News

Wheelhouse Weekly – November 03, 2008

November 3rd 2008

 

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

Volume 12 . . . . . Number 44. . . .November 3, 2008

STORIES COVERED

REMINDERS

T-AGS Oceanographic Survey Ships Info

Required Coursework

Security Clearances

MSC Physicals

MM&P FCU News

MM&P Health & Benefit Plan News

Meet Our New Prescription Benefit Manager, PHARMACARE

Notice to MM&P Health & Benefit Plan Participants

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.


IN WAKE OF POWER OUTAGE OUTAGE, COAST GUARD SAYS SOME TWIC ACTIVATIONS TO RESUME TODAY

The Coast Guard has warned all maritime industry workers with TWIC cards awaiting pickup at enrollment centers that it may not be possible to activate their cards for the time being because of a power outage. “On Oct. 21,” the message reads, “the government facility that houses the TWIC system experienced a building-wide power outage. Although power was quickly restored, the part of the system that facilitates card activations was affected. While the Transportation Security Administration works to resolve this issue, enrollment centers nationwide will not be able to activate cards until the week of Nov. 10. As a result, the compliance deadline for ports with an Oct. 31 compliance date has been moved to Dec. 1.”

In a follow-up message, the Coast Guard said activations would resume today, Nov. 3, at enrollment centers in the Oct. 15 compliance grouping (Captain of the Port Zones Northern New England, Boston, and Southeastern New England). The Coast Guard said it was going to be phasing activations in again in the remaining ports, prioritized by compliance date. In any case, MM&P advises mariners to call ahead to the enrollment center where their cards are to be activated to ensure that the center is capable of activating TWICs. We will update readers on the situation in the next edition of The Wheelhouse Weekly.


JOBS AVAILABLE ON T-AGS VESSELS

There are three positions currently open on the T-AGS oceanographic survey ships: Chief Mate and Second Mate on the PATHFINDER and Second Mate on the MARY SEARS. The jobs can be bid with a port relief card instead of regular shipping card. Mariners on vacation can also take these jobs. If you are interested in taking one of these jobs, please immediately contact Gerry Gordon in MM&P’s New York/New Jersey Hall, 201-963-1918 or nynj@bridgedeck.org.


EXPIRATION DATE OF RADAR-OBSERVER ENDORSEMENT WILL BE REMOVED FROM MARINER’S LICENSE

The Coast Guard has amended its regulations so as to remove the expiration date of the radar-observer endorsement from the merchant mariner’s license. Mariners will still be required to keep their radar-observer training current, but the endorsement that evidences that training will no longer be printed on their licenses. The Coast Guard said it had acted in response to a petition submitted by a maritime industry working group which pointed out that under the previous system, the expiration date for the radar-observer endorsement could be different from the expiration date of the license itself, causing confusion about the validity dates of the underlying license. The Coast Guard said that changing the requirement will simplify the process of issuing the license and ease the burden on the Coast Guard, the industry and maritime training schools. Mariners will still be required to hold current radar training certificates to man vessels equipped with radar, but they will have up to 48 hours to produce a copy of their certificate upon request by the Coast Guard or other federal agency.


PIRATES HIJACK TURKISH BULKER; THREATEN TO KILL CREW OF UKRAINIAN ARMS SHIP

Last week pirates in the Gulf of Aden hijacked a Turkish-owned Panamax bulker with a crew of 20. The vessel, the YASA NESLIHAN, was on its way from Canada to China with a load of iron ore. The hijacking brings the current number of pirate-held ships in the Gulf of Aden to 10. In related news, the French Navy reported it had captured nine pirates carrying assault rifles and grenade-launchers in a small boat 115 miles off the coast.

Meanwhile, in a long-running stand-off, NATO forces have moved in on MV FAINA, which has been held since Sept. 25 by pirates who are now threatening to kill the 20-member crew. The FAINA, which was transporting 33 tanks and heavy weaponry, was heading to a Kenyan port when it was hijacked. U.S. warships have been hovering near the vessel for weeks. A spokesperson for the pirates warned that if NATO forces attack, they would fight until death. He also said food and water supplies are running low.

