News

Wheelhouse Weekly – July 01, 2004

 


THE MASTERS, MATES & PILOTS’
WHEELHOUSE WEEKLYonline

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

Volume 8 . . . . . Number 27 . . . . July 1, 2004





 

Convention Call: MM&P 80th Convention

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 1000 on Monday, August 2, at MITAGS, 692 Maritime Blvd, Linthicum Heights, MD. Nominations for elective office will take place at this Convention. Constitutional amendments may also be considered at this Convention.

Members are also hereby notified that in accordance with Article IV, Section 6., Subsection b), all proposed resolutions 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.


NOTE:

The cutoff date for receipt of resolutions at MM&P Headquarters is Friday, July 2, 2004 at 5:00 PM Eastern time, in order to be included on the Convention Agenda.

 


STORIES COVERED

ALSO

REMINDERS




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



MM&P HQ, PLANS AND MM&P FEDERAL CREDIT UNION
WILL BE CLOSED ON JULY 5 IN OBSERVANCE OF INDEPENDENCE DAY




 

DEADLINE FOR CONVENTION RESOLUTIONS IS JULY 2

The MM&P Constitution requires that any proposed resolutions to be acted on by the International Convention shall be received by the International Secretary-Treasurer at least 30 days prior to the opening of the Convention. Accordingly, the cut-off date for resolutions will be Friday, July 2, at 1700 EST. This is due to the Independence Day holiday being observed on Monday, July 5.



 

ADVISORY TO MEMBERS ON ISPS CODE AND MTSA-2002 RECORD-KEEPING

MM&P members are reminded that provisions of the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 and the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code went into effect on July 1. These provisions impact LDOs aboard all oceangoing vessels sailing in the international and coastwise trade.

MM&P HQ has sent a letter to all Offshore Membership Group contracted ships and to the home address of every active member of the Offshore Membership Group addressing in more detail this issue and how it may affect our contracts.

MM&P advises members to note and follow these procedures:

  1. Maintain and keep detailed time and duty records for any hours of work performed doing anything that might be considered security duties.
  2. Maintain and keep detailed time and duty records for any hours of work performed doing anything outside the usual and normal duties of an LDO.
  3. All LDOs should submit penalty rate for payment for any time spent as outlined in items 1 and 2 if these duties are done during normal watch or duty hours.
  4. All LDOs should submit overtime for payment for any time spent as outlined in items 1 and 2 if these duties are done outside normal watch or duty hours.

Members having any questions or comments are asked to contact your area Vice President or Port Representative.



 

ISPS CODE AND MTSA-2002 REQUIREMENTS AT A GLANCE

These documents outline security measures to be taken to deter the unauthorized introduction of dangerous substances and devices, including any device intended to damage or destroy persons, ships, facilities, or ports.

The security measures must be scalable to provide protection at three security levels. The major elements of these requirements are:

  • Designating facility, ship, and company security officers.
  • Conducting ship and facility security assessments.
  • Developing ship and facility security plans.
  • Providing security training commensurate with job function.
  • Instituting access control.
  • Designating restricted areas.
  • Implementing facility/ship interface.
  • Conducting security monitoring.


 

IMO HEAD PRAISES EFFORTS MADE TO IMPLEMENT THE ISPS CODE

IMO Secretary-General Efthimios Mitropoulos has welcomed the major effort made by governments and the shipping and port industries to improve maritime security in the weeks and months leading up the ISPS Code and related security measures that went into effect on July 1.

Mr. Mitropoulos said that, all over the world, a huge amount of work has been undertaken in the period leading up to the entry-into-force date to ensure the highest possible level of compliance. Figures given to IMO by Member Governments indicate that more than 86% of ships and 69% of port facilities had security plans approved by July 1.

