The EMSA website uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience, in accordance with the EMSA privacy notice. Find out more on how we use cookies



Port State Control

The coastline of the European Union is many thousands of kilometres in length and contains well over 1 000 individual ports. These handle around 90% of EU external trade and around 40% of trade between EU countries. This involves handling 3.5 billion tonnes of goods and 350 million passengers being transported on thousands of ships journeys each year.


Consequently, it is vital that EU maritime transport operates in a safe, secure and environmentally friendly way. In support of these goals, and in addition to the systems and procedures in place in each country, the EU has put in place specific maritime legislation. The port State control Directive 2009/16/EC as amended* and its 3 implementing regulations** form a significant part thereof. This legislation aims to ensure that there is effective control of compliance with international standards by ships in EU ports and, thereby, ensure that ships sailing in EU waters have been appropriately constructed and are adequately maintained. In addition, Directive (EU) 2017/2110 provides for a system of mandatory inspections for the ro-ro ferries and high speed passenger crafts to be carried out by EU flag States and further amends Directive 2009/16/EC introducing mandatory inspections for said ships under port State control.


Against this background, EMSA has been given the technical responsibility for monitoring of port State control at EU level. This involves assessing the functioning of the port State inspection systems set up by individual EU members, undertaking a comprehensive analysis of global statistics relating to vessels calling at EU ports, as well as analysis of data on individual ship inspections. Risk assessment studies combined with statistical research provide results which are used to develop objectives and procedures for the continuous improvement of EU port State control performance.

In addition, the Agency carries out a number of supporting tasks in this area in order to ensure the overall effectiveness of the EU port State control system. These tasks include:

  • Providing technical assistance to the Commission and Member States in relation to the implementation of the Directive 2009/16/EC as amended;
  • Providing, upon the request of the Commission, technical assistance, including the organisation of relevant training activities, to States applying for accession to the Union, to European Neighbourhood partner countries and to countries taking part in the Paris Mou;
  • Assisting the Commission in the publication of information relating to ship pursuant to the Directive 2009/16/EC;
  • Providing statistics, information and data to the Commission and Member States;
  • Providing technical assistance necessary for the Member States and the Commission to contribute to the relevant work of the technical bodies of the IMO, the ILO and Paris MoU;
  • Developing and implementing, in cooperation with Member States and the Commission, the information system (THETIS) which supports the inspection regime for port State control;
  • Developing and implementing a "Harmonized Community Scheme" for the training and assessment of competences of port state control inspectors by Member States;
  • Organising and delivering training through seminars for Port State Control Officers;
  • Developing, managing and operating a distance learning program for Port State Control Officers;
  • Developing, managing and operating a database (RuleCheck) of relevant documents published by IMO, ILO and port state control related document and procedures, to support PSCOs activity.

*Directive 2009/16/EC entered into force on 17 June 2009 and started being applied from 1 January 2011. This Directive replaced Directive 95/21/EC. The Directive has been amended by the Directive 2013/38/EU which has entered into force on 20 August 2013, allowing PSCOs to enforce MLC convention. The amended provisions will be applied following transposition into national legislation of the Member States, but no later than 21 November 2014.
** Commission Regulation (EU) No 428/2010 implementing Article 14 of Directive 2009/16/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards expanded inspection of ships, Commission Regulation (EU) No 801/2010 of 13 September 2010 implementing Article 10(3) of Directive 2009/16/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the flag State criteria, Commission Regulation (EU) No 802/2010 of 13 September 2010 implementing Article 10(3) and Article 27 of Directive 2009/16/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards company performance amended by Regulation (EU) 1205/2012 of 14 December 2012 .




Port State Control in a nutshell


newsbulletDevelopment of harmonized training tools for PSC officers.

newsbulletDeliver training: New Entrants Seminars and Refresher Seminars; training on Directive 2009/16/EC

newsbulletProject management for the development and delivery of the Distance Learning Project.

newsbulletFocal point of 'Rulecheck'.

newsbulletKeeping up-to-date official list of banned vessels.

newsbulletProviding statistics upon request.Supporting the Commission in the implementation of Directive 2009/16/EC on PSC

newsbulletParticipation in Paris MoU meetings on behalf of the Commission.