News

Wheelhouse Weekly – July 09, 2007

 

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

Volume 11 . . . . . Number 27. . . .July 9, 2007

STORIES COVERED

Also

REMINDERS

T-AGS Oceanographic Survey Ships Info

Required Coursework

Security Clearances

MSC Physicals

MM&P Health & Benefit Plan News

Notice to Members who are taking Vioxx

NMHC Mail-Order Prescriptions Website Updated & Improved

WWII USCG Veterans Outreach

Company Gives Bucks Back for buying Safe Shoes

Website Offers Union-Made Goods and Services




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


MM&P-CONTRACTED AHL TO BUILD THREE NEW JONES ACT TANKERS

AHL Shipping Company (AHL) has announced plans to build three, shallow-draft, 49,000-DWT Jones Act and OPA90-compliant tankers in connection with a charter agreement with Shell Trading Company. All AHL ships are crewed top-to-bottom by MM&P members. “I am delighted at this turn of events,” said MM&P International President Tim Brown. “This is great news for our union and proves that the domestic maritime industry is alive and well, with great prospects for the future.” The vessels will go on long-term time charter to Shell Trading in 2009-10.

Hull construction and final assembly will be carried out at Mobile-based Atlantic Marine Alabama. Several other shipyards and specialty companies under contract with AHL will also participate. Vessel attributes include state-of-the-art twin-screw, diesel electric propulsion engine systems that improve efficiency and reduce emissions. The ships, which are based on a proprietary AHL design, will be double-hull, International Maritime Organization Type II and III vessels. 

“AHL has an excellent track report for safety and performance. This marriage will be in the best interest of both Shell and AHL,” said Brown.

“AHL’s reputation as an experienced marine petroleum transportation specialist complements Shell’s high standards for safety and integrity,” said Bob Salmon, general manager of Shell Shipping. Shell will use the vessels, which will have a cargo capacity of 330,000 barrels, to transport crude oil, chemicals and other products within its domestic U.S. trade lanes, he said.

AHL currently operates a fleet of four U.S.-built Jones Act OPA90-compliant tankers serving crude and chemical customers throughout the coastal United States. All shipboard employees of AHL are MM&P members.  


MM&P, OTHER UNIONS, SAY USCG PROPOSED MEDICAL NVIC WILL GENERATE UNNECESSARY COSTS FOR MARINERS AND HEALTH PLANS

MM&P and two other maritime labor unions reiterated their concerns about the U.S. Coast Guard’s proposed medical evaluation guidelines at a June 27-28 meeting of a Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee (MERPAC) working group. The USCG has issued its proposal in the form of a Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular, or NVIC, entitled “Medical and Physical Evaluation Guidelines for Merchant Mariner Credentials.”

Maritime labor has been voicing serious concerns about the NVIC since its inception. At the working group meeting, MM&P and two other unions submitted a statement underlining the risk that the NVIC as currently written will lead to: unnecessary medical consultations, evaluations and interventions; increased cost to mariners, employers, and health care plans for unnecessary consultations and evaluations; and insufficient discretion of medical examiners in the management of individual cases. The unions that joined MM&P in objecting to the proposed rules are the American Maritime Officers and the Seafarers’ International Union.

The statement will be submitted along with the working group’s report for consideration at the full MERPAC meetings in September.


 

MM&P-CREWED USNS KANAWHA IN DRAMATIC RESCUE

Military Sealift Command (MSC) fleet replenishment oiler USNS KANAWHA, with MM&P licensed deck officers on board, participated in the rescue of 16 crewmembers from a disabled North Korean-flagged merchant ship in the Arabian Sea June 25.

KANAWHA and the French warship DUPLEIX responded to a distress call from the MV JAI LAXMAI at 6:26 p.m. local time. MSC reports that the ship had a disabled diesel engine and was anchored by a weak mooring line in unstable sea conditions, with 10-foot waves and 27-knot winds. JAI LAXMAI also reported that there was no food or water aboard and that the ship was unable to deploy its lifeboats.

 “We were steaming toward the Suez Canal when the rescue tasking was received,” said David Gommo, master of the KANAWHA. “We steamed 35 miles at top speed to reach the scene.” The KANAWHA and the DUPLEIX launched their rigid-hull, inflatable boats, or RHIBs, at approximately 9:35 p.m., three quarters of a mile from where the disabled vessel was floating.

“This was extreme boating in heavy seas,” said KANAWHA Chief Mate Will McDermott, who with others manned the RHIB. The group made two trips to JAI LAXMAI, evacuating six mariners at a time to DUPLEIX. DUPLEIX’S RHIB retrieved the other four members of the disabled vessel’s crew.

