News

Wheelhouse Weekly – June 2, 2015

Volume 20 . . . Number 22. . . June 2, 2015

STORIES COVERED

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MM&P HOLIDAY CLOSING SCHEDULE

MM&P Pacific Ports union halls will be closed on June 11 for King Kamehameha Day. The MM&P Houston Hall will be closed on June 19 for Texas Emancipation Day.

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MATSON COMPLETES ACQUISITION OF HORIZON LINES’ ALASKA OPERATIONS

Matson Inc. has completed its acquisition of Horizon Lines’ Alaska operations and assumed all the company’s non-Hawaii business liabilities. In a separate transaction which immediately preceded this one, Horizon sold its Hawaii trade lane assets and liabilities to The Pasha Group for $141.5 million. Matson announced in an official statement that it had acquired Horizon Lines’ stock for $0.72 per fully diluted common share, or $69 million, and repaid Horizon’s outstanding debt, for a total value, before transaction costs, of $469 million. Matson said it financed the transaction with cash on hand and its revolving credit facility.

The company says it will continue Horizon’s long operating history in Alaska with a three-vessel deployment of diesel-powered, Jones Act qualified containerships that provide twice weekly sailings from Tacoma to Anchorage and Kodiak, and a weekly sailing to Dutch Harbor. In addition, Matson will operate port terminals in Anchorage, Kodiak and Dutch Harbor, and acquire several reserve steam-powered Jones Act containerships that may be used for dry-dock relief.

“We are pleased to have completed this strategic acquisition that substantially grows our ocean transportation business into the attractive Alaska market,” said Matt Cox, Matson president and chief executive officer. “The Alaska market is a natural geographic extension of our platform as a leader serving our customers in the Pacific. We are excited by the long-term prospects of the Alaska trade lane and expect this transaction to deliver shareholder value through earnings and cash flow accretion.”

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NOAA ISSUES 2015 HURRICANE SEASON FORECAST

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting a below-normal hurricane season in the Atlantic this year. For the Eastern Pacific and Central Pacific Basin, the agency’s outlook is for a 70 percent chance of an above-normal season. The hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.

Along the Atlantic, NOAA says there is a 70 percent likelihood of six to 11 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which between three and six could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher). At most, two of those storms are expected to become major hurricanes, defined as Category 3, 4 or 5, characterized by winds of 111 mph or higher. The main factor expected to suppress the hurricane season along the Atlantic Coast this year is the cyclical climate phenomenon known as El Niño.

In the Eastern Pacific and Central Pacific basins, the agency is predicting a 70 percent probability of 15 to 22 named storms, of which seven to 12 are expected to become hurricanes, including five to eight major hurricanes. For the Central Pacific hurricane basin, NOAA’s outlook is for a 70 percent chance of an above-normal season with five to eight tropical cyclones likely.

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COAST GUARD TERMINAL ACCESS PROPOSAL AGAIN OPEN FOR PUBLIC COMMENT

The Coast Guard has reopened, until July 1, the period in which to submit comments on its proposed rule, “s’ Access to Maritime Facilities.” The agency says it is particularly interested in comments regarding its estimate that, as far as providing access is concerned, 10.3 percent of U.S. terminal facilities are not in compliance with current rules.

Comments and related material must either be submitted to the Coast Guard online docket via http://www.regulations.gov on or before July 1, 2015 or reach the Docket Management Facility by that date. Members of the public may also submit comments identified by docket number USCG–2013–1087 using fax (202–493–2251) or regular mail: Docket Management Facility (M–30), U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590–0001; or hand delivery to the above address between 0900 and 1700 on work days. The telephone number is 202–366–9329.

The proposed new rule was originally published in the Federal Register on Dec. 29, 2014. It would require terminals to implement a system that provides s with access between vessels and the facility gate in a timely manner and at no cost to the individual. “Shore leave and access to the ship are a major issue not only for s, but for the entire maritime industry,” MM&P wrote in its own comments to the record. “It affects the ability of ships to be maintained, supplied with stores and bunkers, undertake voyage repairs, have equipment serviced, change crews, and carry out tasks that can only be efficiently performed while a ship is moored at a port facility.”

