News

Wheelhouse Weekly – June 26, 2003

June 26th 2003


THE MASTERS, MATES & PILOTS’
WHEELHOUSE WEEKLY

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

Volume 7 . . . . . Number 26. . . . . June 26, 2003

STORIES COVERED

ALSO

REMINDERS




 

MATES REUNION BEING PLANNED FOR SEPTEMBER 19-21

The MM&P is in the process of preparing a schedule of activities for the upcoming MATES PROGRAM graduate reunion to be held at MITAGS from September 19-21. The names of those individuals who have responded positively are now posted on the Union’s website at www.bridgedeck.org. Click on the “Original MATES Program Reunion” button on the left side of your screen.

A full list of MATES Program graduates and missing persons appears in the May-June issue of ‘The Master, Mate & Pilot’, which should be in member’s mailboxes shortly.

Additional info and updates will be posted as they become known.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

SENATE COMMITTEE CLEARS MARITIME SECURITY LEGISLATION

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on Thursday, June 26 approved legislation to extend, expand and enhance the Maritime Security Program, which is set to expire September 30, 2005. The Senate Committee action follows the approval by the House of Representatives of similar legislation.

As adopted by the Senate Committee, and as passed by the House, the MSP proposal would:

  • extend MSP for an additional 10 year period, to September 30, 2015;
  • increase the size of the MSP fleet from 47 to 60 privately-owned U.S.-flag militarily useful commercial vessels; and
  • create a new $250 million program to encourage the construction of up to 5 product tankers in U.S. shipyards.

The bill passed by the House would increase the annual MSP vessel payment from $2.1 million to $2.6 million, while the proposal adopted by the Senate Committee would increase the annual MSP vessel payment from the current $2.1 million to $3.1 million effective October 1, 2005.

The June 26 action in the Senate represents another significant step forward in the effort to reauthorize the Maritime Security Program. A House-Senate conference will meet to reconcile the difference between the House and Senate versions of the MSP bill, with final action expected prior to the Congressional August recess.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

MM&P IN CONTINUING DISCUSSIONS WITH APMC

MM&P’s Pacific Ports Agent Capt. Dave Boatner and Executive Assistant to the President Mike Rodriguez met in Virginia Beach from 6/16-18 with officials of the Military Sealift Command’s (MSC) Afloat Personnel Management Center (APMC).

The purpose of the meeting was to negotiate provisions of the discipline section (Section 750) of the Civilian Mariner Personnel Instruction (CMPI).

The CMPI sets MSC’s personnel policy regarding the civilian mariners. Capt. Walter Nullet, Master, USNS LARAMIE, served on the team as employee representative and subject matter expert.

The parties discussed the master’s authority to discipline, performance-related issues and the impact of past discipline on civilian mariners. While the discussions achieved significant progress, some issues require further clarification. It is anticipated that talks will resume in the near future.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

SOUTHEAST MASSACHUSETTS MARINERS CHOOSE NEW REPRESENTATION

The IOMM&P congratulates MEBA on their successful organizing of approximately 268 mariners (ABs, OSs, Bosuns, Oilers, Wipers and Steward Department) at the Southeast Massachusetts Maritime Employees’ Assocation (SMMEA). MM&P wishes MEBA luck in the negotiation process with the Steamship Authority (SSA).

 

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

USTRANSCOM REAFFIRMS SUPPORT FOR MSP

In a letter dated May 30 to the leadership of the Senate Armed Services Committee, General John Handy, Commander, United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM), has reiterated his full support for the “swift reauthorization of the Maritime Security Program.”

MSP reauthorization has been approved by the House of Representatives and is pending action by the House and Senate conferees on the defense authorizations bill.

In his letter, General Handy told the Senators that the “lessons learned from Operation IRAQI FREEDOM serve to highlight the benefit of MSP and the need to examine fleet composition, to include ‘low density, high demand’ ships such as the Roll On/Roll Off, Float On/Float Off, and product tankers.”

He stated that the Department of Defense “must have these capabilities in the US-flag fleet for crisis or contingency” and that “our maritime policies and incentives must ensure the continuance of a strong and viable US-flag merchant fleet.” He said that swift reauthorization of MSP is “vital to our nation’s sealift team.”

