Strictly speaking, this is not always the case. Many OSV's are now multi-certificated, (I,Freight, etc. as well as L). Regardless of what Sub-Chapter they operate under, on a voyage of greater than 600 miles (berth to berth) in the case of Subchapter L, the COI raises the number of crew, and regulations call for a 3 watch system. This is nothing new.
The discrepancy and confusion that exists may ensue from the fact that when manning is increased on these vessels, the COI often states something to the effect of, "1 Master and 3 Licensed Mates" not, "1 Master and 1 Chief Mate, 1 2nd Mate, 1 3rd Mate, etc."
In these and any instance, the NMC is evaluating mariners according to the CFR's, nothing more nothing less. JDCAVO has already made this and the following abundantly clear:
“Chief Mate” is defined in 46CFR 10.107 as “the deck officer next in rank to the master and upon whom the command of the vessel will fall in the event of incapacity of the master.” In the event that a vessel’s Certificate of Inspection does not require that a licensed chief mate be assigned, service credit will be granted to the officer onboard who serves the chief mate’s function."
If you don't like it write your Congressman, and leave the NMC out of it. Nothing has changed with regards to qualifications for Master AGT, all courses, assessments, exams, qualifying time, and tonnage requirements remain the same, for everyone.
So I don't know as to what "short cut" is being spoken of, but if people are submitting fraudulent sea-time, ie for a capacity in which they did not serve...well that's something else entirely.
The presumption that each and every Unlimited Master should be naturally imbued with the knowledge, and ability to command "ANY" vessel afloat.
ummm...I personally don't think that's realistic. I doubt any of us, with the possible exception of "Richard8000milesaway" meet that particular standard.