News

Wheelhouse Weekly – January 20, 2005

January 20th 2005


 


THE MASTERS, MATES & PILOTS’
WHEELHOUSE WEEKLYonline

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

Volume 9 . . . . . Number 3 . . . . January 20, 2005


STORIES COVERED
  • ALSO

REMINDERS




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





 

MM&P NEW ORLEANS HALL MOVING TO NEW LOCATION

The MM&P New Orleans Hall is moving to a new location on Jan.29. Effective that date, the NOLA Hall’s new location will be 3330 West Esplanade, Suite 209, Metairie, LA 70002. The telephone number, 504-837-5700, will remain the same. For more info, contact Representative Sue Bourcq by phone or by Email at sbourcq@bridgedeck.org .



 

NEXT ISSUE OF MM&P NEWSPAPER MIGHT BE DELAYED

It is very possible that the next issue of the MM&P Master, Mate & Pilot newspaper will be delayed because the production company that prepared it for publication unexpectedly went out of business. Every effort is being made to locate a new production facility so that any publication delays will be minimized.



 

MSP FLEET EXPANDS TO 60 VESSELS

MARAD has selected the 13 new ships that will join the Maritime Security Program (MSP), expanding the MSP fleet from 47 to 60 vessels. The MSP fleet is composed of US-flagged commercial vessels that can be utilized by the government to transport military-useful cargoes throughout the world in time of war or other national emergency.

The MSP program has been authorized to spend $156 million from 2006 to 2008, $174 million from 2009 to 2011, and $186 million from 2012 to 2015. There were 142 applicant vessels for the 13 new slots and among those MARAD chose was the HERCULES LEADER, a bulk ship operated by MM&P-crewed Gulf Central Lines and two container vessels operated by Lykes Lines, the LYKES MOTIVATOR and the TMM YUCATAN. MM&P Licensed Deck Officers will now serve on about 40 of the 60 MSP vessels.



 

LOOKING FOR MASTERS WHO HAVE EXPERIENCE WITH ROGUE WAVES

A reporter in Miami is doing research for a news story on rogue waves. This article will probably run in late February. She is looking for Masters who can communicate their experiences with rogue waves.

As a point of information: For the past three years scientists have been pouring over satellite images collected from the European Space Agency (ESA) as part of the MaxWave Project. As previously reported in the Wheelhouse Weekly, these are three-dimensional images of the sea surface that are able to show wave height with great accuracy. So far the research has shown that so-called rogue waves (defined by NOAA as being 2.2 times the existing wave pattern) occur with greater frequency than previously thought. One of the participating researchers is located at the University of Miami and that will also be a focus of the story.

If there are any ship’s Masters who have info on experiencing rogue waves, please inform the MM&P communications department at 410-850-8700 ext.27; Email: communications@bridgedeck.org or contact the reporter directly. Her name is Raelin Storey and she is a Broadcast Reporter for the Sun-Sentinel located at 200 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301. Phone: 954-356-4469; Cell: 954-214-8713; Email: RStorey@sun-sentinel.com.




 

LESSONS LEARNED AT CHIEF MATE’S CRIMINAL TRIAL

“Chuck” Viebrock who appeared as an expert witness in the recently concluded Bert Thurston case. Thurston was the Chief Mate on a tanker where a pumpman was asphyxiated while cleaning a tank during a coastwise voyage. As the result of an unorthodox investigation conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Justice Department filed felony gross negligence charges against Thurston.

This case is important to mariners for several reasons. First, it points out the need for mariners to have legal benefits immediately available should they be charged with wrongdoing while employed aboard ship. The case also provides insight into topics taught at MITAGS concerning the latest regulations and procedures regarding the current day management of a vessel that are of vital importance to all Licensed Deck Officers.

The article below has been condensed for space considerations. It will appear in its entirety in the next issue of the MM&P Master, Mate & Pilot newspaper.

In May 2000, the non-union tanker, SS TRINITY, operated by Sabine Transportation of Cedar Rapids, IA suffered a casualty in which the ship’s pumpman was asphyxiated after entering a non gas free cargo tank. Tank cleaning was being carried out at sea between New York and Houston on a coastwise voyage when the man’s death occurred.

