Key causes of PSC detentions on cruise ships

  • Fire doors had compromised fire protection integrity to include holes, wastage, patches and improper modifications or repairs. 74 SOLAS (14), II-2/
  • Windows facing lifesaving embarkation areas found to be cracked or shattered. 74 SOLAS (14), II-2/
  • Lifeboats were found to have fuel in the bilges from an unknown source. 74 SOLAS (14), III/20.2
  • Manual pumps in the lifeboats were found to be inoperable due to deterioration of bilge pump hoses. 74 SOLAS (14), III/20.2
  • Lifejackets were found rotted and inoperable. 74 SOLAS (14), III/20.2

Top deficient areas

Detentions may have been the result of a combination of deficiencies, and not necessarily resulted from any one individual deficiency. Unlike the above, these did not necessarily result in a detention, but were most commonly found:

-->Structural Fire Protection

  • Fire Screen Doors. Fire screen doors were found to have damage to the sequencing bars, damage to the doors themselves or not closing properly (Either too fast, too slow or were not latching completely). 74 SOLAS (14), II-2/
  • Fire Integrity of Bulkheads and Decks. Bulkheads and decks were found with improper penetrations, wastage and/or missing the required insulation for the boundary. 74 SOLAS (14), II-2/
  • Improper Utilization of Categorized Spaces. There were several deficiencies issued regarding improper use of spaces. Space is at a premium on cruise ships. Because of this, sometimes crewmembers store combustible materials in spaces that do not have the adequate fire protection and suppression systems in the event of a fire. 74 SOLAS (14), II-2/

-->Means of Escape

  • Impeding Means of Escape. Corridors, doors and hatches in areas designated as escape routes were found to be either partially or completely blocked. Doors in some instances were locked, without the ability to defeat the lock, preventing passage in the direction of escape. 74 SOLAS (14), II-2/13.3.2
  • Escape Signage. Spaces were found with exit signage and/or low location lighting, missing, blocked, improperly labeled or inoperable. 74 SOLAS (14), II-2/


  • Lifeboat & Rescue boats were found damaged and/or inoperable. 74 SOLAS (14) CH. III/20
  • Launching appliances were found damaged or with inoperable falls, davits and/or releasing mechanisms. 74 SOLAS (14) CH. III/20

-->Fire Detection and Suppression Systems

  • Systems were found damaged or inoperable, with sprinkler heads/water mist nozzles painted over, or completely missing. Other issues included failed couplings. 74 SOLAS (14) CH. II-2/14.1.1


  • Ship’s crew were found to be unfamiliar with assigned duties and/or emergency equipment. 74 SOLAS (14) CH.III/19

Vessel representatives are reminded that if any system onboard the vessel is not in good working condition, the crew should take the necessary actions to remedy the situation in accordance with their Safety Management System. A record of any actions taken should be maintained as evidence that the SMS is being used effectively in conjunction with all routine maintenance.