Mr. Mitropoulos said, “I think we now have to look on the positive side and remember that the prime objective of this work has been to increase awareness of the real and present threat of terrorism, explain the implications of the ISPS Code and how best to implement it and, in so doing, raise the shipping industry’s defenses to protect it and maritime trade from any act of terrorism. There is no doubt that that has been done, the defenses are significantly higher than they were before, and we must now ensure that they continue to rise.”

He also noted that, “important though certification undoubtedly it is, what really counts is the work that has been done on the ground: security officers appointed on ships, in companies and port facilities, training undertaken, security plans drawn up, awareness raised, and vigilance heightened.”



 

REPORT PUTS MARITIME INDUSTRY ISPS COSTS AT $1.5 BILLION

The global shipping community will foot a bill of more than $1.5 billion annually, on top of a $2.6 billion initial cost, as a result of implementing the new global ISPS Code, according to a recently published report. But the costs of security-driven modernization could easily be offset by gains in global supply chain efficiency and a reduction of up to $50 billion in maritime theft and fraud each year, the report added.

The costs of compliance with the new mandatory International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) Code that went into effect on July 1 are a cost of doing business in an environment with heightened terrorist risk, the report said. Ship operators will incur one-time costs of nearly $1.3 billion with ongoing operating costs of about $730 million per year, while the cost to ports will be as large if not larger, according to the report.

These estimates do not include a raft of other security-inspired measures implemented, mainly by the US, since Sept 11, 2001. Procedural changes like the 24-hour advance notice rule, for instance, are estimated to cost carriers $282 million in 2003. Overall the total cost of maritime transport-related security measures – excluding those relating to the ISPS Code – were estimated to be slightly over $2 billion last year.



 

DEPT. OF DEFENSE NSPS PROGRAM PROPOSES CHANGES FOR CIVMARS

The Dept. of Defense has rolled out a program that if finalized will dramatically affect every aspect of employment within DOD, including MM&P-represented Civilian Mariners (CIVMARs) who work for the Military Sealift Command (MSC). The so-called National Security Personnel System (NSPS) proposes sweeping changes to federal sector employment rules that range from the way unions represent their members to the way in which wages and salaries are determined.

Another issue of particular interest and concern to the MM&P is a situation that developed when the Navy command ship USS CORONADO, scheduled to be turned over to MSC with a USNS designation, was retained as a USS ship and manned by CIVMAR officers and crew, but without a CIVMAR master. The Navy has instead placed an active duty Navy officer in command. We are currently litigating the jurisdictional loss of the Master billet aboard CORONADO.

Related to this, the Navy has proposed to require as a condition of employment aboard certain vessels under its command, that the CIVMARs employed aboard must be members of a special naval reserve, subject to mobilization to active duty at any time for a period of up to one year.

MM&P headquarters staff and Randi Ciszewski, our Government Fleets Representative, have been out in front, working to protect our members’ interests regarding the unprecedented arrangement onboard the CORONADO where civilian mariners are placed under military command and in addressing the significant issues raised under the Navy’s “special reserve” proposal.

MM&P is working in concert with the other Maritime Unions and negotiating with MSC on many items. The dialogue between the Unions and the government and the positions advanced by each side is a work in progress and changes daily and the Maritime Unions in particular are on top of this situation.

Randi Ciszewski stated, “Rest assured that MM&P will not allow the inherent rights of our CIVMAR unit members to be violated. We will seek redress under all available forums to ensure that you are not aggrieved.”

The MM&P will continue to monitor these and other DOD proposals to determine their effects on our members and will work to protect the rights and conditions of all Navy CIVMARs. For more info on NSPS, visit www.cpms.osd.mil/nsps.

“Please do not hesitate to contact me for information on this matter,” Randi Ciszewski stated. Randi can be reached via email at rciszewski@bridgedeck.org or by phone at 201-433-7700.



 

MM&P TO BE REPRESENTED AT IMO NAVIGATION SAFETY MEETING

The Vice President of MM&P’s Pilot Membership Group along with Capt. Joseph Stone of Union’s HQ Staff will be attending the next Session of the IMO Sub-Committee on Safety of Navigation to be held at the IMO’s London HQ from July 5-9.

