News

Wheelhouse Weekly – December 27, 2011

December 27th 2011

 

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

Volume 15 . . . . . Number 52. . . . December 27, 2011

STORIES COVERED

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


MM&P HOLIDAY CLOSING SCHEDULE

All MM&P union halls, the MM&P Health & Benefit Plans, the MM&P Federal Credit Union and MM&P headquarters will be closed on Monday, Jan. 2 for New Year’s. Pacific Ports and Gulf Ports will also be closed on Dec. 30 and the Honolulu Hall will be closed on Jan. 3 for Jack Hall’s birthday.


NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD APPROVES NEW ELECTION RULES

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has approved new rules aimed at shortening the timeframe in which union elections can be held. The proposals have been strongly endorsed by the AFL-CIO and hotly contested by some business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which immediately filed a federal lawsuit challenging the NLRB’s decision.

The new rules limit the tactics employers can use to delay elections after employees at a work place collect enough signatures to form a union. “This rule is about giving all employees who have petitioned for an election the right to vote in a timely manner and without the impediment of needless litigation,” NLRB Chairman Mark Pearce said in an official statement.

The old rules allowed companies to file frivolous appeals, stalling elections for months or even years, and use the intervening period to intimidate workers who want to form a union. “It’s good news that the NLRB has taken this modest but important step to help ensure that workers who want to vote to form a union at their workplace get a fair opportunity to do so,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

The NLRB is the government agency charged with protecting workers’ rights and limiting industrial conflicts. It provides protections to 77 percent of all private sector workers in the United States, both unionized and nonunionized. Its mandate extends to protecting employers by regulating labor relations so as to reduce workplace strife.

The agency has recently been the target of a barrage of attacks by anti-labor politicians in Congress who are trying to defund it, block it from taking action and even shut it down. Anti-worker politicians in Congress have blocked President Obama from filling vacant posts on the board, and lawmakers have used procedural tactics to prevent him from bypassing the Senate to make recess appointments.


MEMBERS OF THE MM&P FEDERAL EMPLOYEES MEMBERSHIP GROUP ARE IN THE NEWS

Two members of MM&P’s Federal Employees Membership Group (FEMG) were interviewed for articles in the most recent issue of “Sealift,” the monthly newspaper of Military Sealift Command (MSC). Capt. Ed Dickerson of USNS SAFEGUARD was interviewed in conjunction with the vessel’s participation in the diving and salvage portion of an international training exercise known as CARAT.

“The entire SAFEGUARD team worked like a well-oiled machine, supporting each other to ensure the overall success of the exercise,” Dickerson told the MSC public affairs officer. SAFEGUARD and sister ships USNS GRAPPLE, USNS GRASP and USNS SALVOR are all regular participants in theater security cooperation missions. “Since the rescue and salvage ships have been operated by MSC, what I’ve seen as a positive is the professional experience the CIVMARS bring with them because of the amount of steaming hours they have,” said Navy Cmdr. John Moulton. “I’m always impressed with their professionalism and ability to safely get the mission done. It’s really been great to work with them.”

Sarah Daleo, first officer aboard MSC dry cargo/ammunition ship ROBERT E. BYRD, was a panelist at a recent Maritime Administration conference aimed at promoting opportunities in the industry for women mariners.

Also featured in the newspaper was an announcement of the AOTOS awards given to the officers and crew of USNS BRIDGE and USNS SAFEGUARD for humanitarian work in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March.


NOAA LAUNCHES SEA FLOOR SURVEY TO SUPPORT TEXAS MARITIME TRADE

America’s waterways are facing unprecedented demands from maritime commerce. To identify unseen underwater dangers that can disrupt shipping, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is starting a year-long survey of the sea floor in the Port of Houston and Galveston Bay.

The survey will boost efforts to bring more trade, cargo and jobs to the Houston area. The navigation survey team arrived in Galveston last week to begin pre-survey preparations with mariners and federal partners.

“With bigger ships, crowded sea lanes, and more uses of ocean areas, shipping today is increasingly a task of precision and accuracy,” says NOAA Corps Cmdr. Todd Haupt, chief of the Office of Coast Survey’s Navigation Response Branch. “Hurricanes can change the shape of the ocean floor and move underwater debris. NOAA’s navigation team will conduct hydrographic surveys to search for changes caused by Hurricanes Ike and Rita as well as other strong storms.”

In 2010, over 1.3 billion metric tons of cargo, valued at $1.4 trillion, shipped in and out of U.S. ports. A 2007 study showed that 785,000 jobs throughout the U.S. and $118 billion in annual regional economic impact are related to business activities at the Port of Houston.

The survey project, part of NOAA’s mapping and charting mission, is managed by NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey, which produces and maintains the nation’s navigational charts. NOAA has six navigation response teams that survey port areas at the request of port officials or the Coast Guard. The Texas team is coming from Michigan, where they have been surveying the Great Lakes. The team also worked off the coast of Virginia earlier this year, speeding the resumption of maritime commerce after Hurricane Irene hit the Eastern Seaboard.

