News

Wheelhouse Weekly – December 20, 2016

December 21st 2016

Volume 21 . . . Number 51. . . Dec. 20, 2016

STORIES COVERED

In This Issue:

Plus:

Very Important:

News for MM&P Members:

And:


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HOLIDAY GREETINGS

MM&P wishes all readers of The Wheelhouse Weekly, on land and at sea, and their families and friends, a happy holiday season.

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CONTINUING RESOLUTION FREEZES MARITIME SECURITY PROGRAM FUNDING AT CURRENT YEAR LEVEL

Congress has decided once again to postpone a comprehensive spending bill to fund the federal government.

Legislators decided instead to pass a Continuing Resolution that extends current funding levels until early spring.

As far as the Maritime Security Program (MSP) is concerned, this means that while $5 million has been authorized for each MSP vessel, the current level of $3.5 million will remain in place until a comprehensive spending bill is passed.

It is important to note that this figure is still $400,000 above the previous level, an increase made possible thanks to the work of MM&P, MIRAID and other maritime unions.

When Congress does pass a comprehensive spending bill, it is expected to include the full $5 million, to be applied retroactively.

MM&P, MIRAID and the other maritime unions will continue working to ensure full funding for the Maritime Security fleet.

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CONGRESS ALLOWS ARMED SERVICES TO RESTORE FULL PER DIEM RATES FOR TRAVELERS

Congress has passed a measure that allows individual military services to restore the full per diem rates for employees on extended travel.

The service secretaries would have the discretion to delegate that authority down to officers at the level of lieutenant general, vice admiral or above.

Under language included in the fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, individual military services would have the authority to pay the full per diem available for long-term government travel for Defense Department employees.

Since implementation of the new rule is discretionary, it is not clear at this point whether it will benefit Civil Service mariners represented by the MM&P Federal Employees Membership Group (FEMG), says MM&P Government Fleet Representative Randi Ciszewski.

Lawmakers in December voted to grant the relief to service members and civilian employees on extended government travel who have been penalized by a highly controversial 2014 Defense Department policy that reduced their per diem rates.

The original much-criticized November 2014 Pentagon policy resulted in lower reimbursement rates for lodging, meals and other expenses for service members and civilian employees on extended temporary duty (TDY).

The policy reduced the reimbursement rates by 25 percent for long-term TDY of 31 to 180 days, and by 45 percent for travel exceeding 180 days.

For long-term TDY of 31 to 180 days, the reimbursement rate is now up to 75 percent of the locality rate (lodging plus meals and incidentals) for each full day during that time frame; for travel lasting more than 180 days, it drops to 55 percent of the locality rate for each full day under the policy.

The government-wide standard lodging per diem rate for fiscal 2017, which took effect on Oct. 1, 2016, is $91, a $2 increase from the previous fiscal year. Meals and incidental expenses range from $51-$74 per day.

The Pentagon’s reimbursement rates for long-term TDY are below those figures, depending on the length of the stay.

Unions, some military officials and members of Congress have argued that the 2014 cuts adversely affect the Defense mission by eroding morale and fueling turnover.

The 2014 policy is simply unrealistic, they argue, given the increased rates of rental housing and many hotels.

MM&P has been among the labor organizations pushing for relief for union members employed by DOD.

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THIRD CHRISTMAS IN DETENTION FOR CREW OF SEAMAN GUARD OHIO

Under a ruling by the high court in Madras, India, former crewmembers of the anti-piracy vessel SEAMAN GUARD OHIO will spend their third Christmas in detention.

In a Dec. 1 decision, the court decided to “reserve its order,” or delay a ruling on the case.

Lawyers for the crewmembers had filed an appeal contesting sentences for alleged arms possession and illegal entry into Indian waters.

The 35 crewmembers and security guards aboard the SEAMAN GUARD OHIO were sentenced in January 2016 to five years of “rigorous imprisonment.”

Since the sentence was handed down, the men have been confined to a prison in Chennai.

The vessel, a floating anti-piracy station, was intercepted off Tuticorin in 2013. Authorities found guns, magazines and ammunition on board.

