As a response to the strong political and public outcry for more stringent regulations regarding safety of ships in the wake of a series of maritime disasters in the 1980s and 1990s, the European Commission adopted a number of Directives on Ports State Control (PSC) that has made the provisions of the Paris Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on PSC binding on all EU Member States (MSs). Directive 2009/16/EC, as amended, which entered into force on January 2011, is the latest version of those Directives. Aside from specifying targeting, inspection, and detention procedures, this piece of legislation establishes that each Member State (MS) shall be inspected every five years by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) to monitor the level of implementation and enforcement of the Directive. We analysed 25 inspection reports prepared by the Agency in connection with MSs inspections, to determine levels of implementation, compliance, and harmonisation with the provisions of the Directive 2009/16/EC. This article summarizes the main shortcomings and observations as identified in the inspection reports and concludes that while the Directive has been properly implemented by the MSs, there remain areas where harmonisation is yet to be achieved. In detail, this article detects gaps between policy and practice for EU policy makers which aim at ensuring a level playing field in Europe and avoid safety competition among countries.