EU Shipping Law

Page 1305


Maritime safety: port State control

A. Introduction

28.001 Port State control (“PSC”) is an important part of the maritime safety toolkit. It complements Flag State Control (“FSC”). Unlike FSC which relies on the supervision of standards (i.e. control) by the country of the ship’s registration (i.e. the flag State), PSC involves supervision by the State in which the port is located irrespective of the ship’s flag. PSC means that shipowners may not circumvent regulations by flagging out to flag States who are not committed to adopting or enforcing rules, but such shipowners will, instead, face scrutiny in every port into which the vessels sails (i.e. port State control). PSC is an increasingly world-wide phenomenon and not just a European Union (“EU”) one. This chapter considers some of the global aspects but concentrates on the EU aspects of PSC.1 28.002 The European Maritime Safety Agency (“EMSA”) has described the background and rules relating to PSC very well:

“The coastline of the European Union is many thousands of kilometres in length and contains well over 1000 individual ports. These handle around 90% of EU external trade and around 40% of trade between EU countries. This involves handling 3.5 billion tonnes of goods and 350 million passengers being transported on thousands of ship journeys each year.

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