In addition, Indian law enforcement monitored the purchase of $40,000 worth of fuel from a ship’s agent on shore, and the transfer of the fuel to the vessel, allegedly without permit and within Indian territorial waters.

The defense contends that the OHIO was not in territorial seas at the time of the fuel transfer, and was therefore outside of India’s jurisdiction.

The vessel operator AdvanFort has done little to help the men. The company’s owners, Samir Farajallah, the company’s chairman and CEO, and his son, Ahmed, who acted as the president of the U.S.-based entity, stopped paying the crew’s salaries in November 2013.

They have also done little to provide legal assistance, and have insisted that the cost of the defense is their insurer’s responsibility.

The charities Sailor’s Society and Mission to Seafarers have provided much-needed aid to the crew during their trial and confinement. An advocacy group assembled by the families of the defendants has pressed the UK foreign ministry to intervene in the case.

A page has been set up via the Mission to Seafarers to help pay the men’s legal fees. It is aimed at the six British citizens but has been used to assist with the legal fees of the Estonian and Ukrainian mariners as well.

If you would like to contribute, please go to:
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/freesgo6

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MM&P AND IBU FERRY WORKERS LAUNCH ONLINE PHOTO EXHIBIT

Union members who operate and maintain the vessels in San Francisco’s Blue & Gold Fleet are showcasing photos taken from the unique vantage point of ferry and dockside workers on San Francisco Bay.

Many of the photos submitted to the exhibit, titled “Blue Collar Green Water,” are posted at bluecollargreenwater.com.

The project is being organized by members of MM&P and the Inland Boatmen’s Union (IBU), who operate and maintain the vessels in the Blue & Gold Fleet.

At the retirement party held earlier this month for Blue & Gold CEO Carolyn Horgan, MM&P members Sly Hunter and Rebecca Johnson presented her with a gift: a framed photo of a WETA ferry at sunset taken by an MM&P deckhand.

“Carolyn encouraged the crews to start this employee initiative to capture their creative talents and passion for educating the public about labor’s role on the Bay,” says MM&P Regional Representative Ray Shipway.

Once photos are submitted, a group of judges will select the finalists to be included in an exhibition which will take place in one or more locations along the San Francisco waterfront in 2017 for a duration of two to six weeks.

Take a moment to view the website: bluecollargreenwater.com.

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DEADLINE LOOMS FOR STCW STOPGAP TRAINING

The end of the year is the deadline for STCW-Gap Closing Training Requirements: in less than a month, the requirements go into force.

There are mandatory training requirements for operational and management deck/engine officers.

Unless the training has been completed, deck and engine officers will not be able to sail on their STCW credential after Dec. 31.

For the latest course availability for deck and engine officer training, please check the MITAGS website www.mitags.org, send an e-mail to Admissions@mitags.org or call the toll free number 866-656-5568.

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MM&P HOLIDAY CLOSING SCHEDULE

The MM&P Federal Credit Union, MM&P headquarters and all MM&P union halls will be closed on Friday, Dec. 23, Monday, Dec. 26, Friday, Dec. 30 and Monday, Jan. 2. The MM&P Plan Office will be closed on Dec. 23 and 26, and on Jan. 2.

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INDIVIDUAL RETIREMENT ACCOUNT PLAN (IRAP) – ACCOUNT PLAN CHANGES EFFECTIVE JANUARY 2017

IRAP participants should have already received their initial announcement letter mailed in September and their Transition Brochure mailed in November from Fidelity advising the participants how the Board of Trustees have decided to consolidate the IRAP investment programs into a single record keeper effective January 2017.

We will be posting this information on the union website in the Members’ Only section: click on Plan Documents and then on IRAP-Account Plan Changes Effective January 2017.

You must log in to view these documents.

We have also included Fidelity’s Transition Site link and Fidelity’s Transition Brainshark link which is an online workshop that may be accessed by the membership 24/7.

If you have any questions you can contact Fidelity at 1-866-84-UNION (1-866-848-6466).

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LAST DAY FOR PROCESSING VACATION AND PRO PAYMENTS

The Plan Office received approval to close the year-end Internal Revenue Service and company reports and to process Vacation and PRO payments for 2016 no later than Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. EST.

