Guidance on training and certification requirements for ship security officers and seafarers with designated security duties has been agreed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), to address practical difficulties seafarers have reportedly experienced in obtaining the necessary security certification under the 2010 Manila amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) and STCW Code.
The guidance recommends that, until 1st July 2015, relevant training under section 13 (Training, drills and exercises on ship security) of the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code should be accepted as being equivalent to that required under the STCW Convention and Code.
The guidance was agreed by the Sub-Committee on Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping (HTW), meeting for its first session from 17th to 21st February 2014, which expressed its concern that large numbers of seafarers were reportedly unable to have access to approved training courses or were unable to be issued certification of security-related training in accordance with the STCW regulations.
The Sub-Committee approved an STCW circular on Advice for port State control officers, recognised organisations and recognised security organisations on action to be taken in cases where seafarers do not carry certification required in accordance with regulation VI/6 of the STCW Convention and section A-VI/6, paragraphs 4 and 6 of the STCW Code after 1st January 2014.
It also approved an STCW circular on Advice for port State control officers, recognised organisations and recognised security organisations clarifying training and certification requirements for ship security officers and seafarers with designated security duties, which agrees that ship security officer (SSO) training encompasses the competence requirements of the STCW Code (section A-VI/6). Therefore, holders of SSO certificates should not be required to undergo further training and obtain certification.