News

Wheelhouse Weekly – May 15, 2012

 

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

Volume 16 . . . . . Number 20. . . .May 15, 2012

STORIES COVERED

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


U.S.-FLAG MARITIME INDUSTRY SAILS IN TO CONGRESS

MM&P members, officials and representatives of MM&P-contracted companies were part of a 155-person group that visited the offices of 170 members of the House and Senate last Wednesday to underline the important role played by the American maritime industry in the country’s security, economy and national defense. The meetings were part of the third annual Maritime Industry Congressional Sail-In.

In discussions with members of Congress and their staffs, representatives of MM&P, other American maritime unions and U.S.-flag vessel operators underlined the importance of the Jones Act, the Maritime Security Program and cargo preference laws. A major focus of the discussions: the hundreds of thousands of Americans who work directly or indirectly for the U.S.-flag fleet and the contributions they make to the nation’s economy.

MM&P members and MM&P-contracted ships were prominently featured in the Congressional Sail-In brochure that was given to each legislator and staffer with whom the maritime groups met. Pictured in the brochure were MM&P members Sly Hunter, Angel Irlanda and Shawn Pavlovich. Vessels belonging to AmNav, Horizon Lines, Matson and Waterman/Central Gulf were also featured.


THE ILWU STANDS WITH THE ILA IN CONTRACT TALKS

International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) President Robert McEllrath issued a statement last week reiterating the ILWU’s support of union dockworkers on the East Coast. The statement came in response to media reports speculating that ILWU support of the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) in this round of USMX-ILA Master Contract negotiations was somehow limited.

“No one should listen to the recent hum of industry executives suggesting they know what dockworkers on the West Coast will or won’t do in support of our East Coast brothers and sisters,” McEllrath said. “The fact is that we have their back in the fight to protect work and jurisdiction: their fight is our fight.”

One of the ILA’s top issues in negotiations is the introduction of new automated cargo handling equipment and its impact on manning and jurisdiction. “We know technology is coming and we know we can’t stop it forever, but we will not be deterred from protecting our work and our jurisdiction,” said ILA President Harold Daggett during a conference in March. “Like the ILA, we know that automation is coming,” McEllrath says. “The ILWU has a long history, beginning in the 1960s, of accepting automation provided that all associated work is assigned to the ILWU. But, in the latest wave of terminal automation, it remains to be seen whether our employers are willing to assign us that work.”

A spokesperson for the ILWU says that the Pacific Maritime Association, the West Coast employer group, is refusing to honor agreements on jurisdiction and automation that were negotiated in 2008, and that as a consequence, the union is being forced to arbitrate issues it thought were settled. As a result, the ILWU—like the ILA–expects a significant struggle going forward over the introduction of fully mechanized and automated cargo handling equipment technology.


JONES ACT, DREDGING AND SHORT SEA SHIPPING TAKE CENTER STAGE AT MAREX CONFERENCE

Speakers at last week’s Maritime Executive Conference reiterated the importance of the Jones Act to America’s economy and national defense, called for increased dredging of the country’s waterways and discussed whether “the tipping point” for short sea shipping might finally be near.

About 100 people, including MM&P members and officials, attended the conference, which took place May 7-8 at MITAGS. Speakers included the Honorable Helen Delich-Bentley and Joe Cox, president and chief executive officer of the Chamber of Shipping.

“I’m hearing more and more people questioning the Jones Act,” said Cox. “It used to be just foreign-flag operators, but now more and more questions are coming from Americans,” he said. “There’s nothing strange about moving cargo from an American port to an American port on an American ship crewed by Americans,” he said. “I can’t imagine anyone would question the rationale of an American-crewed plane flying from Los Angeles to New York.”

Delich-Bentley, a former U.S. congresswoman for whom the Port of Baltimore is named, said the Jones Act is essential to the nation’s economy and security, and must be maintained. “I can’t believe there are those who would call it into question,” she said.

On the subject of the possibility of “waiving-in” foreign-built vessels while others are being built in U.S. shipyards, Matt Paxton, president of the Shipbuilders Council of America, said that his organization “will absolutely oppose ‘waive-in’ proposals.”

