News

Wheelhouse Weekly – March 31, 2006

March 31st 2006

 

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

Volume 10 . . . . . Number 13. . . . March 31, 2006

STORIES COVERED

REMINDERS

T-AGS Oceanographic Survey Ships Info

Required Coursework

Security Clearances

MSC Physicals

MM&P Health & Benefit Plan News

Notice to Members who are taking Vioxx

NMHC Mail-Order Prescriptions Website Updated & Improved

WWII USCG Veterans Outreach

Company Gives Bucks Back for buying Safe Shoes

Website Offers Union-Made Goods and Services




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





 

MITAGS PROVIDES OFFSITE TRAINING FOR MATSON’S RRF SHIPS

MITAGS continues to respond to the growing and changing training requirements for commercial vessels that have been contracted to the US military. MITAGS will be providing offsite training in California for MM&P members that are interested in sailing on Ready Reserve Fleet (RRF) ships that are operated by MM&P-contracted Matson Navigation.

The MITAGS instructors will work in conjunction with Military Sealift Command (MSC) instructors to help members complete their required courses in a timely manner. Courses to be provided offsite include Chemical, Biological, and Radiological Defense (CBRD-1), Basic First Aid, Automated External Defibrillator (AED), Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), and Department of Transportation Drug and Alcohol Testing (MED-DOT).

These RRF required courses will be conducted following the ten-day Explosive Cargo Handling/Stowage and Explosive Materials Handling Operators courses that will be held at Cape Gibson in Alameda, California. Don Marcus, MM&P Vice President of Pacific Ports, was instrumental in arranging this offsite training.




 

WHITE HOUSE WITHDRAWS SANBORN NOMINATION TO HEAD MARAD

According to media reports, The White House has notified the Senate that President Bush has withdrawn the nomination David Sanborn to be the next US Maritime Administrator. Sanborn currently serves as Director of Operations for Europe and Latin America at DP World. Prior to this, he served as Senior Vice President for North America Service Delivery at CMA-CGM (America) LLC. Sanborn’s nomination encountered rough sailing during the P&O/Dubai World Ports controversy. It really hit the rocks after several members of the Senate Commerce Committee said that they would delay consideration of Sanborn’s nomination pending the outcome of the Dubai situation.


US “SHIRKING ITS RESPONSIBILITY” FOR PORT SECURITY

Saying that the Bush administration is “shirking its responsibility to fund and enforce the port security laws and regulations of this nation,” transportation labor leaders have called upon Congress to step in to ensure greater security at our nation’s ports.

In addressing the recent controversy over a Dubai-based company’s efforts to operate major US ports, the AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trades Department (TTD) noted that, “while talking tough on security, the Administration was apparently more interested in placating a foreign government than conducting a robust review and evaluation of the security risks inherent in this deal.”

At the biannual meeting of its Executive Committee, TTD leaders adopted a policy statement that noted that even in the wake of the Dubai issue, “serious gaps that exist in maritime, terminal and cargo security remain unaddressed.” TTD specifically criticized the Department of Homeland Security, which it said, “has failed to provide adequate levels of funding for port security, has failed to enforce the many maritime security regulations under its jurisdiction, and has failed to effectively oversee its various agencies with maritime, cargo, and terminal security roles. As a result, despite transportation labor’s repeated calls for action, real security measures have yet to be implemented and our ports remain extremely vulnerable.”

TTD called for greater federal port security spending, and an end to pushing these costs onto private entities. Also, it demanded a more thorough inspection of cargo containers, including those which are empty, to ensure that seals have not been tampered with, as well as more rigorous training for longshore and other port workers on security practices and evacuation plans.

“Our government has ignored warning after warning about the homeland security risks at our nation’s ports. It is long past time to move from feel-good photo ops to real port security solutions,” said TTD President Edward Wytkind.


COMMITTEE LOOKS AT PORTS AS WAY FOR DIRTY BOMBS TO ENTER US

Undercover officials from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) were able to smuggle enough radioactive material to make two dirty bombs into US ports of entry, according to testimony given before a Senate committee hearing earlier this week.

