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PSC involves the inspection of foreign ships in national ports worldwide to verify that the condition of the ship and its equipment comply with international standards and that the ship is manned and operated in compliance with these standards.


For questions regarding Port State Control contact the General-Head Office.

Many of IMO's most important technical conventions contain provisions for ships to be inspected when they visit foreign ports to ensure that they meet IMO requirements. These inspections were originally intended to be a back-up to flag state implementation, but experience has shown that they can be extremely effective, especially if organised on a regional basis.

A ship going to a port in one country will normally visit other countries within the same region before embarking on its return voyage and it is to everybody's advantage if inspections can be closely coordinated. This coordination ensures that as many ships as possible are inspected but at the same time prevents ships being delayed by unnecessary inspections.

The primary responsibility for ships' standards rests with the ship-owners/operators and the flag states of the relevant ships but PSC also provides a "safety net" to catch substandard ships.

Memoranda of Understanding

To facilitate this coordination IMO has encouraged the establishment of regional PSC organisations and agreements. Several Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) are now in operation including -

  • Europe and the North Atlantic (Paris MOU)
  • Asia and the Pacific (Tokyo MOU)
  • Latin America (Acuerdo de Viña del Mar)
  • Caribbean (Caribbean MOU)
  • West and Central Africa (Abuja MOU)
  • Black Sea Region (Black Sea MOU)
  • Mediterranean (Mediterranean MOU)
  • Indian Ocean (Indian Ocean MOU);
  • Arab States of the Gulf (GCC MoU or Riyadh MoU).

In addition to these MOUs, the USCG also operates its own PSC regime.

The Crew Compliance and PSC Section of the Safety Division is responsible for Cayman’s PSC programme under the Caribbean MOU and for the monitoring of the performance of Cayman-flagged vessels under other PSC regimes.

The Safety Division, generally, is responsible for providing technical support to owners in the event of their vessels being detained, particularly if Cayman considers that a particular detention is unjustified.

Last Updated: 2006-05-19