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Wheelhouse Weekly – June 28, 2011

June 28th 2011

 

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

Volume 15 . . . . . Number 26. . . . June 28, 2011

STORIES COVERED

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


MM&P CLOSED ON JULY 4

All MM&P union halls, the MM&P Health & Benefit Plan Office, MM&P headquarters and the MM&P Federal Credit Union will be closed on July 4 for Independence Day.


MM&P OFFICERS, MAERSK ALABAMA CAPTAIN, AT GOVERNMENT ANTI-PIRACY CONFERENCE

Representatives of MM&P, U.S.-flag shipping companies and other maritime labor unions met with high-level U.S. government officials on Monday to discuss current anti-piracy efforts, and in particular the effectiveness of armed, on-board security teams. MM&P was represented at the conference by International President Tim Brown, International Secretary-Treasurer Don Marcus, Pilots Group Vice President George Quick and Director of Government Relations Klaus Luhta.

Government participants included U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, USTRANSCOM Commander Gen. Duncan McNabb, Vice Adm. Mark Fox of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Robert Papp, Maritime Administrator David Matsuda and representatives of the U.S. Department of State (DOS) and the Department of Defense (DOD).

Speakers at the conference noted that the level of violence, the number of attacks, the geographic range of pirate activity and the sophistication of attacks are all increasing.
It was reported that 390 mariners and 17 vessels are now being held hostage.

MM&P Capt. Larry Aasheim, master of the MV MAERSK ALABAMA, spoke to the assembly about the most recent attacks on his vessel. He praised the outstanding job done by the armed security team aboard MAERSK ALABAMA and stated that “if every vessel had an armed security team, piracy wouldn’t be a lucrative business.” MM&P’s thanks go out to Capt. Aasheim for his excellent work in representing all U.S. and foreign mariners at the conference.

Another participant, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense William Weschler, noted that the use of armed security teams has been “100 percent successful” in warding off pirate attacks. He said incentives to using armed security teams as a defense measure should be developed.

Gen. McNabb announced during the conference that the government would reimburse the costs of security teams on all U.S.-flag vessels, regardless of speed or freeboard, that carry DOD cargo in the designated pirate waters. Vice Adm. Fox endorsed the use of armed security teams to protect merchant ships, saying that it was preferable to adopt a proactive stance—rather than a reactive one—in the battle to disrupt pirate activities. Participants in the conference agreed that the prosecution of captured pirates, and differences among the flag states’ willingness to commit to anti-piracy strategies, remain serious, ongoing challenges.

The most discordant note in the conference was the statement made by Assistant Secretary of State Andrew Shapiro, that “the U.S. government will never be in a position to condone the payment of ransom.” This position, which ignores the reality of the situation, was condemned by MM&P International President Tim Brown and Maersk Line Limited CEO John Reinhart.


PROPOSED NLRB RULE CHANGE DRAWS WIDE SUPPORT

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has proposed a new rule aimed at removing some of the roadblocks for workers who want to vote on whether to form a union. The proposal was welcomed by leaders of the country’s labor unions.

“Workers deserve the right to choose a union if they want one, with a fair up-or-down vote,” said a spokesman for the AFL-CIO. “The National Labor Relations Board’s new rules would be an important step toward making this right a reality again. These commonsense changes will remove unnecessary delays from the process, cut down on frivolous litigation, and give workers a meaningful right to vote in a reasonable period of time. The new rules don’t encourage unionization, and they don’t discourage it.  They just give workers the ability to vote yes or no. They also provide much-needed fairness and consistency to the election process, which benefits workers and businesses alike.”

To find out more about the proposed rule, go the point-by-point summary posted on the NLRB website: http://www.nlrb.gov/node/525


OBAMA ADMINISTRATION OPENS STRATEGIC PETROLEUM RESERVE

The Obama Administration last week announced it will release 30 million barrels of crude oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to counter rising fuel prices and supply disruptions caused by the war in Libya. U.S. partner countries in the International Energy Agency (IEA) will release another 30 million barrels. The IEA, an international energy consortium of 28 countries, said it will decide in 30 days whether to tap additional stockpiles.