The ship was the former MM&P-crewed VALLEY FORGE for which I did PRO work on in the 1970’s. Operated at the time by Keystone, I remember it as very efficiently operated by the LDO complement aboard. Times changed, and by 2000, it was in bad condition. OPA-90 made the TRINITY no longer in class to carry petroleum cargoes, a requirement the ship was skirting by its cargo (MTBE) being classified as a chemical.

The ship’s inert gas system was not working, cargo valves leaked, a main cargo pump was inoperative, in addition to many other needed repairs. Tank cleaning equipment was either in short supply or not aboard.

By 2001, the ship’s Iowa-based operator was being charged by the EPA with an number of incidents that included dumping oil-polluted grain overboard from several vessels which caused pollution in the Mississippi River. These ships included the TRINITY.

In investigating these offenses, the EPA learned of the pumpman’s death. Despite the fact that the incident did not involve pollution, the EPA pursued the case and almost two years later, the Justice Department filed felony gross negligence charges against the TRINITY’s Chief Mate, Gilbert Thurston, in US District Court in Ft. Myers, FL.

Maritime interests, including the MM&P, viewed these charges with alarm since the USCG had not charged Thurston at the time of the incident with any wrongdoing, but now a non-maritime related government agency was bringing charges two years later. The Council of American Master Mariners (CAMM) sponsored me in 2003 to act as an expert witness on Mr. Thurston’s behalf. The trial did not occur until last month, more than four years after the casualty.

The government’s case against Mr. Thurston centered on him being the direct supervisor of the tank cleaning and permitting the pumpman to enter the 1 center (1C) tank without first testing the tank atmosphere. My points of contention to this were poor compliance by the ship with her Safety Management System (SMS) as required by the International Safety Management (ISM) Code, poor resource management, and an “error chain” being in place prior to the mate joining the vessel.

The Chief Mate, who joined the ship in New York, had been poorly orientated to the vessel and cargo, and not given precise safety instruction. The non-union crew appeared poorly trained in preventing the accident. Of some six crewmembers participating in the tank cleaning procedure, no one present questioned the pumpman entering the tank.

It appeared to me that the crew had been in the habit of trusting respirators, which did not have the proper cartridges for protecting against MTBE, to protect them when they entered confined spaces. The ship’s paperwork left a poor trail of events. The Master had led the mate to believe the pumpman was extremely knowledgeable at his job and could be relied upon for advice, as well as work without being supervised.

Based on these and other factors, it was my opinion that a criminal charge of gross negligence was unwarranted. The jury agreed, returning a verdict of “not guilty” two days after I testified.

Had the verdict gone the other way, all mariners would have been faced with prosecution by government agencies that should not be involved in seafaring. By the MM&P and CAMM taking interest and supporting the mate’s defense, hopefully a repeat of this case will not occur. Legal costs to the Chief Mate caused him to file for bankruptcy. Although expensive, insurance to provide legal defense to criminal charges is available as a rider to license insurance policies.

 


HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE HOLDS HEARING ON DELAWARE RIVER SPILL

Earlier this week, the US House Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee held a hearing in Philadelphia on the circumstances surrounding the Nov.26 oil spill in the Delaware River. As previously reported in the Wheelhouse Weekly, the ATHOS I, a Cypriot-flagged tanker was carrying heavy crude oil when she struck submerged objects while being guided by tugs to the Citgo Oil Processing Facility in Paulsboro, NJ.

The incident created two gashes in the vessel’s hull and resulted in the release of 246,335 gallons of oil into the river. The oil has affected some of the most environmentally sensitive shorelines on the East Coast, resulting in the loss of wildlife in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware.

As the clean-up efforts continue, one USCG officer described the bottom of the Delaware River as a “junkyard” after divers found two more objects thought to share the blame for the oil spill from the tanker. A large concrete slab and a derelict anchor were recovered this week and both had paint traces matching the tanker. Several weeks ago, divers recovered a 14-foot-long section of cast-iron pipe that also bore the vessel’s paint traces.

The USCG says recovery costs presently stand at over $94 million and may well rise above $100 million. The clean-up, which is expected to last into the summer, has recovered over 200 tons of oil spilled by the double-hull, but single-bottomed tanker.


