January 8, 2003

MITAGS pioneers Ship Security Officer courses
Glen Paine, Executive Director, the Maritime Institute of Technology & Graduate Studies (MITAGS) and Pacific Maritime Institute (PMI) has announced that a new training course for Ship Security Officer (SSO) will be available for all interested mariners and company representatives. There will be two one-week sessions, the first beginning on February 3 and the second beginning on February 10, 2003. These sessions will be some of the first SSO training opportunities offered to the public and will be presented in a  "beta" format. Feedback from attendees will be utilized to finalize course materials and content, which will be submitted to the U.S. Coast Guard as a proposed model course.

Piracy and terrorist attacks are increasing against commercial shipping worldwide. The ICC (International Chambers of Commerce) Piracy Report, released October 24, 2002, indicates "a significant increase in the number of piracy attacks on the world's oceans, rising from 253 incidents in the nine months of 2001 to 271 for the corresponding period in 2002."

Terrorists have recently taken their attacks to the seas in such highly visible assaults as the USS Cole and the French tanker Limburg.  Commercial ships, in particular U.S. flagged ships and those perceived to be U.S. allies in the war against terrorism, are preferred terrorist targets.  Along with this "spike" in terrorist activity, piracy continues to be a major threat against commercial shipping.

The MITAGS Ship Security Program is based on International Maritime Organization (IMO) amendments that contain the international ship and port facility security code (ISPS Code) and U.S. Coast Guard NAVIG 10-02.

MITAGS says its team of Military Special Operations, Law Enforcement, and Maritime Specialists has developed a quality Ship Security Officer (SSO) course that will meet or exceed these regulatory requirements. Attendees will learn to develop and modify a ship security plan, study potential weaknesses and apply corrective action to prevent an incursion.  Attendees will also learn techniques for identifying and searching for dangerous objects and persons, as well as methods for conducting risk assessments based on type of ship, cargo, port-of-call and political variables. Instructors with both maritime and military/law enforcement experience will utilize an actual ship as a training platform. 

For more information on MITAGS' Ship Security Officer training please contact Craig Thomas at Tel: 443-989-3358, email at, or visit

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