U.S. Coast Guard officials are taking steps to extend mariner credentials, medical certificates and course approvals due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
They are advising, however, that these measures may cause a backlog in processing of credentials and course approvals, especially near the end of the extension dates, and urge mariners and training providers to fulfill requirements and submit applications as early as possible to avoid a lapse in credential or training approval.
Merchant mariner credentials and STCW (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping) expiring between March 1 and Dec. 31 have been extended until the earlier of June 30, 2021 or one year after the initial expiration date of that credential.
The expiration date for national medical certificates and STCW medical certificates with a national expiration date between March 1 and Sept. 30 has been extended until Dec. 31, 2020. All mariners actively working on expired medical certificates that meet extension criteria are required to carry the expired credential with a copy of the extension notice.
Coast Guard officials also said that they do not intend to enforce, through Dec. 31, a requirement that pilots undergo an annual physical exam each year while holding a credential given the pandemic and its impact on health care providers
With the exception of Monitoring Unit Guam, all regional exam centers and monitoring units are open for limited examination services only, with reduced seating capacity.
Course and program approvals set to expire between Jan 1 and Dec. 31 are extended for six months from their current expiration date.
In recognition of the regional exam centers and monitoring units being closed to the public, approval to test letters and course completion certificates that expired between March 1 and Dec. 31 are now extended through Oct. 1, 2021. Additional guidance on these extensions and other related administrative measures will be posted online at https://www.uscg.mil/nmc/. Other options include contacting the NMC Customer Service Center by using the NMC online chat system, by e-mailing IASKNMC@uscg.mil, or by calling 1-888-IASKNMC (427-5662).