Speakers at the conference also called for money in the Harbor Maintenance Fund to be used for its intended purpose. “Administration after administration has absorbed the harbor maintenance tax into its general fund and today some $7 billion that has been collected for the channels has never been appropriated for that cause,” Bentley said. “So are you surprised to learn that less than 35 percent of the nation’s harbors today have the depths and widths originally authorized for them?”

Bentley and others expressed hope that the RAMP Act, championed by a bipartisan coalition led by Louisiana Rep. Charles Boustany, would be passed into law as part of the transportation bill now pending in Congress. The RAMP Act would mandate that monies collected in the Harbor Maintenance Fund be used exclusively for their intended purpose.


AFTER HOUSE VOTE, EXPORT-IMPORT BANK REAUTHORIZATION APPEARS SECURE

The House of Representatives has approved legislation that would reauthorize the Export-Import Bank. The bank is important to the maritime industry because much of the cargo it finances is shipped on U.S.-flag vessels. The bill, which authorized the bank’s charter for another three years and raises its lending limit to $140 billion, is now pending in the Senate, where it is expected to be quickly approved and then sent to President Obama, who will sign it into law.

The Export-Import Bank’s charter must be periodically reauthorized by an act of Congress. This year, the usually routine process became highly politicized, with many freshmen Republicans in the House battling their more senior Republican colleagues. Leaders from both parties were fortunately able to break the bottleneck and negotiate a deal. The final vote was 330–93.


STRONG OPPOSITION MEETS U.S.-U.K. PROPOSAL TO DISCOURAGE RANSOM PAYMENTS TO PIRATES

A proposal by British Prime Minister David Cameron to “discourage the payment of ransoms to pirates” is evoking sharp criticism from shipping organizations, labor unions, seafarers’ rights groups and the marine insurance industry. The Round Table of international shipping associations and the Save Our Seafarers campaign (SOS) have written to Cameron and other U.K. government officials to say they are “highly disturbed” by statements made earlier this year by U.K. and U.S. officials at the London Somalia Conference. During the conference, Cameron and U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton discussed creating an international task force to study ways to discourage ransom payments.

The proposal “is a continuation of the U.S. State Department’s ill-conceived notion that piracy can be stopped by denying the payment of ransom, a position which ignores the human cost of sacrificing the lives of innocent seafarers,” says the MM&P Pilots Group Vice President. “It is particularly troubling that governments have not mounted a robust and effective campaign against acts of piracy, the shore bases that permit pirates to operate and the tracking of ransom money to the financiers of piracy,” he adds. “There is no doubt that denying the payment of ransom will result in the death of seafarers, which is totally unacceptable to the maritime community.”

“This could be a disaster for the shipping industry,” says Alistair Evitt, chairman of Save Our Seafarers, who was quoted in an interview published in the April 26 issue of Fairplay magazine. “There has to be a system to get the seafarer released.”

MM&P, the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association and other U.S. maritime unions spoke out strongly against the idea of blocking ransom payments when it was first floated in a 2010 Obama Administration Executive Order. “There is a vast difference between blocking the payment of funds to criminals where there are no consequences… and the blocking of ransom payments intended to protect the lives of innocent hostages,” the unions said. They called on the U.S. instead to place armed military detachments exercising governmental authority aboard U.S.-flag ships transiting waters subject to pirate attacks.


EUROPEAN UNION FORCES ATTACK SOMALI PIRATE BASE

European Union (EU) forces launched a helicopter raid on a Somali pirate base on Tuesday, destroying boats and other equipment. An EU spokesperson told journalists that the raid had been conducted in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1851 and that the operation had the complete support of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia. The spokesperson added that surveillance of the area showed no Somalis had been injured in the attack. In related news, the European Parliament last week adopted a resolution urging member states to strengthen their naval protection forces in the Indian Ocean and to devote more funds to tackling the root causes of piracy. The resolution also lamented the fact that EU countries have cut the number of vessels in their anti-piracy patrols from eight to only two or three at the start of 2012. The European Parliament said it “deplores” the cut in the number of ships and wants better coordination between European Union naval forces and NATO ships in the area.


