News

Wheelhouse Weekly – June 07, 2010

 

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

Volume 14 . . . . . Number 23. . . .June 7, 2010

STORIES COVERED

REMINDERS

MM&P FCU News

MM&P Health & Benefit Plan News

Meet Our New Prescription Benefit Manager, PHARMACARE

Notice to MM&P Health & Benefit Plan Participants

WWII USCG Veterans Outreach

Company Gives Bucks Back for buying Safe Shoes

Website Offers Union-Made Goods and Services



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


BP SAYS NEWEST FIX COLLECTING 10,000 BARRELS OF OIL DAILY

A containment cap fitted onto the leaking Deepwater Horizon well is capturing 10,000 barrels of oil each day, BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward said Sunday. The containment cap, BP’s last ditch attempt at stopping the leak, siphons a portion of the oil to a ship for processing, but a large quantity of oil continues to run into the waters of the Gulf.

Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said Saturday that after its first full day of work, the cap had trapped about 252,000 gallons of oil, which he said was somewhere between a quarter to half the oil flowing from the well. 

BP engineers must next attempt to close vents on the cap that are now deliberately allowing streams of oil to escape the system so water cannot get inside. When water and gas combined in an earlier containment box, it formed a frozen slush that gummed up the system. BP said it plans to eventually use an additional set of hoses and pipes to increase the amount of oil being trapped, but the ultimate solution remains a relief well that will not be finished until August.

Meanwhile, a computer modeling study released Thursday suggests that some of the oil might soon extend along thousands of miles of the Atlantic coast. The National Center for Atmospheric Research, a National Science Foundation program in Colorado, has prepared computer simulations showing how, once oil gets caught in the Gulf of Mexico’s fast-moving Loop Current, it is likely to reach Florida’s Atlantic coast within weeks. It could then move north as far as Cape Hatteras, N.C., with the Gulf Stream, before turning east. On the weekend, tar balls were seen on the beach at Pensacola.

The toll on wildlife has been great. Federal authorities say that as of this weekend, 792 dead birds, sea turtles, dolphins and other wildlife have been collected from the Gulf of Mexico and its coastline. The damage could be even greater beneath the water’s surface, where oil and dispersants could devastate zooplankton and tiny invertebrates at the base of the food chain. 


ESTIMATES OF SIZE OF GULF OIL SPILL VARY WIDELY

Meanwhile experts continue to dispute BP and federal government estimates of how much oil has been spewing into the Gulf of Mexico since the April 20 explosion that killed 11 workers.

For more than a month after the well blew out, BP and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had been estimating the daily flow at 5,000 barrels, or about 210,000 gallons. NOAA based its number on the amount of oil visible on the surface of the Gulf–and stuck to that, even after marine scientists pointed out that due to the depth of the leak and the use of dispersants, a high proportion of the oil was staying beneath the surface. Many say that even the government’s most recent estimate–12,000 to 19,000 barrels a day, or two to four times as much as its original calculation–is still a “low-ball” figure.
By charting the amount of the oil visible in aerial images, an oceanographer at Florida State University, Ian R. MacDonald, calculated the daily flow rate to be at least 26,500 barrels, or 1.1 million gallons, substantially higher than the top range of the government’s most recent estimate. The Florida scientist calls his figures a “minimum estimate” since they do not take into account oil that has evaporated, sunk to the bottom or been collected by emergency response teams.
By analyzing video footage, Steve Wereley, a specialist in optical flow measurement, told Congress in May that the rate was about five times what the government is now estimating. Wereley calculated the leak at about 72,000 barrels (or 3.0 million gallons) a day from the riser pipe and another 25,000 barrels from the blow-out preventer.
Even at the government’s newest estimate of 12,000 to 19,000 barrels–or about 500,000 to 800,000 gallons–a day, the BP catastrophe long ago outpaced the 250,000-barrel EXXON VALDEZ spill.

Under current law, the base fine for a spill is $1,100 a barrel. But the amount can go as high as $4,300 a barrel if a federal court determines that the spill was the result of gross negligence. At 12,000 barrels daily for 45 days, the penalty for BP would total $594 million; at 19,000 barrels daily it would total approximately $940 million; at 50,000 barrels, it would total $2.5 billion. The numbers would all quadruple in case of gross negligence. Just before reports announcing the relative success of the containment cap strategy, the federal government sent a preliminary bill of $69.09 million to BP, requesting a payment into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.


