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Saturday, January 20, 2018

REPORT OF INTERTANKO MEETING WITH PARIS MOU ON PSC SECRETARIAT

The Chairman and Secretary of the Vetting Committee had a meeting on 20 June with Richard Schiferli, who is Head of the Paris MOU on PSC secretariat based in The Hague. There are 19 countries participating in the Paris MOU with the European Commission as an Observer. The latest member is Iceland.

The following issues were taken up.

THE NEED FOR AN APPEALS PROCEDURE

INTERTANKO was advised that there is an appeals procedure of sorts already in place. It is quite possible to appeal to the relevant Port State as Section 3.13 of the MOU states:

3.13  The owner or the operator of a ship or his representative in the State concerned will have a right of appeal against a detention decision taken by the Authority of that State. An appeal will not cause the detention to be suspended. The Authority will properly inform the master of a ship of the right of appeal.

The problem is that an appeals procedure will have to set up. Though the MOU secretariat considered that this could be done quickly, experience suggests that this may not be universally the case. The MOU Secretariat pointed out that there are no complaints about the lack of, or poor appeals process. Therefore INTERTANKO believes it is very important for all owners to report to INTERTANKO when they are subject to a detention, try to appeal and are then delayed or encounter prevarication. INTERTANKO also suggested that the appeal process is heard by the same department as that which issues the detention. Apparently this is not supposed to be the case and so again, INTERTANKO would be very interested to hear of such circumstances, so as to build up a file to present to the MOU Secretariat indicating a need for change and a direct appeals process to the Paris MOU as well as to the Port State.

A further problem arises regarding the relationship between EQUASIS and the Port States. Mr Schiferli was at pains to point out that the EQUASIS is not run by his people but rather by the SIRENAC base in St Malo, which records PSC information. From October of this year Tokyo MOU will have direct input to the Paris MOU

PSC DETENTIONS ONLY ACKNOWLEDGED AS RESOLVED AT THE NEXT PSC INSPECTION AND REMAIN WITHIN THE RECORD

INTERTANKO was concerned with the fact that detentions which had been lifted by the issuing PSC remained visible in the PSC detention statistics and in EQUASIS. Mr. Schiferli agreed and suggested that the purpose of the record was to show a snapshot of how the ship was at that time. He compared this to how the SIRE system works. It was pointed out that there is a column for the owner to make comments and indicate that the observations have been rectified in SIRE, but this was not of interest to the PSC secretariat, and they have no plans to change their method. (Paris MOU will soon be able to access the statutory elements of the SIRE report for free.)

In addition, for the changes in EQUASIS to the detention information of a particular ship have to be done at the next PSC inspection. Thus until the ship is re-inspected, the ship will have these deficiencies listed against its name. This is a serious problem for owners, as this will give an adverse impression of a tanker, which is apparently sailing around with detention items outstanding and not fixed. It may be to an owner’s advantage to request the PSC to come down to the ship at the next port so that the items can be cleared off. INTERTANKO will continue to follow up on this issue.

DETENTIONS RESULTING FROM HEAVY WEATHER DAMAGE

The fact that ships are detained when they arrive in port with heavy weather damage or other damage encountered on the voyage was raised. Our attention was drawn to regulation 3.7.3 copied below.

3.7.3     Where the ground for a detention is the result of accidental damage suffered on the ship’s voyage to a port, no detention order will be issued, provided that:

due account has been given to the requirements contained in Regulation I/11(c) of SOLAS 74 regarding notification to the flag State Administration, the nominated surveyor or the recognized organization responsible for issuing the relevant certificate;

  1. prior to entering a port, the master or shipowner has submitted to the port State control authority details on the circumstances of the accident and the damage suffered and information about the required notification of the flag State Administration;
  2. appropriate remedial action, to the satisfaction of the Authority, is being taken by the ship, and
  3. the Authority has ensured, having been notified of the completion of the remedial action, that deficiencies which were clearly hazardous to safety, health or the environment have been rectified.

This could, of course, be a lengthy procedure just to fix a small amount of damage, but it appears that this catalogue of notification and follow-up is what the PSC requires. It was suggested that despite this, ships still get detained, but it was argued that the detention of ships for frivolous reasons had been found to be justified when a fuller examination was made. Reference was made to some of the more bizarre detentions. It was acknowledged that training is a continuous requirement.

In a similar manner the question of the Master being fully informed of all the detention items being made clear to him at the time was addressed. Again if a Master believes he has not been properly advised then INTERTANKO would very much like to hear about it., (See 3.11 of the regulation below.)

3.11  The Authorities will ensure that, on the conclusion of an inspection, the master of the ship is provided with a document, in the form specified in Annex 3, giving the results of the inspection and details of any action taken.

GRADING OF DETENTIONS

INTERTANKO would like to see a grading of the detentions to highlight the serious safety and environmental pollution prevention issues and to put in a realistic status some of the trivial misdemeanours which befall ship operation. The MOU Secretariat advised that they had considered this but at this point of time did not see the need for this and had no plans to carry this out. Clearly INTERTANKO will have to persevere with this issue for some time to come.

NAMING OF CHARTERERS

INTERTANKO also requested that the charterer of the vessel be included in the detention order. Again we were advised that they had considered this but at present there was no prospect in the short term of this coming about. Much the best bet will be the requirement being proposed in the revised EU PSC directive, which has the proposal of the charterer being listed as well. Should this directive pass through and be approved in the European Parliament then this would become mandatory for the EU participants of the Paris MOU.

COMMON TARGETING MATRIX BASED ON THE US MATRIX

INTERTANKO has been pressing for this system to be adopted by all other MOU’s as the US Matrix has been found to be fair and representative. When presenting this idea to the Paris MOU Secretariat it was made clear that the Paris MOU matrix was a result of political requirements and there is little prospect of the targeting matrix’s coming into alignment, let alone all adopting the US Matrix.

For further information, please contact robert.bishop@intertanko.com