News

Wheelhouse Weekly – December 10, 2007

December 10th 2007

 

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

Volume 11 . . . . . Number 49. . . .December 10, 2007

STORIES COVERED

Also

REMINDERS

T-AGS Oceanographic Survey Ships Info

Required Coursework

Security Clearances

MSC Physicals

MM&P FCU News

MM&P Health & Benefit Plan News

Meet Our New Prescription Benefit Manager, PHARMACARE

Notice to MM&P Health & Benefit Plan Participants

WWII USCG Veterans Outreach

Company Gives Bucks Back for buying Safe Shoes

Website Offers Union-Made Goods and Services




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


FORMER DOT SECRETARY MINETA CALLS FOR NEW FEDERAL MARITIME POLICY

A new federal agency should be created to unify the responsibilities for maritime industry promotion and oversight that are now scattered among more than a dozen federal agencies, according to Norman Mineta, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation.

In a speech to an audience of port industry executives and investors, Mineta said that bringing together responsibilities for maritime industry management, promotion and oversight would allow the government to develop a comprehensive maritime policy and more efficiently raise money for maritime from Congress. He argued that the government should transfer virtually all federal maritime programs to a new maritime authority, including the responsibilities for aids to navigation from the Coast Guard and the portion of the Army Corps of Engineers that manages domestic ports and waterways.

He said the unification could embrace activities now overseen by agencies that include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Commerce Department and the Federal Maritime Commission. Mineta said the new organization should cover all maritime-related modes, such as inland rail, barge and roadways leading into and out of port facilities.

“The federal government must develop a legislative reauthorization process that puts maritime issues on the same level of importance that surface and aviation assets currently have,” he said. As long as port and waterway funding is relegated to legislative channels such as the defense bill, he argued, it will remain a stepchild of the overall system. Another suggestion: that the Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point be renamed the National Maritime Academy and made into a federal service institution along the lines of West Point.

To help ensure that the maritime industry receives its fair share of infrastructure investments, Mineta also called on the major industry players to create a national maritime association to educate legislators and the public.


AFTER JAN. 1, 2008, AN EXTRA POINT PER DAY FOR APPLICANTS WORKING ON T-AGS OCEANOGRAPHIC VESSELS

MM&P is offering an extra point per day to applicants who work on the T-AGS oceanographic vessels after Jan. 1. There are currently two second mate, two third mate and a chief mate position open. If you are interested, please contact MM&P Atlantic Ports Vice President Rich May at rmay@bridgedeck.org or 201-963-1900.

Third mate positions are open on the HENSON and the HEEZEN. Second mate positions are open on the BOWDITCH and the HENSON. A chief mate position is open on the SUMNER. All the jobs are for 120 days.  The starting dates for the jobs are as follows:

3/M      Henson         120 days       starts 12/15/07
3/M      Heezen         120 days       starts 12/19/07 
2/M      Bowditch      120 days       starts 12/23/07
C/M     Sumner         120 days       starts 12/30/07
2/M      Henson         120 days       starts 01/15/08

Applicants now get one point for each day of work on the T-AGS vessels. Effective Jan. 1, applicants will get two points for each day.

The jobs can be taken on a PRO card. If mariners are on vacation, they can come back, leaving banked vacation days, and take the jobs.

To facilitate the process, Horizon Lines has provided the union with the SF-86 form, which can serve as a template to help gather one’s personal information in preparation for filling out the final security application online. The form is being distributed to all ports and will be posted on www.bridgedeck.org. Access to the Horizon Lines E-QIP program is provided by the company once mariners have actually been assigned to a vessel.


BAR PILOTS IN PUBLIC OUTREACH EFFORT AFTER SAN FRANCISCO SPILL

A proposal to increase federal authority over shipping traffic in San Francisco Bay in the wake of the COSCO BUSAN allision is the wrong way to go, says Captain Peter McIsaac, president of the San Francisco Bar Pilots. Members of the association reached out to the public, with a detailed illustration in layman’s terms of the pilot’s job and the numerous safeguards already in place, in an article published in the Dec. 7 issue of the San Francisco Chronicle. The article was entitled “Air Traffic-Like Controls Won’t Work for Vessels on the Bay.”