USCG TAKES ON MASSACHUSETTS OVER ITS TOUGH OIL SPILL LAW

The Justice Department has joined with the USCG in its legal argument with the State of Massachusetts over the state’s tough oil spill law that conflicts with federal laws and regulations. The state law was passed after an oil barge hit a rocky shoal in Buzzard’s Bay spilling about 100,000 gallons of oil in April 2003.

Among other things, the state law would force operators of single-hull barges and tankers operating in state waters to maintain at least $1 billion in liability insurance against the possibility of a spill.

The federal government says that Massachusetts’s law overlaps and conflicts with federal laws that have established a comprehensive framework of federal standards governing the design, construction, alteration, repair, equipping, operation, personnel qualification and manning of vessels, as well as the traffic rules they must follow when in US waters.


EU MEMBERS FAIL TO ENACT POST-ERIKA OIL SPILL LAWS

The European Commission is taking eight member states to the European Court of Justice after they failed to implement EU legislation created after the ERIKA accident that caused a huge oil spill in 1999. The ERIKA spilled 13,000 tons of heavy diesel oil off the coast of Brittany creating an environmental disaster along the French coast.

The directive, formally adopted in 2002, provides for member states to monitor hazardous ships, intervene in accidents if necessary and create plans to accommodate vessel in distress in national waters. The legislation should have been adopted by member states last year.

EC transport commissioner Jacques Barrot said: “Five years after the wreck of the ERIKA and three years after that of the PRESTIGE, I am appalled that member states delay the implementation of key measures to improve maritime safety. Countries need to define places of refuge in case of emergency and ensure the installation of black boxes on all ships.” The member states who are being taken to the court are Belgium, Greece, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Finland, and the United Kingdom.



 

APPLICATIONS FOR 2004 “SHEP” AWARD BEING ACCEPTED

The Chamber of Shipping of America (CSA) is now accepting nominations for the 2004 Rear Admiral Halert Shepheard Award. Presentation of the “Shep” Award will take place at CSA’s annual meeting on April 19 in New York City.

Nominations for a living individual may be submitted for a single outstanding contribution to merchant marine safety; or in recognition of, dedication to, or exceptional leadership in activities associated with merchant marine safety over a period of time.

Nominations may include individuals who are eminent in their marine field or endeavor such as, but not limited to licensed deck officers, ship operators, shipbuilders, governments, marine associations and others affiliated with ship operations.

As the purpose of the “Shep” Award is to encourage and inspire merchant marine safety, it is intended that younger individuals should be given equal consideration. Nominations should be based upon direct personal and professional knowledge of an individual.

Please note that the Award Committee can only act on nominations received. In a given year the Committee may not bestow an award if it does not consider any of the nominations of sufficient merit.

Nominations must be received no later that Friday, March 4. A web-based nomination form may be downloaded from CSA’s website: www.knowships.org, or may be obtained by writing to: “Shep” Award Committee, Chamber of Shipping of America, 1730 M Street, NW, Suite 407, Wash, DC 20036.

The nominee and nominator should not be directly affiliated with the same organization. The recipient of the award will be presented with a Steuben Crystal Eagle knows as the Halert Shepheard Eagle.



 

ATTRACTIVE LOAN RATE ENDS JAN.31

Through Jan.31, eligible MM&P FCU members may borrow up to $1,500 for 10 months at a Standard Rate of 8.75 percent or a Preferred Borrower Rate of 8.00 percent. Special terms and conditions apply and funds for this promotion may be limited.

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 4.75 percent for terms up to 24 months. Standard loan rates for longer-term loans are: 5.00 percent for 25-48 months; 5.75 percent for 49-60 months ($20,000 minimum); and 6.25 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. For more info, contact FCU manager Kathy Klisavage toll-free at 1-800-382-7777 or Email her at mmpfcu@bridgedeck.org.


MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

 

CLASS OPENINGS

Between now and the end of March 2005 seats are available in the following courses:

  • ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 2/07, 3/14
  • BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 1/24, 2/14
  • BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 2/07
  • BST – Basic Safety Training: 1/31, 3/07

    CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses

  • CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 2/14
  • CMM-CHS I- Cargo Handling & Stowage (week 1): 3/28
  • CMM-CHS II- Cargo Handling & Stowage (week 2): 3/21
  • CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display and Info Systems: 2/07, 3/21
  • CMM-MMP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 2/21
  • CMM-SHMGT-I – Ship Management (week 1): 2/07, 2/28
  • CMM-SHMGT-II – Ship Management (week 2): 3/07
  • CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 1/24, 1/31, 2/14, 3/14, 3/28
  • CMM-SHS-ADV-II- Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 3/21
  • CMM-WKP- Advanced Watchkeeping: 3/14
  • CONT-PLNG – Contingency Planning: 2/11, 3/04
  • FF-BADV – (Combined) Basic and Advanced Firefighting: 1/26, 3/07
  • GMDSS – Global Marine Distress & Safety System: 1/24
  • HAZ – Hazardous Materials [5-day]: 3/28
  • LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 2/08
  • MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 2/10, 3/03, 3/17
  • MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 2/12, 3/19
  • MED-PIC – Medical Person-In-Charge: 2/07, 3/14
  • MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 2/07, 3/14

    MSC – Military Sealift Command

  • MSC-CBRD-1 – Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Training Orientation: 1/29, 2/06, 3/03
  • MSC-DC – Damage Control: 1/24, 2/02
  • MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 2/04
    (must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years)
  • ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal (5-day): 3/28
  • ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 2/07, 3/14
  • SEC-FSO – Facility Security Officer: 2/08
  • SEC-OFF-PCS – Security Officer: Port, Company, Ship: 2/28
  • SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling (5-day): 3/28

 


ATTENDANCE VERIFICATION & CANCELLATION IS VITAL

If you are scheduled for a course, call, write, or Email admissions to advise whether or not you will attend. Many classes are in demand and maintain a Standby List. “No Shows” are missed training opportunities for other members.

SCHEDULES, UPDATED COURSE AVAILABILITY, INFO & REGISTRATION

Courses are subject to change. Check the MITAGS website for up-to-date course descriptions associated with all course title abbreviations, and for schedule revisions and updated course availability. You can also check future schedules, review detailed course descriptions and register on-line or contact Admissions at admissions@mitags.org or by calling toll-free, 1-866-656-5568.



PMI MARITIME TECHNOLOGY & CAREER CENTER ACADEMIC SCHEDULE – Winter 2004 – Spring 2005

All the courses below will be conducted at our new facility at 1729 Alaskan Way South, home to the “Maritime Technology and Career Center” which houses PMI’s state-of-the-art Full Mission Ship Simulator.

January 2005

  • 1/24-25: Ratings Forming Part of a Navigational Watch
  • 1/24-28: Radar Observer Unlimited
  • 1/24-27: Personal Survival Craft/Lifeboatman
  • 1/24-27: Fast Rescue Boat
  • 1/24/28: Tankerman Person-In-Charge
  • 1/24-28: Medical Care Provider
  • 1/24-2/04: Medical Person-In-Charge
  • 1/24-2/04: GMDSS
  • 1/24-28: Emergency Shiphandling
  • 1/31: Radar Recertification
  • 1/31-2/04: ARPA
  • 1/31-2/04: Electronic Navigation
  • 1/31-2/11: Advanced Shiphandling

February 2005

  • 2/07-11: Electronic Navigation
  • 2/07-18: GMDSS
  • 2/14: Radar Recertification
  • 2/14-18: Basic Safety Training
  • 2/14-18: ARPA
  • 2/14-18: Emergency Shiphandling
  • 2/14-25: Celestial Navigation
  • 2/14-25: 100 Ton Course
  • 2/21-25: Personal Survival Craft/Lifeboatman
  • 2/21-25: Basic Shiphandling
  • 2/21-24: Fast Rescue Boat
  • 2/28-3/4: Basic and Advanced Firefighting
  • 2/28-3/4: Basic Meteorology
  • 2/28-3/2: Ship/Company Security Officer
  • 2/28-3/11: GMDSS

