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Paris MoU agrees on inspection campaign for MLC in 2016

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Richard W.J. Schiferli, the Paris MoU  Secretary General

Richard W.J. Schiferli, the Paris MoU Secretary General

The Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control (Paris MoU) held its 48th Committee meeting in Noordwijkerhout, the Netherlands, from 18 – 22 May 2015 under the chairmanship of Mr. Brian Hogan.

The meeting was officially opened by the Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment, Melanie Schultz van Haegen. The meeting was attended by members of the Paris MoU, the European Commission, EMSA, Montenegro, observers from the International Labour Organization, US Coast Guard, Viña del Mar Agreement, Tokyo MoU, Caribbean MoU, Mediterranean MoU, Indian Ocean MoU, Abuja MoU and Black Sea MoU.

High importance was given to the Concentrated Inspection Campaigns (CICs). Jointly with the Tokyo MoU a CIC on Crew Familiarisation for Enclosed Space Entry is scheduled from September to November, this year.

After the entry into force of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC2006) in 2013 the Committee decided on carrying out a CIC in 2016 to verify compliance with the Convention. The questionnaire and guidelines for this CIC have been completed and adopted by the Paris MoU Committee at its present session. Secretary General Richard Schiferli expressed the view of the Committee that this decision demonstrated the importance to the Paris MoU of decent working and living conditions onboard ships, as well as ensuring that seafarers’ rights are respected..

The report of the CIC on STCW hours of rest, carried out in September to November of 2014, was presented to PSCC48. The Committee expressed concern that during the CIC, which was publicised in advance, 912 deficiencies were recorded related specifically to STCW hours of rest and that 16 ships were detained as a result of the CIC. The results will be published and submitted to the IMO.

The Committee agreed to work on a plan to elaborate the guidelines on MARPOL Annex VI, which deals with air pollution from ships.

Montenegro has entered into the final stage towards full membership and a decision will be taken next year, when the Committee meets in Norway.

The Committee adopted the 2014 Annual Report, including the new White, Grey and Black List and the performance list of Recognised Organisations. The lists will be published early June and used for targeting purposes starting 1st July 2015. There are a continued high number of ships which are refused access to the region after multiple detentions. Four ships have been banned for a second time. The Annual Report will be published by the end of July this year.

On behalf of the member states, Mr. Hogan concluded the meeting by remarking that significant progress has been made on port State control issues during this meeting. He thanked all member states, the European Commission, EMSA and the Paris MoU Secretariat for their contribution. In particular Mr. Hogan thanked the Maritime Administration of the Netherlands, for the excellent arrangements they made for this Committee meeting.

Regional Port State Control was initiated in 1982 when fourteen European countries agreed to coordinate their port State inspection effort under a voluntary agreement known as the Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control (Paris MOU). Currently 27 countries are member of the Paris MOU. The European Commission, although not a signatory to the Paris MOU, is also a member of the Committee. The Paris MoU is supported by a central database THETIS hosted and operated by the European Maritime Safety Agency in Lisbon. Inspection results are available for search and daily updating by MoU Members. Inspection results can be consulted on the Paris MoU public website and are published on the Equasis public website. The Secretariat of the MoU is provided by the Netherlands Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment and located in The Hague.

Port State Control is a check on visiting foreign ships to verify their compliance with international rules on safety, pollution prevention and seafarers living and working conditions. It is a means of enforcing compliance in cases where the owner and flag State have failed in their responsibility to implement or ensure compliance. The port State can require defects to be put right, and detain the ship for this purpose if necessary. It is therefore also a port State’s defence against visiting substandard shipping.

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