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

MSC LOSES CIVILIAN MARINERS BUT GAINS MSC RESERVISTS

A few of the Navy’s Military Sealift Command civilian mariners got the unique experience of working as active duty military personnel for MSC during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Their reserve units mobilized them to fill openings due to the command’s increase in operations to support OIF.

Reservists are often activated to fill the openings during contingencies when the military must increase its operations. MSC, the ocean transportation provider for the Department of Defense, has 1,500 naval reservists assigned to 40 reserve units nationwide.

When mobilized, reservists assist the MSC with operations aboard ship, at MSC headquarters and at MSC area commands. At the peak of OIF, there were 285 reservists activated to serve with MSC, 169 of which were assigned aboard MSC ships. Some of the reservists were, ironically, working as mariners for MSC when they were activated.

During OIF, reservists have been working at MSC headquarters, MSC area commands and aboard MSC ships. They have also served on Ready Reserve Force ships, maintained for readiness by the Maritime Administration and under MSC control when activated. The reserve mariners aboard the MSC and RRF ships perform underway replenishments as well as cargo loading and off-loading.

The choice to put MSC mariners into an active duty position during war is not uncommon, according Lt. Cmdr. Miguel Lake, USNR, the reserve readiness officer at MSC HQ. “They have proven themselves subject matter experts in their field, and when we mobilize for war, it just makes sense to bring them on active duty,” Lake said.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

SAFE MANNING LEVELS AND ADDITIONAL WORKLOADS AT ISSUE

Capt. George Quick, VP of MM&P’s Pilot Membership Group, attended the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) recent meetings in London. A portion of his report was carried in the 6/5 ‘Wheelhouse Weekly’. He reports that the main issue of concern to International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) was having the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee accept the need for a review of safe manning levels in light of the additional workload generated by the International Ship & Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code.

The Philippines advocated the insertion of the word “security” in addition to “safety” in the wording of resolution A.890, Principles of Safe Manning.

This was a minimalist approach and did not address the need to take into account the total workload necessary to operate a ship in its intended trade. The Philippine stance undermined the ICFTU position as it gave the MSC committee the opportunity to look as if it were addressing the issue without doing anything that would have any real effect.

The ICFTU position to have manning reviewed from a holistic approach taking into account the actual work required to operate a ship including cargo operations and maintenance received weak support as it was seen as inevitably leading to increased manning levels and was opposed by many Flag States and ship owner’s representatives.

A compromise was reached at the end with the following language: “The committee agreed to consider, at a future session and based on experience gained with the revised resolution, the need for a holistic review, and, if necessary, to instruct the STW Sub-committee accordingly.”

The US delegation is not happy with this result as it postpones the review to a future unspecified date, but it does give the US a “hook” to raise the issue in the future.

ISSC to indicate compliance with Part B of the ISPS Code: Part B of the ISPS Code consists of non-mandatory recommendations. Many of the provisions originated with the US and were placed in Part B because there was little support for them and making them non-mandatory was a compromise position.

The US put forward a proposal that the International Ship Security Certificate (ISSC) indicate that the ship is in compliance with Part B as well as Part A, in effect making the non-mandatory provisions mandatory. This proposal received virtually no support and was seen as setting a negative precedent by undermining the intent and the agreement of the parties to the ISPS Code.

What action the USCG takes unilaterally in attempting to enforce Part B of the ISPS Code as if they are mandatory provisions remains to be seen.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

GUIDELINES FOR LONG-RANGE TRACKING AND ID OF SHIPS

At the IMO’s London meetings, it was also agreed that a system for the long-range tracking and ID of vessels should be developed using satellite technology along the following lines:

  • It was accepted that there could be grounds for the system to be switched off. Specifically it was concluded that the system may be switched off in cases where international agreements, rules or standards provide for the protection of navigational info (SOLAS reg V/19); at the discretion of the master in cases where operation is considered to compromise the safety or security of the ship; and upon notification by the Flag State in cases where the receipt of info by a Coastal State is considered to compromise the safety or security of the ship.
  • The range required for the long-range identification and tracking system was considered to be variable depending on the application. It was concluded that a Flag State should have the possibility of worldwide tracking of its ships; a Port State should have the possibility to track the vessel once it has indicated its intention to enter a port within its jurisdiction;
  • The system should have sufficient range to be capable of being used for voluntary reporting schemes associated with search and rescue;
  • and a Coastal State should have the possibility of tracking in the range of nautical miles in the case of a ship passing its coastline.

