With the introduction of the ​​​New Inspection Regime (NIR), all ships operating within the Paris MoU are subdivided into three types: ​

  • Low Risk Ship (LRS)
  • Standard Risk Ship (SRS)
  • High Risk Ship (HRS)

​The type of ship is decisive

The type of ship determines how often a ship is required to be subjected to a port State control inspection in Paris MoU. Low risk ships must be inspected every third year, standard risk ships must be inspected every year, while high risk ships must be inspected every six months. When a period has expired, the ship is required to be inspected at the first subsequent port call.

The authority can choose to inspect earlier than required

However, the port State control authority can choose to inspect the ship earlier than required if it is expedient as regards the authority’s work. This means that a low risk ship can be inspected two years after the latest inspection, a standard risk ship ten months after the latest inspection and a high risk ship five months after the latest inspection.

Prioritising ships

When two years have passed since the latest inspection of a low risk ship, the ship becomes a second priority ship. This means that the authority may choose to inspect the ship, but is not required to do so.

If, however, more than three years pass since the latest inspection of a low risk ship, the ship becomes a first priority ship. This means that it is required to be inspected.

Similar rules of priority apply to standard risk ships and high risk ships, which is illustrated in this picture.

However, an unexpected factor may change the status of the ship from no priority to second priority.

Furthermore, a top priority factor may change the ship’s inspection priority to first priority.

Ships affected by unexpected factors are the following:

  • Ships that have not observed the current version of the IMO recommendation for navigating the entrances to the Baltic Sea.
  • Ships with certificates issued by a previously recognised organisation whose authorisation has been withdrawn since the latest inspection in the Community or in the Paris MoU region.
  • Ships about which pilots or port authorities or bodies have reported obvious irregularities that may affect safety of navigation or that present a risk of damage to the marine environment, cf. article 23 of this directive.
  • Ships that do not meet the relevant reporting requirements as stipulated in article 9 of the PSC directive as well as in directive 2000/59/EC (on port reception facilities for ship-generated waste and cargo residues) and 2002/59/EC (monitoring directive and, if relevant, regulation (EC) no. 725/2004 (on enhancing ship and port facility security).
  • Ships for which a report or complaint has been made by the master, a crewmember or by any person or organisation with a legitimate interest in the ship being operated safely and properly, in the living and working conditions on board or in preventing pollution unless the member State concerned considers the report or the complaint clearly groundless.
  • Ships that have previously been detained more than three months ago.
  • Ships for which outstanding defects and non-conformities have been reported, except ships for which the defects and non-conformities are required to be remedied within 14 days after departure or before departure.
  • Ships for which problems have been reported related to their cargo, especially harmful and dangerous goods.
  • Ships that have manoeuvred in a manner presenting a risk to persons, property or the environment.
  • Ships for which information from a reliable source has shown that their risk parameters differ from the registered parameters and that the risk level is therefore higher.
  • Top priority factors mean the following:
  • Ships that have, for safety reasons, been suspended or withdrawn from their class since the latest inspection in the Community or in the Paris MoU region.
  • Ships for which another member State has made a report or notice.
  • Ships that cannot be identified in the inspection database.
  • Ships that have been involved in a collision, grounding or stranding on their way to port.
  • Ships that have been accused of contravening the provisions on the discharge of harmful substances or waste water.
  • Ships that have manoeuvred in an irregular manner or in a manner that is not appropriate in terms of safety so that routeing measures adopted by the IMO or safe navigation practice and procedures have not been observed.​

Source: dma


Port State Control is the means by which a nation exercises authority over foreign merchant vessels that are within waters subject to its jurisdiction. Maritime Authorities who are signatories to the PSC MOU operating in their region agree to maintain an effective system of PSC to confirm that foreign ships calling, or anchoring off, its ports or off-shore installations comply with the applicable international standards. These standards are laid down in the “relevant instruments” of the MOU. The Cayman Islands is a signatory to the Caribbean MOU on PSC. PSC Officers based in George Town carry out inspections of visiting foreign flag vessels.


