News

Wheelhouse Weekly – February 25, 2014

February 25th 2014

 

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

Volume 18 . . . Number 8 . . . Feb. 25, 2014

STORIES COVERED

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


MM&P HOLIDAY CLOSING SCHEDULE

The Houston Hall will be closed on Monday, March 3 for Texas Independence Day. The New Orleans Hall will be closed on Tuesday, March 4 for Mardi Gras. Atlantic Ports, MM&P headquarters and the Jacksonville, Pompano and Tampa halls will be closed on Monday, March 17 for Gleason’s Birthday.


CONVENTION CALL: 85th MM&P CONVENTION, JULY 15-16, 2014

In accordance with Article IV, Section 2, of the International Constitution, members are hereby notified that a Regular Convention of the MM&P will be convened at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, July 15, 2014. The Convention will be held at the Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies, 692 Maritime Blvd., Linthicum Heights, MD 21090.

Members are also hereby notified that, in accordance with Article IV, Section 6, Subsection c), all proposed resolutions for the Convention must be forwarded to the International Secretary-Treasurer at least 30 days prior to the opening day of the Convention for inclusion on the agenda and determination by the Convention.


MM&P MAGAZINE NOW ONLINE

The new edition of The Master, Mate & Pilot has been posted on bridgedeck.org. In this issue of the MM&P magazine:

— “buy and ship American” reaffirmed in new farm law;

— MM&P joins calls for coherent, comprehensive national maritime policy;

— new International Maritime Organization (IMO) guidelines task ship captains with collecting and preserving criminal evidence;

— new IMO regulations focus on manning levels needed to safely operate ships under all conditions;

— interview with MM&P Great Lakes Representative Charles Malue;

— thank you to everyone who contributed to the MM&P Political Contribution Fund in 2013: here is a list of the victories you helped achieve.


HOUSTON PILOTS’ TIME-LAPSE VIDEO TRACKS WORK ON ONE OF WORLD’S BUSIEST CHANNELS

MM&P members at the Houston Pilots Association work on one of the narrowest and busiest waterways in the world: annual traffic on the Houston Channel totals more than 20,000 ships and 125,000 inland tows. “It’s one of the few places in the world where you get this combination of traffic density and narrow channel,” says Captain Thomas Phelps, an MM&P member who describes the work of the pilots in the time-lapse video. “We’re handling over 20,000 vessel movements a year, more than New York, New Orleans or San Francisco,” says Captain Robert L. Thompson.

The film describes the pilots’ work in a way that is accessible to members of the general public, who often think of pilots only in terms of airplanes. “We’re moving $100 million ships with $100 million worth of cargo on board,” explains Captain Julian Platon. “We don’t rely on any one trade,” says Phelps. “We have car ships, container ships, passenger vessels, crude tankers, chemical and refined products.” Pilots “know where the deep water is and where the deep water is not,” says Captain Michael Morris. “We know where the shoaling in the channel may be and where the cross currents are going to hit us.”

A central focus of the film is professional training. “There’s a lot of repetition (in pilot training),” says Captain Kristi Taylor. “You do a lot of trips up and down the channel with other pilots and then on your own, just to get the feel of what you need to be doing and how to do it in the right way.”

“No maneuver is routine,” says Captain David Rodrigues. “No ship is routine.” The emphasis is always on safety, says Captain Robert Webbon. “Safety is always first. It has to be.” To view the video, go to: http://vimeo.com/vgi/review/84746310/480719ed47


CREW OF FLAG-OF-CONVENIENCE SHIP WINS TWO-YEAR FIGHT OVER UNPAID WAGES

A claim to secure wages owed to the Ukrainian and Russian crewmembers on a flag-of-convenience (FOC) vessel under detention in Liverpool for more than two years was settled as 2013 came to a close, thanks to the intervention of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF). The crew received a total of $75,000 in back wages, plus repatriation expenses. The case began after the Antigua-and-Barbuda-registered DYCKBURG was stopped in Birkenhead, U.K., in September 2011 when a coast guard inspection discovered 17 deficiencies, including problems with safety management and life-saving and firefighting equipment. The story was reported in Nautilus Telegraph, the magazine of the British, Dutch and Swiss maritime officers’ union.

