Risk Moment : Avoiding the Wrath of PSC

The crew of the tanker [I]Overseas Jademar [/I]are sitting at anchor in Port Angeles, Washington this morning. As the vessel was detained by the U.S. Coast Guard yesterday after a port state control (PSC) inspection, they are likely effecting the necessary repairs to clear the deficiencies and get back to moving cargo. With a charter rate of $15,000 to $20,000/day, you can only assume there is significant pressure from the home office to do so quickly.

The deficiencies listed in the USCG press release of February 10thinclude fire doors that do not close automatically, missing or damaged gaskets on fire hoses and an inoperable emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB). When taken individually, these do not seem enough to detain a vessel, but taken as signs of a systemic breakdown in the maintenance of lifesaving and firefighting equipment, they may be the tip of the iceberg. Unfortunately, many of us have signed on vessels and found the same or similar conditions. Long story short, we may be in danger of being detained ourselves if we allow these conditions to persist or occur.

How to help ourselves? We can start by taking the inspections of lifesaving and firefighting equipment seriously. To put it mildly, we are only helping ourselves to have this equipment in good condition. It is very common to have the 3rd mate/officer conduct the firefighting and lifesaving inspections. This, however, does not relieve the master and/or chief officer of the responsibility of ensuring these inspections (and maintenance!) are conducted properly. One 3rd mate pencil-whipping the inspections for several months could put you in the same situation as [I]Overseas Jademar[/I]! Continuing on, we can become familiar (or re-familiarize ourselves) with the links below. While information comes at us from many angles in an ever-increasing deluge, spending a little time here may pay great dividends when the general alarm starts ringing…or the inspector comes calling…

Let’s be safe out there.
Additional Reading and Links[/U]
LR / UK P&I : ISM & ISPS pocket checklist : Reducing the risk of Port State Control detentions

[I]Captain Richard Madden is an actively sailing mariner with over 20 years of industry experience. He is focused on safe and secure operations throughout the maritime industry. Most recently, Captain Madden has gained extensive experience while operating in the Horn of Africa region on container vessels in the feeder trade. All opinions expressed within this article are his and his alone.[/I]

Good food for thought. I learned the right way to do inspections as a DC petty officer on board a CG cutter. Most of the guys I work with out here in the Gulf just do visual inspections of all the gear. Don’t bother to pull out a fire hose or check the gaskets among other things. Pretty sad.