Port State Control Inspection - port benchmark

As a preface to this article, I like to emphasise that I am of the opinion that Port State Control (PSC) inspections are an important tool with many positive implications. From a ship owners/-managers view it can give a neutral assessment of a ship’s condition, the safety equipment and the crew’s response to the ISM-system. Deficiencies have to be taken as a step forward to improve the condition of the ship and the management system. I always discuss with my crew that they should take it as a challenge to learn and do better for the next time (if deficiencies at all). As professional managers we are discussing the contents and if relevant to the rest of the fleet, circulate the merits and adapt preventive actions.

The same spirit however the reputed ship manager and crew should expect from a PSC-inspector; at least this is the primary goal the IMO should set out for their fundamentals on PSC inspections. A good PSC inspector would hence work with the crew to understand operational constraints, but also raise defaults in their quality management system.

Every experienced ship owner however knows there are occasions where deficiencies fall from the sky!

I am not going to moan on individual deficiencies being unjustified or not, but wanted to have a look at which port or country within the Paris MOU are “hot-spots”, where above average deficiencies or detentions are claimed. The Thetis database (https://portal.emsa.europa.eu/web/thetis/inspections) allows for various searches, however (at least for the normal user) they do not allow for an overview on ports or countries. With a bit of effort and import to Excel it was possible to analyse the data. The Thetis query from 20.04.2018 was concentrating on all results from 01.01.2017 on less than 30 year old ships, from 1.000 to 30.000 GT non-tanker cargo vessels.

I was interested if countries which are “known” for their practise of corruption or bribery (see also www.maritime-acn.org or www.transparency.org) would correlate with a certain expectation. I have taken the corruption index (CI), mirrored the 27 Paris-MOU countries against it and ranked them in the reverse order (i.e. the most corrupt country in the list of Paris-MOU countries had rank 1 (Russian Federation) and the country with the least corruption has rank 27 (Denmark). This table is then sorted by the “Detention Quota”, the number of detentions divided by the number of inspections in a country of call.

The feeling here confirms itself – you can say, there is a correlation that countries ranked higher in the CI are in tendency issuing more detentions and more deficiencies.

It is noteworthy, that for this period the Detention Quota is indeed 4,7%. However during 2017 it was 4,6% but the current trend is that more detentions are happening, as this quota rises to 5%.

The worst ports to call from the above list (with more than 10 inspections) are:

(It should be noted the German ports of Kiel and Brunsbüttel are at the Kiel-Canal the most busiest waterway.)

If we focus on the top 15 called countries with the highest Detention Quota and those countries which are in the top 10 of the Paris-MOU CI (i.e. Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malta, Romania, Russian Federation), one get’s the following result (with more than 10 inspections):

Paris-MOU hot-spots:

Of these ports, the trends are illustrated with the following table if you compare 2017 numbers with the detention quota this year so far:

In particular the Russian ports of Kaliningrad, Temryuk and Astrakhan are sticking out, but only closely followed by the Italian port of Genoa and Maltese Marsaxlokk.

From the flag of a ship’s perspective it does not surprise that PSC-officers are correlating their efforts on the white / grey / black flag category scheme:

But if you filter the country of call, then the result is a bit different, for example for the Russian Federation, the first white list flag appearing in this ranking is already Finland with a detention quote of 33% (9 vessels calling) and closely followed by Iran (30 calls) with 17% and Antigua and Barbuda (41 calls – German owners are strong here) with 7%!

(A flag inspection of the same country of call is not entered into the database.)

The worst performing white list flags in Cyprus are Russian Federation and Liberia (but there is so little data compared to the others, that the importance can be neglected).

For ships calling Germany, Finland had 3 inspections and 1 detention as well as white list Panama had on 20 inspections 5 detentions, Iran on 8 inspections 2 detentions. 8,8% of white list flagged ships calling Germany had a detention, whereas grey flagged ships 18,2% (11 calls) and black list flagged ships 33,3% detentions (9 calls).

Especially vessels with black flags appear to like to call to Romania and they detained on the 67 calls 16,7% of the vessels. White list calls where 192 where 6,8% got detained. Only 10 inspections are recorded on Russian flagged ships whereas one got detained.

In Italy also ships with grey and black flags are calling relatively frequent (Grey, 17 calls, 17,6% detentions / Black, 49 calls with 18,4% detentions whereas no category of flag 7 calls and 3 detentions). Remarkable here, white list Panama flagged ships had on 105 calls 13% detentions, whereas Russian vessels 12%, Netherlands 10% and Antigua 8%.

Now what we are really interested in, is to get to know your experience and

how you feel about PSC inspections.

Please participate in this short survey (all entries are completely anonymous).


The result will be published here.

What would interest is, if the Paris-MOU member states are factually proportionally to their calling frequency inspecting vessels with grey, black or non-categorised flags. But it’s probably tough to get accurate data here.


If you like the above statistics and like to obtain the Excel sheet with formulas,

please sign up to the Maritime Trust Platform at www.maritimetrustplatform.com (including the subscription) and make your first rating of a beloved customer. Ideally you require him to send a rating back – that gives you a good appearance in the Maritime Industry.

When you have used the MTP, I am happy to send you the Excel sheet. Fair?

(Disclaimer: Abstracted from aforementioned databases and derived from estimates or subjective judgments. It was taken reasonable care in the compilation of the information and it is believed to be accurate and correct, however was not audited and may accordingly contain errors. The provision of the inforamtion is not an endorsement of any commercial policy and conclusion by SMS Bereederung and it‘s connected persons/companies and is not intended to recommend any decision by the recipient/reader. Any forecast may not be accurate. No warranties or representations are taken, expressed or impllied about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitablility or availability with respect to the information. Any reliance placed on such inforamation is therefore strictly at the recipient‘s own risk. All intellectual property rights are fully reserved by SMS Bereederung. No warranty or liability is taken.) |||