• This document provides guidelines regarding the standards of integrity, professionalism and transparency that the Caribbean Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control (CMOU) expects of all Port State Control Officers (PSCOs) and of the Maritime Authorities of its member States who are involved in or associated with port stat control inspections. Co-operating members are invited to apply the Code. The Port State Control Committee, as the Executive Body of the Caribbean MOU, may modify the Code. 


  • The CMOU was put in place in order to create a harmonized system of ship inspection aimed at eliminating the operation of sub-standard foreign flag merchant ships visiting the Caribbean sub-Region, ensuring that these ships meet international safety, security and environmental standards, and that crewmembers have adequate living and working conditions. 
  • The objective of this Code is to assist PSCOs in conducting their inspections to the highest professional level. PSCOs are central to achieving the aims of the CMOU. They are the daily contact of the CMOU with the shipping world. They are expected to act within the law, within the rules of their government and in a fair, open, impartial and consistent manner.

Fundamental Principles of the Code

  • The Code of Good Practice encompasses three fundamental principles against which all actions of PSCOs are judged: integrity, professionalism and transparency. These are defined as follows: i. Integrity is the state of moral soundness, honesty and freedom from corrupting influences or motives.
  • Professionalism is applying accepted professional standards of conduct and technical knowledge. For PSCOs standards of behaviour are established by the competent authority and the general consent of the port State members.
  • Transparency implies openness and accountability. Annex 1 lists the actions and behaviours expected of the PSCOs in applying these principles and the support to be provided by the competent authority. Adhering to professional standards provides greater credibility to PSCOs and places more significance on their findings. Nothing in the Code shall absolve the PSCO from complying with the specific requirements of the Caribbean MOU and applicable national laws. 


PSCOs should: 
Actions and behaviour of PSCOs
Use their professional judgment in carrying our their duties. 


  • Remember that a ship is a home as well as a workplace for the ship’s personnel and not unduly disturb their rest or privacy. 
  • Comply with any ship housekeeping rules such as removing dirty shoes or work clothes. 
  • Not to be prejudiced by the race, religion or nationality of the crew when making decisions and treat all personnel on board with respect. 
  • Respect the authority of the Master and his deputy. 
  • Be polite but professional and firm as required.
  • Never become threatening, abrasive or dictatorial or use language that may cause offence. 
  • Expect to be treated with courtesy and respect. 


  • Comply with all health and safety requirements of the ship and their administration e.g. wearing of personal protective clothing and not take any action or cause any action to be taken which could compromise the safety of the PSCO or the ship’s crew. 
  • Comply with all security requirements of the ship and wait to be escorted around the ship by a responsible person. 
  • Present their identification cards to the Master or the representative of the owner at the start of the inspection. 
  • Explain the reason for the inspection - however where the inspection is triggered by a report or complaint they must not reveal the identity of the person making the complaint. 
  • Apply the procedures for PSC and the convention requirements in a consistent and professional way and interpret them pragmatically when necessary. 
  • Not try to influence the crew into incriminating conduct, for example, by asking them to do things that are contrary to the conventions. 
  • Request the crew to demonstrate the functioning of equipment and operational activities, such as drills and not make tests themselves. 
  • Seek advice when they are unsure of a requirement or of their findings rather than making an uninformed decision, for example by consulting colleagues, publications, the flag administration, or the recognized organization. 
  • Where it is safe to do so accommodate the operational needs of the port and the ship. 
  • Explain clearly to the master the findings of the inspection and the corrective action required and ensure that the report of inspection is clearly understood. 
  • Issue to the master a clear report of inspection before leaving the ship. 


  • Deal with any disagreement over the conduct or findings to the inspection calmly and patiently. 
  • Advise the Master of the complaints procedure in place if the disagreement cannot be resolved within a reasonable time. 
  • Advise the Master of the nature of National Appeals Procedure as there exists a national right of appeal in the case of detention.


  • Be independent and not have any commercial interest in the ports and ships they inspect or companies providing services in that port, for example not be employed from time to time by companies which operate ships to their ports or have an interest in the repair companies in that port. 
  • Be free to make decisions based on the findings of their inspections and not on any commercial consideration of the port. 
  • Always follow the rules of their administrations regarding the acceptance of gifts and favours, e.g. meals on board. 
  • Firmly refuse any attempts of bribery and report any blatant cases to the competent authority. 
  • Not misuse their authority for benefit, financial or otherwise. 
  • Updating knowledge 
  • Update their technical knowledge regularly.