U.S. - Crewmember Identification Documents - Final Rule

May 2009

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With effect from 28 May 2009 the U.S. Coast Guard will require each crewmember on a foreign commercial vessel en route to, or at, a U.S. port or place, or on a U.S. commercial vessel coming from a foreign port or place of departure to a U.S. port or place of destination, to carry and present upon demand an acceptable identification when in U.S. navigable waters. Vessel owners and operators are required to ensure that crewmembers comply with this requirement.

The rule implements a mandate of the Maritime Transportation Security Act 2002 and helps ensure that the Coast Guard can authoritatively identify crewmembers on vessels in U.S. navigable waters.

"U.S. navigable waters" includes a 12 nautical mile wide U.S. territorial sea as measured from the baseline, U.S. internal waters subject to tidal influence and certain U.S. internal waters not subject to tidal influence.

An exception applies to crewmembers and operators on a vessel bound for a U.S. port or place of destination under force majeure.

Acceptable identification means:

    (1) Passport;
    (2) U.S. Permanent Resident Card;
    (3) U.S. merchant mariner document;
    (4) U.S. merchant mariner credential;
    (5) Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) issued by the Transportation Security Administration under 49 CFR part 1572; or
    (6) Seafarer's Identification Document (SID) issued by or under the authority of the government of a country that has ratified the International Labour Organization Seafarers' Identity Documents Convention (Revised), 2003 (ILO 185), meeting all the requirements of ILO 185.

("Seamen's Books" issued by foreign governments under the Seafarers' Identity Document Convention, 1958 (ILO-108) are not acceptable identification - see para I of the preamble to the Rule for further explanation of the Coast Guard's rationale on this issue )

Failure to comply with these requirements could subject both crewmember and operator to a civil penalty of $25,000 per day for each day of violation. The Coast Guard may additionally take action to control the vessel including denying entry to port.

For further detail and background the Rule, published in the U.S. Federal Register of 28 April 2009, can be found at: http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/fedreg/a090428c.html