PSC aims to verify whether foreign flagged vessels comply with applicable international conventions on safety, pollution prevention and crew living and working conditions. Where vessels are not found to be in substantial compliance, the PSC system imposes actions to ensure they are brought into compliance.

Inspections are targeted at vessels of most concern and/or most likely to be substandard, based on identified risk factors.

Authority Used for Inspection

PSC activity must be based on the control authority provided under national laws. For example, there must be laws that permit the inspection of foreign ships within the jurisdiction of the port state, laws to apply the relevant instruments to those ships and laws to enable enforcement actions to be taken against ships that do not comply.

When applying the relevant instruments, the Port State Control Officers (PSCOs) must carefully check that any action taken is authorised under a convention or its applicable law. For older vessels, in particular, PSCOs must ensure the applicability of the requirements. The requirements of new conventions may not  apply to existing ships and, in some cases, the ships may be exempt or have equivalent provisions.

Memoranda of Understanding (MOU)

To facilitate coordination of PSC activities, IMO has encouraged the establishment of regional PSC organisations and agreements. Several Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) are now in operation between regions including:

  • 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)
  • Black Sea Region (Black Sea MOU)
  • Mediterranean (Mediterranean MOU)
  • Indian Ocean (Indian Ocean MOU);
  • Arab States of the Gulf (GCC MoU or Riyadh MoU).

In addition to these MOUs, the United States Coast Guard also operates its own PSC regime.

Contacting Cayman Island Shipping Registry

The Safety & Compliance Section at Cayman Registry is available to provide assistance and guidance in the case of any PSC intervention on board Cayman registered vessels and can be contacted at the numbers provided in Guidance Note No.: 2013_01_CIGN.

Source: cishipping


Are you prepared for the next port state control inspection? Or what do you do if your vessel is detained and cannot continue on schedule? You need a reliable partner who supports you when you need it, anywhere in the world.

Our long-standing, high port state control (PSC) performance is testimony to the quality of our services and good cooperation with our customers.

Whether you need support upon detention or want to prevent off-hire due to detention, call on us and we’ll be at your side – regardless of where you are in the world.

Rely on us when detained:

  • We rapidly organise a surveyor to assist you on board
  • We are more familiar with local PSC authorities and can speed up the process

As the world’s largest classification society, we are able to conduct extensive research and constant analysis to evaluate the lessons learned from detentions. This enables us to provide a range of services that support you in keeping your vessel in compliance – so you are best prepared for PSC inspections worldwide at all times.

Our range of comprehensive PSC services includes:

  • PSC Planner web application: Available for all customers via VERACITY by DNV GL, overview of ones fleet’s PSC performance, helps to prepare for upcoming PSC inspections with ship specific short checklists
  • Pro-active PSC risk profiling for your fleet – send inquiry
  • One-day interactive PSC workshop or tailor-made trainings via DNV GL Academy
  • Ad-hoc PSC seminars and training courses on request
  • PSC news, additional guidance on technical topics from a PSC inspection view
  • Support for preparation on Concentrated Inspection Campaigns (CIC):
    • Paris MOU and Tokyo MOU will carry out a joint CIC from August – September 2019 on “Emergency Systems and Procedures”
    • This CIC will also be joined by Black Sea MoU, Med MoU, Indian MoU, Riyadh MoU and Vina del Mar MoU
    • DNV GL will offer detailed information about the topic during a smart-up session annual in August – next webinar will be in August 2020 for the CIC in 2020
    • Recordings of previous CIC smart-up can be found below under Videos and Downloads
    • Further guidance on actual and previous CICs can be found under PSC news

With PSC support from DNV GL, you’re always in good hands:

  • Be prepared for smooth PSC inspections to minimise the risk of deficiencies, saving you time and money
  • Profit from surveyors who can discuss directly with PSC officers on board and most likely in the local language
  • Know exactly which actions have to be taken to achieve the quickest possible rectification of deficiencies and/or the release of your ship

Source: dnvgl


For the purpose of providing more transparent information on activities of the Tokyo MOU, the Port State Control Committee decided to publish the PSC inspection data on the web-site. The inspection database under this section has been developed for providing the facilities to make search and view of the results of inspections conducted by the member Authorities of the Tokyo MOU.

