Coast Guard posts Covid-19 mariner credentials update

Yesterday, the Coast Guard posted Change 4 to MSIB 08-20, titled “Covid-19 – Mariner Credentials,” which updates information on extensions to merchant mariner credentials, medical certificates and course approvals.The following significant changes are included in Change 4 to MSIB 08-20:

  • Merchant mariner credentials, both national and STCW, that expire between March 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2020, are extended. The credentials are extended to the earlier of June 30, 2021, or one year from the expiration date of the credential. This reflects the fact that our statutory authority to extend credentials is limited to one year.
  • In light of the recent closures of Regional Examination Centers to the public, approval to test letters and course approval certificates that expire between March 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2020, are extended to Oct. 1, 2021.


All mariners, ship owners and operators and providers of Coast Guard-approved training are encouraged to read MSIB 08-20, Change 4 carefully. While the Coast Guard has provided the extensions noted in the MSIB, mariners and training providers are strongly encouraged to fulfill the requirements and submit applications as early as possible in order to avoid a lapse in their credential or training approval. Similarly, training providers need to make every effort to submit their application early to avoid expiration of their current approval.

If you have questions, please contact the National Maritime Center by using the NMC’s online chat system available at, by emailing, or by calling 1-888-IASKNMC (472-5662).

The Coast Guard will continue to monitoring the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and will make the necessary adjustments to ensure the continuity of maritime transportation within the MTS.

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