A ship security officer (SSO) is an important entity under the International Ship and Port Facility (ISPS) code. The SSO is a person appointed by the company and the ship’s master for ensuring the security of the ship.
Ship’s security is one of the greatest concerns for every shipping company whose ships ply in international waters. Though there are advanced systems such as ship security alert system (SSAS) and ship security reporting system (SSRS) to enhance maritime security, contribution of the crew towards ship’s security play a very important role.
The main duties of the ship security officer (SSO) include implementation and maintenance of a ship security plan, while working closely with the company security officer (CSO) and the port facility security officer (PFCO).
According to the ISPS code, every ship must have a ship security officer, who has the full responsibility of the ship’s security.
The main responsibilities of ship security officer (SSO) are:
- Implementing and maintaining the ship security plan (SSP)
- Conducting security inspections at regular intervals of time to ensure that proper security steps are taken
- Making changes to the ship security plan if need arise
- Propose modifications to the ship security plan by taking various aspects of the ship into consideration
- Help in ship security assessment (SSA)
- Ensure that the ship’s crew is properly trained to maintain a high ship security level
- Enhance security awareness and vigilance on board ship
- Guide ship’s crew by teaching ways to enhance ship’s security
- Report all security incidents to the company and the ship’s master
- Taking view and suggestions of the company security officer and the port facility security officer into consideration while making amendments to the ship security plan
- Help company security officer (CSO) in his duties
- Take into account various security measures related to handling of cargo, engine room operations, ship’s store etc.
- Coordinate with ship board personnel and port authorities to carry out all ship operations with utmost security
- Ensure that the ship security equipment is properly operated, tested, calibrated, and maintained
The duties of ship security officer might change, increase, or decrease, depending on the type of the ship and situation. However, the main duties remain the same as mentioned above.
The importance of maritime security has substantially increased with the increase in the number of piracy attacks. This has also lead to a sudden increase in demand of maritime security jobs . Many companies offer special maritime security services to ensure high level of ship and port security. However, it is to note that most of the ship security related troubles can be averted by having a sound ship security plan.