FATIGUE MAJOR CULPRIT IN GREAT BARRIER REEF GROUNDING

The watchkeeping officer aboard the bulk carrier SHEN NENG I, which grounded in April on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, may have had as little as 2 ½; hours of sleep in the 37 hours before the accident, according to investigators. The news was reported in Nautilus, the publication of the British and Dutch maritime officers’ union.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau said the chief officer had been woken up in port, after only two hours of sleep, when a cargo surveyor came on board the ship. He took over the watch an hour before the grounding after having slept for only an additional 30 minutes. Now both the chief officer and the master are facing big fines and prison sentences.

“Once again, the people who should be in the dock are absent from the proceedings,” said Nautilus General Secretary Mark Dickinson. He said the grounding of the Chinese-flagged bulker has underlined the need for more effective controls against excessive working hours. “This calamity unfortunately shouldn’t come as a surprise,” agreed Maritime Union of Australia National Secretary Paddy Crumlin. “It’s absurd that foreign ships are dominating our coastal cargoes; many of them are dilapidated, carrying crew that are being paid a pittance to work, and are environmental disasters waiting to happen.” 


PIRATES KILL CARGO SHIP CAPTAIN

Pirates murdered the captain of a Panama-flagged general cargo ship shortly before the vessel was retaken by Somali government forces. The vessel, MV QSM DUBAI, was hijacked in the early hours of June 2 while traveling in the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor. Puntland minister Said Mohamed Raage said authorities decided to storm the vessel after the pirates refused to surrender and killed the ship’s Pakistani captain. Seven pirates were arrested.


CREW OF MERCHANT SHIP RETAKES HIJACKED VESSEL

The crew of the hijacked Libyan-owned merchant vessel RIM retook control of the ship on June 1. One of the crew members was seriously injured during the incident, which took place southeast of Garacad, off Somalia’s northern coastline. While EU forces sped to the scene to assist, pirates in the vicinity used another hijacked vessel, the MV VOC DAISY, in a last-ditch attempt to regain control of RIM. It is believed that some of the pirates were killed during the incident.


YEMENI NAVY FREES PIRATED FISHING BOAT AND CREW

The Yemeni navy rescued a fishing boat and its nine-member crew after they were hijacked Friday. The rescue operation took place off Yemen’s Al-Mahrah province, on the border of Oman. The 13 captured pirates will face trial in Yemen, where a piracy conviction is punished with death. The nine crewmembers of the fishing vessel were reported to be safe and unharmed.


CHANGES TO MATES STUDENTS TRAVEL POLICY

The MM&P MATES Trustees have made important changes to the Trust Student Travel Reimbursement Policies. The changes were made effective at the May 26 Trustee Meeting. For the latest copy, please visit the MITAGS home page, www.mitags.org, and click on MM&P Members, or send an e-mail to kballengee@mitags.org.


AMERICAN MERCHANT MARINE VETERANS WANTS YOU!

Members of the American Merchant Marine Veterans (AMMV) are reaching out to all readers of The Wheelhouse Weekly with the request that they get involved in AMMV’s efforts to inform the American public about the important role played by merchant mariners in our nation’s economy and national defense. AMMV members go to schools and libraries to talk about our work. They participate in patriotic functions where mariners and members of the armed services are honored. The ultimate goal of AMMV’s efforts is promote a better future for all mariners and for the maritime industry as a whole. For information about joining AMMV, please call Sindy Raymond at 800-545-4173 or e-mail her at saaren@frontiernet.net.


MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

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

AB – Able Bodied Seaman: 6/14

AIS – Automatic Identification Systems: 7/21

BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 7/28

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 6/21

CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 6/28

CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Operations (week 1): 7/12

CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Operations (week 2): 7/19

CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information Systems: 6/21

CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants:  6/14

CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 6/21, 7/12

CMM-SHS-ADV-I I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 6/28, 7/19

CMM-SHMGT I � Ship Management (week 1): 7/26

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning: 7/15

CSE-AAES – Confined Space Entry-Atmospheric Analysis of Enclosed Spaces: 7/21

ECDIS/ENAV for PILOTS (2-day): 7/27

FSM for Pilots � Fatigue, Sleep & Medications: 7/22, 7/29

HAZ – Hazardous Materials Course (5-day): 6/21

MEDIA RSP – Media Response Workshop: 7/16

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 6/19

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 6/14

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 6/14

SEC-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company and Facility: 7/12

SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 6/21

TC NAV – Terrestrial and Coastal Navigation: 7/12

…remember: If you can’t make the class, make the call.  Be courteous, don’t be a “no show.”


Check the MITAGS website at www.mitags.org for course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations, and schedule revisions. For class availability or info on MITAGS courses and programs, contact admissions toll-free at 866-656-5568 or e-mail: admissions@mitags.org.


