5.1 Internationally, the control of foreign merchant ships by port States has been a feature of international maritime Conventions since the 1929 SOLAS Convention. However the coordinated application of port State control is a relatively recent development. It was recognized by the drafters of SOLAS that a flag State could not constantly monitor every ship in its fleet wherever it sails in the world. Therefore, port States were given power to inspect a vessel’s documentation. If there were clear grounds for suspecting that the condition of the ship did not meet Convention standards, then an inspection of the ship could be carried out.