The announcement by the Obama Administration was accompanied by a wave of controversy because the initial version of the measure was said to contain “an automatic waiver of the Jones Act.” Within hours, however, the White House and the Department of Energy rescinded the portion of the measure that referenced a Jones Act waiver. The Jones Act requires that goods moved between U.S. ports be carried by ships that are built, owned and crewed by Americans.
 
Oil industry analysts said that the Administration’s decision to release oil from the SPR should quickly drive down the price of petroleum-based motor fuels across the transportation supply chain, cutting costs for truckers, railroads, airlines and marine vessels. Within hours of the announcement, oil’s per-barrel price fell more than $8 to the lowest level since February.

Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu said the Administration was ready to take additional steps involving fuel reserves if they were deemed necessary to bolster the U.S. economy. In an official statement, the American Maritime Partnership, of which MM&P and MIRAID are members, said the American maritime industry “has sufficient capacity to complete this work.” DOE agreed that there would be plenty of U.S.-flagged vessels available to move the crude.


MEDICAL SERVICES OFFICER PAUL MANNING PROFILED ON FEDERAL WORKERS’ ALLIANCE WEBSITE

New MM&P member Paul Manning was chosen by the Federal Workers’ Alliance for its monthly profile feature, “Federal Employee Spotlight.” Manning is a member of the MSO bargaining unit that won MM&P representation in a Federal Labor Relations Authority election held in December of last year.

The Federal Workers’ Alliance (FWA) is a coalition of 22 labor unions, including MM&P, which collectively represent more than 300,000 federal workers. The FWA is dedicated to fighting for the interests of government workers and their families. 

Every month, FWA member unions submit their nominations for the “Employee Spotlight” feature. The aim is to highlight the important work being carried out every day—often “behind the scenes”–by the men and women who work for the U.S. government.

MSO Manning’s profile begins with a description of Military Sealift Command (MSC) itself, since those outside the maritime industry and the military often have little familiarity with MSC’s crucial role in replenishing naval ships and supplying U.S. troops abroad. 

The profile then traces Manning’s career–from U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman to deployment on multiple occasions to the Middle East and the Mediterranean. He has served aboard the USNS NIAGARA FALLS, the USNS SACAGAWEA, the USNS JOHN LENTHALL and the USNS SUPPLY. He now sails on the USS MOUNT WHITNEY. In 2008, Manning was awarded the Mariner Excellence Award for East Coast MSOs for the medical care of a crewmember who had had a heart attack and another who risked losing his left leg.  

“Union membership is not mandatory but nothing is free,” Manning says. “Joining a union is a personal decision on your part. But now more than any other time is when good representation on decisions that affect us is crucial. A healthy level of dues-paying members is needed to keep our representation. This is a tough time to work for the federal government, especially with a pay freeze in effect. We all sacrifice, as do our families, in support of MSC’s mission to help defend the nation. We deserve representation.”

To read the article on MSO Manning and find out more about the Federal Workers’ Alliance, go to: http://www.federalworkers.org/.


MM&P’S GEORGE QUICK AMONG HONOREES AT AOTOS EVENT

The United Seamen’s Service (USS) Admiral of the Ocean Sea Awards (AOTOS) will be presented to Gen. Duncan J. McNabb, commander of the U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM), Jim Henry, chairman and president of the Transportation Institute and ABS Chairman Robert Somerville. In addition, MM&P Pilot Group Vice President Capt. George A. Quick will receive a Special Recognition Award.    

The awards will be presented at a dinner at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers on Oct. 28. “We are so proud to be able to honor labor, military and service providers who represent strong leadership in the maritime industry. They are being recognized for their significant contributions and important ship services to American seafarers, vessels and American commerce,” said Richard Hughes, chairman of the USS AOTOS Committee and president of the International Longshoremen’s Association, AFL-CIO.

All proceeds from the AOTOS event benefit USS community services abroad for the U.S. merchant marine, seafarers of all nations, and U.S. government and military personnel overseas.


