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April 15, 2004

The Matrix: USCG style

The U.S. Coast Guard has now published its Annual Report for 2003 on Port State Control in the United States.

The good news is that detentions were down significantly and both flag state and classification society performance improved.

Either that means the maritime industry is getting better at what it does or that substandrad operators are staying out of U.S. waters--either way, the Coast Guard's Port State Control efforts are working.

This latest report is particularly useful because the foreign ship inspection program is now taking on a security dimension.

“A security screening process, similar to the existing Port State Control targeting process, will be used to target vessels for security risk and ISPS-related compliance examinations,” RADM Larry L. Hereth, Director, Office of Port Security. USCG, writes in the report. “This process will evaluate different risk factors, involving the performance of: vessel owners, operators, and charterers; flag States; Recognized Security Organizations; and the vessel itself. Additionally, information concerning last ports of call will be collected and examined for possible future matrix targeting. This new ISPS Targeting Matrix, used in conjunction with the existing safety-focused PSC Targeting Matrix, are tools the Coast Guard Captain of the Port will use to make consistent targeting decisions based on the risk posed by each vessel. In order to accurately apply this risk-based targeting matrix, the Coast Guard will document and track the performance of each vessel and the related parties with regard to compliance with ISPS.”

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