News

Wheelhouse Weekly – April 24, 2012

April 24th 2012

 

– Bridging the Information Gap With E-News You Can Use –

Volume 16 . . . . . Number 17. . . . April 24, 2012

STORIES COVERED

Did you miss a week? Back editions of the Wheelhouse Weekly are available in the section.


HOUSE PASSES TRANSPORTATION BILL; INCLUDES PORTS PROVISION

The House of Representatives on April 18 adopted a 90-day extension of surface transportation legislation by a 293-127 vote. The House and Senate are now expected to work in conference to reach agreement on a broad surface transportation bill. 

The AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department released a statement saying that the legislation will “create or maintain 2 million jobs, make vital investments in our decaying transportation infrastructure and boost the overall economy.”

Most importantly from the perspective of the American maritime industry, the extension passed  by the House of Representatives includes a provision sponsored by Congressman Charles Boustany (R-La.) which provides that all funds collected from the Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) and deposited in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) must in fact be used for harbor maintenance. In recent years, money from the HMTF has often been diverted to other purposes, creating a backlog of critical maintenance projects in our nation’s harbors and coastal waterways. The Boustany Amendment is a significant step toward fixing this problem and ensuring that ports receive the necessary maintenance that the industry pays for through the HMT. MM&P, the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association and others in our industry will be working to ensure that this provision is included in the final surface transportation bill considered by Congress.


MM&P MEMBERS AT BLUE & GOLD WILL HELM NEW SAN FRANCISCO FERRY

San Francisco’s water transit authority has announced it will launch the first new commuter ferry in San Francisco Bay since the 1990s. The new ferry, which will run from the heart of the biotech center near San Francisco Airport to East Bay, will be crewed by members of MM&P’s United Inland Group who work at Blue & Gold Fleet. The inauguration and terminal opening ceremony is scheduled for Monday, June 4, at the Oyster Point Marina in South San Francisco.


U.S.-FLAG MARITIME INDUSTRY HONORS REP. NORM DICKS

The U.S.-flag maritime industry has selected Congressman Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) as the honoree for the 2012 “Salute to Congress.” Dicks has been a strong supporter of maritime labor and U.S.-flag shipping companies throughout his Congressional career. As the leading Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, he has played an important role in the industry’s annual effort to ensure full funding for the Maritime Security Program. He will be honored during a May 8 awards ceremony by maritime union leaders, representatives of the military and U.S.-flag shipping companies, and members of Congress and their staffs.


SIX-ON/SIX-OFF WATCH ENTAILS HIGHEST RISK OF FATIGUE, STUDY FINDS

Almost 45 percent of watchkeepers fell asleep on duty at least once during a European Union (EU) study on the effects of the “six-on/six-off” watchkeeping regime that is widely employed in some sectors of the maritime industry. The findings were reported in an article published in a recent issue of “Nautilus International Telegraph,” the magazine of the British and Dutch officers’ union.

In the course of the study, which was conducted in engine room and cargo simulators at maritime colleges in the United Kingdom and Sweden, the fatigue levels and performance of 90 experienced deck and engineering officers were measured during simulated week-long “voyages.” The study focused on two common watchkeeping patterns: six-on/six-off and four-on/eight-off. Some participants were also exposed to a “disturbed” off-watch period, intended to reflect additional workloads and sleep disturbances associated with bad weather, port calls and emergencies.

As the week progressed, the researchers noted “a decline in the quality of information being given by participants.” The six-on/six-off rotation was found to be the most tiring, with almost 45 percent of participants falling asleep at least once, in particular during night and early morning watches. Almost 40 percent of officers working the four-on/eight-off schedule fell asleep at least once. Participants working the six-on/six-off schedule were found to get markedly less sleep overall than those working the four-on/eight-off regime.

“Reaction time tests, carried out at the start and end of each watch, showed clear evidence of performance deterioration,” the researchers said. “The slowest reaction times were found at the end of night watches and among those on the six-on/six-off patterns.” The project included 11 partner organizations across the shipping industry including Nautilus and sleep scientists from the Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University.


