Proceedings magazine is a communication tool for the Coast Guard's Marine Safety & Security Council. Each quarterly magazine focuses on a specific theme of interest to the marine industry.
Issue link: http://uscgproceedings.epubxp.com/i/617100
44 Proceedings Winter 2015–2016 www.uscg.mil/proceedings When the threat of testing fails to deter mariners from dan- gerous drug use, it is anticipated such use will be exposed by this required testing. Consequently, Part 16 requires the marine employer or sponsoring organization to report to the Coast Guard in writing when a credentialed mariner fails a drug test. Failing a Test When the Coast Guard receives such a report, an investigat- ing offcer (IO) commences an investigation. If the investiga- tion yields evidence supporting drug use, the IO will initi- ate administrative actions against the mariner's merchant mariner credential (MMC) by fling a complaint with the administrative law judge (ALJ) docketing center and serving it upon the mariner. The complaint will charge the mariner with use of or addic- tion to a dangerous drug, and will seek to either revoke the MMC, or the IO may offer a settlement agreement, allow- ing the mariner an opportunity to remediate the offense by proving cure. The matter will be assigned to an ALJ for a hearing if: • the investigating officer chooses not to enter into a settlement agreement with the mariner (whom we will now refer to as the "respondent"), • the respondent declines a settlement agreement, • the respondent declines to voluntarily surrender the MMC. The Hearing The administrative hearing is a trial-like proceeding where the Coast Guard always bears the burden of proof, which must be met by a preponderance of the evidence. In other words, the Coast Guard must establish that the allegations The U.S. Coast Guard has a duty to enforce laws that pro- mote the safety of life and property at sea. Among other laws that aid in this effort, Congress enacted Title 46, United States Code (USC) §7704, to allow the Coast Guard to remove individuals who possess or use drugs from service in the U.S. Merchant Marine. Further, the Coast Guard established the regulations found in Title 46, Code of Federal Regula- tions (CFR) Part 16, which provide the means to minimize merchant mariners' use of dangerous drugs and promote a drug-free and safe work environment. Drug Testing The regulations set minimum standards for marine employer drug testing programs and require marine employers to conduct drug testing on four occasions: • pre-employment, • random, • after a serious marine incident (SMI), and • for reasonable cause. 1 Bearing the Burden of Proof The Suspension and Revocation NCOE brings drug users to justice. by MR. eRiC a. BaueR Senior Investigating Offcer U.S. Coast Guard Suspension and Revocation National Center of Expertise Lt saRa M. eLLis-sanBoRn U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area Suspension and Revocation National Center of Expertise Jupiterimages / Stockbyte / Thinkstock