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Port State Control

Port State Control Detention

Nigerian-registered ships may be subjected to PSC inspection in a foreign port. Ships detained under PSC must be reported to NIMASA immediately.

A Nigerian-registered ship may be subjected to a Port State Control (PSC) inspection while in a foreign port. If serious deficiencies are found on board, the ship may be delayed or detained in the port until the deficiencies are rectified.

NIMASA takes a serious view of any Nigerian-registered ship detained under PSC, and will investigate the detention to ensure that shipowners or companies take corrective actions to improve the standard of their ships.

Informing NIMASA

Besides reporting to the shipowner or company and the recognized organization (RO) responsible for issuing the relevant certificates affected by the deficiencies, the master of a Nigerian-registered ship must inform NIMASA of the details of the PSC detention as soon as possible.


The shipowner or company has the right to appeal against a PSC detention.

If the shipowner or company decides not to use the official appeal procedure of the port State but still wishes to complain about the detention decision, he may send the complaint to NIMASA as soon as possible.
If the case is valid, NIMASA will approach the port State to reconsider the detention decision.

What are ship detention lists?

Ships can be detained as a result of a port State control inspection by our safety surveyors. We publish detention list reports on ships that do not comply with our port State control requirements.

Port State control is a key element in maintaining a safe international marine transport industry. Despite the extensive political and public debate around maritime safety, some sections of industry continue to jeopardize life, property and the environment by operating unsafe ships and using less-competent crews.

We conduct an extensive port State control program in an open, objective, and accountable manner. These inspections are undertaken in line with the authority contained within the International Maritime Organization conventions on ship safety and pollution prevention.

Safety Circulars and Notices

Applicable to: Ship owners, ship managers, shipping-agents, masters and officers of Nigerian ships. NtoM are issued by either government or private bodies to inform mariners of issues that affect the safety of navigation. They are issued by a variety of bodies such as Port authorities, maritime administration or offshore facilities. These are disseminated by hosting on corporate websites. The promulgation of NtoM by radio should come via local broadcasting stations or through project guard vessels as a Security broadcast initially on Channel 16 with further information provided on a secondary non-emergency channel. This should occur at 6h intervals unless otherwise directed. Therefore, it is worth remembering that the format and size of the NtoM has to be appropriate for broadcast via Radio

After a Port State Control Inspection

If your ship is found of have deficiencies during an inspection, you may be detained and delayed for an unknown amount of time.

NIMASA port state officers may board a ship at any time to inspect and detain unseaworthy or substandard ships. Our PSC inspections are carried out under International Maritime Organization (IMO) procedures for port State control as amended from time to time.

If deficiencies are found during an inspection:

  • Your vessel may be detained until these deficiencies can be resolved.
  • Minor deficiencies may be corrected during the inspection.

You may still be issued with a deficiency notice. If you receive a deficiency notice after a port State control (PSC) inspection, you will be given a list of deficiency codes on your notice.

Detention and Delay

If the inspector considers there are clear grounds for a detention of the ship due to that deficiency, it will be detained regardless of the ship’s scheduled departure time.

Every effort is made to avoid detention and delay to a ship, but it is your responsibility to keep your ship compliant.

If you have questions, please contact us at msssd@nimasa.gov.ng. We will respond as soon as possible. There may be a delay in our response while we investigate the enquiry and speak to the inspector that did your inspection or involved manager.

Detention and release of unseaworthy ships

When a ship is detained or released, we notify the flag state, the International Maritime Organization and relevant classification society. Information of the detention can also be found on the ABUJA MOU website as required.

Provisions are given in SOLAS Chapter 1 Regulation 11(c) and IMO Resolution 1052(27) provision 2.6.7.

Regional cooperation

Regional cooperation allows member states to share information on inspection results and ensure follow-up of deficiencies found during inspections that may not be able to be fixed in the initial inspection port.

Closing deficiencies

The deficiency cannot be closed until the corrective action is sighted by our inspectors or by another Abuja MOU member state. Notify us that you have resolved the deficiency by emailing to msssd@nimasa.gov.ng.

Before a Port State Control Inspection

NIMASA port state officer may board a ship at any time to inspect and detain unseaworthy or substandard ships.

This is what may happen if you are subject to an inspection.


We request that you have:

  • all your documentation and certificates onboard ready for inspection—you do not need to take them off the ship as the officers will come onboard.
  • Prepare equipment for testing.
  • The officer requires additional restraints to be fitted before entering a lifeboat if it cannot be demonstrated that the lifeboat arrangements are correctly set.

Staff not needed onboard can take shore leave

We do not require everyone onboard to be present during an inspection unless they are required to operate equipment for testing during the inspection.

During a Port State Control Inspection

What you can expect during an inspection if your ship is selected to be inspected by one of our surveyors.

Our marine surveyors may board a ship at any time to inspect it. Our PSC inspections are carried out under International Maritime Organization (IMO) procedures for port State control as amended from time to time.