The International Maritime Bureau and maritime industry groups, including the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF), have called for international action in response to the 75 percent surge in the number of pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia this year. The U.S. Navy, for its part, is encouraging shipping companies to hire private security firms.


NEW POLICY WILL FACILITATE TWIC APPLICANTS WHOSE FINGERPRINTS HAVE BEEN REJECTED

Some people who applied for the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) between October 2007 and August 2008 were informed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) that their applications could not be completed because their fingerprint impressions had been rejected by the FBI as being “unreadable.” Since some of these workers still do not have their TWICs and the compliance date is rapidly approaching, the Coast Guard has decided to use the TWIC New Hire provision to allow those applicants with fingerprint issues to take advantage of already existing access guidelines and Homeport tracking so that they can continue to work. This decision only applies to those individuals who are on the TSA-provided list of individuals with fingerprint rejection issues.

The names of individuals with fingerprint issues who are working under the New Hire provision and the facilities with which they are associated will be provided to the appropriate Captain of the Port. The Coast Guard said this temporary waiver will expire Nov. 27, 2008. By that time, the Coast Guard said, all the individuals in the “fingerprint reject category” will have been processed and will have had ample opportunity to activate their credentials.


NOAA ANNOUNCES 15-YEAR PLAN TO UPGRADE ITS FLEET OF RESEARCH SHIPS

NOAA has completed a detailed plan to modernize its marine operations by replacing nine research ships and refurbishing a tenth in the next 15 years. NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations conducted an assessment of the 19 ships in the fleet, and determined that 10 of the vessels will reach the end of their useful service life over the next 15 years. The fleet replacement plan is a comprehensive program to systematically replace or upgrade the fleet, which supports a wide range of marine activities, including fisheries and coastal research, nautical charting, and long-range ocean and climate studies. NOAA’s ships are specially equipped and designed to support the agency’s programs, and have some capabilities not found in the commercial fleet. Nine vessels have entered service since 2001, including OKEANOS EXPLORER, the first NOAA vessel solely dedicated to ocean exploration, on Aug. 13. Two additional ships are scheduled to enter service within the next year: PISCES, which will be homeported in Mississippi, and BELL M. SHIMADA, which will be homeported on the West Coast.

MM&P masters and mates sail aboard NOAA vessels. The cooperative and productive relationship that exists between management and labor will ensure that NOAA’s fleet replacement will have minimal impact on bargaining unit members. NOAA management remains committed to working with the union to effect personnel actions that would reassign CIVMARs to newly acquired ships or absorb them into the augmentation pool. NOAA is currently recruiting for CIVMAR positions. Anyone interested in NOAA employment can apply online at www.noaa.gov or contact MM&P Government Fleet Representative Randi Ciszewski at rciszewski@bridgedeck.org.


NTSB DETERMINES HIGH-RISK MANEUVER CAUSED 2007 BATON ROUGE MARINE ACCIDENT

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has determined that the probable cause of the MV KITION’s collision with the Interstate Highway 10 bridge in Baton Rouge, La., was the pilot’s attempt to execute the high-risk maneuver of turning at the dock immediately above the bridge rather than moving the vessel downriver through the bridge before turning, or taking it well upriver, then turning.

On Feb. 10, 2007, the KITION, a Bahamas-registered tankship, was scheduled to depart Port Allen, La., on the Mississippi River. A state-licensed pilot and three tug boats were on hand to move the nearly 800-foot-long vessel away from its berth at the Apex Oil terminal and turn the vessel around to head downriver. NTSB said the state pilot directed the movements of the KITION and issued all orders to the tugs. During the maneuver to turn the vessel down river from the dock, its starboard bow struck the bridge pier, knocking out a section of concrete and severely damaging the bridge fenders. There were no injuries or pollution and the accident did not affect the safety of the bridge. However, the vessel did sustain damage to its hull. The NTSB has made the following recommendations as a result of its investigation:  to the Board of New Orleans-Baton Rouge Steamship Pilot Examiners for the Mississippi River: verify that the pilots assigned to challenging locations such as the Apex dock have received adequate training in docking and undocking large vessels at such locations; to the Coast Guard: retrain your investigating officers in the policy set forth in ALDIST 174/97 regarding post-accident drug testing and verify that the regulations are being followed.


