The USCG has published the Marine Safety Information Bulletin “Reporting Sexual Assaults on U.S. Vessels” to emphasize that sexual assault is a crime, and when the assault occurs aboard a U.S. documented vessel, the Coast Guard must be notified.
hile the law requires the master or individual in charge of a U.S. documented vessel to make that report, too often sexual assaults go unreported.
To address this challenge, USCG encourages all victims and witnesses of sexual assaults onboard U.S. vessels to report directly to the Coast Guard.
Reports can be made via phone to the National Command Center at 202-372-2100, which is available 24/7 to field reports that initiate investigations.
To encourage more reporting the Coast Guard Criminal Investigative Service (CGIS) has also established a website and mobile app that enables anyone to report criminal offenses directly to the Coast Guard.
These reports can be made anonymously or with attribution. The Coast Guard will respond to any reports of sexual assault with trained investigators and will hold offenders accountable through criminal prosecution and, or, actions against USCG issued merchant mariner credentials (MMCs).
Recently, the U.S. Department of Transportation has taken the decision to pause the next cycle of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy’s Sea Year program, citing a sexual assault and sexual harassment scandal.
The decision was one of the most difficult we have faced. We stand in unwavering support of all survivors of [sexual assault and sexual harassment] at sea and throughout the entire campus, and we pledge to continue to work closely with you as we navigate the way forward
wrote DOT Deputy Secretary Polly Trottenberg, Acting Maritime Administrator Lucinda Lessley and USMMA Superintendent Vice Adm. Jack Buono in a letter to midshipmen
The letter also acknowledged the disruption that the decision will cause for all midshipmen, who need to get enough sea time in order to obtain their licenses and graduate.