This is what to expect during an inspection if your ship is selected.

Report known deficiencies

At the beginning of the inspection the Master will be asked if they know of any defects that may affect the seaworthiness of the ship. The Master will sign a declaration form stating if there are any deficiencies.

It is important for you to notify us of any known problems. Detainable deficiencies may not require the ship to be detained if you let us know before the inspection.

Doing the inspection

A PSC officer will use a notebook which contains a ship initial inspection checklist (PSC inspection form A & B) to do the inspection.

Our inspectors conduct the inspection following specific instructions to inspectors and a ship inspection manual as required by the International Maritime Organization and the International Labor Organization.

Initial inspection

The inspector will go onboard to:

  • check that the ship has valid certificates and documentation
  • Check if the ship is complying with the certificates
  • check the overall conditions of the ship, equipment and its crew.

We may find detainable items without having to conduct detailed inspections.

If there are one or more problems in the initial inspection, a more detailed inspection may be done.

For all inspections a form A is completed to indicate that an inspection has been carried out.

Detailed inspection

The officers use their professional judgement in conducting the inspection, determining the extent of inspection and in determining the required action required in response to identified deficiencies.

If deficiencies are found

Your ship may be detained until these deficiencies can be resolved.

The deficiency may be corrected while the inspection continues if the deficiency is considered minor, but you may still be issued with a deficiency notice. When a deficiency notice is issued, the ship may not necessarily be detained and the ship may be able to sail. The decision is based on the severity of deficiency and is decided by the inspector.

Historical Focused Inspection Campaigns

We have previously conducted focused inspection campaigns based on assessment of port state control statistics link Abuja MoU. We use these statistics to work out what areas require special attention.

Port State Control Focused Inspection Campaigns

Focused inspection campaigns target areas on ships which commonly have deficiencies.

The aim of these campaigns is to ensure all ships inspected are compliant with international requirements. Each focused inspection campaign targets an area on the ships that commonly have deficiencies. These areas are checked during an inspection in Nigerian ports.

We conduct focused inspection campaigns on ships visiting Nigerian ports. Each focused inspection campaign targets an area on the ship that we commonly find is not meeting international standards and is not compliant. We may conduct smaller focused inspection campaigns from time to time that are aimed at gathering information for NIMASA and as such are not published online.

Each campaign focus and timeframe is given to the shipping industry through marine notices link Nimasa website, one month before the start date. During the campaign, our officers use a standard checklist to confirm that an area or individual equipment meets international standards. If the officer finds a deficiency in relation to the campaign, it will be required to be fixed as normal port State control inspections.

Port State Control Inspection Common International Safety Management Code Issues

The purpose of the international safety management code (ISM code) is to provide an international standard for the safe management and operation of ships and for pollution prevention.

Under the ISM code, the operator of the ship is required to have and maintain a safety management system to make sure that there are safe systems for all operations on board.

During your regular checks and before an inspection, make sure to check:

  • The safety management system on your ship:
    • is up-to-date and accurate
    • includes all the functions of the ship including emergency systems like firefighting and life-saving equipment.
  • The overall condition of your ship:
    • Maintenance systems are effective.
    • Lifesaving, firefighting and communication systems are ready for use.
    • Training in emergency arrangements are effective.
    • Defects are identified, reported and acted upon in a timely manner.
    • Crew are aware of their roles and responsibilities.

A deficiency noted by our inspectors may require a more detailed inspection of the safety management system. You may also be issued multiple deficiencies: an ISM detention as well as other deficiencies issued under other regulations and conventions.

Other ISM deficiencies are normally given a code and three months to properly rectify, fix and document the changes to the safety management system.

There is evidence during an inspection that there are several deficiencies which are related to one particular area—for example fire-fighting capabilities or life-saving appliances. Where vessels are mandated to have an ISM system, they will have on board a safety management system. The purpose of the code and the safety management system is to provide a safe system for all operations on board. Numerous deficiencies in one area may indicate that the safety management system itself has failed in some way—either the deficiencies have resulted from something that is not adequately covered in the safety management system, or the safety management system adequately covered the issues but was not effectively implemented on board.

Port State Control Reports

This report summarises our port State control activities and reports on the performance of commercial shipping companies, flag States and Classification Societies for the 2020 calendar year.

Nigeria has one of the world’s largest mixed market economies and the largest continental land mass surrounded by water. Nigeria’s national livelihood depends on ensuring that maritime trade to and from the country remains safe, efficient and compliant with all relevant international conventions. Nigeria relies on sea transport for 99 per cent of its imports, equating to around 10 per cent of the world’s sea trade. Port State Control (PSC) is an essential element in ensuring that maritime safety is maintained.

This report summarises the PSC activities of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, detailing the performance of commercial shipping companies, flag States and Classification Societies for the 2020 calendar year. Link Abuja MoU