Maritime Law §296

The duties of the Master include, among others, the following:

  • To assume full responsibility for the safety of the members of the crew and passengers,if any, and to take all necessary and appropriate steps in connection there with;
  • To assume full responsibility for the navigation of the vessel at all times;

Liberian Regulation 2.35

It shall be the responsibility of owners and masters to ensure that their vessels are in compliance with the requirements of all applicable International Conventions and Agreements.

--> For the Master, Chief Engineer and Officers serving on Liberian Vessels, failure to ensure the above may result in suspension or revocation of any endorsement, license, certificate or other document issued by Liberia.

--> For the Designated Person Ashore, failure to ensure compliance with the SMS or International Conventions will result in either an additional Safety or MLC Inspections, or ISM and ISPS audit of the vessel and/or a n Additional ISM audit of the Company.

Guidance to ensure a positive PSC inspection

  • It is essential that the conduct of the Master and crew be professional. A Port State Control Officer's (PSCO) good first impression of an orderly ship decreases the risk of an expanded inspection:
    -The Master’s office shall be presentable and the records organized and available, and
    -Standards of dress shall be high. The vessel’s topside and engine room shall be clean and orderly.
  • Meet PSCO(s) at embarkation and asked for identification (ISPS CODE) and escorted to the Master’s office.
  • Require an opening meeting--even if not offered. Ensure a suitable business like atmosphere. All key staff should be present unless duty requires otherwise, in which case this should be explained.
  • Properly introduce key officers/personnel who will assist in key elements of the inspection and request same courtesy from the lead PSC officer, if more than one in PSC party.
  • The inspection procedure contemplated by the PSCO should be explained. If not, ask for an explanation.
  • Inform the PSCO of any problems with required equipment, including repairs and corrective action that is ongoing and/or dispensations that have been issued by the flag Administration, to allow time needed to affect repairs.
  • Escorting ship’s officers should act professional and knowledgeable of ships equipment and keep notes on deficiencies
  • Request notification of irregularities as soon as possible in order to affect corrections “on the spot”.
  • Never intentionally misrepresent a condition to the PSCO.
  • Insist on a closing meeting -even if one is not offered:
    -Listen to what the senior boarding officer says about the boarding results
    -Compare it with what he writes--ask for clarification/corrections if necessary
    -Ensure by direct question -“We see nothing here suggesting a detention”.
  • If the vessel is detained, notify the company immediately in accordance with company procedures. The flag Administration should also be notified as soon as possible.
  • Ensure the inspection team is escorted at debarkation.
  • Be aware of cultural differences.

The following are examples of pre-existing deficiencies that resulted in detentions and could have been avoided had they been reported in advance and corrective action initiated:

  • Failure to report and take corrective action on existing inoperable rescue boat davit, rending the rescue boat incapable of launching.
  • Failure to report and take corrective action on existing inoperative electronic switchboard cards, which caused the engine room to be without required alarms.
  • Failure to report and take corrective action on existing inoperative quick closing valves, fire dampers, fire detection sensor, cargo hold ventilator covers, and/or gooseneck vents.
  • Failure to report and take corrective action on existing problems related to emergency generator.
  • Failure to report and take corrective action on existing defective radio and communication equipment.
  • Failure to report and take corrective action on existing defective Emergency fire pump.
  • Failure to report and take corrective action on existing defective OWS.
  • Failure to report and take corrective action on existing inoperative three way valves.
  • Intentional overriding or disabling equipment and systems, such as, water mist fire-fighting systems, quick closing fuel supply valves, and bypassing the oily water separator oil content meter. Such actions endanger the safety of the crew, the ship and the environment and should not be tolerated.
  • The crew was not able to successfully demonstrate the operation of the OWS, ECDIS and Emergency firepump.

LISCR also provides a Pre-Arrival Compliance Checklist to assist in verifying items that have been commonly found deficient, resulting in Port State deficiencies and detentions. Explore more herebelow: