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Port State Control: The Paris Memorandum of Understanding and the European Directive 2009/16/EC
Although compliance with the compulsory provisions of the Conventions and Codes previously considered ought to be enforced by the States in the registers of which the ships are registered, it has been established that a great contribution in this respect could be provided by the competent authorities of the ports at which the ships are calling during their operation. The first initiative worldwide to organise such control on an international plane was made with the adoption in January 1982 by the Maritime Authorities of 14 European States of an administrative agreement, named the Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control (the Paris MoU), pursuant to which they undertook to carry out inspections on board the merchant ships calling at their ports with a view to establishing whether they complied with the standards laid down in compulsory provisions of the principal instruments on safety of life at sea, maritime labour and protection of the environment adopted by IMO and ILO. As of 31 December 2013, 27 Maritime Authorities were signatories of the Paris Memorandum. 1 The purpose of the inspections is stated in the first paragraph of the introduction, which stresses the need ‘to increase maritime safety and the protection of the marine environment and the importance of improving living and working conditions on board ships’. Reference to the protection of the marine environment is also made in section 1(5), in which it is stated that port authorities must immediately inform the Authority of the port State or the coastal State, as appropriate, ‘whenever they learn ... that there are apparent anomalies which may prejudice the safety of the ship, or which may pose a threat of harm to the marine environment’.
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