News

Wheelhouse Weekly – January 25, 2010

January 25th 2010

 

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

Volume 14 . . . . . Number 4. . . .January 25, 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.


NOTE FROM THE MM&P INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT

The maritime unions–SIU, MEBA, AMO and MM&P–have made a commitment to aid in the emergency help and rescue efforts in Haiti. I know that this fund is a bit late and many of you have already made your own contribution to the Haitian relief effort.

The union itself will contribute directly to the AFL-CIO effort in aiding Haiti. If you would like to make a contribution, your check should be made out as follows:

AFL-CIO SOLIDARITY CENTER EDUCATION FUND

Please mail your check to MM&P, 700 Maritime Blvd., Suite B, Linthicum, MD 21090-1953. I intend to have all these checks plus the union’s contribution turned over to the AFL-CIO on Feb. 26 in Orlando, Fla.

Timothy A. Brown
International President


MM&P-CONTRACTED ASM/PATRIOT WINS FOUR-VESSEL LMSR BID

Long-time MM&P employer American Ship Management/Patriot Contract Services has won two small business set-aside contracts administered by Military Sealift Command (MSC). The awards are for four of the Navy’s large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off ships: USNS GILLILAND, USNS GORDON, USNS SHUGHART and USNS YANO. “It’s great to be back aboard these ships on which MM&P members have served before,” said Don Marcus, MM&P Pacific Ports Vice President. USNS GORDON and USNS GILLILAND are set to be turned over to Patriot on Jan. 27. USNS SHUGHART and USNS YANO are scheduled to turn over on Feb. 25. All four vessels are in ROS status.


GOVERNMENTS SHIRKING RESPONSIBILITY IN FIGHT AGAINST PIRATES, INDUSTRY SPOKESMAN SAYS

In a strongly worded statement, the Chamber of Shipping of America (CSA) has called on international governments to immediately implement more effective measures to protect merchant ships and their crews from pirates. “The unacceptable situation prevailing now, with seafarers lives being threatened on a daily basis–and Somali pirates still operating with impunity–cannot be allowed to continue by the nations of the world,” said Joseph J. Cox, CSA president, in a recent statement.

The industry trade group’s strong stance on this issue is perfectly aligned with the position that has consistently been taken by labor unions, including MM&P, on the national and international level.

“There is a growing concern among the national ship owner associations that the international community is not actively seeking to eliminate piracy and is instead treating the current level of attacks against shipping as somehow ‘tolerable,’” Cox said. “It is particularly upsetting when the main focus of some senior politicians both here and abroad is limited to commenting on their objections to the payment of ransoms or even worse suggesting that payments are or should be illegal,” he added.

Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, protecting merchant ships from pirates is a clear responsibility of governments. “Traditionally, a primary role of navies has always been to protect merchant shipping and to keep sea lanes open to trade,” Cox said. “It is extraordinary that governments today seem less able to protect shipping than they were almost 200 years ago.”


MORE MM&P CIVMAR-CREWED VESSELS DEPLOYED IN EARTHQUAKE RELIEF EFFORT

Ten Military Sealift Command ships, many of them crewed by MM&P licensed deck officers, have been mobilized to date in support of humanitarian relief efforts in Haiti. They include hospital ship USNS COMFORT, fleet replenishment oiler USNS BIG HORN, rescue and salvage ship USNS GRASP and dry cargo/ammunition ship USNS SACAGAWEA. In addition, four ships from the U.S. Maritime Administration’s Ready Reserve Force have been activated. “Once again the U.S. Merchant Marine is answering the call for assistance, as it has done since our nation began,” said Acting Maritime Administrator David T. Matsuda.

The eleven operating rooms aboard COMFORT are in full operation. The vessel is capable of holding between 1,000 and 1,100 patients at a given time. The medical director aboard COMFORT told journalists that most of the people being treated on board are suffering from traumatic fractures and crush injuries. COMFORT celebrated a first on Wednesday when a baby was born on the vessel; its mother had been gravely injured in the collapse of a building.

In related news, the Massachusetts Maritime Academy said it had received word early last week that its training ship, the KENNEDY, would be dispatched to assist in the earthquake relief effort. At the time, the 15,000-ton vessel was headed for Curaçao. It immediately changed course for Haiti. Seven hours later, authorities rescinded the order and the training cruise continued as planned.

The Haitian government said Friday that one and a half million people have been left homeless by the quake. Tens of thousands were killed and millions are in need of food, water and medical care.


LORAN-C SIGNAL WILL BE DISCONTINUED STARTING FEB. 8

The Coast Guard has announced that decommission of the LORAN-C signal will begin on Feb. 8, with all LORAN stations expected to cease transmitting the LORAN-C signal by Oct. 1. In the notice, which appeared in the Jan. 7 edition of the Federal Register, the Coast Guard said it has determined that termination of the LORAN-C signal will not adversely affect the safety of maritime navigation. LORAN stations provide navigation, location and timing services for civil and military air, land and marine users.

When LORAN-C is eliminated, the world navigation and timing systems will depend solely on GPS, which is maintained by the U.S. Department of Defense. GPS has vulnerabilities, such as a very weak signal that is susceptible to jamming, and critics charge it could be disrupted by an enemy in a war. “The politicians appear immune to any notion that GPS is vulnerable to a range of disruptions, and that the national timing, communications, and financial infrastructures that depend on GPS are likewise open both to intentional attack and to natural interference,” says Alan Cameron, editor of the
publication “GPS World.”