“I hope the message is that we have to pick up the pace when it comes to seaport [security],” said Senate Homeland Security chairman Norm Coleman (R-MN). He added that “many experts, including one here this morning, believe that a maritime container is the ideal platform to transport nuclear or radiological material or a nuclear device into the US. Since 90 percent of global trade moves in maritime containers, we can not allow these containers to be utilized to transport Weapons of Mass Destruction. The consequences of such an event would be devastating to our way of life and our economy.”

Coleman said the fact that just 40 percent of US ports have radiation detection equipment four-and-a-half years after 9/11 was “a massive blind spot.” In addition, the committee chairman said that “we must close the gap at our ports, the NRC must reform the processes by which anyone can acquire radiological material, and the National Nuclear Security Administration must continue to aggressively build safeguards to guard against corruption.”

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said that “we should detect and interdict these dangerous materials as far from the United States as possible.” With 98 percent of Hawaii’s goods coming into it by sea, Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI) said “I am particularly concerned about the nuclear and radiological security at our nation’s ports because commercial harbors play a critical role in the economy of my home state of Hawaii.”

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) stressed the need for all US- inbound containers to be inspected before arriving at ports. “Some nine million cargo containers enter our ports every year – almost three million in the Port of New York and New Jersey alone. But we still inspect only five percent of these containers. Five percent. That is unacceptable given the threats we face,” Lautenberg said.

“I believe we need to inspect or scan all containers that enter our country. The alternative is to continue to rely on intelligence – the same intelligence that President Bush relied on in determining whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. We can’t afford to be wrong again. One nuclear device smuggled into Port Newark in New Jersey could threaten the lives of 12 million Americans.”


PROGRESS MADE WITH RADIATION DETECTION AT US PORTS

The General Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report that indicates the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has made progress in the deployment of radiation detection equipment at US ports-of-entry. Among other things, the GAO found: As of December 2005, DHS had deployed 670 portal monitors and over 19,000 pieces of handheld radiation detection equipment. However, the deployment of portal monitors had fallen behind schedule, making DHS’s goal of deploying 3,034 by September 2009 unlikely.

The report also found that DHS has improved in using detection equipment and in following the agency’s inspection procedures since 2003, but current inspection procedures do not require Customs officers to open containers and inspect them, although under some circumstances, doing so could improve security.

In addition, DHS has sponsored research, development, and testing activities to address the inherent limitations of currently fielded equipment. However, much work remains to achieve consistently better detection capabilities. The text of the full report may be found at: http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-06-389.


SEATTLE OFFSHORE HIRING HALL HAS MOVED

The Seattle Hiring Hall and Offshore Division offices have moved to 15208 52nd Ave. S., Suite 100, Seattle, WA 98188. Telephone and fax numbers are unchanged: tel: 206-441-8700, fax: 206-448-8829. Please call for directions. The location is at the intersection of Interstate 5 and Interstate 405, just northwest of Southcenter Mall, near SeaTac Airport.


USCG LA-LB REC CLOSED UNTIL APRIL 13TH

The US Coast Guard, Los Angeles-Long Beach Regional Exam Center (REC) is now in the process of relocating to its new location on the sixth floor of the Long Beach Federal Building located at 501 W. Ocean Blvd. Suite 6200, Long Beach, CA. The REC closed its Seaside Avenue location on March 23rd and is scheduled to reopen to the public at its new Long Beach location on April 13th.

All mail-in credentialing business should be sent to the following new address starting on April 10, 2006:

US Coast Guard Regional Examination Center
501 W. Ocean Blvd. Suite 6200
Long Beach, CA 90802

To view updates on the REC move go to the USCG Web page at: http://www.uscg.mil/d11/sectorlalb/recdiv.htm For replacement of lost credentials during the closure, contact REC San Francisco Bay at 510-637-1124.


INSTRUCTOR AT MITAGS CALLED UP TO ACTIVE DUTY

The war on terrorism again hits close to home as another MITAGS instructor is called up to serve. This is the second MITAGS instructor to be called to active duty in recent years. Marine Safety Department Head James Shelley was called to active duty last year with the Maryland National Guard. Capt. Robert (Bob) Kimball was called up earlier this month for a one-year tour of duty with the Navy.

