Government shutdown delays


The only change, now over 10 years old, was to have the report of the doctor reviewed by a medical staff, not the non-medical personnel of an REC.


If it works for doctors to issue the DOT medical cards to hundreds of thousands of truck drivers passing each other at 70 mph, it will work for mariners sweeping and mopping and chipping and painting on ships.

If it works for doctors to issue medical cards to Canadian mariners, it will work for US mariners. If it works for UK mariners, it will work for Americans.

All the 3rd rate doctors on the staff at the NMC have to go on is what the mariner’s examining physician puts on the form. The USCG accepts physicals done by any licensed doctor or Physician’s Assistant.

It’s also interesting to note that the UK seamen’s physical (the MCA ENG1 medical certificate) is considered the international gold standard. The UK accepts Canadian, Panamanian, and many other countries medical certificates as an equivalent. However, the MCA refuses to accept USCG medical cards as an equivalent, because it’s not considered a “full physical.” Another difference is that Transport Canada and the MCA only accept physicals by doctors on their own list of Approved Doctors.

Why would we think that the same people who saddled us with this useless, time consuming, aggravating and expensive TWIC card, an and incompetent and understaffed NMC sequestered under guard in the hills of West Virginia, are able to “add value” tp physicals done by local doctors?

It is precisely because the medical staff and managememt at NMC is so inept, lazy, dilatory, and unproductive, that the US should at least move to system like Canada, where the examining physician issues a temporary medical card right on the spot.


Does anyone know if Medical Cards are still being issued? Somebody said they were still reviewing medical apps but I don’t see anything in writing anywhere about that.


Update – Mitigation Efforts Due to Lapse in Fiscal Year 2019 Appropriations and Partial Government Shutdown To mitigate the impact caused by the partial lapse in appropriations and shutdown of National Maritime Center (NMC) operations, the following actions are being taken:
• Merchant Mariner Credentials (MMC) (National Endorsements only) and Medical Certificates that expired in December 2018 or expire in January 2019 are extended as valid until March 31, 2019. Print the attached letter and carry it with your credential.


So the answer is no. But print and carry the letter of extension.


And if you’re sailing on a non exempt vessel outside the boundary line this is worthless as it doesn’t extended the STCW medical, just the US domestic.


Yea I wonder how this works for, say, Jones Act tankers.

(asking for a friend…)


That depends on whether you want to be legal or not. You would probably get away with it but if anything happened you’d be hung in the hearing (as would the company and Master).


It’s up to the company. They’re going to have to figure out what the hell to do about all of this.

(it really is for a friend!)


This is already affecting some mariners and companies, but many owners are not going to care.

I’ve already heard one owner say that in the unlikely event they get caught, it’s just a small fine.


This is from the Medical Cert FAQ on the NMC website:

“After March 24, 2019, a person may not employ or engage any individual on a national voyage
that is required to hold an MMC unless that individual maintains a current medical certificate”

If this goes on that long I wonder what will happen then.


The Senate has been sent home for a long weekend. So do not expect anything to move until they return, even if DT decides to declare an emergency and appropriate funds from Army Corps of Eng and FEMA as has been mentioned.

You can still call your reps. The Capitol Switchboard is: 202-224-3121. Be civil and jot down your thoughts ahead of time so you can express yourself clearly. A staffer will answer the phone and I think it’s the best way to make your thoughts known because it takes a long time to reply to emails.

If this goes on it will cause a lot of ripple effects. the big companies and unions won’t be so quick to turn a blind eye to expired medicals. If you are like me and within six months of expiration get that 719k done anyway and in the queue so they can work on it when the NMC returns to work.


I think this budget impass is going to last at least another two weeks.

Trump is willing to compromise, but Nancy refuses. 1.6 or 5.7? Responsible people just split the difference and move on. No one can accept total defeat. If Trump did that, his balls would be in Nancy’s purse and he’d accomplish nothing until he gets defeated in 2020. Blame is starting to shift to intransigent Chuck and Nancy, just like it did last time. The longer it lasts, the more it plays into Trump’s hands. This will get him re-elected.

Tell your Comgressmen to just split the difference and reopen government.


I think chances are good that he will declare this national emergency and pull money from other budgets. If he does this, he will face massive legal challenges. He will also face massive challenges from the hundreds of private landowners who will not lie down and surrender their property without a fight. This was in the Brownsville newspaper today.

The first 750-odd miles of border fence were built largely on public land. This 200-odd mile section he wants to build is mostly going to be in the Rio Grande Valley and is going to be on private property. I have family in Texas and even those Texans who voted for DT are not keen about this wall.

Interesting times.


I agree that he will declare an emergency, it is.

But that does not mean that he can let Nancy put his balls in her purse. He’s still not going to reopen government until chuck and Nancy compromise and provide some funding. He can’t.


Oh absolutely. Because that’s really what this is all about. After all, why else take funding from real disasters in order to fund a project that won’t see the first shovel turned until at least 2020. EDPL is not a swift process.

Anyway, he said he’d sign off on federal backpay, and on opening the gov if he gets his declaration. Let’s see what happens over the weekend. It’s not like I’m working.

Time to fade out again, lest i incur some sort of banishment.


See 46 CFR 15.401(c ).

I am not sure the part about March 24, 2019, is accurate. NMC added that part. The correct date is probably January 24, 2019. The medical certificate regulations took effect on January 24, 2014, and by January 24, 2019, any MMC issued without a medical certificate will have expired.


I did see the January date somewhere else, but in the FAQ, it says March 2017 and March 2019. That should add to the confusion…


Nor is it like being on vacation, since you need to mindful of expenses, and ready to go to work on less than a day’s notice. This is pretty much what my days are like waiting out the lock-out:


Speaking of a purse, the U.S. Constitution maintains separation of powers in part by giving the power of the purse to congress, not the president. That’s why the Iran-Contra scandal was a scandal.

All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other Bills.”
— U.S. Constitution, Article I, section 7, clause 1

“No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.”
— U.S. Constitution, Article I, section 9, clause 7