Port State Control – Safe and Sustainable from Port to Port

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(Safe and Sustainable from Port to Port)

(Fade in on a Cargo ship moving through open water.)

Since the mid-nineteen seventies, the world’s port state regimes have worked together to ensure safety of life, protection of the maritime environment, and decent living and working conditions for seafarers.

(PSC Inspectors on the job in a busy Canadian port.)

As part of its long-standing commitment to maritime safety, Canada has brought together ministers from around the globe to affirm their commitment to responsible and sustainable shipping.

Ships engaged in international trade must comply with internationally accepted safety, security and environmental standards.

(To the side of the footage appear the three values icons, which as a transition to the next scene, swipe across the screen, effecting a wipe.)

  • Safety of life
  • Protection of the marine environment
  • Decent living and working conditions for seafarers

All parties involved have a duty to ensure this compliance.

(Footage of PSC officers greeting incoming foreign flag ships.)

Port state control has evolved into a globalized inspection program now considered the ultimate safety net, as well as one of the most effective initiatives undertaken by governments around the world.

(Shots of PSC officers boarding and inspecting foreign flag state ships.)

Port state control officers board and inspect foreign flag vessels that enter their country’s ports to make sure they comply with international safety and environmental protection standards, and provide decent working and living conditions for seafarers.

Many organizations take part in creating a safe and environmentally sound maritime transportation system.

  • International Maritime Organization (IMO)
  • International Labour Organization (ILO)
  • Ship owners and operators
  • Ship builders, marine equipment manufacturers
  • Coastal states and port states
  • Seafarers and their representative organizations
  • Port authorities and pilots
  • Classification societies
  • Recognized organizations
  • Industry organizations
  • Recognized security organizations
  • Financial institutions
  • Insurance companies
  • Flag States
  • Charterers

(A circle appears as if drawn on the background where the list of names previously appeared: the “circle of responsibility.”)

Together, they form a “Circle of Responsibility” that ensures safe and environmentally responsible trade and compliance with mandatory international maritime instruments.

(The cover page of each document appears centre-screen, then settles back into a growing matrix of cover page thumbnails:

  • International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS)
  • Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREG)
  • International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL)
  • International Convention on Load Lines
  • International Tonnage Convention
  • International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW)
  • Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC 2006)
Fade through to:)

(A map of France with the exact location of the grounding circled.)

The need for a harmonized port state control regime was recognized in nineteen seventy-eight, following the grounding of the crude tanker Amoco Cadiz near the French coast.

(Footage of containers being loaded and unloaded, aerial surveillance crafts, etc.)

Authorities were encouraged to develop memoranda of understanding that would help them share and recognize each other’s inspections of foreign flagged ships entering their ports.

(A map of the world. Starting on a close-up of Paris, where the words “Paris MOU” and the Paris MOU logo appear. From here, the image spans to Tokyo where the words “Tokyo MOU” and the associated logo appear, and so forth for the remaining agreements, including the United States Coast Guard.

  • The Paris Memorandum of Understanding
  • The Tokyo Memorandum of Understanding
  • The Viña del Mar Agreement
  • The Caribbean Memorandum of Understanding
  • The Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding
  • The Mediterranean Memorandum of Understanding
  • The Abuja Memorandum of Understanding
  • The Black Sea Memorandum of Understanding
  • The Riyadh Memorandum of Understanding
  • The United States Coast Guard)

These agreements compel members to work together to minimize any threats to life, property and the marine environment.

(Continued: The animated map recedes into the frame. We see its entirety with The logos of the Paris and Tokyo MOUs popping out.)

Among these agreements, the Paris and Tokyo MOUs set the leadership standard for harmonizing port state control.

(Continued: The Paris and Tokyo MOUs recede and we see the map’s entirety, with all 10 MOUs apparent.)

Each of the regimes aims to ensure the consistent application of international standards by:

(Continued: As the narrator reads the list of goals.)

