Over the past twenty years a growth in sub-standard shipping has been observed. The thesis identifies the causes of this growth. It then identifies Port State Control (PSC) as a measure evolved by some states, with the purpose of removing sub-standard shipping from their waters, and thereby improving maritime safely and the protection of the environment. The purpose of this programme of research is to assess the effectiveness of PSC in achieving its purpose. An eclectic research methodology has been adopted which first considers, in depth, the global and regional context in which PSC functions. Taking the Port of Hong Kong as an example, the study then reviews how PSC operates in practice. Shipping casualty data is examined to test the merits of targeting ships for PSC inspection. Finally the expert opinion of both official and wider marine communities in Hong Kong is sampled in order to form an overall view on the effectiveness of PSC. The research reveals considerable agreement between all parties that PSC, in general is achieving its purpose. It also recognizes that PSC should only be a "second line of defence" in combating sub-standard shipping. The first line remains Flag State enforcement of standards, accompanied by wider development of a safety culture in the shipping industry.

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