GOVERNMENT CONTRACT VESSEL EMPLOYMENT

Patriot Contract Services is currently seeking resumes for specific government RFPs (“requests-for-proposal”). All licensed deck officers who have experience and/or qualifications for service aboard Military Sealift Command or other government contract vessels are encouraged to send in their resumes. Please send your resume, including most recent training, to Patriot Contract Services: Michael Gillihan, Crewing Manager: crewing@asmhq.com or fax to (866) 349-2297.


AMERICAN MERCHANT MARINE VETERANS OF WWII AT MITAGS JUNE 3-6

The American Merchant Marine Veterans of World War II will hold their convention this year at the Maritime Institute of Graduate Studies (MITAGS) on June 3-6. The schedule includes a tour of the Liberty ship SS JOHN W. BROWN.


NATIONAL MARITIME DAY OBSERVANCE IN SAN PEDRO ON MAY 22

The 2012 National Maritime Day Observance and Memorial Service in San Pedro, Calif., begins at 11 a.m. on May 22 at the foot of Sixth Street at the American Merchant Marine Veterans Memorial. The service will be followed by a luncheon at the nearby Ports O’Call Restaurant. For more information, please call Paul Nielsen at 310-325-3506.


SCHEDULE FOR 2012 OFFSHORE FAMILIARIZATION COURSE

The Offshore Familiarization Course, formerly called the D-Book Membership Course, will be held at regular intervals throughout 2012.

The schedule is as follows (but please note that course dates may change depending on the number of participants who sign up): May 29-30 in New Orleans; May 30-31 in Charleston; June 8-9 at MM&P Headquarters; Sept. 7-8 at MM&P Headquarters; Oct. 9-10 in New Jersey; Oct. 10-11 in Los Angeles; Nov. 7-8 in Houston.

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 MM&P Membership Secretary Mary Seidman: mseidman@bridgedeck.org.


MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

Try our on-line interactive calendar to register for class: http://mitags-pmi.org/courses/calendar/

For class availability, contact Admissions Coordinator Kelly Michielli toll-free at 866-656-5568 or e-mail: admissions@mitags.org.

AB – Able Bodied Seaman: 5/21, 6/11

AIS-1 – Automatic Identification Systems (one day): 6/6

BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots:  6/7

BST – Basic Safety Training: 6/25

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 6/11

CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 6/25

CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems: 5/21

CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 6/4

CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 6/11

CMM-SHS-ADV-I I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 5/21, 6/18

CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 6/18

ECDIS-ENAV (2 DAY) for Pilots: 6/4

ENVIRO-Regs Permit – Environmental Regulations Permit: 5/21

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 6/25

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep and Medications for Pilots: 6/6

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 6/11

LAP-ORG 3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3/Mate: 6/4


MED-PIC – Medical Person In Charge: 6/11

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 6/11

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 6/16

MSC -SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 6/4

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 6/4

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 6/8

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 5/16, 6/13, 6/27

SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 6/25

TPIC-DL – Tankerman Person In Charge Dangerous Liquids: 5/21

…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.


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.
 
May 2012

21-25    Radar Observer Unlimited
22-24    Security Officer – Vessel, Company, and Facility

June 2012

4-6       Emergency Procedures
4-22     Terrestrial and Coastal Navigation w/ Compasses
7-8       Search and Rescue
11th      Radar Renewal
11-22   GMDSS
18-22    ECDIS
18-22    Management, Communication, and Leadership (Horizon Lines)
25-29    Medical Care Provider


MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 5-11-12

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
12,820.60 2,933.82 1,353.39
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Closing
Price
 Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund (VAARX)
56.17
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
124.98
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
43.25
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
17.51
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
19.51
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
27.83
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
11.05
 Vanguard Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
35.14
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
5.89
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
16.80
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
22.44
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
14.47
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
20.16
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
12.33
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
12.92
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
13.00
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
13.35
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
13.76
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
11.07
 Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
33.88
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
19.19
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
15.80
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
19.74
 Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
11.00
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
69.38
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
69.50
 Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
18.52
Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX)
47.51
 Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
27.24
 Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
28.33
 Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
11.54
 Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
12.20
 Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
13.70
 Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
13.81
 Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
13.61
 Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
7.83
 Fidelity Freedom 2050 (FFFHX)
9.12
 Fidelity Total Bond Fund (FTBFX)
11.10
 Spartan Extended market Index Fund (FSEMX)
38.62
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
48.07
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
32.79



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.

© 2012, 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.