News

Wheelhouse Weekly – July 23, 2007

July 23rd 2007

 

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

Volume 11 . . . . . Number 29. . . .July 23, 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.


HORIZON FALCON RESCUES SURVIVORS OF SUNKEN SHIP NEAR GUAM

With 70 mph winds kicking up 30-foot swells, the MM&P-crewed HORIZON FALCON rescued two Chinese seafarers who had been stranded in the ocean for two days after their 42-foot Panamanian-flagged ship sunk 375 miles northwest of Guam.

HAI TONG No. 7 had left New Guinea en route to China when it was overcome by the storm surge of Typhoon Man-Yi, which caused the cargo of the bulk log-carrier to shift. The Coast Guard received a distress alert from the vessel at about 11 a.m. on July 10. Other efforts to contact the ship failed. 

The newbuild HORIZON FALCON was the first to arrive on the scene. It had just left Guam on the way to Yantian, China, when it received a call to change course and join the search. To bring the containership into safe recovery distance, Captain Tom McDorr navigated rough seas filled with logs and other debris from the sunken ship. A lifeboat with three seamen, under the command of Chief Mate Kevin McCarthy, was dispatched to the scene.

After one survivor was rescued, a large swell knocked the lifeboat over to a 45-degree angle, damaging the motor. The crew was ordered to abandon the lifeboat and climbed to safety up the ladder, bringing the survivor with them. A second man was rescued by crewmember J. Dacaug, an able-bodied seaman. Dacaug harnessed himself to the pilot’s ladder, attached a grappling hook to the second man and lifted him to safety.

With flares from an Okinawa-based Navy PE Orion 225 airplane providing some light from above, the FALCON continued searching for survivors. The MV  CORAL EMERALD eventually joined it in the search. Later, a U.S. Coast Guard Buoy Tender from Guam arrived to relieve the FALCON, which was running low on fuel. The Coast Guard suspended the search operation on July 15, after 13 members of the 22-man crew had been rescued. 

Besides McDorr and McCarthy, MM&P members on board the FALCON at the time of the rescue include Second Mate Harvey Bert Smith and Third Mate Nicholas C. Moore.


THREE MAERSK VESSELS OPERATED BY E-SHIPS TO BE FLAGGED IN, THREE TO BE FLAGGED OUT

Three Maersk vessels operated by MM&P-contracted E-Ships Inc. will be flagged out this month and replaced with new tonnage flagged in under the Maritime Security Program (MSP). The first vessel to be flagged in will be MAERSK GUERNSEY, which is due to arrive in Port Elizabeth on July 24. Its name will be changed to MAERSK MONTANA.

The new names under the American flag of the other two vessels will be MAERSK OHIO and MAERSK IOWA. It is expected that they will be flagged in when they arrive in Port Elizabeth on or about Aug. 6 and Aug. 20.

It is expected that MAERSK MARYLAND will be flagged out on or about Aug. 1 in Tuzla-Istanbul, Turkey. MAERSK VERMONT and MAERSK MAINE departed Port Elizabeth on July 7 and July 15, respectively, for their last voyage under the American flag. MAERSK VERMONT and MAERSK MAINE will be flagged out in Izmir, Turkey on or about Aug. 9 and Aug. 20, respectively.

The replacement vessels will operate on a 49-day voyage, calling at the ports of: New Jersey, Norfolk, Charleston, Cagliari, Suez Canal, Salalah (Oman), Jebel Ali (UAE), Port Qasim (Pakistan), Gateway Terminal (India), Salalah, Suez Canal, and New Jersey.


 

COAST GUARD DEFENDS ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE PROGRAM

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) has filed a lengthy document in federal court in which it denies that USCG administrative law judges (ALJs) routinely come under pressure to rule against mariners. In the court document, the USCG called recent allegations against the ALJ program “wholly without merit” and said that in any case, judicial immunity applies.

The controversy arose following publication in The Baltimore Sun of details of a sworn statement by retired ALJ Jeffie J. Massey, who testified she was instructed to always rule in favor of the Coast Guard. Three mariners have brought suit on the basis of Massey’s statement. The article in The Sun, which was written by investigative journalist Robert Little, was based on evidence in federal court records, computer files and internal memos, as well as Massey’s sworn statement.

