MAY 2019 • FOGHORN 35 SAFETYMATTERS By Eric Christensen, Director of Regulatory Affairs and Risk Management M arine employers are respon- sible for ensuring that the mariners they employ on their vessels are competent, medically fit for duty, and not violators of the federal drug laws. One way for the human resources folks to screen out applicants that say they are fit for duty, but are not, is by verifying their Merchant Mariner Credentials (MMC) and drug testing history. The following two actions can quickly weed out indi- viduals who for one reason or another are not fit for duty. Neither of these actions run afoul of privacy or HIPAA restrictions. Verifying Merchant Mariner Credentials Incidents of credentialed mariners attempting to operate vessels using invalid MMCs are rare, but it does happen. In December 2018, a judge in New Orleans sentenced a mariner to serve 24 months in prison and pay a $300 special assessment for operating under a suspended credential. The case stemmed from a collision between two towing vessels on the Lower Mississippi River in May 2017. The sub- sequent U.S. Coast Guard investigation revealed that a Master assigned to one of the towing vessels had been working under a revoked MMC since testing positive for drugs in 2014 and failing to complete the terms of a settlement agreement. According to the Coast Guard statement, “Suspension and revoca- tion settlement agreements for drug- Tools and Requirements for Vetting New Employees THE SCANIA MARINE SOLUTION. Out there, confidence in performance, reliability and operating economy are the only things that count. With this in mind, we created the Scania Marine Solution: An array of flexible products paired with guidance and installation support from Scania. Whatever your specification, we will provide you with the optimal Scania Marine Solution. Power at work, every inch of the way. Complete and Committed. Potomac Riverboat Co. Potomac Taxi I and II Powered by twin Scania DI13 081M engines POWER AT WORK