News

Wheelhouse Weekly – May 14, 2004


THE MASTERS, MATES & PILOTS’
WHEELHOUSE WEEKLYonline

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

Volume 8 . . . . . Number 20 . . . . May 13, 2004





 

Convention Call: MM&P 80th Convention

In accordance with Article IV, Section 2, of the International Constitution, members are hereby notified that a regular convention of the MM&P will be convened at 1000 on Monday, August 2, at MITAGS, 692 Maritime Blvd, Linthicum Heights, MD. Nominations for elective office will take place at this Convention. Constitutional amendments may also be considered at this Convention.

Members are also hereby notified that in accordance with Article IV, Section 6., Subsection b), all proposed resolutions must be forwarded to the International Secretary-Treasurer at least 30 days prior to the opening day of the Convention for inclusion on the Agenda and determination by the Convention.

 


STORIES COVERED

ALSO

REMINDERS




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




 

CARLYLE GROUP REPORTEDLY SEEKS BUYER FOR HORIZON LINES

American Shipper magazine reported this week that The Carlyle Group, a private equity company in Wash., DC, is looking to sell MM&P-contracted Horizon Lines. The Carlyle Group bought the former CSX Lines for about $300 million in Feb. 2003.

The asking price for Horizon is reported to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $500 million. The company’s revenue increases were well above expectations in 2003. Carlyle’s intent may be “to divest itself of Horizon while it’s on a roll,” one financial source was quoted as saying.



 

AMHS FERRY LECONTE STRIKES REEF IN SOUTHWEST ALASKA

The MM&P-contracted Alaska Marine Highway System ferry LeCONTE grounded on a reef in an island passage of southwest Alaska at 0955 hrs on Monday. As the 235-foot ferry began to take on water due to significant damage to its hull, 109 passengers and crewmembers were evacuated by lifeboat.

No injuries were suffered during the initial grounding, but three people required medical treatment from injuries substained during the evacuation.

The 31-year-old ferry hit the Cozian Reef in the Peril Straight near the northern tip of Baranof Island causing gashes over 30 feet long and 1-foot wide near the keel on both sides of the V-shaped hull. Five compartments were breached. Initial reports said the ferry was taking an often-used shortcut when she came in contact with the reef.

Emergency responders both Monday and Tuesday worked to make sure the LeCONTE did not move. Authorities said that if the vessel had moved off the reef it would have sunk. Salvagers made the vessel stable by setting out anchors to guard against wave action moving the boat and by allowing sea water to remain in breached compartments.

Investigators said the vessel had no apparent mechanical problems and have given no indication how the ship ran aground in calm weather on a well-known hazard marked by a light. The Coast Guard conducted routine drug and alcohol tests on the crew on watch and confirmed that all crew tested negative for alcohol. As of press time drug tests are being processed.

A representative from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) arrived Tuesday and was making her way to the scene. Crew members who could aid with the salvage remained in Sitka. One goal of the salvagers was to remove luggage and the 15 vehicles on board.

Two USCG cutters, the MAPLE from Sitka and the ANACAPA from Petersburg, remain on scene. A boom was been placed around the stricken vessel to minimize damage from leaks.

At press time on May 13, the Associated Press reported that salvage crews removing fuel from the ferry overnight on May 12 had to stop work after the tide caused the vessel to list 2 degrees. Nobody was injured and no further damage to the ferry was done. Up to 4,000 gallons of fuel had been offloaded by 1800 on May 12 according to the USCG.

Investigators also are reviewing a voyage data recorder containing navigation and radio transmission information.



 

US MARINER CONVICTED UNDER “OPERATION DRYDOCK”

A federal judge in the Western District of Washington has sentenced a US merchant mariner to two months in custody for falsely claiming that he had never been convicted of a criminal offense on his application for a merchant mariner license.

The mariner, who is not a MM&P member, was sentenced in Seattle, WA for making false statements on his application for a Merchant Mariner license submitted to the USCG in Seattle in Jan. 2001. The sentence is to be followed by up to 60 days in a half-way house as well as two years of supervised release.

