Terrorist and Bogus Marine Credentials

The U.S. Coast Guard and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) completed a 14-month investigation — dubbed Operation Drydock — into national security threats and document fraud associated with U.S. merchant mariner credentials. It revealed nine individuals that held credentials have suspected associations with terrorist groups.

"Through extensive and detailed investigative efforts, we have reduced vulnerabilities to terrorism by preventing the fraudulent use of credentials by those who seek to harm our nation and its citizens," said Admiral Thomas H.

C o l l i n s , Commandant of the Coast Guard. "This is a great example of interagency cooperation in the war on terror.

Using our combined resources and expertise, we will continue to make America safer and more secure." The Coast Guard, working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other interagency partners, examined the records of over 200,000 individuals who hold a U.S. merchant mariner credential to identify potential terrorist links and detect document fraud. In addition to the nine individuals possibly associated with terrorism, the Coast Guard identified thousands of cases of possible fraud or other problems, including mariners with active arrest warrants. In response to this information: • The Coast Guard is suspending and revoking unauthorized credentials.

• U.S. Attorneys are pursuing criminal charges where warranted.

• About a dozen people have been arrested because of active arrest warrants that were uncovered as a result of Operation Drydock.

• The Coast Guard, FBI and the U.S.

Navy worked together to screen mariners serving on Military Sealift Command ships carrying troops and material during the war in Iraq. More than a dozen mariners were removed from service aboard those vessels.

Maritime Reporter Magazine, page 23,  Apr 2004

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First published in 1881 Maritime Reporter is the world's largest audited circulation publication serving the global maritime industry.