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
50 Proceedings Winter 2015–2016 www.uscg.mil/proceedings employment would violate the rule. This is a change, as prior to January 24, 2014, U.S. mariner medical certifcation was embedded in the MMC and separate certifcates were not issued — that is, holding an MMC was evidence that the mariner was medically qualifed to hold the credential. While it is always the responsibility of the mariner to oper- ate in accordance with his/her credential as endorsed and within any applied restrictions, the marine employer must verify that their mariners hold valid and current medical certifcates. As the medical certifcate now separately veri- fes ftness, it allows the employers to easily inspect and ensure it is valid. With regard to suspension and revocation, a marine employer's failure to inspect the certifcate does not relieve the mariner of any S&R action. The burden of ensuring a valid MMC and medical certifcate lies with the mariner, who must not work under the authority of the cre- dential unless he or she also holds a valid medical certifcate. Resolution of Confusion To qualify for a medical certifcate, a mariner must provide evidence of meeting the medical and physical standards on form CG-719-K or CG-719-K/E, as appropriate. Once the National Maritime Center receives the form, NMC medi- cal staff evaluate it to determine whether the mariner is medically and physically qualifed as described in 46 CFR 10.302(a). When the Coast Guard determines a merchant mariner meets the medical and physical evaluation stan- dards (with or without a waiver and/or limitations), the NMC will issue a medical certifcate. Other than for STCW-endorsed mariners, this will normally be done through the course of an MMC transaction, such as an original application, renewal, or raise in grade. The NMC medical staff may request additional information The National Maritime Center (NMC) has been evaluat- ing and issuing medical certifcates since January 24, 2014. As recent regulations require mariners serving on vessels transiting on international voyages to have a valid medical certifcate by January 1, 2017, and all credentialed mariners to hold a valid medical certifcate by 2019, 1 these certifcates show that the holders meet the medical and physical stan- dards required. The NMC has identifed those mariners that these regu- lations apply to, and the Coast Guard has already begun issuing medical certifcates to those individuals. As with all changes to the credentialing process, there is a potential impact upon any suspension and revocation (S&R) action that might be taken against the underlying merchant mari- ner credential (MMC). The Process For example, in 2014, without further application, the NMC began proactively issuing medical certifcates to mariners who held a valid International Convention on Standards of Training, Certifcation and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) endorsement to minimize foreign port state con- trol actions against U.S. vessels, reduce the administrative burden, and facilitate international commerce. For all other mariners, the Coast Guard issues a medical certifcate to each qualifed mariner after processing an application that requires a medical evaluation, such as issuing an original, raise-in-grade, or renewal MMC. 2 Maintaining a current medical certifcate along with the MMC is required of all mariners in positions that require a merchant mariner credential. 3 This brings medical ftness front and center, as marine employers are required to ensure the mariner holds a current medical certifcate. Without it, Medical Certifcates The purpose, the process, and the pitfalls. by Lt saRah e. BRennan Marine Investigator U.S. Coast Guard Suspension and Revocation National Center of Expertise CDR ChRistoPheR F. Coutu Chief U.S. Coast Guard Suspension & Revocation National Center of Expertise Suspension and Revocation National Center of Expertise