Applicability:  shipowners, ship operators and ship managers.

Shipowners, managers and crews need to be prepared for a Concentrated Inspection Campaign (CIC) on Emergency Systems and Procedures, a joint three-month initiative by the Paris Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Tokyo MoU on Port State Control (PSC).


The CIC, which runs from 1 September-30 November 2019, aims to ensure that:

  • Ships can respond appropriately and promptly to emergency situations
  • Shipping companies and ship managers are reminded of the importance of ship emergency systems 
  • On-board emergency systems are operated properly and managed efficiently
  • Masters and all seafarers understand their assigned roles, duties and emergency procedures and can act immediately when needed.

Port State Control Officers (PSCOs) will use the this questionnaire to evaluate:

  • Normal operation of main emergency systems, such as emergency fire pumps, emergency generators and steering gear
  • Maintenance and operation of systems are being carried out at the proper intervals
  • Ship’s officers and crew’s familiarity with emergency systems and equipment operation.

If deficiencies are found, action by the port state can vary from recording the deficiency and instructing the master to rectify it within a certain period to detention until serious deficiencies have been rectified.

Shipowners and managers are advised to highlight this information to ships and to ensure masters and seafarers are ready to meet the requirements of the CIC.


CIC on Emergency Systems and Procedures

1. Damage Control Plans and Booklets

Check these are complete and have been updated as necessary. Ensure that the plans are readable and do not contain wrong information.

Masters and officers need to be familiar with the plans and procedures and they should be in regular use during drills on board.


2. Public Address System

Where a public address system is fitted, check that loudspeakers are working correctly. Ensure the system is operable from the navigation bridge and from any other space on board the ship as required by the Flag Administration, e.g. Emergency HQ. 

Ensure protection against unauthorised use is provided. 

On board passenger ships, the public address system should be connected to the emergency source of electrical power.


3. Water Level Detectors or Water Ingress Systems

Where a water level detector or a water ingress system is fitted, confirm the sensors are fitted properly and the alarm system is fully operational, including both visual and audible alarms on the bridge. 


4. Steering Gear and Associated Emergency Alarms

Check that main and auxiliary steering systems will restart automatically when power is restored following a blackout or power failure.

Audible and visual alarms in the event of a failure of the main or auxiliary steering gears, or in the event of a low level of the hydraulic fluid reservoirs, must be fully operational. Officers and engineers should ensure they are familiar with the operation of the steering gears and the alarm systems provided on the navigation bridge and in the machinery space. This should include being able to verify the proper operation of sensors for a low-level alarm.


5. Muster List

Muster lists must be readable, updated as necessary and be displayed in conspicuous places throughout the ship, including the navigation bridge, engine room and in crew accommodation spaces.

Ensure the muster list provides:

  • Details of the general emergency alarm, the public address system and actions to be taken by passengers and crew members in the event of an emergency.
  • Details of how the order to abandon ship will be given.
  • Which officers are responsible for the maintenance and life-saving and fire-fighting appliances and ensuring they are ready for immediate use.
  • Details of the substitutes for key personnel who may become disabled.
  • The duties assigned to the different crew members.

Check the muster list has been updated if a crew change takes place that requires an alteration to the muster list.

On passenger ships the muster list has to be approved and must show the duties assigned to crew members in relation to passengers. Each passenger ship is to have procedures in place for locating and rescuing passengers from their staterooms.

Crew members should ensure they are familiar with the emergency duties assigned to them.


6. Emergency Source of Electrical Power

The emergency source of electrical power must supply power properly to essential equipment, including emergency lighting, which must be properly installed and fully operational.

Essential equipment for cargo ships includes:

  • General alarm
  • Navigation lights and other lights
  • Daylight signalling light, ship’s whistle, manually operated call points and all internal signals
  • Navigational equipment
  • Fire detection and fire alarm system
  • Steering gear
  • VHF radio installation and MF/HF radio installation

In addition, for passenger ships, essential equipment includes:

  • All internal communication equipment
  • Sprinkler pump
  • Emergency bilge pump and all essential equipment for the operation of electrically powered, remote controlled bilge valves
  • Power-operated watertight doors together with their indicator and warning signal
  • Emergency arrangements to bring the lift cars to deck level for the escape of persons

Confirm that the emergency source of electrical power does supply the essential equipment identified above. Ensure that masters, officers and engineers are familiar with the procedures for a black out test in case this is required by the Port State Control Officer. Ensure that essential equipment is operational and has been properly maintained.