The Pilot Group VP will be a member of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICTFU) delegation and Capt. Stone will be a Member of the US delegation.

The Provisional Agenda includes 19 items including those necessary for the operation of the Session. Topics of interest to MM&P members include:

  • Routing of ships
  • Requirement for AIS display onboard ships
  • Review of the High Speed Craft code
  • Anchoring, mooring and towing equipment
  • Review of performance standards of radar equipment
  • Large passenger ship safety
  • Measures to enhance maritime security, and
  • Casualty analysis.

Both MM&P representatives were instrumental at the last IMO Session of the Maritime Safety Committee in assisting with the development of an official IMO policy paper “MSC/Circ.1112” that defines the rights of seafarers access to shore leave.



 

TERRORISTS COULD TAKE AIM AT AIS

A measure intended to increase the security of ships at sea could have unintended consequences by providing terrorists with real time info on vessel locations and will be on the agenda at next week’s IMO Sub-Committee on Safety of Navigation in London.

The United Nations adopted a resolution in November 2003 that would allow masters to switch off the vessel’s Automatic Identification System (AIS) in specific areas where attack by pirates or terrorist was imminent. AIS info is public domain and is now available online. That means anyone, anywhere, with the proper computer access can obtain comprehensive AIS vessel info. This raises the concern that people of ill will could use detailed AIS info to identify vessel targets.



 

MARAD ADMINISTRATOR REQUESTS SHIPS’ BELLS TO BE RUNG JULY 4


 TO:  The Men and Women of the American Merchant Marine
 FROM:  Capt. William Schubert, US Maritime Administrator
 SUBJECT:  “Let Freedom Ring” — National Bell Ringing Ceremony Honoring America’s Independence on July 4

To honor the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution has invited the American merchant marine to join more than 5,000 other participants in “Let Freedom Ring,” a national bell ringing ceremony on Independence Day. US merchant vessels at port and at sea are requested to ring their ships’ bells 13 times at 1800Z on July 4, to honor the 13 original colonies.

I ask you to join Americans everywhere in honoring not only those who helped achieve our country’s independence during the American Revolution, but also all men and women who continue to work and sacrifice in support of our Nation’s liberty. I certainly include in this category America’s merchant marine, whose support remains vital to our national security.



 

MM&P-CREWED USNS BRIDGE JOINS MSC LOGISTICS FLEET

The USS BRIDGE became the last of four US Navy Supply-class fast combat support ships to leave commissioned service for an even more active role with the US Navy’s Military Sealift Command at a formal transfer ceremony on June 24 that took place at the Bremerton, Washington Naval Base.

Now known as UNITED STATES NAVAL SHIP BRIDGE, she joins more than 30 civilian-crewed ships providing combat logistics services to the Navy fleets worldwide.

USNS BRIDGE, which as a Navy ship was crewed by a complement of 544 active-duty sailors, will now have a civilian crew of 160 mariners. By reducing the crew by nearly 400, operating costs are lowered dramatically. The federal civil service mariners will be joined aboard BRIDGE by a small military department of 28 sailors who will perform communication support and supply coordination. An additional 30 or more sailors will augment the crew when necessary to support helicopter operations.

The transfer of BRIDGE and her sister ships, USNS RAINIER, USNS ARCTIC and USNS SUPPLY, are part of the Navy’s continuing transformation to a more efficient and cost effective fighting force for the 21st century. According to a May 1998 Center for Naval Analysis study, the Navy will save a projected $76 million annually with the change.

The transfers also free up more than 100 active duty Navy officers and nearly 2,000 enlisted Sailors to return to the war-fighting roles for which they were trained.