It should be noted that although the master would have the authority to switch off the long range tracking system under certain circumstances, in doing so he would be “red flagging” his ship and may be boarded or have other compliance measures taken against him in the next port.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

USCG PLAN AIMS TO BALANCE SECURITY AND ECONOMIC NEEDS

USCG Adm. Larry Hereth, the USCG’s port security director, said he recognizes that the economic impact of any added security is a main concern. “The only truly secure waterfront is one that doesn’t operate, and that’s not acceptable to government or businesses,” he said.

He noted that oil terminals and other commercial enterprises along ports in the US will have to submit a detailed security assessment and plan to the USCG by Jan.1, 2004, so that enforcement of the Maritime Transportation Security Act can begin July 1, 2004. The USCG plans to publish the new regulations within the next several weeks.

Adm. Hereth said that costs to private enterprises could total $1.4 billion in the first year, but noted the costs of a terrorist attack could have much deeper impact.

Besides oil terminals, refineries and ships in US ports, Hereth said the USCG will also impose similar regs on the 50 largest offshore oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. One of the main goals behind the new security plan will be to develop a consistency in regulations among US ports.

The Maritime Transportation Security Act will cover 361 ports, 5,000 waterfront facilities and 10,000 US vessels representing about $750 billion in US commerce, Hereth said. Plans call for workers in all areas of transportation, including shipping and terminal operations, to be issued a “smart card” method of identification.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

PMI OFFERS OPERATIONAL USE OF MAXIMO FOR HORIZON OFFICERS

The Pacific Maritime Institute (MITAGS West) will be offering a two-day program in the Operational Use of Maximo presented by Bruce Sherman on August 11 & 12, 2003.

The Maximo Training course will be a two-day intro to the Maximo program as used by the former CSX, now Horizon Lines. This course will be appropriate for any Master, Mate or Engineer who sails on Horizon Vessels. It will be particularly relevant for those sailing as permanent Master, Chief Mate, Chief Engineer and First Engineer.

MEBA members who wish to attend must fill out the Calhoon School Application and send it to the Calhoon School. Applications are available at the MEBA Union hall or at the www.mebaschool.com web site.

If you have found yourself in a position of using AmosD on a Horizon vessel, you will now be using Maximo and could benefit from this course.

The Maximo training course will consist of a general introduction to Maximo followed by a specific description of how Horizon uses the program. Each area of use will be covered such as, Consumables and Spares ordering, Work Order Generation (used by the Deck Department to request Deck repairs), Maintenance tracking, Preventive Maintenance, and Spares tracking.

There will be time for each student to practice on a computer using the areas of the program most likely to be relevant to you. Sample exercises will be provided that will be appropriate for your area on interest.

If you have already seen the program or had some contact with it on board a vessel, this course will help you gain a better understanding for the overall program as well as give you valuable practice time on a test database resembling the one used by Horizon.

Please contact Ms. DeeDee Lazik at 206-441-2880 or 888-893-7829 (toll free) to schedule. PMI will require a six-student minimum to run this course, so please schedule as far in advance as possible. Horizon Lines will be covering transportation to and from Seattle for all eligible MM&P and MEBA Members. Please contact us if you have questions regarding eligibility.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

Class Openings

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

  • CMM-SHS-ADV II:7/14,8/11
  • MED-PRO:7/21, 8/11
  • MED-PIC: 8/11
  • MED-SMC: 9/1
  • MED-DOT-DA: 7/26, 8/16, 8/30, 9/20
  • LIC RENEWAL PREP: 7/26
  • SEC-SHPOFF: 7/21, 8/18, 9/8
  • MEDIA-RSP: 7/25,8/6,8/29,9/12
  • CONT-PLNG: 7/24, 8/5, 9/11
  • CMM-VPEN: 7/21
  • BST: 7/21, 9/15
  • SHS-BAS: 7/28, 9/15
  • CMM-ECDIS: 7/28
  • LAP: 7/28
  • FL: 8/1,9/5
  • FF-ADV: 7/28, 9/22
  • GMDSS: 8/4
  • BRM: 8/4
  • ROR-1: 8/4,9/15, 9/22
  • ARPA: 8/4, 9/15
  • ISM/REG-UPDT: 8/4
  • SEC-MAR: 8/7
  • ASSESSOR TRNG: 8/8
  • CSE-AAES: 8/4
  • CMM-SHMGTI: 8/4
  • CMM-SHMGTII: 8/11
  • MSC-COMMS: 8/11
  • SHS-EMR5: 8/18
  • MSC-CBRD-1: 8/18, 9/26
  • MSC-ENVPRO: 8/18
  • MSC-ATER: 8/20
  • MSC-DC: 8/9, 8/21, 9/13, 9/18
  • CMM-ADVSTB: 8/18
  • HAZ: 8/25
  • ROP: 8/25
  • COMP-NET: 8/25
  • MSC-SMA: 8/25, 9/22
  • CMM-CHS I: 8/25
  • CMM-CHS II: 9/1
  • CMM-WKP: 9/8
  • COMP-ABSS: 9/8
  • CMM-MPP: 9/15
  • GMDSS-ROC: 9/22
  • FRB: 9/22
  • COMP-APS: 9/22
  • T-PIC: 9/22

