Merchant Mariner Credential Denial and Revocation Appeal Attorney

The Merchant Mariner Credential, also known as an MMC, is issued by the United States Coast Guard, in conjunction with the Transportation Security Administration, or TSA. All crew members on American ships with a Gross Register Tonnage of over 100 must possess a Merchant Mariner Credential. Previously, the Credential consisted of several different licenses, which have now been combined into the Merchant Mariner Credential. However, an individual's specific endorsements may still be listed on the Credential.

Most applications for Merchant Mariner Credentialing are quickly approved. However, some applications are rejected, for a variety of issues discussed below. Thus, some applicants may require the assistance of a Merchant Mariner Credential Denial Appeal Lawyer to secure their MMC. The application and enrollment process for the Merchant Mariner Credential is managed by the United States Coast Guard. Obtaining a Transportation Worker Identification Credential, or TWIC, is required before obtaining a Merchant Mariner Credential. Thus, a Merchant Mariner applicant must go through both a TSA TWIC background check and a United States Coast Guard background check. A Merchant Mariner Credential Denial Appeal Attorney can assist an MMC applicant with obtaining a Merchant Mariner Credential after denial. If you are a Merchant Mariner facing a Merchant Mariner Credential disciplinary action, contact a Merchant Mariner Credential Defense Lawyer for representation. 


The United States Code of Federal Regulations 36 C.F.R. § 2.02-4 specifies the reasons for denial of a Merchant Mariner Credential. Applicants for a Merchant Mariner Credential can be denied for criminal convictions, Customs Violations and suspicious activity. These criminal convictions can be as minor as Driving With a Suspended License and Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol to far more serious offenses. Customs Violations can include Failing to Declare Information on a Custom's Form and Unlawful Imports of Merchandise. Suspicious activity is a catch all provision that causes the TSA and the Coast Guard to deny an individual a Merchant Mariner Credential for suspected misconduct and possible criminal activity.

When the United States Coast Guard's National Maritime Center, or NMC, denies a Merchant Mariner Credential, there are two steps in the Appeal process. The first is to file a Reconsideration with the National Maritime Center, or NMC within 30 days of the denial. The Reconsideration request must discuss factual and legal reasons for why the denial is in error. The NMC can fully overturn the initial denial of the MMC or issue a modified Credential. If the Reconsideration upholds the initial denial, United States Code of Federal Regulations 46 C.F.R. § 1.03-40 provides for a written Appeal directly to The U.S. Coast Guard's Director of Inspection and Compliance in Washington, D.C. 

Furthermore, the Coast Guard can deny a Merchant Mariner Credential because an individual fails the medical examination. United States Code of Federal Regulations 46 C.F.R. § 10.215 describes the medical and physical requirements of a Merchant Mariner. Pursuant to United States Code of Federal Regulations 46 C.F.R. § 10.215(g), the NMC and the Director of Inspection and Compliance can issue a Medical Waiver to a denied Merchant Mariner Credential applicant. 

If you are denied a Merchant Mariner Credential, contact a Merchant Mariner Credential Appeal Lawyer for representation.


Merchant Mariner Credential Suspension and Revocation matters are known as Merchant Mariner S & R cases. The Coast Guard may suspend Merchant Mariner Credentials or even revoke Merchant Mariner Credentials in accordance with United States Code of Federal Regulations 46 C.F.R. §§ 10.235 and United States Code 46 U.S.C § 7704(b). There are several reasons why the Coast Guard can initiate an S & R proceeding against a Merchant Mariner. These reasons include a criminal conviction, misconduct and non compliance with Administrative rules and regulations. A common reason that Merchant Mariners become involved in S & R matters is due to convictions for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and Drug Possession. Pursuant to United States Code 46 U.S.C § 7704(b) and United States Code of Federal Regulations 46 C.F.R. § 5.59 provide for Merchant Mariner Credential Revocation for a dangerous drug offense. Furthermore, the United States Coast Guard considers individuals who receive deferred adjudications, or deferred entry of judgment, convicted, despite the diversionary status of the sentence. Merchant Mariners convicted of DUI and dangerous drug use offenses may be eligible for settlements with the Coast Guard to avoid suspension or revocation of their Merchant Mariner Credential.

