Ship inspections

Ship inspections

How such inspections work and their possible consequences

Ship inspections are critical to ensure compliance with the Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) and therefore comply with legal regulations and international standards working conditions for seafarers.

How are such inspections carried out and what are their consequences?

The decision to inspect a vessel entering port is based on the vessel’s risk profile, signs of a serious threat to the safety of the vessel, or a complaint. Formally, the reasons for the delay of the ship in the port can be divided into those that occur as a result of the port state’s control functions and those that appear as a result of claims from the employees on the ship.

The inspections conducted show that the most serious problems include a lack of evidence that seafarers have been trained and certified as competent or qualified to carry out their duties. In addition, there were persons under the age of 16 on board. In such cases, the ship is delayed until these problems are rectified.

Other problems found during inspections

In addition, five major problems in Europe as well as Canada are associated with:

  1. Maintenance of sanitary facilities;
  2. Cables and wires in poor condition;
  3. Lack of protection for rotating parts of machines;
  4. Problems with the electrician;
  5. Lack of personal protective equipment, or, if available, not use or use during normal shipboard operations that do not require such protection.

Many other shortcomings have been found. The food may not be enough or it may not be kept at the required temperature. In addition, there are problems with heating, air conditioning or ventilation, and cleanliness, including the engine room, sleeping quarters, toilets or galley (kitchen), is also a problem. In addition, there are problems with crew salaries, which are sometimes not paid.

With regard to fatigue during shipboard inspections, the records of working hours and rest times are compared with the ship’s logbook and drills. They also conduct conversations with the crew, especially the lower rank. If they notice an inability to stay awake, slow reactions, and difficulty concentrating, this may indicate that the team is tired.

Regarding the condition of the ship, construction defects such as rust, malfunctioning of equipment or any systems due to rough handling, cracks and deformations can affect the safety of the crew. Therefore, the inspectors conducting the control report this and set a time limit for correcting deficiencies.

What is the threat of detecting problems

In the event of non-compliance with the requirements of the Convention, flag State officials may withdraw the certificate or apply sanctions in accordance with national law. However, there are now fewer drawbacks.

The maritime industry understands that ratification benefits seafarers, shipowners, flag and port states, and labor supplying states. It is in the economic interest of the shipowner not to have any deficiencies or to correct them quickly and efficiently when they arise.

For this reason, shipowners need to be more attentive to the requirements put forward, they should be careful, take into account the characteristics of their ship and the working conditions provided, before signing contracts and working in countries that have ratified the Convention. Otherwise, there will be a high probability of the vessel being detained. And the detention of a ship, even for several hours, is always expensive and is a kind of black mark on the reputation and further work.

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