The navigation response team has a crew of three experienced hydrographers. They use a 28-foot survey boat equipped with both multibeam and sidescan sonar. Most of the acquired data will go to a processing branch in Seattle, Wash., before NOAA applies it to electronic and raster navigational charts updates.

In addition to maintaining the accuracy of paper charts, Coast Survey regularly updates electronic navigational charts and raster charts, which are available for free downloads from www.nauticalcharts.gov.


TWO HUNDRED MARINERS SPEND CHRISTMAS IN CAPTIVITY IN SOMALIA

There are currently 199 men and one woman being held hostage for ransom in Somalia by pirates who hijacked their ships in the Indian Ocean. European Union Naval Forces Command has released an official statement encouraging the world to remember the innocent mariners from numerous countries who are being held against their will. Since the start of the EU NAVFOR counter-piracy mission in December 2008, a total of 2317 merchant seamen have been held hostage for an average of nearly five months. The longest period in captivity is 19 months for the 24 crew members of the MV ICEBERG 1, who are still being held.

It is estimated that at least 60 merchant seamen have died in the hands of the pirates and many more have suffered torture and abuse. Forty-nine of the 200 hostages are held without the collateral of a ship–their ships sunk or have been abandoned–which means that their future is less clear as their value is seen as less than that of a ship. Additionally, a recent tactic of the criminal gangs has been to agree to the ransom payment for the return of ship and crew and then hold-back some of the crew when the ship is released to use to negotiate for the release of convicted Somali pirates. Currently, EU NAVFOR says, four South Korean and seven Indian crew members from the MV GEMINI and the ASPHALT VENTURE are still being held, although their ships have been released. Today, there are three ships abandoned and derelict on the beach, creating a source of potential pollution, while their crews, totaling 54 men, remain in captivity.

Piracy in the Indian Ocean affects us all, adding a significant cost to every barrel of oil and every shipping container which passes through the area. The navies of the world have between 20-30 warships in the region.


COAST GUARD SEEKS MEMBERS FOR MERPAC

The Coast Guard is seeking applications for membership on the Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee (MERPAC), which advises the Department of Homeland Security on matters related to merchant mariner training, qualifications, certification and fitness. Six members are being sought: two representatives of licensed deck officers; one representative of the state maritime academies; one representative of licensed chief engineering officers authorized to serve on vessels of any horsepower; and one representative of the general public.

Each MERPAC member serves a term of office of up to three years. All members serve without compensation from the federal government; however, upon request, they do receive travel reimbursement and per diem. MERPAC is expected to meet approximately twice a year, once at or near Coast Guard Headquarters, and once elsewhere in the country. It may also meet for extraordinary purposes. Its subcommittees and working groups may also meet to consider specific tasks as required.

Applicants should submit a cover letter and resume in time to reach the agency by Feb. 6. Cover letter and resume can be submitted by e-mail, mail or fax to: rogers.w.henderson@uscg.mil; Commandant (CG–5221), Attn MERPAC, U.S. Coast Guard, 2100 2nd St. SW., Stop 7126, Washington DC 20593–7126; or (202) 372–1926 (fax). For more information, contact Rogers W. Henderson,
(202) 372–1408.


COAST GUARD SETS RANDOM DRUG TESTING RATE FOR 2012

The Coast Guardhas  issued a notice stating that the minimum random drug testing rate for calendar year 2012 for covered crewmembers on U.S. vessels will be 50 percent.


DEC. 28 LAST DAY FOR PROCESSING 2011 VACATION AND PRO PAYMENTS

The Plan Office has received approval to close the year-end Internal Revenue Service and company reports and to process Vacation and PRO payments for 2011 no later than Wednesday, Dec. 28, at 1:00 p.m. EST. All requests for 2011 Vacation and PRO payments received after this date and time will be held until Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012 for processing and payment, and will therefore be taxable in 2012. If you have any questions, contact Ken Ryan at 410-850-8617.


HEALTH CLUB DISCOUNTS FOR UNIN MEMBERS THROUGH UNION PLUS

Union members can save 40-60 percent on initiation fees and 15-30 percent on monthly fees at more than 8,000 health clubs nationwide, including Sport & Health, Curves, Gold Gyms, Lady of America  and Bally’s Total Fitness. The program is offered through the Union Plus health club service provider, GlobalFit. To find out more, go to the GlobalFit site for union members, https://www.globalfit.com/default.asp?ec=2567,  or call 1-800-294-1500 and tell the operator you are a union member.

GlobalFit guarantees you will always save at the club. If the club offers you a lower fee than the GlobalFit rate, they will beat the club offer by 5 percent. Other benefits offered under this program include: the ability to transfer memberships between health clubs, get free guest passes when traveling, and freeze membership for up to six months. (Transfer option for sports clubs in NY, Boston, Washington, Philadelphia and Curves is only available within the same family of clubs.) NOTE: To receive your special union member rate, you must enroll directly through GlobalFit, so you should not go directly to the gym to join. Union members who are already current club members first need to cancel their membership, then sign up through GlobalFit to restart their membership and get the Union Plus discount.


