NMC Disaster

Submitted some STCW refresher course certificates to the REC in March. They were sent to the NMC April 7. I just received notice that it takes 90 days from the time it gets to PQEB to be processed. Is there only one person working there. Is it just me or does anybody else think they get evaluated on how many applications they can process and not how many that are successfully approve. You forgot your middle initial, oops, fail, back of the line sucker. Score another one processed.

I’ve been saying that NMC is a failed program with totally unacceptable performance for years.


NMC is paid for by your taxes, complain to the people that represent you.


Doesn’t do a bit of good. Most other government programs are not any better. To the politicians it’s just normal.


My renewal was approved to print almost 2 weeks ago and I still haven’t seen any movement on that front yet. Just sitting here waiting without a valid license to sail on…

1 Like

I believe you can apply for a new MMC up to one year before expiration of the current. You can have them book ended, so old expires on date x and new starts the next day. The courses you generally need to renew are good for 5 years. In general I have tried to get all known required course work completed mid cycle, and then apply 12-9 months out, whatever the max is, to avoid issues caused by any disruption or inefficiency. Another helpfull hint. For those with a MMC that requires domestic and stcw components where the stcw classes are sometimes difficult to get into or have limited availability. You may be able to apply, test and get a domestic only license. Then when you get the last few classes or sign offs resubmit without any fee to add the stcw. This may help someone who is delaying testing because of class availability, but has all other required docs to upgrade. I know that info is not helpful now, but for others following it is a steadfast plan to achieve success. Personally I have not had any issue with the timeline. It has always taken whatever the nmc website is advertising for stats to renew a unlim tonnage with, stcw, pilotage, tankerman. That is with no kickback letters for missing data.
Another renewal issue mariners often struggle with is passports. The easiest and best method to avoid that long lead time is to apply for a second passport. This leaves the current valid passport in your hand. Second passports can be applied for at the post office without any special letter from employer or immediate travel plans. The second passport is only valid for 5 years. Once you receive it. You can send away your regular 10 yr passport for the normal renewal process with no concern that it could take a long time. Downside to this is paying twice.

Good Luck.


This is the way. Why wait until the last minute when you can start the process so far ahead of time? I have never had any problems because I make sure everything is submitted early, and if there is a problem, there is plenty of time to get it corrected. Good tip on the passport. I would not want to miss a work opportunity because I had a delay in either of these important documents being issued.


In the past two years Covid risks, school closures, and limitations have made attending required courses difficult.

Covid has also given the worthless NMC legitimate disruptions, and illegitimate excuses to do nothing.


My renewal has been ready to be evaluated since april 11th, still no movement. Hoping it hurrys up my license is up in July. My last interaction with the NMC was in November for an increase in scope and that took about 2 months in total from submission until sticker was in my book.

1 Like

Those 5 year passports are “no fee” but are supposed to be used only for work related travel.

I think the no-fee passport for mariners is no more. The US Code still has a provision for a no-fee passport for mariners (22 US Code 214) but I know that SIU has issued an update that describes having to pay twice:

Anyone looking at this path should get a hold of the special issuance agency and verify.


If your theory regarding compensation was true, it wouldn’t take 90 days to process an application.

My theory is if they can just reject it with the minimum of effort and they get credit for processing an application then that is what they will do instead of contacting you and trying to clarify any problem. How many times have people heard there was some simple problem and than had to wait a week to 10 days to find out it was something simple and than resubmitted their application only to go back to the end of the line and have to wait another 3 months for someone to look at it again


@AllTugNoRub you should check in and ask for an update. I was awaiting PQEB from mid-March to late April so I reached out to ask what was going on and the very nice business day my status changed from awaiting PQEB to being evaluated for PQEB. I assume I got forgotten about at the bottom of a pile or something like that, I don’t know, and maybe my status change the next day was just a coincidence, but I’d like to think I helped things along by reaching out. Hard tellin’ not knowin’.

The Coast Guard requires the following additional information from you: STCW. An explanation letter was mailed to you on May 18, 2022. If you do not respond within 90 days your application will be withdrawn. See. What did I say

I called today instead of waiting for the letter. They couldn’t figure out why it was being held up. Finally they said they were not sure I wanted my 500 ton Mate added to my license even though it said on my application 500 ton Mate. She told me I needed to send a letter stating I wanted it added. I asked can I email it and she said yes. So instead of the evaluator calling or emailing me and finishing my application. I would have had to wait for the letter send back a response and wait another 30 + days to get back to the head of the line again.

I do know they could care less about us that need those documents back in a timely manner just so we can coninue working, after all they have their goverment job and benifits
We need to go back to the way it was when a document and license was good for life
Now TWIC is the same many monhs wait on a renewal and a passport forget it, if you live in washington you can’t even get a date at a post office with in 120 miles of the house

Licenses were never “good for life,” MMDs (z-cards) were, but Congress ended that after the Exxon Valdez as part of the same bill that added mandatory drug-testing.


My renewal was listed as ready to print on the 10th.

Contacted by both chat and email and was told to expect it it the mail any day.

I called yesterday and asked how is it possible to expect it any day if it hasn’t been printed yet?

She said their printer is broken and the haven’t printed anything for a bit. Was told luckily 10 days from the 16th.

Would be nice if they could have released that info publicly.

It’s not really a “printer.” It’s the same machine used for passports to produce unalterable laminated pages.