I’m trying to add the VSO/SSO endorsement to my STCW certificate in accordance with the new regulations, but its like trying to hit a moving target…
The longer I’m in the maritime business, the less I’m qualified to do-- or so my most recent experience with the USCG would seem to indicate. Today I began the process of gathering my VSO certificates and other documentation to get my STCW certificate endorsed in accordance with new regulation. Licensed officers who are designated Vessel Security Officer must provide evidence of approved VSO training and have their STCW certificate endorsed before July of next year. After reviewing the USCG’s NMC website, I find that none of the three courses that I’ve taken since implementation of MTSA / ISPS are accepted by USCG. One course misses the acceptable date range by 2 months. I hold VSO / SSO certificates from Calhoon MEBA Engineering School and MSC Training Center East as well a PFSO certificate from Seebald Associates— reputable providers who deal with the USCG on an ongoing basis.
A civilian employee at the USCG Boston REC told me after hearing my story that he would have no problem using his discretion to endorse my STCW based on my training, experience and sea time-- however, that discretion is no longer allowed at the REC’s; everything must go through the NMC in West Virgina.
Additionally, now I have worry that I won’t get my license and documents back from NMC in time to return to work in January. My conversation with the staffer who answered the phone at NMC was not encouraging with regard to timeliness of application processing.
How is it that, despite our good faith efforts to be compliant with the ever-shifting regulatory regime, we can be subject to retroactive certification and training requirements that entail expensive, time-consuming and superfluous training? How is it that the courses were deemed acceptable at the time that MTSA and ISPS was being implemented? Why are we at the mercy of a plodding Kafka-esque bureacracy (Think TWIC) that seriously impacts our ability to make a Iiving in an already challenging field? I do NOT want to squander another week of my vacation to take another course on a subject that I could teach for the sake of another certificate to add to my already bulging license portfolio.
I’ve got similar issues with Tankerman PIC LG and DL endorsements as well— any one else with similar experience?
More importantly, does anyone have a solution so that I can continue to pursue my sea-going career without reverting to full-time cadet status?