The Navy also realizes additional savings because MSC ships are not constrained by the operational and personnel limitations placed upon Sailor-crewed ships. USNS ships have an 80 percent availability for at-sea service compared to 24 percent for USS sailor-crewed ships. This increased availability means fewer ships are required to support logistics missions.

With a top speed in excess of 25 knots, the 754-foot fast combat support ships are ideally suited to travel with US Navy battle groups to provide underway replenishment of fuel, ammunition, spare parts and stores at sea, eliminating the need for the combatants to constantly return to port.

The transfer ceremony began with the arrival of the official party. Capt. Richard Stockton, USN, commanding officer of USS BRIDGE, led the group, followed by MM&P member Capt. Jeffrey Siepert, who will command the ship under MSC; Capt. Juan L. Chavez, USN, commander of Military Sealift Command Pacific; Rear Adm. Leendert Hering, USN, Commander of Naval Surface Group Pacific Northwest; and Rear Adm. Deborah Loewer, USN, Vice Commander of MSC and guest speaker for the event.

As is tradition, the BRIDGE’s commissioning pennant was lowered during the ceremony and given to the departing commanding officer, Capt. Stockton. The ship’s ownership certificate was then passed to Capt. Chavez, effectively transferring ownership to MSC. Capt. Chavez then directed Capt. Siepert, the ship’s new civilian master, to “place the ship in service.” With those words, USS BRIDGE became USNS BRIDGE.

Just before the ceremony, the ship’s new master recounted working with USS BRIDGE in the Persian Gulf during Operation Iraqi Freedom. “I was master of USNS NIAGARA FALLS, one of MSC’s [combat] stores ships. I’d see the BRIDGE cutting through the sea at 30 knots while we were poking along at 18.I was jealous. I dreamed of commanding that ship. Now, I do. So tell your kids, dreams can come true!” exclaimed Siepert.

Capt. Stockton, who retired during the ceremony with more than 24 years service in the Navy, reflected on his former command. “People ask me if this is a sad day. I don’t call it sadness. The ship isn’t going away; she’s charting new waters.

“I was also thinking the other day … the average age of the civilian mariners now manning the ship is about 48. The average age of my active-duty Navy crew was 22. Add up the sea time of the 160 mariners and you’ve got more experience than all my 500 sailors totaled. The fleet will never know the difference when they pull alongside USNS BRIDGE … and all of us can be proud of that.”

Since Sept.11, MSC has delivered more than 4.9 billion gallons of fuel and countless tons of food and ammunition to Navy ships around the globe in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. As of June 22, 2004, MSC has moved more than 55 million square feet of cargo in support of the global war on terrorism.



 

USCG SEEKS MERCHANT MARINE ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEMBERS

The USCG is seeking applications for appointment to membership on the Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee (MERPAC). MERPAC provides advice and makes recommendations to the USCG on matters related to the training, qualification, licensing, certification, and fitness of seamen serving in the US merchant marine. Applications should reach the USCG by August 30.

Application forms may be obtained via the Internet by logging on to www.uscg.mil/hq/g-m/advisory/index.htm or by writing to:

Commandant (G-MSO-1) United States Coast Guard 2100 Second Street SW Washington, DC 20593-0001

Send completed applications to:

Mark Gould, Assistant Executive Director MERPAC Room 1210, U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters 2100 Second Street SW Washington, DC 20593-0001

 

For further info, call MERPAC at 202-267-6890, fax 202-267-4570 or contact Capt. Joe Stone at MM&P HQ at 410-850-8700 x24, Email: jstone@bridgedeck.org .



 

NOTICE TO MM&P MEMBERS REGARDING THE UPCOMING CONVENTION

The Convention will start at 1000 hours on the 2nd of August. This is a nominating Convention for all officers and Convention Delegates.

To be nominated for any Office (including Convention Delegate) in the Organization, you must have been a member for at least four years and be in continuous good standing for the 24 months preceding the nomination. In addition, you must meet the eligibility requirements for your specific membership group as listed in the International Constitution.

