A typical inspection starts with a scrutiny of the ship's certificates. Annex IV of the directive lists the certificates to be checked. In addition, the port State control officer goes around the ship to inspect its general condition. If there are grounds for it, the port State control officer can decide to start a so-called more detailed inspection. The directive gives examples of conditions that may give "grounds" for a more detailed inspection. Finally, the following ships must be subjected to an expanded inspection:
Ships with a high-risk profile
Passenger ships, oil, gas and chemical tankers or bulk carriers older than 12 years
Ships with high-risk profiles or passenger ships, oil, gas or chemical tankers or bulk carriers older than 12 years in case of top-priority factors or unexpected factors
Ships subjected to a follow-up inspection following a ban issued in accordance with article 16.
The shipowner allots time for the inspection
The shipowner or the master of the ship must ensure that sufficient time has been allotted in the timetable for the carrying out of the expanded inspection.
As mentioned under the section on reporting obligations, these ships must inform the port authority about the estimated time of arrival at least 72 hours in advance (ETA72).