MMC Expiration & STCW Gap Closing Extensions Granted
Note regarding MMC expiration:
It’s also been a very busy year for the National Maritime Center (NMC). STCW 2010, as amended had an enforcement date of January 1, 2017. With that date looming, many mariners rushed to meet deadlines for courses and license renewal. The NMC experienced a very high volume of applications and was unable to process all applications prior to expiration. Due to the high volume of applications the USCG is granting an extension of national endorsements for any mariner whose MMC expires on or after December 1, 2016.
This extension is effective immediately and will be valid until September 30, 2017. Mariners, employers, and owner/operators are encouraged to print a copy of the letter explaining the extension. All mariners sailing exclusively under the authority of their national endorsement on inland or coastwise voyages are advised to carry a copy of the letter with their expired credentials and produce it upon the request of USCG personnel or other officials.
Expiration dates of new MMCs will be 5 years from the date of expiration of the previous MMC, in accordance with current policy. The extension of validity of expired credentials provides the opportunity for a mariner to work under the authority of that credential during this period, so there is no loss of MMC validity associated with this decision.
Note regarding STCW endorsements:
Due to the transitional provisions, difficulties were experienced in processing applications in order to meet gap closing requirements. The United States will take the IMO guidance into account, Port State Control Officers will still review the requirements of the 2010 amendments during Port State Control examinations in the United States. It should be noted that the decision to relax the use of control actions as an enforcement measure applies only to those new transitional provisions within the STCW requirements. Vessels may still be issued deficiencies, which may lead to detention, for other reasons including demonstrated crew incompetence such as failure to perform critical drills. U.S. Coast Guard Marine Inspectors will review the STCW endorsements issued to mariners employed on U.S. Flag vessels.
If a mariner’s Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) has a limitation (that was put in place as part of the transitional provisions) and the mariner cannot provide evidence that they have completed the required training and submitted an application to the National Maritime Center for the appropriate STCW endorsement, a deficiency will be issued to the vessel. However, no control action will be placed on the vessel and the mariner will be allowed to continue to be engaged on the vessel until July 1, 2017.
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