To run for International Office as Int. President or Int. Secretary-Treasurer, you must be nominated in Convention or, in lieu thereof, you may be nominated by a petition signed by 50 members of the Organization.

To run for Vice President of any membership group, you must be nominated in Convention or, in lieu thereof, you may be nominated by a petition signed by at least five members of that particular membership group.

Nominations will be accepted up until the close of nominations which will take place on August 4th.

Nominating petitions shall be sent to the International Office to the attention of the International Secretary-Treasurer.

Any proposed resolutions to be acted on by the International Convention shall be received by the International Secretary-Treasurer at least 30 days prior to the opening of the Convention. The cut off date for resolutions will be Friday, July 2, at 1700 EST. This is due to the July 4th holiday being on Monday, July 5.



 

MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

CLASS TIMES & TRAVEL PLANNING

Please plan your travel in accordance with the following class times.

Classes start daily at 0830 and conclude at 1630 hrs. The exception is Shiphandling, which may be scheduled for a morning or late afternoon starting time.

Shiphandling attendees will be assigned a starting time at the 0825 briefing for all students on Monday. If you are attending a Shiphandling course, do not make plans to depart MITAGS prior to the morning following course completion.

CLASS OPENINGS

Between now and the end of August 2004, seats are available in the following courses:

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

  • AIS-1 – Automatic Identification System: 8/23
  • ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 7/12, 8/9

~~~

  • BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 7/26
  • BST – Basic Safety Training: 8/16

~~~

CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses

  • CMM-CHS I – Cargo Handling & Stowage (week 1): 8/16
  • CMM-CHS II – Cargo Handling & Stowage (week 2): 8/9
  • CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display and Infor Systems: 8/16
  • CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 8/2
  • CMM-SHS-ADV I – Advanced Shiphandling (week1): 8/2, 8/9
  • CMM-SHS-ADV II – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 8/9, 8/16
  • CMM-SHMGT-I – Ship Management: 8/23

~~~

  • CONT-PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: 7/15, 7/29

~~~

  • FL – Flashing Light: 7/30

~~~

  • GMDSS – Global Marine Distress and Safety System: 8/9

~~~

  • HAZ – Hazardous Materials [5-day]: 7/12, 8/23

~~~

  • LAP – License Advancement Program: 7/26
  • LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 7/14

~~~

  • MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans. Drug & Alcohol Testing: 8/14
  • MED-PIC – Medical Person In Charge: 7/19, 8/9
  • MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 7/19, 8/9
  • MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 7/16, 7/30

~~~

MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses

  • MSC-COMMS – Strategic Sealift Communications: 8/9
  • MSC-CBRD-1 – Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Training Orientation: 8/23
  • MSC-DC – Damage Control: 8/6, 8/24, 8/26
  • MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Renewal (2-day): 8/24, 8/26
    must have passed all 3 weapons within 2 years

