Medical and Physical Evaluation Guidelines for Merchant Mariner Credentials, 56998-56999 [06-8305]

Download as PDF 56998 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 188 / Thursday, September 28, 2006 / Notices NICEATM can be found at the following Web site: http:// www.iccvam.niehs.nih.gov. Dated: September 18, 2006. Samuel H. Wilson, Deputy Director, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and National Toxicology Program. [FR Doc. E6–15972 Filed 9–27–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140–01–P DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard [USCG 2006–25080] Medical and Physical Evaluation Guidelines for Merchant Mariner Credentials Notice of availability; request for comments. sroberts on PROD1PC70 with NOTICES ACTION: SUMMARY: The Coast Guard announces the availability of, and seeks public comment on, a draft Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) to replace the existing NVIC 2–98, ‘‘Physical Evaluation Guidelines for Merchant Mariner’s Documents and Licenses.’’ The new proposed NVIC is entitled ‘‘Medical and Physical Evaluation Guidelines for Merchant Mariner Credentials.’’ It will be officially numbered if and when it becomes effective. The contents of this NVIC were developed from recommendations and input provided by the Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee (MERPAC) and experienced maritime community medical practitioners. A copy of the proposed NVIC has been posted to the public docket for this notice, and it is available as described under ADDRESSES. DATES: Comments and related material must reach the Docket Management Facility on or before November 27, 2006. ADDRESSES: The proposed NVIC is available on the Internet at http:// dms.dot.gov, under this docket number [USCG 2006–25080]. It is also available from Mr. Mark Gould, Maritime Personnel Qualifications Division, Office of Operating and Environmental Standards, Commandant (G–PSO–1), U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters, telephone 202–372–1409, or e-mail address: Mark.C.Gould@uscg.mil. The Coast Guard encourages you to submit comments. The most helpful comments will include the specific section of the proposed NVIC to which each comment applies, as well as the reason for each comment. Comments VerDate Aug<31>2005 20:16 Sep 27, 2006 Jkt 208001 should be identified by USCG docket number USCG–2006–25080. Please include your name and address with your comments and submit using ONE of the following methods: (1) Web site: http://dms.dot.gov. (2) Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Room PL–401, Washington, DC 20590–0001. (3) Fax: 202–493–2251. (4) Delivery: Room PL–401 on the Plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone number is 202–366– 9329. (5) Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions on the Web site. The Docket Management Facility maintains the public docket for this notice. Comments and related material received from the public, as well as documents mentioned in this notice (including the proposed NVIC), will become part of this docket and will be available for inspection or copying at room PL–401 on the Plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590–0001, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. Copies of the docket may also be viewed on the internet at: http://dms.dot.gov and http://www.regulations.gov. If you mail or deliver your comments and material, they must be on 81⁄2-by11-inch paper, and the quality of the copy should be clear enough for copying and scanning. If you mail your comments and material and would like to know whether the Docket Management Facility received them, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard or envelope. The Coast Guard will consider all comments and material received during the 60-day comment period. For questions on this notice or on the proposed NVIC, e-mail or call Mr. Gould where indicated under ADDRESSES. For questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, call Ms. Renee V. Wright, Program Manager, Docket Management System, U.S. Department of Transportation, Room Plaza 401, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590–0001; telephone (202) 493–0402. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: What action is the Coast Guard taking? The proposed NVIC contains revised guidelines for evaluating the physical and medical conditions of applicants for merchant mariner’s documents (MMD), PO 00000 Frm 00050 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 licenses, certificates of registry and STCW endorsements, collectively referred to as ‘‘credential(s).’’ The purpose of the proposed NVIC is to replace the existing NVIC 2–98. It also provides guidance for evaluating the physical and medical conditions of applicants for merchant mariner credentials (MMCs), if and when the Coast Guard begins issuing MMCs as proposed in 71 FR 29462, ‘‘Consolidation of Merchant Mariner Qualification Credentials.’’ Why is the Coast Guard taking this action? The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as amended (STCW) requires each party to establish standards of medical fitness for seafarers. Title 46 United States Code, Subtitle II, Part E, and Title 46 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) subpart B require that mariners be physically able to perform their duties, using terms such as ‘‘general physical condition,’’ ‘‘good health’’ and ‘‘of sound health.’’ Title 46 CFR parts 401 and 402 contain special requirements for registration as a Great Lakes Pilot, including the requirement to ‘‘pass a physical examination given by a licensed medical doctor.’’ None of these references contain specific standards, with the exception of visual acuity and color vision, for determining if mariners are physically and medically qualified. The lack of specificity in the above statutes and regulations has led to confusion and unnecessary delays in processing credential applications as well as inconsistent evaluations by medical practitioners conducting examinations of credential applicants. Moreover, it has caused confusion on the part of Coast Guard personnel charged with determining whether a credential should be issued. The proposed NVIC provides the specificity that the above statutes and regulations lack. It details the specific medical and physical conditions that are potentially disqualifying, and the data recommended for evaluation of each of these conditions. This is expected to reduce the inconsistency and subjectivity of the medical evaluation process and eliminate the guesswork that mariners may currently encounter as to what specific physical and medical information is needed to process their applications. In addition, there are public safety risks associated with some medical and physical conditions, particularly when these conditions may result in the sudden incapacitation of mariners on vessels. These conditions can be the E:\FR\FM\28SEN1.SGM 28SEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 188 / Thursday, September 28, 2006 / Notices root cause of a maritime mishap. The NTSB, in their report on the 2003 collision of the Staten Island ferry ANDREW J. BARBERI, determined that the assistant captain’s unexplained incapacitation was a causal factor in the casualty, resulting in the deaths of 10 passengers and injuries to 70 others. The report recommended that the Coast Guard review several issues in the merchant mariner physical and medical evaluation process. The proposed NVIC is a critical component of the Coast Guard’s response to the NTSB report. Does this change current practices? The information contained in the proposed NVIC does not change current Coast Guard practices with respect to the physical and medical evaluation process. Rather, it puts the current practices into writing, making them transparent for all to see and promoting their consistent application. As such, it is not anticipated that the proposed NVIC will result in significantly higher rates of disqualification for mariners, nor in increased processing time for credential applications with physical and/or medical issues. To the contrary, as explained above, the Coast Guard expects the process to be fairer and less subjective, and we anticipate a reduction in application processing time, because all parties will know precisely what information is needed at the outset of the application process. sroberts on PROD1PC70 with NOTICES How does the proposed NVIC differ from the current NVIC 2–98? The current NVIC 2–98 defines approximately forty-seven medical conditions as potentially disqualifying, but provides specific guidance for only two of those conditions. The proposed NVIC has a more extensive list of medical conditions and guidance on how to address the Coast Guard’s safety concerns with respect to those conditions. What are the contents of the proposed NVIC? The guidance in the proposed NVIC has been developed by Coast Guard medical officers in consultation with MERPAC and experienced maritime community medical practitioners. The proposed NVIC reflects a synthesis of their recommendations, regulatory requirements, and the recommendations of leaders of other Federal transportation modes as to appropriate medical and physical standards. Enclosure (1) of the proposed NVIC provides guidance on medical certification standards. It lists the standards that apply to applicants for each of the various types of credentials. VerDate Aug<31>2005 20:16 Sep 27, 2006 Jkt 208001 Enclosure (2) provides guidance for determining if mariners