Merchant Mariner Credentials: Temporary Procedures
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated the coastlines of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. The Regional Examination Center at New Orleans, which provided credentialing services to approximately 29,000 mariners in those three states and 14 percent of mariners nationwide, was completely flooded, destroying vital records and equipment and rendering the facility temporarily inoperable. Mariners in the area may have lost their credentials in the storm and subsequent flooding, or may be in possession of credentials that either have expired or will soon be expiring. The Coast Guard has previously implemented temporary measures to relieve the hardship on mariners in the Gulf Coast area who need replacement documents. With new temporary authority granted by Congress, the Coast Guard is implementing the additional measure of extending the expiration dates for the credentials of eligible mariners until February 28, 2006.