Validation of Merchant Mariners' Vital Information and Issuance of Coast Guard Merchant Mariner's Documents (MMDs)

The Coast Guard is finalizing one section of regulations 

previously published as an interim rule on January 6, 2004. The interim 

rule was published to enhance the application procedures for the 

Merchant Mariner Licensing and Documentation program, which were 

necessary to improve maritime safety and promote the national security 

interest of the United States, but was never published as a final rule. 

The Coast Guard is finalizing the one remaining section of the interim 

rule that has remained unfinalized, which is a statement of the purpose 

of the rules in this part.

DATES: This final rule is effective June 28, 2012.

ADDRESSES: Comments and material received from the public, as well as 

documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, 

are part of docket USCG-2003-14500, and are available for inspection or 

copying at the Docket Management Facility (M-30), U.S. Department of 

Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New 

Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., 

Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. You may also find this 

docket on the Internet by going to, 

inserting USCG-2003-14500 in the ``Enter Keyword or ID'' box, and then 

clicking ``Search.''

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions on this rule, 

call or email Mr. Gerald Miante, Maritime Personnel Qualifications 

Division, Coast Guard; telephone 202-372-1407, email If you have questions on viewing the docket, 

call Renee V. Wright, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone 




Table of Contents for Preamble

I. Abbreviations

II. Regulatory History

III. Basis and Purpose

IV. Background

V. Discussion of Comments and Changes

VI. Regulatory Analyses

    A. Regulatory Planning and Review

    B. Small Entities

    C. Assistance for Small Entities

    D. Collection of Information

    E. Federalism

    F. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    G. Taking of Private Property

    H. Civil Justice Reform

    I. Protection of Children

    J. Indian Tribal Governments

    K. Energy Effects

    L. Technical Standards

    M. Environment

I. Abbreviations

Sec.  Section symbol

CFR Code of Federal Regulations

FR Federal Register

MMD Merchant Mariner's Document

NMC National Maritime Center

REC Regional Examination Center

RFA Regulatory Flexibility Act

TSA Transportation Security Administration

TWIC Transportation Worker Identification Credential

U.S.C. U.S. Code

II. Regulatory History

    On June 16, 2011, we published a notice of intent with request for 

comments titled ``Validation of Merchant Mariners' Vital Information 

and Issuance of Coast Guard Merchant Mariner's Documents (MMDs)'' in 

the Federal Register (76 FR 35173). We received no comments on the 

notice. No public meeting was requested and none was held.

III. Basis and Purpose

    On January 6, 2004, the Coast Guard published in the Federal 

Register (69 FR 526) an interim rule with request for comments. The 

interim rule described enhancements to the application procedures for 

the Merchant Mariner Licensing and Documentation program, which were 

necessary to improve maritime safety and promote the national security 

interests of the United States. However, subsequent rulemakings have 

consolidated the majority of the application procedures within Coast 

Guard regulations and therefore have either revoked or revised the 

majority of the 2004 interim rule's provisions. As a result, the Coast 

Guard is finalizing the single remaining section that has not been 

addressed in subsequent rulemakings.

    The most recent significant rulemaking documents addressing the 

interim rule provisions are as follows \1\: ((1) Implementation of the 

1995 Amendments to the International Convention on Standards of 

Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, 

Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking [Docket No. USCG-2004-17914] 

(75 FR 13715); (2) Large Passenger Vessel Crew Requirements, Final Rule 

[USCG-2007-27761] (74 FR 47729); (3) Crewmember Identification 

Documents, Final Rule [Docket No. USCG-2007-28648] (74 FR 19135); (4) 

Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) Implementation 

in the Maritime Sector; Hazardous Materials Endorsement for a 

Commercial Driver's License, Final Rule, [Docket Nos. TSA-2006-24191; 

USCG-2006-24196] (74 FR 13114); (5) Consolidation of Merchant Mariner 

Qualification Credentials, Final Rule [Docket No. USCG-2006-24371] (74 

FR 11196); (6) Maritime Identification Credentials, Notice of 

acceptable identification credentials; phased cancellation [Docket No. 

