MARAD Re: Non-Compliance Letter
MARAD post: A clarification on its website to the July 3rd Letter to USMMA graduates regarding service obligation reporting requirements
On July 3rd, the Maritime Administration sent letters to all U.S. Merchant Marine Academy graduates who have not submitted their annual service obligation compliance report, indicating that our records show they are not in compliance. As a reminder, all graduates are required to complete this report by March 1 each year until all components of service obligation are reported and fulfilled.
If you received this letter and believe you are compliant, you should first access the Maritime Service Compliance System at https://mscs.marad.dot.gov to make sure the system includes your most recent records. If you find that your records are up-to-date or have trouble using MSCS, please contact Danielle Bennett at 202-366-5737 at the Office of Maritime Workforce development or email email@example.com.
As background, last year MARAD installed a new system that made it possible for us to track everyone’s compliance with their service obligations. Going forward, every year, USMMA graduates who have a remaining obligation (active duty, reserve, and/or sea time) are required to update their records between January 1 and March 1. This year was the first time that the new system for reporting requirements was in place, so some confusion is to be expected.
I understand that some graduates thought that the letter was accusing them of failing to meet their service requirements – that was not the intent. The letter was to remind the graduates that they not only have to fulfill their service requirements, they also have to report them, so we have a record that they have done so. We will revise the letter so that point is clear when we send it out again in future years.
I am also told that there were complaints that phone calls sent to MARAD were going to an automated voice mail that directed them back to the website. The phone number is Danielle Bennett’s at MARAD. She did personally answer and respond to calls for the first week after the letter went out. Danielle went on leave, and we made the mistake of just leaving a voice message on her number, instead of forwarding the phone to someone else who could answer alumni questions and clarify concerns. We have fixed that mistake.
Interim Executive Director
US Department of Transportation