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The Maritime Administration (MARAD) contracted with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) to conduct a survey of merchant mariners based on information provided by the U.S. Coast Guard. The primary purpose of the survey was to solicit information from mariners to:
- Determine mariners willingness to perform sea duty during times of national emergency.
- Determine current and past employment patterns for mariners.
- Measure the impact of MARADs maritime education and training programs.
- Measure mariners progress in meeting the 1995 amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW-95).
- Determine mariners knowledge of their reemployment rights.
The ability to contact mariners is critical to MARADs mission to maintain an adequate number of merchant mariners during peacetime and during times of national emergency. Therefore, another major objective of the 2001 Mariner Survey was to determine the feasibility of using the U.S. Coast Guards Merchant Mariner Licensing and Documentation (MMLD) system as a means for locating and contacting mariners in times of a national defense emergency, given that the MMLD database was never intended for use as a means of contacting mariners.