WORKERS MEMORIAL DAY IS APRIL 28

The labor movement will fight to make workers’ issues a priority, guarantee the freedom of workers to form a union and create and keep good, safe jobs in the United States. This is the AFL-CIO’s call to action on the eve of Workers Memorial Day, when America’s labor movement remembers workers who have been killed or injured on the job. The theme of this year’s Workers Memorial Day is, “Safe Jobs Save Lives. Keep the Promise Alive.”

“The Obama Administration has moved to strengthen protections, with tougher enforcement on serious violators and proposed new safeguards for workplace hazards,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “But our work is not done. Many job hazards remain unregulated and uncontrolled.” He urged Congress to reject ongoing efforts by anti-labor politicians to roll back protections under the mantra of “regulatory reform.”

“Some politicians are pushing so-called ‘regulatory reform’ legislation to make it difficult, if not impossible, to issue needed safeguards to protect workers and the public,” Trumka said. “We cannot and will not let them turn back the clock.”


MARITIME GRASSROOTS CAMPAIGN UPDATE

The unprecedented maritime grassroots campaign and its maritime advisory committees are continuing their activities. The campaign’s DC Steering Committee met last week with Congressman Larry Kissell to discuss the grassroots effort as well as many of the issues important to our industry. Kissell, who represents North Carolina’s 8th Congressional District, is a member of the House Committees on Agriculture and Armed Services. The meetings are part of the effort to ensure that members of Congress understand the importance of our industry to the military, economic and homeland security of our nation, as well as to the jobs and the economic wellbeing of their constituents, districts and states.
 
The Armed Services Committee has jurisdiction over a number of programs important to the U.S.-flag fleet, most notably the Maritime Security Program. Actions that will be taken by the Agriculture Committee as it considers the reauthorization of broad farm legislation will affect food aid programs now subject to U.S.-flag cargo preference shipping requirements.
 
MM&P and MEBA were two of the first organizations to join this first-ever maritime industry grassroots campaign. Additional meetings are being scheduled over the next few weeks with a number of representatives, including Congressman Nick Rahall, the lead Democrat on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; Congressman Sander Levin, the lead Democrat on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee; and Reps. Betty Sutton (Ohio), Cedric Richmond (La.) and John Barrow (Ga.).
 
“Everyone committed to a stronger, more economically viable U.S.-flag maritime industry should join this effort so we can take our message back home to members of Congress in their districts and states,” said the MM&P International President. “We can elevate our programs and issues to the level they deserve and, in so doing, help us in our fight to prevent the exodus of vessels from our flag and the outsourcing of American maritime jobs.”


AS KILLINGS OF UNION MEMBERS CONTINUE, U.S. MOVES TO IMPLEMENT COLOMBIA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT

The announcement by the White House that the United States will implement the Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) beginning May 15 has drawn fire from union leaders in the United States. Colombia “continues its shameful distinction as the most dangerous country in the world in which to be a trade unionist,” said United Steelworkers (USW) President Leo Gerard.
 
Gerard made the remark after the White House said it believes Colombia has implemented key elements of a labor action plan designed to “protect internationally recognized labor rights, prevent violence against labor leaders and prosecute the perpetrators of such violence” in Colombia.

Independent reports, including one by the AFL-CIO, have found that the plan has failed to reduce violence against trade unionists or bring perpetrators to justice. Gerard says 30 Colombian trade unionists were murdered in 2011; six more were killed in the first four months of 2012. Impunity from prosecution is the norm: about 95 percent of unionists’ murders are never solved.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and Colombian labor leaders issued a joint statement condemning the decision to go forward with the FTA. “We regret that the Administration has placed commercial interests above the interests of workers and their trade unions,” Trumka said.

“It remains the position of the USW that the withholding of FTA implementation until the rates of anti-union violence and impunity are dramatically reduced is the surest form of leverage the U.S. has to safeguard the lives of unionists in Colombia,” Gerard said. “We implore the U.S. government to refrain from giving up this leverage and to indefinitely postpone the implementation of the FTA. This is the only way to ensure Colombia’s future good conduct, and to properly honor the almost 3,000 unionists who have been killed in Colombia since 1986.”


