement, though the first responsibility remains with the flag state administration. Port state is not obliged to inspect the foreign ships, but they do so in the interest of safety and pollution prevention. PSC aims at eliminating the operation of substandard ships.
We at MarinerOnBoard have studied annual summary report for three major port state controls
Paris MoU annual report for the year 2012/ 2013/ 2014
Australian maritime safety authority annual reports for 2012/ 2013 / 2014
United states coast guard annual reports for 2012/ 2013 / 2014
Conclusion comes near to that , three major deficiencies sector of Paris MoU (2012,2013,2014) Port state control inspection are;
1. Safety of Navigation
2. Life saving Appliances
3. Fire Safety
Australian maritime safety authority (2012,2013,2014) i.e three major detainable deficiency category are;
2. Fire Safety
3. Life Saving Appliances
United States Coast Guard, i.e. USCG (2012,2013,2014),three major detainable deficiency category are;
3. Fire Fighting appliances
In most of the cases Port state control deficiencies are given due to lack of maintenance and training, in some cases crew negligence and few arrogant surveyors tend to blame it on vessel (personal experience with a port state control inspector in Egyptian port).
In march 1978 ,Grounding of the tanker “Amoco Cadiz” off the coast of France resulted in a massive oil spill causing a strong political and public outcry in Europe, calling for more stringent regulations with regard to safety of shipping resulted in more comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding signed in paris in the year 1982 (known as paris MoU).
To ease the burden from the ships of frequent inspections by port state control ,memorandum of understanding were signed by various group of countries. Below are the group of MoUs in the world maritime;
- Paris Mou : 26 European countries
- Tokyo Mou : Pacific ocean
- Acuerdo Latino : South and central american countries
- The caribbean MoU
- Mediterranean MoU:North African Countries and Turkey
- Indian Ocean MoU:17 countries on the indian ocean belt
- Abuja MoU: west and central atlantic Africa
- Black sea MoU: Bulgaria, Georgia , Romania , Russian federation, Turkey and Ukraine
- Riyadh MoU : persian gulf countries
- United States coast Guard : united states
General PSC inspection begins from Master’s office where a PSC inspector may ask to produce master from a list of 36 certificates, other than that he may ask last dry docking report, UT gauging reports, garbage record book, garbage management plan, ballast management plan etc. Explaining the case with a newly joined master, one of the crew certification was not produced in original, as the colour scanned copy was available. He himself was getting familiarised with the vessel as it was the very first day. Though the originals reached immediate next port but leading to a so called deficiency.
Above was a rare case, but in most cases it is due to poor maintenance of the ships, and in some cases due to human errors , such as wrong entries made in log books by mistake.
As stated above, these inspections are not to harass seafarers, or to put administrative burden but being at sea re think that, we at sea maintain the ships just to clear these inspection safely which ultimately results in safe ships!!!
Why not? We should maintain our ships for our safety, so as these inspections never pose a burden on us**
Article contribution and data compilation for 2012, 2013 and 2014 by – Chaitnya Prakash, Navigating Officer.