are physically able to perform their duties. Enclosure (3) contains a list of potentially disqualifying medical conditions, medications and supplemental medical data to be submitted for medical review. Enclosure (4) contains guidance for evaluating vision and hearing. Enclosure (5) describes the medical review process. Once the Coast Guard has considered all comments and related material, we will publish a final, effective version of the NVIC for use as guidelines by the general public, mariners, and specifically, those professionals assessing the physical and medical condition of merchant mariners. The final, effective version of the NVIC will be posted on the electronic docket for this rulemaking as well as the NMC Web site at http://www.uscg.mil/hq/g-m/ nmc/web/index.htm. Dated: September 21, 2006. J.G. Lantz, Director of National and International Standards, Assistant Commandant for Prevention. [FR Doc. 06–8305 Filed 9–22–06; 4:33 pm] BILLING CODE 4910–15–P DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard [USCG 2006–25522] Exercise of Authority To Require Pilots To Submit Annual Physical Examinations ACTION: Notice. SUMMARY: By this notice, the Coast Guard is exercising authority currently set forth in Coast Guard regulations to require all first class pilots on vessels greater than 1600 GRT, and other individuals who ‘‘serve as’’ pilots on certain types of vessels greater than 1600 gross registered tons (GRT), to provide a copy of their annual physical examination to the Coast Guard. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Stewart A. Walker, National Maritime Center. Phone: 202–493–1022, e-mail: Stewart.A.Walker@uscg.mil. DATES: All first class pilots on vessels greater than 1600 GRT, and other individuals who ‘‘serve as’’ pilots on certain types of vessels greater than 1600 GRT (as described in SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION below), must submit a copy of their most recent annual physical examination to the Coast Guard on or before December 27, PO 00000 Frm 00051 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 56999 2006. After that, pilots must submit a copy of their annual physical examination to the Coast Guard no later than 30 calendar days after completion of the physical examination each year. The annual physical examination must, by regulation, be completed within 30 calendar days of the anniversary date of the individual’s most recent satisfactorily completed physical examination. This notice implements the recommendation made the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), in their report on the 2003 allision of the Staten Island Ferry ANDREW J. BARBERI, that the Coast Guard require submission of annual pilot physicals. The Coast Guard agrees with the NTSB that it is not effective to require pilots to undergo annual physical examinations without an affirmative obligation for pilots to actually submit them to the Coast Guard for review. Title 46 CFR 10.709 already requires that first class pilots on vessels of 1600 GRT or more provide the Coast Guard with a copy of their most recent annual physical examination upon request, and that this physical examination must meet the requirements specified in Title 46 CFR 10.205(d). This includes those individuals who ‘‘serve as’’ pilots in accordance with Title 46 CFR 15.812(b)(3) & (c). Individuals who ‘‘serve as’’ pilots on vessels of not more than 1600 GRT in accordance with 46 CFR 15.812(b)(2) do not have an annual physical examination requirement. This document serves as the request, pursuant to the authority set forth in 46 CFR 10.709(e), that all first class pilots on vessels greater than 1600 GRT, and all other individuals who ‘‘serve as’’ pilots in accordance with 46 CFR 15.812(b)(3) & (c), provide a copy of their annual physical examination to the Coast Guard. The report of physical examination should be submitted to the Regional Examination Center (REC) which issued the mariner’s license. The report of physical examination will be reviewed by the Coast Guard in accordance with the standards in 46 CFR 10.205(d), as supplemented by the guidance contained in Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) 2–98, ‘‘Physical Evaluation Guidelines for Merchant Mariner’s Documents and Licenses’’ or any superseding NVIC revising or replacing NVIC 2–98. The Coast Guard may initiate appropriate administrative action in the event any first class pilot—or any other individual ‘‘serving as’’ a pilot (as described above)—does not meet the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: E:\FR\FM\28SEN1.SGM 28SEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 188 (Thursday, September 28, 2006)]
[Notices]
[Pages 56998-56999]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 06-8305]


