News

Wheelhouse Weekly – November 23, 2009

November 23rd 2009

 

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

Volume 13 . . . . . Number 47. . . . November 23, 2009

STORIES COVERED

REMINDERS

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.


CHANGE IN MM&P OFFSHORE PENSION PLAN MEETING DATES

The Dec. 3-4 meeting of the Trustees of the MM&P Offshore Pension Plan has been postponed. The next meeting of the MM&P Offshore Pension Plan Trustees will take place Jan. 26-28, 2010. The December meeting was postponed for two reasons:

  • the union trustees and the company trustees prefer to base their decisions on year-end 2009 stock market data;
  • there is a chance that legislation favorable to the country’s defined benefit pension plans could be introduced in Congress and approved before Jan. 1, 2010.


    MAERSK ALABAMA ON-BOARD SECURITY TEAM REPELS PIRATE ATTACK

    MM&P-contracted MAERSK ALABAMA was approached Nov. 18 by pirates some 600 miles off the northeast coast of Somalia. According to a U.S. Navy report, a pirate boat closed to about 300 yards of the ship before being repelled by small arms fire from an on-board security team. A long-range acoustic device and aggressive ship maneuvering techniques were also used to defend the ship. During the attack, MAERSK ALABAMA was never boarded. No injuries or damage were reported, and the vessel was able to continue on its way to Mombasa.

    MM&P members aboard the vessel are Captain Paul  Rochford, Chief Mate Richard Madden, Second Mate Vitaly Kuznetsov and Third Mate Chester Waller Jr. Last April, officers and crew of MAERSK ALABAMA repelled an attack by a group of pirates who boarded the ship and kidnapped Captain Richard Phillips, who was ultimately freed by Navy SEALS. 

    As the result of another pirate attack, the captain of a Virgin Islands owned chemical tanker, MV THERESA VIII, has reportedly died of wounds suffered when the vessel was hijacked in the south Somali Basin, 180 nautical miles northwest of the Seychelles. The vessel, with a crew of 28 North Korean mariners, was also heading for Mombasa. The authorities report it has turned around and is now heading north.

    Meanwhile, the Spanish fishing vessel ALAKRANA and its crew of 36 have been released by pirates who had been holding it off the coast of Somalia after hijacking it in the Indian Ocean in October. A ransom of approximately $3 million was reportedly paid for the release of the ship and its crew.


    MM&P PORT HOLIDAY PARTY SCHEDULE

    MM&P members, their families and friends are invited to the holiday parties taking place in December in MM&P union halls, or other locations, as specified below.

    ATLANTIC COAST PORTS

    New York/New Jersey: Wednesday, Dec. 16, 1200-1700, at the NY/NJ Hall, 35 Journal Square, Suite 912.
    Boston: Thursday, Dec. 17, 1200-1700, at the Knights of Columbus in Charlestown, Mass.
    Norfolk: Thursday, Dec. 10, 1200- 1600 at the Norfolk Hall.

    GULF PORTS

    Gulf Port parties will take place at the respective union halls according to the following schedule.
    New Orleans: Wednesday, Dec. 9, 1200.
    Houston: Thursday, Dec. 10, 1200.
    Jacksonville: Friday, Dec. 11, 1200.
    Port Everglades: Monday, Dec. 21, 1200.

    PACIFIC PORTS

    All MM&P Pacific Port parties are being held together with members of the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA).
    San Francisco/Oakland at the MEBA Hall: Wednesday, Dec. 9, 1300.
    Los Angeles at the MM&P Hall: Friday, Dec. 11, 1200.
    Seattle: Wednesday, Dec. 16, at 1230, near the MEBA Hall. Please contact the Seattle Dispatcher at 206-441-8700 for directions and more information.


    ILA MEMBERS RATIFY TWO-YEAR CONTRACT EXTENSION

    Members of the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) have ratified a two-year Master Contract extension that calls for raises in pay, begins to bridge the gap for lower-tiered ILA workers, eliminates the container royalty cap and addresses the issues of jurisdiction and new technology. The newly ratified ILA Master Contract, which was negotiated with United States Maritime Alliance (USMX), includes the 10 months remaining on the previous ILA Master Contract with two additional years, making the new expiration date Sept. 30, 2012. Nearly 10,000 ILA members voted on the contract last week at locals in the Maine to Texas region, with 6,417 out of 9,736 approving the Master Contract extension.