~~~

  • ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original & Renewal: 8/23
  • ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 7/12, 8/2, 8/14

~~~

  • SEC-OFF-PCS – Security Officer: Port, Company, Ship: 7/12, 7/26
  • SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling (5-day): 8/4, 8/23

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

Check the MITAGS website for up-to-date course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations, and for schedule revisions.

 

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, Course Info & Registration

Courses are subject to change. Always check the MITAGS website for 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

All the courses below will be conducted at the new Pacific Maritime Institute facility located in Seattle at 1727 Alaskan Way South, Pier 34. The new facility features a state-of-the art Ship Simulator that has to be experienced. PMI phone numbers remain the same. Come see the new facility at PMI’s “Maritime Technology and Career Center”.

 

July 2004 Courses

  • 7/05: Radar Renewal
  • 7/05-09: ARPA
  • 7/05-09: Tankerman Person-In-Charge
  • 7/05-16: GMDSS
  • 7/12-16: Electronic Navigation
  • 7/12-14: Ship Security Officer
  • 7/19-23: Basic Safety Training
  • 7/19-23: Medical Care Provider
  • 7/19-30: Medical Person-In-Charge
  • 7/19-30: Celestial Navigation

August 2004 Courses

  • 8/02: Radar Renwal
  • 8/02-04: Ship Security Officer
  • 8/02-06: Basic Meteorology
  • 8/02-06: Basic and Advanced Firefighting
  • 8/02-06: ARPA
  • 8/09-13: Ship Construction and Basic Stability
  • 8/09-13: ECDIS
  • 8/09-13: Tankerman Person-In-Charge
  • 8/16-20: Basic Safety Training
  • 8/16-20: Basic Cargo Operations
  • 8/16-27: Advanced Shiphandling
  • 8/16-27: GMDSS
  • 8/23-27: Basic and Advanced Firefighting

Contact DeeDee Lazik at 206-441-2880 or 888-893-7829 (toll free) for registration or visit the PMI website at mates.org.


 

MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF JUNE 30, 2004 CLOSE

 

 D O W    N A S D A Q
 10,435.48 -44.11 for the week  2,047.79  +26.81 for the week

Fund Name & Trading Symbol

Closing
Price
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)

104.98
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)

28.05
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)

16.79
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)

15.38
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)

27.90
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)

10.24
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX)

6.20
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)

10.04
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)

16.13
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)

15.75
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)

36.23
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)

99.22
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)

40.29



~ Reminders ~




 

EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE ON MSC T-AGS SHIPS

Under a new Military Sealift Command contract, MM&P-contracted Horizon Lines will soon take over the operation and maintenance of seven oceanographic ships (T-AGS) to support the Naval Oceanography Program. MM&P will represent the deck officers.

For those members and applicants interested in employment possibilities on these vessels, contact MM&P HQ by calling 410-850-8700 x23 or by Email at: mrodriguez@bridgedeck.org.



 

MM&P FCU NEWS

Rates Drop, Limits Increase On Auto Loans

MM&P FCU vehicle loan rates have dropped across-the-board. Effective May 5, borrowers may finance up to $30,000 on vehicle loans for terms up to 72 months. This is an increase of $5,000 and 12 months over past maximum financing amounts and terms.

Rates on 6 year auto financing range between 5.50% and 6.25%. Vehicle loan rates are as low as 4.00%. Rates apply to new and used cars, and to loans refinancing higher rate vehicle loans from other institutions. Contact the Credit Union office to find out how these rates may cost less than dealers incentives and how you qualify for new, low rate vehicle financing.

 

Signature Loan Rates Dip

As an added bonus, Signature Loan rates have also been lowered. Now is the time to start thinking about those summer vacation plans or home improvement projects. Signature loan rates range from 9.00% to 9.75%. Hurry and take advantage of these new lower rates and start saving money today.

Need More Info? Contact Kathy Klisavage, MM&P FCU Manager, to learn more about loan rates and products, direct deposit, share savings accounts and certificates of deposit, benefits of membership and membership eligibility. Kathy Klisavage can be reached by email to mmpfcu@bridgedeck.org, or by calling 410-850-8700 x43 or toll-free 1-800-382-7777.

All MM&P FCU loan rate percentages are APR or Annual Percentage Rate. All MM&P FCU savings and certificate rates are APY or Annual Percentage Yield. Loan terms and conditions are subject to change. Contact the MM&P FCU for eligibility info and for full terms and conditions.

 

Protect Your Personal Information – Beware of Email Scams