The case marks the first time a merchant mariner, identified through the nationwide USCG initiative known as “Operation Drydock,” has been convicted of a criminal offense at trial. The USCG initiated the program in Dec. 2002, as a comprehensive criminal and counterterrorism investigation designed to identify vulnerabilities in the merchant mariner credentialing process.

The USCG, working with the FBI’s National Joint Terrorism Task Forces (NJTTF) and other interagency partners, compares the names of over 220,000 credentialed merchant mariners against law enforcement information to identify anomalies.

While the mariner was not identified to have had any association with terrorists, he did falsely claim that he had never been convicted of a criminal offense. He had previously been convicted of burglary and possession and use of drug paraphernalia.



 

MM&P OPPOSES MOVING M/V GEMINI TO CANADIAN REGISTRY

The MM&P, AMO and SIU sent a jointly-signed letter to Maritime Administrator Capt. Bill Schubert expressing their strong opposition to the pending application by Cleveland Tankers Ship Management, Inc. to sell the vessel M/V GEMINI for operation under the Canadian flag. MM&P LDOs and AMO and SIU members fill the licensed and unlicensed billets aboard this ship.

In part, the letter said that, “To the best of our knowledge, there is no clear, overriding justification for approving this application. On the contrary, retaining this vessel for operation under the US-flag with US citizen crews will advance a number of critically important US government maritime policies and objectives.

“First, the M/V GEMINI is a double hull clean petroleum product tanker which is precisely the type of commercial vessel the Department of Defense has indicated is already in short supply under the US-flag.

“It would, in our opinion, be completely counter to the goals and objectives of the recently enacted product tanker construction assistance program to allow a clean petroleum product tanker to leave the US-flag simply to allow the owners to enhance their own economic position and to do so at the expense of America’s security and American jobs.

“Equally important, we firmly believe that when the Maritime Administration evaluates an application to transfer a vessel to a foreign flag, it should consider the impact the transfer will have on American maritime employment. Clearly, the future availability of a sufficient number of trained American licensed and unlicensed seafaring personnel to meet Dept. of Defense requirements is a matter of great concern within the defense establishment.

“As you know, the best if not only way to ensure that our nation will continue to have the cadre of civilian maritime personnel it needs is to promote and maintain a stronger, larger US-flag commercial fleet at all times. Approving the pending application so that the M/V GEMINI can carry the same cargoes and operate in the same trades but under a foreign flag with foreign crews will send the clear message that the economic interests of one company takes precedence over US security interests.

“We believe that when you consider all the relevant national security and economic factors you will agree that the overall interests of the US demand that the pending application be rejected. We thank you for your consideration of our views and your support for America’s maritime industry.”



 

MERCHANT MARINE TO BE HONORED IN WWII MEMORIAL DEDICATION

US merchant mariners will get some long overdue recognition later this month when US Maritime Administrator Capt. William Schubert represents them during the Memorial Day dedication of the new WWII Memorial in Washington, DC. Schubert, in his role as Maritime Administrator, will represent the Merchant Marine as chief of service during the ceremony on May 29, 2004.

Merchant mariners crewed thousands of ships that carried troops and many tons of materiel for the Allied cause in World War II. Nearly 215,000 people served in the US Merchant Marine in World War II, and almost one mariner in 30 died in the line of duty. The Merchant Marine suffered higher casualty rates than any branch of the Armed Services except the Marine Corps.

Joining Schubert will be Rear Admiral Joseph Stewart, Superintendent, who will represent the Merchant Marine Academy, along with the superintendents of the academies for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. The US Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point was, and remains, the only one of the federal service academies in the US to send its undergraduates to war. During WWII, 142 of its undergraduates were killed in the line of duty.

“The contribution of merchant mariners to the war effort has too often been overlooked. Their inclusion on the memorial and in the ceremonies is a fitting tribute to the sacrifices made by the Merchant Marine,” Schubert said.