PMI ACADEMIC NOTES

Schedule of Courses – Please also see our schedule online at www.mates.org

For registration, call our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen, at (206) 838-1126

June 2010

8-10    BRM & Emergency Shiphandling for Pilots
11         Radar Renewal
14-2    Terrestrial & Coastal Navigation w/ Compasses
21-25  Tankerman Person-In-Charge

July 2010

5-9      Basic Cargo Handling and Stowage
12-16   Radar Observer Unlimited
12-16   Train the Trainer
12-23  GMDSS
19-23  Electron Navigation
27-29  Security VCF

August 2010

2          Flashing Light
2-6      Medical Care Provider
2-13    Medical Person-In-Charge
3-5      ARPA
16-20  ECDIS
16-20  Tankerman Person-In-Charge
23        Radar Renewal


MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 6-4-10

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
10,255.28 2,219.17 1,064.88
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Closing
Price
 Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund (VAARX)
48.45
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
98.43
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
33.32
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
15.15
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
14.84
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
22.35
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
10.93
 Vanguard Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
26.13
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
5.39
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
15.15
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
18.99
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
13.53
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
17.52
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
11.06
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
11.18
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
11.03
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
11.16
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
11.55
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
10.62
 Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
26.58
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
14.94
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
13.65
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
15.32
 Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
10.44
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
61.08
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
56.90
 Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
15.60
 Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX)
37.06
 Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
24.20
 Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
23.01
 Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
10.78
 Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
11.38
 Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
12.25
 Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
12.16
 Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
11.87
 Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
6.80
 Fidelity Freedom 2050 (FFFHX)
7.87
 Fidelity Total Bond Fund (FTBFX)
10.76
 Spartan Extended market Index Fund (FSEMX)
30.91
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
37.81
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
25.25





~ Reminders ~



MM&P FCU NEWS

GET NEW WHEELS OR LOWER EXISTING PAYMENTS WITH MM&P FCU VEHICLE FINANCING

Is it time to replace that car you’re driving? Vehicle loan rates are looking great at MM&P FCU.

Drive away in a new or used vehicle for a standard loan rate of:

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

6.75 percent for 25-48 months;
7.50 percent for 49-60 months ($20,000 minimum); and
8.00 percent for terms extending from 61-72 months ($25,000 minimum).
You can lower your loan rate even more — by 0.75 percent — by becoming a Preferred Borrower.

Are you paying a higher rate on your current vehicle loan at another institution? Consider refinancing your outside loan at the MM&P FCU and taking advantage of our lower loan rates.

MM&P FCU will finance up to 100 percent of your new vehicle loan, and up to 90 percent of NADA Book Value on a used vehicle. Maximum vehicle loan amount is $30,000.

PREFERRED BORROWERS GET LOWER LOAN RATES
MM&P FCU members can reduce the interest rate they pay on any new loan even further by becoming a preferred borrower. What is a preferred borrower? That’s a member who deposits at least 10 percent of the original loan amount into their MM&P FCU savings account and keeps those funds on deposit until the loan is paid in full. By doing this you save twice – first, your deposit works for you by earning our regular dividend savings rate, and second, you save money by reducing the interest rate on your loan by 0.75 percent.

Contact the MM&P FCU for full details on all loan programs by email to mmpfcu@bridgedeck.org or call 1-800-382-7777 toll-free.



 

MM&P HEALTH & BENEFIT PLAN NEWS

MEET OUR NEW PRESCRIPTION BENEFIT MANAGER, PHARMACARE

As you know, effective July 1, 2007, MM&P will have a new Prescription Benefit Manager, PharmaCare. If you use the mail service and have not sent your Confidential Mail Service Enrollment Form to the MM&P Plan Office, you have until June 30 to do so. Otherwise, you can call PharmaCare’s customer service line and give them the information over the telephone or send the form with your first new mail prescription directly to PharmaCare. In the next couple of days, you will be receiving a letter with your new MM&P identification cards and a prescription booklet with information on how to obtain your prescriptions. PharmaCare’s customer service number is listed in the booklet. If you have any questions, please contact the MM&P Health & Benefit Plan Advisors.



NOTICE TO MM&P HEALTH & BENEFIT PLAN PARTICIPANTS

As you know, MM&P Health & Benefit Plan members have a new prescription benefit manager, PharmaCare. When you first obtain a prescription at your retail drug store, please show your new Health & Benefit Identification Card with PharmaCare’s information. If you do not show your card, please inform your pharmacist of the following information so you can receive your prescriptions through the Plan. Your identification number HAS NOT CHANGED. Please provide the pharmacist with your full member identification number. You will have to also provide the following numbers. RxGrp#- Z50136968, RxBin: 610468 and RxPCN: PC2 

If your pharmacist has any questions, he or she should call PharmaCare directly at (800) 503-3241.  If you have any questions, PharmaCare members can call the company directly at (888) 364-6815.


