Port State Control inspection - Radiance of the Seas

Safe Seas Clean Seas Issue 51, December 2016

The cruise ship Radiance of the Seas is not so much a ship as a floating village. More than 3300 people - 2501 paying passengers and more than 900 crew - live and work on the 293 metre, 90,090 gross ton vessel.

On its most recent visit to Wellington in October, a team of five staff from Maritime NZ went aboard to carry out a Port State Control (PSC) inspection, part of fulfilling New Zealand’s obligations under the Tokyo MOU (Memorandum of Understanding).

The Tokyo MOU is one of a series of MOUs covering the regions of the world and putting in place a regime for PSC inspections of foreign vessels visiting NZ waters. PSC inspections are aimed at ensuring ships are manned and operated in accordance with international conventions and local regulations.

Maritime NZ conducted 284 PSC inspections in 2015-16, with vessels scheduled for inspection if they have not been assessed recently or have had deficiencies identified in previous inspections that need to be followed up.

Radiance of the Seas.
The Maritime NZ team on board the 293 metre Radiance of the Seas, checking the emergency operation of life boats.
Maritime NZ © 2020

The Radiance of the Seas was due for PSC inspection and the ship’s Owners, Royal Caribbean International, requested it be carried out in Wellington, rather than Sydney, which is a turnaround port for the ship. A PSC inspection in Sydney would have added to the huge logistical challenge of having more than 4000 passengers leaving and joining the ship.

Maritime NZ obliged, and Senior Technical Advisor/ Port State Control Officer Richard Lough led a team of inspectors to enable fire and abandon ship drills to be carried out over six hours, along with the PSC inspection.

The inspection of the Radiance of the Seas also enabled a Maritime Officer (MO) to gain his PSC accreditation for passenger vessels (he was already accredited for bulk carriers, container ships, and tankers).

Given the size of ship, Richard said it would not be feasible to complete such an inspection without a team aboard.

“We were able to have staff simultaneously in different parts of the ships, not only for the drills - which would be impossible for one person to inspect - but during the PSC inspection as well.”

While one MO was inspecting the engine room spaces, two others were checking paperwork on the bridge, and two others inspected the public spaces, cabins and galleys.

The fire drill involved a simulated fire in the laundry spaces, with an MO on hand to check procedures, while Richard observed procedures from the bridge and the drill live via the CCTV system. Following the “fire drill ”, an abandon ship drill was carried out with lifeboats lowered, and a rescue boat launched.

“It is a very well-run ship, and everything was ready for us when we went aboard,” Richard said. “That certainly helps the PSC process run smoothly.

“The officers & crew conduct their own drills every week, so it was no surprise that they knew what they should be doing for the fire-fighting and abandon ship drills. And as you would expect from a company of this size, and with this number of paying passengers, all their documentation was in order.”

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