The best way to ensure and succeed a port inspection is a good preparation, an open mind and positive attitude to the PSCO.
The PSCO should be met at the gangway and during the inspection accompanied by an appointed and competent person. The first observations the PSCO receives will inflict the rest of the inspection, so pay special attention to the gangway area keep it clean and tidy, secure the right ISPS-procedures and keep the crew informed/instructed on their duties during the inspection. At the gangway, the PSCO will get a good indication on how the vessel is operated. The following should be considered:
- pay attention to general cleanliness and maintenance
- give information on defects up front
- update new equipment in the record books
- make sure that the ship has the required certificates, and that they are valid
- inform about ongoing maintenance
- inform about operations eg cargo handling which may have an influence on the inspection
- make sure that procedures are followed
- keep record books updated including records of drills and exercises – remember consistency counts
- it is the checks – not the ticks that count
- if something looks wrong - expect to be investigated
- on accommodation – housekeeping and hygiene counts – make a good impression
- ensure the engine room is a safe area
- prove that you use the equipment – the right way
- you must prove that you comply
- deal with any disagreement over the conduct or findings of the inspection calmly and patiently
If things go wrong
- Paris MoU will provide the master of the ship with a report of inspection, giving the results of the inspection including references to the relevant regulations, conventions or codes and details of any action to be taken.
- Should any inspection confirm or reveal deficiencies warranting the detention of a ship, all costs relating to the inspections should be covered by the ship owner or the operator or by his representative in the port state.
- The detention will not be lifted until full payment has been made or a sufficient guarantee has been given for the reimbursement of the costs subject to national law.
- In case of a detainable deficiency, the PSCO is required to indicate the regulation, convention or code reference on the inspection report. The master or company may have to seek clarification from the PSC authority regarding the legal basis to any deficiency.
- A banned ship will be refused access to any port in the Paris MoU area for a minimum period.
- The refusal of access can result from multiple detentions, a jump of detention or fail to call at an indicated repair yard.
- Access to a specific port may be permitted by the relevant authority of that port State in the event of force majeure or overriding safety considerations, or to reduce or minimize the risk of pollution.
- The banning cannot be lifted until after a certain time period, as follows:
-3 months after the first ban;
-12 months after the second ban;
-24 months after the third ban;
- The consequences of a detention can be severe, and in the case where the company believes detainable deficiencies identified are not justified, the company can raise an appeal to the official National PSC authority or through the vessel’s flag state administration, subject to the port state’s legal system.
- Appeal notice details can be found on the reverse side of the notice of the detention form and may differ in the Paris MoU member states.
- In case it is declined to use the official National appeal procedure but still wishes to complain about a detention decision, such a complaint should be sent to the flag state or the Recognized Organization, which issued the statutory Certificates on behalf of the flag state.
- The flag State or RO may then ask the port state to reconsider its decision to detain the ship.
- If the flag state or the RO disagrees with the outcome of the investigation as mentioned above, a request for a Detention Review Panel may be sent to the Paris MOU Secretariat.
- An appeal will not cause the detention or refusal of access to be suspended.
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