Mariner Fails Marijuana Test, But Judge Rejects License Revocation

MaritimeProfessional.com
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
AMS logo

Administrative law judge rejects USCG license revocation action based on positive marijuana test result due to failure to randomly select in accordance with regulation 46 CFR Part 16. The circumstances, reported in an American Maritime Safety case summary, were as follows:

In USCG V. Terrell, No. 2013-0076 (September 6, 2013), Administrative Law Judge Bruce Tucker Smith rejected the United States Coast Guard's request for the revocation of USCG-issued Merchant Mariner's License (MML) notwithstanding the uncontested fact that the mariner had tested positive for marijuana in a employer-directed "random" test. ALJ Tucker's rationale for rejecting the license revocation was that the random selection of the mariner had not been conducted in accordance with 46 CFR Part 16.
 
Respondent J. Carwin Terrell was employed by Kathryn Rae Towing as a Captain aboard the M/V Shelley. The company directed Captain Terrell to submit to a urine specimen collection for drug testing purposes in order to satisfy its USCG-mandated random testing requirement.
 
Based on testimony from the certified specimen collector, ALJ Smith determined that urine specimen attributed to Captain Terrell was, in fact, is. In addition, based on the testimony of the Medical Review Officer and the Laboratory Director, ALJ Smith determined that Captain Terrell's urine specimen had tested positive for marijuana.   Nevertheless, ALJ Smith also found that Kathryn Rae Towing had failed to comply with its obligation to randomly select its crewmembers for testing by using a "scientifically valid method." 46 CFR Section 16.230.
 
The employer's Safety Director customarily used a random number generator to create a list of employees to be randomly tested. On the date in question, however, the Safety Director decided to supplement the list by testing additional personnel who happened to be working on the same vessels as those employees who had been selected. Specifically, the Safety Director testified that he had instructed the collection agent: "in addition to [testing] the people that were named ... whoever else was on the boat that was not on the list, just go ahead and do a random test on them also."
 
ALJ Smith found that Captain Terrell was not one of the individuals who had been randomly selected by the employer's random number generator but, rather, his selection was a result of the Safety Director's "personal intervention in the process." Consequently, the Coast Guard failed to establish that the test was conducted in accordance with 46 CFR Part 16.
 
ALJ Smith rejected the Coast Guard's argument that the marine employer's actions were "a good faith effort to follow the regulations," stating that the applicable regulations "make no provision for 'good faith' efforts as excusing noncompliance."
 
AMS' vessel-based random selection process is subject to annual audits by the United States Coast Guard, which has found the AMS process to be in compliance with 46 CFR Section 16.230.
 
For a copy of the USCG v. Terrell decision readers are invited to contact: ams@maritimesafety.org
 

Maritime Reporter July 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

Danos Fabrication Facility Creates 150 Jobs

Danos, a family owned oil and gas service company, announced plans to expand its fabrication capabilities, by opening a 120,000 square-foot fabrication facility in Amelia, La.

US’ Largest Floating Drydock Heads to Portland

The country’s largest floating drydock, the Vigorous, is headed for Portland this weekend. The drydock, a piece of equipment used to lift vessels as large as cruise ships out of the water,

Transocean Fleet Update Summary

Transocean Ltd. today issued a monthly fleet update summary which includes new contracts, changes to existing contracts and changes in estimated planned out-of-service

Legal

TMT CEO Files $100m IP Suit Over Vessel Sale

Hsin-Chi Su, Chairman and CEO of Today Makes Tomorrow Group (TMT) launched a suit in Texas federal court on July 28, 2014, alleging that a planned bankruptcy sale of three company ships, including M.

Chariot Agrees Brazil Farm Out with AziLat

Chariot Oil & Gas Limited, the Atlantic margins focused oil and gas exploration company, announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Chariot Brasil Petróleo e Gás Ltda.

'Double Jeopardy – Trial by Media, Trial by Law' London Opening

BIMCO notes that the highly acclaimed "Double Jeopardy - trial by media, trial by law" first showcased at the BIMCO AGM in Dubai earlier this year is to be brought

Maritime Safety

Injured Crewman Medevaced from S.Korean Icebreaker

A U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter medevaced a crewmember suffering from a head injury from the South Korean research icebreaker Araon 250 miles north of Barrow, Wednesday.

Video: On-water Helicopter Rescue Demo

A King County Sheriff's Helicopter performed a rescue demonstration using a new rescue platform before a group of attendees at this year's Maritime Security West Conference in Tacoma, Wash.

Maritime Reporter @ 75: The Daily Cartoon

Maritime Reporter & Engineering News was founded by John J. O'Malley (1905-1980) in 1939, and today ranks as the world's largest audited trade publication in the world serving the maritime industry,

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Standards Navigation Offshore Oil Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1692 sec (6 req/sec)