Australia: AMSA releases their Annual PSC inspection report 2023


( Australia has one of the world’s largest mixed-market economies and is the largest continental landmass surrounded by water. Australia’s national livelihood depends on ensuring that maritime trade to, from and around the country remains safe and compliant with all relevant international conventions. Australia relies on sea transport for most of its imports and exports by weight. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s robust port and flag State control processes are an essential element in ensuring the safe operation of all vessels, the protection of the marine environment, and protecting seafarers and passengers' onboard vessels.

PSC deficiencies

For reporting purposes, deficiencies have been categorised into groups that identify key areas of non-compliance, being structural/equipment, operational, human factors, ISM (safety management) and MLC (living and working conditions). Appendix 1, Table 6 identifies the number of deficiencies by category in 2023 along with a comparison of the deficiency rates to those in 2022.

If the number of deficiencies is considered in isolation, as depicted in Table 6, the majority of deficiencies were issued to bulk carriers. However, this is not surprising given bulk carriers accounted for 50.4% of ship arrivals and 51.6% of all inspections. To assess the performance of ship types, it is necessary to compare the deficiencies per inspection for each category as provided in Appendix 1 table 7 in the Report. Ships with less 10 inspections have not been included in the below summation.

Poor Performing Ships

  • Heavy load carriers were the poorest performing ships in 2023, with a detention rate of 16.7%.
  • Offshore service vessels were the next poorest performing ship type with a detention rate of 12.5% percent.
  • General cargo/multi-purpose ships were the next poorest performing ship type with a detention rate of 11.6%, followed by chemical tankers with a detention rate of 8.1 % and gas carriers with a detention rate of 7.5%.
  • Container ships dropped out of the top 5 poorest performing ship types in 2023 with a 6.8% detention rate, a notable improvement from the 2022 rate of 8.3% but still above the 6.3% average for all ship types. The rate of deficiencies per inspection for container ships was 3.59, well above the 2.68 average deficiency rate for all ship types. AMSA is continuing to focus on enforcing the minimum international standards for container ships including the proper stowage and securing of containers and maintenance of cargo securing equipment.
  • In 2023, bulk carriers exited the top 5 poorest performing ship types after being on the list for 7 years. This is significant as bulk carriers are the most frequently inspected foreign flagged ship in Australia, with 1,444 PSC inspections conducted in 2023. The detention rate for bulk carriers in 2023 however was 6.8%, higher than the 2022 rate of 6.4% and above the 6.3% average for all ship types. This indicates that the performance of bulk carriers has not improved despite dropping out of the top 5 poor performing list.  The rate of deficiencies per inspection for bulk carriers was 2.84, slightly above the 2.68 deficiency rate for all ship types.

DCV deficiencies

Marine Safety Inspectors will issue a DCV with a deficiency if they reasonably believe that a condition on the DCV is in contravention of the National Law Act 2012, including associated regulations and standards. Deficiencies which are assessed as having a high risk to safety of persons or the environment will likely lead to further compliance action.

The most common deficiencies by deficiency type on DCVs in 2023 were for life saving appliances (23% of all deficiencies), followed by SMS (20% of all deficiencies) and Fire Safety (15% of all deficiencies). These three deficiency categories account for 58% of all deficiencies issued to DCVs. More detail is provided in the Report.

The highest deficiency rates (deficiencies per inspection) by vessel class for DCVs in 2023 were for passenger vessels (4.39) and fishing vessels (3.75), followed by hire and drive vessels (3.46) and non-passenger vessels (3.44). Fishing vessels had the highest share of detainable deficiencies recorded (34.5%), followed by non-passenger vessels (34.1%), passenger vessels (25.0%) and hire and drive vessels (6.4%). Refer to the Report for more details.

FSC deficiencies

The highest deficiency rates by deficiency category for RAVs in 2023 were for structural/equipment (2.18), followed by operational (0.87) and human factor (0.51). More detail is provided in Appendix 3, Table 2.

The highest deficiency rates by ship type for RAVs in 2023 were for passenger ships (5.90), followed by ro-ro cargo ships (4.67) and tugboats (4.63). More detail is provided in the Report.

  • Structural/equipment deficiencies were again the most common type of deficiency from any inspection in 2023. RAVs and DCVs had a particularly high deficiency rate in this category compared to foreign flagged ships (PSC).
  • SMS deficiencies are issued at a significantly higher rate on DCVs. A contributing factor is that, unlike PSC or FSC, multiple SMS deficiencies can be issued during a single DCV inspection. This is generally to assist the master or owner in clearly identifying areas of the safety management system that require improvement.
  • RAVs had an operational deficiency rate over twice that of foreign flagged ships.

PSC detainable deficiencies

Table 9 shows the proportion of detainable deficiencies in different categories over a two-year period. As indicated in the table, the detainable deficiencies relating to the category of ISM remained the highest, with a small decrease in overall share in 2023 (27.0%) as compared to 2022 (29.1%). The category of fire safety again accounted for the second highest share of detainable deficiencies (15.2%). There was a notable increase in the share of detainable deficiencies for water/weather-tight conditions which almost doubled in 2023 (12.6%) compared to 2022 (6.4%). The share of detainable deficiencies related to labour conditions decreased in 2023 (4.2%) compared to 2022 (7.3%). AMSA takes a serious stance on enforcing seafarer rights and these numbers indicate that this may be having the desired effect in improving the welfare of seafarers.

The ongoing high proportion of detainable deficiencies under the ISM code highlights the important role port State control plays in identifying, and bringing into compliance, ships that have become substandard due to the lack of implementation of an effective safety management system. In 2023, AMSA continued to focus on the planned maintenance requirements of the ISM code in response to prior incidents related to lack of maintenance of main engines and power generation systems.

DCV detainable deficiencies

For deficiencies that are a high risk to safety of persons or the environment, AMSA may use a National Law notice to ensure that the DCV does not operate until the high-risk deficiency is rectified. This could be in the form of a prohibition notice, a direction notice or a detention notice.

The most common detainable deficiency type for the DCV fleet in 2023 was structural conditions, accounting for 22.3% of all detainable deficiencies (49 in total). Safety management system deficiencies were the second most commonly detainable item accounting for 19.6% (43 in total) followed by fire safety at 18.2% (40 in total). These three categories accounted for over 60% of all detainable items found on DCVs.

The full Report can be accessed via below link:

Source: AMSA


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