A port State control visit on board a ship will start with, as a minimum and to the extent applicable, an examination of the documents in accordance with Annex 10 of the Abuja MoU Memorandum.
In addition, the PSC Officer (PSCO) conducts a general inspection of several areas on board to verify that the overall condition of the ship complies with that required by the various Conventions.
Furthermore, control on compliance with on board operational requirements may be included during an inspection, particularly if the PSCO has reason to believe that the crew demonstrates insufficient proficiency in that area.
At the conclusion of an inspection, a PSCO is required to issue a ‘clean’ inspection report (Form A) to the master of the ship if no deficiencies are found. Where deficiencies are identified, the inspection report will include the deficiencies found (Form B). The PSCO will also indicate any follow-up actions to be taken to rectify the recorded deficiencies; including the relevant Convention references in the Report. Thereafter, the particulars of the ship and the inspection results will be recorded in the AMIS database.
The following types of inspection can be carried out:
- Initial inspection
- More detailed inspection
- Expanded inspection
To check the certificates and documents listed in Annex 10 of the MoU text;
to check that the overall condition and hygiene of the ship – including navigation bridge, accommodation and galley, decks, forecastle, cargo holds/area and engine room – meets generally accepted international rules and standards;
Verification of, if not previously been done, whether any deficiencies found by an Authority at a previous inspection have been rectified in accordance with the time specified in the inspection report.
More detailed inspection
A more detailed inspection will be carried out whenever there are clear grounds for believing, during an inspection, that the condition of the ship or of its equipment or crew does not substantially meet the applicable requirements of a relevant instrument. Clear grounds exist when a Port State Control Officer finds evidence, which in his/her professional judgement warrants a more detailed inspection of the ship, its equipment or its crew. The absence of valid certificates or documents is considered a clear ground. Other examples of clear grounds can be found in Annex 9, paragraph 6 of the MoU text.
A more detailed inspection will also be carried out on ships flying a flag that has not yet ratified all of the Relevant Instruments of the Abuja MoU.
A more detailed inspection will include an in-depth examination in:
- the area(s) where clear grounds were established
- the areas relevant to any overriding or unexpected factors
- other areas at random
The more detailed inspection will take account of the human elements covered by ILO, ISM and STCW and include operational controls as appropriate.
High Risk Ships (HRS), ships of a risk type (chemical tanker, gas carrier, oil tanker, NLS tanker, bulk carrier and passenger ship) and ships more than 12 years old are eligible for an expanded inspection.
An expanded inspection shall include a check of the overall condition, including the human element where relevant. Subject to their practical feasibility or any constraints relating to the safety of persons, the ship or the port, verification of the specific items in the risk areas for each ship type must be part of an expanded inspection.
The PSCO must use professional judgement to determine the appropriate depth of examination or testing of each specific item.
The PSCO must be aware that the safe execution of certain on-board operations, e.g. cargo handling, could be jeopardized by tests carried out during such operation.
The expanded inspection will take account of the human elements covered by ILO, ISM and STCW and include operational controls as appropriate.