USCG PSC Report 2022: 63 ships detained for environmental protection, safety, and security deficiencies

The US Coast Guard’s Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance has published the U.S. Port State Control Annual Report for 2022. USCG reported that the total number of ships detained in 2022 for environmental protection, safety, and security related deficiencies increased from 63 to 78.

The main findings:
– In 2022, the Coast Guard conducted 8,706 SOLAS safety exams with a total of 78 detentions.
– The annual detention rate increased from 0.73 percent to 0.89 percent.
– The three-year rolling average detention ratio decreased slightly from 0.87 percent to 0.80 percent.
– The total number of ships detained in 2022 for environmental protection, safety, and security related deficiencies increased from 63 to 78.
– Flag Administration performance for 2022 dropped slightly with the overall annual detention rate increasing from 0.73% to 0.89%

Vessel Arrivals, Exams, and Detentions

In 2022, a total of 11,235 individual vessels, from 78 different flag administrations, made 80,280 port calls to the U.S., and 8,706 PSC exams were conducted. As we strive to put the global pandemic behind us, these exam numbers increased over the 2021 total of 8,663 and have now surpassed the 2019 pre-pandemic total of 8,622, USCG report reads. The total number of ships detained in 2022 for environmental protection, safety, and security related deficiencies increased from 63 to 78.

Flag Administration Performance

Flag Administration performance for 2022 dropped slightly with the overall annual detention rate increasing from 0.73% to 0.89%. However, the three-year rolling detention ratio decreased slightly from 0.87% to 0.80%. Belgium, Israel, Mexico, St. Kitts and Nevis, Tanzania, Panama, Portugal, and Vanuatu were removed from the Targeted Flag List this year.

Detention and Association Appeals

In 2022, the Coast Guard received a total of twenty-three appeals. Nine appeals challenged the overall merits of the detention. Of those merit appeals, two were granted, seven were denied. In addition to receiving appeals contesting the overall merits of a detention, we also receive appeals requesting the removal of
a party’s association to a detention. For those parties appealing their association with a detention, fourteen were received.

Of those, eight were granted, five were denied and one was still under adjudication at the time of this report. For more information on the Coast Guard’s appeal process, please see our process guidance on page seven of this report.

QUALSHIP 21 and E-Zero Programs

The QS21 program ended calendar year 2022 with an impressive 4,431 vessels enrolled. In 2021, we welcomed five additional flag administrations into the program with one losing their QS21 eligibility. For 2022, seven flag administrations lost their eligibility while four new flags became eligible. USCG welcomes the flag administrations of Belgium, Panama, Portugal, and Vanuatu for becoming QS21 eligible this year.

The E-Zero program focuses on environmental stewardship and worldwide compliance with international environmental conventions. At the close of 2022, 306 ships were awarded the E-Zero designation.

Detainable deficiencies found during PSC examinations in 2022

1 Fire Safety

For the second straight year fire safety deficiencies lead all deficiency categories and remains a concern throughout USCG’s PSC program. Oil accumulation in the engine room stood out once again with over seventy deficiencies noted. Oil soaked lagging, fuel leaks, excessive oil in the bilge, and open buckets filled with oily waste throughout the engine room were the most common deficiencies cited. On one ship the PSCO discovered excessive oil leaks throughout all machinery spaces with multiple areas of lagging soaked with oil. The lagging was found to be painted over to hide the leaks.

The bulkheads and decks were slick from the oil and oil soaked mops along with trash bags full of oil soaked rags were present throughout the engine room.

We recorded several deficiencies where the firefighting equipment was not readily available. On one ship the PSCO discovered water-mist nozzles covered with plastic and tape. There was also another ship where the fire-extinguishing main control panel was turned off. And a third where the CO2 storage room was secured with a padlock. The key to the pad lock could not be located preventing the system from being ready for immediate operation

2 Safety Management Systems (SMS)

The number of SMS deficiencies increased slightly over 2021 totals. Deficiencies related to maintenance of the ship and equipment, reports of non-conformities, and deficiencies related to shipboard operations led all SMS categories respectively. On one ship, the PSCOs determined the ship was not in substantial compliance with relevant conventions, calling into question the adequacy and implementation of the vessel’s SMS and ultimately an expanded SMS exam.

Initially, they found the oily water separator (OWS) system was not operational yet neither the flag, class, nor company was informed. The master could not provide documentation regarding reporting of inoperable equipment and no effort was made to rectify the OWS. All fuel shutoff valves were inoperable when tested even though the vessel’s maintenance logs show testing 14 days prior.

PSCOs discovered multiple non-functional smoke detectors in the engine room as well as finding the vessel’s rescue boat engine inoperable. Finally, PSCOs discovered all engine spaces were soaked in a layer of oil with hoses, rags and mops located throughout the engine room as well as open buckets filled with oil.

3 Lifesaving Appliances

Detainable deficiencies relatedto lifesaving systems remained fairly consistent with 2021 totals. Deficiencies related to rescue boats, lifeboats, and the operational readiness of lifesaving appliances were most frequently cited. PSCOs found rescue boats to have had a severed steering gear linkage and a corroded steering cable rendering them inoperable.

On one ship it took the crew over 1.5 hours to lower the rescue boat due to severe corrosion in the lowering boom actuator. During three separate exams over half the immersion suites onboard were found with failed seams, broken zippers, and deteriorated rubber seals.

4 MARPOL Annex I

Deficiencies issued under this category increased from four in 2021 to twenty-two in 2022. Oil filtering equipment and oil discharge monitoring systems accounted for almost half the deficiencies. PSCOs witnessed systems exceeding 15PPM with no activation of the valves to control overboard discharges. PSCOs observed control valves stuck in the open position with a buildup of corrosion in the overboard piping.

There were also three instances where the PSCO identified evidence of illegal discharges of oil overboard. In one case a whistleblower provided video evidence of the ship bypassing the oil filtering equipment and discharging oil directly over the side.

The Coast Guard stresses that if any ship’s system required by international conventions is not in working condition, the master and crew should take necessary actions to remedy the situation in accordance with their SMS before the ship enters port and report any unresolved issues on their advance notice of arrival.

Download the report in full: USCG PSC Annual Report 2022

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