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Thanks to Osama, More Red Tape

All merchant mariners and charter skippers will soon have to get a ‘biometric’ I.D. card. Seen here are Bay Lady (background) and Yukon Jack.

© 2008 Rendezvous Charters

Attention professional mariners! Just when you thought you’d jumped through every hoop that the federal government could possibly set up for you, they’ve come up with another one. But don’t blame your local congressman. Blame Osama.

By September 25, 2008, all credentialed mariners — those who hold ‘Six Pack’ through 200-ton licenses, ‘Z cards’ (USMMDs), STCW certificates, etc. — will also have to obtain a Transportation Worker’s Identification Credential (TWIC card). Failure to do so will be cause for your license or certificate to be suspended or revoked.

In the aftermath of 9/11, Congress enacted the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA). One of its mandates was that the Feds issue a "biometric transportation security credential" to any individual with unescorted access to secure areas of facilities and vessels, as well as to all mariners holding Coast Guard-issued credentials or qualification documents.

The cost is $132.50 unless the applicant already has had an equivalent background check (i.e. USCG), in which case it is $105.25. For complete info on the TWIC program, see this website.

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Some of you may recall the strange tale of the Darla Jean, a 48-ft motorsailor that washed up on Fanning Island last December after spending 95 days "drifting" across the Pacific from Moss Landing.