Washington Waves
Washington Waves

NMC To Replace MMCs Lost Or Destroyed In Hurricane

Washington, D.C.—The National Maritime Center (NMC) said duplicate Merchant Mariner Credentials (MMCs) may be issued free of charge to mariners whose credentials were lost or destroyed as a result of Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico and Hurricane Ian in Florida.

To obtain an expedited replacement credential, NMC said, mariners should provide a statement of loss to NMC via fax at 304-433-3412 or via e-mail at IASKNMC@uscg.mil with the following information:

Mariner’s full name and date of birth, mariner’s reference number (MRN) (or include the mariner’s Social Security number if the MRN is not known), mailing address that the replacement credential should be sent to, current phone number and/or e-mail address that the NMC can use to contact the mariner with questions, if necessary, and a description of the circumstances surrounding the loss/destruction of the credential.

Unless otherwise requested, any duplicate MMCs issued per the request process above will include a corresponding Medical Certificate, if previously issued.

“We will make every effort to have duplicate credentials mailed out the next business day,” NMC said.

“Alternatively, mariners may submit form CG-719B, Application for Merchant Mariner Credential, to one of the Regional Exam Centers with the information above.”

Credentials unserviceable due to damage or a lost credential subsequently found should be mailed to the NMC.

For additional information or feedback, contact the NMC via the online chat or ticketing system, by e-mailing IASKNMC@uscg.mil or by calling 888-IASKNMC (427-5662).

Arctic Strategy

The Biden administration released a new national strategy for the Arctic region designed to build on work that began in 2013.

“America is an Arctic nation, so we have a profound stake in the future of the region and its people,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a video announcing the new strategy.

Blinken also spoke about the region’s considerable economic potential, ranging from tourism to its vast natural resources.

Citing the seven other nations that share the region, he said it also plays a crucial role in America’s foreign policy and national security.

Blinken said the new strategy will be guided by four pillars: security, climate change and environmental protection, sustainable economic development and international cooperation and governance.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) gave the new strategy a mixed review.

She described the strategy as somewhat underwhelming in detail but added it sends an important message that the U.S. must continue to advance Arctic priorities.

According to Murkowski’s website, she serves as a co-chair of the Senate Arctic Caucus and the U.S. representative for the Standing Committee of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region.

Demurrage And Detention

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) is proposing a new rule to bring more clarity, structure and punctuality to the demurrage and detention billing practices of vessel-operating common carriers (VOCCs), non-vessel-operating common carriers (NVOCCs) and marine terminal operators (MTOs).

If the rule is adopted, VOCCs, NVOCCs and MTOs will be required to issue bills for demurrage or detention only to parties that they have a contractual relationship with, to be clear regarding the nature of the charges and issue invoices within 30 days after the charges stop accruing and provide 30 days to dispute the charges with clear information about how charges should be disputed.

Once the FMC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) is published in the Federal Register, interested parties will have 60 days to submit comments to docket number FMC-2022-0066 at www.regulations.gov. 

The NPRM is the latest initiative taken by the FMC to implement the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022.

Security Validations

A key maritime cargo security program has made progress in decreasing backlogged security validations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

GAO found that COVID restrictions required supply chain security specialists of the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) program to telework in 2020 and 2021 and not conduct in-person visits into 2022.

“As a result, the CTPAT program was not able to keep pace with required security validations and revalidations of members’ supply chain security practices, which led to backlogs,” the agency stated.

GAO credited CTPAT with training additional staff and using videoconferencing technology to conduct virtual security revalidations.

 “While  their efforts were still ongoing at the time of our review, the CTPAT program had made progress in decreasing the backlogged security validations and revalidations,” the GAO reported.

Railroad Contract

The White House offered assurances the U.S. economy is not facing an immediate threat after one of the railroad unions voted against a proposed contract President Joe Biden helped negotiate weeks ago.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said a cooling-off period extending well into November has been agreed to, providing adequate time to continue working on the issues.

“The president remains focused on protecting America’s families, farms, businesses by avoiding a rail shutdown,” Jean-Pierre said.

“Both sides have said they share that goal.”

She went on to say an acrimonious contract ratification process is nothing new.

“Again, we stand ready to assist at any time,” Jean-Pierre said.