Emergency lighting for cargo ships includes:

  • At every embarkation station and over the sides
  • In all service and accommodation alleyways, stairways and exits, personnel lift cars and trunks
  • In the machinery spaces and main generating stations, including their control positions
  • In all control stations, machinery control rooms and at each main and emergency switchboard
  • At all stowage positions for firemen’s outfits
  • At the steering gear
  • At the fire pump, at the sprinkler pump, at the emergency bilge pump, at the starting positions of their motors
  • At every muster station
  • In all cargo pump-rooms of tankers

In addition, for passenger ships:

  • At every muster station
  • In alleyways, stairways and exits giving access to muster and embarkation station.
  • For ro-ro passenger ships, the supplementary lighting required in all passenger public spaces and alleyways, providing electric lighting for at least three hours when all other sources of electrical power have failed. In crew spaces portable rechargeable battery- operated lamps shall be provided in alleyways, recreational spaces and every working space normally occupied unless supplementary lighting as required in passenger spaces is provided.

Confirm that emergency lighting for embarkation stations and over the sides is working and in good order. Ensure emergency lights are clean and working and are not damaged.


7. a)   Where the emergency source of electrical power is a generator

Confirm that the emergency generator can supply power to the emergency switchboard within 45 seconds. A battery capable of starting at least three consecutive times should be installed and in good condition. Electric, hydraulic, spring start and compressed air starters can be installed. Check there is sufficient fuel for the emergency equipment operation time (36 hours for passenger ships and 18 hours for cargo ships). 

Ensure indicator gauges for items such as lub. oil pressure, cooling water temperature and RPM are working. Confirm the state of frequency, voltage and insulation resistance can be confirmed and that safety devices for the protection of the prime mover are operational. Crew members should be familiar with the test equipment where a separate device is installed to test the automatic starting system.

b)  Where the emergency source of electrical power is an accumulator battery

Ensure the emergency batteries and charge switches have been properly installed. Battery compartments are to be suitable ventilated.

Confirm that emergency batteries have been regularly checked as part of the ship’s maintenance system and that records are up to date. Check cable connections and for any leakage of electrolyte. Confirm that indicators on the emergency switchboard are in good order.


8. Emergency fire pump

The emergency fire pump must be capable of producing at least two jets of water at the required pressure. The emergency fire pump may be driven by an electric motor powered from the emergency generator or from a diesel engine. Confirm the fuel tank has sufficient fuel for at least three hours and that reserve fuel is provided outside the machinery space, sufficient for an additional 15 hours.

Ensure the emergency fire pump is operational and can deliver the required water pressure.


9. Fire and abandon ship drills

Confirm that records of fire and abandon ship drills are maintained and up to date. If it has not been possible to carry out a drill as scheduled, the reason is to be recorded in the ship’s logbook. Ensure that crew members are familiar with their duties and are capable of safely operating the lifesaving and firefighting equipment. The second-in-charge of emergency teams should practise taking charge of the team to ensure they are confident to take over a team leader.


10. Familiarity with the operation of emergency equipment

Identified, responsible crew members must be familiar with the operation of the following equipment and may be asked to give a practical demonstration of its use:

  • Public address system
  • Water level detectors
  • Steering gear
  • Emergency source of electric power (emergency switchboard, generator or accumulator batteries)
  • Emergency fire pump


11.  Detentions

In the event that essential equipment is non-operational (e.g. due to planned maintenance or a failure of equipment), masters and officers should ensure this is reported to the Port State Control Officer before an inspection commences. This may still result in a deficiency being raised, but it can prevent that deficiency being recorded as a detainable deficiency.


Please click here for the CIC on Emergency Systems and Procedures Questionnaire