NMC Extends Document Deadlines, Closes Regional Exam Centers
As the “whole-of-government” response to the coronavirus evolves not just daily but hourly, the National Maritime Center in Martinsburg, W.Va., announced in a March 19 update—as this edition of The Waterways Journal was going to press—that the Coast Guard was closing all Regional Examination Centers and three Monitoring Units. At the same time, it announced that deadlines for expiring Merchant Marine Credentials and mariner’s medical certificates would be extended through October 31.
All customer and walk-in service at the center is suspended, and all scheduled examinations and appointments are canceled. the appointment calendars for those facilities are closed until further notice.
“The National Maritime Center will closely monitor the situation and restore these services as soon as possible,“ according to a memorandum singed by the center’s commander, Capt. Kristen Martin.
The closures don’t mean that all services will be suspended, however, just face-to-face ones. Online and electronic services will be maintained.
• The Customer Service Center call center will remain open from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST, Mondays through Fridays. Mariners may reach the call center at 1-888-IASKNMC (427-5662) and IASKNMC@uscg.mil.
• Mariners are asked to not try to reschedule appointments until the NMC reopens the appointment calendars. The NMC will provide notice when the calendars are available.
• The NMC website (www.uscg.mil/nmc) will provide updates on REC/MU operating status.
• For improved service and security use the electronic submission process. Guidance and REC/MU e-mail addresses are located on the NMC website. The NMC advised that electronic submissions will only be accepted in PDF format. Other formats such as .zip files and camera captured images will not be accepted.
• National Endorsements: Merchant Mariner Credentials (MMC) and Medical Certificates (National Endorsements only) that expire between March 1 and July 31, 2020, are extended until October 31, 2020. Mariners actively working on expired credentials that meet the expiration criteria must carry the expired credential with a copy of MSIB 08-20.
• STCW Endorsements: MMCs with STCW endorsements that expire between March 1, 2020, and July 31, 2020, are extended until October 31, 2020. Mariners who are actively working on expired credentials that meet the expiration criteria must carry the expired credential with a copy of MSIB 08-20.
• STCW Medical Certificates: STCW Medical Certificates are valid for 3 months from the expiration date in accordance with STCW Regulation I/9. Mariners who are actively working on expired Medical Certificates that meet the expiration criteria must carry the expired certificate with a copy of MSIB 08-20.
• Additional Administrative Measures: The following items that expire between March 1 and July 31, 2020, are extended until October 31, 2020: Additional Information letters, Qualified Assessor letters, Designated Examiner letters, Proctor Approval letters, Approved to Test letters, Mariner Training course completion certificates.
• Pilot Annual Physical Examinations: 46 USC 7101(e)(3) requires that pilots undergo an annual physical examination each year while holding a credential. The Coast Guard does not intend to enforce this requirement given the current national emergency and the lack of medical care. This measure ONLY relaxes the requirement for an annual physical and not the actual medical standards.
“At this time, NMC operations in Martinsburg, W.Va., are being minimally impacted by COVID19,” according to the memorandum. “This is a dynamic situation and updates will be provided as needed. The NMC understands this reduction in service may affect our industry customers and stakeholders, and we apologize for any potential inconvenience.”
Coronavirus stories in the March 23 edition of The Waterways Journal: