PSC - Port State Control

    HSC Havenstaatcontrole

    Directive of 1995 - Criteria of the Port State
    A main part of the pollution problem of the sea and coastal areas could be solved if the international norms on safety and environmental protection were applied more effectively. This was also the intention of Directive 95/21 from the Council on 19 June 1995 concerning ‘the enforcement, in respect of shipping using Community ports and sailing in the waters under the jurisdiction of the Member States, of international standards of ship safety, pollution prevention and shipboard living and working conditions (port state control) (PSC-001). The purpose of this Directive was to help drastically to reduce substandard shipping in the waters under the jurisdiction of Member States. It appeared that a great number of countries did not take any measures to make sure that ships flying their flag meet the international standards. The solution was to implement the criteria of the Port State (Port State Control).

    Amendment by Directive 2002
    Directive 95/21 was amended several times. Directive 2002/84/EC (PSC-002) caused a far reaching change. It refers to the Committee on Safe Seas and the prevention of pollution from ships (COSS).

    In essence, the major changes were the following:

    • All ships over 15 years old which have been arrested more than two times in the last two years and which fly the flag of a State mentioned on the Paris MoU black list of flag states will be banned. The Commission publishes a ban list every six months.
    • Systematic inspection in Member States’ ports of ships with a particularly high 'priority factor'. The 'priority factor' is determined on the basis of different criteria: the age of the ship, the flag, previous cases of arrest, and so on. Preference must be given to the inspection to the high priority ships. 
    • Optional measures of the existing Directives concerning ship types with a higher standard risk (oil tankers, gas transporters and ships to transport chemicals and bulk carriers) are mandatory. These ships are subject to a compulsory detailed inspection when they enter a port of the European Union, within a certain period of time. To ease the preparation of the inspection, ships have the obligation to provide information in advance. 
    • These measures are toughened for oil tankers. Tankers are subject to a series of detailed inspections starting when they are 15 years old, instead of 20 or 25 years as stated in the existing Directive. Furthermore, the inspectors should inspect at least one of the ballast tanks, so that they get an idea of how the ship is being damaged by corrosion. 
    • The inspectors have to check the EQUASIS-database to obtain more information about the ship, especially about its quality. In their report, they have to describe the nature of the inspections carried out. This will avoid that the same inspection in another port. 
    • The Port State and the classification societies are informed of the results of the inspections, so that they can act quickly when the condition of the ship is deteriorating. 
    • The information list published after the inspection and arrest shall also mention the name of the shipper/charterer. 
    • Member States have to give precise feedback to the Commission so that it can determine the effectiveness of the Directive and can have a better control on its compliance. An insufficient implementation of the Directive will be better detected and will lead to an action of infringement based on article 258 TFEU (Action for non-compliance).

    Consolidation 2009
    In November 2005, the European Commission announced legal measures in the context of the Erika III package (see chapter 23) to improve safety at sea. One of those measures concerned the revision of the Directive on Port State Control. By repeated amendments, Directive 95/21 concerning Port State Control became extremely complex and it was necessary to rewrite it in a clearer and more readable way. With the new proposal, the European Commission intended to establish a consolidated text.

    On 23 April 2009, Directive 2009/16/EC from Parliament and Council of 23 April 2009 concerning Port State Control (recast) was approved by Parliament and Council (PSC-003). Member States set the common goal of inspecting all ships calling at an EU port, with a frequency depending on their risk profile. Ships representing a higher risk are subject to an inspection every six months, ships with an average risk every 12 months and ships with a lower risk every three years, whichever EU port they call at.

    Maritime Labour Convention
    On 23 March 2012, the European Commission proposed a new amendment to Directive 2009/16/EC on Port State Control. The purpose of this proposal is to bring European Union legislation in line with the enforcement and compliance rules foreseen by Title 5 of the Maritime Labour Convention and thereby to integrate rules regarding the responsibilities of Port States into EU law. Currently, both Council and Parliament are considering this proposal. In Parliament a vote is scheduled for the February 2013 plenary session.

    Related international agreements
    On 1 July 1982, the Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control (Paris MoU) entered into force - originally signed by 14 European states. Since then, the MoU has been amended several times due to changes in new legislation of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the EU Directives in the field of maritime safety. In September 2012, 27 nations were member of the Paris MoU, including Canada, Norway and the Russian federation (see also: www.parismou.org).

    Some relevant documents:
    PSC-003: Directive 2009/16/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on port State control (Recast) (European Parliament and the Council)

    PSC-002: Directive 2002/84/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 November 2002 amending the Directives on maritime safety and the prevention of pollution from ships (European Parliament and the Council)

    PSC-001: Council Directive 95/21/EC of 19 June 1995 on port State control of shipping (European Parliament and the Council)