Maritime safety: port State control
Directive 2009/16/EC on port State control
WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE DIRECTIVE?
It aims to reduce substandard shipping in EU waters by:
- ensuring ships respect EU and international maritime safety and environmental rules;
- establishing common criteria for ship inspections.
It recasts Directive 95/21/EC on port State control of shipping which had been substantially amended several times.
The legislation applies to any eligible ship and its crew calling at, or anchored in, an EU port.
EU governments must ensure they have a sufficient number of qualified inspectors with the necessary resources to carry out the inspections.
All eligible ships using an EU port are given a risk profile in the THETIS inspection database. This is based on criteria such as the type and age of a vessel, and determines the thoroughness and frequency of the inspections.
To make the planning of inspections easier, THETIS is linked to the SafeSeaNet system which provides information on ships in, or expected at, all EU ports.
Annual inspections are compulsory for ships with a high-risk profile and are optional for others.
Priority is given to inspecting vessels that infrequently dock at EU ports.
Initial inspections check that certificates and documents are in order and assess a ship’s overall condition.
If deficiencies are discovered, the ship is subject to a more detailed inspection.
More detailed inspections are reserved for high-risk profile vessels, passenger ships, and oil, gas, chemical and bulk carriers over 12 years of age.
Any deficiencies discovered must be rectified. If these are clearly a risk to safety, health or the environment, the vessel is detained until they are made good.
National authorities may refuse port access to ships which have been detained more than twice during the previous 2 to 3 years.
Shipowners or operators may appeal against any detention or refusal of access.
The European Commission maintains and updates the inspection database. It regularly publishes details of companies with low or very low compliance rates on the THETIS website.
The legislation does not cover:
- fishing or naval support vessels;
- certain types of wooden ships; or
- private yachts.
The directive was amended by Directive (EU) 2017/2110 which widens the scope of Directive 2009/16/EC to include inspections of ro-ro (roll-on/roll-off) passenger ships and high-speed passenger ships in regular service. Before these ships start to operate on a regular service, the relevant authorities must inspect them to ensure that they fulfil the requirements for the safe operation of a regular service. If a ship has been inspected by another EU country within the previous 8 months and deemed satisfactory to safely operate a regular service, the ship does not need to undergo a further inspection.
FROM WHEN DOES THE DIRECTIVE APPLY?
It has applied since 17 June 2009. Directive 2009/16/EC revised and replaced Directive 95/21/EC (and its subsequent amendments). The new rules contained in Directive 2009/16/EC had to become law in the EU countries by 2010.
For more information, see:
Directive 2009/16/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on port State control (Recast) (OJ L 131, 28.5.2009, pp. 57-100)
Successive amendments to Directive 2009/16/EC have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.
Directive (EU) 2017/2110 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 November 2017 on a system of inspections for the safe operation of ro-ro passenger ships and high-speed passenger craft in regular service and amending Directive 2009/16/EC and repealing Council Directive 1999/35/EC (OJ L 315, 30.11.2017, pp. 61-77)
last update 16.01.2019