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DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

Coast Guard

[USCG 2006-25080]


Medical and Physical Evaluation Guidelines for Merchant Mariner 
Credentials

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Coast Guard announces the availability of, and seeks 
public comment on, a draft Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular 
(NVIC) to replace the existing NVIC 2-98, ``Physical Evaluation 
Guidelines for Merchant Mariner's Documents and Licenses.'' The new 
proposed NVIC is entitled ``Medical and Physical Evaluation Guidelines 
for Merchant Mariner Credentials.'' It will be officially numbered if 
and when it becomes effective. The contents of this NVIC were developed 
from recommendations and input provided by the Merchant Marine 
Personnel Advisory Committee (MERPAC) and experienced maritime 
community medical practitioners. A copy of the proposed NVIC has been 
posted to the public docket for this notice, and it is available as 
described under ADDRESSES.

DATES: Comments and related material must reach the Docket Management 
Facility on or before November 27, 2006.

ADDRESSES: The proposed NVIC is available on the Internet at http://
dms.dot.gov, under this docket number [USCG 2006-25080]. It is also 
available from Mr. Mark Gould, Maritime Personnel Qualifications 
Division, Office of Operating and Environmental Standards, Commandant 
(G-PSO-1), U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters, telephone 202-372-1409, or e-
mail address: Mark.C.Gould@uscg.mil.
    The Coast Guard encourages you to submit comments. The most helpful 
comments will include the specific section of the proposed NVIC to 
which each comment applies, as well as the reason for each comment. 
Comments should be identified by USCG docket number USCG-2006-25080. 
Please include your name and address with your comments and submit 
using ONE of the following methods:
    (1) Web site: http://dms.dot.gov.
    (2) Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Room PL-401, Washington, DC 
20590-0001.
    (3) Fax: 202-493-2251.
    (4) Delivery: Room PL-401 on the Plaza level of the Nassif 
Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 
p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone 
number is 202-366-9329.
    (5) Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow 
the instructions on the Web site.
    The Docket Management Facility maintains the public docket for this 
notice. Comments and related material received from the public, as well 
as documents mentioned in this notice (including the proposed NVIC), 
will become part of this docket and will be available for inspection or 
copying at room PL-401 on the Plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 
Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001, between 9 a.m. and 5 
p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. Copies of the 
docket may also be viewed on the internet at: http://dms.dot.gov and 
http://www.regulations.gov.
    If you mail or deliver your comments and material, they must be on 
8\1/2\-by-11-inch paper, and the quality of the copy should be clear 
enough for copying and scanning. If you mail your comments and material 
and would like to know whether the Docket Management Facility received 
them, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard or envelope. 
The Coast Guard will consider all comments and material received during 
the 60-day comment period.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For questions on this notice or on the 
proposed NVIC, e-mail or call Mr. Gould where indicated under 
ADDRESSES. For questions on viewing or submitting material to the 
docket, call Ms. Renee V. Wright, Program Manager, Docket Management 
System, U.S. Department of Transportation, Room Plaza 401, 400 Seventh 
Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001; telephone (202) 493-0402.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

What action is the Coast Guard taking?

    The proposed NVIC contains revised guidelines for evaluating the 
physical and medical conditions of applicants for merchant mariner's 
documents (MMD), licenses, certificates of registry and STCW 
endorsements, collectively referred to as ``credential(s).'' The 
purpose of the proposed NVIC is to replace the existing NVIC 2-98. It 
also provides guidance for evaluating the physical and medical 
conditions of applicants for merchant mariner credentials (MMCs), if 
and when the Coast Guard begins issuing MMCs as proposed in 71 FR 
29462, ``Consolidation of Merchant Mariner Qualification Credentials.''

Why is the Coast Guard taking this action?