Check the MITAGS website for descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations.

 

DEADLINE: Small Arms Training Off-Site

The temporary option to take a 3-day small arms course off-site at San Diego or Virginia Beach will end as of July 31.

In order to be eligible for off-site training, members in good standing of the Offshore Membership Group must have 360 days of covered employment with a company or companies contributing to the MATES program. Qualified members will still be able to arrange a 1-day renewal at Virginia Beach after July 31.

In addition to MITAGS eligibility requirements, MSC requires that all 1-day renewal applicants have qualified on all three weapons within the last two years.

Remember that to be eligible for reimbursement through the MATES program, all off-site training must be arranged through MITAGS.

For further information, contact either Mike Wein 443-989-3238 or Debbie Walton 443-989-3224.

 

Company/Ship’s Security Officer Course

The Company/Ship’s Security Officer has been reformatted to three days. Keep in mind that the three-day CSO/SSO course will not qualify eligible trust students for transportation. When scheduling, please round out your week with the courses that follow, such as the one Contingency Planning, Media Response, MED-DOT Drug & Alcohol Testing, or the two-day Damage Control.

 

Schedules, Course Info & Registration

Courses are subject to change. Always check the MITAGS website for updated course availability. You can also check future schedules, review detailed course descriptions and register on-line or contact Admissions at admissions@mitags.org or by calling toll-free, 1-866-656-5568.

 

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 6-25 CLOSE

 D O W

 N A S D A Q

 9,293.90

-159.30 for the week

 1,677.14

 -60.13 for the week
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)

 90.06

 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)

21.79

 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)

 13.41

 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)

 12.76

 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)

 24.41

 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)

10.72

 Vanguard High Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX):

 6.26

 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)

 10.58

 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)

13.65

 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)

14.97

 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)

 32.62

Fidelity Magellan Fund (FAGX)

 87.62

 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)

  34.55

 

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



~ Reminders ~


 

 

MEMBERS AND FAMILIES GET SPECIAL SUMMER RATES AT MITAGS

By popular demand, and for a limited time only, MITAGS is opening up its renowned conference center hotel to MM&P members and their families at a very affordable rate. This is the first time MITAGS has made their facilities available as a vacation destination for MM&P members.

Centrally located just south of Baltimore, MITAGS is within easy reach of the many top tourist attractions found in the Washington DC, Baltimore, Annapolis, southern Pennsylvania and northern Virginia area. MITAGS is just five minutes from BWI Airport, a leading hub for low-cost airlines such as Southwest and Air Tran. The BWI Amtrak Station is also just minutes away.

MM&P member summer rates are just $85 per night, per room. Occupancy is limited to member, spouse and two children. Complimentary full breakfast buffet and free shuttle service to BWI Airport or Amtrak are included.

For more info or reservations contact the MITAGS reservation department at 410-859-5700 extension 0, or Email: reservations@ccmit.org.

Be sure to mention this special when making your reservation. Offer is based on availability and only valid June 1 through September 10.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

SPECIAL RATES FOR UNION MEMBERS AT ORLANDO DISNEY HOTEL

As a special summer promotion for union members at the Hotel Royal Plaza, a unionized hotel located in the heart of Downtown Disney, the rate for a standard room has been reduced to just $69.

Rates are in effect from June 1 to September 30 and do not include a resort fee of $7 per room, per night. Kids 12 and under eat free breakfast, lunch and dinner when accompanied by a paying adult.