The Department of Justice has filed suit in U.S. District Court against the owners of the vessel and the pilot on board at the time of the allision, which resulted in a 58,000-gallon oil spill. According to standard accident investigation protocol, the Board of Pilot Commissioners has suspended the pilot’s license. In an official release, the board stressed, however, that the suspension “should not be viewed as a prejudgment of pilot error.”

“Now that the recent incident involving the COSCO BUSAN has put our association under the microscope,” McIsaac wrote, “we want the public to know exactly what we do, how we do it and what measures are in place to insure safe, reliable shipping traffic.” In the article, McIsaac told readers that the San Francisco Bar Pilots perform some 10,000 vessel movements a year, with a safety record “unrivaled by any other professional transportation association.” He called the COSCO BUSAN incident “serious, but isolated.”

He said the association was working closely with authorities, including the Board of Pilot Commissioners, to further improve safety. He said the incident has shown the need for better designed fendering on some Bay Area bridges. “Many other bridges around the country use a triangular-shaped plastic or rubber fender that can deflect a vessel away from a direct hit,” he wrote. “This would provide a further margin of safety and lessen the chances of a fuel spill in the future.”

McIsaac said suggestions that an air traffic type vessel management system should be introduced in the bay were impractical at best and could well be dangerous. “A complex number of forces acting upon a ship’s movement, including vessel hydrodynamics, wind, current and water depth, make remote control of a large ship impossible,” McIsaac wrote. He said that 95 percent of the small craft afloat in San Francisco Bay on any given day were not even checked into the vessel management system. “The wide range of vessel classes, sizes and abilities further argues against a uniform approach to shipping traffic control,” he wrote.

“We require the highest professional standards possible for our members,” McIsaac told readers. “We consider ourselves stewards of the environment and everything we train for, everything we do on the job is designed to keep life on the water safe for all.”


COAST GUARD FINALIZES MOVE TO CREDENTIAL-PRODUCTION FACILITY, CENTRALIZES MARINER LICENSING PROGRAM

The Coast Guard’s National Maritime Center (NMC) will move into its new credential -production facility in Martinsburg, W.Va., this month, as part of a major restructuring effort to consolidate the function of its 17 independently operating Regional Exam Centers (REC). Its stated goal is to improve customer service and decrease credential processing time. Mariners will continue to use existing RECs as storefronts. Once accepted, the application will be sent to the NMC for processing. The NMC will send issued credentials directly to mariners.

The USCG also announced it has updated the links to REC websites where locations, hours of operation and contact information are posted. Click on http://www.uscg.mil/STCW/mmic-regions.htm for the website links.

Meanwhile, the enrollment process for the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) continues at ports throughout the country. Enrollment in the Ports of Tulsa and Long Beach will begin Dec. 12. Enrollment commences in the Ports of Albany on Dec. 13. MM&P recommends pre-enrolling at the TSA’s TWIC website. Go to www.tsa.gov and access the pages for Merchant Mariners.

MM&P members and applicants are reminded that mariners are not required to hold a TWIC until Sep. 25, 2008. Until then, they will be permitted access to secure areas in ports by presenting their Merchant Mariner’s Document (MMD) and a photo ID. 


MM&P CONTINUES TO CONTEST COAST GUARD’S NEW MEDICAL POLICY

On Nov. 26-27, MM&P Director of Special Projects Richard Plant and Mike Rodriguez, Executive Assistant to MM&P President Tim Brown, attended a meeting of the Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee (MERPAC) medical working group. The working group is reviewing the Coast Guard’s rewrite of the medical standards the agency uses to determine the physical and medical fitness of mariners. 

MM&P and the other seafaring unions have been outspoken opponents of the USCG’s approach. The unions say that the new medical policy is an overly aggressive response to the ANDREW J. BARBIERI allision and that there is no evidence that imposing the more stringent requirements will result in a significantly safer maritime transportation industry. They have called on the USCG to conduct a study of marine casualties to inform the process.

Chief among the unions’ complaints are reduced discretion given to examining physicians, unnecessary medical evaluations and consultations, and increased costs to mariners and health care plans.

The USCG intends to finalize, publish, and begin implementing the new medical policy following the MERPAC meeting in April. MM&P will continue to monitor developments and advocate for a sensible and effective medical policy.


DISASTER ZONE DECLARED AFTER OIL SPILL IN SOUTH KOREA

A disaster zone has been declared in several counties in South Korea as a result of a 10,500-ton crude oil spill caused by a collision between a barge and a Hong Kong flagged oil tanker, the HEBEI SPIRIT. The vessel was anchored five miles outside port, waiting to unload 260,000 tons of oil, when it was struck by the barge. Officials have deployed more than 100 ships and thousands of troops to clean up the spill, the worst in the country’s history. A local nature preserve is threatened, oyster beds have been destroyed and beaches are covered in a viscous sea of black. The slick has washed up in an 11-mile area of the west coast, about 100 km southwest of Seoul. The leak in the tanker was patched early Sunday. Local coast guard authorities said that considering the weather and tide conditions, the slick is not expected to expand for now. Volunteers and troops have been scooping oil with buckets, treating birds covered in oil and scrubbing oil-covered rocks. Ships deploying containment fences and oil skimmers have been trying to mop up the mess. Police are reportedly questioning officials of Samsung Heavy Industries Co. Ltd., which was operating the crane, as well as the crew of the barge and the captain, crew and owner of the tanker.


ARCTIC CRUISE SHIP SURVIVOR TELLS OF COLD, FEAR

There was no panic among the passengers of MS EXPLORER, the Canadian cruise ship that sank in the Bransfield Strait off King George Island, Antarctica, on Nov. 23, according to an unsubstantiated survivor’s account that made the rounds of the Internet last week. The man, a retiree who lives in the United States, reported that the survivors were “somber and cold,” but not panicked, as they waited in inflatable lifeboats to be rescued.
The survivor, who had been lodged in a room on the third deck, told how he had awoken to find the floor of his room wet after the ship struck a small piece of ice and began taking on water through a fist-sized hole. “About 12:30 I was roused by what sounded like the gang plank slapping against the hull,” he reported. “Then I heard what sounded like water pouring down a drain… From half asleep, I went to full awake.”
The passengers and crew of the Liberian-flagged vessel were rescued by a Norwegian liner after six hours floating in semi-rigid lifeboats and life rafts. Seas were calm seas and there was little wind at the time.

The survivor said that during the evacuation, “there was no crying; there was no pushing; there was no panic.” He attributed the survival of all passengers and crew to three factors: “We had good leadership. We were dressed for the cold. And, above all, we were lucky.” The EXPLORER had left Ushuaia, Argentina, Nov. 11, for a 19-day cruise retracing the explorer Ernest Shackleton’s route through the Drake Passage, which runs between the South Shetland Islands and Cape Horn.


MM&P PORT HOLIDAY PARTY SCHEDULE ANNOUNCED!

MM&P members, their families and friends are invited to the 2007 holiday parties taking place in December in MM&P union halls, or other locations, as specified below.

ATLANTIC COAST PORTS

New York/New Jersey: Wednesday, Dec. 12.
Boston: Friday, Dec. 14, at the Knights of Columbus in Charlestown, Mass., starting around noon. Please contact the Boston Hall for more information.
Norfolk: Wednesday, Dec. 19.

San Juan, combined Offshore and United Inland Group: Friday, Dec. 21, 4:00 p.m., at Levi’s on Ponce de Leon Avenue.

GULF PORTS

Gulf Port parties will take place at the respective halls according to the following schedule.

New Orleans: Wednesday, Dec. 12, noon.

Houston: Thursday, Dec. 13, noon.

Jacksonville: Friday, Dec. 14, noon.

Port Everglades: Tuesday, Dec. 18, 11:00 a.m.

PACIFIC PORTS

San Francisco: Thursday, Dec. 13 (most likely joint with MEBA at MEBA Hall in Oakland)

Los Angeles: Friday, Dec. 14 (joint w/MEBA at Los Angeles Hall)

Seattle: Tuesday, Dec. 18 (at MM&P’s Seattle Hall)



15-DAY SHIPPING RULE CHANGE NOW IN EFFECT AT HORIZON LINES, APL

The new 15-day rule for foreign voyages is now in effect at two MM&P-contracted companies, Horizon Lines and American President Lines (APL). The old shipping rule remains in effect for mariners employed under all other MM&P contracts. The new 15-day rule stipulates that the member is allowed to return to his or her port of engagement as many as 15 days after arrival at the pay-off port, even if he or she has already accumulated 120 days prior to arrival at the pay-off port.


