Coast Guard to slash crewmember drug testing requirements

In 2013, a quarter of all crewmembers in the maritime industry will face testing, while 50 percent were tested in previous years, the notice says.

The Coast Guard requires testing and sets the minimum rates “to encourage employers to maintain a drug-free workplace with the incentive of a reduced testing rate, and associated reduced costs,” a USCG news release issued Tuesday.

However, if too many crewmembers (more than one percent) test positive for illegal drugs, or the data sample is deemed insufficient to judge the scope of the drug problem on the high seas, the Coast Guard could ratchet the minimum requirements back up to 50 percent, the notice says.

The Coast Guard itself is not without its problems in that area.  Earlier this month eight Chincoteague, Va.-based Coast Guard personnel were found to have committed drug-related offenses and were disciplined, according to a Jan. 14 news release.