Use of port State control inspection data from the Paris MoU to assess pressure from shipping on the marine environment
Report, 2020

In this report we analyse the relation between the Port State Control (PSC) system, as implemented by Paris Memorandum of Understanding (Paris MoU), and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), which obligates EU member States to achieve a Good Environmental Status of their marine waters. The deficiency codes in the Paris MoU PSC THETIS list were reviewed to explore how the codes relate to, i.e. directly or indirectly affect, the marine environment. We further sorted these identified deficiency codes into different, partly overlapping, categories based on their relation to MSFD
descriptors. The number of deficiencies in the different categories were thereafter used as indices to infer pressures on the marine environment from different classes of ships. The approach was applied on a PSC inspection data set of ships that operated in the Baltic Sea or Skagerrak in 2018 to investigate if the number of deficiencies in four deficiency categories differed among ship types, ships of different ages and ships from different flag
states. We also analysed how deficiencies related to five different MSFD descriptors were distributed among ship classes.
General cargo, container and dry bulk ships had on average more deficiencies per ship than other ship types. The youngest ships had on average fewer deficiencies per ship than older ships and ships from black and grey listed flag states had on average more deficiencies per ship than ships from white listed flag states. Ships registered in Sweden had on average fewer deficiencies per ship than average ships from white-listed flag states. The number of all deficiencies per ship was generally correlated with the number of deficiencies related to the marine environment. Thus, on a general level, the total
number of registered deficiencies also reflected the relative environmental performance of different ship classes. However, on a more detailed level, when deficiencies related to specific MSFD descriptors were analysed, some deviances from this general pattern were observed.
The number of ships, as well as the total travelled distance, differed greatly among the different classes of ships. The total pressure on the Baltic marine environment, will, therefore, be larger from the more common middle-aged ships than from older ships, even though older ships on average performed worse than young and middle-aged ships. Similarly, because ships from white listed flag states are much more common, the total number of deficiencies of ships registered in white listed flag states, and hence, the total pressure on the marine environment, is much higher than the total number of deficiencies of, and total pressures from, ships from black and grey listed flag states. The insight that the total pressure of a class of ships is affected not only by the average performance of the ships in that class, but also by the number of ships and the total travelled distance, does not in any way reduce the need to stop the operation of the worst performing individual ships, and by various means to improve the average performance of ships in the low performing general cargo and dry bulk ship classes. From a marine environment management perspective, it is also important to recognize that also
continuous smaller improvements of the performance of the more numerous middleaged ships and of ships registered in white listed flag states will increase the possibility to achieve Good Environmental Status of the marine environments in Europe.
We conclude that although the Paris MoU scheme for Port State Controls is an important measure to prevent pollution from ships, there is no harmonization between the work of Paris MoU and the marine environmental management in the EU including the implementation of MSFD. At least eight of the eleven descriptors of the MSFD are influenced by shipping but at least three of them cannot be evaluated by the present scheme for PSC. It is possible, according to our view, to develop the present PSC system to also include control measures that focus on these three descriptors, that is, on the
effect on biodiversity, sea-floor integrity and on the production of underwater noise. It is also important to investigate ways to add or modify deficiency codes that would capture the chemical composition of waste streams and remnant chemicals after tank cleanings. An additional development of the PSC system could be to also investigate the behaviour of ships during the period between PSC inspections, e.g. through the use of logged AIS data. The proposed system development would likely require both new financial resources and competencies.

Port State Control

environmental impact

Paris MoU

marine environment



Ida-Maja Hassellöv

Chalmers, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2), Maritime Studies

Kjell Larsson

Linnaeus University

Nefeli Simopoulou

Chalmers, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2), Maritime Studies

Eva-Lotta Sundblad

Swedish Institute for the Marine Environment

Pre-study: Analysis of Paris MoU in relation to the environmental impact from shipping and its competitive neutrality

Lighthouse, 2019-08-01 -- 2020-02-29.

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Sustainable development

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Transport Systems and Logistics

Environmental Management

Environmental Analysis and Construction Information Technology

Environmental Sciences



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