    “This Master Contract extension passing by such a large margin represents a monumental achievement for the ILA rank-and-file members,” said ILA President Richard P. Hughes Jr. “When we began Master Contract wage scale talks with USMX last year, ILA members indicated to us that there were five areas of greatest concern to them. With their vote today, our members recognized that we made gains or improvements in all five major areas: wages, tiered wages, removal of the container royalty cap, jurisdiction and new technology.
                 
    “Settlement and ratification of this new contract well before the expiration of the old one protects our ILA ports from loss of cargo due to diversion which may have occurred without a contract in place,” Hughes said. “Shippers now have the assurances they want to keep cargo coming to ILA ports on the Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports.” The ILA believes the length of the extension–24 months–has a two-fold positive effect. It does not lock the ILA in for an extended period, but it does allow time for the shipping industry to stabilize and start to grow as the economy recovers.
                 
    MM&P is the marine affiliate of the ILA, which represents some 65,000 waterfront employees in various crafts working on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts from Maine to Texas, the Great Lakes, major U.S. rivers, Eastern Canada and Puerto Rico.


    NEW ADDRESS, NEW WEBSITE, FOR PRESCRIPTION DRUG ORDERS

    The MM&P Health & Benefit Plan has entered into a new agreement with CVS Caremark for administration of the prescription drug benefit. The new agreement does not change the prescription benefit and new cards will not be issued. There is, however, a new address for mail order prescriptions and a new URL for online orders. The Customer Care toll-free phone number will remain the same: 1-888-364-6815.

    Health and benefit plan participants will receive a letter at home that includes an order form with the new mailing address for prescriptions. Please fill out the form and send it with your prescription to: CVS Caremark, P.O. Box 94467, Palatine, IL 60094-4467. If you have already used auto-refill for your mail service prescriptions, please call Customer Care or visit Caremark.com to continue using this convenient service.

    If you were previously registered on PharmaCare.com for online services (order refills, view prescription history, check drug prices, etc.), you will need to re-register at www.caremark.com/register on or after Dec. 1. Select a new username and password, and you will be ready to take advantage of the same online services you had before, plus robust health information and tools. (If you sign on to PharmaCare.com it will redirect you to the new site.)

    We encourage you to register and discover how Caremark.com can help you get the most from your prescription benefits by allowing you to order refills online; print order forms; securely store your credit card information for payment; view your prescription history; check your benefit coverage and drug cost; access valuable drug and health information; receive drug alerts and e-newsletters. Questions? Call Customer Care toll-free at 1-888-364-6815 or visit www.caremark.com.


    LNG AWARENESS SEMINARS AT MITAGS IN DECEMBER

    MITAGS has introduced a new seminar, offered in two-day or four-day modules, to familiarize terminal, shipboard and company personnel with liquefied natural gas (LNG) operations. Topics covered include LNG safety, theory, vessel/terminal designs, equipment and operations. The seminar length is dependent on the level of knowledge required. The four-day seminar includes time on a LNG vessel cargo loading simulator.

    Successful completion of this course gives students a basic understanding of the properties and hazards of liquefied gas, cargo containment systems, LNG tanker and terminal designs, inert gas systems, tank environment control, safety precautions and emergency procedures.

    The first four-day LNG Awareness seminar will take place Dec. 14-17. The first two-day LNG Awareness seminar will take place Dec. 14-15. For more information, or to register, contact Bob Becker at (443) 989-3235 or rbecker@mitags.org.


    SOME TWIC ENROLLMENT CENTERS CHANGE HOURS

    Effective today, five Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) enrollment centers will change their hours of operation. All previously scheduled appointments outside the new hours of operation will receive priority as walk-ins, according to the Coast Guard. The new schedules are as follows:

  • Bay City, Mich.: Tuesday and Wednesday, 9:00-12:00 and 12:30 – 4:30
  • Freeport, Texas: Monday through Friday, 8:00 – 5:00 
  • Guam: Tuesday and Thursday, 9:00 – 3:00
  • Muskegon, Mich.: Thursday 9:00 – 4:00
  • LaPorte, Texas, Monday through Friday, 7:00 – 5:00.


    GUILTY PLEA IN PANAMA BRIBERY CASE

    A Virginia businessman, Charles Paul Edward Jumet, has pleaded guilty to charges he bribed Panamanian government officials to secure a buoy and lighthouse maintenance contract, according to the Justice Department. The government alleges he conspired to make corrupt payments to foreign government officials for the purpose of securing business for Ports Engineering Consultants Corporation (PECC) in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. 


    MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

    CLASS OPENINGS: Between now and the end of February 2010, seats are available in the following courses:

    AB- Able Bodied Seaman: 2/8

    ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 1/5

    AZIPOD-KAM-3: Azipod and Kamewa Propulsion Systems: 2/1

    BST – Basic Safety Training: 12/7, 2/1

    BRM � Bridge Resource Management: 2/8

    BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 12/3, 1/18

    [CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

    CMM-ADVSTB � Advanced Stability: 12/14, 2/8

    CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 1/18

    CMM-CHS I � Advanced Cargo Operations (week 11): 01/04

    CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Operations (week 2): 1/11

    CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information Systems: 1/25

    CMM-SHMGT I – Ship Management (week 1) : 11/30, 2/22

    CMM-SHMGT II – Ship Management (week 2) : 12/7

    CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1):  11/30, 12/14, 1/25, 2/1, 2/15

    CMM-SHS-ADV-I I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 12/7, 01/04, 1/25, 2/1, 2/22

    CMM-VPEN – Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 2/1

    CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 2/15

    CONSTB � Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 2/15

    CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: 1/28

    ENVRO-REGS PERMIT – Environmental Regulations In The Maritime Industry / Epa General Permit For Commercial Vessels:  1/13

    FF-BADV – Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting Combined: 2/1

    GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety Systems: 2/22

    HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5-Day) course: 1/18

    LAP – License Advancement Program (Original Third Mate Only): 11/30

    LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 12/2, 1/19, 2/22

    LNG AWAR � Liquefied Natural Gas Awareness: 12/14

    MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 01/04, 2/15

    MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 01/04, 2/15

    MEDIA RSP – Media Response Workshop: 11/19, 1/29, 2/20

    MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 1/9, 2/20

    ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original or Renewal: 2/8

    ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 1/04

    SEC-VCF – Security Officer: Vessel, Company & Facility: 1/25

    SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling: 2/15

    TC/NAV – Terrestrial/Coastal Navigation: 1/11

    TPIC – Tankerman Person-In-Charge: 2/8

    …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 e-mail: admissions@mitags.org.


    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

    November 2009

    20       Flashing Light
    30       Security Refresher

    December 2009

    7          Radar Renewal
    8-11     ARPA
    14-16   Security VCF

    January 2010

    4          Radar Renewal
    11         Security Refresher
    11-12   Intro to Environmental Regulations/NPDES
    11-29   Terrestrial & Coastal Navigation
    11-22   GMDSS
    12-14   Security VCF
    25-29  Medical Care Provider
    25-5    Medical Person-in-Charge

    February 2010

    1-3       Emergency Procedures
    4-5      Search & Rescue
    8-12    Radar Observer Unlimited
    8-12    Tankerman Person-In-Charge
    22        Radar Renewal

    March 2010

    1          Security Refresher
    2-4      Security VCF
    8-12    Electronic Navigation
    16-19   ARPA
    15-26  GMDSS
    15        Flashing Light
    22        Radar Renewal
    23-9    Celestial Navigation


    MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 11-20-2009

    D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
    10,318.16 2,146.04 1,091.38
    Fund Name & Trading Symbol
     Closing
    Price
     Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund(VAARX)
    48.61
     Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
    100.91
     Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
    30.85
     Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
    17.01
     Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
    14.77
     Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
    23.50
     Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
    10.87
     Vanguard Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
    26.44
     Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
    5.37
     Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
    15.19
     Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
    19.47
     Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
    13.43
     Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
    17.76
     Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
    11.21
     Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
    11.44
     Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
    11.36
     Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
    11.58
     Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
    11.98
     Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
    10.50
     Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
    26.78
     Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
    15.24
     Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
    13.65
     Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
    15.61
     Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
    10.30
     Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
    61.76
     Fidelity Small Company Instl (FMACX)
    15.24
     Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
    54.49
     Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
    16.12
     Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX)
    36.17
     Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
    27.88
     Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
    22.60
     Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
    10.78
     Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
    11.53
     Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
    12.65
     Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
    12.62
     Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
    12.38
     Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
    7.14
     Fidelity Freedom 2050 (FFFHX)
    8.30
     Fidelity Total Bond Fund (FTBFX)
    10.57
     Spartan Extended market Index Fund (FSEMX)
    29.01
     Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
    38.71
     Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
    25.30





    ~ Reminders ~



    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.

    © 2009, 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.