News

Wheelhouse Weekly – February 15, 2010

February 15th 2010

 

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

Volume 14 . . . . . Number 7. . . .February 15, 2010

STORIES COVERED

REMINDERS

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.


MM&P CLOSED FOR PRESIDENTS’ DAY

MM&P union halls, MM&P Plans, MM&P headquarters and the MM&P Federal Credit Union are closed on Monday, Feb. 15, for Presidents’ Day.


PROTECTING SHIPPING FROM PIRATES IS ROLE OF GOVERNMENT, SAYS MM&P

MM&P International President Tim Brown has reiterated the union’s position that protecting merchant ships from pirates is a responsibility of national governments. Brown released a statement to that effect in response to complaints from MM&P members regarding an article that was published in the Feb. 8 issue of The Wheelhouse Weekly. The article, which should have been accompanied by the union’s rebuttal, included admonishments from the United Nations Anti-Piracy Group that pirated ships have not been doing enough to protect themselves.

“That article was no more than a classic ‘blame the victim excuse for a policy failure,’” Brown said. “It is apparent that the naval forces in the area—European Union, United States and others—have been ineffective in suppressing piracy, mainly because they are trying to cover the whole Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden. MM&P has advocated from the beginning that the solution is to protect the targets, not the whole Indian Ocean, with armed military detachments onboard the vulnerable ships.”
       
“Although the UN Anti-Piracy Group’s ‘Best Management Practices’ may provide a small margin of improvement in some cases, they are not a real solution. Their main purpose is to provide cover for international organizations so that they appear to be responding effectively to the problem.”

“There has been an endless round of meetings and streams of paperwork from international bureaucrats providing mostly ineffective guidance on tactics, communications and training, that all focus on the ships’ and the crews’ responsibilities to resist piracy,” Brown said. “This reinforces the argument that hijacked ships are the result of poorly trained crews, and ignores the fact that ships’ crews have very limited resources to cope with pirates armed with AK-47s or RPGs. No training is going to change that fundamental fact.”

“The security and safety of our members is MM&P’s highest priority,” Brown said. “We will continue our strenuous efforts in national and international forums to have greater protections put in place.”


CURRENT PILOTAGE SYSTEM BEST FOR PEOPLE, PORTS

An independent study conducted by Florida’s Office of Program Policy Analysis & Government Accountability (OPPAGA) has concluded that the current pilotage system provides the greatest benefit to the public and to Florida’s 11 deepwater ports. The accountability office also noted that another state body, Florida’s Department of Business & Professional Regulation, is against modifying existing harbor pilot regulation.

“We are pleased that the study highlights that the advantages of the current piloting system far outweigh any possible disadvantages,” said Florida Harbor Pilots Association President Joseph Brown. “As our state’s watch dogs for the numerous cruise and cargo ships coming in and out of our ports, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, we are committed to ensuring Florida’s ports remain safe and secure,” he said. The FHPA represents the interests of Florida’s 97 professional harbor pilots.

The state study found that if foreign-flagged cruise and cargo ships were allowed to use their own foreign ship officers to navigate vessels into Florida’s ports, the safety of the public could be threatened. Allowing foreign ship officers to pilot their own ships into the state’s ports could also pose increased security, environmental and economic risks, the study found.

OPPAGA argues that recent attempts to empower the Florida legislature to authorize local pilotage regulations could result in a statewide lack of uniformity, threatening port safety and security by engendering competitive pressures between the state’s ports. The state body also concluded that abolishing state regulation in favor of federal government authority might threaten port safety because federal requirements are less stringent than state requirements.

The report found that the system now in place for determining pilotage rates is perceived to be fair and transparent. It concluded that proposals to require legislative approval of pilotage rates could further politicize the rate-setting process. It also said establishing a formula to determine maximum pilotage fees may not be feasible or useful because of the unique characteristics of each of Florida’s 11 deepwater ports. To review the complete report, go to http://tiny.cc/Pilots.


ANTI-UNION FORCES IN SENATE DERAIL OBAMA NLRB NOMINEE

Anti-union senators, both Republican and Democrat, have succeeded in blocking President Barack Obama’s choice of a union lawyer for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The 52-33 vote to move forward with the nomination of Craig Becker fell short last week of the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster.

