Vessel Security Officer and STCW

This just in from MITAGS:<br><br>Revised 6-18-08<br><br><strong>VESSEL SECURITY OFFICER ENDORSEMENT ADDED TO STCW-95 CERTIFICATE</strong><br>As previously announced in the Wheelhouse Weekly, the U.S. Coast Guard is in the process of implementing a new rule that will require all mariners sailing in the position of Vessel Security Officer (VSO) on foreign voyages to have the VSO endorsement by July of 2009. The final rule, and its associated regulations, should be worked out over the summer months.<br>One of the regulations under this new rule-making will require mariners to supply evidence verifying successful completion of a “certified” Security course. Please note that MITAGS’ Vessel, Company, and Facility Security Officer (VCF) course meets this requirement. Furthermore, its predecessor, MITAGS’ Security Officer: Port, Company, and Ship (PCS) course, is also expected to meet the requirement. However, any other course designation will require additional training, such as a one-day Security Refresher course, to meet the new requirements. At the time of this publication, MITAGS is working closely with the Coast Guard to determine which MITAGS courses meet the new regulations. The Institute expects to have a Security Refresher course in place by the fall of 2008. MITAGS also expects to have a final determination on which security courses meet the regulatory requirements and which courses will require an additional refresher component.<br>It is important to note that the Security Refresher course will only be available for members that have previously completed a Security course. Members that have not taken a Security course will be required to complete MITAGS’ currently scheduled Vessel, Company, and Facility (VCF) Security Officer course.<br><br>MITAGS will continue to monitor this situation closely. Any new information will be distributed via the MITAGS/PMI E-Newsletter. Individuals interested in receiving a copy of the monthly e-newsletter should contact Ms. Brandi Smith at (410) 859-5700, extension 3237, or via e-mail at

We already had to have a 3day course to begin with… <br>I took this course years ago, but it wasn’t required to be endorsed at the time…hope I’m covered.<br><br><A title=link href=“” target=_blank>ABS Consulting</A>

<P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px]This is ridiculous, we have gone way too far with this security hysteria and at the end of the day we are only marginally more secure.This is just another example of a maritime training center advocating for and pushing through more regulations that are good for them, but not for the mariners that have to get the certification and keep it current. I am glad I swallowed the anchor. </P>

Whoa…<br><br>This is an example of a maritime training center responding to more regulation. MITAGS didn’t push this. They’re trying to facilitate the training so folks can keep sailing, rather than getting stuck on the beach for the lack of a stupid piece of paper. If you want to point fingers point them at the USCG.

Yeah… and the CG responds various committes, MERPAC ect of which many of the members are employed by or in close association with intities that would profit form more required courses. Self-fulfilling prophecy???

Personally, I think the VSO endorsement on STCW is unnecessary. Another pain in the a** course to take, another day (or three) away from family to attend school, another six to eight weeks waiting for the NMC to turn around a piece of paper. I’ve got no doubt that some for-profit organizations will rub their
hands with glee over the opportunity to offer more required courses. I don’t spend my training dollar at a school which exists to make money. I’ll choose a non-profit over a for-profit any day of the week, and I’ll get better training as a result. <br><br>I’m not much for conspiracy theories either, so to your point. <a title=“Link to MERPAC member list” target="_blank" href="]MERPAC members are widely representative of the industry. Of the nineteen members, six are licensed working mariners, just as affected by USCG policy as you and I. Six are from academies and schools, all of which are not for profit. Some of these members must certainly keep current, and so are just as affected. Members of the committee representing companies may also choose or be required to keep their licenses and STCW current, and so are just as affected by USCG policies. The unlicensed sailors on the committee may someday want to be licensed. Just a look at the member roster tells me that MERPAC is not the driving force behind more regulation, courses, and endorsements. The schools I’m familiar with aren’t busy lobbying the USCG for more regulations. They’re busy enough just trying to stay current with the latest decrees and policy changes coming from the USCG NMC.

<P>I havn’t seen the pedigree of the latest members but I sailed with Father Sinclair. Glenn Piggot was a port engineer that I worked for in 1970 and Eglington was the VP in charge of Piney Point training. I’ve spoken at legnth with them on several proposals for lower level licenses and rates. Mostly about the transition from entry level positions and comprehensive testing to sitting in a classroom being taught answers to a list of questions. These “not for profit schools” are not run by volunteers.<br><br>I’m not singling out MERPAC. It seems ALL of these special commitees are having a hard time finding a problem to solve.</P>
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It looks like the VSO course that I took in 2004 is not on the new list of CG approved STCW courses for the VSO endorsement. So, It seems like I’ll have to take it again. Just peachy!!!<br><br>What I don’t understand is the fact that the Coast Guard is not approving these classes, but using approved QSS organizations such as DNV or ABS to approve these courses of behalf of the Coast Guard. Funny thing is, I took the ABS course but NMC told me it wasn’t any good because they’re not on the approved list as a school!!! WTF???