The Administration has argued that LORAN-C is obsolete and should be eliminated as a cost-savings measure.
    


PIRATES RELEASE GREEK TANKER FOR RECORD RANSOM

The hijacked Greek crude oil tanker MV MARAN CENTAURUS was released last Monday near Haradere off the Somali coast. The tanker, with a crew of 28, had been held since Nov. 29. News outlets report the pirates received a record ransom of somewhere between $5.5 and $9 million. A spokesman for the European Union’s anti-piracy force reported that a rival pirate group attacked the MARAN CENTAURUS as part of the ransom was being dropped in cash on the vessel’s deck, and that two pirates were killed in the resulting fight. In a curious twist, the pirates aboard the tanker reportedly asked for help from the anti-piracy force.


PORT OF MOREHEAD CITY TERMINAL REOPENED

Following the successful clean-up of hazardous materials spilled in a forklift accident, the Coast Guard announced it had reopened the Port of Morehead City terminal and nearby waterways. The leak occurred when several containers of an explosive, pentaerythritol tetranitrate, were punctured. The clean-up operation, which was overseen by the Coast Guard, involved evacuating the port and surrounding area.


NEWS FROM MM&P PLANS

On Jan. 25, the MM&P Pension Plan and IRAP will file Internal Revenue Service applications for updated determination letters. Filing the applications is necessary to ensure that the plan documents satisfy all the qualification requirements of the Internal Revenue Code, an essential element in maintaining the favorable tax treatment of the Plans’ contributions, earnings and distributions. The most recent determination letters were issued in 2003. Under IRS procedures, new applications are due this year. Notices to Interested Parties, containing further information about the applications, have been posted at all port offices, as well as union headquarters, the Plan Office and MITAGS.


GRAND JURY RULES 2005 BARGE FATALITY IS RESULT OF NEGLIGENCE

A federal grand jury has indicted a marine company for negligence in an explosion aboard a barge in 2005 that resulted in the death of a crewmember and the spill of thousands of gallons of slurry oil into the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. The defendants, Dennis Michael Egan and Egan Marine Corp., will be arraigned in U.S. District Court in Chicago. Court documents allege that Egan Marine Corp. and its employees negligently vented combustible vapors from the cargo hold of the barge to the deck of the vessel, causing an explosion hazard. The crewmember who died was allegedly using a propane-fueled open flame from a handheld “rosebud torch” to heat a cargo pump on the barge deck.


MASSACHUSETTS DINNER CRUISE OPERATION CHARGED WITH ILLEGAL DUMPING

The government has taken a Marblehead, Mass. company to court on charges its managers ordered leisure craft crews to dump raw sewage into the waters off North Shore beaches and in the Charles River. The Rockmore Company has been charged with two violations of the Rivers and Harbors Act. The government alleges that, from 1990 to 2006, during dinner cruises and sightseeing excursions, it allowed untreated sewage to be dumped from its 59-foot ferry, the PV HANNAH GLOVER.


MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

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

AB- Able Bodied Seaman: 2/8

ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 3/8

BRM � Bridge Resource Management: 2/8, 3/15

BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 3/11

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

CMM-ADVSTB � Advanced Stability: 2/8

CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 3/15

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): 2/1, 2/15, 3/15, 3/29

CMM-SHS-ADV-I I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 2/1, 2/22, 3/22, 3/29

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

CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 2/15

CONSTB � Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 2/15

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

ENAV � Electronic Navigation: 3/15

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

FSM � Fatigue, Sleep & Medications: 3/11

FF-BADV – Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting Combined: 2/1

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

LAP-ORD3rd � License Advancement Program for 500-1600 ton Third Mate: 2/15

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: 2/15, 3/15

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 2/15, 3/15

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original or Renewal: 2/8

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 3/08

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

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling: 2/15, 3/22

SHS-BAS � Basic Shiphandling: 3/1

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

TPIC – Tankerman Person-In-Charge: 2/8

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

1-3       Emergency Procedures
4-5      Search & Rescue
8-12    Radar Observer Unlimited
8-12    Tankerman Person-In-Charge
22        Radar Renewal

March 2010

1          Security Refresher
2-4      Security VCF
8-12    Electronic Navigation
16-19   ARPA
15-26  GMDSS
15        Flashing Light
22        Radar Renewal
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 1-22-2010

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
10,389.88 2,205.29 1,091.76
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Closing
Price
 Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund(VAARX)
48.04
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
100.60
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
32.42
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
16.54
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
14.80
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
23.39
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
10.74
 Vanguard Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
26.68
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
5.51
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
15.13
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
19.33
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
13.37
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
17.59
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
11.00
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
11.25
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
11.21
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
11.45
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
11.84
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
10.48
 Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
26.98
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
14.96
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
13.81
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
15.78
 Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
10.30
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
62.69
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
56.69
 Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
16.05
 Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX)
36.90
 Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
27.17
 Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
23.34
 Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
10.77
 Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
11.37
 Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
12.43
 Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
12.42
 Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
12.21
 Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
7.04
 Fidelity Freedom 2050 (FFFHX)
8.19
 Fidelity Total Bond Fund (FTBFX)
10.62
 Spartan Extended market Index Fund (FSEMX)
30.25
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
38.64
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
25.47





~ 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.