As part of the Maritime Transportation Security Act, 35,000 Merchant Mariners are now being required to present themselves to the Coast Guard for ID verification and fingerprinting at one of the various Regional Examination Center locations nationwide.
With only 21 such REC locations, the Coast Guard will be establishing new centers with traveling examination teams to help in fulfilling this new security compliance issue.
The Coast Guard Auxiliary has been asked to step-up and, after undergoing specific training and meeting certain requirements, provide some of the manpower necessary to undertake and complete the task.
Many mariner applicants reside in locations remote from the main REC offices and suffer undue hardship because of the requirements and time limits imposed. The crux of the problem resides in the requirement to personally appear at an REC.
Coast Guard Auxiliary involvement in establishing these additional locations is expected to expedite the compliance issue for the mariners.