In order to ensure accuracy and correctness of the Tokyo MOU PSC data, should there be a question regarding inspection data, parties or individuals concerned are requested to contact the relevant port State Authority directly for verification or correction. The information displayed in the database reflects the situation at the time of inspection. The Secretariat of the Tokyo MOU is not in the position to amend any records in the database.


All ships sailing in international waters are required to comply with the international codes and conventions put forth by the maritime authorities. For this, ships should be maintained at a particular standard by the combined efforts of flat states, shipping company, and ship’s master.

In order to ensure that the condition of foreign ships is well above the excepted level, inspections are done on the ships when they visit international ports. This inspection of foreign ships is known as port state control (PSC).

Port State Control

Representation Image – Credits:

The regulation of port state control was brought in by the formation of Paris Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which also put forth the general criteria for inspection procedures of all types of ships.

Know more about the Paris Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and the 8 PSC regimes in operation worldwide

Paris memorandum of understanding (MOU) laid down few general rules for the inspection of foreign vessels. They are as follows:

  • Inspection would be carried out on ships coming to a port for the first time or after an absence of 12 months of more
  • Inspection would be carried out of ships which have been permitted to leave the port of a state with deficiencies to be rectified
  • Inspection would be carried out of ships which have been reported as being deficient by pilots or port authorities
  • Ships whose certificates are not in order would be inspected
  • Ships which has been involved in any kind of accident such as grounding, collision or stranding on the way to a port will be inspected
  • Inspection of ship which are carrying dangerous or polluting goods and have failed to report relevant information would be inspected
  • Ships which have been suspended from the class in the preceding 6 months would be inspected
  • Ships which have been subject of a report or notification by another authority would be inspected
  • Inspection of ships which are accused of an alleged violation of the provision of IMO as to pose a threat to the ship’s crew, property, or environment would be inspected

A ship is allowed to leave a port only on condition that the deficiencies found will be rectified before the departure or at the next port or within 14 days.

What all things are checked during port state control (PSC) inspection?

A port state control inspection involves checking of several aspects of the ship in both deck and engine departments of the ship.


The survey involves checking of important shipping documents, technical details, and structural elements of the ship.

Documents that are checked during port state control (PSC)

Important things that can be checked in the engine room during a port state control (PSC)

A ship is detained mainly when she is found to be dangerously unsafe to the safety of the ship, its crew and to marine environment. She can also be detained when the condition and standard of the ship is in complete contravention with the regulations put forth by the IMO and other maritime authorities.

The data collected from port state inspections of all the ships is stored in an information system called the “Equasis.

Find out more about Equasis here.

After the inspection, it is the duty of the master to report to the company regarding the outcome of the inspection.

Port State Control (PSC) 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.


Many of IMO’s most important technical conventions contain provisions for ships to be inspected when they visit foreign ports to ensure that they meet IMO requirements.

These inspections were originally intended to be a back up to flag State implementation, but experience has shown that they can be extremely effective. The Organization adopted resolution A.682(17) on Regional co-operation in the control of ships and discharges promoting the conclusion of regional agreements. A ship going to a port in one country will normally visit other countries in the region and it can, therefore, be more efficient if inspections can be closely coordinated in order to focus on substandard ships and to avoid multiple inspections.

