Important note: The National Maritime Center has asked us to point out that applications for security endorsements should follow the normal process through the REC. The sea-service documentation related to this should be sent with the application package to the REC.
As previously reported, the most recent amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) led the U.S. Coast Guard to issue a policy letter outlining new security training and endorsement requirements for all vessel personnel. According to that policy letter (No. 12-06), as of Jan. 1, 2014 all mariners must have an STCW security endorsement as part of their merchant mariner credential (MMC) in line with their respective assigned duties.
The policy letter (six pages plus a one-page enclosure) may be accessed on the Coast Guard’s National Maritime Center website by clicking HERE
A related FAQ (which also covers information from a separate policy letter) may be accessed on the NMC site by clicking HERE
A related sample letter and links to Coast Guard forms 719B and 719K appear at the end of this post.
Questions may be directed to the NMC at 1-888-IASKNMC (1-888-427-5662), 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.
SIU members who currently have a Vessel Security Officer (VSO) endorsement already comply with the new requirement. Other members will need to secure a letter from their employer (company) or vessel master confirming sea time or performance of security functions equivalent to designated security duties for six months in the previous three years that satisfy the requirements for the new endorsements and then send it to the Coast Guard, or they’ll need to show proof of having completed an approved course that meets the requirements.
If demonstrating completion of an approved course, the certificate of completion should be attached to Coast Guard form 719B as an application for an endorsement. If the mariner is also seeking a renewal of an existing document, form 719K (Medical Evaluation Report) would also have to be filed.
Alternatively, mariners who commenced sea service prior to Jan. 1, 2012 may apply for the VPDSD endorsement by providing documentation attesting to seagoing service with designated security duties for a period of six months in the preceding three years. These duties may include, but are not limited to, duties specified in the vessel security plan or as assigned on a station bill. Documentation of this service can be a letter or certificate signed by a company official, including a vessel master. This letter is to be presented to the NMC as an attachment to a form 719B.
Another method of satisfying the requirement is to secure a letter signed by a company official attesting to performance of security functions considered to be equivalent in scope to shipboard designated duties for a period of six months in the previous three years.
The three STCW security endorsements are:
SA – VI/6 – Security Awareness
VPDSD – VI/6 – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties
VSO – VI/5 – Vessel Security Officer
Unless VSO has already been placed on the STCW page of a mariner’s MMC, he or she will need to obtain one of the endorsements listed above. Both the SIU and our affiliated school in Piney Point, Md., believe that most mariners will require the VPDSD endorsement.
According to the policy letter, mariners will not be charged for adding an STCW endorsement if they apply before Jan. 1, 2014 unless they’re seeking a renewal or a raise in grade of their MMCs, nor will the expiration dates change.
Link to form 719B:
Link to form 719K:
Sample Letter for those with Sea Time Prior to January 1, 2012:
U.S. Coast Guard
National Maritime Center
100 Forbes Drive
Martinsburg, WV 25404
This letter is to provide documentation that NAME has seagoing service with designated security duties for a period of at least six months during the preceding three years and meets the STCW qualifications for Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties.
NAME OF MASTER OR