PUERTO RICO’S CONGRESSIONAL REP WANTS ANALYSIS OF JONES ACT’S IMPACT

Puerto Rico’s representative in the U.S. Congress, Pedro Pierluissi, has asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to launch a study of the Jones Act’s impact on Puerto Rico’s economy. The Jones Act requires that maritime transportation of cargo between Puerto Rico and the rest of the United States be carried out on U.S.-built, U.S.-flagged vessels crewed by U.S.-citizen mariners.

Pierluissi is Puerto Rico’s “Resident Commissioner,” a non-voting member of the U.S. House of Representatives elected by the voters of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico every four years.

As part of the study, he has asked the agency to “consult with interested parties in Puerto Rico, including representatives of the manufacturing, agriculture and trade sectors, and with individuals and organizations that support or oppose the repeal of the Jones Act.”

In requesting the study, Pierluissi has cited economists who argue that the Jones Act hurts Puerto Rico families and companies and is interfering with the island’s economic growth. So far the GAO has not responded to his request.
 

Another leading Puerto Rico politician, Republican Governor Luis G. Fortuño, is an outspoken critic of the Jones Act. Last year, he endorsed legislation introduced by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to bring about the repeal of the Jones Act.


44,000 TSA WORKERS WIN AFGE REPRESENTATION

Some 44,000 airport screeners across the country have won representation by the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE). AFGE won the right to negotiate on behalf of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers by defeating a non-AFL-CIO union. The final vote was 51 percent to 49 percent. Several MM&P headquarters staffers participated in the organizing drive on AFGE’s behalf, talking with transportation security officers at Baltimore Washington International Airport about the advantages of being part of a union.


CARGO SHIP FREED BY PIRATES, ATTACKED AGAIN, THEN SINKS

The MV SUEZ, released by pirates two weeks ago, has sunk in waters approximately 74 nautical miles southeast of Salalah. The vessel had been freed earlier this month after being hijacked on Aug. 2 of last year. The crew reported being attacked by pirates again after the vessel was released. The crew was later evacuated by a Pakistani warship, after which the vessel was reported to have sunk.


JULY AND AUGUST UNITED INLAND GROUP MEETINGS

All members of the United Inland Group-Pacific Maritime Region are encouraged to attend the upcoming meetings at the MM&P Hall in Edmonds, Wash. Meetings are scheduled on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 10:00 a.m. Please join us at the Edmonds Hall on July 12 and Aug. 9, at 10:00 a.m. The hall is located at 144 Railroad Ave., Suite 222, Edmonds, WA, 98020. The telephone number of the hall is 425-775-1403.


SCHEDULE FOR 2011 OFFSHORE DIVISION ORIENTATION COURSE

The Offshore Division Orientation Course, formerly called the D-Book Membership Course, will be held at regular intervals throughout 2011.

The schedule is as follows (but please note that course dates may change depending on the number of participants who sign up): Oct. 13-14 in Los Angeles/Long Beach; Oct. 21-22 at MM&P headquarters in Linthicum Heights; and Nov. 8-9 in New Orleans.

There is no sea-time requirement to take the course. All Offshore applicants, potential transferees from other membership groups and other interested Offshore members are urged to attend.

 If you want to attend the course, please RSVP to the local hiring hall where the class is offered or, in the case of a course planned for headquarters, to Mary Seidman at mseidman@bridgedeck.org.


NEGOTIATIONS ONGOING FOR EMPLOYEES OF MY CLEANING SERVICES

Contract negotiations for the MM&P members employed at My Cleaning Services are ongoing, reports MM&P Regional Representative Eduardo Iglesias. The next meeting is scheduled for July 21-22. Members of the My Cleaning bargaining unit are employed in Linthicum Heights, at the Maritime Institute of Technology & Graduate Studies.


NTSB SAYS TUGBOAT MATE’S CELL PHONE USE KEY FACTOR IN DUCK BOAT DEATHS

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has determined that the mate operating a tugboat on the Delaware River near Philadelphia on July 7 of last year was talking on a cell phone and using a lap top computer to handle a family emergency instead of maintaining a proper lookout when the barge he was towing collided with a duck boat that was at anchor. Two of the 35 passengers on board the duck boat were killed when it sank. The NTSB says it will release a complete report of the incident in coming weeks.


