Then – effective July 1, 2004, mariners sailing in the capacity of Vessel Security Officer (VSO) were required to have knowledge, based on training or experience, of the competencies required for that position. Now – on July 1, 2009, the U.S. Coast Guard will enforce a new rule requiring completion of approved training and “Vessel Security Officer” endorsement on a mariner’s STCW Certificate in order to serve as a VSO on vessels subject to the STCW Convention.
The U.S. Coast Guard has implemented an amendment to the STCW Convention that requires Ship Security Officers (called Vessel Security Officers in US terminology) on vessels subject to that Convention (most seagoing vessels) to have taken government-approved training appropriate for the position. As of July 1, 2009, the implementing regulation requires these VSOs to obtain a one-time VSO endorsement on their STCW Certificate documenting their completion of approved training.
Students of Maritime Protective Services, Inc. (MPS) who successfully completed either the MPS Vessel Security Officer Course after September 26, 2005 or the MPS Combined Vessel, Company, and Facility Security Officer Course after February 13, 2006 have met the regulation’s requirement for government-approved training requirement, and should prepare and process their application for the VSO endorsement as soon as possible.
To obtain the VSO endorsement:
• Send a completed application (Form CG-719B), passport photo, and copies of the course completion certificate and USCG license, MMD, and STCW Certificate to any local Regional Examination Center (REC), via fax, mail, or delivery. As a result of centralization, the REC will forward the application to the National Maritime Center (NMC) in West Virginia. The NMC will process the application and reissue the STCW-95 Certificate, with the VSO endorsement, at no charge.
• If necessary, MPS can provide a replacement course completion certificates. Contact D. Whaley at 561-330-2020 or email for procedures and cost.
Those who have taken a Security Officer course that was not US Government approved will be required to take either an approved VSO refresher course or an approved VSO course.
About Maritime Protective Services (MPS)
MPS (mpsint.com) specializes in US and international maritime security regulatory compliance consulting and training. They earned the coveted designation of Recognized Security Organization (RSO) under the ISPS Code from three countries (Greece, Malta, and Nigeria). MPS has been audited by Bureau Veritas, a leading classification society in the maritime industry, and has been approved and registered as a Maritime Security Consultant for the ISPS Code. Their MTSA and ISPS Code training courses for maritime security officers have been approved and certified by agencies of the US and UK governments and, uniquely, earn attendees Continuing Education Units through their strategic alliance with Florida Institute of Technology, a university recognized worldwide for its leadership and innovation in technical education. MPS has developed ISPS compliant security plans for port facilities and ships around the world, as well as MTSA compliant security plans in the United States. They have conducted security audits and led mandatory drills and exercises for a variety of clients. One measure of their adaptability is their development of specialized training for groups ranging from senior management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, to police in the United Kingdom, to waterborne security personnel at Bath Iron Works.
Their experts have extensive maritime security experience and come from backgrounds in the military, including Special Forces, the U.S. Coast Guard, and law enforcement. MPS staff includes certified ISPS Code auditors, certified Ship, Company, and Port Facility Security Officers, and individuals who have been recognized by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and are now registered on the IMO Panel of Experts. The IMO has repeatedly tapped their personnel to conduct its “national needs” assessments of various countries’ ISPS Code implementation programs, as well as to train local ISPS Code course instructors to IMO standards.
To learn more about MPS: the company, its programs, its course schedules, and its services… contact them.