The Navy chose Bob for his expertise in commercial maritime operations. In addition to his unlimited tonnage United States Coast Guard Master’s license, Bob also holds Lieutenant Commander rank in the Navy Reserve, and is assigned to MSCO Unit #12. He has held a commission in the reserves since graduation from the State University of New York Maritime College (SUNY) in 1979.

Between his service with Lykes Lines, Bob has been instrumental in the development and presentation of MITAGS’ STCW-95 Chief Mate/Master Program. His has actively taught in a wide range of subjects; including Advanced Cargo Operations, Advanced Stability, Advanced Watchkeeping, Automatic Radar Plotting Aids, Radar, and License Advancement.


MAJOR UPGRADE ANNOUNCED FOR MITAGS SIMULATION FACILITIES

MITAGS continues to maintain its position as the leader in maritime training and simulation with the announcement of another $2 million upgrade to its simulator facilities, which is due to the growing demand for high quality simulation training and research.

The upgrade will integrate two of the largest and most sophisticated Class A full-mission simulators in the world with an 8-ship part-task ship/VTS simulator and a 14- station computer lab. Additionally, the simulators will be assimilated with two full-mission simulators that are located at the Pacific Maritime Institute’s Seattle facility.

This innovated upgrade will greatly enhance the realism and training for a large cross section of maritime requirements including:
— Multiple Tug and Barge Handling Operations
— River Tows
— LNG Docking/Undocking Operations and Research
— Single Point Mooring
— Offshore Oil/Gas Platform Support
— US Navy Underway Replenishment at Sea Evolutions
— Coast Guard Search and Rescue Operations
— Senior Pilot and Master Training
— STCW-95 Advanced Shiphandling Training and Assessment
— Bridge Resource Management Training and Assessment
— Port and Vessel Feasibility Studies
— Vessel Traffic Training and Research

The project is currently underway and is expected to be complete in 2007.


PMI’S USCG 500/1600 TON MATE PROGRAM TO BEGIN IN MAY

Gregg Trunnell, Director of the Pacific Maritime Institute (PMI), announced that their US Coast Guard approved 500/1600 Ton Mate Program is scheduled to begin on May 30, 2006. Funding for this program is now available through the Veterans Administration for GI Benefits and from SLM Financial Corporation, a “Sallie Mae” Company.

“The Mate Program is an innovative two-year training curriculum that is aimed at creating a larger pool of qualified Able-Seamen and Mates for the towing industry. The Program is organized so that every shore-based training phase is reinforced by an onboard training phase. This approach allows trainees to apply their new knowledge and skills on the job,” said Gregg Trunnell. “We are working with major towing companies to develop and improve training so that our students have the seamanship skills that employers are looking for. In fact, many of these companies have committed to provide billets for the onboard training component of the Program.”

The Program includes 25-weeks of shore-based training, 52- weeks of required onboard training, and access to the latest license examination preparation software. The four- phase curriculum is designed to build onto each prior segment of training so that students can continually develop their overall capabilities gradually and logically. Students that choose to obtain their sea time on towing vessels will also be issued a ‘Towing Officer’s Assessment Record’ (TOAR) certificate.

Professor Allen Glenn, Dean Emeritus of the University of Washington, had this to say about the PMI Mate Program, “The program is based on sound pedagogy and a careful consideration of the standards that must be met by the graduates. It is an intense, demanding program. Good! We want competent people on the bridge.”

For more information on the PMI 500/1600 Ton Mate Program or any other courses offered at PMI, please contact Gregg Trunnell at 206-719-2801 or via email at gtrunnell@mates.org. You may also visit PMI’s Web site at http://www.mates.org, where you will find the latest course schedule and descriptions.


CAPT. CHARLES PILLSBURY CONTINUES TO IMPROVE

Capt. Charles Pillsbury remains hospitalized but his condition continues to improve. Members who would like to send cards to Chuck can do so by addressing them to MM&P HQ, 700 Maritime Blvd., Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1941.


MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

CLASS OPENINGS: Between January and the end of June 2006, seats are available in the following courses:


AIS – Automated Identification Systems: 5/5
ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 4/3, 5/1, 5/15, 6/5
AZIPOD-2 – Two-Day Azipod Steering and Propulsion: 6/5

BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 5/15, 6/12
BST – Basic Safety Training: 4/24, 5/22, 6/26

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 1): 6/12
CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 6/19
CMM-ADVSTAB – Advanced Stability: 4/3, 5/22
*WX-BASREF-2 – Two day Basic weather refresher, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED PREP for Advanced Meteorology: 6/22
CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 5/22, 6/26
CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display and Info Systems: 5/15
CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 4/17, 6/26
CMM-SHMGT – Ship Management I (week 1): 6/19
CMM-SHMGT – Ship Management II (week 2): 6/12
CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 4/17, 5/29
CMM-SHS-ADV-II – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 5/29
CMM-ADVSTB Advanced Stability: 5/22
CMM-VPEN – Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 5/8, 6/5
CMM-WKP – Watchkeeping: 4/10, 6/5

COMP-OPSYS – Basic Computer Operating Systems: 6/26
CONT-PLNG – Contingency Planning: 6/9
CSE-AASE – Confined Space Entry: 5/15

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 4/24, 5/22, 6/26

HAZ-Hazardous Materials (5-day): 4/10, 5/1, 6/12

MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 5/4, 6/8
MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 4/22, 5/13, 6/10, 6/24
MED-PIC – Medical Person-In-Charge: 4/17, 5/8, 6/5, 6/19
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 4/17, 5/8, 6/5, 6/19


[MSC – Military Sealift Command]
MSC-CBRD-1 (Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Orientation): 4/19, 5/10, 6/19
MSC-DC (Damage Control): 4/20, 5/11, 6/20
MSC-SMA – Small Arms (4-day): 5/15, 6/19
MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 4/28, 5/19, 6/23 (must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years)

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal (5-day): 5/22
ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 4/3, 5/1, 5/15, 6/5, 6/21

SEC-OFF-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 5/1, 6/5
SHS-EMR – Emergency Shiphandling: 6/28

TPIC – Tankerman Person-In-Charge: 4/10


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


PMI ACADEMIC NOTES

Spring – Summer 2006

April 2006
4/3-4 Search and Rescue
4/5-7 Emergency Procedures
4/3-7 BST
4/4-7 Survival Craft (Lifeboatman)
4/10-14 ECDIS
4/10-14 Radar Observer Unlimited
4/10-14 AB
4/10-21 GMDSS
4/17-21 ARPA
4/17 Radar Renew
4/17-21 Basic Shiphandling
4/24-5/5 Watchkeeping (BRM Inc.)

May 2006
5/1-3 BRM
5/1-5 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
5/2-5 Survival Craft (Lifeboatman)
5/8-12 Basic Shiphandling
5/8-12 BST
5/8-12 AB
5/8-19 GMDSS
5/8-20 100 Ton OUPV
5/15-19 MEDPRO
5/15-26 MEDPIC
5/22 Flashing Light

June 2006
6/5-9 ECDIS
6/5-9 ARPA
6/5-9 BST
6/6-9 Survival Craft (Lifeboatman)
6/5-23 TCNAV/CO
6/19-23 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
6/19-30 GMDSS
6/26-30 Radar Observer Unlimited
6/26-30 Basic Shiphandling

August 2006
31 Jul-4 Aug Basic Shiphandling
7-11 ECDIS
7-11 Basic Safety Training
7-11 Meteorology – Basic
8-11 Survival Craft / Lifeboatman
14-18 Able Bodied Seaman
14-18 Basic and Advanced Firefighting
14-25 GMDSS
14-25 Shiphandling – Advanced
21-25 Ship Construction & Basic Stability
21-25 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
28-1 Sep Cargo Handling & Stowage – Basic

September 2006
5-9 (tu-sa) Medical Care Provider
5-9 (tu-sa) Emergency Shiphandling 5-day
5-15 Medical Person-In-Charge
11-12 Search and Rescue
11-15 Basic Safety Training
11-23 100 Ton OUPV
12-15 Survival Craft / Lifeboatman
13-15 Emergency Procedures
18-22 Radar Observer Unlimited
18-22 Shiphandling – Basic
18-22 Able Bodied Seaman
18-6 Oct Terrestrial & Coastal Navigation with Compasses
25th Radar Recertification
25-29 ARPA
25-2 Oct Watchkeeping & BRM

For registration call Jennifer Fowler 888-893-7829

PMI MERCHANDISE FOR SALE!!!