For more info, call 1-800-248-7890 or go to their website at www.royalplaza.com. Call early for reservations as rooms are subject to availability and make sure to ask for the Union Leisure Rate.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

MM&P MEMBERS AT SEA CAN NOW SAVE ON SHIP-TO-SHORE CALLS

Through a special arrangement with ShipCom, MM&P members at sea will now receive a significant discount on personal ship-to-shore radiotelephone calls. The rate is $2.50 per minute to any phone number in the US. This is a significant discount from the usual rate of $3.99 per minute. Calls may be placed collect, or billed to any major credit card.

To take advantage of this offer or for more info contact Station WLO on HF SSB channels 405, 607, 824, 1212, 16401, 1807, or 2237 or on HF radio telex channels (selcall 1090) 406, 606, 806, 810, 815, 1205, 1211, 1605, 1615, 1810 or 2215.

MM&P members must identify themselves as an MM&P member and provide the operator with the last 4 digits of their MM&P book number in order to get the discounted rate.

Any vessel equipped with HF radio telex may send and receive Internet email via the telex terminal. For more info contact WLO radio via telex or HF SSB voice.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

 


 

MM&P HQ MEMO TO ALL OFFSHORE MEMBERS AND APPLICANTS

Effective for employment commencing on or after April 10, 2003 and until further notice, any Member or Applicant who is known to have shipped as a Licensed Deck Officer aboard a vessel under contract with another labor organization shall lose his/her shipping card and be required to re-register prior to seeking employment with MM&P.

Members and Applicants are advised that such action jeopardizes their standing in Masters, Mates & Pilots. Members and Applicants are urged to contact MM&P if they are solicited for offshore employment by other labor organizations. Any Licensed Deck Officer employment with other labor organizations must be dispatched through Masters, Mates & Pilots.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

TAX RELIEF FOR OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM CIVILIAN MARINERS

Qualified merchant mariners serving on vessels under Department of Defense operational control in direct support of US Armed Forces have been determined by the IRS to be eligible for the benefits of section 7508 of the Internal Revenue Code. 26 U.S.C. §7508.

This includes individuals, (including the spouse of such individuals) serving in the combat zone as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom aboard Maritime Administration and Military Sealift Command owned or controlled vessels.

Mariners are advised to consult their tax professionals with respect to the impact of this relief with respect to their individual situations.

Only mariners serving in the combat zone are covered. At present, the combat zone for Operation Iraqi Freedom is defined as follows:

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

Section 7508(a)(1) permits the postponement of certain time-sensitive acts for individuals serving in support of the Armed Forces in a designated combat zone. Activities specifically mentioned include the filing of tax returns, the payment of income, estate, or gift taxes (except employment and withholding taxes), tax claims filings or bringing suits for credits or refunds, filing any petition with the US Tax Court, making a qualified retirement contribution to an IRA, or performing any other act listed in Revenue Procedure 2002-71.

Detailed information can be obtained by consulting Publication 3 Armed Forces’ Tax Guide (2002 Returns). The Guide can be obtained by contacting the IRS or from the IRS website, www.irs.gov.

These benefits are afforded to the spouse of a qualified individual without any requirement that the individual and spouse file a joint return. Taxpayers within the US may seek assistance by calling the IRS toll-free at 1-800-829-1040. Taxpayers outside the US may call the IRS in Philadelphia, PA., at 215-516-2000 or via fax at 215-516-2555 (these are not toll free numbers).

More detailed info can be found on the MARAD website at: marad.dot.gov/Publications/employment/marinertaxes.html.

For MM&P members at sea who might have difficulty accessing the MARAD website, the MM&P Communications Department will Email this info to you upon request. Email requests to: communications@bridgedeck.org.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

CLARIFICATION OF DRUG FREE CERTIFICATE FOR MMD RENEWAL

Mariners renewing their licenses, Z-cards, other Merchant Marine Documents or Coast Guard credentials are advised that under the USCG’s national credentialing requirements, Coast Guard offices and Regional Exam Centers require “Drug Free Certificates” on stationery from a drug testing service agent. Drug testing service agents are defined in 49 CFR Part 40 (available for download at: www.dot.gov/ost/dapc/main/CFRintro.htm). Drug test certifications issued by other parties, such as health plans, will no longer be accepted.

Upon request, drug testing service agents will send “Drug Free Certificates” on their own stationary to merchant marine personnel so that they can satisfy the USCG drug test requirement for credential transactions.