Merchant ships ran innumerable gauntlets of air, surface and submarine attacks ranging from the early danger zones in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean to the mid-Atlantic and the Mediterranean, and the kamikaze attacks off the islands of the Pacific. A total of 733 American cargo ships were lost to enemy action during WWII and more than 6,000 civilian American seafarers were killed. Thousands were injured during attacks and nearly 600 were held as prisoners of war.

“Merchant mariners are consistently first in, last out,” he added. “In World War II, they were the ones carrying cargo across the North Atlantic to Britain, and making the runs to Murmansk before the US entered the war. And when the war was over, it was the Merchant Marine who also brought the troops home.”



 

BENTLEY INDUCTED INTO INTERNATIONAL MARITIME HALL OF FAME

Former Rep. Helen Delich Bentley, a longtime advocate for the US shipping industry and the Port of Baltimore, was recognized earlier this week when she was inducted into the International Maritime Hall of Fame in New York.

Bentley, now a port consultant, was honored for a career during which she served in the House of Representatives from 1985 to 1995, as chairwoman of the Federal Maritime Commission from 1969 to 1975; as a maritime reporter and editor for The Baltimore Sun from 1945 to 1969 and producer and director of the 1950s television series “The Port that Built a City and State”, among other accomplishments.

Bentley was one of five people inducted into the Hall of Fame at an awards dinner at United Nations headquarters in New York City. Two other women have received the honor since the hall was created 11 years ago. Three to five people are inducted annually.



 

ENGINE ROOM FIRE STRIKES RO-RO IN PORT CANAVERAL

Three crewmen are recovering after an explosion and fire struck the foreign flag RO/RO CORNER BROOK in Port Canaveral, FL last week. Fire officials said the men were severely injured late yesterday when a pressure plate exploded in the engine room of the vessel, which was berthed with a cargo of paper products.

Two crewmembers were flown by Med-Evac helicopter to Holmes Medical Center in Melbourne and the third was rushed by ambulance to Cape Canaveral Hospital in Cocoa Beach.



 

LESSONS LEARNED FROM STUDY OF LARGE VESSEL FIRES

Shipping insurers pay out tens of millions of dollars each year in large vessel fire claims. Can anything be learned from past experience? Lloyd’s of London recently reported on a study of 68 large fire claims over a recent four-year period that found:

  • About 75% of fires start in cargo holds.
    • Other common areas for fires include engine rooms, cargo tanks, accommodation and pump rooms.
  • Spontaneous combustion is thought to contribute to 46% of cases.
    • This is followed by stevedores smoking (31%), and hot work (14%).
    • Cargoes liable to spontaneous combustion include fishmeal, tobacco, cotton, wood pulp and coal.
  • Human error is responsible for more than half the fires, with the crew responsible for 12%.
    • Faulty onboard practices included careless cabin heating and open fire doors.
  • Half of settlement costs were related to tankers, although this sector made up just 10% of fire claims.
    • Container vessels accounted for 4% of the fires and 17% of pay out costs.
    • Bulkers and cargo ships accounted for 60% of fires but just 22% of the costs.
    • Just 5% of claims were for ships over 100,000 dwt, but these cost 36% of the total.


 

SENATE TO BUSH: STOP YOUR OVERTIME PAY GRAB

US workers won a major victory and handed President George W. Bush a stinging defeat May 4 when the Senate voted to guarantee that workers now eligible for overtime pay will not lose their overtime pay protections despite new regulations issued by the Bush administration April 23.

The new rules, which redefine who is eligible for overtime pay, are due to go into effect in late August unless Congress acts to stop them. On a 52-47 bipartisan vote, senators approved an amendment to the Foreign Sales Corporation tax legislation (S.1637) to allow updates to the Fair Labor Standards Act’s rules that expand overtime pay eligibility while ensuring no workers currently eligible for overtime pay lose it.

AFL-CIO President John Sweeney called the Senate’s action a “common-sense decision. There is simply no reason for the Bush administration to slash a single worker’s overtime pay, especially in this economy, when middle-income families are already so hard pressed.”

