This year’s concentrated inspection campaign by port state control starts on 1 September 2023 and focuses on fire safety, both from a technical and operational aspect, reads a Gard release.
Fire safety-related deficiencies
The 2023 joint concentrated inspection campaign (CIC) by the Tokyo and Paris MoUs port state control (PSC) regimes has likely been triggered by the large number of fire safety-related deficiencies recorded over many years. The Paris MOU reported fire safety defects as the leading cause of deficiencies in 2022. Another top deficiency category was ISM-related issues, which often also involve fire safety. Inspections conducted by the US Coast Guard over the past few years have yielded similar worrying results.
According to its 2022 Annual Report, fire safety deficiencies lead all deficiency categories for the second year in a row and the number of ISM related deficiencies increased compared to 2021. US Coast Guard highlights the following observations in its report:
- Fire Safety: Oil accumulation in the engine room stood out once again with over seventy deficiencies. These mostly included oil-soaked insulation, fuel leaks, excessive oil in the bilge, as well as open buckets filled with oily waste, throughout engine rooms. In addition, several deficiencies involved firefighting equipment that was not readily available. Examples include water-mist nozzles covered with plastic and tape, a fire-extinguishing main control panel that was turned off, and a CO2 storage room secured with a padlock with the key nowhere to be found.
- ISM: The majority of ISM related deficiencies were linked to maintenance of the ship and equipment, reporting of non-conformities, and shipboard operations. On one ship, all fuel shutoff valves were found to be inoperable when tested, even though its maintenance logs showed testing had been conducted 14 days prior. On another ship, multiple smoke detectors in the engine room were found to be inoperable. Similar to fire safety related deficiencies, a consistent lack of general cleanliness in the engine room was a cause also for ISM related deficiencies.
Like previous years, the CIC will last for three months, from 1 September to 31 November 2023, and be included as an additional part of routine PSC inspections during the campaign period. The attending PSC Officers (PSCOs) will use a questionnaire tailored to verify specific topics and areas relevant to the CIC.
Ships and their equipment should always be maintained in such a way as to ensure safe operations and PSC inspections. However, targeted PSC inspections announced in advance, like the annual CIC, serve as timely reminders for companies and seafarers to focus on specific areas where a higher risk of accidents and/or non-compliance with international safety regulations could exist.
Gard strongly encourages ship operators to use this CIC as a reminder of the importance of ensuring readiness of the shore organization, crew and equipment in case of fire related emergencies. To ensure that the integrity of fire safety measures onboard ships is maintained in accordance with applicable rules and regulations and systems and equipment are readily available for operation at all times.
The Paris and Tokyo MOUs’ official CIC questionnaire was published on 1 August 2023 and should be used in the preparations. As most of the Maritime Administrations have delegated the certification of ships under IMO Conventions and Codes to classification societies, we also recommend contacting the relevant classification societies well in advance of the CIC for more detailed information on typical survey procedures related to fire safety systems.
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