Port State Compliance Going Paperless

Port state control inspectors may be allowed to inspect on-line electronic databases to check over 60 certificates required by the International Maritime Organization to be onboard. This means that inspectors will not have to go through stacks of certificates to establish whether a ship is in compliance with international safety and security regulations.

The ICS said in a statement that, in addition to crew certification, ships must provide over sixty certificates and documents. In an age of electronic databases, is it necessary to provide original paper copies of all of these documents onboard? We are pleased that the IMO has agreed to explore the possibility that some of these documents could be examined and verified electronically prior to the vessel's arrival at a port state.

The ICS believes that a system in which state port control inspectors can check a ship's documents by simply entering the ship's IMO number in a database would reduce the paperwork burden on ship personnel. In view of the many hours seafarers already work onboard and concerns about seamen fatigue issues, electronic certificate reviews would obviously relieve much of that responsibility from the IMO administrators.