The U.S. Coast Guard motto is Semper Paratus, meaning “Always Ready.” As such, the Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS) remains ready to respond to and investigate all allegations of sexual misconduct in the maritime domain. Sexual misconduct has no place in the maritime industry and CGIS is committed to leveraging its authorities and resources to thoroughly investigate these allegations to ensure perpetrators are held accountable so mariners and aspiring mariners can work in an environment free from the fear of being sexually assaulted or sexually harassed. Additionally, Coast Guard investigators pursue administrative enforcement actions to suspend or revoke the merchant mariner credentials held by mariners who harm others or threaten the safety of the marine transportation system by creating toxic work environments on their vessels.
“The National Defense Authorization Act of 2023 (NDAA) included robust provisions aimed at improving Coast Guard authorities including increased reporting requirements, new requirements for equipment and processes designed to enhance mariner safety, all of which will contribute to investigative quality”, said CGIS Director Jeremy Gauthier. “Make no mistake, sexual assault is a crime. CGIS and the Coast Guard remain ready to respond and fully investigate sexual misconduct and build confidence within the maritime industry to report these crimes so we can maximize criminal or Coast Guard regulatory outcomes available to victims.”
Prior to 2021, the Coast Guard received very few reports of sexual assault and sexual harassment. In the absence of a report, the Coast Guard has limited, if any ability to pursue criminal charges or regulatory actions. However, following the publication of a Marine Safety Information Bulletin (MSIB), published in December 2021, reports of sexual misconduct have increased significantly. The Coast Guard has updated its guidance on how to report instances of sexual misconduct in MSIB 1-23, which incorporates changes included in the 2023 NDAA.
“As the system continues to improve, we felt it was important to facilitate the reporting of all forms of sexual misconduct,” said Gauthier. “Everyone has a right to work in an environment free from fear and harassment. A mariner’s physical and mental well-being are essential to the safe operation of commercial vessels at sea,” said Gauthier.
Reports can be made to CGIS by scanning the below QR code with a smart device to quickly access CGIS Tips, by calling the National Command Center 24-hour watch at 202-372-2100, emailing CGISTIPS@uscg.mil, or via the internet at https://www.uscg.mil/Units/Coast-Guard-Investigative-Service/. Reports made to CGIS Tips can be delivered anonymously.
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 publications, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These publications remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.
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