Maritime Security is very much in the news at the moment and recruiting is very high, the minimum requirement from the ISPS is SSO (Ship's Security Officer Qualification, course details are as follows:
ISPS Code - Ship Security Officer (MCA) The thread is titled SSO.......... are we being a little anal here, or just looking for a morning bite???
You were quicker then me AB was going to write the same thing.
A sense of humour was one of those qualities savoured at CTC.. so not a worry Morning 24/7
PSD. my apologies, its been a long 12 hr shift??
Trublue, accepted... only 12 hours?? you working P/T then!
I've checked about half a dozen providers of SSO courses but only 2 have mentioned who the course is accredited to, ie MCA, Transvec. Are the terms approved by/certification by/accredited to MCA, etc., the same? One provider specifically states that their SSO course is not approved by MCA. Could that make a difference to a potential employer?
No plugs here either, (I've done the research so I'm putting it on the site), but the PSD course seems good value considering they are providing food and accom. If not for the short notice, I'd apply.
One provider, a university, wants £690 just for the course. Plus no idea who the instructor will be.
On looking at another SSO course's prospectus/timetable, 'threat assessment and recognition' is just one subject amongst several others during what seems to be one busy morning in the classroom. So if anyone is thinking of getting 'genned up' on anti-piracy tactics and Jack Sparrow's modus operandi they won't be getting it from that provider.
Maybe a 'tailored' SSO course could be made available which conforms with the requirements under STCW A-VI/5, but with more emphasis on external threats rather than crew members stealing from the galley. Sorry, a bit of levity but you get my drift.
Just to clear things up... (I hope)..... these providers state that previous experience of maritime/Merchant Navy operations is preferred but not a requirement to go on the SSO course. Some want you to have read, and to produce on the course, a copy of the ISPS Code and others that you should be this or that to go on the course. I suppose the bottom line is that anyone can attend but, if an hour into Day One and your head is reeling from the abbreviations and terminology, then you've either wasted your money or you've got a lot of work to do in the evenings! I've not done the course so I can't really comment.
Conversely, a provider on the continent wants, as a pre-requisite for the SSO course, a Maritime certificate of competency and a minimum of 12 months certified sea service, which would put a few out of the loop here, so we should be grateful for something!
Sorry for the longish post, guys.
The clue is in the name, Ships Security Officer !
The SSO course was designed solely for Ships Officers, that is members of the merchant navy who were already employed by a shipping company.
In the UK it is the MCA who by accrediting certain company's or organisation allow those company's and organisations to issue the SSO certification to those who successfully complete the course.
For company's and organisations to be accredited by the MCA they have to meet certain criteria regarding themselves and the trainers delivering the course in their name.
If the course is not approved then it is likely that the company or organisation is not accredited by the MCA!
So yes it should make a difference to the employer.
A number of training providers provide food and accommodation within the course fee.They should also give details of their trainers background and experience.
SSO courses are 'tailored' to those they are aimed at,
Also Ships Officers are also expected to have knowledge of ships and shipping procedures, not to mention current company/ships security procedures.
So you can see although the course is 3/4 days the Ships Officers are already expected to have a certain level of knowledge.
The purpose of none Ships Officers doing the course but for people looking to doing Maritime Security is so that they have at least some level of knowledge within that field.
You should now understand why the training provider on the continent is asking for a Maritime Certificate of Competency and a minimum of twelve months certified sea service.
It is after all a Ships Security Officers course!
As I have stated before Maritime Security is a 'deep' subject.
Hope this helps for a better understanding of the subject.
Remember it is your money you are parting with.
Make sure you are confident with the people providing the training.
I know what a Ship's Security Officer is but do the Maritime Security employers?
My point is the SSO course is not an anti-piracy course. Depending on who the provider is you may get stuff all about piracy. Let's face it, not every shipping company is exposed to the problems in the Gulf, Nigeria and Indonesia. The majority of shipping companies are probably more concerned with terrorism, smuggling and theft whilst alongside. I've seen the amount of thieving from ships that goes on in some of our UK ports. It's what they are most exposed to and no doubt the SSO course content reflects that. Also TRANSEC, via MCA, has laid down what the SSO course should be concentrating on and it's not piracy, piracy, piracy.
