Tuesday, October 6, 2020

MMC Endorsements, Medical Certificates, Course Approvals Extended Due to COVID-19

In light of delays caused by COVID-19, the U.S. Coast Guard has extended expired Merchant Mariner Credential endorsements, medical certificates and course approvals, but strongly encourages mariners to meet requirements and submit applications as soon as possible to avoid any credential or training approval lapses.

Merchant Mariner Credentials (National Endorsements and STCW only) expiring from March 1, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2020, are extended either to June 30, 2021, or one year after the credential’s initial expiration date, whichever is earlier. Those with outdated credentials who are eligible for the extension need to have the expired credential with this notice.

Until July 1, 2021, the Coast Guard will accept shipboard experience in fire, emergency, and/or abandon ship drills to show continued competence in PSC, PSC-Ltd, FRB, BT, and/or AFF. This applies to mariners renewing MMCs expiring between March 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021, who can satisfy initial competency requirements in “survival craft and rescue boats other than fast rescue boats, PSC-limited, fast rescue boats, basic training, and advanced firefighting.” Mariners must have at least 360 days of relevant service in the last five years. Those without at least one year of relevant service within the last five years can only renew STCW endorsements by showing ongoing competence for PSC, PSC-Ltd, FRB, BT, and/or AFF. Original or ‘refresher’ training for will be needed; anything less won’t be accepted.

National and STCW medical certificates expiring between March 1, 2020, and Sept. 30, 2020, have been extended to Dec. 31, 2020. Working mariners with expired medical certificates must have a copy of this notice. However, this measure does not apply to the actual medical standards; mariners without qualifying medical conditions should not sail.

Until Dec. 31, 2020, the USCG won’t enforce the rule requiring pilots to undergo an annual physical examination while holding a credential. However, this doesn’t apply to the actual medical standards; those without qualifying medical conditions should not sail.

Approval to Test Letters and Course Completion Certificates expiring between March 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2020, are extended until Oct. 1, 2021. Visit https://www.uscg.mil/nmc/regardingguidance for more on Additional Information, Qualified Assessor, Designated Examiner letters.

Course and program approvals expiring between Jan. 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2020, have been extended for six months from their expiration date. The National Maritime Center won’t send out new course approval letters or certificates and will update its records to show that course completion certificates issued during the extension are accepted.

The NMC is working with trainers on alternate training delivery methods, including distance or hybrid learning, and will consider and approve alternate methods on a case-by-case basis. Email requests to NMCCourses@uscg.mil with “a list of courses, a complete description of the alternative requested, the tools involved, and the business process to be employed.”

For more, go to the NMC website, or reach out to NMC Customer Service Center via NMC online chat system, email IASKNMC@uscg.mil, or call 1-888-IASKNMC (427-5662). ttu