The Port State Control is a regulatory body of a country that looks after the ships (foreign or national) arriving at the ports of the respective country. It also ensures that the ship arriving at the port complies with all safety and anti pollution requirements for safe operation of vessel when berthed, when sailing their coastal water and in mid sea.
A port state control inspector can randomly inspect and verify the condition of a ship to check its compliance with the international regulation and the norms formulated by the country in which the ship is sailing.
A PSC inspector can inspect a vessel and if he/she is not satisfied with any aspect then a deficiency to the master/ chief engineer of that ship is given which may result in:
– Rectification of the deficiency before ship can sail.
– Detention of the ship.
Top 10 things Port State Control inspector can check in Engine Room:
1) PSC Inspector checks the general appearance and cleanliness of the ship. He can randomly check the garbage bins to get an idea weather garbage management plan is being followed onboard or not. There have been instances where fine was imposed on the ship when PSC inspector found oily rag in a paper bin.
2) PSC inspector can check oil record book (ORB) for up to date entries and can tally with other logs like sounding record book. He may check other Engine room documents like Engine room log book, sounding book, checklist for carrying out hot work, enclosed entry etc. UK port state even demands hour log of staff.
3) Checks on Safety equipment is a favourite for PSC. The inspector may check Emergency generator starting and simulation of blackout situation, may try out Emergency bilge suction, emergency compressor and emergency fire pump etc.
4) The inspector can check Life Saving Appliances (LSA) and Fire fighting appliances (FFA) and equipments. LSA includes emergency escape breathing device (EEBD), emergency escapes, Water tight doors closing, sounding pipe with self closing weighted cock, signs and ply card showing exit etc. In FFA (Fire fighting appliances) items he may check auto stop of pumps, machineries and ventilation fan from remote place. He may check fixed fire system, fire alarm and detector system and operation of quick closing valve from remote position.
5) PSC inspector can check alarms and safety trips for Main engine, all alarms and trips for Auxiliary engine and other machineries like compressor, boiler etc. He may also check the lifting of safety valve of a boiler etc.
6) Oily Water Separator (OWS) is a machinery PSC inspector will surely look for. He may check the log stored in the Oil content monitor (OCM) and compare it with ORB and sounding book. United States Coast Guard (USCG) normally removes and checks the discharge pipe of OWS for any oil residue. PSC inspector can ask engine staff to start and run OWS with skin valve open and overboard shut.
7) The inspector may thoroughly check bilge tank top for oil and any leakages, all machineries for any type of abnormality and leakage. He will definitely check for any loose and illegal rubber hose and portable pump in Engine room.
8) Steering room is one of the favourite areas of PSC inspector to check for any leakages and abnormality. He may ask any crew member to demonstrate practically the procedure for emergency steering.
9) He may check bulkheads of tanks and ship side for any deformation and temporary repairs. He can inspect sea water, fuel oil or lube oil pipes, coolers, and system and overboard valves for any leakages and temporary repairs.
10) He can inspect floor plates for any corrosion and thinning of metal. The floor plates should not be slippery and should be properly fixed at a given place. He may check railings at upper and tunnel platform for any loose or broken areas.
These are some of the most popular aspects that a PSC inspector is interested in. However, these aspects may vary from person to person and port to port.
A PSC inspection can turn out to be a devastating experience for both crew and the owner of the ship as it may lead to the detention of the ship if things are not properly maintained on the ship. This can lead to tremendous loss of money and time. To avoid this situation, regular maintenance of all equipments and periodic training of crew should be carried out.