“It has been a difficult and long wait for the crew,” said Tommy Molloy, the Nautilus/ITF inspector who worked on the case. “The ship arrived in Liverpool in September 2011, under tow because of serious engine failure, and by Christmas that year we repatriated the crew at ITF expense pending settlement.” Molloy had lodged a protest with the Ukrainian ambassador to the United Kingdom after uncovering evidence that the mariners had been threatened for seeking the wages they were owed and asking to be repatriated. “No employee should have to wait two years for wages legitimately earned,” Molloy said.


27 PERCENT DISCOUNT FOR UNION MEMBERS ON AMERICAN-MADE WORK BOOTS

MM&P members are eligible for a 27 percent discount on the suggested retail price of all American-made work boots offered by The Union Boot Pro: theunionbootpro.com. All you need to do is enter the MM&P discount code at checkout: MmNa56mD. Please share this discount code with your shipmates! All MM&P members, retirees and their families are eligible to receive this discount. Free U.S. ground shipping on new orders. Free USPS shipping on reorders/exchanges. Please note: there is a $5 handling charge on each order.


UNION PLUS CREDIT CARDS PROGRAM HELPS CARDHOLDERS IN DIFFICULT TIMES

The Union Plus Credit Card Program offers union members two card choices designed to offer extra benefits when the going gets tough. The options are a cash rewards card that earns unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase and a rate advantage card that offers a low introductory APR for 15 months. Regardless of the card chosen, after only three months, eligible cardholders also have access to assistance grants, including: Job Loss Grants of $300 for eligible cardholders who have recently been laid off; Strike Grants of $300 for eligible cardholders who are on a union-sanctioned strike or who are experiencing a lockout; Disability Grants of $1,600 to $2,700 help eligible cardholders who have lost significant income due to long-term illness or disability; Hospital Grants of $1,200 aid eligible cardholders with large, unreimbursed hospital expenses.

All approved grants are paid to the cardholder by check, and they never have to be paid back. For more information visit unioncardapply.com.


THE PATIENT PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE CARE ACT AND “THE CADILLAC TAX”

There has been a lot of information in the news lately about the so-called “Cadillac Tax” provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Under the present law, this tax on high-cost insurance plans is scheduled to start in the 2018 tax year. It is important to note, in any case, that the tax would be paid by the Plan and not the Plan’s participants.

While there is no clear guidance on how the tax will be calculated, under one reasonable interpretation, for multiemployer plans such as the MM&P Health & Benefit Plan, the tax would kick in when the cost of the Plan exceeds $27,500. In the future, this amount would be indexed to inflation.

The Plan’s consultants have reviewed the current costs of the Plan by MM&P Membership Group and, under the interpretation described above, even with compounded cost increases of 8 percent per year, it is not expected that this tax would affect the benefits payable to Offshore participants.

In 2020 or 2022, however, it might result in a modest tax with respect to the benefits available to the Pilot and United Inland Groups. It is important to note, in any case, that the tax is only on the cost of the Plan above the specific threshold and would be paid by the Plan and not the Plan’s participants.

Please also note there are still about four years before this tax is scheduled to take effect. Congress can make changes to the laws affecting this tax and there could be different rules than those described here. We will keep the membership posted as to any updates we receive.


THE PATIENT PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE CARE ACT AND THE “CADILLAC TAX”

There has been a lot of information in the news lately about the so-called “Cadillac Tax” provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Under the present law, this tax on high-cost insurance plans is scheduled to start in the 2018 tax year.

While there is no clear guidance on how the tax will be calculated, under one reasonable interpretation, for multiemployer plans such as the MM&P Health & Benefit Plan, the tax would kick in when the cost of the Plan exceeds $27,500. In the future, this amount would be indexed to inflation.

The Plan’s consultants have reviewed the current costs of the Plan by MM&P Membership Group and, under the interpretation described above, even with compounded cost increases of 8 percent per year, it is not expected that this tax would affect the benefits payable to Offshore participants.