  • Developing policies to enhance the effectiveness of port state control…
  • Establishing criteria for targeting vessels…
  • Creating and maintaining electronic ship inspection reporting procedures…
  • Evaluating detention and deficiency data…
  • Defining training needs for inspectors and establishing appropriate training programs…
  • Developing ship inspection procedures and guidelines for port state control officers…
  • Promoting the exchange of inspectors for training purposes and peer reviews between participating states.

(PSC officers doing their work (i.e., PSC officers in a training environment, working with tablets, databases, etc.).)

With advanced electronic monitoring, comprehensive inspector training programs and extensive information-sharing, port state control is increasingly becoming more harmonized.

(A Canadian flag flies in the wind from the mast of a ship, followed by a montage of Canadian Maritime settings.)

With two hundred thousand miles of coastline and borders on three oceans, Canada — a member of the Paris MOU and a founding member of the Tokyo MOU — champions maritime safety.

(Tokyo and Paris MOU logos.)

Canada played a pivotal role in harmonizing the Paris and Tokyo MOUs to encourage even greater collaboration for port state control and promote the elimination of sub-standard shipping.

(Shots from the March 1998 Joint Ministerial Conference, starting with conference graphic.)

Canada hosted a Joint Ministerial Conference in March 1998, focused on taking inter-regional action to eliminate substandard shipping.

(Shots from the November 2004 Joint Ministerial Conference, starting with conference graphic.)

In November of 2004, Canada hosted the Second Joint Ministerial Conference, aiming to strengthen the circle of responsibility.

(The two conference graphics appear onscreen together.)

The joint commitments made at these conferences have driven significant progress in developing systems and procedures that identify and detain substandard ships.


  • Ensuring compliance with maritime conventions and codes
  • Enhancing target systems that identify ships needing inspection
  • Recruiting qualified PSC officers, followed by ongoing training and seminars
  • Continually developing and revisiting inspection procedures and guidelines for PSC officers
  • Participating in IMO and ILO meetings and workshops
  • Improving sharing methods for best practices and shipping data
  • Shifting from performance-based inspections to risk-based inspections

Everything from creating and updating maritime conventions to recruiting port state control officers, developing inspection guidelines and effecting a shift from performance-to risk-based inspections.

(Footage of substandard ships, stranded seafarers, and impacts on the environment, property and living conditions.)

Even with these advances, maritime incidents resulting in loss of life, damage to property and harm to marine environments are still a reality.


Until all flag states, vessel owners, operators and charters recognize their responsibilities, risks remain.

(Image of conference graphic.)

The Third Joint Ministerial Conference recognizes this reality and reaffirms members’ commitment to safeguarding responsible and sustainable shipping...

(Safeguarding Responsible and Sustainable Shipping)


(A Joint Effort to Enhance Safety, Environmental Protection, and the Working and Living Conditions of Seafarers)

…as part of a joint effort to enhance safety, environmental protection, and the working and living conditions of seafarers.

(Montage: Ships, Shipyards, PSC Officers in the Field.)

  • International Maritime Organization
  • International Labour Organization

Every member will work collectively to improve the safety, security and sustainability of the shipping industry; strengthen compliance with IMO and ILO standards; make resources available to maintain a competent and effective and adequately funded national maritime infrastructure and more.

(The three conference value icons slide in and settle in the middle of the screen.
Fade to:)

  • Eliminate substandard shipping
  • Protect the global marine environment
  • Safeguard working and living conditions for all seafarers

Above all, signatories to the 2017 declaration reiterate their commitment to eliminate substandard shipping, protect the global marine environment, and safeguard working and living conditions for all seafarers.

(Footage of cooperation between PSC (For example, foreign flag ships traveling in tandem beside each other, PSC workers shaking hands, or PSC officers being welcomed onto a foreign ship).
Fade to:)

With an increasingly globalized approach to port state control, we can all work together to ensure safety and sustainability from port to port.

(Conference graphic.

Third Joint Ministerial Conference
May 3-4, 2017)

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