4/16/2019: Marijuana use remains incompatible with sea service despite changes in state laws

Every year, dangerous drug use disrupts or destroys the careers of hundreds of professional mariners, threatening safety throughout the maritime transportation system at the same time. U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Department of Transportation chemical testing continues to identify as dangerous drug users individuals with significant amounts of THC, the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, metabolized into their system. Marijuana use remains criminal at the federal level under U.S. Code.

3/7/2019: Investigation leads to mariner conviction and prompts Coast Guard data quality improvements

Although attempts by mariners to operate vessels using invalid MMCs are a rare occurrence, it does happen, and the Coast Guard and the maritime industry have an online MMC verification tool to alert them to the few cases that surface each year. Upon entry of mariner identification details by a marine employer or other party, the MMC verification tool provides immediate information regarding whether the subject mariner has a valid MMC and medical certificate. This post provides a summary of a 2017 case that led to data quality improvements in the MMC verification tool and how current and prospective employers can report credential discrepancies.