COVID-19 – Mariner Credentials Extension of Merchant Mariner Credential Endorsements, Medical Certificates, and Course Approvals

USCG Navigation Circulars(NVICs) and Policy

Document Number:08-20 Change 4
Type of Document:MSIB
Published Date:October 01, 2020
Effective Date:September 30, 2020
Superseded Date:December 22, 2020
Superseded NVICs:MSIB 08-20 Change 3
Current Status:Superseded
This MSIB provides guidance concerning mariner credentials, medical certificates, and course approvals, and the action being taken by the Coast Guard due to the novel coronavirus. The provisions in this MSIB are consistent with the Executive Order 13924 - Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery issued on May 19, 2020.

To mitigate the impact to the seafarers and the industry caused by COVID-19, the USCG is taking the following actions:

Merchant Mariner Credentials (MMC) - National Endorsements and STCW Endorsements:
MMCs and MMC with STCW endorsements may only be extended for up to one year from their date of expiration. Nationally endorsed MMCs and MMCs with STCW endorsements that expire between March 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020, are extended until the earlier of:
  • June 30, 2021
  • Or one year after the initial expiration date of the credential (i.e., one year after the expiration date printed on the credential).

Mariners who are actively working on expired credentials that meet the extension criteria must carry the expired credential with a copy of this notice. More information is provided on the MSIB concerning mariners who have met the requirement s for initial competency in PSC, FRB, BT, and AFF.

Medical Certification:
National Medical Certificates and STCW Medical Certificates: National Medical Certificates and Medical Certificates with an STCW with an expiration date between March 1, 2020, and September 30, 2020, are extended until December 31, 2020. Mariners who are actively working on expired medical certificates that meet the extension criteria must carry the expired credential with a copy of this notice. The National Maritime Center (NMC) is processing applications for medical certificates within normal time frames and therefore the guidance on extending medical certificates has not changed.

Additional administrative measures:
Regional Exam Centers (REC) and Monitoring Units (MU): With the exception of MU Guam, all RECs and MUs are open for limited examination services only. See the National Maritime Center website for scheduling information.

Pilot Annual Physical examinations:
Regulations require that pilots undergo annual physical examinations while holding a credential. The USCG does not intend to enforce this requirement given the current pandemic. This measure only relaxes the requirement for an annual physical and not the actual medical standards. This posture applies until December 31, 2020, irrespective of when the medical certificate expires.

Approval to Test Letters (ATT) and Course Completion Certificates:
RECs and MUs were closed to the public, ATTs and mariner training course completion certificates that expire in between March 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020, are extended until October 1, 2021.

Additional Information (AI), Qualified Assessor (QA), Designated Examiner (DE):
See the NMC website regarding guidance on the validity of AI, QA, and DE letters.

Course and Program Approvals:
Course and program approvals that expire between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020, are extended for six months from their current expiration date. The NMC will not issue new course approval letters or certificates, but will update internal records to ensure the acceptance of course completion certificates issued during the extension and that the website reflects appropriate information.

The NMC will continue to work with training providers, the use of alternative testing methods, and alternative assessment methods on a case-by-case basis. More information is available and may be viewed on the Regulation below.

This MSIB serves as the extension for previously approved courses using alternate delivery methods.
    View this regulation in PDF format.

J. Connor Consulting, Inc. Teaming with Industry