What is the role of a Company Security Officer?

What is the role of a Company Security Officer?

Shipping companies invest a large amount of time and money in their operations. The security of their ships and port facilities is of paramount importance. Any security threat or vulnerability must be identified and eliminated. 

That’s the job of a Company Security Officer (CSO). Designated by a specific company, these maritime professionals are responsible for one or more ships, handling all aspects of safety and security.

Learn more about the responsibilities CSOs manage, why they’re so important, and how to embark on a career as a CSO in this blog.

Company Security Officer wearing a high vis jacket and hard hat with a clipboard, stood in front of shipping containers.

What is a Company Security Officer?

A Company Security Officer is a critical figure within the maritime industry, tasked with safeguarding the operation of shipping companies. Formalised under the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS), and implemented by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), CSOs were created to enhance the security of ships and port facilities in response to perceived maritime security threats.

Think of CSOs as a security professional, a police officer, and a threat specialist rolled into one. Day-to-day, they protect the company’s assets, crew, and cargo – however, the specifics of their job change from ship to ship and company to company.

What is the importance of a Company Security Officer?

From piracy and terrorism, to crime and smuggling, CSOs face immense challenges and must always be prepared for every potentiality. Some of their primary responsibilities include:

Conducting Security Assessments: The CSO is responsible for conducting thorough security assessments of the company’s vessels and port facilities to identify potential threats and vulnerabilities.

Developing and Implementing Security Plans: Based on the security assessments, the CSO develops and implements comprehensive security plans for each vessel, ensuring compliance with the ISPS Code and other relevant security regulations.

Training and Awareness: The CSO ensures that all onshore and off-shore personnel are trained in security awareness and procedures. This includes conducting regular security drills and training sessions to prepare the crew for potential security incidents.

Communication and Coordination: Serving as the primary point of contact for all security-related matters, the CSO ensures effective communication and coordination between the ship’s crew, the company, and external entities like port authorities.

Compliance and Reporting: The CSO ensures that the company and its vessels comply with all relevant security regulations, maintain proper documentation and report any security incidents or breaches to the appropriate authorities.

CSOs must master behavioural analysis, identifying individuals who pose a potential threat. They must use high-tech security equipment and systems, understand the ship’s security plans, have a grounding in international maritime law, and be physically capable of dealing with threats if they do arise. It’s a highly demanding but immensely rewarding role, unlike anything else in the maritime industry. 

Company Security Officer on a ship, talking on a radio.

How to Become a Company Security Officer

Are you interested in becoming a CSO? Becoming a Company Security Officer in the maritime industry requires a background in maritime operations, experience in security, and dedication to the role.

Most CSOs spend substantial time in ship operations before completing the necessary training. The more experience you have on ships and at ports, the greater your eventual success. If you’re interested in pursuing this career, speak to a CSO for guidance, industry insights, and advice on your professional development.

Company Security Officer Training at Maritime Skills Academy 

The Maritime Skills Academy runs an ISPS Company Security Officer (CSO) training course targeted at senior operational ship managers who handle the associated duties and responsibilities outlined in sections A/2.1.7 and A/11 of the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code.

To be applicable for the course, delegates must meet the minimum requirements:

  • At least 12 months of certified sea service after the age of 18
  • Proof of competency at the operational management level in a maritime organisation
  • Strong understanding of the ISPS Code and its implementation

Throughout the 3-day course, delegates will be trained to evaluate ship vulnerabilities, perform threat assessments, enforce security measures, understand maritime security policies, develop and maintain a ship security plan, organise ship security audits, and much more.

Taught at our state-of-the-art training centre, by expert maritime professionals who have decades of first-hand experience.

Interested in becoming a Company Security Officer? Find out more about our course and register here.