Foreign flagged vessels continue to face detention in UK ports due to safety failures

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Detention of foreign ships in UK highlights ongoing safety concerns

In March 2024, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) reported the detention of foreign flagged ships in UK ports for failing to meet the safety standards required by the Paris MOU Port State Control.

A total of three new detentions were recorded during the month, with two vessels still under detention as the month concluded.

This ongoing issue highlights critical safety lapses that could potentially jeopardize maritime operations and crew welfare.

Details from the latest detention report

According to the MCA, significant deficiencies were found in emergency power sources and fire safety systems on these vessels.

For instance, the SUDE-S, flagged by Malta, was detained due to inoperative emergency generators and inadequate fire extinguishing installations, leading to its release after three days following corrections.

Another vessel, EEMS SERVANT from the Netherlands, showcased more extensive issues with 22 deficiencies including ineffective crew performance evaluations and poor emergency system familiarity, taking approximately two weeks for release post-detention.

Patterns of non-compliance and enforcement

The detention list includes various ships such as the TRUFFALDINO, flagged by Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and the GUNDEM AZRA from Panama, both demonstrating non-compliance in multiple safety aspects.

Notably, issues ranged from inoperative fire detection systems to outdated navigational charts and life-saving appliances, reflecting a broader problem of adherence to international maritime safety norms.

MCA’s role and the impact of these detentions

Enforcement by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency

As part of its commitment to enhancing maritime safety, the MCA conducts rigorous inspections to ensure that vessels comply with international standards.

These measures are crucial for preventing potential accidents and environmental hazards, thus maintaining the integrity of marine operations within UK waters.

International cooperation and database utility

The MCA utilises the THETIS database, which centralises information on ships inspected under the Paris MOU.

This system helps in identifying high-risk vessels and prioritising them for inspections, thereby efficiently managing resources to address the most significant threats to maritime safety.

IFSJ Comment

The continued detention of vessels for failing safety inspections underlines the critical need for stringent enforcement of maritime laws.

The MCA’s efforts are essential in ensuring that such deficiencies are addressed promptly to prevent accidents and protect marine environments.

Moreover, the detailed reporting and transparency in handling these detentions reflect the UK’s commitment to upholding high safety standards, serving as a model for maritime authorities worldwide.

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