The vote came after an intense administration effort to paint the new regulations as an expansion of overtime pay eligibility. “The Bush administration’s final rule is a frontal attack on the 40-hour workweek, and it is bad economic policy. My amendment guarantees that workers will not lose their right to overtime pay,” said Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), the amendment’s sponsor.

The House of Representatives could vote on the measure soon. Passage would force President Bush to either sign or veto the legislation. Sweeney urged the House to “support the Harkin amendment and reassure all working Americans that their rights to overtime pay will be protected.” Visit www.aflcio.org to take action to save overtime pay.



 

PRESIDENTIAL RACE HEATS UP AS SUMMER APPROACHES

The Presidential race is heating up as both candidates criss-cross the country educating voters on their various positions. The MM&P and the AFL-CIO have endorsed Democratic candidate Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) for President.

For members who want to find out detailed info on the candidates’ positions, both have extensive websites packed with the latest news from the campaign trail. The Kerry website is www.johnkerry.com. His Republican opponent, President George W. Bush’s website is www.georgewbush.com.



 

MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

SECURITY OFFICER-PORT, COMPANY, SHIP

Due to high demand, an additional SEC-PCS course has been added to our schedule on May 24-26. Plenty of space is still available.

 
CLASS OPENINGS

Between now and the end of June 2004, seats are available in the following courses:

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

  • NEW COURSE: AIS – Automatic Identification System (1-Day): 6/10

~~~

  • BST – Basic Safety Training: 5/17, 6/14

~~~

CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses

  • CMM-CHS-II – Cargo Handling and Stowage (week 2): 5/17
  • CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Info Systems: 6/21
  • CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 5/24
  • CMM-SHMGT-II – Ship Management (week 1): 6/7
  • CMM-SHMGT-I – Ship Management (week 2): 6/14
  • CMM-WKP – Watchkeeping: 5/24

~~~

  • COMP-DC – Computer Database Systems: 6/14
  • CONT-PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: 6/10
  • CSE-AWR-2 – Confined Space Entry Awareness (2-day): 5/27

~~~

  • MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 5/14, 6/11

~~~

MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses

  • MSC-CBRD-1 – Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Training Orientation: 5/22, 6/12
  • MSC-DC – Damage Control: 5/18, 5/20, 6/18
  • MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Renewal (2-day): 5/18, 5/20
    (must have passed all 3 weapons within 2 years)

