Non-compliant or missing paperwork main causes for detentions in UK

Ship inspection. Credit: MCA

Non-compliant or missing certificates and implementation of the International Safety Management (ISM) code was the basis for seven out of the ten vessel detentions carried out by the Maritime Coast Agency (MCA) in the UK in February.

Port state control (PSC) carried out at UK ports has identified that paperwork infractions were the most common cause for detentions in the past month. It was found that several vessels had missing or expired Maritime Labour Certificates, Safety Management Certificates, Document of Compliance, and Seafarers’ employment agreements. The paperwork onboard is integral to the day-to-day functioning of a ship as well as indicators of the safety culture onboard.

Further, three vessels were detained on the grounds of grave failure on the implementation of the ISM code due to launching arrangements for rescue boats found to be inoperative or lifeboats not ready for use. This is paramount to emergency operations and the safety of crew.

When the PSC inspector detains a vessel on code 15150, relating to the ISM, is when he/she feels the recorded deficiencies indicate a failure of the Safety Management System onboard. When this is the case the corresponding Flag state must carry out an external audit onboard the vessel before it can be released. If the vessel sustains ISM deficiencies but is not detained due to an ISM offence, the ship manager must take corrective action within three months to show that the ISM has been rectified, and the vessel will be subjected to another PSC inspection.

Six out of the ten vessels detained were under Flag states that are ‘White Listed’, which represents a high performing flag authority. Of the four remaining Flag states of the vessels, two were ‘Grey Listed’, an average performing flag state, under the Russian Federation, one was under Nigerian Flag which is not listed and one was unregistered.

Following the recommendations of the Donaldson inquiry into the prevention of pollution from merchant shipping, and the EU directive on PSC, each month the MCA publishes the details of the detentions of foreign flagged vessels in UK ports.

UK ports PSC operate under the Paris Memorandum of Understanding andall information on inspected vessels is held in the THETIS electronic database, which allows for ships with poor detention records or high risk ratings to be monitored for further inspection.

For more detail on the detained vessels please click here.