USCG-2006-24189] (74 FR 2865); and (7) Training and Service 

Requirements for Merchant Marine Officers, Final Rule [Docket No. USCG-

2006-26202] (73 FR 52789).



    \1\ To find all the rulemaking documents associated with the 

rulemakings listed here, you can view each rulemaking's docket on


IV. Background

    The one section of the January 6, 2004, interim rule that has 

remained unfinalized is 46 CFR 12.01-1(a)(1): Purpose of rules in this 

part. This paragraph sets forth the purpose of the rules in Part 12 as 

a means for determining and verifying the identity, citizenship, 

nationality, and professional qualifications an applicant must possess 

to be eligible for certification to serve on merchant vessels of the 

United States. The Coast Guard is finalizing this one remaining section 

of the interim rule.

V. Discussion of Comments and Changes

    No comments were received. As a result, no changes were made.

VI. Regulatory Analyses

    We developed this rule after considering numerous statutes and 

executive orders related to rulemaking. Below we summarize our analyses 

based on 14 of these statutes or executive orders.

A. Regulatory Planning and Review

    Executive Orders 12866 (``Regulatory Planning and Review'') and 

13563 (``Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review'') direct agencies 

to assess the costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if 

regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize 

net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public 

health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). Executive 

Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and 

benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting 


    This final rule is not a significant regulatory action under 

section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, 

and does not require an assessment of potential costs and benefits 

under section 6(a)(3) of that Order. The Office of Management and 

Budget has not reviewed it under that Order.

    This final rule is intended to finalize 46 CFR 12.01-1(a)(1), which 

is the one remaining section of regulations previously published as an 

interim rule on January 6, 2004, that has not already been finalized. 

That section is a statement of the purpose of the rules in part 12. 

Since this final rule does not actually modify the statement of the 

purpose in the referenced part, there are no costs to the merchant 

marine industry and in particular the mariners.

B. Small Entities

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), we have 

considered whether this rule will have a significant economic impact on 

a substantial number of small entities. The term ``small entities'' 

comprises small businesses, not-for-profit organizations that are 

independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their fields, 

and governmental jurisdictions with populations of less than 50,000. 

This rulemaking, which finalizes a lawfully promulgated interim rule 

and changes prefatory text only, does not require a general notice of 

proposed rulemaking and, therefore, is exempt from the analysis 

requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. 5 U.S.C. 604.

C. Assistance for Small Entities

    Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement 

Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-121), we offered to assist small 

entities in understanding the rule so that they could better evaluate 

its effects on them and participate in the rulemaking. If the rule 

would affect your small business, organization, or governmental 

jurisdiction and you have questions concerning its provisions or 

options for compliance, please consult Gerald P. Miante, Personnel 

Qualifications Division, Coast Guard, telephone 202-372-1407, email The Coast Guard will not retaliate against 

small entities that question or complain about this rule or any policy 

or action of the Coast Guard.

    Small businesses may send comments on the actions of Federal 

employees who enforce, or otherwise determine compliance with, Federal 

regulations to the Small Business and Agriculture Regulatory 

Enforcement Ombudsman and the Regional Small Business Regulatory 

Fairness Boards. The Ombudsman evaluates these actions annually and 

rates each agency's responsiveness to small business. If you wish to 

comment on actions by employees of the Coast Guard, call 1-888-REG-FAIR 


D. Collection of Information

    This rule calls for no new collection of information under the 

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520).

E. Federalism

    A rule has federalism implications under Executive Order 13132, 

Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on the States, on the 

relationship between the national government and the States, or on the 

distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of 


    We have evaluated this rule under Executive Order 13132 and have 

determined that although the rule is preemptive of state law or 

regulation, it does not have a substantial direct effect on the States, 

on the relationship between the national government and the States, or 

on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various 

levels of government. It is well settled that States may not regulate 

in categories reserved for regulation by the Coast Guard. It is also 

well settled that all of the categories covered in 46 U.S.C. 3306, 

3703, 7101, and 8101 (design, construction, alteration, repair, 

maintenance, operation, equipping, personnel qualification, and manning 

of vessels) are within fields foreclosed from regulation by the States. 

