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Under domestic legislation and various International Conventions the Port State is entitled and oftentimes obliged to undertake Port State Control (PSC) inspections. Dependent on the type and size of vessel the PSC Inspectors (usually Maritime Compliance Officers from MNZ in the NZ context) will inspect a vessel for safety and compliance with various Conventions (if applicable). The inspection could be as simple as checking to see that the vessel is correctly documented (registered) to a more comprehensive inspection looking into compliance with MARPOL, STCW, MLC etc etc.

Under the terms of most Conventions in the event of non-compliance the Port State has the ability to detain the vessel and notify the Flag State until compliance is reached.

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