“Once on board DUPLEIX, all 16 rescued crew members were found to be in good health and were subsequently transferred ashore in Salalah, Oman,” said Gommo.

“The quick and brave actions of KANAWHA’s crew represent the finest traditions of mariners helping other mariners in need,” said U.S. Navy Captain Glen Sears, commander of Sealift Logistics Command Central and CTF 53.

Kanawha has been supporting U.S. Navy and coalition ships operating in the Middle East since March 20. The ship, with 90 civil service mariners, deployed from the United States in February.


ABOUT YOUR NEW MM&P HEALTH & BENEFIT PLAN IDENTIFICATION CARD

Please show your new MM&P Plans Health & Benefit Identification Card the first time you obtain prescription drugs at your retail drug store. To show that you are covered, your pharmacist will have to add the information on PharmaCare, our new prescription benefit manager, to his or her system. Along with your identification number, your new card has PharmaCare’s RxGrp, RxBin and RxPcn numbers. The pharmacist needs these numbers to access your information at PharmaCare.

Also, if you have not submitted your Confidential Mail Service Enrollment Form, at this point you should send it DIRECTLY to PharmaCare along with any new mail order prescriptions. Please see your Prescription Benefit Booklet, which was sent with your identification cards, for more information. Don’t forget to use your $25.00 coupon, included on page 16 of your booklet, when you submit the FIRST PRESCRIPTION to the mail order service.


SS JOHN BROWN SETS A COURSE FOR NEW ENGLAND

Notice to all hands! The Liberty ship John W. Brown, a fleet member of the Historic Naval Ships Association, will visit New England in August on a three-week Yankee Adventure. A cargo/troop ship that participated in the fight against Nazi Germany in World War II, the John W. Brown is an ambassador from the past, crewed by volunteers, including World War II veterans and MM&P members. 

On Aug. 11, the John W. Brown will leave her home port of Baltimore to navigate the Chesapeake Bay, Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, Atlantic Ocean and Block Island Sound, on the way to Buzzards Bay, Portland, Maine, and Boston. There will be a living history cruise down the Fore River in Portland.

The Brown repeats the cruise in Boston Harbor on Aug. 24, starting at 9:00 a.m. Passengers will be able to watch as the USS Constitution, the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat,turns around in the harbor. The Brown will be berthed during her Aug. 23-28 visit at Pier 4, Charlestown.

MM&P members are among the sponsors of the John W. Brown. Music for the Boston Harbor cruise will be provided by the Boston Pops All Stars and soloists, who will perform five songs written by MM&P member John Nicoll.

For more information about the John W. Brown, contact Ernest F. Imhoff, 410-669-5989 or ernimhoff@aol.com.


COAST GUARD CONSIDERS DRONES TO MONITOR SMALL VESSELS

The Coast Guard may deploy unmanned “drone” aircraft to monitor nearly 95,000 miles of largely unwatched U.S. coastline, tracking the location of vessels under 300 gross tons and recreational boats, according to USCG Rear Adm. Brian Salerno. Larger vessels are already covered by an electronic tracking system.
           
Security is strong at the nation’s larger ports, but remains “spotty” along other coastal areas, Salerno said in a recent speech. Nearly 8,000 smaller foreign vessels and 17 million recreational boats come and go near U.S. shores virtually unseen, according to USCG statistics.

The Coast Guard is also working with the International Maritime Organization and small commercial vessel operators to enhance maritime security, through long-range tracking of more than 40,000 vessels navigating within 1,000 nautical miles of the United States.



AUSTRALIA TO REQUIRE VISA FOR SEAFARERS

The Australian government has announced plans to require foreign seafarers to obtain individual visas before being allowed to come ashore. The good news is that the visas will be issued free of charge, and that mariners or third parties in their stead will be able to apply for them over the Internet. The government has not yet launched the website for the program. The new visa will become mandatory in January 2008.  A spokesman for the Australian government said the goal is to increase border security without interfering with mariners’ right to shore leave.

A six-month transitional period, which begins July 1 of this year, is intended to allow the maritime industry time to adapt to the new requirement. The website is to be made available starting June 30, at which point mariners, or their representatives, can apply.

From Jan. 1 2008, the document will be mandatory and crewmembers not holding a visa are likely to be restricted on board and fines imposed, a spokesman for the Australian government says. The key features of the new visa are: required by all non-Australian crew except New Zealanders; requires a formal visa application to be made outside Australia; needs to be granted before arrival; is free of charge; is valid for three years; allows multiple entries into Australia; is valid for travel to Australia by sea (not by air).