ENVIRONMENTALISTS SAY EPA INACTION ALLOWS RECKLESS SCRAPPING OF TOXIC VESSELS

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is failing to adequately police the scrapping of derelict U.S.-flagged ships, according to a coalition of international environmental groups. Critics charge that the agency is increasingly choosing to waive its congressional authorization to require that ships be tested for toxins before export for scrapping. Recent controversy involves the cargo ship HARRIETTE, which—on June 1, with the EPA’s support–was cleared by the Maritime Administration for scrapping in Bangladesh.

EPA is authorized by Congress to require that suspect ships be tested for the presence of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other dangerous substances before being taken abroad for scrapping. But the agency is accused of relinquishing the authority granted it under the U.S. Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Instead of requiring testing, EPA has increasingly chosen to allow ship owners to “self-certify” that their ships are PCB-free.

The environmental group BAN is protesting clearance of the HARIETTE. Another derelict vessel, the PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND, was sent to Alang, India, in March, although it was suspected of containing PCBs. The Obama Administration “is turning a blind eye to the fate of U.S-flagged ships being scrapped on Asian beaches,” said a spokesman for BAN. “Sadly this is being done even when they know the exports will result in untimely death and disease and are in fact being exported in contravention of U.S. law.”


FORMER SEA-LAND SERVICE CEO CHARLES HILTZHEIMER DIES

Charles I. Hiltzheimer, who served at different times in his long career as head of Sea-Land Service, United States Lines and Puerto Rico Marine Management, died last week at the age of 83. “Charlie Hiltzheimer was one of the most courageous presidents to head Sea-Land Service,” said MM&P International President Tim Brown. “At a time when freight-rate conferences were not working and rate-cutting ruled the waves, he withdrew from the conferences on the West Coast and Sea-Land went head-to-head with any foreign shipowners who were undercutting the conference rates. Within a short period of time, foreign shipowners relented and urged Sea-Land to come back into the conference and all freight rates returned to normal,” Brown said.


GREEK ENGINEER SENTENCED FOR POLLUTION FROM LIBERIAN-FLAG SHIP

The chief engineer of a Liberian-flagged cargo ship has been sentenced to six months in prison for obstructing an investigation that took place in the port of Baltimore in May of last year. Dimitrios Grifakis of Greece was working aboard the Liberian-flagged cargo ship CAPITOLA when the incident took place. The ship’s operator, the Liberian-registered Cardiff Marine Inc., had already pleaded guilty to obstructing the investigation and violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships. Cardiff Marine was sentenced earlier this year to pay a $2.4 million fine. Grifakis admitted that he had ordered the crew to pump oil-contaminated waste directly into the ocean and then tried to hide the misdeed from the U.S. Coast Guard.


MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

Between now and the end of September 2011, the following courses are scheduled at MITAGS.  For class availability or information on MITAGS courses and programs, contact Kelly Michielli, Admissions Coordinator, toll free at 866-656-5568 or e-mail: admissions@mitags.org.

AB – Able Bodied Seaman: 8/22

ARPA � Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 9/27
AZIPOD (2-DAY) for Pilots: 7/25, 7/28

BRM � Bridge Resource Management: 9/26
BST – Basic Safety Training: 8/15

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
CMM-ADVWX � Advanced Meteorology: 9/12
CMM-CHS I � Advanced Cargo Operations (week 1): 7/11
CMM-CHS II � Advanced Cargo Operations (week 2): 7/18
CMM-ECDIS � Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems: 8/15
CMM-MPP � Marine Propulsion Plants: 8/8
CMM-SHMGT I – Ship Management (week 1): 7/25, 9/19
CMM-SHMGT II – Ship Management (week 2): 8/1, 9/26
CMM-SHS-ADV-I � Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 7/11, 8/22, 9/12, 9/26
CMM-SHS-ADV-I I � Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 7/18, 8/15, 9/19
CMM-VPEN � Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 8/22
CMM-WKP � Advanced Watchkeeping: 8/29

