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Luc Smulders

The Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control (Paris MoU) held its 55th Committee meeting in Bucharest, Romania from the 16th to the 20th of May 2022. The meeting was chaired by Mr. Brian Hogan.

After two years of virtual meetings, the Paris MoU was able to meet physically. Most of the members and observers enjoyed the face-to-face opportunity and of its positive impact on discussions and decision-making. Those who were not able to attend were given the opportunity to participate online.

Although the situation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic continues to normalise within the region, a main element discussed was the ongoing impact of the pandemic on port State control. The Committee was of the opinion that such after-effects should be monitored and possible lessons to be learned from the pandemic and the way in which the Paris MoU has dealt with it should also be considered.

Following last year’s recognition by the Committee for a clear momentum to explore the need and feasibility of a port State control regime for fishing vessels, this year the Committee agreed to initiate a pilot project on port State control on fishing vessels of more than 24 meters. This is expected to result in the inspection of foreign fishing vessels by 2024. Participation of Paris MoU member Authorities will be on a voluntary basis. After the pilot, based on the information gathered, the Committee will decide on further actions regarding a possible future port State control regime for fishing vessels.

The Committee also discussed the ever-growing technological innovation that leads to further digitisation. Their likely effects on port State control led to agreement on an advancing agenda to keep pace with such developments to prepare the Paris MoU for them.

During the meeting the Committee also commemorated the 40th Anniversary of the Paris MoU and special attention was paid to the fact that several promotional activities will be initiated, both internally and externally. The Committee discussed the evaluation of the Concentrated Inspection Campaign (CIC) on Stability, held from 1 September to 30 November 2021. A total of 3995 inspections were carried out including the CIC-questionnaire. Detailed information on the CIC results are available on the Paris MoU website.

Furthermore, the planning for future CICs, which will be conducted jointly with the Tokyo MoU, was discussed and agreed upon. Next to the already planned CICs (STCW in 2022, Fire Safety in 2023, MLC Wages and Seafarers’ Employment Agreements in 2024 and Ballast Water Management in 2025) a CIC on Cargo Securing was agreed for 2026. The Committee also recalled the Inspection Campaign on the Polar Code, scheduled for June and August this year.

With regard to Montenegro’s application for membership, the Committee was pleased to note the progress presented by the Maritime Authority of Montenegro, which is likely to lead to a fact-finding mission this year as a final step to complete the application process.

In view of the international situation, the Paris MoU Committee has decided to suspend the membership of the Russian Maritime Authority with immediate effect and until further notice.

The Committee adopted the 2021 Annual Report, including the White, Grey and Black list of flag States and the performance list of Recognized Organizations. These lists will be taken into account for the calculation of the Ship Risk Profile from 1 July 2022. The report will be published on the Paris MoU website on 1 July 2022.

The meeting was attended by the members of the Paris MoU, the European Commission, EMSA, Montenegro, observers from the Black Sea MoU, Caribbean MoU, Indian Ocean MoU, Mediterranean MoU, Tokyo MoU, Viña del Mar Agreement and a representative from IMO.

On behalf of the maritime authorities, Mr. Hogan concluded the meeting by remarking that significant progress has been made in port State control, both in the short and longer term. He thanked all member authorities, the European Commission, EMSA, the Paris MoU Secretariat and the observers for their contribution and the spirit of co-operation shown by all who attended the meeting.

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