The following is text of a news release from the National Maritime Center (NMC):
(MARTINSBURG, W.Va.) — This notice provides guidance to training providers, designated examiners (DEs), and qualified assessors (QAs). On March 30, the Coast Guard published a Marine Safety Information Bulletin (MSIB 08-20, Change 1) announcing several updates based on the COVID-19 pandemic.
The National Maritime Center thanks you for your updates and responses. Training providers are taking a full range of actions including closures, reduced operations, and plans for alternative delivery of knowledge-based materials. To assist you in your continued decision-making we offer the following for consideration:
• Course approvals: All course approvals that expire between Jan. 1, 2020, and July 31, 2020, are extended for six months from their expiration date. The NMC will not issue new approval documentation. We will update our internal systems to ensure course completion certificates continue to be accepted and that our website reflects an approved status. In order to manage long-term work at the NMC, all are encouraged to continue to submit original and renewal documentation in accordance with the direction provided on the Training and Assessment page of the NMC website.
• DEs and QAs: DEs and QAs whose approvals expire between March 1, 2020, and July 31, 2020, are extended until Oct. 31, 2020. This provides flexibility where submission of required materials is delayed due to COVID-19 impacts. In order to manage long-term work at the NMC, all are encouraged to continue to submit original and renewal documentation in accordance with original expiration dates. Details are available on the Training and Assessment page of the NMC website.
• Waivers: The NMC has no plans to waive training, assessments (knowledge or practical), or service requirements.
• Alternate training delivery: To request an alternative delivery method of knowledge-based materials, providers should submit a description of the systems and methods to be used, including how you establish the identity of participants and the specific courses, to NMCCourses@uscg.mil. Approved requests for alternate training delivery methods will be valid until June 30, 2020, and documented by e-mail only. No formal changes to the previously issued approval documentation will occur. A copy of the approval e-mail must be maintained with your course files for audit purposes. Those previously approved for a lesser period may use this bulletin to document an extension of that approval to June 30, 2020. All testing, assessments, and labs associated with those courses must be completed by Oct. 31, 2020.
• End of course examinations: The NMC is not currently changing the requirement for proctored examinations.
• Quality Standards Systems (QSS): Training providers should take this opportunity to evaluate their QSS and update that documentation accordingly. Specific consideration should be given to the various management controls needed to carry out the training mission during both normal and contingency operations.
While attempting to provide short-term temporary flexibilities to support the delivery of training, the overarching goal of fully trained and competent mariners safely plying their trade in the world’s marine transportation system remains fixed. Training providers should continue to address questions and concerns to NMCCourses@uscg.mil or (304) 433-3720.