Island News

Enhancing port state control

Written By : ILIESA SOKIA . The Fiji Island Maritime Authority [FIMSA] is a signatory to a number of International Maritime Organisation [IMO] treaties because of its affiliation to the
13 Nov 2010 12:00

image Written By : ILIESA SOKIA . The Fiji Island Maritime Authority [FIMSA] is a signatory to a number of International Maritime Organisation [IMO] treaties because of its affiliation to the world maritime governing body.
Under the IMO, there are four very significant technical co-operation or convention tied down in the MoU that each 169 IMO affiliate member must adhere to.
First and foremost is SOLAS or “Safety of Life at Sea”, It is by far the oldest treaty IMO established following the Titanic disaster of 1912 and is still the most important treaty addressing maritime safety today.
Then there is the MARPOL Treaty or the international convention covering prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes.
The Convention includes regulations aimed at preventing and minimising pollution from ships – both accidental pollution and that from routine operations – and currently includes six technical Annexes- Regulations for the Prevention of Pollution by Oil, Regulations for the Control of Pollution by Noxious Liquid Substances in ships, Prevention of Pollution by Harmful Substances Carried by ships, Prevention of Pollution by sewerage, Prevention of Pollution by Garbage from Ships, Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships.
The third is the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch keeping for Seafarers [STCW] adopted on July 1978 but finally came into force in April 1984 since then there has been major revisions and amendment in 1995 and 2010.
The MSC then produces a list of “confirmed Parties” in compliance with the STCW Convention.
Under the STCW Convention, There are eight “chapters” ships must comply with.
I is General provisions: Master and deck department,: Engine department: Radio Communication and radio personnel: Special training requirements for personnel on certain types of ships: Emergency, occupational safety, medical care and survival functions: Alternative certification and Watch keeping.
The forth convention is the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR) adoption in April 1979 and came into force on June 1985.
SAR was adopted at a Conference in Hamburg, aimed at developing an international SAR plan, so that, no matter where an accident occurs, the rescue of persons in distress at sea will be co-ordinated by a SAR organisation and, when necessary, by co-operation between neighbouring SAR organisations.
Shipping is perhaps the most international of the world’s industries, serving more than 90 per cent of global trade by carrying huge quantities of cargo cost effectively, cleanly and safely.
The ownership and management chain surrounding any ship can embrace many countries and ships spend their economic life moving between different jurisdictions, often far from the country of registry.
There is, therefore, a need for international standards to regulate shipping – which can be adopted and accepted by all.
This prompted the IMO in encouraging the establishment of regional Port State Control organisations and agreements on port State control – Memoranda of Understanding or MoUs – have been signed covering all of the world’s oceans: Europe and the north Atlantic (Paris MoU); Asia and the Pacific (Tokyo MoU); Latin America (Acuerdo de Viña del Mar); Caribbean (Caribbean MoU); West and Central Africa (Abuja MoU); the Black Sea region (Black Sea MoU); the Mediterranean (Mediterranean MoU); the Indian Ocean (Indian Ocean MoU); and the Riyadh MoU.
Fiji and the Oceania region is party to the Tokyo MoU and there are 16 members.
The purpose of PSC or Port State Control is the inspection of foreign ships in national ports to verify that the condition of the ship and its equipment comply with the requirements of international regulations and that the ship is manned and operated in compliance with these rules.
It is in fact the inspection of foreign ships in other national ports by PSC officers (inspectors) for the purpose of verifying that the competency of the master and officers onboard, the condition of a ship and its equipment comply with the requirements of international conventions (e.g. SOLAS, MARPOL, STCW and SAR.) and that the vessel is manned and operated in compliance with applicable international law.
These inspections were originally intended to be a back up to flag State implementation, but experience has shown that they can be extremely effective, especially if organised on a regional basis.
A ship going to a port in one country will normally visit other countries in the region before embarking on its return voyage and it is to everybody’s advantage if inspections can be closely co-ordinated.
Under the Tokyo MoU, a concentrated inspection campaign was carried out on harmful substances (MARPOL Annex III, SOLAS VII and the IMDG Code) from September 2010.
The eighteen member Authorities of the Tokyo MOU embarked on a concentrated inspection campaign (CIC) on Harmful Substances (Marine Pollutants) Carried in
Packaged Form in accordance with MARPOL Annex III, SOLAS Chapter VII and the
IMDG Code. The three-month campaign will start on September 1, 2010 and end on November 30, 2010.
As part of this exercise FIMSA was assisted by two Australian Marine Authority experts to conduct inspection courses on the above IMO conventions.
The workshop has concluded at the FIMSA HQ in Suva over the week, and in the duration of the course participants inspected, within the resources available, as many ships as possible in conjunction with routine port State control inspections.