Congressman Elijah Cummings, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, has scheduled a hearing on the Coast Guard’s ALJ program for July 31. Massey said she will testify, and at least one other former ALJ has been asked to be a witness.

MM&P International President Tim Brown welcomed news of the hearing. “Our nation’s merchant mariners, like all other Americans, expect that public officials will respect their rights,” he said.


TWIC PROGRAM WOULD CREATE ADMINISTRATIVE BURDEN, THREATEN MARITIME WORKERS’ LIVELIHOODS, MM&P SAYS

Implementation of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program as it is now configured would disrupt the flow of business and could prevent merchant mariners from practicing their profession, MM&P said in a July 16 letter to the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation. The union has stated its position in numerous forums, most recently in testimony before the subcommittee at a July 12 hearing. The letter was sent in response to the subcommittee’s request for additional information to strengthen the program and enhance the nation’s security.

In the follow-up letter, MM&P advocates: consolidation of TWIC and the Merchant Mariner Document (MMD) into a single card; use of internationally accepted biometric identifier standards for TWIC; legislation that will ensure TWIC preempts local and state access control programs.


MM&P MAGAZINE NOW ONLINE

The July-August issue of The Master, Mate & Pilot will arrive in your mailbox soon. In the meantime, look for it online on www.bridgedeck.org.  In this issue of The Master, Mate & Pilot:

— AHL to build three new Jones Act tankers, which will be crewed top-to-bottom by MM&P;
— MM&P enters the LNG business as part of a three-way pact with Suez LNG and Mass Maritime Academy;
— MM&P members approve Merchant Officers’ Labor Alliance with the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association by an overwhelming margin;
— MM&P urges Congress to make changes to the Transportation Workers Identification Card (TWIC) program.

To download the magazine, go to , click on “MM&P Magazine” and then on “Download Current Issue.”


MM&P TESTIMONY, OFFICIAL STATEMENTS POSTED ON WWW.BRIDGEDECK.ORG

A new section of www.bridgedeck.org contains an archive of documents detailing the advocacy activities undertaken by MM&P and MIRAID on members’ behalf in Washington, D.C. Click on “What’s New,” then on “Archives,” to read: MM&P’s July 12 testimony to Congress on the TWIC card; the union’s follow-up statement detailing the actions Congress should take to get the TWIC program back on track; the Merchant Officers’ Labor Alliance, which was recently approved by members of MM&P and the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association; details of the agreement between MM&P, Suez LNG and Mass Maritime. Visit www.bridgedeck.org today and check out “What’s New”!



WIRE FAILURE THE CAUSE OF MANY MOORING ACCIDENTS

A high percentage of shipboard accidents take place while crews are mooring and unmooring vessels. A recent study conducted by the Danish Maritime Authority found that between 1997 and 2005, mooring and unmooring led to 80 serious accidents on passenger ships and 193 on cargo ships. Wire failure, usually caused at least in part by corrosion and abrasion, is the cause of many mooring accidents, according to a pamphlet on wire fatigue published by the North of England P&I Club. Mooring wires are particularly vulnerable because of their exposed location. The booklet advises ship operators to establish schedules for maintenance and lubrication of wires, and to ensure that wires are always cleaned and lubricated with products recommended by the manufacturers. As a matter of routine, external examination of wires should be incorporated into pre-arrival and departure checks. Ship personnel should be trained to avoid sharp angles in mooring arrangements, to use leads and pedestal rollers correctly and to take extra precautions when working with single drum, split drum and drum ends, the pamphlet says.


REPORTS OF PIRACY INCREASE

Acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships in the second quarter of 2007 jumped 37 percent when compared to the second quarter of 2006, according to a report released by the ICC International Maritime Bureau. So far this year, off the coast of Somalia, 13 vessels have been hijacked and 152 crewmembers taken hostage; 41 of the crewmembers taken hostage were held for ransom and three were killed. According to the IMB, “Somalia and Nigeria remain very dangerous, high risk areas with large numbers of violent kidnappings and hostage takings.”
IMB now advises vessels not calling at Somalia to remain at least 200 NM clear of Somali waters at all times. In June, there was an attempted attack 315 NM off the Somali coastline.