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NEW FUND WOULD CARE FOR FOREIGN SEAFARERS ABANDONED IN THE UNITED STATES

The U.S. Treasury Department has been authorized to establish an “Abandoned s Fund” of up to $5 million. The fund, which had been under discussion for years, was authorized in the closing days of 2014. It is to be administered by the Secretary of the Treasury and replenished by penalties collected for violations of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, which implements the MARPOL provisions. The impetus for the measure was the sad story of the crew of MV KATERINA, a Maltese-flagged cargo ship that arrived in the Port of Long Beach on Sept. 10, 2005, equipped with pipes to bypass the oil-water separator.

The operator of the KATERINA, DST Shipping Inc. of Thessaloniki, Greece, pleaded guilty to two felony charges related to the case. The captain of the KATERINA, the chief engineer and the second engineer eventually pleaded guilty to felony charges for pollution and for advising other crewmembers to destroy and conceal from Coast Guard inspectors incriminating telexes about the use of the bypass pipes. The KATERINA sailed after its owners had posted bond.

But members of the crew—first arrested, then released because they had not committed a crime—were abandoned by the ship operator without any means of support. They survived as charity cases in the Port of Long Beach, living on donations from local residents, religious groups and community organizations. The situation dragged on for months, with the Coast Guard and the Department of Justice refusing to accept responsibility for their support.

MM&P Pilots Group Vice President George Quick, a member of the International Transport Workers’ (ITF) delegation, raised the issue during a joint International Labor Organization/International Maritime Organization working group on the fair treatment of s. Afterwards, to avoid a repeat of what had happened in the KATERINA case, the Coast Guard organized a meeting with Quick, the Department of Justice and the ITF. One of the steps discussed was legislation to create a fund to cover the needs of abandoned s, particularly those held as material witnesses by the Department of Justice.

Legislation creating the fund had been included in past Coast Guard Authorization Acts, but up to last year had always been cut due to a lack of understanding of its significance by Congress. The measure was finally passed in 2014. “We owe the Coast Guard our thanks for addressing the problem,” Quick says.

The new fund may be used to pay necessary support for s abandoned in the United States. For purposes of eligibility, the act defines a as “an alien crew member who is employed or engaged in any capacity on board a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.” Covered expenses include wages and reasonable expenses for lodging, subsistence, clothing, medical care, repatriation and any other support the Secretary of the Treasury considers appropriate.

“There can’t be many workers more at risk from financial insecurity than s, hundreds of whom are literally left stranded without money, food or water each year,” said a spokesperson for the ITF. “The despicable practice by a few irresponsible vessel owners or operators who attempt to shirk their legal and moral obligations to their -employees by abandoning them in distant ports will likely continue to bring shame to the industry and extreme hardship to the affected s for the foreseeable future. While neither the amended MLC 2006 nor the U.S. Abandoned s Fund will eradicate the problem, the U.S. fund can now be put to use to significantly ameliorate the plight of s who find themselves abandoned in the United States.”

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HUNDREDS MISSING IN CRUISE SHIP DISASTER ON CHINA’S YANGTZE RIVER

More than 400 people were still unaccounted for a day and a half after a four-story cruise ship, the ORIENTAL STAR, capsized in a remote stretch of the Yangtze River. The ship was carrying 458 passengers and crew on a tourist excursion. The captain and chief engineer, who were pulled from the water by rescuers, reported that the ship had been struck by high winds and heavy rain, possibly a tornado. The China Meteorological Administration said Tuesday that a tornado had been reported in the area around the time that the ship capsized.

Footage released by China Central Television on Tuesday showed rescuers listening for a response to tapping on the hull of the ship. It was reported that air is being pumped into the wreck in an attempt to maintain air pockets. A government spokesperson said the plan was to have almost 200 rescue divers in the area by Wednesday. It seems that the death toll from the disaster could exceed that of the sinking of the South Korean ferry SEWOL in April 2014, in which 304 people were killed.

