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Who is This Course Suitable For?

Studying the Diploma in Ship Security is applicable to existing professionals working in the industry as well as those looking to develop their knowledge in Ship Security.

12 – 18 months

11 in total

Diploma: £2,950
Certificate: £2,150

Recognised by:
University of Portsmouth

About the Course

With this Diploma, you will develop and deepen your knowledge of the Ship Security industry. You will engage with a range of challenging topics, such as ISPS Code, Passenger Vessel Security, Superyacht and Private Yacht Security. It will also cover preventative measures and security procedures as well as the actual event. You will learn the skills required to build a successful career in the Ship Security industry.

Course Structure

The course consists of 11 modules. All students are required to successfully complete and pass the module assignments. Diploma students will also be required to sit and pass a final examination.

1. Introduction to Ship Security
  • The Development of Ship Security
  • What is Maritime Security
  • Defining Maritime Security
  • Differentiating Security & Safety
  • Maritime Insecurity
  • Maritime Vulnerabilities
  • Potential Maritime Security Threats
  • Criminal Activities
  • Potential Threats to Specific Vessel Types
  • High Risk Areas
  • A Risk Management Approach
  • What is threat Mitigation?
  • Layered Maritime Security Approach
  • A Regulatory Response to Maritime Security
  • Design, People and Technology
  • Organisations with Maritime Security roles
2. The Historical and Current Situation
  • Piracy
  • Piracy 1600-the present day
3. ISPS Code
  • What is the ISPS code?
  • Who does the code apply to?
  • The aim of the ISPS code
  • Ship Security assessment & Ship Security plan
  • How to set up an ISPS system
  • Procedures for ISPS port entry
  • Company Security Officer
  • Ship Security Officer
  • The on-scene Ship Security Survey
  • Non-compliant facilities
4. The Law and Maritime Security
  • Legal Concepts
  • Introduction to the Legal system, criminal and International law
  • Maritime Law
  • Admiralty law and jurisdiction
  • International Marine Law
  • The flag state Government
  • Governmental control of shipping
  • International aspects of security at sea
  • The Use of Force
5. Preventative Measures and Security Procedures
  • Threat assessment, mitigation and planning
  • Design of secure ships
  • Layered Maritime security approach
  • Risk Management
  • Security system design
  • Introducing Security measures
  • Controlling access
  • Minimum security actions
  • Monitoring security
  • Access control and monitoring options
  • Security equipment
  • Safety versus Security
  • Response by shipboard personnel
  • What can go wrong?
  • Training and preparation
  • Security equipment and systems limitations
  • Inspection, testing and maintenance
  • Additional and supplementary forms of security
  • Armed protection and deterrent
  • Ports and port security
  • Search techniques
6. Preventative Security Measures on Commercial Vessels
  • Introduction
  • Applicability and High Risk Zones
  • Crew training and drills
  • Securing the vessel
  • Securing the perimeter
  • Anti Rocket screens and bridge protection
  • Aggressive defence
  • National Navies, specialist security teams, escort vessels and convoys
  • The threat made real
7. Passenger Vessel Security
  • Background
  • Potential Threats
  • High risk areas
  • Processes and Procedures
  • How do they get on board?
  • Mitigating activities
  • Case studies
8. Superyacht and Private Yacht Security
  • Introduction
  • Legislative mix
  • Same rules, different challenges
  • Layered Maritime security
  • Manoeuvring plan and practice
  • Key security equipment and tools
  • Security equipment and system limitations
  • Case studies
9. Crew Impacts
  • Recruitment procedures
  • Security team employment
  • Vetting crew
  • Crew training
  • Reporting incidents
  • Crew Repatronisation
  • Confidentiality
  • Press and Media
10. Maritime On-Shore Security
  • Protection of Commercial crew ashore
  • Protection of Superyacht crew ashore
  • Looking after Owners of Superyachts and VIP’s
  • Closed Circuit Television (CCTV)
  • Security Communications (COMMS)
  • Security Soft Drills
  • Vehicle Drills
11. The Actual Event
  • History
  • Weapons
  • Damage
  • Method of attack
  • Boarding a Vessel
  • Statistics
  • Market share of security providers
  • Bridge procedures
Career Pathway

Career path:
Can come from any walk of life, but many come from military backgrounds particularly the Royal Marines or Special Forces.  This can be as basic as carrying out security patrols on board marine vessels (including offshore structures), to forming part of an armed embarked protection detail.  Progression into management is possible.

From a basic starting level of around £27,500 per annum going up to senior management at around £80,000.

Provision of a security presence to act mostly as a deterrent. Tends to involve shift work and can on occasion be hazardous.

Meet the Course Director

Ian Biles

Master Mariner, BEng(Hons), MA, CEng, CMarEng, SipMarSur, RYA YachtMaster (Ocean), Eur Ing

Ian started sailing with his father at the age of 12 and as a result, went to sea upon finishing school. He sailed worldwide for 13 years on a range of commercial ships, spending his leave sailing yachts around the United Kingdom and in the Mediterranean. Throughout this time, Ian studied for various qualifications passing his RYA YachtMaster (Ocean) Certificate in 1982 and Class 1 (Unlimited) Master Mariner Certificate in 1984.


On passing the Diploma, you will receive the above icon. Please use it on your business cards, LinkedIn profile and website(s)!

You can also use these letters after your name: MTA Dip ShipSec


Online learning allows you to study in your own time, at your own pace from anywhere in the world. This saves on travel and classroom costs and allows you to fit your studies around your job and progress your career.


While the nature of distance learning is independent study, we recognise the importance of support. Students can contact us at any time during their course for assistance and our team of industry experts are always on hand for advice.


We have over 50 industry experts writing, developing and advising on our course material. We truly believe that allowing students to tap into their expertise and knowledge is of the utmost importance to fulfil your dream career.

If you would prefer to complete this as a classroom-based course, please contact us.


How long do the courses take to complete? What's the difference between a Diploma and a Certificate? Read through our Frequently Asked Questions below to find out the answer.

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