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Federal Regulation Summary
The federal drug testing program (now embodied as 46 CFR Parts 4, 5, 16 and 49 CFR Part 40) imposes 10 requirements on licensed marine operators and crew. Each marine employer is required to implement a company program and random test all licensed operators. In addition, an annual report must be submitted to the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard requires compliance with the regulation. Persons or firms in violation are subject to fines of $5000 per day and permanent revocation or a two year suspension of their operating licenses, certificates of registry, and merchant marine documents. The Maritime Consortium, Inc. is a simple, and inexpensive solution to this new federal requirement. Over 1200 local collection sites have been set up nationwide to accommodate the over 9,000 Captains and their mates who have joined the nationally accredited Consortium since its inception. See the summary of our services here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is Affected by the Drug Regulation?
All marine employers, regardless of size, are required to implement a drug program. The operators and crewmembers aboard a commercial vessel who have duties which affect the safe operation of the vessel must be subject to drug testing. On inspected vessels, this includes all persons who are listed on the Certificate of Inspection (COI). On uninspected vessels, persons licensed as operators of Uninspected Passenger Vessels, Masters, Operator of Uninspected Towing Vessels, and individuals authorized to engage in Assistance Towing are all covered by the regulations. In addition, all crewmembers who hold safety intensive positions aboard a vessel must be in compliance. [FR Vol. 56, No.130]
What is Provided by the Consortium?
The Maritime Consortium, Inc. provides all the required paperwork, recordkeeping, random number generation, report submission to the USCG and chain of custody testing required by the regulation. The Consortium locates a collection site 30 miles or less from each member to perform all test collections. In addition to the standard requirements, the Consortium also provides random testing services specifically designed for seasonal operators. A summary description of the particular services is contained here.
What is the Coast Guard Drug Regulation?
The regulation requiring chemical drug and alcohol testing was published on November 21, 1988, and numerous amendments and modifications have been published since the date of the final rule, which is embodied in 46 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 16 and 49 CFR Part 40. Companies were required to implement a program no later than December 21, 1990, and begin random testing of operators and employees no later than October 1, 1991.
What is the Regulation's Purpose?
"The Coast Guard believes these rules will discourage drug and alcohol use by commercial vessel personnel, reduce the potential for marine casualties related to drug and alcohol use, and enhance the safety of the Maritime Transportation Industry." [Federal Register Vol. 53, No. 224]
What About Seasonal Employees?
The Coast Guard states: "the final rule does not exempt seasonal or temporary 'crewmembers' from the testing requirements." [FR Vol. 53, No.224]
What are the Penalties of Non-compliance?
The Coast Guard is authorized to suspend licenses and operating papers of individuals found not to be in compliance with the drug testing rule, and issue fines of $5000 per day to non-compliant firms. In case of a marine accident, a firm or individual not in compliance with a Coast Guard regulation can be deemed automatically responsible under admiralty law.
What is The Maritime Consortium?
The Maritime Consortium was created by and for the marine industry in 1989. Membership includes passenger vessels, towing and barge firms, offshore supply vessels, partyboats, charterboats, and numerous other types of firms covered by the regulation. The Consortium works directly with officials from Coast Guard Headquarters to clarify the regulation and incorporate changes in the rules. Consortium staff is fully knowledgeable of all aspects of the drug regulation. Maritime is nationally accredited and meets tough industry standards.
How Do I Enroll in the Consortium?
To enroll in the Maritime Consortium, please complete an enrollment application for yourself and crewmember(s). You will receive a certificate of compliance, an identification card for each enrolled employee, and a consortium information booklet which includes Employee Assistance Program materials and procedures. Please read the Membership Agreement for details on the services you will be provided as well as information on pre-employment testing.
Enrollment covers all costs of random, reasonable cause and post accident drug tests for each enrolled person, regardless of the number of times they are selected for tests over the course of the year. Please see the enclosed application for details on prices and enrollment conditions.
What are Sources for Further Information?
For more information on the drug and alcohol regulation requirements, see 46 CFR Part 4, 5, and 16 and 49 CFR Part 40. You may also contact Coast Guard Headquarters at 202-267-1430 with questions on the regulation.