IMO and Port State Control Agree Pragmatic Approach to Inspections

file photo
file photo

Published Apr 11, 2020 10:38 PM by The Maritime Executive

The IMO and port state control inspection authorities say they have set a pragmatic approach to inspections to support the continued operation of the global supply chain during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The port State control (PSC) regimes, which carry out inspections onboard ships to monitor and enforce compliance with international regulations, have highlighted their commitment to ensuring shipping continues to trade safely. Representatives of the 10 Port State Control regimes, which cover the world's oceans, met on April 8 in an online video meeting with the IMO Secretariat. They reported that while the number of physical onboard ship inspections has reduced considerably, in order to protect both port State control officers and seafarers, they continue to work to target high-risk ships which may be substandard.

The port State control regimes reported taking a "pragmatic, practical and flexible" approach, recognizing that exemptions, waivers and extensions to certificates have been granted by many flag States. The PSC regimes agreed on the need to work together to develop harmonized practices and policies to ensure a consistent approach across the world and welcomed the coordinating role of IMO.

They issued a joint statement stating: "The respective roles of flag States and port States to solve this crisis, in terms of supporting maritime trade, are paramount, and can also be significantly assisted by the industry. At the same time, the safety of life at sea, the protection of the marine environment and the respect of seafarers as key workers must remain shared priorities."  

The meeting was attended by the United States Coast Guard, the Viña del Mar Agreement and the Abuja, Black Sea, Caribbean, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, Paris, Riyadh and Tokyo Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) on port State control, as well as the IMO Secretariat. 

Advice and information circulated by the IMO, including information from Member States and recommendations issued by the IMO, can be found here.