Labour

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) expressed their concern on behalf of the health and safety of ships’ personnel and produced the ILO Minimum Standards Convention 1976,  Unlike IMO conventions which applied only to its members, the ILO convention was extended to ships of countries which were not parties to the convention. Then the European Union entered the picture and produced the Paris Memorandum of Understanding (MOA) 1982 which bound European states to provide surveyors and to undertake a minimum number of inspection amounting to 25% of total foreign vessel calls in a year. Other countries such as Canada and Poland joined in the MOA making 16 signatories to the memorandum. Some other countries already had in place a unilateral system of inspection. In the United States, for example, local regulations on condition of visiting ships were enthusiastically applied. In other areas, neighbouring countries made a similar agreement. Ten Latin American states including Mexico and Panama produced the Acuerdo del Vina del Mar 1992. A year later, a similar agreement known as the Tokyo Memorandum was signed by 18 Asia/Pacific countries. Reports on the levels of inefficiencies are published at least annually with details not only of the ships involved but their ownership, their flag state and the classification society involved. Port State Control is not a universal cure-all for the problem of sub-standard ships. Part of the problem is that there is no immediately tangible financial benefit to detaining a ship until her deficiencies are corrected (hence no electorial “sex-appeal”) so in times of any sort of economic down-turn, the number of surveyors is likely to diminish. It is noteworthy that all these agreements have taken place outside the IMO.  Their dedication is directed more to flag states and they will be stressing at their forthcoming meetings that flag states should not depend on Port State Control, but ensure that the ships under their flags are properly controlled where they should be – in their own countries.