Since taking office, Obama has nominated two Democrats and one Republican to join the two sitting members, one a Democrat and the other a Republican, on the five-member NLRB. The President appoints and the Senate confirms members to this body, and an NLRB on which Obama appointees constitute a majority could overturn a number of decisions issued by the Bush Administration-appointed board. Most legal scholars believe that the NLRB has the authority to enact procedural changes that could, among other things, drastically shorten the timeframe for holding union elections. To date, none of Obama’s NLRB appointees has been confirmed by the Senate.


UPBEAT CONTAINER TRAFFIC FORECAST MAY SIGNAL ECONOMIC REBOUND

Global Port Tracker, which monitors import cargo volumes at U.S. container ports, predicts a 25 percent increase over 2009 figures during the first six months of this year. The report was authored by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates, a consulting firm. It forecasts that container volumes in the next six months will total 7.4 million TEUs, up 25 percent from the 5.9 million received in the first six months of 2009. An author of the report says that the rosy predictions mean the nation’s economy is rebounding.


PIRATES USING CAPTURED RO-RO AS MOTHER SHIP

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has reported that pirates are now using a captured car carrier, the ASIAN GLORY, as a base for other attacks. The captured ship has a blue hull and a white superstructure. IMB is warning all vessels navigating in the Indian Ocean to keep east of 60E when routing north/south and to consider routing east of 60E and south of 10S when proceeding to and from ports in South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya. Besides taking all standard on-board antipiracy measures, the IMB urges vessels in the region to regularly report their position, course and speed to UKMTO. The 24-hour anti-piracy helpline can be reached by phone at +603 2031 0014, by e-mailing piracy@icc-ccs.org and by telex at MA 34199.


DANISH MILITARY FORCES LIBERATE ANTIGUA-BARBUDA-FLAGGED BULKER

Commandos operating from a Danish warship in the Gulf of Aden last week retook control of the cargo ship ARIELLA and liberated 25 members of its crew who had barricaded themselves in a safe room when pirates boarded the ship. A spokesman for European Union naval forces said the Danish military detachment, operating from the command and support ship HDMS ABSALON, boarded the vessel and freed the crew on Friday morning. As part of the operation, the Russian navy ship NEUSTRASHIMYY boarded and detained a second pirate skiff. It was reported that the commandos retook the ARIELLA without firing a single shot. In related news, pirates have reportedly seized a North Korean cargo ship, MV RIM, and released a Panamanian-flagged bulk carrier, the AL KHALIQ.


THREE NEW STAR ADMIRALS SELECTED TO SERVE UNDER INCOMING USCG COMMANDANT

The Coast Guard has announced the selection of three star admirals to serve under Vice Adm. Robert J. Papp when he becomes the 24th commandant. The three are Rear Adm. Sally Brice-O’Hara for promotion to vice admiral and assignment as vice commandant; Rear Adm. Manson K. Brown for promotion to vice admiral and assignment as commander of the Coast Guard’s Pacific Area; and Rear Adm. Robert C. Parker for promotion to vice admiral and assignment as commander of the Atlantic Area. Vice Adm. John P. Currier will continue to serve as chief of staff. The appointments will occur after Senate confirmation.


REMEMBERING ILA ATLANTIC COAST DISTRICT LEADER EDWARD L. BROWN

Edward L. Brown Sr., long-time leader of the ILA in Hampton Roads, Va., died Feb. 5 at the age of 83. Brown served as the head of the ILA Atlantic Coast District Executive Board in 1983 and in 1987 and was a member of the ILA Executive Council representing the Port of Hampton Roads. Throughout his career, he fought for civil rights and social and economic justice, and devoted much of his time to encouraging people to fulfill their civic duties. The Masters, Mates & Pilots send condolences to the ILA community.


MM&P CONTINUES COLLECTING FUNDS FOR HAITIAN RELIEF

The maritime unions–SIU, MEBA, AMO and MM&P–have made a commitment to contribute to the efforts now underway to aid the people of Haiti. MM&P will contribute directly to the AFL-CIO effort. If you would like to make a contribution, please make your check payable to:

AFL-CIO SOLIDARITY CENTER EDUCATION FUND

Please mail your check to MM&P, 700 Maritime Blvd., Suite B, Linthicum, MD 21090-1953. MM&P International President Timothy Brown will give the donations, along with the union’s contribution, to the AFL-CIO on Feb. 26 in Orlando.


MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

CLASS OPENINGS: Between now and the end of April 2010, as of the Friday before this publication, seats are available in the following courses:

ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 3/8

AZIPOD (2 day) – Azipod Propulsion System: 4/8

BST – Basic Safety Training: 4/12

BRM � Bridge Resource Management: 3/15

BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 3/11, 4/19

CHS BAS – Cargo Handling and Stowage (Operational Level): 4/5

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 4/5

CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 3/15

CMM-CHS-I – Advanced Cargo Operations (week 1): 4/12

CMM-CHS-II – Advanced Cargo Operations (week 2): 4/19

CMM-MPP � Marine Propulsion Plants: 3/8

CMM-SHMGT I – Ship Management (week 1) : 2/22

CMM-SHMGT II � Ship Management (week 2): 3/1

CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 3/29, 4/12

CMM-SHS-ADV-I I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 2/22, 3/29, 4/5, 4/19

CMM-VPEN – Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 3/22

CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 4/26

ECDIS/ENAV for PILOTS (2-day): 3/9, 4/15

ENAV � Electronic Navigation: 3/15

EP – Emergency Procedures: 4/21

ENVRO-REGS PERMIT – Environmental Regulations In The Maritime Industry / Epa General Permit For Commercial Vessels: 3/31

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Basic & Advanced Combined: 4/12

FSM for Pilots � Fatigue, Sleep & Medications: 3/11, 4/14, 4/21

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety Systems: 2/22

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 3/10

[MSC-Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC CBRD-1 � CBRD Orientation: 4/2

MSC-DC � Damage Control (Special Evening Course): 3/29 to 4/1

MSC-SMA � Small Arms Training: 3/29

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 2/20, 3/20

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 3/15

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 3/15, 4/26

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 3/8

SAR – Search & Rescue: 3/19

SEC-VCF – Security Officer: Vessel, Company & Facility: 3/8

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling: 3/22, 4/26

SHS-BAS � Basic Shiphandling: 3/1, 4/12

SHS-ESH-BRMP3 – 3-Day Emergency Shiphandling-Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 3/8, 4/5

TTT – Train the Trainer: 4/12

WX-BAS � Basic Meteorology: 3/8

WKP BAS � Basic Watchkeeping 3/22

…remember: If you can’t make the class, make the call.  Be courteous, don’t be a “no show.”


Check the MITAGS website at www.mitags.org for course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations, and schedule revisions. For class availability or info on MITAGS courses and programs, contact admissions toll-free at 866-656-5568 or e-mail: admissions@mitags.org.


PMI ACADEMIC NOTES

Schedule of Courses – Please also see our schedule online at www.mates.org

For registration, call our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen, at (206) 838-1126

February 2010

22 Radar Renewal

March 2010

1 Security Refresher
1-5 Medical Care Provider
2-4 Security VCF
8-12 Electronic Navigation
15-26 GMDSS
15 Flashing Light
22 Radar Renewal
22-26 Basic Meteorology
23-26 ARPA
23-9 Celestial Navigation

April 2010

5-9      Tankerman Person-In-Charge
12-16   ECDIS
12-16   Medical Care Provider
12-16   Basic Stability
12-23  Medical Person-In-Charge
19-23  Basic Cargo Handling
26-30 Basic Shiphandling
26-7    GMDSS


MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 2-12-2010

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
10,099.14 2,183.53 1,075.51
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Closing
Price
 Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund(VAARX)
47.42
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
99.25
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
32.14
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
15.97
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
14.67
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
23.05
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
10.74
 Vanguard Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
26.40
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
5.36
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
15.01
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
19.02
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
13.31
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
17.38
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
10.90
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
11.12
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
11.05
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
11.26
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
11.64
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
10.44
 Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
26.64
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
14.85
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
13.62
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
15.60
 Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
10.28
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
62.14
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
56.04
 Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
15.77
 Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX)
36.59
 Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
26.07
 Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
23.00
 Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
10.70
 Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
11.31
 Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
12.26
 Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
12.21
 Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
11.96
 Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
6.89
 Fidelity Freedom 2050 (FFFHX)
8.01
 Fidelity Total Bond Fund (FTBFX)
10.56
 Spartan Extended market Index Fund (FSEMX)
30.15
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
38.12
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
25.31





~ Reminders ~



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.

© 2010, International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots. All the material contained in this publication is protected by copyright. For permission to reprint text from the Weekly, contact the MM&P Communications Department: lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org. For changes of address, contact Lisa Rosenthal at lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org.