9/21/2018: Recap of recent Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee meeting

Submitted by Anne Wehde, Merchant Mariner Credentialing Division

The Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee (MERPAC) met Sept. 11-12, 2018 at the STAR Center in Dania Beach Florida to discuss various issues related to the training and fitness of merchant marine personnel. This meeting was open to public participation and the tasks under discussion included:

1) The review of policy documents providing guidance on the implementation of the December 24, 2013, International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers rulemaking;

2) The continuation of the progress made by the military services towards meeting the goals on the use of Military Education, Training and Assessment for STCW and National Mariner Endorsements;

3) The provision of feedback and avenues to further enhance open communication between external stakeholders and the U.S. Coast Guard’s mariner credentialing program regarding all aspects of the program;

4) The review of the draft medical certificate cancellation policy; and

5) The review of merchant mariner training and credentialing issues found in the National Transportation Safety Board’s recommendations to the U.S. Coast Guard regarding the sinking of the S.S. El Faro.

In addition, the Committee received briefings and commented on the following topics:

1) A job task analysis briefing regarding the merchant mariner credentialing program’s efforts to establish or validate credentialing examinations, performance assessments, and training curriculum standards within the context of current occupational practices associated with each credential.

2) A report on the Mariner Credentialing Program that included a brief description of current regulatory projects, policies that have been published or are in development, ongoing efforts to develop a new IT solution to support mariner credentialing, and the status of mariner credentialing appeals;

3) A report on National Maritime Center activities by the National Maritime Center Commanding Officer that included a description of the unit’s mission and organization, performance goals and performance assessments. The performance criteria discussed production, medical certificates, reconsiderations, and staffing and course approvals. Also discussed were military to mariner, exam question reviews, the update of the NMC website and homeport;

4) A report on the International Maritime Organization Activities affecting merchant mariner credentialing by the members of MERPAC who attended the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping Subcommittee (HTW) in mid-July. They discussed the input that MERPAC had on the development of the IMO model courses and the fatigue guidelines. They also noted that other federal advisory committees also provided input to the Coast Guard for HTW such as the Commercial Fishing Vessel Advisory Committee regarding STCW-F.

The Coast Guard would like to thank the Committee members for their participation, the attending public for their involvement and the AMO STAR Center for the use of its facilities. The minutes of this meeting will be published on Homeport by Dec. 12, 2018.

In addition, the Coast Guard maintains a MERPAC distribution list for the notification of the public regarding MERPAC activities. Please e-mail davis.j.breyer@uscg.mil to be added to this list.

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.

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