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CONTROVERSIAL TRADE BILL AUTHORITY APPROVED BY SENATE, PASSES TO HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Legislation that would give President Obama authority to “fast track” trade agreements through Congress is now in the House of Representatives. The legislation, which would give the president an expedited way to move trade deals without amendments, was approved by the Senate before the Memorial Day weekend. It is expected to have a much tougher time in the House, where it is opposed by a majority of Democrats as well as many conservative Republicans. The president wants the authority to complete the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which would link 12 nations, including Canada and Chile in the Americas, and Japan and Australia across the Pacific.

Labor, environmental and consumer groups oppose the pact. They argue that since the North American Free Trade Agreement was approved in 1993, such accords have only hastened the flow of manufacturing jobs overseas and pressured wages in the United States downward. Previous agreements have also failed to preserve consumer and environmental protections. While there have been some small improvements to the labor chapters of trade agreements over the years, the AFL-CIO says, enforcement has been very poor. In 2008, the AFL-CIO and several Guatemalan labor unions filed a petition alleging that the government of Guatemala is failing to enforce its own labor laws, tolerating repression of union activity and blacklisting, as well as violence, intimidation and assassinations.

In March 2012, the AFL-CIO and more than 20 Honduran labor organizations alleged that Honduras, too, was failing to enforce its labor laws. In April 2010, the U.S. and Colombian governments, with an eye toward speeding ratification of the long-stalled U.S.-Colombia trade deal, announced a “labor action plan,” which was intended to bring Colombia into compliance with internationally recognized labor rights. Since the plan’s announcement, 105 Colombian trade unionists have been assassinated.

The AFL-CIO points out that Vietnam, Mexico, Brunei and Malaysia–all TPP countries–are notorious labor and human rights violators and are currently not in compliance with the standards supposedly included in the TPP. There is no known plan to withhold the benefits of the trade deal from these countries until they comply. “The administration should release the TPP text and let the public judge whether this deal will truly raise labor standards and conditions for workers when similar language included in past deals has been ineffective,” says AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Anything less is irresponsible.”

Other concerns: the TPP would establish new rules that could undermine, by extending patents and reducing access to generics, efforts to keep drug prices down; it would require the United States to accept imports that don’t meet America’s safety standards; it would expand the use of private foreign arbitrators, who could challenge domestic laws outside of the U.S. court system.

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ITF URGES AUSTRALIAN SENATE INQUIRY INTO FOC SHIPPING AND CONDEMNS GOVERNMENT ATTACKS ON CABOTAGE

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is pushing for an Australian senate inquiry into flag of convenience (FOC) shipping following a damning exposé on an Australian television program into three deaths at sea on board the MV SAGE SAGITTARIUS. (See the TV report here: http://goo.gl/vzIDBY)

The call follows the ITF’s recent condemnation of the conservative Australian government’s moves to deregulate its shipping industry by the removal of cabotage, or rules which encourage investment in the local industry. It warned that this would weaken labor and safety standards and regulation and threaten thousands of domestic jobs in the maritime sector. The TV show focused on the deaths of two Filipino nationals–chief cook Cesar Llanto and chief engineer Hector Collado–and Japanese superintendent Kosaku Monji on board the Panama-flagged coal carrier in 2012. A coroner’s inquest into two of the deaths, which began last week in Sydney, heard that guns were being sold on board and that assaults on and intimidation of the crew were widespread. It also heard that the three crew members most likely met with foul play.

“The TV program highlighted the high cost of cheap shipping,” says ITF Australia National Coordinator Dean Summers. “We need a senate inquiry to investigate the real dangers of flag of convenience shipping, as it poses a real and serious threat to Australia’s national security, environment and fuel security, as well to the lives and welfare of international s. This is not a new issue. The Australian Parliament investigated the inhumane treatment of international s through the 1992 Ships of Shame report and, unfortunately, it seems little has changed.”

