News

Wheelhouse Weekly – August 23, 2010

August 23rd 2010

 

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

Volume 14 . . . . . Number 34. . . .August 23, 2010

STORIES COVERED

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


FOR WORKERS IN U.S.-FLAG MARITIME INDUSTRY, STAKES OF NOV. 2 ELECTIONS ARE SKY HIGH

A shift in party control in either the House of Representatives or the Senate could put staunch opponents of the American Merchant Marine in charge of Congressional committees with oversight of the Maritime Security Program (MSP), cargo preference and other programs of immeasurable importance to the U.S.-flag shipping industry.

The Nov. 2 mid-term election will come on the heels of the baseless misinformation campaign launched against our industry and U.S.-flag maritime workers in the wake of BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The misinformation campaign was aimed at bringing about the repeal of the Jones Act by sowing public confusion about our country’s cabotage laws.
 
All 435 members of the House of Representatives and a third of the members of the Senate face re-election on Nov. 2. The Democrats are fighting to retain control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and the Republicans are fighting to take control of one or both chambers of Congress, a distinct possibility.

For MM&P and the other maritime unions, the issue of Congressional majority is critical because of who will be serving as chairmen of key committees and subcommittees, and who will thus be controlling the agenda and the schedule. If the Republicans win a majority in the Senate, the likely chairman of the Armed Services Committee will be a senator who has twice introduced legislation to repeal the Jones Act and has been a vociferous critic of various aspects of the Maritime Security Program. A shift in party control of the Senate would also mean that the likely chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee would be one of the only ten senators who voted against the creation of the Maritime Security Program and who has consistently voiced opposition to America’s cargo preference laws.

Against this stark background, speaker after speaker at the 83rd MM&P Regular Convention in Linthicum last week underlined the importance of mobilizing for the elections in support of pro-U.S.-flag candidates.

“Our enemies are alive and well,” said International Longshoremen’s Association President Richard Hughes. “I believe we have enough ammunition with all the good things we’ve done, but it’s going to be a tough fight,” he said.

MM&P International President Tim Brown called on the convention delegates to talk with their shipmates and families about the importance of the Nov. 2 elections and of voting for candidates who support our industry, as well as contributing to the MM&P Political Contribution Fund. “Do you support the American Merchant Marine, the Jones Act, the Maritime Security Program and our cargo preference laws?” he asked. “Then show your support! If we could get each MM&P member to contribute $100 to the PCF, we could turn the tide. Remember: the job you save may be your own!”

“The attacks on the Jones Act continue unabated,” said Sailors Union of the Pacific President Gunnar Lundeberg. He labeled former Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s anti-U.S.-flag industry campaign “incredible and insulting.” Early on in the Jones Act repeal campaign, Palin referred to union members as “thugs,” and said they had pressured President Obama into not waiving the Jones Act—which in parenthesis did not even apply in the case of the Deepwater Horizon spill. “This is offensive to every mariner who goes to sea,” Lundeberg said.

“Who would have ever thought that a fatal explosion of a foreign-flag oil rig would result in attacks on the Jones Act?” asked Seafarers International Union President Mike Sacco. “We’ve never before come under this level of in-depth attack. I have never felt that our industry is as threatened as it is now. We have to energize and mobilize our members, and get them to the polls,” he said. “Your jobs, your industry, your livelihood are at stake.”


LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: IMPORTANT BILLS PENDING AS CONGRESSIONAL TERM NEARS

The U.S.-flag maritime industry has achieved some legislative success and made important progress in the past two years, despite the partisan bickering in Congress, according to MIRAID President C. James Patti, who gave delegates to the MM&P Regular Convention a detailed overview of where things stand on legislation of critical importance to our members.

“It has been and continues to be a sharply divided Congress, with party-line voting becoming the norm, rather than the exception,” Patti said. “Regardless of what you personally believe in, regardless of your personal party affiliation–our hopes for great progress legislatively following the 2008 elections have not been realized. This is not to say that despite the obstacles thrown up at us that we have not achieved some legislative success and made some important progress.”

Among the victories: funding for the all-important Maritime Security Program has been approved in both the House and Senate and is awaiting final action on the Department of Transportation appropriations bill. Once enacted, the necessary $174 million will continue to be available so that each of the 60 ships participating in the program will be able to receive the authorized $2.9 million in Fiscal Year 2011.