March 2005

  • 3/07-11: Construction and Stability
  • 3/14-18: Basic Safety Training
  • 3/17-18: Basic Firefighting
  • 3/14-18: Cargo Handling and Stowage
  • 3/14-18: ARPA
  • 3/14-18: Tankerman Person-In-Charge
  • 3/21-25: Able Bodied Seaman
  • 3/21-24: Personal Survival Craft/Lifeboatman
  • 3/21-25: Medical Care Provider
  • 3/21-4/01: Medical Person-In-Charge
  • 3/21-25: ECDIS
  • 3/21-24: Fast Rescue Boat
  • 3/28-29: Ratings Forming Part of a Navigational Watch
  • 3/28-29: Search and Rescue
  • 3/30-4/01: Emergency Procedures
  • 3/28-4/01: ARPA
  • 3/28: Radar Recertification
  • 3/28-4/01: Emergency Shiphandling

For registration and more info call DeeDee Lazik or Jennifer Fowler at 888-893-7829, check the PMI website at mates.org or Email PMI at admin@mates.org.




 
 

MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF JANUARY 19, 2005 CLOSE


 D O W    N A S D A Q
 10,539.97 -57.86 for the week  2,073.59  -17.65 for the week
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
Closing
Price
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
109.19
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
30.20
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
18.37
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
15.83
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
30.30
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
10.47
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX)
6.39
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
10.28
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
17.24
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
16.02
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
37.50
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
101.85
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
42.02





~ Reminders ~




 

T-AGS OCEANOGRAPHIC SURVEY SHIPS MANNING REQUIREMENTS

REQUIRED COURSEWORK

All MM&P members are reminded that to sail aboard the T-AGS ships that MM&P-contracted Horizon Lines will be operating, you must have the required training certification and your certificates must be current in accordance with Military Sealift Command requirements. Members are also required to have had a MSC pre-employment physical and to possess Ship Security Clearance (see below).

The MSC Contract calls for all training certificates required for manning of these vessels to be no older than 5 years and that all STCW-95 courses be renewed every 5 years, or annually, as applicable.

Five-year renewable courses include, but are not limited to:

  • Advanced Fire Fighting
  • Basic Safety Training, and
  • Damage Control

Small Arms certificates must be less than 1 year old.

Members interested in applying for one of the positions onboard the T-AGS vessels are advised to make sure your certificates are up to date. If not, contact Mary Matlock or Diane Ford at MITAGS Admissions, email: admissions@mitags.org, and schedule to take the course(s) needed.

Those MM&P members interested in obtaining more information and facts about the T-AGS Oceanographic Vessels are asked to email the Director of Special Projects requesting the “facts sheet”. It will be provided by return email in an Adobe Acrobat PDF format.

Members interested in employment on the T-AGS ships are asked to provide a 1-2 page resume. Please list the desired position you are seeking along with the certificates of training you possess and their dates. Upon receipt it will be forwarded to Horizon Lines and a confirmation sent back to the member. Vessel turnover commences Oct.17, 2004 and will continue until Jan.3, 2005. Crew rotations will start beginning as early as January 2005 and will continue through as late as June 2005. Positions for all ratings remain open.

The point of contact for sending a resume for employment on the Horizon Lines T-AGS Oceanographic Vessels is Richard Plant, MM&P’s Director of Special Projects. Send resumes in an email or as a Word file attachment to him at: rplant@bridgedeck.org, by fax to 410-850-0973 or by mail to:

Richard Plant, Director of Special Projects

IOMM&P
700 Maritime Blvd.
Linthicum Heights, MD 21090



SHIP SECURITY CLEARANCE NEEDED

Members who want to sail for Horizon Lines on the T-AGS Oceanographic Survey vessels the company is set to begin operating for MSC must have Ship Security Clearance before going aboard.

Special software must be downloaded from the US Government’s Defense Security Service to complete the Security Clearance application. You must have an Internet connection and a Windows-based computer to retrieve the application and run the program.

Go to https://sclient.dss.mil/download/w9xfull.htm to download the software titled “EPSQ SUBJECT2_2”.

After the software is installed and the program is launched, select “Create” from the menu bar at the top of the screen. You will be required to enter your Social Security Number and a case-sensitive password. A window titled “Type of Form” will appear.

All Deck Officers should select the first button titled “Request for Security Clearance (SF86)” and then click “OK” to go to the next screen, “Type of Investigation”.

From the “Type of Investigation” screen:

  • Masters and Radio Officers should select the first button, “Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI)”.
  • All other Deck Officers (C/M, 2/M, 3/M) should click on the second button, “National Agency Check (NAC or NACLC)”.

