Flag State inspections of Maltese ships are carried out regularly by inspectors appointed by the Administration in different ports worldwide. The inspections are in addition to the regular statutory surveys conducted by the classification societies and are carried out only on the specific instructions of the Directorate. There are no additional charges for these inspections except when the vessel has to undergo a second or subsequent inspection to ascertain that reported deficiencies have been corrected and, when a ship is inspected prior to provisional registration.
Flag State Control
Monitoring of the technical performance of Maltese ships and marine casualty investigation are the responsibility of the Senior Manager (Technical) who reports to the Registrar-General Merchant Shipping. The Technical Department includes a complement of Safety Inspectorate Coordinators and Flag and Port State Control Inspectors, currently 20 in total and all based in Malta. Moreover, the Merchant Shipping Directorate operates an overseas network of over 64 inspectors in more than 45 different countries covering ports in at least 60 countries.
Maltese trading ships must be classed with a recognised classification society that may also be authorised to issue the statutory certificates required in terms of the MARPOL, SOLAS, Load Lines and Tonnage conventions. Authorisations are issued on a ship-by-ship basis. Change of class must also be authorised by the Merchant Shipping Directorate.
Trading ships of 20 years and over must successfully complete a pre-registration inspection conducted by a flag State control inspector appointed by the Merchant Shipping Directorate. Trading ships of 15 years and over must successfully complete a similar inspection within one month of provisional registration. A ship of a lower age may also be subjected to such inspection. These inspections are in addition to the normal change of flag surveys carried out by the classification society.
The Merchant Shipping Directorate operates a system, introduced in 1993, of conducting random inspections of Maltese ships worldwide using the services of its own global network of inspectors. These inspections are in addition to the regular statutory surveys carried out by the classification societies and are effected on the specific instructions of the Directorate. The results and the performance of the inspectors is closely monitored by the Technical Department. Since this activity is part of the monitoring process that is the responsibility of a flag State Administration, as a rule, inspections are conducted at the expense of Transport Malta.
Despite an increase in the requirements that trading ships must comply with and an increasingly efficient port State control ship inspection regime there has been a significant drop of the detention rate for Maltese ships within the Paris MOU from 17.29% in 1995 to 2.57% in December 2014. While this marked improvement is encouraging it is also a clear indication that there is no room for complacency.
DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE