New year in a new world: Navigating COVID's maritime realities
Professional Mariner|December - January2021
In a matter of days, the decorative time balls will drop, “Auld Lang Syne” will fill the air, and ships at anchor will sound their horns as the world welcomes in the new year.
Capt. Kelly Sweeney

2021 hasn’t even started, but it already has made the history books. It will be the first time since humans walked the earth that a year begins amid a pandemic caused by the coronavirus, an infectious killer that has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens and well over 1 million people globally in less than 10 months. Without a doubt, the biggest story circulating around the world right now is COVID-19, and there is not a soul alive today who hasn’t been impacted in some way by it.

Like everyone else, the maritime industry has been hit hard by COVID-19. Here in the United States, there have been outbreaks on many commercial vessels, and tragically, some of our fellow mariners have died after contracting it. In response to the virus, U.S. Coast Guard officials have made wholesale changes to credentialing procedures. With the new year nearly upon us, those obtaining or maintaining a merchant mariner credential (MMC) will find that things are much different than they were only a few short months ago.

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