All requests for 2016 Vacation and PRO payments received after this date and time will be held until Jan. 3, 2017 for processing and will therefore be taxable in 2017.

If you have any questions, please contact Ken Ryan at (410) 850-8617 or by e-mail at KRyan@mmpplans.com.

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/ MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES /

MITAGS needs your current address! Have you moved recently? Did you remember to send MITAGS your new address for communications regarding courses? Please send your current contact information to admissions@mitags.org or to the fax number below. New dedicated fax line for Admissions only: 1-443-568-1928. For all other MITAGS business, please continue to use: 410-859-5181.

For class availability or information on MITAGS courses and programs, contact Amanda Meadows, Admissions Coordinator, toll-free at 866-656-5568 or by e-mail: admissions@mitags.org.

Why not try our on-line calendar to register for class: mitags-pmi.org/courses/calendar.

Please note the special addition to our on-campus schedule of MSC classes marked with an asterisk (*), which are not normally scheduled to be held at MITAGS.

AB – 4/17/17, 8/21/17, 10/16/17

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: 5/23/17

ARPA-OIC – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 1/24/17, 4/4/17, 8/8/17, 9/26/17

AZIPOD 2-Day – 3/6/17, 5/22/17, 10/16/17

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 1/30/17, 4/3/17, 6/19/17, 9/25/17, 11/13/17

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 3/6/17, 5/22/17, 7/20/17, 11/14/17

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling: Contact Admissions

BRMP-Refresher – 3/8/17, 5/24/17, 7/17/17, 9/12/17, 10/18/17

BT – Basic Safety Training: 1/23/17, 4/10/17, 8/14/17, 10/9/17

BT-Revalidation (2-day) – 3/9/17, 5/4/17, 6/22/17, 8/21/17, 9/28/17, 11/8/17, 12/14/17

BT-Refresher (3-day) – 3/9/17, 5/4/17, 6/22/17, 8/20/17, 9/28/17, 11/8/17, 12/14/17

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 5/8/17, 10/30/17

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVNAV-CMM – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): Contact Admissions

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 1/16/17, 4/10/17, 6/12/17, 7/31/17, 10/2/17, 12/11/17

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 1/9/17, 3/13/17, 6/5/17, 8/7/17, 9/25/17, 12/4/17

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 4/17/17, 10/9/17

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 1/23/17, 3/27/17, 6/26/17, 8/14/17,9/18/17

LMS – Leadership and Managerial Skills (Management Level – Formerly MCL-CMM) – 1/30/17,2/20/17, 5/22/17, 6/19/17, 8/21/17, 9/11/17

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants: 4/3/17

SEC-APPS – Practical Defense Tactics: 3/13/17, 7/31/17, 11/6/17

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management (2 weeks): 5/1/17, 10/30/17

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 1/16/17, 2/6/17, 3/6/17, 3/20/17, 4/10/17,4/24/17, 5/8/17, 6/5/17, 7/17/17, 7/31/17, 8/14/17, 9/11/17, 10/2/17, 10/30/17, 12/4/17

SHS-ADV-II-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 1/23/17, 2/13/17, 3/13/17, 3/27/17, 4/17/17, 5/1/17, 5/15/17, 6/12/17, 7/24/17, 8/7/17, 8/21/17, 9/18/17, 10/9/17, 11/6/17, 12/11/17

**SHS-ADV-I & II now approved to include SAR-CMM assessments at MITAGS effective immediately**

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 3/20/17, 10/23/17

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 5/15/17, 11/13/17

CNAV-OIC – Celestial Navigation: 4/24/17, 11/6/17

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: Contact Admissions

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications: 3/2/17

CRSMGT – Crisis Management and Human Behavior – 7/11/17

CDMGT – Crowd Management – 7/10/17

DDE – Great Lakes: 1/30/17, 6/5/17

DPA – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-OIC – Contact Admissions

ECDIS for Pilots – 2/28/17, 5/24/17, 11/14/17

ERM – Engine Resource Management: 2/27/17, 7/10/17, 8/28/17, 10/16/17, 12/4/17

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 1/23/17, 4/10/17, 8/14/17, 10/9/17

