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The Coast Guard has announced CGIS Tips, a new app available from the Apple and Google app stores, to anonymously report a sexual assault to the Coast Guard Investigative Service.
“Mariners have the right to work in a professional setting that is free from the threat of sexual offenses,” says Rear Adm. John Mauger, Coast Guard assistant commandant for prevention policy, in a post on the Coast Guard Maritime Commons blog.
“Sexual assault is a crime. When it happens aboard a U.S. vessel it must be reported to the Coast Guard.”
The agency says it will investigate each report or tip alleging that a credentialed mariner has committed a sexual assault or another crime at sea.
The Coast Guard’s merchant mariner credentialing application process restricts convicted sex offenders from obtaining a credential whether the crime occurred aboard a vessel or not.
Investigators work with Coast Guard attorneys to ensure they gather sufficient evidence to refer the case to the Department of Justice for potential prosecution.
“Coast Guard investigators follow all available leads,” said Michael Berkow, director of the Coast Guard Investigative Service.
“But too often, sex crimes are not reported. We encourage victims and witnesses of assault to reach out to the Coast Guard, CGIS, or local authorities to ensure the allegations are investigated.”
Individuals can use the app to anonymously communicate with an agent and there is an option to upload images and additional information directly from a smart phone or computer.
The app interfaces with federal, state, and local agencies to facilitate timely information sharing.
Reports may also be made on the Coast Guard Investigative Service website, through the Tip Form, or by contacting any CGIS regional office.
“Shipboard climates which are tolerant of assaults undermine mariner welfare and maritime safety,” the agency says.
“Everyone has a duty to look out for their shipmates by creating a safe and respectful climate aboard.”
“Sexual assault has no place in the maritime profession. Offenders will be held accountable for their actions.”
This information was included in Volume 27… Number 50… Dec. 14, 2021 edition of the Wheelhouse Weekly.