15 Vessel Inspection

Vessel Inspection

The following information from the maritime and Coastguard Agency illustrates specific requirements for Masters and Owners and Ship Agents of Foreign Flag Ships subject to Expanded Inspections

Why do I need to report to the MCA that my ship is eligible for an expanded inspection?

Following the loss of the ERIKA and PRESTIGE the EU introduced new legislation through EU directive 2001/106/EC which is transposed in UK law by the Merchant Shipping (Port State Control) (Amendment) Regulations 2003. These rules require detailed “expanded” inspections of certain ships and require masters and operators of ships eligible for expanded inspection to give 72 hour notice of intended arrival at a UK port.

The requirements remain in place although the details are slightly changed by EU Directive 2009/16/EC with effect from 1 January 2011.

Which ships are subject to expanded inspections from 1 January 2011?

Ships subject to expanded inspections from 1 January 2011:
  • Ships with a high risk profile of any type or age
  • Oil, gas or chemical tankers, bulk carriers or passenger ships, all over 12 years of age.

When are expanded inspections due?  

A ship is eligible for an expanded inspection according to its ship risk profile - high, standard or low – as follows:
  • A ship with a high risk profile - after 5 months from the previous inspection in the Paris MoU region
  • An oil, gas or chemical tanker, bulk carrier or passenger ship, over 12 years of age, with a standard risk profile – after 10 months from the previous inspection in the Paris MoU region
  • An oil, gas or chemical tanker, bulk carrier or passenger ship, over 12 years of age, with a low risk profile – after 24 months from the previous inspection in the Paris MoU region.

Expanded inspections may be carried out on the above ships before they are due when overriding or unexpected factors apply to the ship.

Surveys carried out on passenger ferries under EU Directive 1999/35/EC are counted as expanded inspections for port State control. Since the surveys are generally planned at more frequent intervals than port State inspections a need to report for expanded inspection is unlikely to arise.

As the owner or master of a ship eligible for an expanded inspection what am I required to do?

If the ship is eligible for an expanded inspection as indicated above then you should give 72 hours notice of intended ship arrival at a UK port or anchorage, or give notice before the ship leaves the previous port if the voyage is expected to take less than 72 hours.

Notice should be sent to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. Either to the Marine Office covering the port of destination - click here to see the contact details. Or the notice may be emailed to PSC_Headquarters@mcga.gov.uk.

Notice may be forwarded via your agent for the port of destination.

The notice should record the ship details, the port or anchorage and estimated time of arrival, and planned activities in the port. Details of the information to be provided are set out in the form linked to the end of this document.

What happens next?

On receipt of notice of intended arrival the MCA will contact the master or ship owner, either directly or via the ship’s agent, to confirm whether or not the MCA will attend the ship to carry out an expanded inspection.

What happens if I report intended ship arrival for expanded inspection and the MCA does not attend the ship at that port or anchorage?

The MCA will inform the master or owner, either directly or via the ship’s agent, if an expanded inspection will not be carried out. There may be operational reasons why the inspection cannot be conducted.

The vessel remains eligible for an expanded inspection in the Paris MoU region until an expanded inspection is completed, and the ship may be required to allow sufficient time in the operating schedule for the inspection to be conducted at a later port of call. 72 hour notice of arrival should be given to the next ports of intended call in the Paris MoU region.

What if I don’t report to the MCA that my vessel is due for an expanded inspection?

Under the Merchant Shipping (Port State Control) (Amendment) Regulations 2003 failure to report to the MCA that your vessel is eligible for an expanded inspection is an offence.

A ship which is eligible for expanded inspection which has not provided advance information as required may be subject to an expanded inspection and may risk delay due to the detailed nature of the inspection.
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