WWII USCG VETERANS OUTREACH

The U.S. Coast Guard has announced an initiative to identify and collect the oral histories of its World War II veterans. Coast Guard WWII veterans, including SPARS and merchant mariners, are encouraged to record their histories online with the Library of Congress Veterans History Project at www.loc.gov/folklife/vets.

Those veterans needing assistance in recording their stories can receive help from their local Coast Guard Auxiliary public affairs contact by leaving a message at 1-877-875-6296, a toll-free call.



 

COMPANY GIVES BUCKS BACK FOR BUYING SAFE SHOES

LMS Ship Management, the company that manages vessels for Central Gulf, Sulphur Carriers and Waterman Steamship, wants to remind MM&P members that they offer their crewmembers a $75 reimbursement on the cost of purchasing certain slip-resistant shoes and boots for use aboard ship.

This offer has been in place for some time and LMS reports that “we have been pleased with the participation to date, but feel a reminder may be in order.” Their goal is for every crewmember to wear slip resistant footwear during working hours aboard their vessels.

The $75 reimbursement is available to each crewmember who provides LMS with an original receipt for the purchase of slip resistant footwear. In order for the crewmember to obtain the reimbursement, they must wear the shoes while on duty. Upon presentation of the receipt, the crewmember will be reimbursed on their pay voucher. The receipt will be retained by the Master and will remain aboard the vessel.
 

Vessels in the LMS footwear reimbursement program are:

  • Green Cove
  • Green Dale
  • Green Lake
  • Green Point
  • Atlantic Forest
  • Sulphur Enterprise
  • Energy Enterprise
  • SGT Matej C. Kocak
  • MAJ Stephen W. Pless, and
  • PFC Eugene A. Obregon

LMS notes that in order to receive reimbursement, crewmembers must purchase one of the following recommended brands:

  • WORX by Red Wing Slip Resistant Footwear
  • Caterpillar (must have steel toe & slip resistant sole)
  • Wolverine (must have steel toe and slip resistant sole)
  • Dunham Sierra Work Boot EH
  • Steel Toe Voyager
  • Georgia Boot 6- or 8-inch Safety Toe Boot
  • Dr. Marten’s (must have steel toe & slip resistant sole)

LOOK FOR THE UNION LABEL:

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

Redwing’s Union-made products are: Red Wing shoes and boots, Red Wing motorcycle boots and Craftsman (Sears).

Wolverine World Wide manufactures boots under the Caterpillar brand using US union labor. (Other union made safety-shoe brands by Wolverine are the company’s Hy-Test, Durashock and Bates Military labels. The company’s Wolverine brand combat boots are also produced using US union labor.)

Most Dr. Marten’s shoes and boots are produced in the UK.

To find US, union-made products, visit the AFL-CIO Union Label Service and Trades website at www.unionlabel.org and click on “Union Made Product Search”. To shop for union-made products online, go to www.ShopUnionMade.org.


 

WEBSITE OFFERS UNION-MADE GOODS AND SERVICES

The Union Label recently went digital with a new website offering shoppers an array of union-made gifts, from clothing and chocolates to computers, games and greeting cards.

The website, www.shopunionmade.org, launches on the eve of the fall and winter holidays, when shoppers will spend an estimated $1 trillion on gifts, food, drinks and other seasonal items, explained Matt Bates, Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO Union Label & Service Trades Department. The all-union shopping site, however, will be a year-round operation because that is what consumers demand, he added.

“Shoppers spent $56 billion in Internet sales last year, and on-line spending is doubling every two to three years. Everyday we receive Email and calls from people who want to support good jobs by buying union-made goods and services. The website will reach millions of people, 24 hours a day, with a quick convenient way to shop union,” Bates said.

“The public is ready for this. People have seen millions of good jobs disappear and they are looking for ways to take a stand and make a difference,” he added.

The AFL-CIO will target the peak of the holiday shopping season by promoting “Buy Union Week” Nov. 26 through Dec. 5. The newly-launched, all-union shopping site will be a cornerstone of that campaign. MM&P has a link to the Shop Union Site on this website under “Links and Other Sources”.



The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates, and Pilots, ILA, AFL-CIO, 700 Maritime Blvd. Suite B, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1953. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973; Email: iommp@bridgedeck.org. For further info or to subscribe contact Lisa Rosenthal at lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org. The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea and is posted on our web page.

© 2010, International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots. All the material contained in this publication is protected by copyright. For permission to reprint text from the Weekly, contact the MM&P Communications Department: lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org. For changes of address, contact Lisa Rosenthal at lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org.