Videotel Marine International has advised shipowners to prepare themselves for the fundamental changes expected in ship security regulations. In the aftermath of terrorist attacks and increased pirate activity it is likely that shipowners will face a
mandatory requirement to provide ship security officers on all sizeable
"We expect that every vessel above 500 gt will be required to have a
designated security officer to take responsibility for security issues and
the vessel's formal security plan," says Len Holder, chairman of Videotel.
"The officer will have to take on these responsibilities in addition to
their normal duties. Shipowners will need to demonstrate that security
responsibilities are being met and this will mean an extensive training
program will have to be implemented across the world fleet."
Currently, only passenger ships and nuclear vessels are required to have a
trained ship security officer onboard. But the International Maritime
Organization (IMO) is widely expected to announce in December 2002 that the
role of ship security officer will become a mandatory requirement on all
Videotel has been working closely with the IMO and other prominent
organisations to produce a computer-based training course especially
designed for training ship security officers. The course, Ship Security
Officer, consists of an interactive CD-ROM-based training package which
comes complete with on-screen assessment and testing capabilities. Ship
Security Officer ensures an officer is trained in all aspects of security
and helps the officer to formulate an effective security plan for their
vessel. In addition the course provides a training video, designed to assist
the ship security officer in the important role of disseminating security
information to all the ship's crew, and a printed booklet to allow study
away from the messroom or computer.
"Today's seafarers operate in an increasingly pressured environment and
finding the time to take on additional security responsibilities is going to
be difficult," says Chris Haughton, deputy managing director of Videotel.
"But ship security is a major issue. The Ship Security Officer training
package allows shipowners to demonstrate that security responsibilities are
being met whilst ensuring seafarers are provided with a realistic and
flexible approach to training. Ship Security Officer can be used at sea or
ashore and the course will be accredited by a third party with certificates
of completion being issued to all validated candidates."
Ship Security Officer is currently in the final stages of completion and is
due to be launched in early 2003. To ensure Ship Security Officer meets
international requirements, Videotel is currently waiting for the IMO to
finalise the security guidelines and amend the STCW convention before
completing the training package.