Lost or destroyed records/How to overcome?

First off, I would like to thank everyone who has read my post and taken the time to offer help to me as I have gone through the licensing process. This is an awesome bunch of people hanging out here. These last three months of taking courses and working through things with NMC have resulted in my AB Unlimited being reinstated after 15 plus years. Thank you all for your advice and support. If I could buy you a beer I would!

As I get ready to head out to parts unknown. I am still struggling with the bigger picture. My ultimate goal is in due time, obtain a Captain/Mates license.

The problem I am facing is. NMC, nor the REC center down in NOLA can find copies of the two sea time letters turned in when applying for my AB Unlimited back in 1986. The letters reflected over 1080 days working on vessels of 300GT or better in the GOM oilfields. The boat companies down in Louisiana are both long gone.

I need some help understanding the reasoning as to why [U]I can[/U] get credit for sea time for the [U]renewal[/U] of my AB Unlimited, but the same consideration or at least some [U]consideration will not be given[/U] when seeking a [U]new issue[/U] Captains/Mate license?

So far I have been told by NMC phone operators that it is because of discrepancies and fraud originating out of the REC’s that has created this requirement for new licenses and for the creation of the NMC for that matter? I don’t see any previous post on this issue in the gcaptain forums.

Any one having a more detailed understanding of NMC policy or can point me to the right CFR to read for myself would be very much appreciated.

Also anyone understanding the appeals process or having been through it. Your experience or guidance would be much appreciated as well. I know that to appeal you first need to file an application. I am not ready to do that but am trying to formulate a plan so that when I get my 90 days recent sea time requirement together, I can move correctly and properly.

There has got to be more than a few of us who have been in this spot with the lost files from Hurricane Katrina or whatever happened to them?

The thought of having to work for 4-6 years to get enough sea time to obtain a captain/mate license is very discouraging at fifty years of age. A couple of years are understood due to lack of recent experience, but to get zero consideration for time served is like being hosed in the face by a fire hose. The NMC has to have some way of cleaning things up with out just totally disregarding a man’s life work and experience. I didn’t do anything wrong or commit any fraud. I am just a man trying to get a fair shake from the men and women who serve our great country of which I am a citizen!


Playing devil’s advocate, it seems reasonable that the Coast Guard put the onus on you to come up with documentation on your end; or, at least a reasonably exhaustive attempt to verify your sea-time.

I am guessing that 1080 days must have taken six or more years to
accumulate. Are there ex-crew members who can attest to you being onboard? Tax returns? Pictures? Letters? Sworn statements of relatives?


*congrats on getting your AB reinstated after 15+ years…considering all that is presently happening at the NMC that is quite an accomplishment!!

*did lifeboat and RFPNW come with the reissue??

*who were the 2 companies that you worked for in the 80’s that you need letters for…if they were assimilated by another company sometimes there are records??

*would hope that after the “smoke clears” and you log some time on your new document that the USCG might give you some additional consideration for “lost time” in regards for upgrading to mate!!

anyway keep at them and GOOD LUCK!!

Thanks seadawg and PMC…:slight_smile:

Yeppers on the lifeboatman and RFPNW “look out duties”. Took the assesments training also via simulator so get the 180 days of on board training and will complete RFPNW.

A couple ideas I have thought of were trying to contact Social Security or IRS see what they might be able to provide as far as employment proof at least during those years. Also was able to find the Vice President of one of the companies Pelham Marine (Houma) via his resume being online due to his working as a public official down in Houma. I took a chance and called him. Was nice enough, but he said he had no records or knew of no way to get any. I never new him or anything so getting him to write a little something is probably asking to much of him. The other company was Bengal Marine out of Morgan City. Both companies according to Louisana corporate records went out of busines in the later 90’s. Acutally a little wrinkle was the last boat I worked on for Pelham the Louise Pelham was bought by the Navy two years after I walked of it in 1988 to go work in the Bahamas. While working down in the islands the Louise Pelham became part of our fleet of research vessels and is still there under the name Range Rover. Last month I flew over their to see my old boss and check on work and a possible sea time letter from them. But it is a different defense contractor and the personel records for the old contractor are not available. Not sure how you would go about getting info from that particular situation that far back. The company was RCA Service company and GE? As far as friends go, those people are long gone also. I do still have friends from my days in the islands. But not sure how they might be able to help.

.and yes PMC ultimatly it is my career and in the future will keep copies of everthing.

Just a W-2 will not be enough, since you could have been working as a cook for all a W-2 tells. But a W-2 plus a signed letter from the Captain(s) on the boat during those years could help. Signed letters from other unlicensed crew members are not usually accepted.

With the exception of a VERY small number of files, all the Nola hurricane files were cleaned up and shipped to a warehouse in the DC area. Of course any documents in water based ink are very hard to read if not unreadable. But all Xerox copies should be OK in your file.
I assume from your original post, that since you are reinstating an AB from over 15 years ago you would NOT have had a current file in any REC since after 7 years of sitting on the shelf, they would purge the inactive files and send them to the regional Federal Records Center. You should call the REC and ask them to retrieve your file from the Records Center and see if the 1986 letter is there. Of course if they just looked at your 1986 letter and gave it back to you, then you have a different problem.

[[I]quote=rwells78;17881]…With the exception of a VERY small number of files, all the Nola hurricane files were cleaned up and shipped to a warehouse in the DC area…[/quote][/I]

Richard was at the REC at the time and is correct. Most of the REC records were recovered and restored. There are times when “the records were lost in the hurricane…” can sound a lot like “…the dog ate my homework.”