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Notice

Merchant Mariners' Documents: Forms and Procedures for Renewals and Issuances

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Coast Guard, DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of policy.

SUMMARY:

The Coast Guard suspended renewing and issuing Merchant Mariners' Documents (MMDs) using the previously issued form and has begun renewing and reissuing MMDs using a new form. The new MMD form is more tamper-resistant and facilitates verification of an MMD holder's identity, citizenship, and qualifications to work aboard U.S.-flagged vessels. MMDs in the new form will enhance maritime security.

DATES:

The Coast Guard began renewing MMDs using the new form on February 3, 2003.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

If you have questions on this notice, call Mr. Donald J. Kerlin, Deputy Director, Coast Guard National Maritime Center (NMC), (202) 493-1006.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

MMDs both serve as identity cards for merchant mariners and provide information about the mariners' professional qualifications. MMDs, in the previously issued form (CG-2838 [Rev. 7-94]), serve the second of these purposes well enough; however, they no longer serve the first with sufficient confidence. The Coast Guard is replacing them using a new form (CG-2838 [Rev 09/02]) that will be issued through a more secure process. The Coast Guard will make every effort to effect a smooth and easy transition from the previously issued form to the new form. The Coast Guard will begin issuing MMDs in the new form to new applicants as soon as possible.

The Coast Guard also is considering whether to allow mariners to replace their previously issued MMDs with new MMDs on an accelerated basis, i.e.,' at an earlier date than current expiration date. To ensure that only eligible mariners receive MMDs, the Coast Guard will conduct a criminal-record review of mariners seeking renewal or re-issuance of a previously issued MMD, or issuance of an original MMD. The review may include verification of identities; criminal histories; and sobriety (as gauged from, among other sources, the National Drivers' Register). This review will be consistent with applicable law and Coast Guard regulations set forth in Title 46, Code of Federal Regulations (46 CFR 12.02-4). Because of the importance of establishing positive proof of identity to facilitate the background investigation, it will be necessary for holders of, and applicants for, an MMD to be present at a Regional Examination Center (REC) to be fingerprinted.

Mariners may encounter delays incident to the new processes' going into practice and the delays may persist for some weeks. Holders and new applicants seeking re-issuance, renewal, and original issuance of their MMDs should inquire at their nearest REC, a list of which appears at 46 CFR 12.01-7, or contact Mr. Donald Kerlin at the National Maritime Center, 4200 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 630, Arlington, VA 22203-1804, (202) 493-1006.

Authority

46 U.S.C. 7301, 7302, 7303, 7304, 7305, 7503, 7505, and 49 CFR 1.46.

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Dated: February 13, 2003.

Kevin J. Eldridge,

Rear Admiral, Coast Guard, Assistant Commandant for Governmental and Public Affairs.

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[FR Doc. 03-4145 Filed 2-19-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-15-P