The Coast Guard has issued a Marine Safety Information Bulletin regarding reporting sexual misconduct on U.S. vessels.
The MSIB highlights recent changes to the law that require the responsible entity of a vessel—defined as the owner, master, or managing operator—to report to the Coast Guard any complaint or incident of harassment, sexual harassment, or sexual assault.
The MSIB, which the Coast Guard has posted online (link in red above), states as follows:
Sexual misconduct that occurs onboard U.S. flagged vessels harms mariners, interrupts safe operations, and often leads to accidents, lost careers, and a lifetime of trauma for the survivors who endure the abuse.
The Coast Guard is committed to investigating and pursuing appropriate enforcement actions for all reports of sexual misconduct on U.S. flagged vessels.
This MSIB supersedes the Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy’s MSIB 11-21, “Reporting Sexual Assaults on U.S. Vessels,” which was issued on Dec. 16, 2021.
Recent changes to the law now require the responsible entity of a vessel, defined as the owner, master, or managing operator, to report to the Coast Guard any complaint or incident of harassment, sexual harassment, or sexual assault that violates company policy.
To help facilitate reporting, the Coast Guard has consolidated reporting for all types of sexual misconduct and established multiple reporting options as detailed in the link above.
The reporting options include a CGIS Tips App, and/or the email address CGISTIPS@uscg.mil, which can be used by all reporting sources, including bystanders and survivors, who have access to a smart phone or the internet.
The reports, which can be anonymous or for attribution, are received and reviewed by the Coast Guard Investigative Service. An investigation will be initiated for all reports received and someone will provide follow-up communications with all reporting sources who provide contact information.
The Coast Guard also maintains a 24/7 watch, which can field reports of sexual misconduct via the National Command Center phone number at 202-327-2100.
CGIS will leverage all available resources to immediately initiate a criminal investigation for a sexual crime occurring on a U.S. flagged vessel anywhere in the world.