News

Wheelhouse Weekly – November 22, 2006

November 22nd 2006

 

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

Volume 10 . . . . . Number 47. . . . November 22, 2006

STORIES COVERED

Also

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.





 

LAST CALL FOR COMMENTS REGARDING USCG PHYSICAL STANDARDS

Listed below is important information for MM&P members regarding the recent publication in the Federal Register of a draft Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) entitled, “Medical and Physical Evaluation Guidelines for Merchant Mariner Credentials” (Docket #USCG 2006-25080). The USCG issues NVICs as statements of policy and guidance for USCG personnel and the maritime industry. US Merchant Mariners will have to comply with the NVIC in order to maintain their current Merchant Mariner’s Document (MMD) or to maintain or upgrade their licenses.

MM&P International President Capt. Tim Brown encourages ALL MM&P members to submit comments. The comment period closes in less that one week on November 27th.

Some of the issues that you may want to focus on are as follows:

1. We commend the USCG for opening the process to the public. NVICs are not normally published in the Federal Register. Medical standards and the medical review process are emerging. Therefore, we believe the NVIC is the right vehicle for this policy because NVICs are more flexible than Regulations.

2. Notwithstanding, this process does have one significant drawback. The USCG is not required to provide an estimate of the costs associated with the NVIC. Therefore, MM&P has serious concerns that the USCG may not have an accurate notion of its full impact. Another consequence is the USCG’s underestimation of the potential increase in the number of mariners who will need to apply for waivers and the level of resources the USCG will need to process them efficiently.

3. While we agree the present system needs to be improved, we feel the proposed NVIC is an excessive response to the ANDREW J. BARBERI (a Staten Island Ferry) allision, which occurred in 2003 in New York. In the BARBERI accident, the Assistant Captain became suddenly incapacitated at a critical moment. He was alone in the wheelhouse when prudent seamanship and sound bridge resource management practices require that at least two persons with the appropriate training, skills and certifications be present.

4. Examining health care professionals should have more discretion as to the extent of consultation and testing with many of the less serious conditions. Many of the Evaluation Data may not be necessary in total and the degree of testing is often anticipatory of findings from some of the basic and more initial testing.

Criteria for Evaluating Medical Conditions

5. Medical and physical evaluations should focus solely upon the following criteria as stated in the NVIC (paragraph 5.b.):
a. “risks associated with sudden incapacitation” and,
b. the ability of mariners to “perform their duties not only on a routine basis but also in an emergency”.

6. It is unclear how history of such conditions as tumors and certain psychological conditions included in the NVIC are related to these criteria.

7. According to the proposed NVIC, certain medications used at certain times are potentially disqualifying. MM&P expresses the following concerns:
a. It is costly and time consuming for the USCG to ask for medical evaluations apparently for the sole purpose of determining what medications mariners may be using.
b. It is unclear as to how the USCG will enforce the draft NVIC’s provisions regarding the use of over-the-counter medications. Presumably, mariners will be placed at risk of losing their documents or licenses if they fail to disclose the use of certain OTC medicines or herbal supplements.

8. MM&P feels the draft NVIC represents a powerful disincentive for mariners to seek medical treatment if they feel they may be disqualified from service.

9. Evidence suggests the mariner population is aging. Therefore, the development of certain medical conditions among mariners is inevitable. MM&P is deeply concerned that senior, experienced officers and ratings will be affected disproportionately by the draft NVIC.

Mike Rodriguez is taking the lead oar in presenting MM&P’s position to the US Coast Guard. George Quick, VP of Pilotage, Pat McCullough, Plans Administrator and Jim Clements, instructor at MITAGS, are assisting him.

A copy of the proposed NVIC has been posted to the public docket and is available on the Internet at http://dms.dot.gov, under this docket number [USCG
2006- 25080]. It is also available from Mark Gould, Maritime Personnel Qualifications Division, Office of Operating and Environmental Standards, Commandant (G-PSO-1), USCG HQ, Washington, DC 20590. Phone: 202-372-1409 or email address: Mark.C.Gould@uscg.mil.

Comments should include the docket number, USCG-2006-25080. Also include your name and address with your comments and submit them using one of the following methods:
(1) Web site: http://dms.dot.gov.
(2) Mail: Docket Management Facility, US Dept. of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW, Washington DC 20590-0001
(3) Fax: 202-493-2251.
(4) Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions on the Web site.