“It’s the curse of technology,” was overheard recently as someone talked about Email scams. Email scams are rampant these days, just like telephone scams were not so long ago. In the most-common current scenario, an Email is received from what looks like a legitimate entity that asks you to provide sensitive, private information to “verify” your identity or account. Scam artists are now even posing as the Internal Revenue Service to try and get your info.

The IRS recently issued a warning that fraudulent emails disguised as being from them are aimed at tricking taxpayers into providing their Social Security numbers, driver’s license information and bank and credit card numbers through a web site that’s set up to look like it belongs to a federal agency. If this information is obtained it can be used by identity thieves to take over a person’s financial accounts, run up charge cards, apply for loans and file fraudulent tax returns.

Protect yourself. No financial institution, federal agency or legitimate business will initiate contact by Email or phone and ask for any such personal information. Legitimate entities with which you are already established should have that info. If you receive such a request, contact the sender to verify if it is legitimate. The MM&P Federal Credit Union has never been the target of such a scam and will never initiate an Email to you that asks for this type of private information.



 

COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE FOR FRESHMAN DEPENDENTS

Attention all Members in good standing with dependent children who will be college freshman in September: A local Baltimore law firm is awarding two $2,500 one-time only scholarships to children of Union members. Since the MM&P is headquartered in the Baltimore area, Union members’ children would be eligible to apply for these scholarships.

One scholarship is for Undergraduate and the other is for Graduate School. Students must already be accepted to a college prior to applying. The deadline for application is August 20. The scholarships will be awarded September 24.

If your son or daughter would like to make application for this scholarship, please have them contact the MM&P Plan Office at 410-850-8600 for an application. The member’s name is required so that the Union can sign the application to certify that he/she is a member in good standing prior to sending the application to your child.

Members can also Email Plans Administrator Valerie Verrecchio at mmpplansval@aol.com with the member info including address where the application can be mailed.



 

LMS OFFERS REIMBURSEMENT FOR SLIP-RESISTANT FOOTWEAR

MM&P-contracted LMS Ship Management recently reviewed the causes of injuries on board their vessels and found that accidental falls tend to be the cause of many of the crew’s injuries. In an effort to reduce the number of injuries caused by these falls, LMS is offering crewmembers that sail with them an incentive to purchase and wear proper shoe attire. The goal is for every crewmember to wear slip resistant footwear during their working hours aboard their vessels.

LMS will offer a reimbursement of up to $75 for the cost of the shoes to each crewmember who provides them 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.

LMS requests that crewmembers purchase one of the following recommended brands in order to be reimbursed:

  • 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 (with steel toe & slip resistant sole)

* Of the above, Red Wing and Caterpillar boots are produced by US union labor.

Red Wing has contracts with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) while Wolverine World Wide has contracts with UNITE!, the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees, for production of its Caterpillar brand (as well as its Hy-Test, Durashock and Bates Military labels). Some other Wolverine branded products including combat boots are manufactured under UFCW contract. 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.



 

CAREER GUIDANCE SECTION ADDED TO MITAGS WEBSITE

On the MITAGS website downloadable files are now updated on a regular basis in response to info received from the various government agencies and mariners. As always, these checklists are for guidance only. The final arbiter of training requirements is your local USCG Regional Examination Center. For more info, visit the Career Guidance section on the MITAGS website by CLICKING HERE, or go to www.mitags.org and select “Career Guidance” from the top menu.

Also, given the number of courses offered at MITAGS, the website now has new links to the various industry segment pages. These pages make it easier for mariners and companies to find the training designed specifically for them.

The links include:

  • Ship and Port Modeling Simulation Training;
  • Security Training;
  • State Pilot Training;
  • US Navy and Military Sealift Command Training;
  • High Speed Craft Training;
  • Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels (OUPV);
  • Limited Master Training; and
  • Custom Training.


 

IMPORTANT SHIPPING NOTICE ON COURSE DOCUMENTATION

All members shipping off-the-board and all company employees are reminded that they are responsible to insure that all of the company required courses they have completed are listed in the Union computer system.

