Japan Leads the Way on More Stringent International Vessel Inspections
Inspections of foreign vessels are already conducted during port calls, but Japan called for a more thorough inspection process after a series of ship related incidents, including oil spills from North Korean and Russian tankers.
Japan suggested the proposed safety inspections, based on its own Ship Safety Act and the international Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea. The Japanese transport ministry conducts Port State Control (PSC) inspections on foreign vessels at Japanese ports.
In 1997, a Russian tanker, Nakhoda, caused the largest oil spill in the Sea of Japan, and a North Korean freighter spilled oil off Ibaraki Prefecture in 2002. Since then, Japan has inspected foreign ships entering its territorial waters and ports.
The July, 2004 inspections will likely consist of the formation of teams of experts on international treaties and ship inspectors representing each member nation. A Japanese government official said, ?If each member country is able to inspect its own vessels accurately, the number of disasters at sea could be reduced.?