Port State Control in a nutshell

Stefan Molenaar

Lagersmit noticed some uncertainties regarding the issues of Port State Control. After reading this news item from DNV GL our feeling was confirmed. With this blog Lagersmit hopes to give you a better understanding of the Port State Control inspection.

What is the port state control?

Every merchant vessel passing through foreign ports may be controlled by the national authorities to verify that the condition of the vessel and its equipment comply with the requirements of international regulations. A vessel needs to be manned and operated in compliance with these rules. The inspection will be carried out by officers representing the national port authority of each country. The legal instruments of these officers are the international maritime conventions about safety, pollution prevention and working conditions on board a vessel. Non-compliance may lead to costly delays or even detention.


The nine regional agreements on Port State Control are – 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.

Why port state control?

The responsibility to ensure that vessels comply with the provisions of the relevant instruments rests upon the ship owners, masters and the flag States. Some ship owners and flag States fail to fulfill their commitments contained in agreed international legal instruments and subsequently some ships are sailing in an unsafe condition, threatening lives as well as the marine environment. Port State Control is a system designed to target sub-standards vessels with the main objective to eliminate unsafe conditions.




36 certificates & documents (Crew and vessel conditions including engine room and accommodation according to international standards).


In absence of valid certificates / documents or Clear Ground that vessels condition is not according to international standards.


Expanded- once a year:

  • Passenger vessels:
  • Gas and chemical tankers older than 10 years
  • Bulk carriers, older than 12 years
  • Oil tankers , 5 years or less from the date of phasing out in accordance to MARPOL 73/78

As a result of the initial control and more detailed inspection, the overall condition of a vessel and its equipment, is found to be sub-standard, the Authority may suspend an inspection until the responsible parties have taken the necessary steps to ensure that the ship complies with the requirements of the relevant instruments.



Each day Port State Control selects a number of vessels for inspection. To facilitate such selection, the central computer database ‘THETIS’ is consulted by Port State Control Officers. This system is hosted by the European Maritime Safety Agency and informs national Port State Control authorities which vessels are due for an inspection. Data on vessels particulars and reports of previous inspections carried out within the Paris MoU region are provided by this system as well.

Checklist port state control

The checklist of Port State Control can be divided in different categories:

  1. Master’s Office / Responsibilities
  2. Bridge Area
  3. Life-Saving appliances
  4. Accommodation
  5. Deck Area
  6. Working Spaces
  7. Engine Room


If you would like to receive the complete list, please send your contact details to

How clean is your engine room?

Having a clean engine room is one of the points Port State Control focuses on. The Oil Collector Ring (OCR) prevents oil leakage from the inner seal entering the engine room. The OCR can be used with all new and already delivered Supreme forward seal models.

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