The Coast Guard recently published two Federal Register notices relating to physical examination requirements for merchant mariners, based on National Transportation Safety Board recommendations issued following the catastrophic 2003 Staten Island ferry marine casualty in New York Harbor.
The first notice announces and seeks public comment on a draft Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular on medical and physical evaluation guidelines for merchant mariner credentials. The public can submit comments on the draft through November 27, 2006.
The second notice announces that the Coast Guard will require pilots of certain vessels to provide a copy of their annual physical examinations to the Coast Guard. The requirement applies to all first class pilots on vessels greater than 1,600 gross registered tons and other individuals who serve as pilots on certain types of vessels.
Among the National Transportation Safety Board conclusions were recommendations that the Coast Guard review its medical evaluation process and that pilots be required to submit the results of their annual physical examinations to the Coast Guard for review.