Risk Profiling is becoming more important to PSC Inspections

Port State Control inspections are increasingly focusing on the risk profile of the ship under inspection with inspectors singling out the performance of the ship manager and the flag state recognised organisation (RO) as major factors to concentrate on.

Petros Achtypis, Chief Executive Officer of Cyprus-based Prevention at Sea (PaSea), said PSC inspectors were changing the way they inspected ships with greater emphasis being placed on a vessel’s risk profile.

Many PSC Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) were starting to draw direct parallels between the risk profile of the ship and the performance of the ship manager and the RO.

“There is a growing trend to look at ways to identify operational and management risks and detect any pitfalls that could lead to accidents or injury,” he said.

Since risk assessment became part of the ISM Code the shipping industry has viewed risk identification and assessment as a simple process, limited to the use of one matrix – consequence x probability.

“With the technical knowledge in risk assessments currently available, it is proved that the use of one matrix is inadequate. I believe that risks, when identified, should be categorised and a new matrix developed with accurate results helping to calculate the actual risk,” Mr Achtypis stressed.

“There are many factors affecting the ship’s or the ship operator risk profile that should also be taken into consideration, such as the perception of risk; the level of training; the level of familiarisation; resilience; chronic unease as well as collective normalisation,” he added.

While some ship operators provide a library of task examples with the risk already calculated, PaSea believes this practice has an adverse effect as the identification of new risks will often be omitted while the task examples and calculated risk from the library tend to be copied by the crew, leaving unique surrounding conditions such as weather conditions; the time when such tasks are performed; the level of training and perception of risk going unnoticed.

“The fact that vessel accidents still occur even when the ships have been PSC inspected, means that the current risk assessment process should also take into consideration various qualitative factors and not just for example the type of ship or the place of build,” Mr Achtypis concluded.