In 2020 or 2022, however, it might result in a modest tax with respect to the benefits available to the Pilot and United Inland Groups. It is important to note, in any case, that the tax is only on the cost of the Plan above the specific threshold and would be paid by the Plan and not the Plan’s participants.

Please also note there are still about four years before this tax is scheduled to take effect. Congress can make changes to the laws affecting this tax and there could be different rules than those described here. We will keep the membership posted as to any updates we receive.


MM&P PACIFIC PORTS OFFSHORE MEMBERSHIP MEETING SCHEDULE

There will be Offshore Membership Division meetings in the following ports on the indicated dates: Seattle, Thursday, Feb. 27, directly after 11:00 job call; Honolulu, Wednesday, March 5, directly after 10:00 job call. All members in the area are urged to attend.


INTERESTED IN TAKING THE MM&P OFFSHORE FAMILIARIZATION COURSE?

If you are interested in attending the Offshore Familiarization Course, please contact your MM&P Vice President to request that one be scheduled in your area. An Offshore Orientation Course is now scheduled for Los Angeles/Long Beach on March 12-13 and Oct. 8-9. If you are interested in participating in the course, please contact the Los Angeles/Long Beach Hall: 310-834-7201 or 310-834-6667(fax). 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 encouraged to take the course as soon as possible.


MARINE CONSERVATION GROUP TRANSFORMS OCEAN PLASTIC INTO CLOTHES

The marine conservation group Sea Shepherd is working with fashion designers and artists to make clothing out of plastic debris. Participants in the project, called Vortex, recycle ocean waste into yarn, fabric and consumer products. The story was reported in MarEx newsletter. “Plastic is choking our oceans and marine wildlife at an unprecedented rate,” said Sea Shepherd founder Captain Paul Watson. “Straws, single-use bags, six-pack rings, drink lids and more are ensnaring marine animals or blocking their digestive systems. It’s time humanity takes responsibility for our actions and cleans up the mess we’ve made. We hope this is the first of much meaningful collaboration to come.” The first product released by the group is a line of denim made of bionic yarn created from ocean plastic. The first clothing collection made with recycled ocean plastic is slated to be in stores in August 2014.


MARITIME LABOR CONVENTION COURSE REMINDER

The 2006 Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) entered into force on Aug. 20. It has been described as the fourth pillar of international shipping regulations along with SOLAS, MARPOL and STCW.  The International Labor Organization consolidated a number of previous conventions in MLC 2006. It establishes minimum standards on conditions of employment, accommodations, health and safety, medical care, crew welfare, recruitment, working conditions and social security protection. MLC will be strictly enforced during port state control inspections, including the potential for more detailed inspections and possible detention where hazardous conditions may exist if ships are not to be in compliance. Visit www.mitags-pmi.org for more information or to register for the MLC course.


/ 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 Kelly Michielli, 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 – 3/24/14, 8/11/14, 10/13/14

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: 5/6/14

ARPA-OIC – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 4/1/14, 8/5/14, 9/23/14, 11/18/14

AZIPOD 2-Day – 5/7/14, 5/19/14, 7/10/14, 10/9/14

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 3/24/14, 6/2/14, 8/25/14, 10/13/14

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 3/3/14, 4/14/14, 5/22/14, 8/20/14, 9/22/14, 11/20/14

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling: 3/5/14, 4/29/14, 7/7/14, 10/6/14

BST – Basic Safety Training: 4/7/14, 6/9/14, 8/11/14, 10/6/14

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 4/14/14, 10/27/14

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVNAV-CMM – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): 6/2/14, 8/4/14, 11/10/14

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 4/28/14, 6/23/14, 9/22/14

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 3/10/14, 6/16/14, 9/8/14

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 5/5/14, 7/7/14, 9/29/14

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 5/5/14, 6/2/14, 7/14/14, 8/4/14, 10/20/14, 11/10/14

MCL-CMM – Management, Communication, & Leadership (Management Level): 3/17/14, 5/19/14, 9/15/14

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants:  3/31/14, 7/21/14, 10/27/14