~~~

  • ROP-5 – Radar Observer Unlimited and Renewal: 5/17
  • ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 5/19, 6/7, 6/12, 6/23

~~~

  • SEC-OFF-PCS – Security Officer: Port, Company, Ship: 5/24, 6/7
  • SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 6/7
  • SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling: 6/21

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

Check the MITAGS website for up-to-date course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations, and for schedule revisions.

 

Attendance Verification & Cancellation is Vital

If you are scheduled for a course, call, write, or Email admissions to advise whether or not you will attend. Many classes are in demand and maintain a Standby List. “No Shows” are missed training opportunities for other members.

 

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.

 


 

PMI ACADEMIC SCHEDULE

All the courses below will be conducted at the new Pacific Maritime Institute facility located in Seattle at 1727 Alaskan Way South, Pier 34. The new facility features a state-of-the art Ship Simulator that has to be experienced. PMI phone numbers remain the same. Come see the new facility at PMI’s “Maritime Technology and Career Center”.

 

May 2004 Courses

  • 5/17-21: Advanced Shiphandling II
  • 5/17-21: Basic Safety Training
  • 5/24-28: ARPA
  • 5/24: Radar Renewal

 

June 2004 Courses

  • 6/07-18: Terrestrial and Coastal Navigation
  • 6/07-11: Medical Care Provider
  • 6/07-18: Medical Person-In-Charge
  • 6/14-18: Basic Safety Training
  • 6/14-22: Able Bodied Seaman
  • 6/21/25: Radar Observer Unlimited
  • 6/28-7/2: ECDIS
  • 6/28-30: Compasses
  • 6/30-7/2: Ship Security Officer

Contact DeeDee Lazik at 206-441-2880 or 888-893-7829 (toll free) for registration or visit the PMI website at mates.org.


 

MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF MAY 12, 2004 CLOSE

 

 D O W    N A S D A Q
 10,044.31 -266.64 for the week  1,925.59  -31.67 for the week

Fund Name & Trading Symbol

Closing
Price

Year-to-Date Fund
Percentage Return

5 Year
Fund
Percentage Return
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)

101.52

-0.77
-2.91
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)

26.45

-0.79
+1.90
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)

15.87

-1.61
-0.27
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)

14.75

-0.81
-1.71
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)

26.90

+1.55
+0.85
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)

10.18

-1.37
+5.87
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX)

6.13

+1.38
+3.73
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)

10.00

-1.33
+5.99
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)

15.44

+3.62
+2.78
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)

15.58

-0.65
+2.61
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)

35.25

-0.80
-2.20
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)

96.60

-0.95
-3.49
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)

38.96

-0.80
-3.00



~ Reminders ~



 

GRAND OPENING FOR PMI’S NEW SIMULATOR SET FOR JUNE 10

The Grand Opening for the MM&P-MITAGS Pacific Maritime Institute’s new 15,000 square-foot facility which features a DNV Class A, full-mission, visual ship simulator is scheduled for June 10th for government officials and June 11th for maritime industry guests.

The new simulator boasts a combination of state-of-the-art visual technologies, accurate hydrodynamic modeling, and modern bridge design that will offer a highly realistic training environment. Four secondary bridges are available for interactive operational exercises.

“PMI’s expansion and relocation signals our commitment to provide customers with a comprehensive and all-inclusive training environment. Our new full-mission simulator will provide an efficient and realistic way to train and assess mariners. Students and companies can rely on PMI for all their training requirements,” said Gregg Trunnell.

The new training facility will enhance PMI’s ability to providing regulatory and customized courses to a wide range of maritime professions, including ship and towing officers, tankermen, pilots, the fishing industry, port security officers, and vessel traffic control personnel.

For more info about PMI or license advancement courses currently being offered, contact Gregg Trunnell at 206-719 2801 or via Email at gtrunnell@mates.org, or visit PMI’s website at www.mates.org.



 

MM&P FCU NEWS

Rates Drop, Limits Increase On Auto Loans

MM&P FCU vehicle loan rates have dropped across-the-board. Effective May 5, borrowers may finance up to $30,000 on vehicle loans for terms up to 72 months. This is an increase of $5,000 and 12 months over past maximum financing amounts and terms.

Rates on 6 year auto financing range between 5.50% and 6.25%. Vehicle loan rates are as low as 4.00%. Rates apply to new and used cars, and to loans refinancing higher rate vehicle loans from other institutions. Contact the Credit Union office to find out how these rates may cost less than dealers incentives and how you qualify for new, low rate vehicle financing.

 

Signature Loan Rates Dip

As an added bonus, Signature Loan rates have also been lowered. Now is the time to start thinking about those summer vacation plans or home improvement projects. Signature loan rates range from 9.00% to 9.75%. Hurry and take advantage of these new lower rates and start saving money today.

