and port State inspection authorities set pragmatic approach to support global
port State control (PSC) regimes which carry out inspections onboard ships to
monitor and enforce compliance with international regulations have highlighted
their commitment to ensuring shipping continues to trade safely, securely and
efficiently during the corona virus pandemic, while respecting the important
role of seafarers as key workers and protecting the environment.
of the 10 Port State Control regimes which cover the world's oceans met on
Wednesday (8 April) in an online video meeting called by the International
Maritime Organization (IMO).
port State control regimes reported that while the number of physical on-board
ship inspections has reduced considerably, in order to protect both port State
control officers and seafarers, the regimes continue to work to target high-risk
ships which may be substandard.
port State control regimes reported taking a "pragmatic, practical and
flexible" approach, recognizing that exemptions, waivers and extensions to
certificates have been granted by many flag States. The PSC regimes expressed a
general desire for such practices to be standardized and harmonized.
PSC regimes agreed on the need to work together to develop harmonized port State
control practices and policies to ensure a consistent approach across the world
and also welcomed the coordinating role of IMO.
IMO Member States, as flag States, have communicated information to IMO on their
guidance in relation to certificate extensions and related matters (available on
the IMO page here). Some of the port State control regimes have already issued
guidance and information on conducting ship inspections during the COVD-19
pandemic. These will also be shared on the IMO website.
Secretary-General Kitack Lim reiterated his message that the maritime industry
continues to be a vital artery for the global economy and highlighted the need
for all involved to work collaboratively to address practical issues caused by
the unprecedented global situation. He welcomed the prevailing spirit of
cooperation, collaboration and solidarity in these challenging times – when
shipping is more important than ever in the global supply chain.
a joint statement, the port State control regimes and IMO highlighted the
unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 crisis and recognized the need to maintain
crucial sea trade supply chains, including the flow of vital medical supplies,
critical agricultural products, and other goods and services.
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 statement said.
the invitation by the Secretary-General, the meeting on PSC inspections on
during the COVID-19 pandemic was attended by representatives of the 10 Port
State Control (PSC) regimes, namely the United States Coast Guard, the Viña del
Mar Agreement and the Abuja, Black Sea, Caribbean, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean,
Paris, Riyadh and Tokyo Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) on port State control,
as well as from the IMO Secretariat.