A total of 524 vessels registered under 46 flags were detained in the Asia-Pacific last year due to 'serious deficiencies found on board', a report says. The Port State Control (PSC) Committee, the Tokyo Memorandum of Understanding's (MoU) executive body, reported that member states had carried out 8,834 inspections of vessels registered under 85 flags last year. 'Against 22,786 individual foreign ships operating in the region in 1995, the inspection rate was estimated at 39 per cent,' the report said. The inspections found 4,368 ships with 19,326 deficiencies, it said. The report provides a summary of PSC activities carried out in the Asia-Pacific region between 1994 and last year. At the PSC Committee's fourth meeting, held recently in Auckland, delegates formally approved the Asia-Pacific Port State Control Manual. Published in July, the text lists guidelines for PSC officers. New Zealand's Minister of Transport Maurice Williamson told delegates of the need for more effective and harmonised port state control procedures to eliminate substandard shipping, and to promote maritime safety and the protection of the marine environment in the region. The PSC Committee said its members had agreed to incorporate the International Maritime Organisation's resolution on port state control within the Tokyo MoU. It also agreed to transfer technical annexes to the Asia-Pacific Port State Control Manual to provide guidance for PSC officers to carry out inspections. The committee approved an integrated strategic plan for the training of control officers. It calls for extended training activities and promotion of harmonisation on port state control. The strategic plan includes an exchange programme and seminars for port state control officers. The committee also granted authorities in the region access to data held on its Asia-Pacific Computerised Information System. It hoped authorities in the region would support and participate in regional data exchange. The committee supported an initiative by Canada to hold a Tokyo MoU/Paris MoU Ministerial Conference on port state control in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, in early 1998. The Tokyo MoU was concluded in December 1983 by 18 maritime authorities in the region. Presently, 15 authorities have officially accepted the Tokyo MoU, which came into effect in April 1994. The first meeting of the Tokyo MoU was held in Beijing in April 1994, the second in Kuala Lumpur in January 1995, and the third in Hong Kong last December. The fifth meeting of the PSC Committee will be held in Vladivostok, Russia, next August.