The Navy is responsible for keeping the high seas safe from smuggling, piracy and other dangers. As part of this the Navy is tasked to board vessels on the high seas that could be hiding insurgents, terrorists, smuggles, and other type of suspicious vessels. Such vessels could be hiding various types of suspicious people as well as being a source of danger to nations around the world. The Navy has a responsibility to be able to effectively search both personnel and vessels, for illegal goods, and for hidden items.
The Navy conducts a training program that is designed to teach search and seizure procedures, as well as how to conduct boarding operations. The support Norfolk Virginia Navy Annex in Chesapeake, Virginia is the location of a new pilot program that will take Navy personnel and train them in vessel boarding, and personal search and seizure procedures. The new program is referred to as the Search and Seizure Non Compliant Boarding and Visit program. With the New NCBVSS course the Navy sailors and seamen are able to work with a comprehensive in depth training program that is proving effecting in search and seizure training. This new program supports their ongoing Maritime security and vessel boarding missions. Many different things have changed over the last several decades, shipping has entered a modern age and the technology, personnel and equipment is completely different on the high seas today than what was likely to be found in the past. The focus has been on the VSS course design changes that are working to address the fleet changes over the last several decades. This is a VSS course that works to teach Navy teams of inspection agents and vessel service personnel to properly search and board vessels. This program has taught teams of VSS search officers that are being tasked to boarding vessel operations, they are sent to board vessels that are suspicious in nature and that are thought to be harboring terrorists, hiding illegal aliens or other illegal activity. In the past the basic VSS course was about two weeks long, but it was not very in depth and did not fully cover the issues as well or as in depth as the current program. In the past if a vessel was acting suspicious or acting hostile then it was up to Navy SEAL teams or special operations to come in, board the vessel and find out what was occurring.
Now the current course of study is about 8 weeks in length, and there are VSS trained specialists that are serving on a variety of different vessels across the US Fleet.