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Online MCA Approved STCW ISPS Proficiency in Designated Security Duties (Cruise Ships) Course

The ever-growing threat of attack from Maritime Piracy, Armed Robbery Against Shipping, and various terrorists’ organisations becoming a very real concern for those vessels transiting through waters that have been designated as High-Risk Areas or HRAs. This fully online and MCA Approved Proficiency in Designated Security Duties (PDSD) Course is specifically designed for those crew members, reporting to the Ship Security Officer, who will carry out designated security duties and responsibilities, functioning under the ISPS Code and encountering security-related incidents whilst transiting High-Risk Areas or operating in adverse conditions. This course has been tailored for the Cruise Ship Sector.

  • Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) Approved
  • Internationally Recognised under STCW ISPS
  • Comprehensive Course Notes Downloads
  • Fully Online and Interactive Training Materials
  • Learning Confirmation & Official Final Assessment
  • Cost & Time-Efficient Means of Delivery of Training
  • Fast Turnaround on Official Course Certifications
  • Flexible Learning at Your Own Pace and Convenience
  • Tailored for Cruise Ship Crew Members & Staff

About the Online PDSD Course (Cruise Ships)

This fully online STCW ISPS Proficiency in Designated Security Duties (PDSD), also referred to as Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties (VPDSD) Course for the Cruise Ship Sector explores the role and responsibilities of personnel onboard ship who have designated security duties, and assists in the development of the their ability to carry out all their security responsibilities in accordance with the ISPS Code, associated Manila Amendments and in compliance with the Merchant Navy Training Board (MNTB) Knowledge, Understanding & Proficiency, the STCW Convention and IMO Model Course 3.26 and is key to ensuring that those persons performing the role of crew with designated security duties fully understand their role and associated responsibilities under the Ship Security Plan.

Please Note: We also provide the (STCW ISPS) PDSD Course for the following Sectors:

Regulations Addressed

VIRSEC's Designated Security Duties Course has been developed with the following considerations:

  • The MNTB Security Courses Criteria [1st Edition]
  • Regulation VI/6 and Section A-VI/6 of the STCW Convention and Code (2010)
  • IMO Model Course 3.26 [2012 Edition]
  • The International Ship & Port Security (ISPS) Code 2004 as amended [STCW Table A-VI/6-2]

Target Audience

To provide those undertaking Designated Security Duties onboard ship the essential education and training meeting the Knowledge, Understanding and Proficiency (KUP) requirements set out in the following STCW table, which supports Chapter XI-2 of the annex to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) 1974, as amended and the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code.

Awarding Body

This online PDSD Course is fully approved and certified under the UK Department for Transport Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) and meets with STCW Reg VI/6. paragraph 4 and Section A-VI/6, paragraphs 6 to 8 of the STCW Convention and Code 1978, as amended and incorporates Proficiency in Security Awareness laid down in STCW Reg. VI/6, paragraph 1 Section A.VI/6, paragraph 4.

Course Learning Outcomes

The Online (STCW ISPS) Proficiency in Designated Security Duties (PDSD) meets with the following Learning Outcomes as set out by the Merchant Navy Training Board.

  1. Know why ship security is important and knows the roles and responsibilities of the organisations and individuals involved.
  2. Know what constitutes a security risk, threat and vulnerability to the ship, its personnel, cargo, and operations.
  3. Understand the capabilities and limitations of security methods, equipment, and systems.
  4. Know how to maintain the measures in a ship security plan and related requirements.
  5. Maintain the effectiveness of security arrangements, procedures, and equipment at the three security levels, considering their limitations.

Course Duration

The course duration is approximately 8 hours. Learners may enter and exit the course as often as they require. Your licence allows you access to the course for up to 6 months to complete [if required] or upon successful completion of the course.

Viewing the Course

Due to the nature of these online courses, and the interactivity required at times by the Learner, it is highly-recommended that you view the course on either a Tablet Device, Laptop or Desktop. Mobile phones do not allow for the Learner to fully engage with and receive the full benefits of the e-Learning Course.

Designated Security Duties Course Subjects

  • The Development of the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code.
  • Understand the relevant international conventions, codes and recommendations relating to Maritime Piracy & Armed Robbery against Shipping.
  • Understand the roles and responsibilities of relevant bodies and organisations.
  • The roles and responsibilities of Contracting Governments, Designated Authorities, and Recognised Security Organisations.
  • The Security Roles & Responsibilities of Crew and Port Security Personnel.
  • Measures and Procedures for Maritime Security (MARSEC) Levels.
  • Recognition of weapons, dangerous substances, and devices.
  • Recognition of persons who may pose a threat to the security of the ship.
  • Identifying techniques used to circumvent security measures.
  • The handling of Sensitive Security-Related Information (SSRI) and Communications.
  • Identifying security threats including Maritime Piracy & Armed Robbery against Shipping.
  • Security methods, equipment & systems.
  • Security monitoring, monitoring equipment & systems.
  • The Ship Security Alert System (SSAS).
  • The Ship Security Plan (SSP).
  • The provisions for maintaining security.
  • Criteria for setting Maritime Security (MARSEC) levels under the ISPS Code.
  • Actions to prevent weapons, dangerous substances and devices being brought on board.
  • Guidance and measure for Anti-Piracy and Anti-Armed Robbery.
  • Responses to Emergency Situations including Maritime Piracy & Armed Robbery against Shipping.
  • Physical Searches & Non-Intrusive Inspections.
  • Crowd Management & Control Requirements.
  • Emergency Drills & Exercises.