Need More Info? Contact Kathy Klisavage, MM&P FCU Manager, to learn more about loan rates and products, direct deposit, share savings accounts and certificates of deposit, benefits of membership and membership eligibility. Kathy Klisavage can be reached by email to mmpfcu@bridgedeck.org, or by calling 410-850-8700 x43 or toll-free 1-800-382-7777.

All MM&P FCU loan rate percentages are APR or Annual Percentage Rate. All MM&P FCU savings and certificate rates are APY or Annual Percentage Yield. Loan terms and conditions are subject to change. Contact the MM&P FCU for eligibility info and for full terms and conditions.

Protect Your Personal Information – Beware of Email Scams

“It’s the curse of technology,” was overheard recently as someone talked about Email scams. Email scams are rampant these days, just like telephone scams were not so long ago. In the most-common current scenario, an Email is received from what looks like a legitimate entity that asks you to provide sensitive, private information to “verify” your identity or account. Scam artists are now even posing as the Internal Revenue Service to try and get your info.

The IRS recently issued a warning that fraudulent emails disguised as being from them are aimed at tricking taxpayers into providing their Social Security numbers, driver’s license information and bank and credit card numbers through a web site that’s set up to look like it belongs to a federal agency. If this information is obtained it can be used by identity thieves to take over a person’s financial accounts, run up charge cards, apply for loans and file fraudulent tax returns.

Protect yourself. No financial institution, federal agency or legitimate business will initiate contact by Email or phone and ask for any such personal information. Legitimate entities with which you are already established should have that info. If you receive such a request, contact the sender to verify if it is legitimate. The MM&P Federal Credit Union has never been the target of such a scam and will never initiate an Email to you that asks for this type of private information.



 

PILOT CANDIDATES SOUGHT FOR PORT OF FORT PIERCE FLORIDA

Florida’s Port of Fort Pierce has announced an opening for a certified deputy pilot. Those interested should submit a completed application and a non-refundable application fee of $200 by June 1.

The application is available via the web at: www.myflorida.com/dbpr/pro/pilotc/pilot_index.shtml.

The Deputy Pilot Examination is currently scheduled for Sept.9 in Tallahassee.

For more info contact the Board of Pilot Commissioners at 850-922-2918; Fax: 850-922-2918.

 



 

TAX FILING DELAY OK FOR OIF MARINERS

The April 15 deadline for filing US federal tax returns has passed, but for merchant mariners sailing in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom “on vessels under Department of Defense operational control in direct support of the United States Armed Forces” (and for their spouses ­ even if separate returns are filed), missing the dreaded deadline may be OK.

For merchant mariners and several other groups, the Internal Revenue Service is allowing an extension of time for tax filing. The extension, authorized in section 7508(a)(1) of the Internal Revenue Service Code, 26 United States Code, gives an additional 180 days PLUS the number of days served in a combat zone between January 1, 2004 and April 15, 2004. IRS reports that merchant mariners qualified for the extension are those “serving in the combat zone as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom aboard Maritime Administration and Military Sealift Command owned or controlled vessels.”

In addition to the tax filing extension, section 7508 also allows to be postponed 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.” According to the notice, “no penalties or interest will be imposed for failure to file a return or pay taxes during the extension period.”

IRS Tax Tip 2004-40 published Feb.27, 2004 says, “the various extensions granted to combat zone participants to file returns or pay taxes will also apply to those serving in Contingency Operations, as designated by the Secretary of Defense. This is effective for any acts whose deadline has not expired before November 11, 2003.”

Paper returns must be filed if claiming an extension under section 7508. When the return is sent, print the words “COMBAT ZONE” in bold red ink at the top of the return and in large red letters on the mailing envelope. For mariners, the IRS says to attach a brief statement listing the date(s) of service within the combat zone in order to provide them with the total number of days of extension to which you are entitled.

Mariners and others who qualify for combat zone tax filing relief may notify the IRS of their status in advance through a special e-mail address: combatzone@irs.gov. Include in the email the following:

  • name
  • stateside address
  • date-of-birth and
  • date of deployment to the combat zone.

Do not include any social security numbers in an email. Notification may be made by the taxpayer, or by the taxpayer’s spouse, authorized agent or representative.

At present, the combat zone for Operation Iraqi Freedom is defined as follows:

  • Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, and the 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.

