News

Wheelhouse Weekly – February 07, 2012

February 7th 2012

 

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

Volume 16 . . . . . Number 6. . . . February 7, 2012

STORIES COVERED

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


MM&P EAST AND WEST COAST PORTS CLOSED FEB. 13 FOR LINCOLN’S BIRTHDAY

The MM&P Offshore Union Halls in Boston, Charleston, Honolulu, Los Angeles/Long Beach, New York/New Jersey, Norfolk, San Francisco/Oakland, San Juan and Seattle will be closed on Monday, Feb. 13, for Lincoln’s Birthday.


UNIONS TO CONGRESS: SEIZE THE OPPORTUNITY, PROMOTE AMERICAN SHIPPING

The Republican leadership of the House of Representatives last week rejected changes in tax law advocated by MM&P and the other seafaring unions that would have promoted the creation of American maritime jobs. The unions had urged Congress in a Feb. 1 letter to act aggressively to create American jobs by encouraging investments in the commercial maritime industry. They made the suggestions in a formal statement submitted to legislators in conjunction with a tax reform hearing held by the House Ways and Means Committee.

In the statement, the maritime unions asked House legislators to promote changes in tax laws to encourage investments in American rather than foreign shipping and the hiring of American rather than foreign maritime workers. The hearing was scheduled to precede action by the committee on sweeping surface transportation legislation.

The unions advocate tax changes to make domestic shipping an integral component of national transportation policy, so that U.S.-flag vessels can help carry a greater share of cargo along our coasts. Shifting more cargo to America’s waterways would alleviate congestion and benefit the economy as a whole. The changes in tax law, coupled with the elimination of other fiscal impediments to the construction and operation of U.S.-flag ships, would go a long way towards bolstering America’s economic, military and homeland security.

Unfortunately, the leadership in the House of Representatives rejected these changes and failed to include any meaningful provisions regarding the domestic shipping industry in its surface transportation legislation.


TRANSPORT UNIONS SLAM POLITICIANS’ PLAN TO PRIVATIZE AMTRAK

The surface transportation bill introduced in the House of Representatives last week is “a grab bag for K Street lobbyists,” according to the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department (TTD), which represents 32 transportation unions, including MM&P.

“There is no time to waste in completing a surface transportation bill that puts millions of Americans to work,” said TTD President Ed Wytkind.  “Unfortunately the bill introduced in the House of Representatives contains policy measures that make this otherwise critical legislation a grab-bag for K Street lobbyists and their corporate clients at the expense of public transit, Amtrak and transportation safety.”

“The giveaways to foreign transit corporations are appalling,” Wytkind said. “The bill includes heavy-handed federal mandates forcing wholesale privatization of public transit systems. For example, transit agencies could only maximize their federal share of funding if they agree to privatize major portions of their operations. These mandates represent a radical departure from bipartisan policy that has left privatization decisions to local transit authorities.”

Wytkind encouraged lawmakers to adopt flexibility measures such as those championed by Reps. Russ Carnahan (D-Mo.), Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio) and a bipartisan majority of members of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. These measures would permit transit systems to stave off service and job cuts and fare hikes during times of economic distress.

He said passage of the bill in its current form would result in the immediate firing of 2,000 Amtrak workers and slash Amtrak’s funding by one-third at a time when the company is experiencing record success. “This is ideology run amok,” Wytkind said, “and in this instance it will kill good, middle-class jobs, threaten vital Amtrak services and place passengers at risk.”

Wytkind said the measures in the bill “serve no purpose other than to stir controversy and delay this must-pass legislation.” The bill would roll back vital transportation safety programs such as firefighter training and health and safety protections for workers transporting hazardous materials. It would also do away with mandated collision avoidance train control systems.

“Passage of a strong surface transportation bill is one of our top priorities,” Wytkind said. “For a generation, we have worked with this committee, under Republican and Democratic chairmen, promoting policies that boost investments, make our surface transportation system safer and put millions of people to work in good jobs. We will focus our energies on seeking support from both sides of the aisle to strip these risky policy experiments and giveaways from this must-pass transportation jobs bill.”


GRAIN COMPANY REACHES RECOGNITION AGREEMENT WITH ILWU IN LONGVIEW

Multinational grain operator EGT last week agreed to recognize International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 21 as the bargaining representative for grain handler employees in its facility in the Port of Longview. Workers at the facility had earlier signed union authorization cards indicating their choice to be represented by ILWU Local 21. EGT and ILWU representatives have signed a recognition agreement and committed to negotiate the details of a collective bargaining agreement in the next few days.


GLOBAL CARRIERS EXPECTED TO IDLE MORE VESSELS IN 2012 TO ABSORB EXCESS CAPACITY

The glut of capacity on the container shipping market will have to be addressed through additional cuts in service and more vessel lay-ups in 2012. The prediction comes from the maritime forecasting company Alphaliner, which says that companies cannot absorb additional excess capacity through slow-steaming. Approximately 5 percent of the global container ship fleet is already being offset by slow-steaming, the company says, and further slowing of sailing speeds is not likely to yield additional cost savings.