This ensures that as many ships as possible 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.
Nine regional agreements on port State control – Memoranda of Understanding or MoUs – have been signed: 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. The United States Coast Guard maintain the tenth PSC regime.
IMO hosted six Workshops for PSC MoU/Agreement Secretaries and Database Managers. The Workshops were funded by the IMO Technical Cooperation Fund and aimed to provide support to regional port State control regimes by establishing a platform for cooperation and also providing a forum for the people involved to meet and exchange ideas and experiences. They also aimed to encourage harmonization and coordination of PSC activities and the development of practical recommendations which can be forwarded to IMO for further examination by the Organization’s relevant Committees and Sub-Committees.
The reports of the six past workshops are available on IMODOCS under “meeting documents/others/PSCWS”.
Source: imo


With the UK playing a major role in the global maritime industry and relying on containerised shipping to move 95% of its imports and exports, the importance of sanctions compliance for UK institutions cannot be understated. 

In recent months, we have seen OFAC release a long-awaited advisory for the maritime industry, comprehensively expanding the regulatory focus and placing all maritime industry stakeholders under the microscope. Following in its footsteps, this month the UK’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) released a guidance document focussing on financial sanctions guidance for those operating within the maritime shipping sector.

As global law firm Clyde & Co. have said, “It is no coincidence that two of the world’s leading sanctions enforcement bodies have both issued guidance notes to the maritime industry within months of each other.  Industry participants have been warned: there are now very clear expectations of what good sanctions compliance looks like –a failure to meet those expectations could prove costly.

So, what does the OFSI guidance cover?

The guidance looks at methods commonly used to breach sanctions, including ship-to-ship (STS) transfers and switching off or manipulating AIS transmissions. OFSI also provides guidance on specific sanctions regimes relating to DPRK, Iran, Libya, and Syria, in terms of due diligence obligations, policy enforcement, and penalties.

Illicit & suspicious shipping practices

  • STS transfers: A ship-to-ship transfer is the movement of cargo from one ship to another while at sea, rather than in port. While the majority of STS transfers are perfectly legal, they can also be used to conceal the origin or destination of the transferred cargo.
  • AIS transmissions: Vessels conducting illicit ship-to-ship transfers will typically disable AIS to evade detection. Alternatively, vessels manipulate the data transmitted via AIS to conceal a vessel’s next port of call or other information regarding its voyage.
  • False documentation: Complete and accurate shipping documentation is necessary to ensure that all those associated with a transaction understand the parties, goods, and vessels involved in a given shipment. Documents such as bills of lading and invoices can be falsified to conceal what is being shipped and shipment origin
  • Financial system abuse: Bank accounts are often established with the primary purpose of engaging in and concealing illicit activities. These can be used as fronts to conduct transactions in violation of sanctions and facilitating illicit shipping practices. Bad actors also often set up complex corporate ownership and management structures to hide the ultimate beneficiary.
  • Concealment: Those seeking to evade sanctions will often employ tactics that physically conceal illicit cargo onboard a vessel.

While the above practices do not automatically indicate a sanctions violation, OFSI specifies that they should be viewed as red flags that require further investigation, particularly around where these activities took place. Specific regions may present a high risk with respect to financial sanctions compliance, as such due diligence should be carried out as part of a risk-based approach. When dealing with such regions, or when passing through or near waters where non-compliant actors are known to operate, enhanced due diligence should be considered.

Due Diligence

Much like the recent OFAC advisory, OFSI’s guidance stresses the fact that no company is too big to fail, and how it is no longer just financial institutions that need to be concerned with sanctions. All entities across the maritime sector and related supply chains must significantly improve their due diligence and compliance programmes to avoid breaching global sanctions. In the guidance, certain industry players are highlighted:

  • Maritime insurance companies
  • Charterers
  • Unions
  • Classification societies
  • Petroleum companies and refineries
  • Customs and port state controls
  • Flag registries
  • Shipping industry associations

Compliance risk, however, is not only confined to the above industries, so global operators need to take a risk-based approach when deciding whether to conduct business.

What should you be doing? 

With the OFSI advisory coming so soon after the OFAC advisory, there is no longer an excuse for corporates who do not have appropriate systems in place to ensure proper risk-mitigation.

