PSC slowly returning to normal, DNV GL figures show

Port state control inspection. Credit: China Maritime Safety Administration

With Asian countries showing an uptick in Tokyo Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Port State Control (PSC) inspections in May, this may indicate that inspections will start being carried out as normal after a dip due to the impact of COVID-19, discussed representatives of DNV GL.

On average there were 70 vessel detentions a month under the Tokyo MoU in the last quarter of 2019, which fell to between 14-20 detentions during the COVID-19 outbreak. However, data presented at a DNV GL webinar on 4 June showed a small increase in detention rates under the Tokyo MoU of 36 in May 2020 compared to 21 in April. This was also reflected in the inspection rate rising from 1117 to 1640 inspections carried out in the same time period.

Claudia Ohlmeier group leader, port state control, DNV GL, explained that this shows that countries are slowly opening up as the COVID-19 situation is relaxing. “This means that port state will start questioning if postponements due to COVID-19 are still needed in the upcoming months,” she added.

At the beginning of the crisis, the ten PSC regimes had agreed to conduct a targeted approach that would limit the number of vessel inspections carried out to safeguard the health and safety of crew and PSC inspectors and avoid the spread of the virus. Inspections would be carried out only on substandard or high-risk ships. PSC inspectors also accepted extensions for surveys, contracts and certificates made by flag, prompted by COVID-19 restrictions.

“PSC is slowly returning to normal, postponements are no longer a default solution so we would advise as a first step to order a survey by attendance,” said Olhmeier.