Port State Control: AMSA's statistically-based approach to ship risk assessments

Chris Barnes of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) recently visited INTERTANKO and INTERCARGO and gave a presentation on how statistical risk management is applied to port state control (PSC) inspections.


There are around 21,000 visits in a year by some 3,700 foreign-flag ships (62% bulk carriers) to around 70 ports in Australia. Most of these ships are eligible for PSC inspection on one or more visits each year. A total of 3,080 PSC inspections were undertaken last year of 2,600 ships resulting in around 140 detentions. AMSA inspects more than 70% of eligible ships at least once every year. Tankers represent a significant portion of these ships, given a particular emphasis on safety.


In recent years, AMSA has been using a statistics-based approach to risk management (initially based on analysis of the results of some 18,000 PSC inspections) when selecting ships for inspection under the port state control ship inspection program in Australia. The aim of this approach is to use mathematical formulae that take into account several ship characteristics in order to assess, in an objective manner, the probability of ships being found to be unseaworthy when subjected to a PSC inspection. This risk assessment of eligible ships allows AMSA to ensure that its finite inspection resources are focused effectively, as AMSA's Marine Surveyors use this data to assist them in selecting ships for inspection.


According to AMSA, this approach has been very successful over the past four years, with actual detention rates broadly in line with the expected probabilities of detention. This has encouraged AMSA to commission further statistical analysis this year to cover more recent PSC inspection data and to investigate the predictive value of some other factors, including ship operator, in the risk assessments. This extended analysis is now being finalised.


As well as improving the quality of vessels visiting Australian waters, with the associated benefits of reduced loss of life, reduced pollution and reduced economic loss, there are other benefits flowing from AMSA's improved ship inspection regime through the promotion of better performance along the transport chain.


AMSA's system allows it to target ships that are most likely to be of poor quality and concentrate its efforts on these high risk ships, leaving the good quality ships to trade unhindered.


Click here to view Barne's presentation.


Contact: Minerva R. Alfonso