Official MCA Approved (STCW ISPS) Proficiency in Designated Security Duties Certification

The online Designated Security Duties (PDSD) Course is fully approved by the UK DfT Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) and is internationally recognised and accepted.  It includes the 2010 Manila Amendments and conforms to Regulation VI/6, paragraph 4 and Section A-VI/6, paragraphs 6 to 8 of the STCW Convention and Code 1978, as amended and incorporates Proficiency in Security Awareness laid down in Regulation VI/6 and Section A-VI/6 of the STCW Convention and Code and has also met the additional criteria specified in the STCW Convention and Code, applicable to the issue of this certificate.

Secure PDF Certificate

Upon successful completion of the online course, verification of Learner ID, and associated official Assessment, Learners will receive an electronic version of the official course certificate (in secure PDF format). Certificates are usually sent out within 24 hours of confirmation of your results, or the next working day.

Hardcopy, Embossed Stamped Certificate

Learners may also request a hardcopy certificate to be posted to their home address for a small administration and postage charge.

Yes, the fully online Proficiency in Designated Security Duties or PDSD Course, is fully Approved under the UK Department for Transport, Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA). The course complies with the requirements placed upon it by the STCW Convention & Code, the International Ship & Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code, and meets with the Knowledge, Understanding & Proficiency (KUP) requirements laid out by the Merchant Navy Training Board (MNTB).

Yes, this course is fully compliant with the Standards of Training, Certification & Watchkeeping (STCW). Any country that is signed up to the ISPS Code and STCW Convention should accept our certification. We have to date provided our courses into 130 countries worldwide.

All our courses have a six (6) month access licence applied to them. This licence commences the day the course is purchased, and not from the day you first access the course.

No, VIRSEC provides you with a comprehensive set of Course Notes that you can download at the start of each of the Learning Outcomes. You can also use these notes to research any answers when taking the Official Assessment at the end of the course.

On the Proficiency in Designated Security Duties (PDSD) Course, there is an Assessment on completion of the five Learning Outcomes. You must achieve a minimum score of 70% to successfully complete the Assessment.

If you fail the Assessment, you may retake it again straight away, or whenever you wish within the 6-month licence applicable to your course [licences commence the day the course is purchased, not the date they are accessed].

No, the course is 100% online and you are required to adhere to the strict requirements outlined in the course explanation as well as any requests made of you during the course such as completing and submitting your online Learner Verification and fulfilling the Invigilation requirements.

Yes, you are required to submit an official form of ID such as a scan of your passport, driving licence, or other official photo ID. This is to ensure you are who you state yourself to be, and so we can use this ID to collect the relevant information that will populate your official course certificate. It is very easy to do and will only take you around five (5) minutes to do.

Yes, for the Designated Security Duties there is a requirement for an invigilator to be present during your Assessment only. This can be the Master, Ship Security officer or other Officer ranked member of the crew. They will be required to complete the Online Invigilator Verification Form on our website [also linked from the course itself]. They must complete this form and be present at your Assessment. If you do not have access to an invigilator, please see the following question.

If you do not have access to an Invigilator, you must inform VIRSEC, and we will arrange for you to attend an online Remote Invigilation Session. This is a free of charge service we offer our learners, but you must make yourself available for the relevant session.

When you complete the course correctly and pass the Official Assessment, we will verify your time spent on the course, your submitted ID, Invigilation requirements, and your Official Assessment. Once we are satisfied, we will email you a secure PDF of your certificate that you must print off and sign. These PDFs are security encrypted to prevent any tampering with information placed on them, and so you must print them off to sign with as black pen.

Yes, under the relevant Agencies and Conventions, the Security Awareness is an 8-hour course. This excludes any video content we have included [for interest], viewing of any websites linked from the course or documents also linked from the course.

We are allowed a slight variation in timings due to individual reading speeds, but we will fail you if you exceed the allowed variance. Please note that the Course Notes are purely there for reference and revision, and any time spent reading these do not count towards your time spent on the course. This is also covered in the course itself, so make sure you spend the time necessary to study properly.

You can take a break from the course at any time of your choosing. We also recommend that you have regular breaks and often build reminders into our courses. It is strongly recommended that if you are going to take a significant break, we recommend that you log out. The system will remember your progress so you may continue from that point when you log back in.

If you complete the course in an unrealistic time (too quickly) we will have no alternative but to fail you. It is important that you treat this like you would any officially Approved course taught in a classroom environment. The fact that it is online is not reason to abuse the requirements. As stated in other FAQs, we do allow a slight variance in timings due to individual reading speeds.

No, we do not take into consideration your time served, nor your rank. This is an ISPS Course and there is a time set by the relevant Awarding body and Governing Bodies. If you abuse this, you will fail to meet the minimum requirements regardless of the score achieved in the Assessment(s).

