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All You Need to Know About the PSC Inspection

Use a PSC checklist to inspect ships in foreign ports whether they comply with international maritime regulations in the ship's operation, condition, and crew. It also includes reminders about essential items, such as the details required by SOLAS Ch III Reg 37.

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What Is a PSC (Port State Control) Inspection?


A PSC (Port State Control) inspection helps the ship captain and officers identify deficiencies in their vessels and implement corrective actions. The inspection ensures that the condition of foreign ships exceeds the expected level, and assessments have been made when they visit international ports.


The regulating body that sets the general criteria for inspection procedures is the Paris Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Some of these rules include ships:


  • Coming to a port for the first time or have been absent for 12 months up are subject to inspection
  • Reported as being deficient by port authorities or pilots
  • With deficiencies that need rectifying but permitted to leave the port
  • Certificates are not in order
  • Involved in accidents like collision, stranding, and more
  • Suspended from the class in the next six months
  • Accused of an alleged violation of IMO regulations and poses a threat to the environment, its crew, and property


In this article, the following points are explained:


1. The different types of PSC inspections


2. The PSC deficiency codes


3. Advantages of a PSC inspection app


Container ship before PSC inspection

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The Different Types of PSC Inspections


A PSC (Port State Control) inspection starts with a general assessment of several areas of a sea vessel. The Port State Control Officer (PSCO) checks the ship for deficiencies and verifies whether its overall condition complies with the regulations.


If there are no deficiencies, the governing body will issue a clean report to the master of the ship. If there are deficiencies, the inspector will report them and the recommended corrective actions needed to correct the errors. The inspection results are then recorded in the database.


If the PSCO thinks the crew has a deficiency with onboard operational requirements, additional inspections might be needed.


Here are the different types of additional assessments:


    Initial inspection Expanded inspection Concentrated inspection campaign Detailed inspection

1. Initial Inspection


An initial inspection starts by checking if:

  • the vessel meets the overall condition and hygiene, including the:
    1. navigation bridge
    2. decks
    3. galley and accommodation
    4. cargo area
    5. engine room
  • all the documents and certificates listed in Annex 20 of the MoU are complete
  • all international rules and standards are met
  • all the previous deficiencies have been rectified on time

2. Expanded Inspection


It assesses the overall condition of the ship and its officers and crew in different areas. The following items are included in a port state control inspection checklist of an expanded inspection:


  • Living and working conditions
  • Alarms
  • Documentation
  • Navigational equipment
  • Structural condition
  • Life-saving equipment and devices
  • Weather and water condition
  • Dangerous goods
  • Radio communication
  • Emergency systems
  • Alarms
  • Cargo operations
  • Pollution prevention

The depth of testing of each item depends on the inspector's professional judgment. They are aware that a small error can jeopardize the crew and the ship.


3. Concentrated Inspection Campaign


It focuses on particular areas with high levels of deficiencies found by PCSO or new requirements in place. This inspection takes place together with a regular assessment every year for three months.


4. Detailed Inspection


The risk areas it checks are similar to an expanded inspection. Where an expanded review focuses on the human element, the detailed assessment focuses on a relevant instrument.


The PCSO checks whether that specific instrument substantially meets maritime requirements. Any evidence that the ship, crew, and equipment do not meet the set criteria is a clear ground for a detailed inspection.


Some examples of clear grounds are:


  • Vessels have overriding factors stated in Annex 8.
  • Certificates and documents are incomplete, inaccurate, or falsely maintained.
  • Poor communication process between crew members and with shore-based authorities.
  • Acquisition of certificates is fraudulent.
  • The master, officer, or rating holds credentials issued by a country not part of the STCW convention.
  • The muster list is missing or not updated.
  • Cargo and other operations do not follow safety procedures or meet IMO guidelines.
  • The record of the oil discharge monitoring and control system for the previous ballast voyage is missing or incomplete.
  • Improper cancellation procedures are used for false distress alert emission.
  • The required principal equipment and arrangement are missing.

The complete list of clear grounds is in Annex 9 Paragraph 6 of the Paris MoU.


Container port

The PSC Deficiency Codes


A deficiency in a PSC inspection means a non-conformity to the regulations set by the PSC. If the inspector finds an item is deficient, he will tick the "Yes" box on the PSC checklist Form A. Then, in Form B, the inspector will describe these errors and the action code needed for compliance.


One or two of the following PSC inspection deficiency code will appear on Form B:


  • Code 10: Deficiency fixed
  • Code 15: Fix deficiency at the next port
  • Code 16: Fix deficiency within 14 days
  • Code 17: Correct deficiency before leaving the port
  • Code 18: Take action within three months
  • Code 30: Detainable deficiency
  • Code 40: Inform next port
  • Code 45: Fix detainable deficiency at next port 50 flag consul informed
  • Code 55: Consult flag state
  • Code 70: Inform the certified organization
  • Code 85: Investigation of the discharge provision violation

After fixing the mistake, either the class or PSC inspector will check and confirm the corrective action.


If there's no deficiency found after the inspection, the master will file a report following the company's filing system.



Advantages of a PSC Inspection App


The captain and officers on board can easily pass port state control inspections by using new technologies. Lumiform, a powerful app and desktop software for audits and inspections, helps the crew quickly fix any deficiencies they find, prove the vessel's seaworthiness, and avoid costly delays due to non-compliance.


Profit from the following benefits of a port state control app together with your team:





Port with 4 cranes and container ship

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