(WASHINGTON) — The Coast Guard assistant commandant for prevention policy has published Marine Safety Information Bulletin 11-21 “Reporting Sexual Assaults on U.S. Vessels” to emphasize that sexual assault is a crime, and when the assault occurs aboard a U.S. documented vessel, the Coast Guard must be notified.
While the law requires the master or individual in charge of a U.S. documented vessel to make that report, too often sexual assaults go unreported. To overcome this challenge, the Coast Guard encourages all victims and witnesses of sexual assaults on board U.S. vessels to report directly to the Coast Guard.
Reports can be made via phone to the National Command Center at (202) 372-2100, which is available 24/7 to field reports that initiate investigations. To encourage more reporting, the Coast Guard Criminal Investigative Service (CGIS) has also established a website and mobile app that enables anyone to report criminal offenses directly to the Coast Guard. These reports can be made anonymously or with attribution.
The Coast Guard will respond to any reports of sexual assault with trained investigators and will hold offenders accountable through criminal prosecution and, or, actions against Coast Guard-issued merchant mariner credentials (MMCs).
If the master or individual in charge of a U.S. documented vessel makes an attributed report of a sexual offense through CGIS Tips, including providing detailed contact information for further follow-up, this will satisfy the reporting requirements of 46 U.S. Code § 10104(a). Sexual offenses, which are defined in 18 U.S. Code Chapter 109A, include sexual abuse and abusive sexual contact.
For more information about CGIS, or to submit a tip via the web, click here.
– Coast Guard Maritime Commons