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management (2 weeks): 4/7/14, 8/18/14, 10/13/14

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 3/10/14, 4/7/14, 4/28/14, 6/9/14, 8/4/14, 9/8/14, 9/22/14, 10/20/14, 11/3/14, 12/1/14

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 3/17/14, 4/14/14, 5/5/14, 6/16/14, 8/11/14, 9/15/14, 9/29/14, 10/27/14, 11/10/14, 12/8/14

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 3/3/14, 6/9/14, 8/11/14, 11/17/14

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 4/21/14, 7/28/14, 11/3/14

CNAV-OIC – Celestial Navigation: 4/28/14, 11/3/14

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop:

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications:  10/7/14

DDE – Great Lakes:

DPA –

ECDIS-OIC –9/8/14

ECDIS-Pilots – 3/5/14, 5/19/14

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 4/7/14, 6/9/14, 8/11/14, 10/6/14

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep & Medications:  5/21/14, 11/19/14

GL Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization:

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 3/17/14, 8/18/14

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 6/23/14, 9/15/14, 11/17/14

LAP- 3/10/14, 9/8/14

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross Ton License: 6/2/14

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 5/21/14, 7/8/14, 10/7/14, 11/20/14

LNG-TPIC – 4/7/14

MCL-OIC –Management, Communications, and Leadership OICNW level: 9/5/14, 10/7/14

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 4/21/14, 6/16/14, 9/8/14, 11/3/14, 12/1/14

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 5/12/14, 8/4/14, 10/13/14

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 3/17/14, 4/21/14, 6/16/14, 9/8/14, 10/20/14, 11/3/14, 12/1/14

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 3/22/14, 4/26/14, 6/21/14, 8/3/14, 9/13/14, 10/12/14, 11/8/14, 12/6/14

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: 5/5/14 (PM), 8/4/14 (PM), 10/6/14 (PM)

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 3/14/14, 6/6/14, 8/22/14, 10/3/14

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 3/10/14, 6/2/14, 8/18/14, 9/29/14

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification:  3/10/14, 6/2/14, 8/18/14, 9/29/14, 11/10/14

*MSC-SECURITY WATCH BASIC – Contact Admissions

*MSC-SECURITY WATCH ADVANCED – Contact Admissions

*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force – Contact Admissions

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 3/31/14, 8/4/14, 9/22/14, 11/17/14

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 3/6/14, 3/20/14, 4/2/14, 4/16/14, 4/30/14, 5/7/14, 5/14/14, 6/5/14, 6/18/14, 7/9/14, 7/24/14, 8/6/14, 8/20/14, 9/10/14, 9/17/14, 10/1/14, 10/15/14, 10/29/14, 11/12/14, 12/3/14, 12/10/14

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 4/7/14, 7/28/14, 11/10/14

SAR-OIC – Search & Rescue – 4/7/14, 10/13/14

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling:  5/12/14, 6/16/14, 8/18/14, 11/17/14

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day: 3/3/14, 7/14/14, 10/6/14

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 8/4/14

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 7/7/14

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge:  8/25/14

TTT – Train the Trainer: 4/7/14

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: 5/6/14, 8/5/14, 10/7/14

VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 3/21, 5/7/14, 8/6/14, 9/2/14, 10/8/14

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level) : 3/3/14, 9/29/14

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level) : 9/15/14

…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 mitags-pmi.org/courses/calendar for course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations, and schedule revisions.


PMI ACADEMIC NOTES

Please also see our schedule online at mitags-pmi.org/courses/calendar. For registration, call our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen, at (206) 838-1126.

February 2014

26-28     Vessel Security Officer

March 2014

3-14       Celestial Navigation
10-21     GMDSS
17th       Radar Renewal
24-28     ECDIS
24-28     Able Seaman
24-4       License Preparation (Mate Level)

April 2014

7-11       ECDIS
14th       Radar Renewal
14-18     Medical Care Provider
14-25     Medical Person-In-Charge
15-18     ARPA
28-2       ECDIS


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.

© 2014, 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.