FF-ADV-REV – Advanced Fire Fighting Revalidation & Refresher: 3/7/17, 5/2/17, 6/20/17, 8/23/17, 9/26/17, 11/6/17, 12/12/17

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications: 1/17/17, 4/4/17, 4/18/17, 9/12/17

GL-Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization: 1/6/17

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 3/6/17, 8/21/17

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 6/26/17, 8/28/17, 11/27/17

LAP- 2/13/17, 9/11/17

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes: 1/9/17

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross
Ton License: 3/20/17, 6/5/17, 8/7/17, 12/4/17

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 1/18/17, 3/7/17, 4/19/17, 9/13/17

LNG-TPIC – 12/4/17

LTS –Leadership and Teamworking Skills (Formerly MCL-OIC): 2/13/17, 4/3/17, 8/15/17, 9/25/17 (*2-Evening Session)

MEECE – Management of Electrical and Electronic Control: Contact Admissions

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 1/9/17, 3/20/17, 5/8/17, 7/10/17, 9/11/17, 10/23/17

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 1/30/17, 4/24/17, 6/26/17, 8/28/17, 11/13/17, 12/4/17

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 1/9/17, 3/20/17, 4/17/17, 5/8/17, 9/11/17, 10/23/17, 11/27/17

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 1/14/17, 3/6/17, 5/1/17, 6/19/17, 7/16/17, 8/25/17, 9/25/17, 10/28/17, 12/11/17

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: Contact Admissions

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 2/23/17, 6/9/17, 8/9/17, 10/2/17

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control: 2/21/17, 6/7/17, 8/7/17, 10/3/17

*MSC-ENVPRO – 2/26/17, 6/4/17, 8/6/17, 10/1/17

*MSC-FF-HELO – 6/5/17, 8/13/17, 10/16/17

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 1/9/17, 2/27/17, 6/12/17, 7/17/17, 8/13/17, 10/9/17

*MSC-Security Watch Basic – 2/24/17, 6/10/17, 8/10/17, 10/5/17

*MSC-Security Watch Advanced – 1/13/17, 3/3/17, 6/16/17, 7/21/17, 8/12/17, 10/7/17

*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force – 1/16/17, 6/17/17, 7/24/17, 8/18/17, 10/13/17

NSAP-MMP – Navigational Skills Assessment Program-MM&P – 1/25/17, 3/22/17, 5/9/17

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 1/23/17, 8/17/17, 9/25/17

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 1/11/17, 2/1/17, 2/8/17, 2/22/17, 3/8/17, 3/22/17, 4/5/17, 4/19/17, 5/3/17, 5/10/17, 5/17/17, 6/7/17, 6/21/17, 7/12/17, 7/26/17, 8/9/17, 8/23/17, 9/20/17, 10/4/17, 10/18/17, 11/1/17, 11/8/17, 11/15/17, 11/29/17, 12/6/17, 12/13/17

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 1/16/17, 7/31/17

SAR-OIC – Search & Rescue – 4/10/17, 10/16/17

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling: 2/20/17, 5/15/17, 8/28/17, 10/23/17

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day – 2/20/17, 5/1/17, 6/26/17, 9/25/17, 11/27/17

SMS – Contact Admissions

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 1/9/17, 8/7/17

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 1/30/17, 7/10/17

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: 2/13/17, 8/7/17

TRAC-TUG-2: Contact Admissions

TTT – Contact Admissions

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: Contact Admissions

VSO – Vessel Security Officer:, 2/14/17, 4/17/17, 5/22/17

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level): 2/20/17

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): 3/20/17

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The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates, & Pilots, ILA, AFL-CIO, 700 Maritime Blvd. Suite B, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1953. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973. All rights reserved. The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly © 2016. Articles can be reprinted without prior permission if credit is given to The MM&P WheelhouseWeekly. For subscriptions, address changes or messages to the editor or to MM&P headquarters, e-mail communications@bridgedeck.org. Back issues of The Weekly are posted on www.bridgedeck.org.