In order to be dispatched/cleared, members must have certificates for any courses not listed in the computer in their possession and available for inspection by the dispatcher. Please double check that your documentation is in order prior to leaving your home to ship out of our Union halls. This can be done by checking your course history on the “Members Only” section of the MM&P website.



 

IMPORTANT REMINDER FOR ALL LDOs ON STCW-95 CERTIFICATION

All Licensed Deck Officers who possess STCW-95 certificates containing Basic Safety Training (BST) completion dates close to or more than five years old need to carry copies of their USCG discharges with them so they can prove that they have the required sea service necessary to extend their BST qualification. For questions or further info, call 410-850-8700 ext.23 or Email: mrodriguez@bridgedeck.org.



 

WWII REGISTRY SITE OPEN TO ALL WHO SERVED IN ANY CAPACITY

The National WWII Memorial has a site on its webpage for individuals who served in any capacity during WWII to register to be included in the Memorial’s Registry. The main site is www.wwiimemorial.com.

If the individual clicks on WWII Registry, he/she can find out if he/she is already included as a result of one of the WWII databases and, if not, can follow the directions to register. Any American who contributed to the war effort is eligible for the Registry.



 

TAX FILING DELAY OK FOR OIF MARINERS

The April 15 deadline for filing US federal tax returns has passed, but for merchant mariners sailing in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom “on vessels under Department of Defense operational control in direct support of the United States Armed Forces” (and for their spouses ­ even if separate returns are filed), missing the dreaded deadline may be OK.

For merchant mariners and several other groups, the Internal Revenue Service is allowing an extension of time for tax filing. The extension, authorized in section 7508(a)(1) of the Internal Revenue Service Code, 26 United States Code, gives an additional 180 days PLUS the number of days served in a combat zone between January 1, 2004 and April 15, 2004. IRS reports that merchant mariners qualified for the extension are those “serving in the combat zone as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom aboard Maritime Administration and Military Sealift Command owned or controlled vessels.”

In addition to the tax filing extension, section 7508 also allows to be postponed the “payment of income, estate, or gift taxes (except employment and withholding taxes), tax claims filings or bringing suits for credits or refunds, filing any petition with the US Tax Court, making a qualified retirement contribution to an IRA, or performing any other act listed in Revenue Procedure 2002-71.” According to the notice, “no penalties or interest will be imposed for failure to file a return or pay taxes during the extension period.”

IRS Tax Tip 2004-40 published Feb.27, 2004 says, “the various extensions granted to combat zone participants to file returns or pay taxes will also apply to those serving in Contingency Operations, as designated by the Secretary of Defense. This is effective for any acts whose deadline has not expired before November 11, 2003.”

Paper returns must be filed if claiming an extension under section 7508. When the return is sent, print the words “COMBAT ZONE” in bold red ink at the top of the return and in large red letters on the mailing envelope. For mariners, the IRS says to attach a brief statement listing the date(s) of service within the combat zone in order to provide them with the total number of days of extension to which you are entitled.

Mariners and others who qualify for combat zone tax filing relief may notify the IRS of their status in advance through a special e-mail address: combatzone@irs.gov. Include in the email the following:

  • name
  • stateside address
  • date-of-birth and
  • date of deployment to the combat zone.

Do not include any social security numbers in an email. Notification may be made by the taxpayer, or by the taxpayer’s spouse, authorized agent or representative.

At present, the combat zone for Operation Iraqi Freedom is defined as follows:

  • Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, and the Gulf of Oman;
  • That portion of the Arabian Sea that lies north of 10 degrees north latitude and west of 68 degrees east longitude; and
  • The total land area of Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

More detailed information can be found on the IRS website at www.irs.gov. From the main page, click on “The Newsroom” link and go to “Armed Forces” under the “Related Topics” headline. You’ll find useful info in the following titles:

Taxpayers in the US may seek assistance by calling the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. Taxpayers outside the US may call the IRS in Philadelphia at 215-516-2000. The information presented here is to serve as a guideline only. As always, readers are urged to seek the advice of a tax professional to discuss their own circumstances.



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.

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