LAST UPDATED SEPTEMBER 11, 2020
Editor’s note: The following is a recap of pandemic-related communications from the Coast Guard, National Maritime Center, and State Department that remain relevant to SIU members. Links to the original announcements are included.
MMCs in Relation to TWIC
From Marine Safety Information Bulletin Number 13-20, issued Aug. 31, 2020
“For mariners already holding a MMC, if their TWIC expires, and their credential remains valid, then no action needs to be taken and the credential remains valid.”
“Under the 46 CFR 10.203(b), failure to hold a valid TWIC may serve as grounds for suspension or revocation of a merchant mariner credential (MMC). The Coast Guard will not pursue any suspension and revocation actions based on expired TWIC’s during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Coast Guard will update industry prior to reinstating enforcement of this requirement. This enforcement discretion for expired TWICs does not apply to cases where a mariner’s TWIC has been suspended or revoked due to a determination that they are a security threat. In those cases, the Coast Guard may pursue suspension or revocation of the MMC.
“With respect to expired TWICs in the MMC application process, mariners applying for an original credential will be treated differently than mariners seeking a renewal, raise of grade or new endorsement. This is because the TSA provides the Coast Guard with biometric and biographic information (including the photograph) necessary to evaluate and produce a MMC.”
Waiving Some Revalidation Requirements
The related four-page policy letter, dated Aug. 24, 2020, is available HERE
If your current MMC with STCW endorsements expired or expires between March 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021, you are exempted from the requirement for revalidation courses – as long as you provide documentation reflecting at least one year of sea time within the past five years.
In order to proceed, go to this page on the Coast Guard’s National Maritime Center website:
Then, click on the RENEWAL tab, and submit the proper paperwork.
Again, this is for mariners whose current credential with STCW endorsements expired or expires between March 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021. (Applicable courses include Basic Training, and Revalidation Basic Training/Advanced Fire Fighting Revalidation.)
National Endorsements, Medical Certs.
From Marine Safety Information Bulletin 08-20, Change 3, issued Aug. 20, 2020
- Merchant Mariner Credentials (MMC) (National Endorsements only) that expire between March 1, 2020 and September 30, 2020 are extended until March 31, 2021. Mariners who are actively working on expired credentials that meet the extension criteria must carry the expired credential with a copy of this notice.
- Medical Certificates (National Endorsements only) that expire between March 1, 2020 and September 30, 2020 are extended until December 31, 2020. Mariners who are actively working on expired medical certificates that meet the extension criteria must carry the expired credential with a copy of this This measure relaxes the requirement to carry an unexpired medical certificate and not the actual medical standards. It is important that mariners with disqualifying medical conditions do not sail.
STCW Endorsements, Medical Certs.
STCW Endorsements: MMCs with STCW endorsements that expire between March 1, 2020 and September 30, 2020 are extended until March 31, 2021. Mariners who are actively working on expired credentials that meet the extension criteria must carry the expired credential with a copy of this notice.
- Until July 1, 2021, for mariners who have met the requirements for initial competency in survival craft and rescue boats other than fast rescue boats (PSC), PSC-limited, fast rescue boats (FRB), basic training (BT), and advanced firefighting (AFF) and who are renewing MMCs that expire between March 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021, the Coast Guard will accept shipboard experience in fire, emergency, and/or abandon ship drills for demonstrating continued competence in PSC, PSC-Ltd, FRB, BT, and/or AFF provided they have obtained at least 360 days of relevant service within the past five years. Relevant seagoing service will be determined as described in NVICs 4-14, 05-14, 08-14 and 09-14.
- Mariners who do not have at least one year of relevant service in the past five years can only renew their STCW endorsements by demonstrating continued competence for PSC, PSC-Ltd, FRB, BT, and/or AFF as specified in 46 CFR 12.613(b)(4) or 46 CFR 12.615(b)(4) and NVIC 04-14 (for PSC and PSC-Ltd); 46 CFR 12.617(b)(4) and NVIC 05-15 (for FRB); 46 CFR 11.302(e), 12.602(e), and NVIC 08-14 (for BT); and/or 46 CFR 11.303(e) and NVIC 09-14 (for AFF). These mariners will need to complete original or “refresher” training for PSC, PSC-Ltd, FRB, BT, and/or AFF, as appropriate. Shorter and less comprehensive “revalidation” courses are not acceptable.
- STCW Medical Certificates: STCW Medical Certificates that expire between March 1, 2020 and September 30, 2020 are extended until December 31, 2020. Mariners who are actively working on an expired medical certificate that meet the extension criteria must carry the expired certificate with a copy of this notice. This measure ONLY relaxes the requirement to carry an unexpired STCW medical certificate and not the actual medical standards. It is important that mariners with disqualifying medical conditions do not sail.
From this April 13 announcement by the State Department
The State Department issued this notice on April 13. As noted in the release, Passport Services will accommodate mariners whose current valid passport expires within 13 months, and those who need a passport for international voyages.
NOTICE TO MARINERS WITH INTERNATIONAL VOYAGES
April 13, 2020
Due to public health measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, effective March 20, 2020, we are only able to offer service for customers with a qualified life-or-death emergency and who need a passport for international travel within 72 hours (3 business days).
Mariners with International Voyages
Passport Services will also serve mariners who urgently need a passport for international voyages, and whose current valid passport expires in 13 months or less.
Instructions for Urgent Assistance
If you have not already applied for a passport:
- Contact the National Passport Information Center at 877-487-2778 and identify yourself as a mariner who urgently needs to apply for (or renew) a passport.
- The Duty Officer will take your information and schedule an appointment at the nearest passport agency.
- In addition to your passport application materials, described on travel.state.gov, you will also need to submit a letter from your employer or your U.S. mariners union, on company letterhead that includes:
- Your name
- Date of your next voyage and duration of the voyage
- Printed name and title of your supervisor or mariners union representative
- Signature of your supervisor or mariners union representative
- Date the letter was issued
- Make a clear copy of your Merchant Mariner Credential (MCC) to include with your application.
- Bring the application, required documents, and the passport fee that includes the $60 expedited fee with you to your appointment.
If you have already applied for your passport but have not received it, contact the National Passport Information Center at 877-487-2778 and identify yourself as a mariner who has already applied and urgently need your passport. The Duty Officer will provide further instructions and the passport agency will contact you to coordinate the delivery or pickup of the completed passport.