Advanced Training for the Maritime Security Sector


Published Oct 24, 2017 5:36 PM by David Stone, MA MSc CMAS CAS-MSM

The International Association of Maritime Security Professionals (IAMSP) is committed to the professionalization of security within the maritime domain. It accomplishes this through advanced training, research and the participation in the development of standards. As part of these efforts, it has rolled out an innovative certification structure that is intended to meet the unique challenges in this environment.

The IAMSP recognizes that the maritime industry is facing several unique challenges. The first of these challenges involves the nature of the operating environment—while administrative centers and ports can be easily connected to shore-based resources, the availability of such resources onboard vessels could be limited significantly. As with certain physical domains, there has to be some on-site knowledge that can support operations. The second challenge involved the nature of the maritime industry. While the maritime industry is regulated independently, it operates as part of a larger transportation system that can be described as a network of networks. As a result, it must be able to both meet its own requirements but also integrate or at least be interoperable with other modes of transportation. Finally, there is the issue of cost as the maritime industry is under continuous and significant pressure to reduce costs and improve efficiency by organizations who must incorporate those costs into their own prices.

In addressing this challenge, the IAMSP has developed a certification regime that is rigorous, flexible and applicable to a range of operating environments. The first tier of the effort involves building a credible base of knowledge in three domains – security management, physical security and information systems security. These three domains provide the foundation from which a security practitioner can not only address traditional challenges, but also become more prepared for the challenges of a more network-enabled and automated environment. For the sake of efficiency, each of these domains points back to the certification regimes held by internationally-recognized associations. By helping our members prepare and undertake those certifications (in line with the requirements of the other associations), the Association not only deepens the knowledge base in the maritime domain but also builds the bridges to other centers of expertise.

While adopting bodies of accepted knowledge provides a foundation, it does not meet the specific challenges across the maritime domain. The second tier towards certification involves working through the Marine Domain Awareness series that puts that knowledge into the maritime context. As this level deals with the application of knowledge, the testing method involves providing a response to a situation common in the maritime environment and having that response evaluated by a board to determine its suitability. The final module associated with values and ethics ensure that the candidate has been informed of several constraints (such as the duty of care) that apply to professional conduct.

The delivery of this structure reflects the challenges faced by the maritime industry and many aspects of the security industry. Those who are undertaking the certification effort are given access to a portal that allows them to interact with various candidates and instructors—building a community of similarly trained and capable practitioners. This portal also allows the Association to distribute working tools, references and updates to the materials on the other—ensuring that those who hold the certification are kept up to date. Supplementary courses and activities are also provided to ensure that those who have met the certification requirements maintain their knowledge.

Those passing through this structure are both assisted in their preparations to undertake the most senior certifications in the security industry and to apply that knowledge in the maritime industry. The testing criteria used by the Association not only assists in their preparation for those efforts, but also provides a level of due diligence for the Association and those seeking to engage certified members that the individuals are truly capable. The structure ensures that those passing through it are made aware of the challenges faced by the maritime domain and are guided in how to apply their knowledge to best effect. Finally, certified members are supported over the long term through the development of a community of similar trained professionals.

For more information, please visit the IAMSP website at http://iamsponline.org/ or contact the Association via email at [email protected].

About David Stone, MA MSc CMAS CAS-MSM 

David Stone is the president of IAMSP and the director and owner of Pyrrias Consulting Services Ltd., based out of London, UK and Mombasa, Kenya. Pyrrias provides one-stop consultancy and procurement solutions for defense and security establishments. David has also been active in the development and vetting of maritime security courses that include a broad theoretical base and front-line tactical training for maritime security operators. 

The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.