A Coast Guard approved QSS is given the authority to review, approve, and audit courses in place of the Coast Guard. For obvious reasons, the Coast Guard won’t allow a QSS to oversee its own courses while at the same time serving as the approval authority for other schools (i.e. competitors). It’s an obvious conflict of interest.<br><br>The Coast Guard is not approving the courses for resource issues. The QSSs can give the exact same approval that the Coast Guard would. The only difference is that the school giving the course bears the costs of getting it approved, not the U.S. taxpayer (there are no user fees or other costs for Coast Guard acourse approval).<br><br>The Coast Guard will allow the QSSs to give retroactive approval to courses given after 2003. This Anyone who took a course that was not approved should contact the school and urge them to seek retroactive approval for their course.

Thanks for the info. You took your email off your signature…good move…unless you like reading 500 emails per day. <br>Jake Janzen approved my Chief Mate application today and he told me to turn in my VSO certificate at the REC when I go test next week for the STCW endorsement. Like you said, he said the same thing as far as retroactive to 2003 (for approval). Edison Chouest Offshore is currently seeking approval on their VSO course, but Chouest contracted ABS to conduct the first VSO classes and that is what I attended in 2004. I don’t know if they can actually seek approval for those particular classes.<br>I will send in my certificate and see what happens…since I do have an open application…or take the damn thing again if its not accepted.

<P>With hindsight it may have been better to require approval of the courses from the start. Once VSO got into STCW we had to go to approval and knew there were a lot of previously non-approved courses that mariners had taken, hence the decision to allow retroactive approval. I think the customers of those courses are in the best position to prod the school to retroactive approval. It’s hard for us to do it, sincer they were not approved, we really don’t even know which are out there.<br><br>I didn’t take the e-mail signature off, I need to add it to any post and I was too lazy to do it this time. I usually just cut and paste from an earlier message in the same discussion, but I hadn’t commented in this one and couldn’t be bothered to open another or type it.<br><br>Except for this whether or not I use it was based on whether I’m being “official” and providing job-related information, or just being another wise-ass sailor. Maybe I’ll see if John will let me open another account for the unoficial stuff. Then I’ll need to find a name for my evil-twin alter ego.<br><br>James D. Cavo<br>Chief, Mariner Training & Assessment Division<br>USCG National Maritime Center<br><A href="]<font color=#3354aa></font></A> </P>

<P>Mr. Cavo<br>Will the VSO be a requirement for license renewal? There was much confusion when MCP was invented. It took 6 weeks to get an answer from REC back then. </P>
<P>I also had a company sponsered VSO course 3 years ago. We received certificates but I just noticed it was not entered into my TRB. I hope it’s grandfathered.</P>

No, it’s not going to be required for renewal of for original issue of a license or STCW certificate. It’s like Medical PIC, one person on a vessel has to have it, but there’s no requirement that any one specific indivual have it. You just cannot serve as the VSO without it.<br><br>James D. Cavo<br>Chief, Mariner Training & Assessment Division<br>USCG National Maritime Center<br><A href="]<font color=#3354aa></font></A>

JDCavo said “The Coast Guard will allow the QSSs to give retroactive approval to
courses given after 2003. This Anyone who took a course that was not
approved should contact the school and urge them to seek retroactive
approval for their course.”<br><br>I took the class at MITAGS in October 2006 so I asked them for a new cert that says STCW and they came back with this:<br><br><font color=“navy” face=“Arial” size="2]<span style="font-size: 10pt; color: navy; font-family: Arial;]“The course that you
attended was<span style="font-style: italic;] “approved by MARAD and the
<st1:country-region w:st="on]<st1:place w:st="on]U.S.</st1:place></st1:country-region> Coast Guard”. </span>
words on your certificate are the key, not STCW. The MITAGS course is also DNV
approved. Your current certificate is good as is and you will not require
refresher training.</span></font>”

Orniphobe,<br> You are good because DNV is a Coast Guard QSS…and you have the course within the dates published on the Homeport Website.<br><br>You’re golden.