See United States v. Locke, 529 U.S. 89, 120 S.Ct. 1135 (2000). 

Congress granted to the Coast Guard the authority to regulate the 

issuance of merchant mariners' documents, including the process by 

which a mariner's qualifications are determined and verified for 

specific ratings. Because States may not promulgate rules within this 

category, this rule does not have federalism implications under 

Executive Order 13132.

F. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1531-1538) 

requires Federal agencies to assess the effects of their discretionary 

regulatory actions. In particular, the Act addresses actions that may 

result in the expenditure by a State, local, or tribal government, in 

the aggregate, or by the private sector of $100,000,000 (adjusted for 

inflation) or more in any one year. This rule will not result in such 

an expenditure.

G. Taking of Private Property

    This rule will not cause a taking of private property or otherwise 

have taking implications under Executive Order 12630, Governmental 

Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected Property 


H. Civil Justice Reform

    This rule meets applicable standards in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) 

of Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform, to minimize litigation, 

eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden.

I. Protection of Children

    We have analyzed this rule under Executive Order 13045, Protection 

of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks. This rule 

is not an economically significant rule and does not create an 

environmental risk to health or risk to safety that may 

disproportionately affect children.

J. Indian Tribal Governments

    This rule does not have tribal implications under Executive Order 

13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, 

because it does not have a substantial direct effect on one or more 

Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and 

Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities 

between the Federal Government and Indian tribes.

K. Energy Effects

    We have analyzed this rule under Executive Order 13211, Actions 

Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, 

Distribution, or Use. We have determined that it is not a ``significant 

energy action'' under that order because it is not a ``significant 

regulatory action'' under Executive Order 12866 and is not likely to 

have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use 

of energy. The Administrator of the Office of Information and 

Regulatory Affairs has not designated it as a significant energy 

action. Therefore, it does not require a Statement of Energy Effects 

under Executive Order 13211.

L. Technical Standards

    The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (15 U.S.C. 272 

note) directs agencies to use voluntary consensus standards in their 

regulatory activities unless the agency provides Congress, through the 

Office of Management and Budget, with an explanation of why using these 

standards would be inconsistent with applicable law or otherwise 

impractical. Voluntary consensus standards are technical standards 

(e.g., specifications of materials, performance, design, or operation; 

test methods; sampling procedures; and related management systems 

practices) that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus 

standards bodies.

    This rule does not use technical standards. Therefore, we did not 

consider the use of voluntary consensus standards.

M. Environment

    We have analyzed this rule under Department of Homeland Security 

Management Directive 023-01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, which 

guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental 

Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have concluded that this 

action is one of a category of actions that do not individually or 

cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This 

rule is categorically excluded under section 2.B.2, figure 2-1, 

paragraphs (34)(a) and (c) of the Instruction. This final rule involves 

regulations that are editorial and concern qualification of maritime 

personnel. An environmental analysis checklist and a categorical 

exclusion determination are available in the docket where indicated 



List of Subjects in 46 CFR Part 12


    Penalties, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Seamen.


    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard amends 

46 CFR part 12 as follows:





1. The authority citation for Part 12 continues to read as follows:


    Authority: 31 U.S.C. 9701; 46 U.S.C. 2101, 2103, 2110, 7301, 

7302, 7503, 7505, 7701, and 70105; Department of Homeland Security 

Delegation No. 0170.1.




2. Amend Sec.  12.01-1 by revising paragraph (a)(1) to read as follows:



Sec.  12.01-1  Purpose of rules in this part.


    (a) * * *

    (1) A comprehensive and adequate means of determining and verifying 

the identity, citizenship, nationality, and professional qualifications 

an applicant must possess to be eligible for certification to serve on 

merchant vessels of the United States;

* * * * *