46 USC 7302 - Issuing merchant mariners documents and continuous discharge books

(a) The Secretary shall issue a merchant mariners document to an individual required to have that document under part F of this subtitle if the individual satisfies the requirements of this part. The document serves as a certificate of identification and as a certificate of service, specifying each rating in which the holder is qualified to serve on board vessels on which that document is required under part F.
(b) The Secretary also may issue a continuous discharge book to an individual issued a merchant mariners document if the individual requests.
(c) The Secretary may not issue a merchant mariners document under this chapter unless the individual applying for the document makes available to the Secretary, under section 30305 (b)(5) of title 49, any information contained in the National Driver Register related to an offense described in section 30304 (a)(3)(A) or (B) of title 49 committed by the individual.
(d) The Secretary may review the criminal record of an individual who applies for a merchant mariners document under this section.

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(e) The Secretary shall require the testing of an individual applying for issuance or renewal of a merchant mariners document under this chapter for the use of a dangerous drug in violation of law or Federal regulation.
(f) Except as provided in subsection (g), a merchant mariners document issued under this chapter is valid for 5 years and may be renewed for additional 5-year periods.
(1) The Secretary may, pending receipt and review of information required under subsections (c) and (d), immediately issue an interim merchant mariners document valid for a period not to exceed 120 days, to
(A) an individual to be employed as gaming personnel, entertainment personnel, wait staff, or other service personnel on board a passenger vessel not engaged in foreign service, with no duties, including emergency duties, related to the navigation of the vessel or the safety of the vessel, its crew, cargo or passengers; or
(B) an individual seeking renewal of, or qualifying for a supplemental endorsement to, a valid merchant mariners document issued under this section.
(2) No more than one interim document may be issued to an individual under paragraph (1)(A) of this subsection.