Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) Port State Control Report 2021


( This report summarises the PSC activities of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and reports on the performance of commercial shipping companies, flag States, and Classification Societies for the 2021 calendar year.

Despite a full year of COVID-19 restrictions, AMSA inspectors undertook 2,820 PSC inspections during 2021, a 6.65 percent drop in the inspection rate from 2020 (3,021 PSC inspections). This was due to the continuation of procedures put in place in 2020 to protect both inspectors and crew from possible transmission of COVID-19 infection during inspections.

The PSC inspection results for 2021 saw a slight decrease in the detention rate of ships from 5.9 percent in 2020 to 5.6 percent (the peak in 2011 was 9.2 percent).

The average deficiency rate remained relatively constant, increasing slightly from 2.1 deficiencies per inspection in 2020 to 2.2 deficiencies per inspection in 2021.

As noted in previous reports, from 2013 onwards, ships and operators with a record of poor performance can be refused access from entering or using Australian ports through a direction issued under section 246 of the Navigation Act 20121. In 2021, AMSA refused access to four ships for periods ranging from six to 36 months. Three of these directions were issued in response to significant breaches of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC).

This report includes basic MLC PSC statistics for comparison between deficiency and detention categories, however, AMSA publishes a standalone MLC annual report which is available on the AMSA website.

2021 summary of PSC activity

  • During the calendar year there were:
    • 26,400 ship arrivals by 6,170 foreign-flagged ships
    • 2,820 PSC inspections
    • 159 ship detentions.
  • Bulk carriers accounted for 56.1 percent of ship arrivals and 60.7 percent of PSC inspections.
  • PSC inspections were carried out at 53 Australian ports.
  • The average gross tonnage per visit was 54,015 GT compared to 54,318 GT in 2020.
  • The average age of ships calling Australian ports remained at 11 years, the same as 2020.

Key points

  • In 2021, the number of foreign-flagged ship arrivals increased by 221 (0.8 percent) to 26,400. The number of arrivals by individual ships increased by 89 to 6,170 (1.4 percent).
  • The number of initial PSC inspections conducted during 2021 decreased by 201 (7.1 percent) to 2820.
  • The overall number of deficiencies decreased to 6,242 in 2021, compared to 6,387 in 2020.
  • The average number of deficiencies per inspection increased slightly to 2.2 in 2021, compared to 2.1 in 2020.
  • The number of detainable deficiencies decreased to 221 in 2021, compared to 270 in 2020. The largest contributor to this was ISM detainable deficiencies despite decreasing to 53 in 2021, compared to 76 in 2020.
  • The number of detained ships decreased to 159 in 2021, compared to 178 in 2020. The detention per inspection rate decreased to 5.6 percent in 2021, compared to 5.9 percent in 2020.

The quality of ships coming to Australia continues to be of a high standard with the deficiency per inspection rate in 2021 remaining relatively low at 2.2 compared to 2.1 in 2020. Australia’s port State control regime continues to deliver the desired outcome of improved safety and exerts a positive influence on the quality of ships arriving in Australia.

Top five PSC inspections by flag State 2021

There were 2820 foreign-flagged ships
inspected in 2021.The top five flag States accounted for 72% of
all inspections (2027 inspections).
Flag State (number of inspections)
Panama (624) 22.1%
Marshall Islands (429) 15.2%
Liberia (378) 13.4%
Hong Kong (358) 12.7%
Singapore (238) 8.4%

Top five PSC detention rates by flag State 2021

There was a total of 159 foreign-flag ship
detentions in 2021.The average detention rate for all ships was
Flag State (Detention Rate %)
1. Antigua and Barbuda – 11.1%
2. Denmark – 10.0%
3. Taiwan, (Province of China) – 10.0%
4. Thailand – 10.0%
5. Portugal – 8.8%

Note: this table only covers flag States with 10 or more inspections

Trends from 2021

As observed in past PSC annual reports, the most frequent cause of detention since 2010 relates to ineffective implementation of the safety management system (SMS) as required by the International Safety Management (ISM) Code. In 2021 the number of ISM detainable deficiencies decreased to 53 (occurring in 1.9% of PSC inspections) compared to 76 in 2020 (occurring in 2.5% of PSC inspections). The rate of structural and equipment deficiencies per inspection remained substantial at 1.1, the same as in 2020 and an increase from 0.9 in 2019. This continues to highlight that maintenance issues are not being addressed by the ship’s SMS as implemented onboard. This is likely to be related to a combination of factors including:

  • Ongoing difficulties, as reported by operators, with conducting shore-based maintenance due to COVID-19 restrictions. Operators also reported difficulty in superintendents not being able to visit their ships due to COVID-19 restrictions, which affected their ability to conduct onboard SMS audits.
    • While AMSA acknowledges the effects of COVID-19 on shipping operations, AMSA considers that there has been sufficient time for operators to adapt their processes taking into account the effects of COVID-19.

Life-saving appliances (14.5 percent), fire safety (13.6 percent), and emergency systems (12.2 percent) again appeared in the top five categories of detainable deficiencies. These three categories have been in the top five since 2014.

Water/weather-tight deficiencies remained in the top five detainable deficiencies and increased slightly to 9.0 percent from 8.1 percent in 2020.

For even more details, click below to download full report:



To help your crew prepare for an upcoming PSC inspection in Australia, download below the relevant AMSA PSC checklist:


Source: Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA)



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