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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Peter Swift addresses Port State Control Conference 2005

The annual Port State Control Conference (PSC) in London this week focused on the latest developments in the various regimes, the sharing of information between the different MoUs and the plans for extension of the IMO Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS) database and of EQUASIS. There was considerable interest in the IMO proposals to expand the erstwhile PSC workshop into an IMO Working Group with a widened scope of activity and increased participation by IGOs, NGOs and industry representatives.

INTERTANKO MD Dr Peter Swift addressed senior representatives from the IMO, EQUASIS, Paris MoU, Tokyo MoU, U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and other industry interests present about the partnership that is sought by the industry with regulators and legislators, including Port State Control, to develop “Effective Regulation”. This should satisfy the expectations of politicians and the public, he said, while at the same providing realistic and workable solutions that are implemented and applied consistently on an international basis.

He also spoke of the impediments to the ideals of information sharing and openness that arise through commercial, liability and professional jealousy considerations. Turning to PSC he confirmed industry’s support for PSC in its complementary role to that of Flag States in the enforcement of international regulations.

Although generally positive about PSC, Swift offered a series of proposals to further improve the system. These included:

  • Using the practices of the “beacon” MoUs to establish harmonised standards and uniformity in the training of inspectors across all PSC regimes;
  • Developing global targeting criteria based on “fact” and the abolishing of arbitrary quota systems and the like;
  • The sharing of information between the MoUs and the mutual recognition of inspection reports across different MoUs - thereby reducing the total number of PSC inspections;
  • An extension in the scope of the IMO workshops on PSC practices and issues, together with wider industry participation;
  • An increase in the number of MoUs submitting their inspection reports to the EQUASIS database – subject to their meeting appropriate standards;
  • The need for greater consistency in the definition of “Clear Grounds for Detention” and the publication of the same;
  • A standardisation of procedures covering independent appeals/review panels, reasonably considered to be “unwarranted”;
  • Ensuring that all information in PSC databases is accurate and up-to-date, and includes the implementation of procedures for the timely recording of procedures closed out;
  • More government-industry partnerships to analyse PSC records and make better use of information gathered across the MoUs’
  • The development/implementation of more rewards/incentives for compliant owners, such as a reduced frequency of inspections and/or adoption of schemes such as Qualship21;
  • And most importantly, the greater involvement of responsible owners’ representatives on the appropriate MoU committees.

There is a need to talk openly about the integrity of PSC since both industry and governments wanted a credible system, he said, going on to suggest various means to help ensure this, including:

  • Regular and open dialogue between the leading owners’ associations and PSC officials;
  • Development and roll-out of “best practice” guides within the PSC regimes;
  • The establishment of appropriate mechanisms for the confidential reporting of malpractices;
  • Reporting back to the IMO on PSC performance.

A copy of Swift’s PowerPoint presentation can be downloaded from the INTERTANKO web site.

Contact: Peter Swift