More detailed information can be found on the IRS website at www.irs.gov. From the main page, click on “The Newsroom” link and go to “Armed Forces” under the “Related Topics” headline. You’ll find useful info in the following titles:

Taxpayers in the US may seek assistance by calling the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. Taxpayers outside the US may call the IRS in Philadelphia at 215-516-2000. The information presented here is to serve as a guideline only. As always, readers are urged to seek the advice of a tax professional to discuss their own circumstances.



 

MAY 21 DEADLINE APPROACHES FOR MASTER TOWING LICENSE

The USCG advises that if you began your service or training in the towing industry before May 21, 2001, you may receive a license for Master of Towing Vessels if, before May 21 2004, you complete the exam required by 46 CFR 10.903(a)(18)(i) and meet either of the following two requirements:

1. Three years of service, including:

  • Two years on deck aboard a vessel 26-feet or more in length;
  • One year on deck aboard a towing vessel, with at least six months of training or duty in the wheelhouse of the towing vessel; and
  • Three months in each particular geographic area for which you are seeking authority.

~ OR ~

2. Three years of service aboard towing vessels, including:

  • One year on deck, with at least six months of training or duty in the wheelhouse of the towing vessel; and
  • Three months in each particular geographic area for which you are seeking authority.

The deadline to complete testing and service is May 21, 2004. If you miss this deadline, then the requirement to work up through Apprentice Mate, Mate, and then Master will apply. Although the deadline is this May, applications submitted after January may not allow sufficient time for evaluation and testing.

For additional info, please contact Richard Wells at 504-240-7300, ext 232, or via Email at REWells@msoneworleansrec.uscg.mil.



 

NEW CAREER GUIDANCE SECTION ADDED TO MITAGS WEBSITE

On the MITAGS website downloadable files are now updated on a regular basis in response to info received from the various government agencies and mariners. As always, these checklists are for guidance only. The final arbiter of training requirements is your local USCG Regional Examination Center. For more info, visit the Career Guidance section on the MITAGS website by CLICKING HERE, or go to www.mitags.org and select “Career Guidance” from the top menu.

Also, given the number of courses offered at MITAGS, the website now has new links to the various industry segment pages. These pages make it easier for mariners and companies to find the training designed specifically for them.

The links include:

  • Ship and Port Modeling Simulation Training;
  • Security Training;
  • State Pilot Training;
  • US Navy and Military Sealift Command Training;
  • High Speed Craft Training;
  • Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels (OUPV);
  • Limited Master Training; and
  • Custom Training.


 

IMPORTANT SHIPPING NOTICE ON COURSE DOCUMENTATION

All members shipping off-the-board and all company employees are reminded that they are responsible to insure that all of the company required courses they have completed are listed in the Union computer system.

In order to be dispatched/cleared, members must have certificates for any courses not listed in the computer in their possession and available for inspection by the dispatcher. Please double check that your documentation is in order prior to leaving your home to ship out of our Union halls. This can be done by checking your course history on the “Members Only” section of the MM&P website.



 

COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE FOR FRESHMAN DEPENDENTS

Attention all Members in good standing with dependent children who will be college freshman in September: A local Baltimore law firm is awarding two $2,500 one-time only scholarships to children of Union members. Since the MM&P is headquartered in the Baltimore area, Union members’ children would be eligible to apply for these scholarships.

One scholarship is for Undergraduate and the other is for Graduate School. Students must already be accepted to a college prior to applying. The deadline for application is Aug.20. The scholarships will be awarded Sept.24.

If your son or daughter would like to make application for this scholarship, please have them contact the MM&P Plan Office at 410-850-8600 for an application. The member’s name is required so that the Union can sign the application to certify that he/she is a member in good standing prior to sending the application to your child.

Members can also Email Plans Administrator Valerie Verrecchio at mmpplansval@aol.com with the member info including address where the application can be mailed.



 

RE-REGISTRATION NEEDED FOR EXPRESS PHARMACY MAIL-ORDER PRESCRIPTIONS THROUGH NHMC SITE LINK

All members currently getting prescription refills online through Express Pharmacy Services who access Express through the NMHC website link will have to re-register in order to be able to renew prescriptions online.

If you access your prescription renewals directly through www.ehs.com, you will be fine and have no need to re-register. The Plans office apologizes for the inconvenience, but the issue is related to problems with the link to Eckerd on the NMHC website. Please contact the Plan Office if you experience any problems.



 

