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Practical instruction in the observation, reporting and potential rescue of marine species in the Arabian Peninsula. The Arabian Marine Species Observer (AMSO) Course aims to train competent marine species observers to monitor, record and report the presence of marine species within sensitive offshore project areas to ensure regional impact mitigation on Arabian marine species and standardization of AMSO data collected.


The course delivers an understanding of mitigation requirements within the Arabian Peninsula and promotes the development of skills necessary for good cooperation when mitigation is required. These include having a professional attitude and following appropriate chains of command on offshore projects.


AMSO is accredited by the IMarEST (Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology) as well as ACTVET (Abu Dhabi Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training).


Frequently Asked Questions

Who is this course developed by?

The programme content and design is a collaboration between Nautica Environmental Associates, headquartered in the UAE and Five Oceans Environmental Services in Oman, combining 30 years of experience in the region with leading scientists in the field of marine species identification.


This certification follows the formats of both the existing programmes, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) MMO in the UK as well as the Protected Species Observer (PSO) programme in the Gulf of Mexico.

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The aims/philosophy of the course/event?

What are the overall educational or developmental aims of the course/event?


The Arabian Marine Species Observer Course (AMSO) is a CPD (Continuing Professional Development) course for professionals working in the maritime industry within the Arabian Peninsula.


The course aims to train competent marine species observers to identify, monitor, record and report on the presence of marine species within sensitive coastal and offshore areas to ensure appropriate mitigation is implemented.

Who can take this course? Who is the course aimed at?


AMSO can be taken by just about anyone! The course contents are comprehensive but the level of detail can be adjusted to suit specific target groups.

Delegates are however required to have a clear understanding of the English language and must be able to communicate verbally and in writing. While anyone is eligible to take this course, clients are encouraged to consider experienced individuals with the appropriate levels of education (e.g. marine biologists/oceanographers) when employing full-time Marine Species Observers.


The objectives of the course/event?

What should attendees know or be able to do after attending?

Upon completion of the course the trained delegates will have gained in-depth knowledge on the effects of anthropogenic impacts on the marine environment.

Delegates will be able to identify marine species of the Arabian Peninsula, make distance estimates and record valuable data on the behavior and distribution of the species exposed to the increasing offshore developments in these regions.

In addition to the above, the participants are equipped to provide advice to the crew on mitigation measures and regional guidelines.

Brief overview/summary of syllabus/program

What topics will be covered?

​Days 1 & 2 - AMSO Theory
•       Module 1 – Introduction
•       Module 2 – Rules and Regulations
•       Module 3 – Anthropogenic Noise and Effects on Marine Species
•       Module 4 – Species Identification: Marine Mammals, Sea Turtles, Sharks and Rays
•       Module 5 – Introduction to Turtle Nesting Surveys
•       Module 6 – Offshore Recording, Reporting and Mitigation
•       Module 7 – Emergency Response Protocols for Turtles

Day 3 – Practical*
•       Practical session on observation techniques, data recording, distance estimation, binocular use, camera use and species identification.

* Attendance compulsory for full CPD Certification

How long is the course/event?

The programme is conducted over a 3-day window combining both classroom and field elements. A 2-day online format is also available, allowing for distance learning of theoretical elements.

What are the projected learning outcomes and deliverables?

Along with a certificate for completion of the course, participants will also receive the AMSO Field Guide, developed by our specialists as well as full access to our online learning materials.


Trainees will be equipped with the knowledge to monitor for Arabian marine species of concern and implement mitigation measures during offshore and coastal operations.

Upon completion of the course the trained delegates will:

•   have an understanding of the legislative framework protecting the marine species of the Arabian Peninsula

•   have gained in-depth knowledge on the types of underwater noise in the marine environment

•   have an understanding of the effects of anthropogenic noise on marine species

•   be able to identify marine species of the Arabian Peninsula

•   make distance estimates to marine species from vessels

•   record valuable and standardized data

•   be equipped to provide advice on mitigation measures and regional guidelines to the crew.


What is the level of learning?

The course introduces the marine species observer industry. It is aimed at acquisition of in-depth knowledge, attaining new skills and achieving competencies in marine species identification, distance estimation and implementation of impact mitigation protocols. It also helps experienced individuals broaden their knowledge on the site-specific legislative framework protecting Arabian marine species.

Do I have to be available in person to complete this course?


AMSO can be available as an online only program which uses a distance learning format to provide the same level of expert instruction as you would receive in the classroom. Participants of the AMSO Online course will receive a certificate for the completion of the theoretical part of the AMSO course, along with digital copies of all course materials.

The online option is open for anyone but may be particularly suitable to those who: 
•    Currently live/work abroad but would like specialized training on the marine species and regulations of the Arabian Peninsula, 
•    Active MMOs with previous qualifications from another international certifying agency,
•    Those who are generally interested in the topic but may not plan to work as full-time marine species observers onboard vessels. 

Please note that the AMSO Online is not a CPD course, and that completion of the practical day is still required for the full Arabian Marine Species Observer Certification. Completion of the online course does not qualify the trainee to work in the maritime industry as an MMRO/MMO/MSO/PSO. The practical session can be arranged within one year of the completion of the online course to upgrade to the full certification. The practical session can be completed either in Abu Dhabi or in Oman.

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