FREE PODCAST ON ACCIDENTS AT SEA EMPHASIZES IMPORTANCE OF TRAINING, DRILLS AND DISCIPLINE

A 1993 collision and fire in which nine seafarers perished is the topic of the most recent edition of the free podcast, Maritime Accident Casebook. In “The Case of the Church Bell,” the producers of the series explore why the lessons of the BRITISH TRENT tragedy remain relevant 15 years later. The accident occurred when the Korean bulker WESTERN WINNER struck the port side of the BP tanker, which was carrying 24,000 tons of gasoline, in thick fog on the morning of June 3. The resulting hole in the hull of the tanker spilled gasoline which caught fire. The firefighting effort on BRITISH TRENT was hampered by a fire main damaged by the impact. Nine seafarers died of smoke inhalation and heat. WESTERN WINNER’s owners attempted to hamper the subsequent investigation. Belgian officials first filed, then withdrew, criminal charges against the master of WESTERN WINNER. An investigation by Britain’s Maritime Accident Investigation Branch identified the cause of the incident as failure to comply with the International Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea. WESTERN WINNER had proceeded at an unsafe speed in restricted visibility, did not keep an adequate watch, and there appears to have been no passage plan. On the bridge of BRITISH TRENT, there was also a failure to keep an adequate continuous radar watch.

Also touched on is the issue of the criminalization of seafarers. An inquest found that the death of the victims was an “unlawful killing” by those in command of the WESTERN WINNER. “There has to be considerable doubt about the competency of the master of the WESTERN WINNER,” says Bob Couttie, who produces the free podcast. “But I would ask whether those who put him in command without ensuring that he was capable of safe navigation should bear responsibility, too.” The Case of the Church Bell is the final episode of the second series of Maritime Accident Casebook. The third series is now in pre-production. All Maritime Accident Casebook podcasts are available for free download at www.maritimeaccident.org. Each podcast is backed by an illustrated online transcript that seafarers can read and share with their crewmates. Those with training and safety responsibilities can use the broadcasts and the transcripts freely. For more information about Maritime Accident Casebook, go to http://maritimeaccident.org or e-mail Bob Couttie at mac@maritimeaccident.org.


MITAGS SECURITY COURSE SCHEDULE; HOW TO APPLY FOR THE STCW 95 VESSEL SECURITY OFFICER ENDORSEMENT

As previously announced in The Wheelhouse Weekly, the Coast Guard is implementing a new rule that will require all mariners sailing in the position of vessel security officer (VSO) on foreign voyages to have a VSO endorsement by July 2009. One of the regulations will require mariners to supply evidence of successful completion of a certified security course. That requirement is met by the MITAGS/PMI Vessel, Company, and Facility Security Officer (VCF) course as well as by its predecessor, the MITAGS/PMI Security Officer: Port, Company, and Ship (PCS) course (April 2003 to April 2005). Mariners who have taken courses other than these will need to complete additional training, such as a one-day security refresher course. If members took any VSO course at MITAGS before April 2003, they will need to take a refresher. For more information: visit the MITAGS website at www.mitags.org and click on the “Specialized Courses” tab at the top of the page; e-mail Admissions@mitags.org; or call 866-656-5568.

Here is the process for applying for the STCW95 VSO endorsement: first, fill out CG-719B Form and apply for an endorsement (include copies of your license, MMD, STCW, VSO Course Certificate—make sure you have taken an approved course*–and a passport photo); mail the package to your local Coast Guard Regional Exam Center (REC), which will forward it to the National Maritime Center (NMC) in West Virginia.  Note: there is no requirement that the mariner include a copy of a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) since the deadline for mariners to have a TWIC is not until April 15, 2009. However, if you do have a TWIC, it will speed things along if you include a photocopy.

*You can download a copy of the letter which shows which MITAGS courses have been approved at http://www.mitags.org/download/documents/MITAGS_PMI_PCS_Cse_Retro_Approval_Ltr.pdf.