PSC officers checked whether the ship has appropriate document of compliance (DOC) for carrying harmful substances (marine pollutants); whether the ship is provided with relevant documents and information corresponding to the harmful substances (marine pollutants) carried onboard; whether emergency procedures to be employed in the event of an incident involving harmful substances (marine pollutants) are in place and crew awareness.
Finally PSC officers were ensured that harmful substances (marine pollutants) are marked, stowed and secured appropriately. A questionnaire for the CIC was developed for the purpose of the workshop.
All deficiencies found, were recorded by the port State and appropriate action were also taken where by instructions sent to rectify before departure.
It was an opportunity to enhance and uplift the local PSC Officer’s ship inspection skills and knowledge and also to up skill their knowledge on various amended Port State Control Laws and code which continue to be revised year after year.
The practical Port State Inspections were conducted on the local RORO ferry SOFI and there were two practical inspections on International ships.
The training facilitators, Edward Ip and Chowdury Sadarudin are from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, a signatory to the Tokyo MOU.
The training was made possible through the request made by the Secretariat of the Tokyo MOU to AMSA and providing funding for the facilitators.
Training is paramount to our local PSC officer to ensure ships are inspected but at the same time prevents ships being delayed by unnecessary inspections.
The primary responsibility for ships’ standards rests with the flag State – but port State control provides a “safety net” to catch substandard ships.
Under the Port State Control inspection system, the main criteria for detention is that the ship is deemed unsafe to proceed to sea and that the deficiencies on a ship are considered serious by the inspector. These deficiencies must be rectified before the ship may sail again.
A major concern in the Paris MOU last year was that the major deficiencies are:Certification of crew, Safety, Maritime Security, Marine Pollution and Environment, Working and Living Condition, Operational and Management
These deficiencies are the most common concern of a PSCO.
When these deficiencies are clearly hazardous to safety, health, or the environment, the PSCO would require the hazard to be rectified before the ship can sail or detain the vessel or even issue a formal prohibition of the ship to operate.
For the purpose of increasing pressures on substandard ships, the Port State Control Committee often publishes a list of under-performing ships which have been detained for three or more times by the Tokyo MOU.
The under-performing ship will be subjected to more frequent inspections at each and every port of call within the Tokyo MOU region.
All Authorities of Tokyo MOU have been alerted to inspect under-performing ships if found.
Port State Control (PSC) is the inspection of foreign ships in other national ports by PSC officers (inspectors) for the purpose of verifying that the competency of the master and officers onboard, the condition of a ship and its equipment comply with the requirements of international conventions (eg SOLAS, MARPOL, STCW, etc.) and that the vessel is manned and operated in compliance with applicable international law.
In 1978, a number of European countries agreed in The Hague on a memorandum that agreed to audit whether the labour conditions on board vessels were according to the rules of the ILO.
After the Amoco Cadiz sank that year, it was decided to also audit on safety and pollution.
To this end, in 1982 the Paris Memorandum of Understanding (Paris MoU) was agreed upon, establishing Port State Control, nowadays 26 European countries and Canada.
In practice, this was a reaction on the failure of the flag states – especially flags of convenience that have delegated their task to classification societies – to comply with their inspection duties.
While national PSC will enhance the safety of ships and the protection of the marine environment, only a regional approach will ensure that sub-standard operators have fewer places to hide.
Unless a regional approach is adopted, operators will divert their ships to ports in the region where no, or less stringent, PSC inspections are conducted.
This may seriously impact on the ports of those countries that do conduct proper inspections.
To remedy this and to improve the general effectiveness of inspections, many regions of the world have already entered into regional agreements on PSC.
In the first instance, these agreements cover the exchange of information about ships, their records and the results of inspections carried out.
This enables subsequent ports of call to target ships that have not been recently inspected.
Another reason for co-operating with other ports in the region is to ensure that identified sub-standard ships are effectively monitored.
This applies especially to ships that have been allowed to sail with minor deficiencies on the condition that these are rectified at the next port of call.
Such ships can only be monitored by a constant exchange of information between ports.
Co-operation also ensures that port state inspections are carried out in a uniform manner in all countries, and ultimately all regions, and that similar standards are applied to the detention of ships and the training standards of PSCOs.



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