After the completion of an investigation, the United States Coast Guard will decide to file a Complaint, or close the matter. If the Coast Guard files a Complaint, the Complaint will state the alleged charges against the Merchant Mariner, the jurisdiction for such charges and the proposed disciplinary order. The Merchant Mariner must file an Answer to the Complaint within 20 days, pursuant to United States Code of Federal Regulations 33 C.F.R. § 20.308. The Answer can either admit or  deny the allegations, the jurisdictional basis for the allegations and agree or disagree with the proposed sanction. In most cases, the Answer denies the factual allegations and the jurisdictional basis for the Complaint. Failure to submit an Answer in a timely fashion can result in a default decision and the Merchant Mariner waives the right to defend his or her case.

Once the Answer is filed, the United States Coast Guard staff attorney will provide the Merchant Mariner with discovery, which is the evidence that the government intends to use against the Merchant Mariner, known as the Respondent. The Merchant Mariner must provide the United States Coast Guard with the evidence and witness lis they intend to present at the Hearing. Many of these documents and notices must also be provided to the assigned Federal Administrative Law Judge. A Merchant Mariner Credential Attorney can prepare a Settlement Offer to the United States Coast Guard. If the Coast Guard and the Merchant Mariner reach a Settlement Agreement, the Federal Administrative Law Judge must approve the Settlement Agreement. In many cases, the Administrative Law Judge will hold a telephonic Pre Hearing Conference to discuss evidentiary issues and settlement options.

If the Coast Guard and the Merchant Mariner cannot reach a settlement, the matter will proceed to a Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. Hearings are held throughout the United States. The Hearings function as a formal Court proceeding. Both sides can present witness testimony and admit documentary evidence in support of their position. In nearly all cases, the Coast Guard has the burden of proof against the Merchant Mariner. The Administrative Law Judge, or ALJ, will issue a written Decision, called a Decision & Order. An Appeal of an ALJ's Decision & Order to the Commandant of the United States Coast Guard must occur within 30 days, pursuant to United States Code 46 U.S.C. § 7701, United States Code of Federal Regulations 46 C.F.R. § 5.59 and United States Code of Federal Regulations 33 C.F.R. § 20.308. The Vice Commandant or Commandant then reviews the record and the legal arguments of the parties. The Vice Commandant or Commandant can uphold, modify or overturn the Decision & Order and remand the case back to an Administrative Law Judge for further proceedings.

If the Commandant of the United States Coast Guard denies the Appeal and upholds the disciplinary order, the Merchant Mariner can appeal to the National Transportation Safety Board, or NTSB. The law governing NTSB appeals is United States Code of Federal Regulations 49 C.F.R. § 825. NTSB can deny a Merchant Mariner's Appeal, overturn the decision of the Commandant and dismiss the allegations or remand the matter back to the Commandant for further proceedings. An Appeal from NTSB can be made to the United States Circuit Court of Appeals. If an Administrative Law Judge orders a Merchant Mariner Credential suspended or revoked, the suspension or revocation remains in effect unless a stay is granted by the Commandant, NTSB or a Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

If you are a Merchant Mariner facing a Merchant Mariner Credential Suspension or Revocation, contact a Merchant Mariner Credential Defense Attorney for representation.


Merchant Mariners may voluntarily surrender their Merchant Mariner Credential. An Administrative Law Judge can also revoke a Merchant Mariner Credential. In the event a Credential is surrendered or revoked, the Merchant Mariner can Petition for Reinstatement. This is know as the Administrative Clemency process. Petitions for Reinstatement of a Merchant Mariner Credential can be filed between one and three years since the surrender or revocation, depending on the violation that served as the basis for the surrender or revocation. If you are seeking Merchant Mariner Credential reinstatement, contact a Merchant Mariner Credential reinstatement lawyer for representation. 

Law Offices of Seth Weinstein, P.C.
15260 Ventura Blvd. Suite 1200
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
T: (818) 570-0836
F: (818) 475-1945

Law Offices of Seth Weinstein, P.C.
1999 Harrison St., 18th Floor
Oakland, CA 94612
T: (510) 852-9296
F: (818) 475-1945
United States Transportation Security Administration
United States Customs & Border Protection
United States Department of Homeland Security
United States Federal Aviation Administration
United States Coast Guard
United States Department of Transportation

Our Customs Regulations Violation Attorney handles:
Merchant Mariner Credential Denial Appeals
Merchant Mariner Suspension & Revocation Appeals
Customs & Border Protection TRIP Requests
Department of Homeland Security Appeals
Customs Violations Defense


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