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Safety and the environment 

AMSA Surveyor inspecting a ship

Inspections of ships
A ship's flag State is the country in which a ship is registered. The ship flies the country's national flag at its stern. The Port State is the country which the ship is visiting.

The flag State makes safety and environmental laws and regulations with which their registered ships must comply. To make sure this happens flag States inspect their ships, usually at the ship's home port. However, they can do inspections in any port in the world on their own flag ships.  This is called Flag State Control.

Port State Control is the inspection of all foreign ships, visiting a port. These inspections are done by government employed surveyors and inspectors.

Inspections are to make sure ships from other countries are up to standard and the ships don't pose a risk to the marine environment.  Surveyors inspect  the ship's safety equipment, including life rafts and fire fighting equipment.They also check the crew's qualifications and the seaworthiness of the ship.

In Australia, Port State Control inspections are carried out by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA). For more information go to

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