INVESTIGATION INTO PASHA BULKER GROUNDING FINDS MASTER DISPLAYED POOR JUDGMENT

New South Wales (NSW) Maritime has issued the report of its investigation into the June 8, grounding of the PASHA BULKER on a Newcastle beach during a storm. The investigation concluded that the grounding was caused by a combination of bad weather and poor judgment. The report states that the master used poor judgment in deciding to ride out the gale at anchor, and didn’t ballast the ship for heavy weather.

“In general,” the report states, “the standard of seamanship and decision-making displayed by the master of the PASHA BULKER is assessed as being poor.” But the government body recommended no formal action be taken against the master because it said negligence would be difficult to prove. NSW Maritime did suggest, however, that the ship’s flag state receive a copy of the report from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority seeking that the master’s qualifications be reviewed.


MARAD AWARDS CONTRACT TO DISPOSE OF VESSELS FROM JAMES RIVER RESERVE FLEET

MARAD will pay Bay Bridge Enterprises $790,000 to dismantle HOISTand SPHINX in its Chesapeake, Va., facility. The World War II-era ships, formerly anchored in the James River Reserve Fleet in Newport News, Va., are moored at a shipyard near Baltimore, Md. The contract was originally awarded to North American Ship Recycling, Inc., but terminated when the company told MARAD that it planned to shut down its operations at the Sparrows Point Shipyard.

The HOIST, a Navy rescue and salvage ship build in 1945, participated in the undersea search for the lost attack submarine USS THRESHER and for the recovery of a hydrogen bomb lost off Palo Mares, Spain, after the crash of a B-52 bomber. Originally built in 1944 as a tank landing ship, the SPHINX was converted into a landing craft repair ship, earning battle stars in the Korean conflict and in Vietnam.

MARAD keeps ships in three National Defense Reserve Fleets sites to support Armed Forces movements and to respond to national emergencies. When ships become obsolete, MARAD arranges for their disposition in an environmentally sensitive manner.


SOUTHEAST ALASKA PILOTS ASSOCIATION SEEKS TRAINEE CANDIDATES

The Southeast Alaska Pilots Association, Ketchikan, Alaska, seeks qualified candidates for prospective positions. The deadline for submitting applications is Feb. 8, 2008. The examination will be held March 10-14 in Seattle. For more information, go to: www.seapa.com/application_info.html


MOBILE BAR PILOTS TO OPEN BOOKS FOR NEW APPRENTICE PILOTS

The Mobile Bar Pilots (MBP) is seeking four new apprentice pilots to fill vacancies that will open up between now and 2010. MM&P masters and chief mates are encouraged to apply for these jobs, which are being created by the increase in trade at the Port of Mobile and retirements among the ranks of the existing pilots. Once the new container port is up and running, additional pilots may be needed on top of the four. Deep sea command experience is a plus for these jobs. In November, the State Pilot Commission of Alabama will announce an “open period” during which it will receive applications. The State Pilot Commission of Alabama is the sole judge of the seniority and statutory qualifications of the applicants to be apprenticed and to select those it considers to be best qualified to fill the available slots on the Pilots’ Register, based on the following factors: minimum age of 18; degree, extent, and continuity of progress toward meeting the statutory qualifications; degree of cooperation with the Commission to determine the best qualified applicants; a permanent resident of the State of Alabama for six (6) consecutive months immediately preceding submission of application for apprenticeship; holding of or progress toward necessary Coast Guard licenses; the nature and extent of appropriate maritime employment and experience; a bachelor’s degree from a college, university or a nationally recognized maritime academy; good moral character.