If you mail your comments and supporting material, they must be on 8 1/2-by-11-inch paper, and the quality of the copy should be clear enough for copying and scanning. If you mail your comments and would like to know whether the Docket Management Facility received them, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard or envelop. The USCG will consider all comments and material received during the 60-day comment period, which ends November 27th. As mentioned above, MM&P intends to send its comments to all Offshore members when they are finalized.

For more info, contact Executive Assistant to the President Mike Rodriguez at 410-850-8700 ext. 23 or by email at mrodriguez@bridgedeck.org. It is also requested that a copy of any comments submitted by members to the USCG docket be forwarded to MM&P HQ so that the Union can remain current with what is being stated for the record.




 

LAST CALL: SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM FILING DEADLINE IS NOV.30TH

Each year the MM&P Plan allows for the award of six members and co-pay pensioners in good standing who are participants in the Health & Benefit Plan. The deadline for filing an application with the Plan office is November 30, 2006. All interested students who are high school seniors during the 2006-2007 school year should contact the Plan Office as soon as possible to request an application packet. Call Madeline Petrelli at the MM&P Plan Office, 410-850-8615, to request an application.


MM&P OFFSHORE PORTS HOLIDAY PARTY SCHEDULE

The following is the complete schedule of MM&P Offshore Port Holiday Parties:

East Coast holiday party schedule is as follows:

  • Boston: December 7th 1200 to 1700 at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 75 West School St., Charlestown, MA.
  • New York/New Jersey, December 13th at 1230 hrs at the Union Hall 26 Journal Sq. Suite 1502 Jersey City, NJ
  • San Juan: December 14th after job call at Levi’s on Ponce De Leon Ave.
  • Norfolk: December 15th at noon at the Union Hall on 39th St. in Norfolk.

    Gulf Port Holiday Party schedule is as follows:

  • New Orleans: December 13th noon at the Hall
  • Houston: December 14th noon at the Hall
  • Jacksonville: December 15th noon at the Hall
  • Port Everglades/Miami: December 20th at 1100 at the Hall

    West Coast Holiday Party schedule is as follows:

  • San Francisco: Thursday Dec 14th at 1230 hrs in the SUP Library
  • Los Angeles/Long Beach: Friday Dec 15th at 1200 hrs in the LA/LB Hall
  • Seattle Tuesday Dec 19th at 1230 hrs in the Seattle Hall
  • Honolulu: To be Determined

    Call any of the respective Halls for info or directions.


    MITAGS GETS LONG TERM SIMULATION TRAINING CONTRACT

    Glen Paine, Executive Director MITAGS and PMI, announced that MITAGS has been awarded a contract by Cheniere LNG for simulation training for pilots and tug captains for the new Sabine Pass LNG Terminal. “Cheniere’s commitment to safety is underlined in this unique, state-of-the-art simulation program. We look forward to working with MITAGS to ensure that our Tug Masters and Ship Pilots are among the most highly trained in the industry,” said Stan Horton, Chief Operating Officer, Cheniere Energy. For additional info, contact Glen Paine at 443-989-3233 or via email at gpaine@mitags.org.


    MATSON 2007 WESTBOUND HAWAII SERVICE RATES TO INCREASE

    MM&P-contracted Matson Navigation Company has announced that it will raise its rates for the company’s Hawaii service by $100 per westbound container and $50 per eastbound container, effective January 1, 2007. Matson estimates that this increase will raise rates by an average of 3.3 percent. The increase will be filed with the Surface Transportation Board. “This rate increase will help offset rises in operating costs and support a number of investments in our Hawaii service,” said Dave Hoppes, senior vice president, ocean services.

    “Given the essential role ocean transportation has in supporting Hawaii’s economy, Matson has made its fleet replacement program a high priority in recent years. Since 2002, the company has invested over $500 million in new containerships, reducing the average age of its fleet from 25 years to 14. These new vessels, with their more fuel-efficient diesel engines, will provide Hawaii with modern, reliable service for decades to come. Matson is also investing in new container equipment, information technology and enhancements to its Neighbor Island service. This rate increase is consistent with our longstanding philosophy of implementing modest, incremental increases annually in order to reinvest in our Hawaii service.”


    TWO CREWMEMBERS ARE KILLED WHEN ROUGE WAVE HITS TANKER

    Two crewmembers were killed and another seriously injured when a massive wave hit the crude oil tanker VLCC FR8 last week while she was operating in heavy weather off the UK. According to a UK Coastguard press release, the Singapore registered tanker had loaded a cargo of crude oil at Scapa Flow terminal in Orkney and was bound for Houston, TX. As she entered the Pentland Firth, she encountered severe weather and the ship eventually took a large wave over the bow where the three crewmembers were working. The injured crewmember was airlifted to the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary by helicopter. An official inquiry is now underway. At the time of the incident, the vessel was reportedly rolling heavily and taking waves of up to 60 feet in height and wind gusts of 80 miles per hour. The tanker is about a year old and carries a crew of 20.