After selecting the appropriate investigation type, click on “OK” to begin filling in the forms.

When complete and all information has been validated, click on “Communications” from the menu bar at the top of the screen and select “Transmit to Security Officer”. Save the file to the hard drive on your computer using your last name (surname) as the file name. Send this file as an email attachment to Mike Bohlman at Horizon Lines, Mbohlman@horizon-lines.com. His phone number is 908-259-2803. You will need to provide Mike Bohlman with your name and the case-sensitive password you assigned to the file in order for Horizon Lines to open the file and process your Security Clearance.



MSC PHYSICALS

Horizon Lines requests all mariners seeking employment aboard the T-AGS Oceanographic vessels to take their MSC Physical at specially-designated facilities only after being advised to do so by the Company. This is to assure that all requirements of the MSC Physical are properly met.

On Dec.6, MM&P members will begin manning the third of seven T-AGS ships operated by Horizon. The USNS SUMNER will be crewed-up in Portland, OR. MM&P wishes the crew a safe voyage and happy holidays.


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:

4.75 percent for terms up to 24 months.
Standard loan rates for longer-term loans are:

5.00 percent for 25-48 months;
5.75 percent for 49-60 months ($20,000 minimum); and
6.25 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

NOTICE TO MEMBERS WHO ARE TAKING VIOXX

On Sept.30, Merck & Co. voluntarily withdrew Vioxx, a popular anti-inflammatory medication, from the market. As a result, individuals who are currently taking the drug have been asked to contact their health care professionals to discuss discontinuing use of Vioxx and possible alternative treatments.

MM&P Plans Administrator Valerie Verrecchio reports that, “We have gotten a number of calls from members who want to know what to do with their remaining supply of Vioxx and whether the Plan or NMHC will refund their co-pay for the unused portion.

“Unfortunately, neither NMHC nor the Plan was aware of the Merck decision prior to the public announcement on Sept.30. As of that date, all deliveries of Vioxx to our members was suspended in accordance with Merck’s announcement. Orders that had already been processed and were in transit could not be stopped.

“In regard to refunds, Merck has set up a website at www.vioxx.com where members can obtain information on how to recover refunds from Merck for the unused portion of medication. Members can also call following toll free number for information: 1-888-368-4699.

“We are sorry for any inc onvenience this may have caused to members currently taking this medication, however, the matter is out of the control of the Plans.”



NMHC MAIL-ORDER PRESCRIPTIONS WEBSITE UPDATED & IMPROVED

MM&P Plans Administrator Valerie Verrecchio reports, “Good news! NMHC mail has finally gotten their website upgraded and functioning properly. I went in and tested it myself and found it to be quite user friendly.”

To use NMHC’s upgraded service, go to the NMHC Mail website at www.nmhcmail.com and click on “MEMBER LOGIN” at the bottom of the screen.

First-time and Registered users may bypass the welcome screen and go directly to the log-in page at https://members.nmhcrx.com/Login/Login.aspx.

  • First-time users should then click on the link marked “NEW USER: REGISTER HERE”.
    This will take you to a page titled “MEMBER REGISTRATION” where you will need to enter demographic information and submit it by clicking on the
  • “CREATE ACCOUNT” button.

After creating your account, NMHC will email you a password to gain entry into your records. With your first sign-in, the NMHC system will prompt you to change the NMHC password to one of your own choosing.

Once you are registered at NMHC, you can check the status of open orders by logging-in to the system through the “MEMBER LOGIN” page and going into the “MAIL ORDER” menu. You can look up all prescriptions and get the price our members will pay for any medication. You can also view an order history of all of your medication transactions (both retail and mail) for the last 24 months, locate 24-hour pharmacies in your zip code region as well as access other helpful member education information.

“We hope this welcome improvement will assist our members. Although you cannot order refills on line if you don’t provide a credit or debit card number, you can phone in your refill. Once you register on the website, you will still have access to all of the other information including checking the status of your order once it is phoned in,” said Ms. Verrecchio.



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., Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1941. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973; Email: iommp@bridgedeck.org. For further info or to subscribe contact John Peige at jpeige@bridgedeck.org. The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea, broadcast worldwide via FEC marine telex and is posted on our web page.