June 9, 2008
OMSA alerts members on VSO rule change
OMSA (the Offshore Marine Services Association) has sent its members an update on the recently released USCG interim rulemaking affecting Vessel Security Officers on vessels subject to the STCW convention. They will now be required to have a Coast Guard endorsement by the on their mariner credentials, showing they have completed a Coast Guard accepted VSO training course.
Under current regulations, mariners who serve as VSO's do not require Coast Guard certification and are self-certified through the vessel owner/operator and job experience.
The new rule--which only affects those mariners on vessels subject to STCW--goes into effect June 19, 2008 , but mariners will have until July 1, 2009 to obtain an endorsement. .
"The good news," says OMSA, "is that for those members who have completed the VSO training through OMSA's program with Hudson Trident/DNV, this program satisfies the Coast Guard's new requirements mentioned in this rulemaking."
OMSA says that any member that has received training other than the OMSA approved VSO training program should check with the training provider to see if it meets the new Coast Guard requirements. If it does not, mariners will have to complete a short refresher course to comply with the new requirements.
The Coast Guard is still in the finalizing stages of determining how mariners are going to receive this endorsement for their credentials. In recent discussions with the Coast Guard, OMSA was told that the Coast Guard is trying to set up the process of mariners receiving their VSO endorsements through the mail. OMSA will stay in touch with the Coast Guard throughout this process.
OMSA is also in the process of setting up Train-the-Trainer courses for VSO's during this summer. This topic will be discussed further at the Security Committee at the next OMSA Quarterly Meeting on July 17 th .
OMSA is working with the Coast Guard to produce a smooth transition and will be sending comments in response to this interim rulemaking. For a copy of these comments, the interim rule or questions regarding the Train-the-Trainer courses, please contact Sarah Branch at (504) 734-7622 or firstname.lastname@example.org .