Published on Australian Maritime Safety Authority (


About deficiencies

The IMO defines a deficiency as ‘a condition found not to be in compliance with the requirements of the relevant convention’. Serious deficiencies contribute to the ship being substandard or unseaworthy. AMSA will issue a ship with a deficiency if it is determined, or reasonably suspected, that the condition of a ship, its equipment, or performance of its crew does not comply with the requirements of relevant international conventions.

There was an increase in the number of deficiencies issued in 2020 (6387) compared to 2019 (5281), despite a decrease in the number of PSC inspections from 3222 to 3021. The corresponding deficiency rate increased from 1.6 in 2019 to 2.1 in 2020.

As shown later in Table 10, the rate of deficiencies per inspection by category increased for structure/equipment, human factors and MLC. The deficiency rate for the categories of operational and ISM remained unchanged.

Deficiencies by category and ship type

For reporting purposes, deficiencies have been categorised into groups that identify key areas of non-compliance, being structural/equipment, operational, human factors, ISM and MLC. Table 8 identifies the number of deficiencies by category along with a comparison of the deficiency rates to those in 2019.

If the number of deficiencies is considered in isolation, as depicted in Table 8, the majority of deficiencies were issued to bulk carriers. However, this is not surprising given bulk carriers accounted for 55 per cent of ship arrivals and 61 per cent of all inspections. In order to assess the performance of ship types, it is necessary to compare the deficiencies per inspection for each category as provided in table 9.

Top five deficiencies per inspection by ship type 2020

A total of 6377 deficiencies were issued in 2020 with the average deficiencies per inspection being 2.1Ship type (deficiencies per inspection)
1. Passenger ship – 3.6
2. Container ship – 3.3
3. Ro-ro cargo ship – 3.0
4. Woodchip carrier – 2.7
5. General cargo/multi-purpose ship – 2.5

Note: only ship types that had 10 or more inspections are included.

Table 8—Deficiencies by category and ship type

Ship typeStructural/ equipmentOperationalHuman factorISMMLCPSC inspections
Bulk carrier20325685622027411,840
Chemical tanker1132124615235
Combination Carrier000001
Container ship4362059636106263
Gas carrier237192755
General cargo/multi-purpose ship17148421757135
Heavy load carrier17673736
Livestock carrier3812831029
NLS tanker37374631
Offshore service vessel13012115
Oil tanker832815920126
Oil tanker/chemical tanker400002
Other types of ship15840118
Passenger ship548105523
Refrigerated cargo ship010011
Ro-ro cargo ship122102
Ro-ro passenger ship000011
Special purpose ship241008
Vehicle carrier1092225726122
Wood-chip carrier72181573052
Totals for 2020323797084030410363,021
2020 category deficiency rates1.
Totals for 201928198396782666733222
2019 category deficiency rates0.

Note: as the category deficiency rates are rounded to one decimal place their sum may differ slightly from the overall deficiency rate.

Table 9—Rate of deficiencies per inspection by category and ship type

Note: please use the scroll bar below the table to see the full table.

 Structural/  equipmentOperationalHuman factorISMMLCTotal inspectionsTotal deficienciesDeficiency rateNo. of detentionsDetention rate
Bulk carrier1.100.310.310.110.401,8404,1052.231216.6%
Chemical tanker0.480.
Combination carrier0.
Container ship1.660.780.370.140.402638793.34176.5%
Gas carrier0.420.130.350.040.1355581.0523.6%
General cargo/ multi-purpose ship1.270.360.310.130.421353352.481410.4%
Heavy load carrier0.470.
Livestock carrier1.310.410.280.100.3429712.4526.9%
NLS tanker1.
Offshore service vessel0.870.
Oil tanker0.660.
Oil tanker/ chemical tanker2.
Other types of ship0.830.440.220.000.0618281.5600.0%
Passenger ship2.350.350.430.220.2223823.5714.3%
Refrigerated cargo ship0.
Ro-ro cargo ship0.501.001.000.500.00263.0000.0%
Ro-ro passenger ship0.
Special purpose ship0.250.500.130.000.00870.8800.0%
Vehicle carrier0.890.
Wood-chip carrier1.380.350.290.130.58521422.7323.8%
Category deficiency rates1.     

Figures in bold are the top five in each category; Figures in italics are above average.

Note: as the category deficiency rates are rounded to one decimal place their sum may differ slightly from the overall deficiency rate.

Table 10—Change in deficiency rate per inspection by category only

Human factors0.20.3