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 March 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

ABS CEO Lays Out Vision for Technical Leadership at CMA Shipping

During the recent CMA Shipping 2015 conference in Stamford, Connecticut, ABS Chairman and CEO Christopher J. Wiernicki provided the conference's keynote address

Oceanex Named One of Canada’s Best Managed Companies

Oceanex Inc. was named one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies Gold Standard Members in 2014. This national award is sponsored by Deloitte, CIBC, National Post,

Navy Awards Austal $691M for Two Littoral Combat Ships

The U.S. Navy has ordered two new littoral combat ships from Austal, the shipbuilder said in a press release today. The two orders, worth $691 million, are part

Legal

Largest Vessel to Call ICTSI, Rijeka

Adriatic Gate Container Terminal (AGCT), International Container Terminal Services, Inc.’s (ICTSI) container handling facility in the Port of Rijeka, Croatia, recently

MOL President Reports Slack Performance

MOL President, President, Koichi Muto reported that the performance of the company was slack.   Muto reported, "I am sad to report that our business performance fell short,

Focus on Environment at Suny Maritime

The State University of New York Maritime College’s 140th Anniversary Speaker Series presented a panel discussion on March 26 in the College’s Maritime Academic Center.

Maritime Safety

Bulk Carrier Runs Aground in Delaware River (Link to Video)

Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay is investigating a ship aground in the Delaware River near the Burlington Bristol Bridge, which connects Burlington, NJ and Bristol Township, PA.

BMT Comments on Recent Barge Casualties

Recently, BMT was consulted in a number of cases/casualties involving the breaking and subsequent salvage of inland navigation barges. The incidents all occurred during loading operations.

Hapag-Lloyd Improves Safety of Dangerous Goods Transportation

Last year, Hapag-Lloyd discovered 2,620 cases of incorrectly declared dangerous goods that were prevented from being shipped. Dangerous goods experts at Hapag-Lloyd investigated over 162,

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Naval Architecture Offshore Oil Pod Propulsion Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Winch
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: 0.2010 sec (5 req/sec)