Commercial Vessel Compliance

9/24/2015: Mariner credentialing – Update from Operating and Environmental Standards, Maritime Personnel Qualification Division

Maritime Commons attended an open house hosted by the Coast Guard’s National Maritime Center to provide updates on the credentialing process, future credentialing policies and their impacts on mariners and industry.

The Coast Guard’s Office of Operating and Environmental Standards CG-OES, Maritime Personnel Qualifications Division Chief, Mayte Medina, provided remarks and updates on CG-OES operations and initiatives.

For those of you who were unable to attend, Maritime Commons is providing a condensed version of Medina’s remarks in a four-part series. These remarks are not ‘as delivered’ but provide a condensed version of the highlights for your informational purposes…

Delivered by Mayte Medina, division chief of Coast Guard’s Office of Operating and Environmental Standards, Maritime Personnel Qualifications Division

Two years ago, we published the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping, or STCW rule, a very big rule, and we are now in the process of cleaning up inconsistencies. We’ve received feedback from industry and, through implementation, we’ve identified inconsistencies and will be addressing them through another rule.

Two changes to regulations

We are also working changes to 46 U.S. Code emanating from the Coast Guard authorization act of 2014. The first change affects sea service for mariners that work in engine room on towing vessels and offshore supply vessels. The old statute only allowed these mariners to work eight hours a day therefore; accruing only one day of sea service. The existing statute was written in the days when overly-strenuous work involved people passing coal. The new statute enables these mariners to work 12 hours and accrue a day and a half. We are working to harmonize the regulation with the statute, first through a policy letter and subsequently by adopting changes to regulation.

The second change we are working on is the change to 46 U.S. Code on the sea service recency applicable to military personnel serving on military vessels. The recency requirements applicable to military personnel will be three months in the past seven years. We are in the process of finishing policy and drafting regulations. I can tell you that the policy will come out in the very near future. We will be applying the change retroactively from when the statute was enacted.

Updates

Internationally, we’ve been working on alternate fuels, the International Gas Fuel code, or IGF code, for ships using alternate fuel. We published policy and it mirrors what was accepted internationally.

Additionally, we are focusing on training related to the Polar Code. The International Maritime Organization, or IMO, has not yet adopted the completed draft for what training would look like for those mariners on board a ship operating in polar regions. What the United States submitted to the IMO is what the Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee, or MERPAC, recommended. Once this is approved, we will publish policy, identify competencies and review courses for approval.

I would highly encourage you to participate in your MERPAC, provide comments to the federal docket, come to the MERPAC meetings and bring your issues to their attention. We’ve been leveraging MERPAC to get a lot of work done domestically and overseas and this is a good place to provide your input.

In addition to this post, be sure to read the other posts from the National Maritime Center open house and information sessions.

Part 1: Update from the National Maritime Center
Part 2: Update from Commercial Vessel Compliance, Mariner Credentialing Division
Part 3: Update from Operating and Environmental Standards, Maritime Personnel Qualification Division
Part 4: Update from the Office of Investigations and Casualty Analysis and Suspension and Revocation NCOE

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.