“The proposed changes would lead to domestic job losses and a reduction of standards and conditions for workers as Australia actively embraces a race to the bottom on shipping and aviation,” says ITF President Paddy Crumlin. “They would dismantle a comprehensive reform package delivered by the previous government three years ago that created a level playing field in domestic shipping.”

“It seems Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss wants to make ships of shame the new normal rather than the extreme exception,” Crumlin adds. “This could spell disaster on a number of fronts–maritime jobs, skills, fuel security, maritime security–and pose a threat to the environment. There could also be a significant impact on the offshore oil and gas sector, with the result being limited visa regulations and oversight. We expect the government to put up legislation before our parliament in the first half of this year and we’re gearing up for a fight.”

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DAY OF THE SEAFARER 2015

Day of the 2015 is fast approaching. This year the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is shifting its focus to maritime education with the goal of encouraging young people to consider a career at sea. This year’s campaign will show that the multi-faceted maritime world offers a series of rich and fulfilling career opportunities for young people, both at sea and ashore. To find out more, go to http://www.imo.org/About/Events/dayoftheseafarer/Pages/Day-of-the-seafarer-2015.aspx

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/ MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES /

MITAGS needs your current address! Have you moved recently? Did you remember to send MITAGS your new address for communications regarding courses? Please send your current contact information to admissions@mitags.org or to the fax number below.

New dedicated fax line for Admissions only: 1-443-568-1928. For all other MITAGS business, please continue to use: 410-859-5181.

For class availability or information on MITAGS courses and programs, contact Kelly Michielli, Admissions Coordinator, toll-free at 866-656-5568 or by e-mail: admissions@mitags.org . Why not try our on-line calendar to register for class: mitags-pmi.org/courses/calendar.

Please note the special addition to our on-campus schedule of MSC classes marked with an asterisk (*), which are not normally scheduled to be held at MITAGS.

AB – 8/17/15, 10/12/15

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: 6/19/15, 7/13/15

ARPA-OIC – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 8/4/15, 9/22/15, 1/26/16

AZIPOD 2-Day – 10/1/15

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 8/3/15, 10/19/15, 2/1/16

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 6/17/15, 7/16/15, 11/9/15

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling: 9/28/15

BT – Basic Safety Training: 6/8/15, 8/10/15, 10/5/15, 1/25/16

BT-Revalidation – 8/4/15, 11/3/15

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 10/26/15

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVNAV-CMM – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): Contact Admissions

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 6/15/15, 7/27/15, 9/28/15, 1/25/16, 3/28/16

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 8/3/15, 10/19/15, 1/4/16, 3/7/16

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 10/5/15

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 6/8/15, 8/17/15, 9/21/15, 10/5/15, 11/2/15, 12/7/15, 1/11/16, 2/22/16, 3/21/16

LMS – Leadership and Managerial Skills (Management Level – Formerly MCL-CMM): 6/22/15, 7/13/15, 8/10/15, 8/31/15, 9/28/15, 10/26/15, 11/16/15, 11/30/15, 1/18/16, 2/15/16, 3/14/16

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants: 11/16/15

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management (2 weeks): 9/14/15

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 7/13/15, 8/10/15, 8/24/15, 10/5/15, 11/9/15, 11/30/15, 1/11/16, 2/8/16, 3/14/16

SHS-ADV-II-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 6/8/15, 7/20/15, 8/17/15, 8/31/15, 10/12/15, 11/16/15, 12/7/15, 1/18/16, 2/15/16, 3/21/16

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 11/30/15, 2/29/16

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 11/9/15

CNAV-OIC – Celestial Navigation: 11/9/15

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: Contact Admissions

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications: 7/9/15

DDE – Great Lakes: 2/1/16

DPA – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-OIC – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-Pilots – 6/15/15, 7/14/15, 11/12/15

ERM – Engine Resource Management: 6/15/15, 7/20/15, 8/24/15, 9/21/15, 10/19/15, 11/9/15, 12/14/15, 1/4/16, 2/8/16, 3/21/16