SHIPOWNERS IN JAPAN WANT ON-BOARD SECURITY DETACHMENTS

Shipowners in Japan are asking the government to eliminate the country’s ban on employing private, armed guards on ships that fly the Japanese flag. At a recent maritime conference, a spokesman for the Japanese Shipowners Association said that local shipowners are already employing armed guards on their foreign-flagged vessels and that many vessels have left Japan’s registry because of the current ban. In March 2011, JSA formally requested Japan’s transport ministry to allow armed guards on cargo ships to protect against pirates when traversing the Persian Gulf.


INDUSTRY VIPS TO SPEAK AT MARITIME EXECUTIVE CONFERENCE MAY 7-8

The agenda for the May 7-8 conference on strategies for the future of the U.S.-flag maritime industry features experts on maritime policy, law, infrastructure and funding. The speakers and panelists will address topics that include: why short sea shipping makes sense for America: how public/private partnerships will be key to maritime industry job creation; and how the next generation of Jones Act vessels and related infrastructure can be funded. To read the entire agenda, and to register for the event, go to: http://tiny.cc/marex


SCHEDULE FOR 2012 OFFSHORE FAMILIARIZATION COURSE

The Offshore Familiarization Course, formerly called the D-Book Membership Course, will be held at regular intervals throughout 2012.

The schedule is as follows (but please note that course dates may change depending on the number of participants who sign up): May 29-30 in New Orleans; May 30-31 in Charleston; June 8-9 at MM&P Headquarters; Sept. 7-8 at MM&P Headquarters; Oct. 9-10 in New Jersey; Oct. 10-11 in Los Angeles; Nov. 7-8 in Houston.

There is no sea-time requirement to take the course. All Offshore applicants, potential transferees from other membership groups and other interested Offshore members are urged to attend.

If you want to attend the course, please RSVP to the local hiring hall where the class is offered or, in the case of a course planned for headquarters, to MM&P Membership Secretary Mary Seidman: mseidman@bridgedeck.org.


SEARCHERS OF SYRIA-BOUND SHIP FIND NO ARMS ON BOARD

Turkish officials have reported that the Antigua & Barbuda-flagged ATLANTIC CRUISER, which has been blocked at Turkey’s Iskenderun port since last week because of suspicions that it was transporting arms to Syria, is actually carrying “civilian-purpose explosives and equipment for a coal plant project.” The manifest presented by the ship’s Ukrainian captain reportedly lists 313 tons of civilian-purpose explosives, fuses and capsules destined for Turkey, and 31 tons of civilian-purpose explosives for buyers in Croatia. The ship is also said to be carrying oil-refinery equipment for Russia and parts of a coal plant headed to Tartus, a city on the Mediterranean coast of Syria.

The German-owned ATLANTIC CRUISER is chartered by a Ukrainian company called White Whale Shipping. It was stopped based on reports that it was carrying Iranian weapons to Syria in violation of the United Nations’ arms embargo. The shipowner, Bockstiegel, says the ship was never carrying arms, but a spokesman for the German government counters that there are still unanswered questions regarding cargo offloaded at various ports before the vessel docked in Turkey.


CARNIVAL INVESTIGATING CLAIMS ITS SHIP IGNORED FISHERMEN IN DISTRESS

Miami-based Carnival Corp. has opened an investigation into allegations that one of its Princess Cruise ships passed a fishing vessel in distress near Panama in March. Three birdwatchers using their binoculars aboard the cruise ship reported seeing a man frantically waving his arms and a red cloth from a small boat. They told a crewmember what they had seen, but the vessel did not stop or change course. The birdwatchers also attempted to notify the Coast Guard, but without success. The small fishing boat was found off the Galapagos Islands almost two weeks later, with the bodies of two fishermen on board. The sole survivor told rescuers he had seen the cruise ship passing and signalled it for help.


COURSE EQUIVALENCIES FOR REQUIRED COMPANY TRAINING

Given the number of required company training courses, it is extremely important for new members to request a transcript review to determine whether they meet the course equivalency requirements.

The courses that are eligible for equivalency are listed in the MITAGS Trust Student Guide located on www.mitags.org in the MM&P Member Section. You may also request a copy from Diane Ford (dford@mitags.org or call 443-989-3238). Remember, the dispatcher in the union hall cannot assign you a job unless you meet the company’s training requirements!