WORKING FAMILY CANDIDATE WINS SPECIAL ELECTION IN OREGON

Oregon working families helped propel former state senator Suzanne Bonamici (D) to victory last week in a special election for the U.S. House of Representatives in the state’s northwestern First Congressional District. Bonamici, who defeated Republican businessman Rob Cornilles, replaces David Wu, who resigned last year. Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain said union volunteers made more than 10,000 phone calls and 5,000 home visits to union families in support of Bonamici, and also turned out to vote at a higher rate than the general public.

During the campaign, Bonamici called for the wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes, advocated job creation through infrastructure investment and stood up for the protection of Social Security and Medicare. She will complete Wu’s remaining term and be on the ballot for a full two-year term in November.


INDIANA POLITICIANS WILL SUFFER AT THE POLLS FOR ANTI-WORKER LAW, UNIONS SAY

The Indiana State Legislature last week passed a controversial law that has been linked to significant declines in average wages in the other states in which it has been implemented. During debate on the law, 10,000 workers packed the Indianapolis statehouse to show their opposition

In response to passage of the so-called “right-to-work” law, union leader Kimberly Freeman Brown issued the following statement: “In 1961, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. warned the country that right-to-work ‘provides no rights and no work. Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining.’ With mounting evidence pointing to the detrimental impact of these laws on everyday Americans, his words continue to ring true five decades later,” said Freeman Brown, who serves as executive director of American Rights at Work. “Undoubtedly, the politicians who supported this misguided legislation will pay the price at the polls on Election Day,” she said.

“In addition to driving down the wages of an average worker by over $5,000 a year, right-to-work laws do not improve a state’s overall business climate,” she said. Eight of the 12 states with the highest unemployment rates are right-to-work states, and the two states that led the country in construction job losses in the fall of 2011 have right-to-work laws on the books.


CONGRESS HOLDS HEARING ON HARBOR MAINTENANCE TAX REFORM

A House Ways and Means Committee subcommittee held a hearing last week on the urgent need for dredging of the lower Mississippi River. The hearings focused on proposed legislation, the Realize America’s Maritime Promise Act, which is being spearheaded by Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.). The bill, which has bipartisan support, seeks to ensure that the surplus in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund is actually used for its intended purpose instead of diverted to other uses. The fund currently runs a surplus in excess of $6 billion. Boustany said he had received a letter from the Corps stating that the surplus is more than enough to maintain all waterways under its jurisdiction.


FEMG MEMBERS WILL RECEIVE PAY AND EARNINGS STATEMENTS ELECTRONICALLY

In an effort to save the Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS) approximately $9.4 million a year, the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) has directed DFAS to stop hard copy mailings of Leave and Earnings Statements (LES) to all federal government employees, military and civilian, by the end of FY 2012. Going forward, employees will only be provided an electronic format LES via the myPay website at https://mypay.dfas.mil. If the electronic standard causes a hardship, individual employees retain the ability to turn on hard copy LES delivery by using myPay.


LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE WEBINARS FOR HEALTH & BENEFIT PLAN PARTICIPANTS

MM&P Health & Benefit Plan participants may want to view online webinars produced by Prudential, the Plan’s long-term care insurance provider. Prudential has agreed to hold an open enrollment period to allow active Plan participants to enroll in this voluntary insurance program without providing evidence of good health. The webinars will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 8, Wednesday, March 14 and Wednesday, April 11, at 1:30 p.m. EST.

To access the webinar, you must have Java installed on your PC. Go to emeeting.prudential.com, click “attend a meeting” on the right side of the web page, choose MM&P H&B LTC seminar and, enter the password mmp. Then dial 866-657-9739 on your phone and enter the participant code 6653864 when prompted.

Helpful Webinar Hints: make sure ad /pop-up blockers are not running on your web browser, or you may lose some meeting functionality; once you enter the meeting, there will be two smarticons near the top right of the screen that allow you to control (maximize or original size) the display of the meeting area; mute your phone when appropriate after connecting to the conference call. Please do not put the conference call on hold to make another call, as background music may play while on hold.


BROTHERHOOD OUTDOORS WINS SPORTSMEN’S CHOICE AWARD

The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance popular hunting and fishing TV Show, “Brotherhood Outdoors,” took home a 2011 Sportsmen’s Choice Award for Best Combination Show during the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade show in mid-January.

More than 140,000 viewers made their voices heard in the selection of this year’s winners, which were announced in front of a crowd of 800 of the industry’s leading producers, personalities and sponsors during the network’s annual awards ceremony. To check out upcoming episodes of the show, which reports on the hunting and fishing adventures of union members, go to www.brotherhoodoutdoors.tv.


