You received an “A.I.” letter from the National Maritime Center, but you can’t fulfill the request within the 90-day limit. What do you do?
Merchant mariners applying for credential renewals will sometimes receive a so-called “A.I.” letter requiring “Additional Information.” Often these requests are for medical test results or additional course work or sea time. But sometimes mariners find it difficult to meet the 90-day deadline. It may be because they are away at sea, or they can’t schedule a course or have a hard time getting an appointment with their medical specialist or a sleep clinic.
Many mariners don’t realize that they can request an extra month to provide the information, said Holly Chetta, a merchant mariner licensing consultant based in Louisiana.
“When the exceptional situation occurs, I request a one-month extension and, of course, provide a very good reason for the request for the extension,” Chetta said. “These have been granted for practically all cases.”
For example, one of her clients had surgery in the interim and was granted recovery time before the performance of the required test. The latest Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC), which governs mariner medical reviews, provides for the extra time.
One way to help prevent “A.I.” deadline problems is to work with a licensing consultant at the beginning of the renewal process, Chetta said. An experienced consultant usually can recognize potential issues with sea time, course work or medical ailments. Chetta does not send out the completed application until she’s pretty sure any “A.I.” request can be dealt with in 90 days.
“There are complexities that exist,” she said. “The consultant should be able to anticipate this type of situation and prevent it from occurring.”