Did you know that you can view your course history on www.bridgedeck.org? Just go to the “Members Only” section and click the “Course History” tab. You can print the course list yourself. 


MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

Try our on-line interactive calendar to register for class: http://mitags-pmi.org/courses/calendar/

For class availability, contact Admissions Coordinator Kelly Michielli toll-free at 866-656-5568 or e-mail: admissions@mitags.org.

AB – Able Bodied Seaman: 5/21, 6/11

AIS-1 – Automatic Identification Systems (one day): 5/10, 6/6

BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 4/30

BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots:  5/9, 6/7

BST – Basic Safety Training: 6/25

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 6/11

CMM-ADVNAV – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN):  5/14

CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 6/25

CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems: 5/21

CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 6/4

CMM-SHMGT – Ship Management (2 weeks): 4/30

CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 5/14, 6/11

CMM-SHS-ADV-I I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 5/21, 6/18

CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 6/18

CNAV – Celestial Navigation: 4/30

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning: 5/11

ECDIS-ENAV (2 DAY) for Pilots: 6/4

ENVIRO-Regs Permit – Environmental Regulations Permit: 5/21

EP – Emergency Procedures: 4/25

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 6/25

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep and Medications for Pilots: 6/6

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 6/11

LAP-ORG 3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3/Mate: 6/4

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 5/9

MED-PIC – Medical Person In Charge: 6/11

MED-PIC -R– Medical Person In Charge Refresher: 5/14

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 6/11

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 6/16

MSC -SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 6/4

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 6/4

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 6/8

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 5/2, 5/6, 6/13, 6/27

SEC-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 5/7

SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 5/14, 6/25

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling: 5/7

TPIC-DL – Tankerman Person In Charge Dangerous Liquids: 5/21

…Remember: If you can’t make the class, make the call. Be courteous, don’t be a “no show.”


Check the MITAGS website at www.mitags.org for course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations, and schedule revisions.


PMI ACADEMIC NOTES

Schedule of Courses – Please also see our schedule online at www.mates.org.
For registration, call our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen, at (206) 838-1126.
 
April 2012

30th       Radar Renewal
30th       Flashing Light Exam

May 2012

1-4          ARPA
7-11       Bridge Resource Management w/ Simulation
7-18       GMDSS
14-18     ECDIS
14-1       Terrestrial and Coastal Navigation w/ Compasses
21-25     Radar Observer Unlimited
22-24     Security Officer – Vessel, Company, and Facility

June 2012

4-6          Emergency Procedures
4-22       Terrestrial and Coastal Navigation w/ Compasses
7-8          Search and Rescue
11th       Radar Renewal
11-22     GMDSS
18-22     ECDIS
18-22     Management, Communication, and Leadership (Horizon Lines)
25-29     Medical Care Provider


MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 4-20-12

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
12,967.00 2,671.00 1,371.90
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Closing
Price
 Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund (VAARX)
56.17
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
127.14
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
43.97
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
18.42
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
20.08
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
28.29
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
11.05
 Vanguard Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
35.90
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
5.83
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
16.91
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
22.88
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
14.48
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
20.42
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
12.33
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
13.08
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
13.22
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
13.64
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
14.07
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
11.03
 Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
34.46
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
19.49
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
15.96
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
20.17
 Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
10.96
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
71.48
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
70.94
 Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
18.73
Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX)
48.99
 Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
28.22
 Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
29.09
 Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
11.58
 Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
12.28
 Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
13.90
 Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
14.04
 Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
13.89
 Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
8.02
 Fidelity Freedom 2050 (FFFHX)
9.35
 Fidelity Total Bond Fund (FTBFX)
11.05
 Spartan Extended market Index Fund (FSEMX)
39.23
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
48.89
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
33.66



The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates, and Pilots, ILA, AFL-CIO, 700 Maritime Blvd. Suite B, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1953. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973; Email: iommp@bridgedeck.org. For further info or to subscribe contact Lisa Rosenthal at lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org. The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea and is posted on our web page.

© 2012, International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots. All the material contained in this publication is protected by copyright. For permission to reprint text from the Weekly, contact the MM&P Communications Department: lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org. For changes of address, contact Lisa Rosenthal at lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org.