Patti also singled out for special mention House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton, who worked to have language added to the pending Department of Defense (DOD) authorizations legislation (HR 5136) that would extend the existing Maritime Security Program for an additional 10-year period, though fiscal year 2025.  If enacted (the DOD authorizations bill has been held up in the Senate), this will provide the Department of Defense as well as our industry with the certainty of knowing that this program will continue, ensuring DOD that it will have the commercial sealift and American mariners needed to meet its requirements around the world.

Patti also recognized the efforts of Rep. Brian Higgins, who worked with other friends of our industry in Congress to achieve the first revenue estimate of waiving the double taxation of coastwise cargo through modification of the Harbor Maintenance Act, which is a first step to the establishment of an American short sea shipping program.

The Coast Guard authorization bill, which was passed by the House but must still be reconciled with the Senate, contains a provision that would address the problem many of our members have had with respect to the Coast Guard’s medical standards and procedures. This provision would put decision-making back in the hands of those with experience and expertise in this area, and would help eliminate the backlog that has delayed the expeditious handling of license applications and renewals. Among other things, this provision would create a merchant mariner medical advisory committee made up of health care professionals with experience in medical examinations of mariners. Another provision in the pending Coast Guard authorizations bill would prohibit states and localities from imposing additional background check requirements on maritime transportation workers who hold the TWIC card.

Patti urged all members to contribute to the union’s Political Contribution Fund (PCF), which supports those in Congress who support the American Merchant Marine. He encouraged members with questions about which candidates we support and why to contact him directly by e-mail: jpatti@miraid.org.


CONVENTION SPEECHES: MARITIME UNION LEADERS VOW GREATER COHESION, MORE TEAMWORK

Leaders of many of America’s maritime unions who gathered in Linthicum Heights last week for the 83rd  MM&P Regular Convention vowed to work more closely together on issues ranging from legislative advocacy to contract bids and cost-sharing of union facilities. “The Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA) and MM&P continue to merge halls and work together on government bids,” said MEBA President Don Keefe. He said the two unions “are making strides every day to work more closely together.”

SIU President Mike Sacco called for increased cooperation on the legislative front, in particular in support of bills that would pave the way for short sea shipping by waiving the Harbor Maintenance Tax and increasing the dredging of key ports. “This is an area where we can expand the U.S.-flag fleet,” he said. “We have to work together to make it happen.”

MM&P International Secretary-Treasurer Don Marcus said a major focus of his tenure will be “union solidarity.” On issues such as support of the Jones Act, he said, “there should be one voice for merchant marine officers.”

ILA Secretary-Treasurer Bobby Gleason underlined the benefits that have stemmed from the relationship between the ILA and MM&P, commending the two unions for their 40 years of close affiliation.

American Maritime Officers President Tom Bethel urged increased cooperation among the maritime unions. “The pie is shrinking,” he said. “At some point, the three maritime officers’ unions will have to get closer together. I’m sure everyone recognizes the significance of having all three union presidents speak at this convention,” Bethel said. “Each president wants to do the best for his own members, but we also recognize that the interests of all three unions’ members are very often parallel.”


LEND YOUR SUPPORT TO THE FIGHT AGAINST PIRACY! PLEASE SIGN THE ONLINE ITF PETITION NOW!

Your support is urgently needed. Please go online today to visit http://tiny.cc/nteo9 and sign the international antipiracy petition that will be delivered to world governments on World Maritime Day, Sept. 23. The petition, which is being promoted by a global coalition of labor unions and shipping organizations, demands stronger action from governments to stop piracy. The sponsoring group includes the International Transport Workers Federation, of which MM&P is a member, and the International Chamber of Shipping. The coalition is hoping to gather more than half a million signatures.

The petition demands that governments “dedicate significant resources and work to find real solutions to the growing piracy problem, take immediate steps to secure the release and safe return of kidnapped seafarers to their families and work within the international community to secure a stable and peaceful future for Somalia and its people.”


GREENLAND GLACIER CALVES ICE ISLAND FOUR TIMES SIZE OF MANHATTAN

A scientist based at the University of Delaware has reported that an “ice island” four times the size of Manhattan “calved” from Greenland’s Petermann Glacier on Aug. 5. Researcher Andreas Muenchow, associate professor of physical ocean science and engineering at the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean and Environment, has ascertained that the glacier lost 43 miles of its floating ice shelf. The new ice island has an area of at least 100 square miles and a thickness up to half the height of the Empire State Building. The area in which the breach took place is in northern Greenland, about 620 miles south of the North Pole.