MORE THAN 200 PEOPLE DROWN IN TWO ACCIDENTS OFF THE COAST OF INDONESIA

Authorities in Indonesia are blaming bad weather and overcrowding for two accidents last week that killed dozens of people. The first took place on Wednesday, Dec. 21, when an overcrowded ferry carrying people home for the holidays sank in a storm off the Maluku Islands. Tens of bodies were pulled from the water and an unspecified number of people were rescued. The bodies of many of the passengers could not be recovered. In the second accident, a fiberglass fishing boat carrying refugees from Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan sank in the waters off East Java on the night of Saturday, Dec 17. The vessel was reportedly on its way to Australia, where the refugees were seeking asylum. Over 150 people are believed to have drowned in that accident.


OIL RIG DISASTER KILLS 50 IN RUSSIA

An oil rig that was being towed off the coast of Sakhalin Island sank in a storm last week, killing 50. Rescuers were able to save 14 men. A dozen bodies were recovered. There was no hope of saving others in the frigid waters of the Sea of Okhotsk, although the authorities did say that several rafts had been launched from the rig. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered an inquiry into why the rig was being transported in such dangerous conditions.


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: 1/9

ARPA – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 1/24, 3/13

AZIPOD (2-DAY) for Pilots: 3/13

BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 2/20

BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots:  1/23, 3/1

BST – Basic Safety Training: 1/23

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 1/9, 3/19

CMM-ADVNAV – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): 3/5

CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 1/16

CMM-CHS – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 1/30

CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems: 1/23

CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 1/23, 3/26

CMM-SHMGT – Ship Management (2 weeks): 2/20

CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 1/16, 1/30, 2/27, 3/12,
3/26

CMM-SHS-ADV-I I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 1/23, 2/6, 3/5, 3/19

CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 2/13

CONSTAB – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 1/9

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning: 3/15

DDE-GL – Designated Duty Engineer Great Lakes: 1/30

ECDIS-ENAV (2 DAY) for Pilots: 3/1

ENAV – Electronic Navigation: 3/19

ENVIRO-Regs Permit – Environmental Regulations Permit: 3/13

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 1/23

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep and Medications for Pilots: 3/16

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress Safety Signal: 2/20

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 3/5

LAP – License Advancement Program for Chief Mate & Master: 3/19

LAP-GL – License Advancement Program for Great Lakes: 1/30

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 1/23, 3/1

MCL – Management, Communication & Leadership: 3/26

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 1/9, 2/13, 3/19

MED-PIC -R– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 3/5

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 1/9, 2/13, 3/19

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 1/14, 3/24

MSC -SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 3/12

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 12/14, 1/11, 1/25, 2/8, 2/22, 3/7, 3/21

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 1/23, 3/12

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal: 1/16

SEC-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 3/12

SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 2/13

SHS-ESH-BRMP3 – Emergency Shiphandling and Bridge Resource Management for
Pilots: 1/11, 2/27

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling: 3/5

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial and Costal Navigation and Compasses: 1/30

TPIC-DL – Tankerman Person in Charge Dangerous Liquids: 3/5

WKP BAS – Basic Watchkeeping: 3/5

WX-BAS – Basic Meteorology: 3/26
 
…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.
 
January 2012

2-20       Terrestrial and Coastal Navigation with Compasses
20th       Radar Renewal
23-27     Radar Observer Unlimited
23-3       GMDSS
26-27     Vessel Security Officer
30-3       ECDIS
30-3       Medical Care Provider
30-10     Medical Person-In-Charge

February 2012

10th       Flashing Light
13th       Radar Renewal
13-17     Bridge Resource Management
20-24     Medical Care Provider
20-24     Able Seaman
21-24     ARPA
27-2       Basic Meteorology
27-9       Celestial Navigation

March 2012

5-9          ECDIS
12-16     Radar Observer Unlimited
12-23     GMDSS
12-30     License Preparation (Mate – 500Ton, 1600Ton, 3rd Unlimited)
20-21     Safety Management Systems
22-23     Build Your Own Internal Auditing Team Seminar
26th       Radar Renewal
26-30     Medical Care Provider


MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 12-23-11

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
12,294.00 2,618.64 1,265.33
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Closing
Price
 Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund (VAARX)
53.66
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
116.37
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
39.62
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
16.38
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
17.70
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
26.24
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
11.15
 Vanguard Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
31.95
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
5.66
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
16.36
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
21.47
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
14.27
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
19.46
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
12.30
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
12.63
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
12.59
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
12.84
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
13.21
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
10.93
 Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
31.48
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
17.10
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
15.00
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
18.31
 Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
10.82
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
63.38
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
63.78
 Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
17.47
Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX)
43.65
 Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
26.56
 Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
26.03
 Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
11.36
 Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
12.13
 Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
13.50
 Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
13.56
 Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
13.30
 Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
7.62
 Fidelity Freedom 2050 (FFFHX)
8.95
 Fidelity Total Bond Fund (FTBFX)
10.85
 Spartan Extended market Index Fund (FSEMX)
5.72
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
44.75
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
29.91



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.

© 2011, 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.