Ship Inspection

Ships arriving in our ports carry passengers and cargoes from all over the world. The standards of sanitation and hygiene found by our Inspectors do vary.

Whilst we are readily available to give advice, sometimes the only remedy is to take enforcement action under the available legislation.

The Public Health (Ships) Regulations 1979 (as amended in 2007), the International Health Regulations 2005, the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Food Safety Act 1990 (and Regulations made thereunder) are the main legislative controls.

UK legislation is available on the Office of Public Sector Information website.

The Food Standards Agency Food Law Code of Practice gives guidance to Inspectors in applying food safety controls.

Our Inspectors visit and inspect ships according to risk-based criteria. The inspections are multi-purpose and combine checks on crew and passenger health, infectious disease control, food hygiene, water and food sampling, the sanitary condition of the ship, pest control and pollution control. We also check and issue Ship Sanitation Control Exemption Certificates or Sanitation Control Certificates as required under the International Health Regulations and Public Health (Ships) Regulations). We also check for the presence of animals on board ship and take enforcement action as necessary.


We work closely with other Government Agencies such as H M Border Force and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to ensure consistency of enforcement and effective liaison.

We operate a 24 hour Standby rota to receive messages regarding any relevant matters and respond accordingly. (See our Contact Page for details).

We can take and submit drinking water/ice/swimming pool water samples for bacteriological examination on request. There may be a small charge for this service and a laboratory report will be provided together with a certificate. Please contact the Hull Office for further details or service requests.

We have published a guidance leaflet for the control of Legionella bacteria in ships water supplies. This is available for downloading from the "OUR CHARGES" page. We can also take drinking water samples for Legionella testing on request (Mon - Thurs).

General ship hygiene advice is available form the EU Shipsan website.

The Authority is a member of the Humber Port Welfare Committee, organised by the Merchant Navy Welfare Board and which brings together a host of charities and other organisations with an interest in the health and welfare of seafarers from around the world. For more information please see the link below.