An interim rule published on January 13 in the Federal Register requires applicants for mariners’ licenses and certificates of registry to be fingerprinted, submit to a criminal record review and provide evidence of their identity before those credentials will be issued. This rule brings the regulations that apply to applicants for merchant mariners
’ documents and licenses into close alignment to applicants for certificates of registry. It applies to all applicants for original licenses and certificates of registry as well as renewals for continuity, duplicates, and raises of grade. Licensed or registered officers are now required to appear in person to be fingerprinted, undergo a criminal record review and have their identity verified prior to issuance of a license or certificate of registry. The purpose of this rule is to amend the regulations and strengthen the security of the licensing process by increasing the likelihood that licenses and certificates of registry are issued only to eligible mariners. The regulations apply to any application received on or after January 13.