The STCW Convention and Code, as amended by the 2010 Manila amendments, contains new requirements regarding security training for crew. As of January 2014, the Proficiency in Security Awareness course must be undertaken by crew employed or engaged in any capacity on board any yacht which is required to comply with the ISPS Code, unless proven exempt. With crew being faced with a new set of training requirements every year, is this a welcome set of skills for superyacht crew or will it be met with hostility?

The Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA), however, have announced that the thought the requirements are set for January 2014, Port State Control (PSC) will not take action against non-compliance until June 2015, giving crew and yachts an 'easing-in' period of nearly a year and a half. Exemption can be applied for by crew that have been working for six months or more on a vessel with a UK ISM document of compliance, but this sea service has to have been completed prior to January 2012. In addition to this, if you hold an existing UK Ship Security Officer (SSO) certificate, then no further training is required.

The course is based on Regulation VI/6, paragraph 1 and Section A-VI/6, paragraphs 4 of the STCW Convention and Code 1978, as amended and is delivered alongside the basic safety training for seafarers, meaning that it will be part of STCW training in the future. For those who already hold their basic training, the course will have to be undertaken through a training provider in half a day, and claims to provide “necessary knowledge, understanding and proficiency to personnel intending to work on ships who will not have any designated security duties.”

The syllabus of the course includes covering the ISPS Code, threats to the maritime transport industry, maritime security definitions, security roles and responsibilities, company and vessel security requirements, security threat levels, security measures and procedures.

While the course only needs to be done once and with no need for revalidation, it calls into question the increasing amount of training that crew need to undertake and money that needs to be forked out to gain the minimum requirements needed to work on a yacht. While it is all in the name of professionalism, many crew are becoming frustrated with the amount of certification that the MCA keeps adding to their to-do-list. Are the new requirements necessary or do crew see it as a waste of money? Join our debate on crew courses by clicking here.

Full details of the new requirements can be read here.

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