Applications must be on the official application form and must be postmarked neither before Nov. 10 nor after Dec. 31, 2007.  The official application form may be obtained by writing a letter to: The Secretary, State Pilotage Commission, State Office Box 273, Mobile, AL 36601. If you request an application form, you will also be sent a plain English brief summary of the process for becoming a bar pilot in Mobile.


DRUG AND ALCOHOL TESTING CLASS AT PMI IN JANUARY

A “MED-DOT” class will be held at the Pacific Maritime Institute (PMI) in Seattle on Wednesday, Jan. 9. The course fulfills the federal requirements for initial training and “refresher” training for drug and alcohol testing aboard ship. Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations require that refresher training be completed every five years. Interested members should contact the Seattle Hall at (206) 441-8700, or by e-mail: kmoran@bridgedeck.org.


MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

CLASS OPENINGS: Between now and March 3, 2008, seats are available in the following courses:

AIS ECDIS 3 for Pilots � Automatic Identification System and Electronic Chart Display Information System (3 day) for Pilots: 1/28
ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 1/14

BRM � Bridge Resource Management: 2/18
BRMP � Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 1/31
BST � Basic Safety Training: 2/4

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
CMM-ADVWX � Advanced Meteorology: 1/21
CMM-CHS I � Advanced Cargo Handling (week 1): 2/4
CMM-CHS II � Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 2/11
CMM-MPP � Marine Propulsion Plants: 12/17, 2/18
CMM-SHS-ADV-I-Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 1/7, 1/21, 2/4, 2/25
CMM-SHS-ADV-II-Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 1/28, 2/11
CMM-SHMGT-I � Ship Management (week 1): 2/25
CMM-SHMGT-II� Ship Management (week 2): 3/3
CMM-WKP � Advanced Watchkeeping: 12/17

CONT PLNG � Contingency Planning Workshop: 1/25

FF-BADV � Combined Basic & Advanced Fire Fighting: 2/4

HAZ � Hazardous Materials (5 day) Course: 1/7

LAP � License Advancement Program (must be qualified by USCG for exam): 1/14
LEG � Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 1/30

MED-PIC � Medical Person-In-Charge: 2/11
MED-PRO � Medical Care Provider: 1/7, 2/11
MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 1/12, 2/16
MEDIA RSP � Media Response: 1/24

[MSC – Military Sealift Command]
MSC-CBRD-1 � CBRD Orientation: 1/26
MSC-DC � Damage Control: 1/24

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 1/14, 2/18
ROP-5 � Radar Observer Program (Original-Renewal Unlimited): 2/11

SEC-VCF � Security Officer: Vessel, Company & Facility: 1/21
SHS-BAS � Basic Shiphandling: 1/21, 2/18
SHS-EMR � Emergency Shiphandling: 1/28
SHS-ESH- BRMP � Emergency Shiphandling & Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 1/28

TPIC – Tankerman Person-In-Charge Dangerous Liquids: 2/11

�and 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 Email: admissions@mitags.org.


PMI ACADEMIC NOTES

Fall – Winter 2008

Due to the high demand for this program, PMI has now scheduled another that is already close to full enrollment for its 2007-start date. See the PMI Web site at www.mates.org for more info on this new development.

FOR REGISTRATION CALL JENNIFER FOWLER: 206 838-1126

SCHEDULE OF COURSES – (Course schedule also posted online at www.mates.org)

December 2007
17-21  ENAV
17-19  SEC VCF
17-21  ARPA
17-21  TPIC
17-21  SHS BAS

January 2008
7-11ENAV
7-11STB BAS
7-11TPIC
7-11BST
8-11ARPA
8-11LFBT
14-18AB
14-18WX BAS
14-18SHS BAS
14-25GMDSS
14-1TCNAV
21-1WKP
22ROR
28-1MED PRO
28-2GMDSS
28-8MED PIC
28-1FF ADV
28-29FF BAS

February 2008
4-8 ROR
4-8 BST
4-8 AB
11-15TPIC
12-15LFBT
11ROR
11-12SAR
11-15TPIC
12-15ARPA
12-15LFBT
13-15EP
16FL
18-22ENAV
18-22MED PRO
18-29MED PIC
18-22SHS BAS
25ROR
25-29ARPA
25-29ECDIS
25-7CNAV

March 2008
3-7BST
3-14GMDSS
4-7LFBT
10-11SAR
10-12SEC VCF
10-14AB
12-14EP
17-21TPIC
17-28SHS ADV
17-28GMDSS
24-28ECDIS
24-28FF ADV
24-4GMDSS
27-28FF BAS

For registration call Jennifer Fowler 888-893-7829

PMI MERCHANDISE FOR SALE!!!

