General causes

  • Valid statutory certificates are not on board the ship, including seafarer’s documents/certificates;
  • Deficiencies/failures have not been reported to the BMA or Classification Society (Recognised Organisation) for agreed acceptance pending temporary arrangements in place;
  • Any arrangement that bypasses essential safety or environmental monitoring equipment (e.g. “magic pipes” bypassing Oily Water Separator/15ppm monitor);
  • Equipment has been poorly maintained and/or maintenance has been inappropriately documented or not documented within the shipboard maintenance system;
  • Crew are unfamiliar with essential equipment or systems they are responsible for (e.g. Oily Water Separator, ECDIS, GMDSS equipment, etc.)
  • Equipment which requires Flag State/Classification Society approval has been fitted, modified or removed, or structural changes have been made without proper consultation with the Flag State/Classification Society/Recognised Organisation;
  • Critical equipment has not been subject to regular testing as required (e.g. emergency equipment such as fan dampers and emergency fire pump);
  • Log books, record books, hours of rest records and other documents are incomplete or inaccurate. It should be noted that PSC authorities may in some cases instigate criminal proceedings for alleged falsification of records where records are incomplete or inaccurate (in particular for hours of rest records and Oil Record Books).


Notification after PSC Detention

  • The Company is required to immediately notify the following parties of any detention of a Bahamian registered ship:
    -->the BMA; and
    -->the Recognised Organisation (i.e. Classification Society) that issued the affected certificate(s); and
    -->the Recognised Organisation that issued the ISM Code Document of Compliance (DOC) and Safety Management Certificate (SMC); and
    -->For security/ISPS Code related detentions: The Recognised Security Organisation that issued the International Ship Security Certificate (ISSC); and
    -->for Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) related detentions: The Recognised Organisation that issued the Maritime Labour Certificate.
  • In addition, the Company is required to invite the ship’s Classification Society on board to assist in clearing the deficiencies, unless otherwise advised by the BMA.
  • The initial report to the BMA may be made by telephone or email.
  • The following documents are to be provided to the BMA at the earliest opportunity, where available:
    -->A full copy of the PSC report (Form A and B);
    -->A copy of the detention notice;
    -->Confirmation of notification to Classification Society and Recognised Organisations as appropriate;
    -->Advice of actions taken or planned to rectify all deficiencies at the earliest opportunity.

Policy and Process after a Detention

  1. Following notification of the detention, the BMA will review the reports and correspondence related to the vessel’s PSC and Bahamas inspection performance in the 24 months prior to the detention.
  2. The Company is required to perform a Root Cause Analysis (RCA) within 30 days of the date of detention, unless otherwise agreed with the BMA, and take the appropriate corrective and preventative actions to reduce the possibility of similar deficiencies arising in future.
  3. The RCA report and details of corrective and preventative actions is to cover all deficiencies raised at the detention and should also include comments from the Master or Chief Engineer on the deficiencies, as applicable.
  4. In addition to the requirements specified below, further additional surveys, Bahamas inspections, ISM audits (DOC and/or SMC), ISPS audits and/or MLC inspections may be required depending on the nature of the detainable deficiencies and the ship’s inspection history.
  5. The BMA will determine the scope and extent of additional inspections, surveys or audits of shipboard and shore-based safety management systems of a Company, when a significant proportion of the Company’s fleet has been justifiably detained by PSC.
  6. The BMA may appoint approved inspectors, auditors and observers as considered to be appropriate, to participate in any of the above surveys, audits or inspections, at owners’ expense.
  7. The BMA reserves the right to charge professional fees to the Company, at the current hourly rate, where significant periods of time are spent by the BMA in dealing with a PSC detention for a particular ship.

MLC detentions

  • When a ship has been detained for a serious breach of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 in relation to non-payment or delayed payment of wages to seafarers, the BMA will require the Company (or Ship owner for the purposes of MLC, 2006 if different) to pay all wages due and provide documentary evidence confirming this, prior to the ship being released from detention.
  • In such cases, in order to prevent the same situation reoccurring, the BMA also requires the Company (or ship owner for the purposes of MLC, 2006, if different) to provide documentary evidence of timely payment of wages as they become due, for a period to be specified by the BMA after release from detention.

First detention in a 24-month period

  • One or more of the following may be required by the BMA prior to departure from the port of detention:-Additional Bahamas Inspection; and/or
    -Additional external audit of the ISM SMC. At the discretion of the BMA, this requirement may be relaxed to an additional internal audit depending on the number and nature of the deficiencies found; and/or
    -Additional MLC inspection; and/or
    -Additional ISPS audit.
  • It should be noted that PSC authorities often require additional external audits before releasing the ship from detention. The BMA cannot waive this requirement.
  • If the detention occurs within the survey window for a related annual survey, the survey should be completed prior to the vessel sailing.
  • If the detention occurs within the survey window for a related renewal, periodical or intermediate survey, that survey should be conducted to the extent possible, except for Safety Equipment, Safety Radio and IOPP, which must be completed. Where a survey is incomplete, a schedule for completion of surveys at the next convenient port must be set by the Recognised Organisation and may not be delayed until the end of the window.
  • If the detention does not occur within any related survey window, the Recognised Organisation surveyor, after clearing the deficiencies, will carry out a general examination of the vessel and may decide, using his or her professional judgement, whether an additional survey is necessary. The extent of such additional survey will be at least to the extent of annual survey.

Second detention in a 24-month period

  • If a ship has, in the opinion of the BMA, been justifiably detained twice within a period of 24 months the following shall be completed immediately in addition to the applicable requirements of Maritime Labour Convention detentions
  • An additional ISM SMC audit to the extent of initial audit will be required to ascertain the effectiveness of the safety management system on board;
  • An additional ISM DOC audit to the extent of annual audit will be required not later than 30 days from the date of the detention;
  • The vessel will be placed on the BMA’s Enhanced Monitoring Programme (EMP).

Third detention in a 24-month period

  • If a ship has, in the opinion of the BMA, been justifiably detained three times within a period of 24 months, the ship will be specially examined to assess whether it remains acceptable for continued registration in The Bahamas. This may lead to owners being asked to find an alternative register or deletion of the ship from the Bahamas register.
  • The DOC of the Company will be re-examined and further surveys, inspections and audits of the Company and/or its ships may be required.

Further details can be found herebelow: