Shipowners, managers and flag states should be on alert as China has implemented a tougher monitoring of vessels for those vessels that have been detained twice within the last 12 months, irrespective of the place of detention. DNV has issued advice on current developments in Port State Control (PSC) inspections and focus campaigns in China, Australia, and the US.

DNV warns that stricter criteria will also apply to vessels that have been penalized twice in 12 consecutive months for serious violations, such as insufficient manning, maliciously turning off the AIS system, intentional illegal discharging of pollution, overloading and sea-related transportation by inland waterway vessels.

The China Maritime Safety Administration (China MSA) has also implemented a stricter monitoring of vessels for evasion of penalty, unlawful certificates, major alterations without approval, etc.

Vessels included in the special follow-up are most likely subject to PSC inspection at every port call in China.

In addition, all inspections performed on board those vessels are likely to be performed “in a detailed manner”.

To exclude a vessel from the scheme, the shipping company may apply to the China MSA administration after three months from the date of its inclusion.

The China MSA has also announced an additional “Special Campaign to Prevent Marine Mechanical and Electrical Equipment Failures”, which will take place during normal PSC inspections in all Chinese ports. The focused inspection started on 7 April 2024 and will last until 31 October 2024.

Meanwhile the Australian Maritime and Safety Authority (AMSA) has announced that the PSC rectification survey performed after a detention in one of its ports must be carried out with physical attendance.

In the past, it was possible to perform remote surveys in very special cases (e.g. a detention in a remote port with a minor defect when no surveyor is available) and thus on a case by-case basis.

Shipowners, managers as well as flag states should also be aware that the United States Coast Guard (USCG) has announced an ongoing Enhanced Examination Program (EEP), which is similar to the Concentrated Inspection Campaigns (CIC) performed by other PSC regimes.

For the three-month period of April 1, 2024 to June 30, 2024, the USCG PSC inspectors are directed to carry out an enhanced examination during regular USCG examinations on board cargo ships verifying fire safety in the engine room, focusing on:

Proper operation of at least one fuel oil shutoff valve via remote operation (SOLAS II-2/

Proper operation of control of stopping power ventilation for machinery spaces from outside the machinery space (SOLAS II-2/

Presence and condition of protection against hot surfaces, i.e. lagging (SOLAS II-2/26.1).

It is important to note that PSC inspectors are instructed not to test the operation of fuel oil shutoff valves affecting the current operation of a ship’s machinery.

The full text of DNV advice can be found here.