High-quality clothing embroidered with the NEW PMI logo! We can ship these items also! Acceptable forms of payment are check, credit card, money order and exact cash. Call Laura Bendixen at 888-893-7829 for prices and to order. If we don’t have your size, we’ll be glad to special order for you at no extra cost.


MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 12-7-2007

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
13,626 2,719.65 1,505
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Closing
Price
 Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund(VAARX)
69.64
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
139.12
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
41.49
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
28.58
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
21.54
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
36.57
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
10.31
 Vanguard Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
33.90
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
5.91
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
17.51
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
25.99
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
14.47
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
21.92
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
12.46
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
13.58
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
14.29
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
15.25
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
15.75
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
10.09
 Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
36.41
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
23.00
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
16.89
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
29.39
 Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
10.13
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
95.25
 Fidelity Small Company Instl (FMACX)
21.90
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
77.85
 Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
24.77
 Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX)
45.92
 Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
40.80
 Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
31.05
 Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
11.60
 Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
12.90
 Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
15.44
 Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
16.55
 Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
17.24
 Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
10.21
 Fidelity Freedom 2050 (FFFHX)
11.90
 Fidelity Total Bond Fund (FTBFX)
10.30
 Spartan Extended market Index Fund (FSEMX)
40.94
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
53.46
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
34.55






~ Reminders ~




 

T-AGS OCEANOGRAPHIC SURVEY SHIPS MANNING REQUIREMENTS

REQUIRED COURSEWORK

All MM&P members are reminded that to sail aboard the T-AGS ships that MM&P-contracted Horizon Lines will be operating, you must have the required training certification and your certificates must be current in accordance with Military Sealift Command requirements. Members are also required to have had a MSC pre-employment physical and to possess Ship Security Clearance (see below).

The MSC Contract calls for all training certificates required for manning of these vessels to be no older than 5 years and that all STCW-95 courses be renewed every 5 years, or annually, as applicable.

Five-year renewable courses include, but are not limited to:

  • Advanced Fire Fighting
  • Basic Safety Training, and
  • Damage Control

Small Arms certificates must be less than 1 year old and MUST NOT expire during your tour of duty.

Members interested in applying for one of the positions onboard the T-AGS vessels are advised to make sure your certificates are up to date. If not, contact Mary Matlock or Diane Ford at MITAGS Admissions, email: admissions@mitags.org, and schedule to take the course(s) needed.

Those MM&P members interested in obtaining more information and facts about the T-AGS Oceanographic Vessels are asked to email the Director of Special Projects requesting the “facts sheet”. It will be provided by return email in an Adobe Acrobat PDF format.

Members interested in employment on the T-AGS ships are asked to provide a 1-2 page resume. Please list the desired position you are seeking along with the certificates of training you possess and their dates. Upon receipt it will be forwarded to Horizon Lines and a confirmation sent back to the member. Vessel turnover commenced Oct.17, 2004. Positions for all ratings remain open.

The point of contact for sending a resume for employment on the Horizon Lines T-AGS Oceanographic Vessels is Richard Plant, MM&P’s Director of Special Projects. Send resumes in an email or as a Word file attachment to him at: rplant@bridgedeck.org, by fax to 410-850-0973 or by mail to:

Richard Plant, Director of Special Projects

IOMM&P
700 Maritime Blvd.
Linthicum Heights, MD 21090



SHIP SECURITY CLEARANCE NEEDED

Members who want to sail for Horizon Lines on the T-AGS Oceanographic Survey vessels the company is set to begin operating for MSC must have Ship Security Clearance before going aboard.

Special software must be downloaded from the US Government’s Defense Security Service to complete the Security Clearance application. You must have an Internet connection and a Windows-based computer to retrieve the application and run the program.

Go to https://sclient.dss.mil/download/w9xfull.htm to download the software titled “EPSQ SUBJECT2_2”.