    US-FLAG GREAT LAKES TONNAGE DOWN IN OCTOBER

    US-flag Great Lakes fleets moved 11.1 million net tons of dry-bulk cargo on the Great Lakes in October, a decrease of 3.4 percent compared to a year ago. With steel production slowing, the iron ore trade declined in October. Shipments in US-flag Lakers slipped 4.1 percent compared to a year ago. Ample stockpiles of coal at power plants again slowed loadings of that commodity. Shipments in US-flag hulls totaled 2.7 million net tons in October, a decrease of nearly 9 percent from a year ago. The limestone total was almost an exact duplicate of a year ago. For the year, US-flag cargo carriage stands 89.1 million net tons, a slight increase compared to the same point in 2005.


    KOREAN SHIPPING COMPANY SENTENCED FOR VESSEL POLLUTION

    Earlier this week, the Sun Ace Shipping Company, based in Seoul, South Korea, was sentenced to pay a $400,000 penalty, a $100,000 community service payment to the National Fish and Wildlife Program, Delaware Estuary Grants Program, which will be used to protect and restore the natural resources of the Delaware Estuary and its watershed, and to a three-year term of probation during which its vessels will be banned from US ports and waters.

    On Sept. 6, 2006, Sun Ace Shipping pleaded guilty to a one-count information for violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) in relation to the operation of a bulk carrier vessel the M/V SUN NEW. A trial date for the Chief Engineer and Second Engineer, who were charged in a three-count indictment with conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and a violation of the APPS, has been set for Dec. 5th, in front of Judge Susan Wigenton in Newark, NJ. Sun Ace Shipping was charged with knowingly failing to maintain an accurate Oil Record Book that fully recorded the disposal of oil residue and bilge into the ocean and then falsifying records to conceal illegal discharges.

    In addition, the government has petitioned the court for an award under the APPS to be granted to three crewmembers of the M/V SUN NEW who reported the use of the bypass hoses and the illegal dumping to the Seamen’s Church Institute of Philadelphia and South New Jersey on Jan. 2, 2006. This report and the subsequent assistance of these three crewmen were key to the government’s investigation and prosecution of the case. APPS gives the Court the discretion to award up to half of the criminal penalty to the whistleblowers, and the Justice Department has requested that the court divide the $200,000 equally among the three crewmen who reported the dumping. The Department’s petition is still under review by the court.


    WASHINGTON FINES CRUISE SHIP FOR PUGET SOUND DISCHARGES

    The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) has fined Celebrity Cruises of Miami, FL, $100,000 for allowing the cruise ship MERCURY to discharge more than a half million gallons of untreated wastewater into Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Records voluntarily maintained aboard the vessel showed that it discharged untreated wastewater 10 times over 9 days in September and October, 2005. The discharges violated the state’s water-quality standards. Ecology learned of the ship’s discharges during a September 2006 on-board inspection of the MERCURY, which included a review of the vessel’s wastewater discharge records. Ecology inspectors found records on the ship that contradicted a December 2005 letter from the vessel’s owners to Ecology saying the MERCURY had not discharged wastewater in Washington during the 2005 cruise season.


    USMMA FOUNDATION DINNER DANCE AT MITAGS SET FOR DEC.1

    The USMMA Foundation Chesapeake Chapter will hold its Annual Dinner Dance at MITAGS on Friday December 1st from 7-11 pm at MITAGS. Guest of honor and featured speaker will be Chuck Raymond, President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of MM&P-contracted Horizon Lines. All are welcomed to attend. Tickets are $60 per person. For more info, email kpchesapeake@comcast.net or check the Web site at www.kpchesapeake.com.


    MERCY SHIPS SEEKS VOLUNTEER DECK OFFICERS

    Mercy Ships, a non-profit, Christian organization that operates a fleet of hospital ships, bringing free medical aid to people in developing countries around the world. Because of their status as a non-profit, 501(c) organization, all of their workers are volunteers who raise their own support in order to work onboard Mercy Ships. Mercy Ships has a need to recruit Licensed Deck Officers to serve onboard their vessels. For further info, contract Chris Rowley, Marine Recruiter at Mercy Ship Marine Operations by email at rowleyc@mercyships.org or by fax at: 903-882-0498.


    MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

    CLASS OPENINGS: Between now and the end of February 2007, seats are available in the following courses:

    JUST ADDED: MED-PIC (Medical Person-In-Charge): 2/12/07


    AIS – Automatic Identification System: 12/15
    ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 12/5, 1/16, 2/6
    AZIPOD-KAM-2 – Two-Day Azipod and Kamewa Steering and Propulsion Systems: 12/4

    BRM Bridge Resource Management: 1/22, 2/19
    BRMP – Bridge Resource Mangement for Pilots: 12/7, 1/31
    BST – Basic Safety Training: 2/5

    [CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
    CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 1/22
    CMM-ADVSTB – 11/27
    CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 1): 2/12
    CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 2/5
    CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart and Display Information System: 12/4
    CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 12/4, 2/19
    CMM-SHMGT-I – Ship Management II (week 1): 12/11, 2/26
    CMM-SHMGT-II – Ship Management II (week 2): 12/4
    Available on a “Stand-By Basis Only”: CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 12/11,1/8, 2/5
    Available on a “Stand-By Basis Only”: CMM-SHS-ADV-II – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 11/27, 1/15, 2/12
    CMM-WKP – Watchkeeping: 11/27
    CMM-VPEN – Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 1/15

    CONT-PLNG – Contingency Planning: 12/15, 1/26

    CSE-AASE – Confined Space Entry: 11/28, 1/15

    FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 2/5

    HAZ-Hazardous Materials (5-day): 12/4, 1/8, 2/12

    LEG Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 12/7, 1/31

    MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 1/25

    MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 12/9, 1/13
    MED-PIC – Medical Person In Charge: 12/4, 1/8, 1/12, 2/26
    MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 12/4, 1/8, 2/12, 2/26

    [MSC – Military Sealift Command]
    MSC-CBRD-1 (Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Orientation): 1/20
    MSC-DC (Damage Control): 1/18
    MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 12/8 (must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years)

    ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal (5-day): 11/27, 1/29
    ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 1/15, 2/5

    SEC-OFF-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 12/11, 1/22
    SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 1/22, 2/19
    SHS-EMR- Emergency Shiphandling: 1/29, 2/26
    SHS-EMR- BRMP-3- Emergency Shiphandling & Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 12/4
    TPIC-DL – Tanker Person-In-Charge, Dangerous Liquids: 2/12
    TRAC-TUG – Water Tractor and Azimuth Stern Drive Tugs: 12/7


    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

    Fall and Winter: 2006-2007

    MATE 500/1600 TONS Program Begins January 2007
    Due to the high demand for this program, PMI has now scheduled another that is already close to full enrollment for its 2007-start date. See the PMI Web site at www.mates.org for more info on this new development.

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

    November 2006
    11/27-12/1 Radar Observer Unlimited

    December 2007
    12/4-8 ARPA
    12/4-15 Shiphandling – Advanced
    12/11-13 Security Officer – Vessel, Company, and Facility
    12/11-22 GMDSS
    12/18-22 ECDIS
    12/18-22 ARPA
    12/18-22 Medical First Aid Provider
    12/19 Radar Recertification

    January 2007
    1/2 Mate Program Begins/Orientation
    1/8-1/26 Ratings Forming Part of a Navigational Watch
    1/22-1/26 Terrestrial and Coastal Navigation
    1/22-1/26 Tankerman Person in Charge
    1/22-1/26 Emergency Shiphandling
    1/29-2/2 Medical First Aid Provider
    1/29-2/2 Radar Observer Unlimited
    1/29-2/9 Medical Person in Charge
    1/29-2/9 GMDSS

    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 11-22

     

     D O W  N A S D A Q  S & P 500
    12,321.59 +16.14 for the week 2,467.30 +18.24 for the week 1,402.81 +3.06 for the week
    Fund Name & Trading Symbol
    Closing
    Price
     Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
    129.53
     Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
    39.12
     Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
    25.12
     Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
    19.61
     Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
    35.51
     Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
    10.24
     Vanguard High Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX)
    6.19
     Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
    10.03
     Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
    19.97
     Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
    17.00
     Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
    31.24
     Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
    92.25
     Fidelity Small Company Instl (FMACX)
    23.71
     Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
    86.05
     Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
    49.76
     Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
    33.17

    .






    ~ 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 and is posted on our web page.

    C 2006, 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 John Peige at jpeige@bridgedeck.org.

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