CONT PLNG � Contingency Planning: 7/29
CHS BAS � Basic Cargo Handing and Stowage: 8/8

ECDIS-ENAV (2 DAY) for Pilots: 7/25
ENAV � Electronic Navigation: 9/12
ENVIRO-Regs Permit � Environmental Regulations Permit: 8/29

FF-BADV � Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 6/27, 8/15
FSM � Fatique, Sleep and Medications for Pilots: 7/27

GMDSS � Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 8/22

HAZ � Hazardous Materials (5 day): 8/22

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 9/12
LFBT-LTD � Lifeboatman Limited: 8/20
LNG Awar-4 � Liquefied Natural Gases Awareness (4 Day): 8/1

MCL – Management, Communications and Leadership: 9/12
MEDIA-RSP � Media Response Workshop: 7/28
MED-PIC – Medical Person In Charge: 8/1
MED-PIC -R� Medical Person In Charge Refresher: 9/12
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 8/1
MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 8/6

MSC-CBRD1 � Basic Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense: 8/12
MSC-DC � Damage Control: 8/8
MSC -SMA � Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 8/8

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 7/20, 7/27, 8/18, 9/14
ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal Day Class: 7/27, 8/29, 9/26
ROP-5 � Radar Observer Original and Renewal: 8/1

SEC-VCF � Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 7/25
SHS-BAS � Basic Shiphandling: 8/29
SHS-EMR5 � Emergency Shiphandling: 8/1

TC-NAV/CO � Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 7/11
TPIC-DL � Tankerman Person In Charge Dangerous Liquids: 8/15
TPIC-LNG � Tankerman Person In Charge Liquefied Gases: 7/11

WX BAS � Basic Meteorology: 9/19

…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

July 2011

5-15     GMDSS
7-8      Vessel Security Officer
11-15   Radar Observer Unlimited
11-15   Medical Care Provider
11-22   Medical Person-In-Charge
18th    Radar Renewal
18-22  ECDIS
18-22  Management, Communication, and Leadership
19-21   Security – Vessel, Company, and Facility
25-29  Basic Construction and Stability

August 2011

1-12     GMDSS
8-12    ECDIS
15-19   Tankerman PIC
15-19   Basic Meteorology
22nd   Radar Renewal
22-26  Medical Care Provider
27th    Medical DOT
22-2    Medical Person-In-Charge
23-26  ARPA

September 2011

6-16    Celestial Navigation
12-23  GMDSS
19-23  Medical Care Provider
26-30 Med PIC Refresher
26-30 ECDIS
26-30 Basic Shiphandling

October 2011

3-7      Basic Construction and Stability
3-14    GMDSS
10-14  ECDIS
11th      Flashing Light
12-13   Basic Environmental Awareness w/ Vessel General Permit
17th      Radar Renewal
17-21   Management, Communication, and Leadership
17-21   Basic Shiphandling
18-20  Security – Vessel, Company, and Facility
24-28 Basic Cargo Handling and Stowage


MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 6-24-11

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
12,050.00 2,652.89 1,268.45
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Closing
Price
 Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund (VAARX)
55.62
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
116.80
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
42.70
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
19.22
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
18.34
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
26.43
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
10.99
 Vanguard Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
31.84
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
5.75
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
16.63
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
22.37
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
14.33
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
19.95
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
12.10
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
12.71
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
12.86
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
13.29
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
13.70
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
10.80
 Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
31.98
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
17.69
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
15.66
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
18.32
 Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
10.80
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
70.06
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
69.36
 Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
18.35
 Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX)
45.90
 Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
29.79
 Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
28.34
 Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
11.47
 Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
12.17
 Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
13.81
 Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
13.99
 Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
13.90
 Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
8.06
 Fidelity Freedom 2050 (FFFHX)
9.41
 Fidelity Total Bond Fund (FTBFX)
10.96
 Spartan Extended market Index Fund (FSEMX)
38.92
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
45.09
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
30.68



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.

© 2011, 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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