MM&P members and applicants are advised that request forms for this purpose are available at MM&P port offices along with info on drug testing facilities. This is a nationwide USCG credentialing requirement and this notice is a clarification of info originally provided in the February 27, 2003 Wheelhouse Weekly, Volume 7 Number 9.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

LATEST USCG INFO ON PRIORITY SYSTEM FOR MMD CARDS

Applications for Merchant Mariner Documents can no longer be completed entirely through the mail. Applicants must now appear in person at a USCG Regional Exam Center to prove their identity and provide fingerprints. The following priority system has been implemented:

  • Priority One is assigned to mariners who are, or are about to be, employed on a vessel directly involved in a military operation. A letter from a shipping company, labor union, ship management company, or government agency attesting to the ship’s military purpose and the mariner’s position is needed for this priority.
  • Priority Two is given to mariners who are actively sailing. Evidence of current or scheduled employment on board a vessel, such as a letter or recent certificate of discharge is needed for this priority.
  • Priority Three is for all other transactions based on date of receipt.

Contact the National Maritime Center for additional info or questions at 202-493-6798.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

GENERAL EXECUTIVE BOARD CLARIFIES OFFSHORE QUOTA SYSTEM

During MM&P General Executive Board meetings held at MM&P HQ on January 15-16, 2003, the quota system established for admittance to the Offshore Membership Group was clarified to make it clear that this quota system does not apply to MM&P Offshore Unlicensed members.

On October 3-4, 2002, the GEB established quotas effective October 4, 2002, stating that “No member of any membership group, including the Offshore Unlicensed Membership Group, may transfer into the Offshore Licensed Membership Group without having been a member of the organization for at least as long as the length of time that the lowest applicant admitted into membership has in the organization.” The wording of this statement was subsequently determined to be incorrect.

On January 16, 2003, the GEB corrected the quota guidelines to read:

“No member of any MM&P membership group, except for members of the MM&P Offshore Unlicensed Membership Group, may transfer into the Offshore Licensed Membership Group without having been a member of the organization for at least as long as the length of time that the lowest applicant admitted into membership has in the organization.”

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

HEALTH & BENEFIT PLAN CHANGES EFFECTIVE APRIL 1, 2003

The following Health and Benefit Plan changes went into effect on April 1, 2003.

 

INPATIENT HOSPITAL DEDUCTIBLE

All inpatient hospitalizations (both PPO and non-PPO) will be subject to the Annual Major Medical Deductible ($250 individual/$500 family) and an additional inpatient deductible of $150 per admission. Both the Annual Deductible and the $150 inpatient deductible count towards the individual out of pocket maximum of $3,000.

 
REIMBURSEMENT FOR INPATIENT HOSPITAL EXPENSE

The Plan will pay 90% for all PPO hospitals after satisfying Major Medical deductible and $150 per admission inpatient deductible. The Plan will pay 70% for all non-PPO hospitals after satisfying the Annual Major Medical deductible and $150 per admission deductible.

 

IN-NETWORK (PPO) PHYSICIAN VISITS

For Primary Care Physician visits, after satisfying the annual Major Medical deductible, the participant pays a $15 co-pay per visit and the Plan pays the balance of the contracted amount. For specialty visits, after satisfying the annual Major Medical deductible, the participant pays a $25 co-pay and the Plan pays the balance of the contracted amount. The co-pay amount does not count towards the $3,000 annual out of pocket maximum.

 

OUT-OF-NETWORK PHYSICIANS

Once the participant satisfies the annual Major Medical deductible and an additional $150 annual out of network physician deductible, the Plan will pay 90% of the UCR. For specialists, once the participant satisfies the Major Medical deductible, the Plan will pay 70% of the UCR.

 

OUTPATIENT FACILITY – IN NETWORK (PPO)

After the participant satisfies the annual Major Medical deductible, the Plan pays 90% of the contracted charges.

 

OUTPATIENT FACILITY – OUT-OF-NETWORK

After the participants satisfies the annual Major Medical deductible, the Plan will pay 70% of the UCR charges.

 

As always, please feel free to contact the Plan Benefit Advisors with any questions at 877-667-5522.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

MM&P HEALTH PLAN PARTICIPANTS: Delta Dental Payment Errors

Effective January 1, 2003, the reimbursement under the dental portion of the Plan was changed from 90 percent in-network to 80 percent in-network and from 80 percent out-of-network to 70 percent out-of-network.

DUE TO AN ERROR at Delta Dental, the claims for MM&P members for services rendered after 1/1/2003, in some cases, have been paid at the old reimbursement rate. The error has been corrected, however, and Delta will be asking for refunds from providers for the 10 percent overpayments. That means that members who were affected by this error will most likely receive a bill from dentists for the additional 10 percent.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

IMPORTANT UPDATE FROM THE MM&P PLANS OFFICE

 

HEALTH & BENEFIT PLAN CHANGES

The Board of Trustees, based on recommendations by the Cost Containment Committee, adopted changes to the Health & Benefit Plan. The following changes became effective January 1, 2003:

Annual Deductible

The current annual deductible of $150/$300 will be raised to $250/$500.

Out-of-Pocket Maximum

The current out of pocket maximum of $2,000 will be raised to $3,000.

Dental Reimbursement Levels

  • The Plan payment to in-network dental providers will go from 90% to 80%.
  • The Plan payment for out-of-network providers will go from 80% of UCR to 70% of UCR.
  • New contract with Delta Dental replaces Aetna/US Healthcare (Prudential Dental) agreement. See below for additional information.

Prescription Drug Program

Mail order drugs will be subject to a 20% co-pay for all single source brand name and generic drugs with a maximum out of pocket, per prescription, of $75.

For brand name drugs where the generic equivalent is available, the member will be responsible for paying the total cost of the difference between the brand name and the generic drug. The Plan will then pay 80% of the cost of the generic and the member will be responsible for the 20% up to a per prescription maximum of $75.

The Plan has also removed the mandatory mail order provision. This means that any prescription, regardless of the number of refills, can be obtained at a retail level but will be limited to a 30-day supply. However, obtaining maintenance medications through the mail order program may still be less expensive to you.

A synopsis of these changes and additional changes effective April 1, 2003 appears in the November-December 2002 issue of the MM&P’s Master, Mate & Pilot newspaper. The Plan Office has also mailed a summary of all changes, with examples, to Health & Benefit Plan participants.




ADDRESS CHANGES

Remember to notify the Plan office whenever you move or have a change of address. There are a number of important mailings scheduled for the next few months and we would like to keep all members well informed. You can fax your address changes to the Plan Office at 410-850-8655 or you can email them to the Plan Office at mmpplans@aol.com.

 




 

NEW DENTAL PROGRAM WITH DELTA DENTAL

This is a reminder that effective October 1, 2002, the MM&P Plan’s contract with Prudential Dental expired. Prudential was purchased by Aetna/US HealthCare in 2001 and could no longer offer the Plan the same type of fee-for-service arrangement as before.

In order to continue to offer Plan Participants an in-network dental benefit option, the Plan reviewed proposals from organizations that provide network dental services. After review, the Trustees approved a contract with Delta Dental, the largest provider of dental services in the US.

The Delta Dental Claims Processing Center in Mechanicsburg, PA, will handle claims administration for all MM&P eligible participants and dependents. This includes claims submitted by out of network dentists as well as those who are Delta Dental providers.

Plan participants who choose to go to a contracted provider will pay 10 percent of the contracted amount and the Plan will pay 90 percent. Participants will have access to all Delta providers in the Delta Premier Network option that includes over 133,000 dentists nationwide.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

~ Where Does My Dentist Submit My Claims?

Effective October 1, 2002, all dental claims with dates of service on or after October 1, 2002, from both in and out-of-network providers, should be sent directly to: Delta Dental, One Delta Drive, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055-6999. Participants will receive a claim form in the mailing sent out by the Plan Office on August 11. Your dentist can copy this form and use it to submit all dental claims incurred on or after October 1, 2002.

~ How Do I Find A Delta Dentist?

You can locate participating dentists in your area in two ways. You can call 1-800-932-0783 from 8 AM to 8 PM Eastern Time, Monday-Friday, or you can sign on to the Delta website at www.MidAtlanticDeltaDental.com. Once you have signed on to the website, key on the bar marked “Pennsylvania”. (MM&P Plan members are enrolled in the Delta Premier Option through Delta Dental of Penn.) Next enter the search criteria to find participating Delta dentists in your area or enter your own dentist’s name to find out if he/she participates with the Premier network.

