IMO and PSCs agree “pragmatic” approach to inspections

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) and Port State Control (PSC) inspection authorities have established what they have described as a pragmatic approach to inspections, with the main aim being to ensure the continued operation of the global supply chain during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Representatives of the 10 PSCs met with the IMO Secretariat on April 8th in an online video meeting. They reported that, while the number of physical onboard ship inspections had reduced considerably, they were continuing to target high-risk ships that were likely to fail any PSC inspection.

The PSCs described their approach as “pragmatic, practical and flexible”. They said that the recognized that exemptions, waivers and extensions to certificates had been granted by many flag States. The PSCs agreed to work together to develop harmonized practices and policies. This would guarantee a consistent approach worldwide, with the IMO fulfilling a welcome coordinating role.

In a joint statement the PSCs and IMO said that “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 IMO Secretariat, the US Coast Guard, the Viña del Mar Agreement, plus the Abuja, Black Sea, Caribbean, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, Paris, Riyadh and Tokyo MoUs on Port State Control.