The National Maritime Center (NMC) receives more than 50,000 applications annually for Merchant Mariner Credentials (MMCs) from mariners. On average, more than 50% of those applications are incomplete or missing information, which cause delays in processing and frustration for mariners.
A total of 66,796 “awaiting information” (AI) reasons were issued in 2021 for MMC applications. Many of these applications have multiple AI reasons. The five most common AI reasons are:
1. Certificates and documents are missing or incorrect
- Missing training/qualification certificates.
- Missing proof of citizenship.
- Unacceptable certificates or documents.
- Suspended or revoked driver’s licenses.
2. Incomplete/incorrect application
- Signature and date problems.
- Checkboxes on application not completed.
- Oath not taken or missing signatures.
- Application unclear regarding which credential is sought.
3. Sea service documentation
- Sea service letters.
- Small vessel sea service form.
- Tankerman: Proof of transfers/service/recency.
- Rating Forming Part of an Engineering Watch (RFPEW) and Rating Forming Part of a Navigational Watch (RFPNW) Service while in Training.
- Fees not paid or incorrect.
5. Drug Tests
- Missing drug screen from the application package.
- Incomplete documentation.
- Incorrect drug screen used.
- Drug screen too old..
What can you do to prevent delays in issuance?
- Apply at least 90 days in advance. Remember, for renewals you can apply up to eight months early with no change between your expiration and renewal dates.
- Use the Regional Exam Centers and Monitoring Units to review your application before submission. They are available for appointments in person or over the phone.
- Use the tools and resources on the NMC website. The application acceptance checklist and evaluator checklists are valuable tools.
- For general questions, contact the NMC Customer Service Center by email: [email protected] or calling 1-888-IASKNMC (427-5662).
Capt. Bradley W. Clare
U.S. Coast Guard National Maritime Center