Port State Control (hereinafter referred to as "PSC") inspection has been carried out aiming to protect the safety of life at sea and the marine environment from casualties by inspecting foreign ships in most harbors of the world. It has been much more tightened over the operation of substandard ships through a cooperative system called Memorandum Of Understanding on Port State Control on a regional basis recently.
However, it is apt to cause serious disputes since PSC officers are most likely to have their subjective judgement for taking steps for ship detention on the spot against defects that found during PSC inspection according to the international convention. Furthermore, the disputes could cause a trade reprisal between countries, which does not suit its purpose.
Although a provision on flag State's responsibility and Port State's right was adopted in the UN law of the sea and various international conventions to prevent the dispute, it is inevitable because there is no organization that can perform an unified interpretation and application of the provision and what Port States or PSC officers expound and apply it for the benefit of themselves.
Therefore, this study will delve into present PSC problems and suggest a plan for improvement by researching on problems of the domestic maritime law and international conventions related to PSC to drive out the operation of substandard ships, causes and examples of present PSC dispute.
First of all, this study is mainly focused on presenting a method for distinguishing between compulsory and recommendatory International Maritime Organization (hereinafter referred to as "IMO") resolution when substandard ships are detained by PSC.
It is also discussed why non-contracting parties are applied in IMO convention. Besides, problems and Improvement measures of individual maritime affairs law and foreign ship PSC procedure in the intervention of PSC will be explained after studying interpretation and problems of priority application of international convention that is prescribed in national laws such as ship safety law.
Secondly, this study will discuss dispute factors resulting from PSC and conflicts of interests among charterers, ships owners and consignors due to ship detention and so forth by showing those examples. Also, it is helpful to consider responsibility of any loss of lives and injuries happened during detailed PSC inspection.
Finally, problems concerning current PSC system will be discussed. Also, three different solutions are presented, which are port state control study group formation, sea safety law enactment and the training of PSC specialists.
PSC inspection results could be extended to diplomatic disputes associated with equability between countries since they are likely to be affected by some powerful countries. Therefore, it needs to establish an unified and consistent procedure to prevent the disputes in the process of PSC officer's inspection regardless of ship's registers and nationality.
It is true that PSC disputes might be decreased fairly, if the interpretation of convention text follows an ordinary meaning of the convention according to its purpose. Also, customary practices of PSC should be considered in the application of international covention when the meaning of terminology is vague and uncertain.
In the end, PSC plays a very important role in most harbors of the world. Therefore, PSC is expected to enhance it's function in the future.