NEW MAILING ADDRESSES FOR MITAGS, PLANS & CREDIT UNION

The buildings remain where they have always stood, but they have now been assigned new addresses. Local authorities have determined that it was necessary to put in place new street numbering for the MM&P’s MITAGS facility and for the MM&P Health & Benefit Plan office. The longstanding address of 5700 Hammonds Ferry Rd., used for both MITAGS and the Plan, has been eliminated.

Effective immediately:

  • The mailing address for MITAGS has been changed to:
    • 692 Maritime Blvd
      Linthicum Heights, MD 21090
      USA

 

  • The new mailing address for the Plan Office is now:
    • 700 Maritime Blvd.
      Suite A
      Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1996
      USA
    • This is the same street address as the Union headquarters since both offices are housed in the same building, but the Plan Office is denoted with a suite number.

 

  • The mailing address for the MM&P Federal Credit Union, located in the Plans Building Lobby, is now:
    • 700 Maritime Blvd.
      Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1941
      USA

The change brings the MITAGS, Plans and MM&P FCU addresses into conformance with Postal and 911 emergency mapping since all the buildings are located on the same road of the campus.

Plan Administrator Valerie Verrecchio advises Plan participants that “it is important to remember when you send mail to the Plans that you clearly address it to ‘MM&P Plans’ and to include our new suite number. This is what the Post Office will use to differentiate mail between the Union and the Plan office. Otherwise, the Post Office may send it through the mail system at the Union and your claims processing could be delayed for a couple of days.”

There is no change to the Union HQ mailing address.



 

MITAGS JOB OPENING: ACADEMIC BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER

The Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies (MITAGS) seeks an individual who can apply his/her knowledge and experience in marine shipboard operations to help solve organizational problems through training and education.

Excellent written and verbal skills a must. Person must also have an outgoing personality and be a goal-oriented self-starter with the ability to work independently. Travel expected 25 percent of time to seek opportunities and present proposals.

Desired background:

  • bachelor’s degree, graduate degree a plus;
  • unlimited tonnage license (or military equivalent), and
  • a record of continuing education.
  • Extensive industry contacts preferred.

MITAGS is located near the BWI airport, convenient to Baltimore, Washington and Annapolis, MD. Excellent full Union benefits, competitive salary. See our web site, www.mitags.org for more info. Resumes to Human Resources Fax: 443-989-3341; Email: hr@mitags.org. EOE.



 

IMPORTANT REMINDER FOR ALL LDOs ON STCW-95 CERTIFICATION

All Licensed Deck Officers who possess STCW-95 certificates containing Basic Safety Training (BST) completion dates close to or more than five years old need to carry copies of their USCG discharges with them so they can prove that they have the required sea service necessary to extend their BST qualification. For questions or further info, contact Mike Rodriguez at 410-850-8700 ext.23 or Email: mrodriguez@bridgedeck.org.



 

LMS OFFERS REIMBURSEMENT FOR SLIP-RESISTANT FOOTWEAR

MM&P-contracted LMS Ship Management recently reviewed the causes of injuries on board their vessels and found that accidental falls tend to be the cause of many of the crew’s injuries. In an effort to reduce the number of injuries caused by these falls, LMS is offering crewmembers that sail with them an incentive to purchase and wear proper shoe attire. The goal is for every crewmember to wear slip resistant footwear during their working hours aboard their vessels.

LMS will offer a reimbursement of up to $75 for the cost of the shoes to each crewmember who provides them 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.

LMS requests that crewmembers purchase one of the following recommended brands in order to be reimbursed:

  • 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 (with steel toe & slip resistant sole)

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

Red Wing has contracts with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) while Wolverine World Wide has contracts with UNITE!, the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees, for production of its Caterpillar brand (as well as its Hy-Test, Durashock and Bates Military labels). Some other Wolverine branded products including combat boots are manufactured under UFCW contract. 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.



 

WWII REGISTRY SITE OPEN TO ALL WHO SERVED IN ANY CAPACITY

The National WWII Memorial has a site on its webpage for individuals who served in any capacity during WWII to register to be included in the Memorial’s Registry. The main site is www.wwiimemorial.com.

If the individual clicks on WWII Registry, he/she can find out if he/she is already included as a result of one of the WWII databases and, if not, can follow the directions to register. Any American who contributed to the war effort is eligible for the Registry.



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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