Port State Control

Signatories to the Paris MOU (blue), Tokyo MOU (red), Indian Ocean MOU (green), Merranean MOU (dark green), Acuerdo de Vina del Mar (yellow)[1], Caribbean MOU (olive), Abuja MOU (dark red), Black Sea MOU (cyan) and Riyadh MOU (navy).

Port State Control (PSC) is an inspection regime for countries to inspect foreign-registered ships in port other than those of the flag state and take action against ships that are not in compliance. Such inspectors are called PSC officers, and are required to investigate compliance with the requirements of international conventions, such as SOLAS, MARPOL, STCW, and the MLC. Inspections can involve checking that the vessel is manned and operated in compliance with applicable international law, and verifying the competency of the ship's master and officers, and the ship's condition and equipment.[2]


Port state control, 2014 ICS, 2015.
Flag Paris
Target List
 Belize X X X
 Bolivia X
 Cambodia X X X
 North Korea
 St. Vincent/Grenadines

In 1978, a number of European countries agreed in The Hague on a memorandum for the audit of labour conditions on board vessels as to whether they were in accordance with the rules of the ILO. After the Amoco Cadiz sank that year, it was decided to also audit safety and pollution practices. To this end, in 1982 fourteen European countries agreed on the Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control (Paris MoU) to establish port state control. Nowadays 26 European countries and Canada are signatories of Paris MoU. PSC was a reaction to the failure of those flag states - especially flag of convenience states — that had delegated their survey and certification responsibilities to classification societies.

Modeled on the Paris MOU, several other regional MOUs have been signed, including the Tokyo MOU (Pacific Ocean),[3] Acuerdo Latino or Acuerdo de Viña del Mar (South and Central America),[4] the Caribbean MOU,[5] the Merranean MOU,[6] the Indian Ocean MOU,[7] the Abuja MOU (West and Central Atlantic Africa),[8] the Black Sea MOU,[9] and the Riyadh MOU (Persian Gulf).[10]

Detention of ship[]

The Port State Control (PSC) makes inspection of ships in port, taken by Port State Control Officer (PSCO). Annual report of Paris MoU reported that a total of 74,713 deficiencies were recorded during port state control inspections in 2007, which deficiencies resulted in 1,250 detentions that year.[11] Detention of the ship is the last course of action that a PSCO would take upon finding deficiencies aboard the vessel.

Courses of action a PSCO may impose on a ship with deficiencies (in order of ascending gravity) are:[12]

  1. Deficiencies can be rectified within 14 days for minor infractions.
  2. Under specific conditions, deficiencies can be rectified when the ship arrives at the next port.
  3. Deficiencies must be rectified before the ship can depart the port.
  4. Detention of the ship occurs.


  1. ^ LATIN AMERICAN AGREEMENT ON PORT STATE CONTROL OF VESSELS (PDF). Acuerdo de vina del mar. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  2. ^ Port State Control - The achievements of the Paris MoU - Marcella Lazzarini - LJMU 2015
  3. ^ "Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control in the Asia-Pacific Region", as amended 20 November 2008. Available from: http://www.tokyo-mou.org/
  4. ^ "Latin American Agreement on Port State Control of Vessels (Viña del Mar, 1992)", as amended 2008. Available from: http://www.acuerdolatino.int.ar/
  5. ^ "Caribbean Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control", 1996. Available from: http://www.caribbeanmou.org
  6. ^ "Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control in the Merranean Region", as amended 27 November 2006. Available from: http://www.medmou.org
  7. ^ "Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control", as amended October 2003. Available from: http://www.iomou.org.
  8. ^ "Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control for the West & Central African Region", 30 October 1998. Available from: http://www.abujamou.org
  9. ^ "Black Sea Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control", as amended 1 January 2006. Available from: http://www.bsmou.org
  10. ^ "Riyadh Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control in the Gulf Region", June 2005. Available from: http://www.riyadhmou.org/
  11. ^ Paris Mou (2007), "Deficiencies per major category", Annual Report 2007 - Paris MoU on Port State Control, Month Date, pp.22-23.
  12. ^ Özçayir, Z.O. (2004), "Practical Implication of Port State Control: The Contractual Effect of Port State Control Detentions". In Mitropoulos, E.E. Port State Control, 2nd ed, LLP, London, pp.509, 520-521

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