Yet again, the same weaknesses, such as AIS transmissions, have been highlighted as prime avenues for those seeking to flout sanctions programs.

Here at Pole Star, we have a suite of solutions to assist you in ensuring sanctions compliance across all aspects of the maritime supply chain.

PurpleTRAC is our award-winning revolutionary regulatory technology system for institutions with sanctions and risk management exposures in maritime trade, enabling users to screen and track vessels and their associated ownership and management in seconds, by entering only the vessel’s name or IMO number. Within 30 seconds, PurpleTRAC screens for the following:

  • Ship Global Sanctions List: Screens a vessel’s IMO number against our comprehensive sanctions database
  • Company Global Sanctions List: Screens a vessel’s ownership and management against our comprehensive list of sanctions, denied parties, and enforcement actions lists
  • Country Sanctions List: Screens a vessel’s flag, its ownership and management, and countries of registration, domicile, and control
  • Ship Movement History Check: Screens a vessel’s historic movements and trading patterns
  • Port State Control Check: Screens a vessel’s entire port state control inspection history

Further in line with this advisory, PurpleTRAC now has a new extension:  Bill of Lading Verification (BLV), which will allow customers to significantly extend their sanctions risk and compliance investigations by verifying bills of lading in real time.


In response to several incidents of containers being lost into the sea, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has initiated a focused inspection campaign on container stowage and securing arrangements, both fixed and portable, that will run from 1 August 2020 to 31 October 2020.


Containers lost at sea present a serious safety and an environmental hazard. The World Shipping Council estimates that over the last 12 years (2008-2019), 1,382 containers have been lost at sea on an average each year due to both catastrophic and non-catastrophic incidents. A series of such incidents off Australian coast in recent years has prompted AMSA to launch its focused inspection campaign (FIC) “to demonstrate that inadequate cargo securing arrangements and the loss of cargo in Australian waters is not acceptable”. The purpose of this FIC is two-fold:

Draw shipowners’ and operators’ attention to their obligations under reg. 2 and 5, Chapter VI of SOLAS; and
Specifically focus on the use of cargo information as well as stowage and securing of containers.

Inspection process

This FIC is specific to Australia and will only target foreign vessels in Australian waters that have, or are required to have, cargo securing arrangements approved under regulation 5 of Chapter VI of SOLAS. Inspections can take place either in conjunction with normal port state control (PSC) inspections, or as a standalone inspection where a vessel is not eligible for PSC inspection. Where a deficiency is found, the inspector will discuss it with the Master with a view to ensure that the non-compliance is corrected.

Any data derived from these inspections will not be shared with regional port State control regime databases, such as the Tokyo MoU and Indian Ocean MoU, unless the vessel is deemed non-compliant and the PSC inspector believes clear grounds exist to conduct a full PSC inspection.

Scope of inspection

AMSA has provided a checklist which inspectors will follow when conducting the inspections. The inspectors will typically be focusing on the following areas during inspections:

Cargo Securing Manual
Is there an approved cargo securing manual (CSM) which adequately covers the cargo being carried;
Are crew aware of its contents, particularly stack weight limitations.

Container stowage
Permissible stack weights are not exceeded in current and previous voyages;
Vertical weight distribution has been complied with in current and previous voyages;
The forces on containers and securing systems should not exceed the allowable force limits specified in the CSM;
The vessel has been provided with a verified gross mass (VGM) of containers;
Relevant officers are well familiar with any computer programs used onboard for stowage, stability calculations, lashing forces etc.

Container securing
Securing is in accordance with the CSM;
Lashing equipment is sufficient, in good order, and compatible with the vessel;
Twistlocks, base locks and stacking cones are positioned correctly;
Cargo securing points are not rusty or poorly maintained;
Lashing checks are done during the voyage.

Heavy weather navigation
Safety management system requirements for heavy weather navigation;
Crew’s familiarity with the above.


