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Port State Control is a waste of a State’s Resources- Discuss for or against Port State Control (PSC) as defined by wikipedia. com 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 (e. g. SOLAS, MARPOL, STCW, etc. ) and that the vessel is manned and operated in compliance with applicable international law.

These controls are international standards that promote maritime safety in terms of pollution prevention and shipboard living and working conditions, they are also in place to eliminate all substandard vessels from the industry. It is in the concept of port state control that the maritime community worldwide has seen a possible solution to the problem of the substandard ship. Not the solution, but rather one of the more positive steps which can be taken – and necessary because the prime obligation of the ship-owner and his register have been too often neglected.

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Most maritime authorities now have more modern, effective and direct powers of port state control inspection: SOLAS, MARPOL, the Loadline Convention, the Registration of Ships and the STCW Convention all give powers (and duties) of inspection to ensure compliance. And most states give themselves extensive powers in relation to prevention of oil pollution. Port State Control is not a waste of state resources for one primary reason: it is now becoming nearly impossible for a ship-owner to identify one or two ports where their ships could trade without concern about a port state inspection or a fear of detention.

It has been an active component of the shipping world for a considerable time, and therefore it is safe to deduce that these controls that have been put in place are achieving its purpose- “to verify that the competency of onboard personnel, the condition of a ship and its equipment comply with the requirements of international conventions” (wikpedia. com). Port State Control is to protect all stakeholders with maritime interest, which is by extension the entire world.

All countries and states participate in trade that is primarily facilitated by vessels of the sea, and the PSC and its enforcement gives assurance of the safety needed for the worldwide network of trade to function. The regional agreements on port state control have been strengthened in existing areas and continue to expand into new areas. Port State Controls protect the environment in general as well as the economic interest of ship-owners.

Ship-owners always need to keep port state control in mind for their trade, as failing to comply with port state control requirements may be hugely costly and may stop the vessel to be able to trade with certain ports for a considerable period of time. The following is an example to show how important Port State Controls are and the devastating effects loop holes in inspection can cause to the environment. The Erika The Erika incident which took place in December 1999 prompted a huge legislation overhaul.

During the early morning of 12 December 1999 the Maltese registered tanker Erika broke in two in gale force winds in the Bay of Biscay approximately 60 miles of Britanny Coast. The tanker was carrying 31,000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil. In analysing the reasons for the Erika’s disastrous loss, many factors such as flag, class, age, charterer came into play. The Erika reflected the polyglot nature of the tanker industry. The charterer was French, the owner Italian, the crew Indian, and the flag Maltese. However, the Erika was not the only incident where so many nationalities were involved in the management of a vessel.

There have been many oil pollution incidents where the vessels were registered under a flags of convenience country, polluted various sea resources but none of them had the same attraction. But the Erika was different from many previous incidents as it carried the required certificates, was under class and had been inspected by port states, flag states and industry inspectors on several occasions. The vessel slipped through the whole series of safety nets. At the time of her sinking all of the Erika’s class and statutory certificates were valid.

She was classed with RINA (Registro Italiano Navale), a full member of International Association of Classification Societies (IACS). The ship was under the management of an Italian company, which was also ISM certified by RINA. Between 1991 and 1999 she was inspected 16 times by the port state control inspectors and twice by the flag states control inspectors. This figure does not include the vetting inspections undertaken by the oil majors, or the surveys carried out by the classification societies. Several oil companies chartered the Erika throughout the 1990s.

The inspectors of Texaco, Exxon’s subsidiary Standard Marine, Repsol and Shell approved her as a fit vessel to carry their cargoes. The vessel was also approved by TotalFina whose cargo she was carrying when she sank. In December 1999, the Erika had the approval of most of the major oil companies, which carry out vetting inspections prior to accepting a tanker. (denizhukuku. bilgi. edu. tr) Following the Erika incident, new legislation was introduced by the European Commission. Substantial modification was made to the existing European Directive concerning port state control of vessels, and a global information system was set up.

Each European coastal state is now called upon to publish, on a quarterly basis, information on vessels which were arrested by it during the past three months. The data is then made available on the EQUASIS database. The main purpose of these measures was to prevent the repetition of any such maritime disaster. In concluding, we can ask, “Is the port state control a perfect system to eliminate substandard ships? ” (denizhukuku. bilgi. edu. tr). Yes, it is; as no country’s PSC is unique to that country only. Port State Controls actually protect the sate’s resources by preventing loss.

It is an inter-phase with international requirements for compliance. In comparing PSC to any other system where human beings are involved the port state control system can be abused. However the benefits far outweigh the flaws of the Controls, which can be addressed by means legislation and the employment of new technologies.

Reference

http://europa. eu/legislation_summaries/transport/waterborne_transport/l24072_en. htm

http://pinoymaritime. com/blog/2009/01/does-all-ship-benefits-from-port-state-c

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