High quality with embroidered PMI logo.
Navy or Khaki Hats : $16 / includes tax
———————————-
Button Down Long Sleeve Dress Shirts
Blue or Khaki: $38 / includes tax
———————————-
Pocket t-shirts with Logo: $12 / includes tax
————————————
15oz. Cobalt Blue Ceramic Mug: $8 / includes tax

Call DeeDee Lazik 206-838-8328 or e-mail dlazik@mates.org.


MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 3-29

 

 D O W  N A S D A Q  S & P 500
11,215.70 -38.57 for the week 2,337.78 +37.63 for the week 1,302.89 +1.96 for the week

 

Fund Name & Trading Symbol
Closing
Price
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
119.98
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
37.51
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
22.90
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
18.65
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
32.71
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
10.18
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX)
6.17
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
9.89
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
20.12
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
16.54
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
35.90
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
112.45
 Fidelity Small Company Instl (FMACX)
22.24
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
81.04
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX) 46.30
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
31.09

 






~ Reminders ~





 

T-AGS OCEANOGRAPHIC SURVEY SHIPS MANNING REQUIREMENTS

REQUIRED COURSEWORK

All MM&P members are reminded that to sail aboard the T-AGS ships that MM&P-contracted Horizon Lines will be operating, you must have the required training certification and your certificates must be current in accordance with Military Sealift Command requirements. Members are also required to have had a MSC pre-employment physical and to possess Ship Security Clearance (see below).

The MSC Contract calls for all training certificates required for manning of these vessels to be no older than 5 years and that all STCW-95 courses be renewed every 5 years, or annually, as applicable.

Five-year renewable courses include, but are not limited to:

  • Advanced Fire Fighting
  • Basic Safety Training, and
  • Damage Control

Small Arms certificates must be less than 1 year old and MUST NOT expire during your tour of duty.

Members interested in applying for one of the positions onboard the T-AGS vessels are advised to make sure your certificates are up to date. If not, contact Mary Matlock or Diane Ford at MITAGS Admissions, email: admissions@mitags.org, and schedule to take the course(s) needed.

Those MM&P members interested in obtaining more information and facts about the T-AGS Oceanographic Vessels are asked to email the Director of Special Projects requesting the “facts sheet”. It will be provided by return email in an Adobe Acrobat PDF format.

Members interested in employment on the T-AGS ships are asked to provide a 1-2 page resume. Please list the desired position you are seeking along with the certificates of training you possess and their dates. Upon receipt it will be forwarded to Horizon Lines and a confirmation sent back to the member. Vessel turnover commenced Oct.17, 2004. Positions for all ratings remain open.

The point of contact for sending a resume for employment on the Horizon Lines T-AGS Oceanographic Vessels is Richard Plant, MM&P’s Director of Special Projects. Send resumes in an email or as a Word file attachment to him at: rplant@bridgedeck.org, by fax to 410-850-0973 or by mail to:

Richard Plant, Director of Special Projects

IOMM&P
700 Maritime Blvd.
Linthicum Heights, MD 21090



SHIP SECURITY CLEARANCE NEEDED

Members who want to sail for Horizon Lines on the T-AGS Oceanographic Survey vessels the company is set to begin operating for MSC must have Ship Security Clearance before going aboard.

Special software must be downloaded from the US Government’s Defense Security Service to complete the Security Clearance application. You must have an Internet connection and a Windows-based computer to retrieve the application and run the program.

Go to https://sclient.dss.mil/download/w9xfull.htm to download the software titled “EPSQ SUBJECT2_2”.

After the software is installed and the program is launched, select “Create” from the menu bar at the top of the screen. You will be required to enter your Social Security Number and a case-sensitive password. A window titled “Type of Form” will appear.

