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August 16, 2002

Videotel has security training product in works

Maritime training specialist Videotel Marine International says shipowners should prepare themselves for 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 vessels.

"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 vessels.

Videotel says it has been working closely with the IMO and other prominent organizations 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 the vessel. In addition the course provides a training video, designed to assist the ship security officer in the 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 finalize the security guidelines and amend the STCW convention before completing the training package.

Changes in security requirements are an important focus of Marine Log's upcoming conference, Maritime Legislation, Regulation & Policy, Washington, D.C., September 18 & 19, 2002.

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