Top 3 Deficiencies and Observations over the last 10 years


"Too many changes in the Maritime Industry are causing so many observations and deficiencies!" A common coffee time discussion, isn't it? Let us identify the common culprits and see whether they have changed with time.

A costly mistake

We have worked with deficiencies and observations on board merchant ships for quite a while now.

During the course of my blog posts, I’m going to take the liberty of calling out a few common myths!

You may or may not believe them personally, but when I am done, I am sure you will agree that these myths are widely accepted as truths!  In the maritime industry, what that means is, most decision-makers believe them to be true! Whether we like it or not, industry decisions and policies are being taken based on these fundamentals on a daily basis.

So, if they are not true, perhaps we are being led in a direction slightly different from the most productive path each time. In other words, whether we believe them or not, these myths adversely affect all of us! They can end up being very costly.

Myth: Maritime deficiencies are due to too many changes!

Almost the entire industry is unanimous about this:

Too many things are changing too fast in the marine industry!

We all know Regulations are flipping over like pages of a book, they are becoming more and more stringent, strict rule implementations and personal fines are increasing, and so on. Companies are putting stricter control measures to prevent misconduct and non-compliances. I do not deny that.

We attribute this as the leading cause of increasing Port State detentions, vessel’s deficiencies, increase in job pressure and the young generation feeling disinterested in this profession.

Is that true, though?

Too fast too soon?

When you say ‘too fast too soon’, what is your basis of comparison?

Is the change coming at a rate faster than our ability to deal with transitions? Are the changes causing the detentions and findings and loss of interest?

If you have joined the sea in the mid-seventies and have seen all the changes since that time, you deserve a standing ovation! I cannot imagine having to live through SOLAS getting stronger with 1974 amendments, Port state regimes getting stricter, MARPOL 73/78 being implemented, OPA 90 and ISPS coming into force. They truly changed aspects of our sea life like never before!

I joined the sea in the year 1998. Many of us are in senior ranks now, and we still crib about too many changes. We always had SOLAS, MARPOL and OPA 90; we always knew the USCG and the AMSA! When we complain, we are usually talking about changes that happened over the last few years.

Let us look at this objectively.

Significant changes over the last few years

Here are the most significant changes in maritime regulations in a time period between 2012 to 2020.

And the winners are….

With that in mind, let us now find out what is the leading cause of detentions, deficiencies and observations of the present era!

Here is a study by class NKK using Port State detention data from over 8000 ships over the same period.

Over the course of the last three years, we, at Navguide Solutions have thoroughly studied over 50,000 observations spanning an entire range of Inspections such as SIRE on Tankers, Vetting, Rightship on Bulk Carriers, Port State Inspections in general and specifically US Coast Guard and AMSA in Australia, Flag State Inspections and so on, in our endeavour to create a unified system called Guide2Inspections.

These observations date back to over ten years. We designed entire systems to improve compliance based on this research,

Our data rhymes perfectly with the table below!

The leading cause of deficiencies, detentions and observations on board still remains the same old culprits!

1. Fire Safety

2. LSA Code and

3. ISM

Industry Changes vs Maritime deficiencies

Yes, changes have come in.

But is it not evident that we are still faltering on the same rules and regulations which are there for more than twenty-five years? Is it really true that we could not get these basic things right yet? It seems that the present generation of seafarers, especially millennials, are still struggling with things that have existed since they started their careers.

Think about that.

Let me leave you with another thought!

Think about how the young millennial generation of seafarers has grown up. With a flood of developments in the technological world, you have seen more changes in the way we communicate, commute, play games, share experiences and live life in the last twenty years than in the two hundred years before that combined!!

If you are from the previous generation, changes might bother you. Guess who is not afraid of changes!! Guess who thinks change is evolution, and that is just life!

Yes! That generation who discards a phone every two years because it is outdated!! The young Millennial generation! You cannot scare them with changes!


So if you find the same observations being repeated and that some of the young millennials today are not taking an interest in their jobs, perhaps attributing that to new regulations and changes would not be the most prudent thing to do. We would be ignoring the real issue..

Maybe there are other hidden reasons at play. Can you guess the root cause?

There are several factors, as we will elaborate in our subsequent blog posts.

Leave your thoughts on the comments below.

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