    The International Convention on Standards of Training, 
Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as amended (STCW) 
requires each party to establish standards of medical fitness for 
seafarers. Title 46 United States Code, Subtitle II, Part E, and Title 
46 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) subpart B require that mariners be 
physically able to perform their duties, using terms such as ``general 
physical condition,'' ``good health'' and ``of sound health.'' Title 46 
CFR parts 401 and 402 contain special requirements for registration as 
a Great Lakes Pilot, including the requirement to ``pass a physical 
examination given by a licensed medical doctor.'' None of these 
references contain specific standards, with the exception of visual 
acuity and color vision, for determining if mariners are physically and 
medically qualified.
    The lack of specificity in the above statutes and regulations has 
led to confusion and unnecessary delays in processing credential 
applications as well as inconsistent evaluations by medical 
practitioners conducting examinations of credential applicants. 
Moreover, it has caused confusion on the part of Coast Guard personnel 
charged with determining whether a credential should be issued. The 
proposed NVIC provides the specificity that the above statutes and 
regulations lack. It details the specific medical and physical 
conditions that are potentially disqualifying, and the data recommended 
for evaluation of each of these conditions. This is expected to reduce 
the inconsistency and subjectivity of the medical evaluation process 
and eliminate the guesswork that mariners may currently encounter as to 
what specific physical and medical information is needed to process 
their applications.
    In addition, there are public safety risks associated with some 
medical and physical conditions, particularly when these conditions may 
result in the sudden incapacitation of mariners on vessels. These 
conditions can be the

[[Page 56999]]

root cause of a maritime mishap. The NTSB, in their report on the 2003 
collision of the Staten Island ferry ANDREW J. BARBERI, determined that 
the assistant captain's unexplained incapacitation was a causal factor 
in the casualty, resulting in the deaths of 10 passengers and injuries 
to 70 others. The report recommended that the Coast Guard review 
several issues in the merchant mariner physical and medical evaluation 
process. The proposed NVIC is a critical component of the Coast Guard's 
response to the NTSB report.

Does this change current practices?

    The information contained in the proposed NVIC does not change 
current Coast Guard practices with respect to the physical and medical 
evaluation process. Rather, it puts the current practices into writing, 
making them transparent for all to see and promoting their consistent 
application. As such, it is not anticipated that the proposed NVIC will 
result in significantly higher rates of disqualification for mariners, 
nor in increased processing time for credential applications with 
physical and/or medical issues. To the contrary, as explained above, 
the Coast Guard expects the process to be fairer and less subjective, 
and we anticipate a reduction in application processing time, because 
all parties will know precisely what information is needed at the 
outset of the application process.

How does the proposed NVIC differ from the current NVIC 2-98?

    The current NVIC 2-98 defines approximately forty-seven medical 
conditions as potentially disqualifying, but provides specific guidance 
for only two of those conditions. The proposed NVIC has a more 
extensive list of medical conditions and guidance on how to address the 
Coast Guard's safety concerns with respect to those conditions.

What are the contents of the proposed NVIC?

    The guidance in the proposed NVIC has been developed by Coast Guard 
medical officers in consultation with MERPAC and experienced maritime 
community medical practitioners. The proposed NVIC reflects a synthesis 
of their recommendations, regulatory requirements, and the 
recommendations of leaders of other Federal transportation modes as to 
appropriate medical and physical standards.
    Enclosure (1) of the proposed NVIC provides guidance on medical 
certification standards. It lists the standards that apply to 
applicants for each of the various types of credentials. Enclosure (2) 
provides guidance for determining if mariners are physically able to 
perform their duties. Enclosure (3) contains a list of potentially 
disqualifying medical conditions, medications and supplemental medical 
data to be submitted for medical review. Enclosure (4) contains 
guidance for evaluating vision and hearing. Enclosure (5) describes the 
medical review process.
    Once the Coast Guard has considered all comments and related 
material, we will publish a final, effective version of the NVIC for 
use as guidelines by the general public, mariners, and specifically, 
those professionals assessing the physical and medical condition of 
merchant mariners. The final, effective version of the NVIC will be 
posted on the electronic docket for this rulemaking as well as the NMC 
Web site at http://www.uscg.mil/hq/g-m/nmc/web/index.htm.

    Dated: September 21, 2006.
J.G. Lantz,
Director of National and International Standards, Assistant Commandant 
for Prevention.
[FR Doc. 06-8305 Filed 9-22-06; 4:33 pm]
BILLING CODE 4910-15-P