After the software is installed and the program is launched, select “Create” from the menu bar at the top of the screen. You will be required to enter your Social Security Number and a case-sensitive password. A window titled “Type of Form” will appear.

All Deck Officers should select the first button titled “Request for Security Clearance (SF86)” and then click “OK” to go to the next screen, “Type of Investigation”.

From the “Type of Investigation” screen:

  • Masters and Radio Officers should select the first button, “Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI)”.
  • All other Deck Officers (C/M, 2/M, 3/M) should click on the second button, “National Agency Check (NAC or NACLC)”.

After selecting the appropriate investigation type, click on “OK” to begin filling in the forms.



MSC PHYSICALS

Horizon Lines requests all mariners seeking employment aboard the T-AGS Oceanographic vessels to take their MSC Physical at specially-designated facilities only after being advised to do so by the Company. This is to assure that all requirements of the MSC Physical are properly met.


MM&P FCU NEWS

GET NEW WHEELS OR LOWER EXISTING PAYMENTS WITH MM&P FCU VEHICLE FINANCING

Is it time to replace that car you’re driving? Vehicle loan rates are looking great at MM&P FCU.

Drive away in a new or used vehicle for a standard loan rate of:

6.50 percent for terms up to 24 months.
Standard loan rates for longer-term loans are:

6.75 percent for 25-48 months;
7.50 percent for 49-60 months ($20,000 minimum); and
8.00 percent for terms extending from 61-72 months ($25,000 minimum).
You can lower your loan rate even more — by 0.75 percent — by becoming a Preferred Borrower.

Are you paying a higher rate on your current vehicle loan at another institution? Consider refinancing your outside loan at the MM&P FCU and taking advantage of our lower loan rates.

MM&P FCU will finance up to 100 percent of your new vehicle loan, and up to 90 percent of NADA Book Value on a used vehicle. Maximum vehicle loan amount is $30,000.

PREFERRED BORROWERS GET LOWER LOAN RATES
MM&P FCU members can reduce the interest rate they pay on any new loan even further by becoming a preferred borrower. What is a preferred borrower? That’s a member who deposits at least 10 percent of the original loan amount into their MM&P FCU savings account and keeps those funds on deposit until the loan is paid in full. By doing this you save twice – first, your deposit works for you by earning our regular dividend savings rate, and second, you save money by reducing the interest rate on your loan by 0.75 percent.

Contact the MM&P FCU for full details on all loan programs by email to mmpfcu@bridgedeck.org or call 1-800-382-7777 toll-free.



 

MM&P HEALTH & BENEFIT PLAN NEWS

MEET OUR NEW PRESCRIPTION BENEFIT MANAGER, PHARMACARE

As you know, effective July 1, 2007, MM&P will have a new Prescription Benefit Manager, PharmaCare. If you use the mail service and have not sent your Confidential Mail Service Enrollment Form to the MM&P Plan Office, you have until June 30 to do so. Otherwise, you can call PharmaCare’s customer service line and give them the information over the telephone or send the form with your first new mail prescription directly to PharmaCare. In the next couple of days, you will be receiving a letter with your new MM&P identification cards and a prescription booklet with information on how to obtain your prescriptions. PharmaCare’s customer service number is listed in the booklet. If you have any questions, please contact the MM&P Health & Benefit Plan Advisors.



NOTICE TO MM&P HEALTH & BENEFIT PLAN PARTICIPANTS

As you know, MM&P Health & Benefit Plan members have a new prescription benefit manager, PharmaCare. When you first obtain a prescription at your retail drug store, please show your new Health & Benefit Identification Card with PharmaCare’s information. If you do not show your card, please inform your pharmacist of the following information so you can receive your prescriptions through the Plan. Your identification number HAS NOT CHANGED. Please provide the pharmacist with your full member identification number. You will have to also provide the following numbers. RxGrp#- Z50136968, RxBin: 610468 and RxPCN: PC2 

If your pharmacist has any questions, he or she should call PharmaCare directly at (800) 503-3241.  If you have any questions, PharmaCare members can call the company directly at (888) 364-6815.