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 8/10/15, 10/5/15, 1/25/16, 2/22/16

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications: 7/6/15, 9/15/15, 11/11/15

GL Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization: 1/22/16

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 8/24/15, 3/7/16

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 6/22/15, 8/31/15, 11/16/15

LAP- 9/14/15

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes: 1/25/16

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross
Ton License: 8/3/15, 11/30/15, 3/7/16

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 6/17/15, 7/16/15, 9/16/15, 11/10/15

LNG-TPIC – 12/7/15

LTS –Leadership and Teamworking Skills (Formerly MCL-OIC): 9/21/15

MEECE – Management of Electrical and Electronic Control: 6/8/15, 7/6/15, 8/17/15, 9/14/15, 10/12/15, 11/2/15, 12/7/15, 1/11/16, 2/22/16, 3/28/16

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 6/15/15, 8/24/15, 12/7/15, 1/4/16

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 7/27/15, 9/28/15, 2/1/15, 3/14/16

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 6/15/15, 8/24/15, 10/12/15, 12/7/15, 1/4/15, 2/15/16

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 6/20/15, 7/25/15, 8/28/15, 11/5/15, 12/12/15, 1/9/15, 1/31/16

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: Contact Admissions

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 6/5/15, 8/19/15, 10/29/15, 3/8/16

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 8/17/15, 10/27/15, 3/5/16

*MSC-ENVPRO – 6/6/15, 8/16/15, 10/31/15, 2/28/16

*MSC-FF-HELO – 6/9/15, 8/3/15, 11/2/15, 2/22/16

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 8/8/15, 10/19/15, 1/4/16, 2/29/16

*MSC-Security Watch Basic – 5/30/15, 8/6/15, 10/17/15, 2/26/16

*MSC-Security Watch Advanced –8/12/15, 10/23/15, 1/8/16, 3/4/16

*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force –8/13/15, 10/24/15, 1/10/16, 3/5/16

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 8/3/15, 9/21/15, 1/25/16

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 6/10/15, 6/17/15, 7/8/15, 7/22/15, 8/5/15, 8/19/15, 9/2/15, 9/16/15, 9/30/15, 10/14/15, 10/28/15, 11/3/15, 11/11/15, 11/18/15, 12/2/15, 12/10/15, 1/6/16, 1/13/16, 2/3/16

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 7/27/15, 1/18/16, 2/1/16

SAR-OIC – Search & Rescue – 10/19/15

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling: 6/22/15, 11/2/15, 2/15/16

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day: 7/27/15, 9/28/15, 1/25/16

SMS – Contact Admissions

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 8/3/15, 2/8/16

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 7/6/15, 1/4/16

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: 8/3/15

TRAC-TUG-2: Contact Admissions

TTT – Contact Admissions

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: Contact Admissions

VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 7/22/15, 9/9/15, 10/7/15, 10/17/15, 2/15/16

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level): 9/28/15, 3/21/16

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): 9/14/15, 2/29/16

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PMI ACADEMIC NOTES

Please also see our schedule and enroll online at www.mitags-pmi.org. For registration contact our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen: 206.838.1126 or jpitzen@mates.org.

May 2015

27-29 Bridge Resource Management and Emergency Shiphandling for Pilots

June 2015

8-12 Leadership and Managerial Skills
15-19 ECDIS
15-19 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
22-26 Leadership and Managerial Skills
22-26 Basic Meteorology
29-3 Leadership and Managerial Skills

July 2015

6-24 Terrestrial and Coastal Navigation
13-17 Leadership and Managerial Skills
13-24 GMDSS
20-23 ARPA
27-31 Radar Observer Unlimited

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The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates, & Pilots, ILA, AFL-CIO, 700 Maritime Blvd. Suite B, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1953. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973. All rights reserved. The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly © 2015. Articles can be reprinted without prior permission if credit is given to The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly. For address changes, send an e-mail to wheelhouse@bridgedeck.org. Back issues of The Weekly are posted on www.bridgedeck.org.