In the waters off Nigeria in the first part of the year, 19 incidents have been reported, including the boarding of 15 vessels and one hijacking. Forty crewmembers have been kidnapped and 24 taken hostage. The report says offshore supply vessels and their crew are frequently targets for kidnap and ransom, although cargo ships have also been attacked.

The total number of piracy incidents recorded during the first six months of this year (126) is comparable to the number reported during the first half of 2006 (127). But IMB says the 37 percent spike seen during the second quarter of 2007 is indicative of a rapid upswing in violence.


CD HELPS SHIPS STEER CLEAR OF RIGHT WHALES

Mariners operating in right whale habitats along the Atlantic Coast of the United States can pop a CD program into their computers to learn how to protect the endangered marine mammals. “A Prudent Mariner’s Guide to Right Whale Protection,” released by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Service and the U.S. Coast Guard, is an interactive, multimedia CD program that can be used as a guide or training resource for crew.

The CD includes information about right whales, recommended navigational action when operating in right whale habitat, and a guide to reporting sightings of dead or injured whales. The CD also provides guidelines for compliance with the Mandatory Ship Reporting System, including an interactive report generation program. A separate “media” folder holds information about the current Mandatory Ship Reporting areas and diagrams of recommended traffic lanes in right whale high-use areas.

The CD is distributed free-of-charge upon request. NOAA and the Coast Guard are targeting shipping companies and vessel operators who will ensure CDs are delivered directly to vessels. The training program is designed to be included in bridge management training. The CD is already in demand. Within the first 24 hours of its release, mariners in the Northeast and Southeast requested over 380 copies. 

Ship strikes account for more right whale deaths and serious injuries than any other single human impact, and are considered the most significant threat to the recovery of the population. With as few as 300 remaining, North Atlantic right whales are the most endangered mammals in the world.


MSC NAPOLI GROUNDED AGAIN

Almost six months after the MSC NAPOLI was grounded off the east Devon coast, the container ship was refloated on July 9. But after a dive survey revealed that the damage to the ship was too severe to allow it to be towed, the decision was made to ground it again. Officials are now deciding what to do next. 

On Jan. 18, while en route to Portugal from Belgium, the U.K.-flagged NAPOLI was damaged by a windstorm. The high waves and gale-force winds cracked the vessel’s side and flooded its engine room. Royal Navy helicopters rescued the crew. The ship was to be towed about 140 miles to Portland Harbor, Dorset, but as the list increased, it was determined that it would be best to beach it in Lime Bay, at Branscombe. 

In the most recent twist to the story, the ship was rebeached at high tide on July 12. At that point, the authorities used cutting charges to break it in two to weaken the deck above the hull’s crack so that tugs could pull it apart. Authorities plan to have the bow of the ship floated and towed for salvage, while the stern will be left grounded on the seabed to be towed at a later time.


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 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: 8/3
ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 8/28

BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 8/1
BST � Basic Safety Training: 8/13

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

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

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage(Evening): 8/1

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 7/28

[MSC – Military Sealift Command]
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: 7/30, 8/27
ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original or Renewal (5 days): 8/6

SHS-EMR5 � Emergency Shiphandling: 7/30

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
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 7-20-2007

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
13,952.77 2,699.79 1,543.85
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Closing
Price
 Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund(VAARX)
69.32
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
141.40
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
43.08
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
27.49
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
21.46
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
38.15
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
10.02
 Vanguard Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
33.03
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
6.02
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
17.27
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
25.88
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
14.16
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
21.61
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
12.12
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
13.38
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
14.19
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
15.24
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
15.74
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
9.83
 Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
37.10
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
21.06
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
16.99
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
33.69
 Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
10.13
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
97.07
 Fidelity Small Company Instl (FMACX)
22.72
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
91.39
 Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
25.29
 Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX)
48.75
 Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
42.35
 Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
34.15
 Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
11.70
 Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
12.80
 Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
16.30
 Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
16.46
 Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
17.19
 Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
10.20
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
54.32
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
36.09

 

.






~ 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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