SCHEDULE FOR 2012 OFFSHORE FAMILIARIZATION COURSES

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

The schedule is as follows (but please note that course dates may change depending on the number of participants who sign up): Feb. 28-29 in Honolulu; April 3-4 in Boston; April 11-12 in Los Angeles; May 29-30 in New Orleans; May 30-31 in Charleston; June 8-9 at MM&P Headquarters; Sept. 7-8 at MM&P Headquarters; Oct. 9-10 in New Jersey and Los Angeles; Nov. 7-8 in Houston.

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

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


MARK YOUR CALENDAR: PACIFIC PORTS MEETINGS IN FEBRUARY

Four membership meetings will be held in Pacific Ports during the month of February. The schedule is: Feb. 7, Seattle; Feb.8, Los Angeles; Feb. 9, Oakland; and Feb. 28, Honolulu. All members in the area are encouraged to attend the meetings.


REVITALIZING THE MARITIME INDUSTRY CONFERENCE SPONSORED BY THE MARITIME EXECUTIVE MAY 7-8 AT MITAGS

A two-day conference, “Revitalizing the Maritime Industry,” will be held at MITAGS on May 7-8 by The Maritime Executive. America’s marine highways have been underutilized for decades due to failed federal policies and inadequate funding mechanisms. Today, while the infrastructure is in place, U.S. vessel operators, shipbuilders, training institutions and port authorities have been overlooked as vital assets in the U.S. economic recovery plan. The Maritime Executive, with your support, aims to change that perspective in Congress and, most importantly, among the American people. To register for the event, go to: http://tiny.cc/MarEx


CRUISE SHIP WRECK TO BE REMOVED WHOLE, ITALIAN OFFICIALS SAY

A spokesperson for the Italian civil defense agency says the wreck of the COSTA CONCORDIA will be refloated and removed in one piece, rather than cut into sections. The salvage operation is expected to begin one month from now, when, it is hoped, crews will have finished pumping more than 2,300 tons of fuel from the wreck. Although 15 bodies are still missing, it is now presumed that 32 people died in the accident.

In the meantime, an Italian news agency has reported that items of clothing belonging to a former employee of the cruise lines who may have been with the captain when the ship struck a submerged object have been found in his cabin. The former employee has reportedly told authorities that she was on the bridge when the accident took place.


FOUR BODIES RECOVERED, 100 MISSING, IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA FERRY DISASTER

The bodies of four victims of last week’s ferry accident off Papua New Guinea have been found tens of miles from the scene of the disaster. The four are the first to be recovered of the more than 100 passengers and crew feared drowned when the MV RABAUL QUEEN sank in rough seas on the morning of Feb. 2. Authorities say the bodies turned up in different locations, after drifting from where the vessel capsized to an area almost 50 nautical miles southeast. Two hundred forty-six people were rescued. The official cause of the disaster is said to be bad weather, but sources say that severe overcrowding was also a factor.


NAVY BUYS HAWAII SUPERFERRIES FROM MARAD FOR $35 MILLION

The Maritime Administration said last week it had sold the HUAKAI and the ALAKAI, two high-speed ferry vessels, to the Navy. The Navy says it will use the vessels to transport troops and equipment to training areas from Okinawa and other locations. MARAD took possession of the ships after their original owners, Hawaii Superferry Inc., defaulted on loans that MARAD had guaranteed. The company eventually went bankrupt. The cost of building the two ships was estimated at $178 million when MARAD committed $139.7 million for a Title XI loan guarantee in January 2005.


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.

ARPA – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 3/13

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

BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 2/20

BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots:  3/1

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 3/19

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

CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 3/26

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

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

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

CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 2/13

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning: 3/15

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

ENAV – Electronic Navigation: 3/19

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

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

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 3/1

MCL – Management, Communication & Leadership: 3/26

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

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

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

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

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

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

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 3/12


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: 2/27

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling: 3/5

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.
 
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 2-6-12 at 11:00 a.m. EST
Mutual Fund Data at 2-3-12 Market Close

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
12,862.23 2,905.66 1,344.90
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Closing
Price
 Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund (VAARX)
56.33
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
124.01
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
44.12
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
18.36
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
19.33
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
27.52
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
11.08
 Vanguard Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
34.64
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
5.84
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
16.84
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
22.63
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
14.44
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
20.22
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
12.36
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
12.95
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
13.08
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
13.49
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
13.91
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
11.03
 Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
33.82
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
18.36
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
15.85
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
19.55
 Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
10.96
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
69.02
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
70.43
 Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
18.33
Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX)
47.04
 Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
28.02
 Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
29.10
 Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
11.52
 Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
12.18
 Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
13.73
 Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
13.86
 Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
13.70
 Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
7.91
 Fidelity Freedom 2050 (FFFHX)
9.21
 Fidelity Total Bond Fund (FTBFX)
11.01
 Spartan Extended market Index Fund (FSEMX)
39.78
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
47.65
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
32.53



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

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




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