Paris MoU - BIMCO Bulletin

Paris MoU

REGULATION December 2019 Paris MoU Port State Control aims for harmonisation, recognises challenges By Mette Kronholm Frnde, Communications Manager and Editor at BIMCO What was your last, but also your second-last port of call? The Paris Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Port State Control aims to harmonise inspections and their outcome under the new International Maritime Organization (IMO) sulphur regulation. However, a number of factors will make it challenging to ensure the outcome of inspections are identical in every port. Carien Droppers, Deputy Secretary General at Paris MoU on Port State Control, is asked what to expect. From 1 January 2020 and from 1 March 2020 when the carriage ban comes into effect port state control officers employed by the national maritime authorities will do their best to work towards harmonisation of inspections for those who have joined the memorandum. Carien Droppers believes they are ready but says the bottom line is that inspections in the context of port state control check on compliance with international conventions. Port state control officers in the Paris MoU are trained to base their judgement on the specific requirements set out in the international maritime conventions. Any particularity with which the inspector in question is confronted will, therefore, be assessed on the basis of the relevant requirements from the applicable convention. However, assuming that situations are never identical, it is possible an assessment by port state control officers could also turn out differently. In article 18, the convention makes clear that relevant circumstances and evidence presented must be taken into account to determine the appropriate action. A relevant factor that may affect the way a port state deals with non-compliance is the capacity in which the inspector inspects the ship. The same port state control officer may be visiting the ship within the parameters of the Paris MoU, but may do so also on the basis of regional (for instance, EU) or even national legislation. Different capacities may result in other approaches and actions taken. Harmonisation efforts in the Paris MoU are limited to those inspections conducted using the Paris MoU framework. Droppers says: Our goal is to make sure that we all harmonise and standardise as much as possible. We offer training to ensure that when an inspector goes on board, it doesnt matter where he or she does so and that, for the ship, it is easy to recognise that this is a Port State Control inspection in the Paris MoU region. The ultimate goal would be that the way the inspection is performed is the same everywhere. Deficiencies, detention and fines Fines are not issued under Paris MoU inspections, but a ship may be given up to 14 days to allow it to correct deficiencies or it may be detained. If that happens, the inspector will go back on board to verify the ship is compliant before allowing it to depart. Fines, however, could be handed out by EU inspectors under the EU directive on Port State Control. Droppers does not expect to see a significant rise in detentions in the Paris MoU region from 1 January 2020, when the IMO sulphur regulation comes into force, but this may differ outside the region. Asking just one supplier, as opposed to several, will not be considered best effort Under the Paris MOU, we already have Sulphur Emission Control Areas with a sulphur limit of 0.10% for many of the member states. So, for most of the ships coming into this region, they already have the experience from the last couple of years, and I do not expect any changes. But outside the SECA, there could be, she says. All about evidence When it comes to non-compliance, inspectors will look for evidence and may not restrict the inspection solely to the ships last port of call when determining whether best efforts to obtain compliant fuel have been fulfilled. Ships may be asked, says Droppers: What was your last, but also your second-last port of call? Could you have obtained compliant fuel from there? And, if you knew that you could not obtain compliant fuel in your next port of call, why did you not bunker in the previous port, if tank capacity allowed? Photo (top): iStock / honglouwawa It will be about providing communication that you have done your best. Asking just one supplier, as opposed to several, will not be considered best effort. The price of compliant bunkers is not an excuse, regardless of the price difference from port to port. What is the Paris MoU? The mission of the Paris MoU is to eliminate the operation of sub-standard ships through a harmonised system of port state control. The organisation consists of 27 participating maritime administrations and covers the waters of the European coastal states and the North Atlantic basin from North America to Europe. The current member states of the Paris MoU are: Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, the Russian Federation, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Connect with BIMCO Facebook Twitter Linkedin YouTube