25 years of port state control in Europe

Lütke Daldrup: New inspection regime for even more maritime safety

Berlin, Germany – The 40th meeting of the Port State Control Committee of the Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control (MoU) opened in Bonn 2007-05-07. The MoU has existed for 25 years. The one-week conference was opened by the State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs, Dr Engelbert Lütke Daldrup.

The meeting is expected to be attended by around 80 delegates from 25 Member States, the European Commission, the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and other regional port state control organizations.

The most important issue being addressed at the conference is the changeover to a new inspection regime. At present, each member state inspects 25 percent of the foreign ships that call at its ports. In the future, there is to be a new risk-based inspection regime, by means of which ships that pose a potential risk are to be inspected more frequently and intensively, while ships that meet quality requirements will only be inspected every 24 months as a bonus. In addition, a new database is to be established for the inspection regime, and the training received by port state inspectors is to be reformed in order to ensure a uniform and high professional level of inspections.

Opening the conference, Dr Lütke Daldrup stressed the importance of port state inspections in the battle against substandard and unsafe ships and acknowledged the achievements of the "Paris MoU" countries over the past 25 years. "I am confident that this conference will achieve further progress towards making port state inspections even more effective, thereby enabling us to take even tougher action against ships that pose a risk", said Dr Lütke Daldrup.

Background information on the European (Paris) Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control
Port state control is the term used to describe the ship safety inspections carried out on foreign ships by the authorities of the ports called at by these ships. The forerunner was the European (Paris) Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control, which was initiated after the "Amoco Cadiz" tanker spill in 1978 and entered into force in 1982 with initially 14 Member States. Today, the agreement has 25 members and covers the North Atlantic Basin (including Canada and Russia), the North Sea, the Baltic Sea and the EU countries bordering the Mediterranean. The inspection rules of the Paris MoU and the level of training of the inspectors are the most advanced in the world. The Paris MoU formed the basis for the corresponding EU Directive in 1995 (Directive 95/21/EC), and today its rules are binding in the EU as Community law.

In 2006, the 25 Member States carried out 21,566 ship inspections. In 1,174 of these inspections, the deficiencies found were so serious that the ships were detained in the port until the deficiencies had been rectified.

The competent German authority, the See-Berufsgenossenschaft, carried out 1,529 inspections, 53 of which resulted in ships being detained until deficiencies had been rectified.