Individual seafarers, along with authorized third parties such as shipping agents or crew manning agents, may apply for the visa. Applications for the new visa will not be accepted by Australian embassies, consulates or high commissions but must be applied for over the Internet or by mailing an application to Brisbane.



FUNDING INCREASE FOR PANAMA CANAL

Panamanian legislators have voted to boost the Panama Canal Authority’s 2008 budget by almost 30 percent, to $2.02 billion, to fund the planned expansion. More than 70 percent of the money will come from increased transit tolls.

Panama plans to build a third lane of locks to increase the canal’s capacity and allow larger ships to travel between the Pacific and Caribbean. It wants to have the third lane operational in time for the canal’s centennial in 2014.

Expansion of the canal, which carries about 4 percent of world trade, is scheduled to begin in August. Panama hopes the expansion will double the 80 km waterway’s capacity. Toll revenue for 2008 is expected to be approximately $340 million higher than this year.


JOBS AVAILABLE ON THE GREAT LAKES

MM&P Great Lakes and Rivers Representative Charlie Malue reports that numerous jobs are available on the Great Lakes for licensed mates with pilotage, engineers, QMEDS and able-bodied seamen. Retirees are also encouraged to apply for these jobs. The rules of the MM&P Pension Plan allow pensioners to accept without penalty employment–other than Covered Employment–aboard vessels covered by collective bargaining agreements with MM&P membership groups, on condition that the employment is first approved by the Organization. Interested parties should call Charlie Malue at 216-776-1667 or e-mail him at cmalue@bridgedeck.org.


MITAGS OPENINGS FOR SHIP SIMULATOR OPERATORS

The Maritime Institute of Technology & Graduate Studies (MITAGS) is seeking two part-time operators for its full-mission ship simulator. This is an ideal opportunity for computer-savvy MM&P members who know how to maneuver ships in a variety of situations and environments. Applicants should enjoy computer gaming, be creative and have demonstrated the ability to master computer programs. These are ideal positions for MM&P members who want to alternate between shipboard deployments and teaching. Excellent communications and computer skills are a must. E-mail resume to hr@mitags.org or fax to HR Manager at (443) 989-3341. 


UNIONS SEEK FULL COURT REVIEW OF DEFENSE PERSONNEL RULING

A coalition of labor unions has filed a petition for a full appeals court review of a ruling that upheld the Defense Department’s controversial new personnel and labor relations rules, which go under the name of the National Security Personnel System, or NSPS.

The unions are seeking a rehearing of a decision issued in May by a panel of judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. In that ruling, the appeals judges found that the law creating the system grants DOD temporary authority to curtail the collective bargaining rights of employees. That ruling reversed a decision made by a lower court.

The petition asks the full appeals court to review discrepancies between the May NSPS decision and an earlier decision involving similar personnel rules at the Homeland Security Department. In that case,  a separate three-judge appeals panel upheld a lower court ruling that struck down large parts of the DHS system.

Civil service mariners (CIVMARS) are excluded from all human resource and appeals provisions of NSPS but included in the labor relations provisions. MM&P and the other seafaring unions that represent CIVMARS have argued that the measure will diminish the scope of the collective bargaining rights enjoyed by CIVMARS relative to the rights of those serving in the commercial maritime industry, which in turn would impair MSC’s ability to recruit and retain qualified seafarers.


MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

If you are unable to attend your scheduled class, you can contact MITAGS 24 hours a day using voice mail, e-mail or the manned switchboard. Most CMM courses run full with a standby list. A “no show” denies members on standby the opportunity to take the course. It also deprives MITAGS of revenue.  Take a minute of your time to cancel your course and support MITAGS continuing commitment to providing you with world-class training and comfortable accommodations.   

CLASS OPENINGS: Between now and the end of August 2007, seats are available in the following courses:

AIS – Automatic Identification System: 7/13, 8/3
ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 7/24, 8/28

BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 7/17, 8/1

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
CMM-ADVWX � Advanced Meteorology: 8/27
CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 7/9
CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 7/30
CMM-SHMGT-I – Ship Management(week 1): 7/16
CMM-SHMGT-II – Ship Management (week 2): 7/23
CMM-SHS-ADV-I-Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 8/6, 8/20
CMM-SHS-ADV-II-Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 7/16, 8/13, 8/27
CMM-WKP � Advanced Watchkeeping: 8/6

FF-BADV � Combined Basic & Advanced Fire Fighting: 8/13

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5-day): 7/23

LAP – License Advancement Program: 7/23
LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage(Evening): 7/17, 8/1

MEDIA-RSP – Media Response Workshop: 7/12
MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 7/28
MED-PIC – Medical Person-In-Charge:  7/23
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 7/23

[MSC – Military Sealift Command]
MSC-CBRD-1 – Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Orientation: 7/21
MSC-DC – Damage Control: 7/19
MSC-SMA – Small Arms Training: 8/13
MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 8/17 (must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years)

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 7/23, 7/30, 8/27
ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original or Renewal (5 days): 7/9, 7/16, 8/6

SEC-OFF-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility:  7/9
SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling:  7/23

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 Email: admissions@mitags.org.