Gard recommends that members and clients:

Make their crew familiar with the contents of the checklist which will be used by AMSA inspectors; reference can also be made to AMSA’s marine notice 03/2018 ‘Proper stowage of cargo containers’.
Provide training to relevant officers and crew on ensuring compliance with CSM; and
Identify areas of shortcomings and rectify them well before calling Australia.
Source: GARD


A U.K. enforcement agency is urging the maritime industry to be on the lookout for illicit practices that could be used to evade sanctions, the latest regulator to warn about compliance risks facing the industry.

Guidance by the U.K.’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation, which is part of the country’s Treasury department, indicates companies are susceptible to suspicious shipping practices such as the intentional disabling of vessel-tracking systems to conduct illegal trade and the falsifying of documentation for maritime transactions.

Maritime insurance companies, charterers, customs and port state controls, and flag registries are among the sectors exposed to the risks, the agency said.

The guidance, which was issued last week and amplified in a government blog post Monday, adds to a evolving list of guidelines aimed at the maritime industry and underscores compliance complexities facing those operating in the U.S., the U.K. and the European Union, sanctions experts say.

Three U.S. agencies issued guidance for the maritime sector in May, saying the industry may need to develop procedures to avoid being exploited by terrorists and other illicit actors seeking to trade with countries subject to U.S. sanctions.

The U.K. operates the largest share of the global maritime insurance market, and 13 of the major international protection and indemnity associations of marine insurance providers operate from management offices in the U.K., the OFSI said.

Entities and individuals in the maritime sector need to assess their own risks and conduct sufficient due diligence to ensure compliance with sanctions, according to the agency, which emphasized the importance of understanding sanctions regulations in high-risk jurisdictions and using vessel-tracking systems and subscription-based resources to verify ownership structures of customers and business partners.

The guidance highlights the additional compliance obligations for companies operating in the maritime industry as they navigate the similar but different sanctions systems between the U.S. and the U.K., said Eric Lorber, a vice president at advisory firm K2 Intelligence/Financial Integrity Network.

The U.K. is in the process of transitioning to its own set of sanctions compliance guidelines as part of its departure from the European Union.

During the transition period, which ends Dec. 31, individuals and companies in the U.K. are still required to comply with the EU’s sanctions policies, in addition to United Nations sanctions and the U.K.’s own sanctions programs. The U.S. has its own sanctions programs and follows UN sanctions as well.

A shipping company based in the U.K. that conducts U.S. dollar transactions would need to comply with more than one sanctions system.

“It’s the first time you’re beginning to see this balancing act by a number of institutions in the maritime industry between two different regulatory jurisdictions that require similar actions but don’t line up one to one,” he said. “It’s really challenging for an industry that doesn’t have the sanctions expertise.”

Source: wsj


V.Group has launched a new risk analysis tool to improve performance in Port State Control (PSC) inspections, leveraging data collected from the more than 1,000 PSC inspections carried out across the company’s fleet each year.

The PSC Performance Analyser highlights all the risks facing a vessel when preparing for a survey, to allow staff to take proactive action. Using the new tool, V.Group says that it has been able to achieve 83% flawless Port State Control inspections up to the end of quarter two.

The system can monitor trends by country and individual ports, and breaks the data down by office / fleet / customer, with performance analysed by Class Society and by Flag State. Data is displayed within an interactive dashboard.

“With a constantly evolving environment, the need to drive vessel safety and environmentally compliant operations has never been greater. Our new platform uses technology as well as our own in-depth knowledge to provide data to help make the decisions that matter, maximising operational efficiency on behalf of our customers,” said Mike Bradshaw, Global Head of HSEQ at V.Group.

“Our PSC Performance Analyser tool not only looks back over past performance but also looks ahead, highlighting any potential risks ahead of arrival to ensure all management processes are prepared and ready in the selected country. This tool will prove key in continually striving for PSC excellence.”

The launch of the PSC platform follows the recent announcement of V.Group’s new risk-based SIRE Performance analysis platform.

Source: smartmaritimenetwork


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