WWII USCG VETERANS OUTREACH

The U.S. Coast Guard has announced an initiative to identify and collect the oral histories of its World War II veterans. Coast Guard WWII veterans, including SPARS and merchant mariners, are encouraged to record their histories online with the Library of Congress Veterans History Project at www.loc.gov/folklife/vets.

Those veterans needing assistance in recording their stories can receive help from their local Coast Guard Auxiliary public affairs contact by leaving a message at 1-877-875-6296, a toll-free call.



 

COMPANY GIVES BUCKS BACK FOR BUYING SAFE SHOES

LMS Ship Management, the company that manages vessels for Central Gulf, Sulphur Carriers and Waterman Steamship, wants to remind MM&P members that they offer their crewmembers a $75 reimbursement on the cost of purchasing certain slip-resistant shoes and boots for use aboard ship.

This offer has been in place for some time and LMS reports that “we have been pleased with the participation to date, but feel a reminder may be in order.” Their goal is for every crewmember to wear slip resistant footwear during working hours aboard their vessels.

The $75 reimbursement is available to each crewmember who provides LMS with an original receipt for the purchase of slip resistant footwear. In order for the crewmember to obtain the reimbursement, they must wear the shoes while on duty. Upon presentation of the receipt, the crewmember will be reimbursed on their pay voucher. The receipt will be retained by the Master and will remain aboard the vessel.
 

Vessels in the LMS footwear reimbursement program are:

  • Green Cove
  • Green Dale
  • Green Lake
  • Green Point
  • Atlantic Forest
  • Sulphur Enterprise
  • Energy Enterprise
  • SGT Matej C. Kocak
  • MAJ Stephen W. Pless, and
  • PFC Eugene A. Obregon

LMS notes that in order to receive reimbursement, crewmembers must purchase one of the following recommended brands:

  • WORX by Red Wing Slip Resistant Footwear
  • Caterpillar (must have steel toe & slip resistant sole)
  • Wolverine (must have steel toe and slip resistant sole)
  • Dunham Sierra Work Boot EH
  • Steel Toe Voyager
  • Georgia Boot 6- or 8-inch Safety Toe Boot
  • Dr. Marten’s (must have steel toe & slip resistant sole)

LOOK FOR THE UNION LABEL:

Of the boots listed above, Red Wing, Caterpillar and Wolverine boots are produced by US union labor.

Redwing’s Union-made products are: Red Wing shoes and boots, Red Wing motorcycle boots and Craftsman (Sears).

Wolverine World Wide manufactures boots under the Caterpillar brand using US union labor. (Other union made safety-shoe brands by Wolverine are the company’s Hy-Test, Durashock and Bates Military labels. The company’s Wolverine brand combat boots are also produced using US union labor.)

Most Dr. Marten’s shoes and boots are produced in the UK.

To find US, union-made products, visit the AFL-CIO Union Label Service and Trades website at www.unionlabel.org and click on “Union Made Product Search”. To shop for union-made products online, go to www.ShopUnionMade.org.



 

WEBSITE OFFERS UNION-MADE GOODS AND SERVICES

The Union Label recently went digital with a new website offering shoppers an array of union-made gifts, from clothing and chocolates to computers, games and greeting cards.

The website, www.shopunionmade.org, launches on the eve of the fall and winter holidays, when shoppers will spend an estimated $1 trillion on gifts, food, drinks and other seasonal items, explained Matt Bates, Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO Union Label & Service Trades Department. The all-union shopping site, however, will be a year-round operation because that is what consumers demand, he added.

“Shoppers spent $56 billion in Internet sales last year, and on-line spending is doubling every two to three years. Everyday we receive Email and calls from people who want to support good jobs by buying union-made goods and services. The website will reach millions of people, 24 hours a day, with a quick convenient way to shop union,” Bates said.

“The public is ready for this. People have seen millions of good jobs disappear and they are looking for ways to take a stand and make a difference,” he added.

The AFL-CIO will target the peak of the holiday shopping season by promoting “Buy Union Week” Nov. 26 through Dec. 5. The newly-launched, all-union shopping site will be a cornerstone of that campaign. MM&P has a link to the Shop Union Site on this website under “Links and Other Sources”.



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.

© 2007, 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.

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