Dates for upcoming MITAGS security courses are as follows: 

Three-Day VCF Course
Nov. 17-19, 2008

One-Day Refresher Course
Nov. 4, 2008
Dec. 2, 2008

2009 Schedule

Three-Day VCF Course
Feb. 23-25
May 11-13

One-Day Refresher Course
Jan. 21
Feb. 26
March 27
April 21
May 14
June 8
June 22


SF BOARD OF PILOT COMMISSIONERS RELEASES REPORT ON COSCO BUSAN ALLISION

The San Francisco Board of Pilot Commissioners has released its report on the COSCO BUSAN’s allision with the fendering system around the Delta Tower of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge on Nov. 7 of last year. At the time of the allision, the vessel was transiting to sea from her berth in the Oakland Inner Harbor under the navigational control of Captain John Cota, a Board-licensed pilot who has since retired. Among the conclusions of the report was that the pilot failed to use all available resources to determine visibility prior to getting under way. The commissioners also allege that the pilot did not use good judgment, did not communicate adequately with the master of the vessel and was proceeding at an unsafe speed, given the poor visibility.

The federal court trial of the ship management company and the pilot on criminal charges stemming from the accident has been postponed until next April. Fleet Management and the pilot are both accused of polluting the bay and killing migratory birds. The company also faces six counts of false statements and obstruction of justice for allegedly falsifying transit documents after the accident. The owner of the ship, Regal Stone Ltd. of Hong Kong, is also a defendant in the case. The two companies and the pilot are also charged in several civil lawsuits pending before a different federal judge. The pilot is additionally charged with two counts of making false statements on medical forms in 2006 and 2007.


D-BOOK MEMBERSHIP COURSE FOR APPLICANTS TO BE HELD AT MITAGS

The course required for D-Book Membership in MM&P will be offered at MITAGS in Linthicum Heights on Nov. 14-15. The session on the 14th will take place in the evening. The session on the 15th will be held during the day. Applicants who plan to attend should notify the MM&P Atlantic Ports Vice President by e-mail (rmay@bridgedeck.org) as soon as possible.


COURSE EQUIVALENCIES FOR REQUIRED COMPANY TRAINING

Given the number of required company training courses, it is extremely important for new members to request a transcript review to determine whether they meet the course equivalency requirements.  The courses eligible for “equivalency” are listed in the MITAGS Trust Student Guide located on www.mitags.org under the “MM&P Member” tab.  You may also request a copy from Diane Ford (dford@mitags.org or 443-989-3238). Remember, the dispatcher in the MM&P hall cannot assign you a job unless you meet the company training requirements.


MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

CLASS OPENINGS: Between now and the end of December, seats are available in the following courses:

AIS-1 � Automatic Identification System (1 day): 11/21

BRM � Bridge Resource Management: 12/16

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 12/01
CMM-CHS I � Advanced Cargo Handling (week 1): 12/8
CMM-CHS II � Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 12/16
CMM-MPP � Marine Propulsion Plants: 11/10
CMM-SHS-ADV-I � Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 12/01

GMDSS � Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 12/1
LNG Awareness (2 day): 11/05

MED-PIC – Medical Person-In-Charge: 11/10, 12/01
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 11/03, 11/10, 12/01
MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 11/15, 12/6
MEDIA RSP – Media Response: 11/20

[MSC – Military Sealift Command]
MSC-CBRD-1 � CBRD Orientation: 12/05
MSC-DC � Damage Control: 12/03
MSC-SMA � Small Arms Training: 12/01 Standby Only

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 11/3
ROP-5 � Radar Observer Original or Renewal (5 Day): 11/10

SEC-VCF – Security Officer: Vessel, Company & Facility: 11/17
SEC-VSO-R � Vessel Security Officer Refresher (1 day): 11/4, 12/02

TTT � Train the Trainer: 11/10

…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 by e-mail: admissions@mitags.org.