In my opinion, for what it's worth, the issue is being clouded by employers requiring, or 'advising', those applying for Maritime Security employment in the GOA, etc., to have the SSO qualification. It's for that reason I wonder whether these employers are fully aware of the content of the SSO course. It may well be that they want to ensure that landlubbers know their port from starboard, that there are no fire escapes on ships and not to bother ringing 999 when you're at sea. Joking apart, I agree that for non-Merchant Navy types the course would be useful but there are a couple of lads on these forums doing the job now without the SSO qualification and I'd love to hear their input. Do they feel at a disadvantage onboard by not having the SSO qual? More to the point, do their employers?
I don't know, perhaps I've got this forum all wrong but to me the kind of Maritime Security I'm talking about is at sea, the killing/kidnapping of crews, theft of vessels and cargo. Not local scumbags creeping up the gangway and nicking the crew's wallets and MP3 players or organised crime sneaking drug shipments onboard. Shipping companies aren't paying guys to protect ships and crews alongside in Goole, Felixstowe or Zeebrugge are they? Rather they are getting paid to protect the vessel and crew, at sea, in the GOA etc, from pirates or whatever you want to call them. And let's get down to the nitty gritty here. Those are the Maritime Security jobs we are hoping to secure for ourselves for one reason or another. Anyone want to be an SSO on the Union Castle Line or North Sea ferries earnng 20k a year?
Am I really labouring my point here? I'll wind my neck in......but finally.....I am going to do the SSO course. I'm sure to learn from it, but the main reason is because I feel my chances of getting a job without it are slim.
In the future, hopefully, someone out there will come up with a tailored Anti-piracy course, with targeted threat analysis, intelligence-led, effective SOPs, etc, but more importantly with a qualification that the employers will recognise.
You have valid points in your posts.
You along wth others may know what an SSO is, but many do not.
The aim of my post was to inform people as to the original purpose of the SSO status within the maritime industry.
After all maritime security has been going for a long time.
It was not until 'piracy' made the recent headlines and the prospect of 'armed security' appeared that maritime security became flavour of the month.
How many people with CP or PSD experience would have even bothered about it prior to the recent 'armed' exposure?
The basic definition of a 'pirate' is one who robs at sea.
The word 'pirate' may not be used within the International Ship and Port Security (ISPS)code but it is dealt with.
Shipping company's are well aware of the situation.
It is the shipping company's who authorise who works on board their ships and they do know what
the initials SSO mean and the course recommended content.
Training company's are putting forward the SSO course, for those in this forum to gain work as armed security,
as they know it is also a selling point.
Much the same as having an SIA CP certification!
The maritime industry does pay for security guards at ports, look at the manned guarding company's in that sector.
If you want to be an SSO on a sea going vessel then first join the Merchant Navy and become a ships officer.
Then do an SSO course, paid for by your shipping company.
Being a SSO is not a stand alone qualification with in the Merchant Navy.
People from this forum tend to do an SSO course for the very reasons you state.
Increase knowledge and to improve their job prospects.
A 'tailored anti piracy course'!
Well no doubt you will find course being labeled, 'Maritime Counter Piracy Qualification' because company's see a new market opportunities.
But do not be surprised if it turns out to be an SSO course.You see the content is already there.
Perhaps a longer SSO course so as to cover the subject in more depth?
This will of course increase the cost!
But it is possible.
It all comes back to what you want to pay and also to ensure that the training you receive is delivered by an accredited company/organisation with qualified instructors.
Look for MCA accreditation, only 33/34 company's/organisations have this in the UK.
For anyone leaving the services, are there any company's offering some form of 're-settlement' courses?
I believe the MOD also pay toward the cost?
Xcpoct,I think we can both be said to be 'labouring points'.
But if healthy debate increases peoples knowledge and helps with awareness of maritime security, then so much the better.
Beware the, 'Jimy Awkins Skool of Maretin Scuritty' not to mention second hand parrots.
to change the subject saward I apoligies for my post in another thread ref your crediability by what i have read just recently you obviously do know what you are talking about and i shall crawl into my hut and keep reading Sorry from a very humble armed maritime security officer not an sso .