 

WORK IN PROCESS

Delta Dental will coordinate with the Plan Office to transition all billing for “work in process”. This means that all root canals, orthodontia work and other staged procedures that are not completed under the old arrangement will be carried over and the remaining balance billing, for work performed on or after October 1, 2002 will be processed by Delta Dental.

It is important to remember that all work that has been pre-determined by Prudential/Aetna must be completed and billed with a billing date on or prior to September 30, 2002, in order to assure that your co-pay will remain the same as quoted in the initial pre-determination.

Any work started under the old Plan but billed for date of service on or after October 1, 2002 will be reimbursed according to whether the dentist is participating in the Delta Dental network. If your dentist is not a participating dentist, the balance billing will be paid at the out-of-network rate of 80 percent of the Plan’s UCR schedules.

 

CLAIMS QUESTIONS

All questions about any dental claims incurred on or after October 1, 2002, including claims submitted by out-of-network providers, should be directed to Delta Dental at 1-800-932-0783. You have been provided with a Delta claim form to forward to your dentist, however, your dentist may submit any standard dental billing form as long as the bill is sent directly to Delta at the above listed address.

 

IDENTIFICATION CARDS

Participants have been sent a brochure that includes a perforated generic identification card. This card lists the telephone number and the billing address for Delta. You are not required to carry an identification card because your social security number and birth date will identify you as an eligible participant in the Delta Dental Network.

It is important to remember that MM&P claims will be processed by Delta Dental of Pennsylvania. You or your dentist can access your eligibility by calling either the Plan Office or Delta Dental at 1-800-932-0783.

If you or your dentist have any questions, you can contact Delta Dental at 1-800-932-0783 from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

Plan members are identified by social security number and the Group Plan number for MM&P which is 7117.

Billing for both in and out of network claims should be submitted on standard dental billing forms and sent directly to Delta at

Delta Dental of Pennsylvania One Delta Drive Mechanicsburg, PA 17055

You can locate participating providers on-line at www.MidAtlanticDeltaDental.com. Masters, Mates and Pilots members have access to providers in all of the Delta networks.

 

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

CREDIT UNION MEMBERS: PAY YOURSELF FIRST WITH DIRECT DEPOSIT

  • Do you want an easy way to grow your savings?
  • Do you want an easier way to make deposits to your Masters, Mates & Pilots Federal Credit Union account?

Consider establishing payroll or pension direct deposit.

Many employers allow you to directly deposit your pay into several different financial institutions. Trinity Management, Strong America, Moran Towing of Florida, and McAllister Brothers are among the MM&P-contracted companies that already provide for employees to deposit funds directly into the MM&P Federal Credit Union.

MM&P Health & Benefit Plans Pensioners and A&G Region Pensioners may have deductions made directly from their pension check to their Credit Union account. In addition, employees of MM&P, Plans, MITAGS and MIRAID are also eligible for payroll deduction directly into their Credit Union account.

Add to your savings by paying yourself first! Contact your payroll office to establish Credit Union direct deposit or to find out if this is available for you. For additional details or to get answers to your questions on this or other MM&P Federal Credit Union programs, contact Kathy Klisavage, Credit Union Manager, toll-free at 1-800-382-7777 or by Email at mmpfcu@bridgedeck.org.

 

 

NEW, USED OR REFI: LOW VEHICLE LOAN RATES AT MM&P FCU

Members are reminded that the Masters, Mates & Pilots Federal Credit Union is offering vehicle loans as low as 5.25 percent. Rates range from 5.25 to 6.99 percent for terms of 24 to 60 months. It doesn’t matter if it’s for a new, used or a refinanced vehicle.

These rates are also in effect for new or used recreational vehicles, motorcycles or boats. Limited funds available at this rate, certain terms and conditions apply.

MM&P Federal Credit Union membership is open to all MM&P members, to all MM&P, MITAGS, MIRAID and Plans staff, and to their immediate families.

Rates and terms of offer are subject to change. Call Kathy Klisavage, Credit Union Manager, toll free 1-800-382-7777 or Email mmpfcu@bridgedeck.org for all the details.

 

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates, and Pilots, ILA, AFL-CIO, 700 Maritime Blvd., Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1941. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973; Email: iommp@bridgedeck.org. For further info or to subscribe contact John Peige at jpeige@bridgedeck.org. The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea, broadcast worldwide via FEC marine telex andis posted on our web page.

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