PMI ACADEMIC NOTES

PMI Web site at www.mates.org for more info

FOR REGISTRATION CALL JENNIFER PITZEN: 206 838-1126

SCHEDULE OF COURSES – (Course schedule also posted online at www.mates.org)

November 2008
3ROR
4-7ARPA
10-14MED PRO
10-21MED PIC
17-19SEC VCF

December 2008
1-5MED PRO
1-12GMDSS
1-12MED PIC
8-19GMDSS

January 2009
7-11ENAV
7-11STB BAS
8-11ARPA
14-18WX BAS
14-25GMDSS
14-18ROP
14-2/1TC NAV
21-2/1WKP
21ROR
22-25ARPA
28-2/8GMDSS
28-2/1MED PRO

February 2009
4-8ROP
12ROR
11-12SAR
12-15ARPA
13-15EP
16FL
18-22ENAV
18-22MED PRO
18-22SHS BAS
18-29MED PIC
25-3/7 CNAV
25ROR

March 2009
3-14GMDSS
10-11SAR
10-12SEC VCF
12-14EP
17-28GMDSS
24-4/4 GMDSS
24ROR
25-28ARPA

For registration call Jennifer Pitzen 888-893-7829

PMI MERCHANDISE FOR SALE!!!

High-quality clothing embroidered with the NEW PMI logo! We can ship these items also! Acceptable forms of payment are check, credit card, money order and exact cash. Call Laura Bendixen at 888-893-7829 for prices and to order. If we don’t have your size, we’ll be glad to special order for you at no extra cost.


MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 10-31-2008

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
9,325 1,721 968.75
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Closing
Price
 Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund(VAARX)
44.59
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
89.34
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
26.13
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
13.74
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
12.35
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
20.56
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
10.10
 Vanguard Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
22.02
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
4.27
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
13.46
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
16.86
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
12.13
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
15.56
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
9.91
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
9.93
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
9.78
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
9.90
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
10.22
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
9.58
 Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
23.41
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
14.91
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
11.17
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
14.75
 Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
9.06
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
49.43
 Fidelity Small Company Instl (FMACX)
13.83
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
43.78
 Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
14.36
 Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX)
28.53
 Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
21.96
 Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
17.03
 Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
9.80
 Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
10.53
 Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
10.98
 Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
10.74
 Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
10.48
 Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
6.03
 Fidelity Freedom 2050 (FFFHX)
6.97
 Fidelity Total Bond Fund (FTBFX)
9.06
 Spartan Extended market Index Fund (FSEMX)
25.03
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
34.27
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
21.39





~ 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. Suite B
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:

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

6.75 percent for 25-48 months;
7.50 percent for 49-60 months ($20,000 minimum); and
8.00 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

MEET OUR NEW PRESCRIPTION BENEFIT MANAGER, PHARMACARE

As you know, effective July 1, 2007, MM&P will have a new Prescription Benefit Manager, PharmaCare. If you use the mail service and have not sent your Confidential Mail Service Enrollment Form to the MM&P Plan Office, you have until June 30 to do so. Otherwise, you can call PharmaCare’s customer service line and give them the information over the telephone or send the form with your first new mail prescription directly to PharmaCare. In the next couple of days, you will be receiving a letter with your new MM&P identification cards and a prescription booklet with information on how to obtain your prescriptions. PharmaCare’s customer service number is listed in the booklet. If you have any questions, please contact the MM&P Health & Benefit Plan Advisors.



NOTICE TO MM&P HEALTH & BENEFIT PLAN PARTICIPANTS

As you know, MM&P Health & Benefit Plan members have a new prescription benefit manager, PharmaCare. When you first obtain a prescription at your retail drug store, please show your new Health & Benefit Identification Card with PharmaCare’s information. If you do not show your card, please inform your pharmacist of the following information so you can receive your prescriptions through the Plan. Your identification number HAS NOT CHANGED. Please provide the pharmacist with your full member identification number. You will have to also provide the following numbers. RxGrp#- Z50136968, RxBin: 610468 and RxPCN: PC2 

If your pharmacist has any questions, he or she should call PharmaCare directly at (800) 503-3241.  If you have any questions, PharmaCare members can call the company directly at (888) 364-6815.


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. 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.

© 2008, 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.