Visits to Member States on Port State Control

Port State Control (PSC) is the inspection of foreign ships in national ports. It has become one of the most effective tools to verify that the condition of the ship and its equipment comply with the requirements of international regulations. PSC inspections should be carried out by Member States in a harmonised way to ensure that there is effective control of ships in EU ports and, thereby, ensure that ships sailing in EU waters have been appropriately constructed and are adequately maintained.

At the request of the Commission, the Agency visits Member State’s maritime administrations and their ports to verify compliance with the PSC rules and procedures and ensure a consistent approach in the performance of the PSC inspections by PSC Officers within the EU.

A first cycle of PSC visits to monitor the functioning of the PSC regime in EU and check compliance with Directive 95/21/EC was carried out between 2004 and 2009. A report on the outcome of the visits was submitted to the Commission afterwards and was taken into account in the subsequent revision of the Directive.

From 1 January 2011, Directive 2009/16/EC replaced Directive 1995/21/EC, introducing revised requirements in the form of a new inspection regime to be implemented by the Member States.

Article 1 of this Directive states:

The purpose of this Directive is to help to drastically reduce substandard shipping in the waters under the jurisdiction of Member States by:

(a) increasing compliance with international and relevant Community legislation on maritime safety, maritime security, protection of the marine environment and on-board living and working conditions of ships of all flags;

(b) establishing common criteria for control of ships by the port State and harmonising procedures on inspection and detention, building upon the expertise and experience under the Paris MOU;

(c) implementing within the Community a port State control system based on the inspections performed within the Community and the Paris MOU region, aiming at the inspection of all ships with a frequency depending on their risk profile, with ships posing a higher risk being subject to a more detailed inspection carried out at more frequent intervals.

The Commission asked EMSA to carry out a second cycle of visits to Member States, which started in March 2012 and was completed in April 2016. EMSA analysed the results of the visits and provided to the Commission and the Member States a consolidated picture of all the horizontal aspects related to the implementation of the Directive.

A third cycle of PSC visits to Member States started in March 2017 and finished in 2022. This cycle, in addition to the overall monitoring of the PSC inspection regime in the EU and verifying the corrective actions taken by Member States on the findings of the second cycle, also took into account Directive 2013/38/EU (required to be implemented from 21 November 2014) and examined the PSC-related parts of Regulation (EU) No 2015/757 on the monitoring, reporting and verification of carbon dioxide emissions from maritime transport and Regulation (EU) No 1257/2013 on ship recycling.

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