All Deck Officers should select the first button titled “Request for Security Clearance (SF86)” and then click “OK” to go to the next screen, “Type of Investigation”.

From the “Type of Investigation” screen:

  • Masters and Radio Officers should select the first button, “Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI)”.
  • All other Deck Officers (C/M, 2/M, 3/M) should click on the second button, “National Agency Check (NAC or NACLC)”.

After selecting the appropriate investigation type, click on “OK” to begin filling in the forms.

 



MSC PHYSICALS

Horizon Lines requests all mariners seeking employment aboard the T-AGS Oceanographic vessels to take their MSC Physical at specially-designated facilities only after being advised to do so by the Company. This is to assure that all requirements of the MSC Physical are properly met.

 


MM&P FCU NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



 

MM&P HEALTH & BENEFIT PLAN NEWS

NOTICE TO MEMBERS WHO ARE TAKING VIOXX

On Sept.30, Merck & Co. voluntarily withdrew Vioxx, a popular anti-inflammatory medication, from the market. As a result, individuals who are currently taking the drug have been asked to contact their health care professionals to discuss discontinuing use of Vioxx and possible alternative treatments.

MM&P Plans Administrator Valerie Verrecchio reports that, “We have gotten a number of calls from members who want to know what to do with their remaining supply of Vioxx and whether the Plan or NMHC will refund their co-pay for the unused portion.

“Unfortunately, neither NMHC nor the Plan was aware of the Merck decision prior to the public announcement on Sept.30. As of that date, all deliveries of Vioxx to our members was suspended in accordance with Merck’s announcement. Orders that had already been processed and were in transit could not be stopped.

“In regard to refunds, Merck has set up a website at www.vioxx.com where members can obtain information on how to recover refunds from Merck for the unused portion of medication. Members can also call following toll free number for information: 1-888-368-4699.

“We are sorry for any inc onvenience this may have caused to members currently taking this medication, however, the matter is out of the control of the Plans.”



NMHC MAIL-ORDER PRESCRIPTIONS WEBSITE UPDATED & IMPROVED

MM&P Plans Administrator Valerie Verrecchio reports, “Good news! NMHC mail has finally gotten their website upgraded and functioning properly. I went in and tested it myself and found it to be quite user friendly.”

To use NMHC’s upgraded service, go to the NMHC Mail website at www.nmhcmail.com and click on “MEMBER LOGIN” at the bottom of the screen.

First-time and Registered users may bypass the welcome screen and go directly to the log-in page at https://members.nmhcrx.com/Login/Login.aspx.

  • First-time users should then click on the link marked “NEW USER: REGISTER HERE”.
    This will take you to a page titled “MEMBER REGISTRATION” where you will need to enter demographic information and submit it by clicking on the
  • “CREATE ACCOUNT” button.

After creating your account, NMHC will email you a password to gain entry into your records. With your first sign-in, the NMHC system will prompt you to change the NMHC password to one of your own choosing.

Once you are registered at NMHC, you can check the status of open orders by logging-in to the system through the “MEMBER LOGIN” page and going into the “MAIL ORDER” menu. You can look up all prescriptions and get the price our members will pay for any medication. You can also view an order history of all of your medication transactions (both retail and mail) for the last 24 months, locate 24-hour pharmacies in your zip code region as well as access other helpful member education information.

“We hope this welcome improvement will assist our members. Although you cannot order refills on line if you don’t provide a credit or debit card number, you can phone in your refill. Once you register on the website, you will still have access to all of the other information including checking the status of your order once it is phoned in,” said Ms. Verrecchio.



WWII USCG VETERANS OUTREACH

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

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




 

COMPANY GIVES BUCKS BACK FOR BUYING SAFE SHOES

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

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

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

Vessels in the LMS footwear reimbursement program are:

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

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

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

LOOK FOR THE UNION LABEL:

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

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

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

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

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




 

WEBSITE OFFERS UNION-MADE GOODS AND SERVICES

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

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

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

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

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



The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates, and Pilots, ILA, AFL-CIO, 700 Maritime Blvd., Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1941. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973; Email: iommp@bridgedeck.org. For further info or to subscribe contact 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 and is posted on our web page.



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