  • PDSD Testimonial Reference by: Jana B.

    I would like to thank the whole Virtual Training Centre team for creating such an amazing online course. I didn't know what to expect, but after going through the whole course, I would highly recommend it to every seafarer. The course is well structured and provides time & pace flexibility and comfort which I really appreciate. I am amazed at the extent of the information I have gained and I highly doubt I would get the knowledge in such a scale by doing any other classroom PDSD course. I am fascinated by all the additional literature in PDF format, links, and videos. Thanks to them I can revert to this interesting and for all mariner’s necessary topic anytime and study it in even more detail. Thank you.

  • PDSD Testimonial Reference by: Maia L-S.

    The course itself is cleverly constructed to go over important points more than once. The customer service I received was instant and helpful. Most importantly, I don’t feel like I just got the certificate, I feel that I have a good understanding of all subjects covered by this course. I will recommend it to all my colleagues.

  • PDSD Testimonial Reference by: Kyle V.

    This has been referred to me by everyone I know and I shall refer it to anyone I know or come across.

  • PDSD Testimonial Reference by: Willem B.

    I would have done this course long ago if I knew how helpful it would be. I have been a professional yachtsman for 5 years with only a PST. It seems like this course is far underrated and under-marketed. I would make sure that I do more of these courses which are similarly helpful in the future.

  • PDSD Testimonial Reference by: Sigrid S.

    I was unsure of making the decision to do this course online instead of in an actual classroom, turns out I do not regret my final decision as this course succeeded my expectations. I also made a minor mistake when I purchased the course, but after contacting them through email asking if it was possible for them to help me; they had it fixed in 10 minutes! I only have good words to say about this whole experience with Virtual Training Centre.

  • PDSD Testimonial Reference by: Elliott P.

    This was a great course! Due to my circumstance and COVID-19, this way of conducting the course was perfect. The course itself was well set out and the methods of learning, videos and examples etc. was great. Highly recommend the course to anyone considering it.

  • PDSD Testimonial Reference by: Jessica H.

    I found the course really clear and easy to follow. The use of buttons, images and videos really breaks up the large amount of information they provide. The interface is simple to use and the whole process was really straightforward.

  • PDSD Testimonial Reference by: Erin T.

    This is my second time completing a course by Virtual Training Centre, and I have had a great experience once again! The course outline and setup is amazing, informative and easy to comprehend. I would highly recommend Virtual Training Centre!

  • PDSD Testimonial Reference by: Bride P.

    This was a professional and very well developed course! I’m full of new knowledge and feel the examples were useful to learn more. Plenty of information and easy to use online material – well done! Thank you for a great course!

  • PDSD Testimonial Reference by: Harry M.

    Really a fantastic course. Very interactive and easy to get along with.

  • PDSD Testimonial Reference by: Mark V. K.

    How do you make a course like the PDSD tolerable let alone interesting? It’s very difficult! Virtual Training Centre have given it a good shot. The course is well laid out and easy to follow, and if you make a mistake, then go back and try it again, it’s the best way to learn. When I called them to clarify some points that I had, they were clear, helpful and polite. I wouldn’t hesitate to use them again if I needed to.

  • PDSD Testimonial Reference by: Gabriela B.

    I would recommend this course to anyone needing a deeper understanding of security awareness. It is thorough and provides great films to watch if you need deeper understanding of the material. The links to websites with extra information are very helpful and will also be handy in instances where clarification and on hand references are needed.

  • PDSD Testimonial Reference by: Andra I. P.

    Many, many thanks for sending me the Certificate in such a short time, I am very grateful. I did enjoy the training (content and display), I am happy with the knowledge I gained but most of all I appreciate the Excellent Customer Care. It is so reassuring to know that you can be assisted so quickly when needed, to be acknowledged when sending an email. I will gladly recommend the platform when the opportunity arises. A huge 'Thank you'.

  • PDSD Testimonial Reference by: Viktoria H.

    Organized, very easy to see through the lessons, very well explained, useful PDF information provided and professionally designed time wise for crew who might take this course throughout busy season. Thank you for providing a stress free online course and an enjoyable experience.

  • PDSD Testimonial Reference by: Megan C.

    This course is extremely thorough and provides you with all the relevant information and more that you may receive when partaking in a physical course.

  • PDSD Testimonial Reference by: David T.

    This is a truly excellent course that contains very in depth information. Do not gloss over the material, take copious notes, and enjoy the learning experience.

  • PDSD Testimonial Reference by: Meg B.

    I would recommend this course for people looking to do PDSD if you are unable to take it at a training centre in person. It is helpful that you can do it in your own time and over as many days as you need. I would like to thank Cathy at Virtual Training Centre who extremely helpful and quick to answer any questions you have or help with any problems.

  • PDSD Testimonial Reference by: Chelsey E.

    The course was very helpful in learning about maritime security. I think every seafarer should complete this course!

  • PDSD Testimonial Reference by: Natalie B.

    Excellent and thorough course. Provides you with all the info to pass the course confidently!

£195.00 Ex VAT

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