Scientists say the island is destined to enter Nares Strait, a deep waterway between northern Greenland and Canada. “In Nares Strait, the ice island will encounter real islands that are all much smaller in size,” Muenchow told the Associated Press. “The newly born ice island may become land-fast, block the channel, or it may break into smaller pieces as it is propelled south by the prevailing ocean currents. From there, it will likely follow along the coasts of Baffin Island and Labrador, to reach the Atlantic within the next two years.”


FAILURE TO PASS BELATED THANK-YOU TO WORLD WAR II MERCHANT MARINERS IS A GREAT TRAVESTY OF FORGOTTEN VALOR, SAYS MAREX NEWSLETTER EDITOR TONY MUNOZ

The editor of the popular maritime newsletter “MarEx” has called on Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, to do everything in his power to gain passage of S 663, the “Belated Thank-You to the Merchant Mariners of World War II.”

Munoz called the legislature’s failure to pass the bill “a great travesty of forgotten valor that has beleaguered the U.S. Merchant Marine since the end of World War II.”  The bill would provide benefits to certain individuals who served in the U.S. Merchant Marine (including the Army Transport Service and the Naval Transportation Service) during World War II.

“It is time for Congress to put an end to this tremendous travesty because those who served in the U.S. Merchant Marine were not mercenaries. Like all Americans who fought against tyranny, these patriots of World War II did so for a nation that had been attacked, and they stood in harm’s way. World War II ended 65 years ago, and all that remains are the octogenarians and nonagenarians appropriately known as the “Greatest Generation.”

“It is incumbent on the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States to finally acknowledge the U.S. Merchant Marine of World War II and extend a hand of gratitude before they all fade away into the final pages of the twentieth century,” Munoz writes. His letter will be posted on www.bridgedeck.org, under “What’s New,” on Aug. 24.


U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE DISMISSES PIRACY CHARGES IN CASE OF SIX DEFENDANTS

A U.S. district judge has dismissed piracy charges against six Somali men accused of attacking a Navy ship in the Gulf of Aden. The judge said that the government had failed to provide evidence that the attack was an act of piracy as defined by law. The piracy charge, which carries a mandatory life sentence, was the most serious charge against the six. They will still be tried for other charges related to the April 10 attack on the USS ASHLAND. The judge said the crime the defendants were accused of did not meet the legal definition of piracy because the six did not actually take command of the Navy ship or steal property on board.


MM&P FEDERAL EMPLOYEES MEMBERSHIP GROUP MEMBERS ENCOURAGED TO APPLY FOR JOBS ON OFFSHORE DIVISION GOVERNMENT CONTRACT VESSELS

Patriot Contract Services is accepting resumes for deck officer positions on four LMSRs currently in ROS status. All MM&P members are encouraged to apply for these jobs. If you are a CIVMAR member and are interested in applying for one of these jobs, please contact MM&P New Orleans Representative Sue Bourcq: (985) 626-7133.

All members are urged to keep up their government training in order to remain eligible for employment aboard vessels in the MM&P government contract fleet. Of particular importance are small arms training, damage control, helo fire-fighting, helo control officer, CBRD-level 1 and Shipboard Security Team training. Early identification of all officer crewing is vital because a SECRET security clearance is required for senior officers and training certification is required prior to assignment to the ships. Please send your resume, including most recent training, to Patriot Contract Services by e-mail to the following contacts:

John Howe, Program Manager: john.howe@asmhq.com or fax to (866) 340-3072.

Michael Gillihan, Logistics Manager: michael.gillihan@asmhq.com or fax to (866) 340-3072.

Please also send your most recent resume and contact information to MM&P New Orleans representative Sue Bourcq: sbourcq@bridgedeck.org.


COME TO THE LOS ANGELES LABOR DAY MARCH!

The Los Angeles Labor Day March will be held on Monday, Sept. 6. Thousands of union members and their families attend the march every year to demonstrate their support for America’s working families and our country’s labor unions. As is our proud tradition, this year once again the Masters, Mates & Pilots will march shoulder to shoulder with the members of our fellow deep sea unions. All MM&P members, applicants and their families are encouraged to attend the march! The MM&P hall will be open by 0830. At 0900, we will begin the walk to the assembly area. Enjoy a fun morning with your fellow shipmates and show your union pride! Join us as we march in Los Angeles Sept. 6 in honor of Labor Day.


SHIP OPERATIONS COOPERATIVE (SOCP) WILL HOLD OPEN MEETING ON STCW REVISIONS AT MITAGS ON SEPT. 8-9

The Ship Operations Cooperative Program (SOCP) invites maritime industry representatives to take part in its summer 2010 meeting at the Maritime Institute of Technology & Graduate Studies (MITAGS) in Linthicum Heights, MD.  There are no membership requirements to attend. 