PMI ACADEMIC NOTES

Summer – Fall 2007

Due to the high demand for this program, PMI has now scheduled another that is already close to full enrollment for its 2007-start date. See the PMI Web site at www.mates.org for more info on this new development.

FOR REGISTRATION CALL JENNIFER FOWLER: 206 838-1126

SCHEDULE OF COURSES – (Course schedule also posted online at www.mates.org)

July 2007
9th      FL
9-13    ARPA
9-13    BST
10th     RADAR RENEWAL
10-11  SIM ASSESS
10-13  LFBT
16-20 AB
16-20 MED PRO
16-20 ENAV
23rd     RADAR RENEWAL
23-27  SHS BAS
23-3    CNAV
30-3   ARPA
30-3   MED PRO
30-10 MED PIC      

August 2007
6-7      SAR
6-10    BST
7-10    LFBT
8-10    EP
14-17  LFBT
13-17  AB
13-17  CONSTB
13-17  SHS EM5
13-17  ECDIS
13-17  TPIC
20-24 AB
20-31 SHS ADV
20-24 CHS BAS
27-31  BAFF
27-31  ENAV
27-31  MED PRO
27-8    GMDSS
27-29  CSO/SSO

September 2007
4-7      LFBT
4-8      WX BAS
4-8      TCNAV
10th    RADAR RENEWAL
10-14  BST
10-14  AB
10-14  MED PRO
10-14  TCNAV
10-14  SHS BAS
17-21  MED PRO
17-21  ARPA
17-21  SHS BAS
17-21  TCNAV
17-28  GMDSS
19-21  AFF
24-5    WKP
24-28 ROP
26-28 AFF

October 2007

1-3      BRM
1-5      ARPA
2-5      LFBT
2-5      AFF
8-19    GMDSS
8-12    SHS EM5
8-12    BST
8-12    AB
15-19  ECDIS           
15-19  MED PRO
15-26  MED PIC
17-19  SEC VCF
15-19  BAFF
22        FL
23-24 SHS ASSESS
25-26 SHS ASSESS
29-2    TPIC
29-9    SHS ADV

November 2007
5-16    SHS ADV
6-9      LFBT
13        ROR
12-16  BST
12-16  AB
13-15  SEC VCF
26-7    GMDSS
26-30 ROP
26-30 MED PRO
26-30 SHS BAS

December 2007
3-7      ARPA
3-7      SHS EM5
3-7      BAFF
3-14    CNAV
4-7      LFBT
11        ROR   
10-14  BST
10-14  AB
17-21  ENAV
17-19  SEC VCF
17-21  ARPA
17-21  TPIC
17-21  SHS BAS

For registration call Jennifer Fowler 888-893-7829

PMI MERCHANDISE FOR SALE!!!

High-quality clothing embroidered with the NEW PMI logo! We can ship these items also! Acceptable forms of payment are check, credit card, money order and exact cash. Call Laura Bendixen at 888-893-7829 for prices and to order. If we don’t have your size, we’ll be glad to special order for you at no extra cost.


MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 7-6-2007

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
13,611.68 2,666.51 1,530.44
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Closing
Price
 Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund(VAARX)
69.15
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
140.99
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
43.40
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
27.40
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
21.17
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
38.26
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
9.94
 Vanguard Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
32.73
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
6.09
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
17.18
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
25.80
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
14.07
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
21.51
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
12.04
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
13.31
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
14.14
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
15.19
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
15.69
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
9.75
 Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
37.08
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
20.67
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
16.90
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
33.75
 Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
10.08
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
96.12
 Fidelity Small Company Instl (FMACX)
23.08
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
91.64
 Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
25.31
 Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX)
48.36
 Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
41.88
 Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
34.31
 Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
11.66
 Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
12.77
 Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
15.24
 Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
16.40
 Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
17.14
 Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
10.17
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
54.17
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
36.31

 

.






~ 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 and MUST NOT expire during your tour of duty.

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 commenced Oct.17, 2004. 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.



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.


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 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.

C 2006, 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.

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