Following on from the 2016 Paris MoU Port State Control, Concentrated Inspection Campaign (CIC), which focused on MLC compliance, there have been reports that many yachts are still unprepared for these inspections and are at risk of being detained.
“For commercial yachts, there have been 125 inspections where there have been ten yacht detentions. One of these was due to an ISM deficiency, and there were over 200 non-ISM deficiencies recorded, and that is just this year,” explains Ian Biles, managing director of Maritime Services International.
Speaking on the number of inspections in 2017 this far, Biles reports that this number is not particularly high, but represents an increase in governments becoming more involved in yacht inspections. “I think it is a growing trend and I think this is down to the authorities, they have started gently, they go through the Paris MOU and they now have the tools to spot higher risk vessels.”
In light of these inspections, it is often discussed who - be it captain or manager - should be responsible for making sure that the yacht is fully compliant. For Biles, it is a collaborative approach, with both captain and manager needing to stay up to date with all the latest regulations, arguing it can sometimes be too much for one person to manage. “These days, regulations are so complex, a captain on a superyacht in a commercial environment, with charter guests, does not have the time or the resources available to them to stay up-to-date with everything they need to on his own. They need help. Now, whether that comes from a management company, from the owner’s private office or from outside consultants, there is not one guaranteed source, but they do need help to make sure they remain current.”
As both private and commercial vessels are subject to inspections by Port State Control, it is vital for captains and managers of private yachts to have the correct paperwork to prove their private status. In order to not get caught out, and potentially detained, Biles advises all private vessels to ensure they have the correct documentation in every instance, recalling two inspections of pleasure yachts that passed early this year without any issues.
In light of the news released earlier this year that Port State Control’s focus in 2018 will be MARPOL Annex VI, Biles recommends yachts begin to prepare for these CICs as soon as possible. By carrying out an independent inspection, yachts are able to understand and remedy potential compliance issues before any engagement with authorities; this avoids the risk of detention and reputational damage.
Ian Biles will be the guest columnist in issue 181 of The Superyacht Report, advising owners on the importance of surveys.