This public session will provide maritime professionals, labor unions, seafarers, training institutions and regulatory representatives the opportunity to participate in a working group format focusing on the development of performance measures which are used to assess mariner competencies listed in the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978, as amended in 1995, and again in June 2010.  The working groups will focus on generating recommendations on the assessments of “performance conditions” and “behaviors,” as well as on the “criteria” for the Code’s tables of competencies.  The work products generated will be forwarded to the Coast Guard. The size of each working group may be limited as needed to ensure the groups remain manageable so please be flexible. Volunteers for working group chairpersons are being accepted and should be forwarded to Glen Paine: gpaine@mitags.org.

There is no charge for attending or participating in the working groups. However, participants must register for the event at the SOCP website, www.socp.us, under Upcoming Events. Please indicate whether you would like to participate in a specific working group to ensure ample seating.

Hotel accommodations are being made available for attendees at the MITAGS Conference Center. The room rate is $168/night and includes all meals.  Day attendees may purchase lunch and break service ticket at the front desk for $20 dollars.  To make an online reservation please go to www.ccmit.org , click the [RESERVATION] icon on the home page, then select the [Group] icon on the reservation page.  Enter the following codes:

Group ID – 16439
Password – 1298

You may also e-mail a reservation to reservations@ccmit.org or call 866-900-3517.  For day participants, lunch tickets can be purchased at the front desk.  For directions, please visit www.mitags.org.

For questions please contact Kumar Samanta via e-mail at programadmin@socp.us or by calling (301) 440-1936.


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!


MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

Between now and the end of September 2010, the following courses are scheduled at MITAGS.  For class availability or information on MITAGS courses and programs, contact admissions toll free at 866-656-5568 or e-mail: admissions@mitags.org.

BRM- Bridge Resource Management: 9/27

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 9/13

CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 9/20

CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Operations (week 1): 9/27

CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants (with optional DCS): 8/30

CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 9/13, 9/27

CMM-SHS-ADV-I I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 9/20


ENVIRO-Regs Permit – Environmental Regulations Permit: 9/1

EP – Emergency Procedures: 9/15

HAZ- Hazardous Materials (5 Day): 8/23

[LAP – Must be USCG Approved for the Licensing Test to attend]

LAP – License Advancement Program for Chief Mate & Master: 9/20

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 9/14, 9/20

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 9/27

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 9/27

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 8/28, 10/2


SAR – Search and Rescue: 9/13

SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 8/30

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: 9/27

WKP-BAS – Basic Watchkeeping: 9/27

WX-BAS – Basic Meteorology: 9/20

…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. For class availability or info on MITAGS courses and programs, contact admissions toll-free at 866-656-5568 or e-mail: admissions@mitags.org


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

September 2010

7-17   Celestial Navigation
13       Security Refresher
13-24  GMDSS
14-16  Security VCF
20-24  Basic Construction & Stability
20-22  Fast Rescue Boat
27       Radar Renewal
27-1   Basic Shiphandling
27-1   ECDIS

October 2010

4-8       Tankerman Person-in-Charge
4-15      Basic Watchkeeping with BRM
11-22    GMDSS
12-15    ARPA
18-29   Celestial Navigation
18-22   Medical Care Provider
18-29   Medical Person-in-Charge
23         Med DOT
25-27   Fast Rescue Boat
27         Radar Renewal


MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 8-20-10

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
10,213.62 2,179.76 1,071.69
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Closing
Price
 Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund (VAARX)
49.27
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
98.95
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
32.97
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
16.45
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
14.80
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
22.18
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
11.04
 Vanguard Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
26.33
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
5.59
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
15.47
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
19.39
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
13.81
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
17.87
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
11.34
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
11.48
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
11.32
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
11.43
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
11.83
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
10.86
 Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
26.61
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
14.83
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
13.99
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
15.21
 Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
10.70
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
59.60
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
56.92
 Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
15.47
 Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX)
36.73
 Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
25.87
 Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
22.90
 Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
10.92
 Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
11.57
 Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
12.52
 Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
12.44
 Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
12.14
 Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
6.95
 Fidelity Freedom 2050 (FFFHX)
8.05
 Fidelity Total Bond Fund (FTBFX)
11.02
 Spartan Extended market Index Fund (FSEMX)
30.57
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
38.03
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
25.24



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.

© 2010, 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.