Renewing Tanker Asst. Endorsements: What Seafarers Should Know
In an effort to assist in combatting the delays at the National Maritime Center (NMC) for renewing Merchant Mariner Credentials (MMC), the Vocational Office of the Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education has identified a frequent issue that causes applications to be delayed.
If a mariner is renewing their MMC and holds endorsement(s) for Tanker Assistant DL and/or Tanker Assistant LG, they must meet the sea service requirement for renewal. To do this, one must show proof of 90 days of seatime, on a DL or LG tanker, within the past five years, to maintain the endorsement, OR a new course completion certificate. If the mariner does not have either the qualifying seatime or the course certificate, they must request in writing to renew without the Tanker Assistant DL and/or Tanker Assistant LG endorsements. This can be done by writing a statement on the USCG CG-719B MMC application form under Section II, in the “Description of Endorsement(s) Desired” box, or by attaching a separate written statement requesting to renew the MMC without Tanker Assistant DL and/or Tanker Assistant LG along with any international tanker endorsements.
If the mariner does not provide this information, the renewal application will be delayed and an “Awaiting Information” letter will be mailed requesting it. The mariner then will need to provide the necessary information in the allotted time, as the application will not move through processing until it has been received.
For more information, visit: https://www.dco.uscg.mil/national_maritime_ center/
Coast Guard: Shipboard Mask Mandate No Longer in Effect
Following a court ruling in mid-April, the U.S. Coast Guard announced the elimination of shipboard mask mandates for U.S.-flag vessels (and for some other modes of transportation).
The agency on April 19 posted an update to its “Marine Safety Information Bulletin: COVID-19 Safety Requirements in the Maritime Transportation System.”
In part, that update reads, “On April 18, 2022, the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida, vacated the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mandate for mask wear in airports, train stations, and other transportation hubs as well as on airplanes, buses, trains, and most other public conveyances in the United States, including vessels. Per this ruling, the CDC has declared that the mandate is no longer in effect. Federal agencies are reviewing the court’s decision. In the interim the Coast Guard will not enforce the directives requiring mask use on public transportation and in transportation hubs. CDC continues to recommend that people wear masks in indoor public transportation settings.”
The complete update and several related links are available in an April 20 news post on the SIU website.
The agency further pointed out, “Questions concerning this notice may be forwarded to Coast Guard Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance, at wearamask@ uscg.mil.”
Previously, the Coast Guard reported, “The CDC mask order applies to all persons traveling on commercial maritime conveyances into, within, or out of the United States and to all persons at U.S. seaports. The term commercial maritime conveyance means all forms of commercial maritime vessels, including but not limited to cargo ships, fishing vessels, research vessels, selfpropelled barges, and all forms of passenger carrying vessels including ferries, river cruise ships, and those chartered for fishing trips, unless otherwise exempted.”
Notice to Seafarers About ROS Seatime
The union has learned that the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Maritime Center (NMC) is denying mariners who have submitted ROS time for renewal of Basic Training (BT). For the purpose of the recency requirement, ROS seatime counts day for day for renewal of BT, Advance Fire Fighting, Personal Survival Craft (PSC), and Fast Rescue Boat (FRB).
If you have received a denial letter for this issue, you should immediately email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “elevate to supervisor” and request reconsideration of ROS seatime not being counted day for day.
Both the union and our affiliated school in Piney Point are in contact with NMC personnel regarding this situation.
Seafarers Are Encouraged To Renew Documents Early
Editor’s note: Due to the turnaround times for merchant mariner credential (MMC) renewals, Seafarers are encouraged to start the process up to eight months before their respective documents expire. Starting the process early will not shorten the “life” of the original document. This is due to a postdating option that the Coast Guard’s National Maritime Center began offering in 2014. Parts of the original notice (which is still in effect) explaining the postdating procedures and related benefits follow.
Postdating of Merchant Mariner Credentials
The recently published rule titled “Implementation of the Amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978, and Changes to National Endorsements” (78 FR 77796) authorizes the Coast Guard to postdate a Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) up to 8 months…. The implementation plan for postdating MMCs and the impact on the current delayed issuance process are listed below. Postdating:
- Postdating of an MMC is defined as placing an issue date on the MMC that is in the future.
- Postdating of MMCs will only apply to applications for renewal of a credential where no other credential activity is requested or results from the transaction.
- Except upon receipt of written request documenting the need for immediate issuance, the National Maritime Center (NMC) will automatically postdate credentials with the appropriate future date.
- The issue date of the MMC will be the day following the date of expiration of the current MMC, but no more than 8 months in the future. The expiration date and period of validity of the credential will be 5 years from the date of issuance.
- If the expiration date of the mariner’s current credential is beyond 8 months from the date that the Coast Guard accepts a complete application, the new credential issue date will be 8 months from the date of application acceptance, at which time the current active credential will become invalid.
- Any transactions initiated after a postdated MMC has been approved and mailed will result in endorsement labels being printed and mailed for both the mariner’s active MMC and the postdated MMC. Mariners must ensure that the endorsement labels are properly placed in the appropriate MMC.
- The new credential will not be valid until the issue date listed on the new MMC. Mariners must continue to carry their current credential until that date.
- In accordance with the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), mariners are required to return expired or otherwise invalid credentials to the NMC. When the current credential expires, it should be mailed to the NMC.
- It is the responsibility of the mariner to maintain control of the postdated credential. If a credential is lost, mariners must follow the procedures to apply for a duplicate, found in 46 CFR Part 10.231.
Mariners and other providers should contact the Customer Service Center at IASKNMC@uscg.mil or 1-888- IASKNMC (427-5662) with any questions or feedback.