News

Wheelhouse Weekly – November 30, 2009

November 30th 2009

 

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

Volume 13 . . . . . Number 48. . . . November 30, 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.


REMINDER: MM&P OFFSHORE PENSION PLAN MEETING IS JAN. 26-28

The next meeting of the MM&P Offshore Pension Plan Trustees will take place Jan. 26-28, 2010. 


  • FLAG-OF-CONVENIENCE OPERATORS SHIRKING RESPONSIBILITY IN FIGHT AGAINST PIRACY, SAYS ITF

    The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) is calling on the world shipping community to uphold seafarers’ rights to refuse to transit pirate-prone waters unless their ship is travelling in an armed convoy or has adequate safeguards in place to protect it from pirate attack. In an official statement, the ITF also criticized flag-of-convenience (FOC) registers for sending mariners into harm’s way without protection.

    “We, and many others, want to see the end of what’s virtually an open secret in shipping: that many of the world’s largest ship registers have provided not one vessel to patrol an ocean that can only be made safe by an increase in the number of warships needed to aggressively patrol and police it,” said ITF Maritime Coordinator Steve Cotton. He added that he is “not aware of a single flag-of-convenience country that is acting in this way to protect the ships that are supposedly their responsibility.”

    These comments were echoed in part last week by a spokesman for the European Union (EU) Naval Force, who said that as many as 25 percent of ships passing through the Gulf of Aden still have not registered with the Maritime Security Center for the Horn of Africa and are not applying best management practices. Captain Richard Farrington, chief of staff of the EU Naval Force, made the remarks in a meeting with members of the IMO’s Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS).

    “There are countries actively fighting piracy and there are owners training and supporting their crews to resist it,” said the ITF’s Steve Cotton. “Then there are others who are shirking responsibility and as good as accepting its steadily growing menace, which has now brought us to the point where one of the world’s great trading routes is now almost too dangerous to pass through.”

    The ITF said that “save in exceptional circumstances,” ships should not transit off the coast of Somalia or in pockets of danger in the wider Indian Ocean. “The risk of attack is now so great that putting seafarers in harm’s way amounts to a breach of the shipowner’s duty of care,” it added. The only exceptions, it said, are ships “having close active protection from naval forces or in a convoy which has an adequate naval escort, or ships that can be classified as low risk and that have a proven level of protection measures in place.”

    The ITF also said seafarers have a right to refuse to put themselves in harm’s way and the right to be relieved before the ship enters a high-risk area. It called on FOC states and shipowners to uphold seafarers’ rights in this regard.
         
    The ITF took the opportunity to re-affirm its position that seafarers should not be armed to ward off pirate attacks. It also called on the wider shipping industry to support this position and to take all measures to ensure the protection of seafarers by not putting them in harm’s way.

    In related news, over the weekend MV MARAN CENTAURUS, a Greek crude oil tanker on its way to the United States, was hijacked in the Somali Basin, 600 nautical miles northeast of the Seychelles. The ship has a crew of 28. It was heading for New Orleans from Jiddah and has now altered course west towards Harardheere or Hobyo, Somalia. A spokesman for the shipowner said the tanker was carrying around 275,000 metric tons of crude oil. At an average price of around $75 a barrel, the cargo is worth more than $20 million.


    UN HEAD CALLS FOR GREATER EFFORTS TO FIGHT PIRACY ON LAND

    The Somali Government and the African Union force need more help on land to fight piracy, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a recent report to the UN Security Council. “One of the ways to ensure the long-term security of international navigation off the coast of Somalia is through a concerted effort to stabilize the situation ashore, as pirates have become more sophisticated in their methods and techniques of attacking,” he said.

    In the report, Ban said that UN member states’ expanding maritime presence is helping to stabilize the situation in the Gulf of Aden. But he called for a more integrated approach that would strengthen the capacities on land of the Somali Transitional Federal Government and the African Union Mission in Somalia. A key component of the program, he said, should be further development of law and security institutions for the investigation and prosecution of acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea. He thanked the INTERPOL and UN member states who have pledged to investigate the financial mechanisms that provide funding for piracy activities.


    NTSB CHIEF HERSMAN SAYS AGENCY WILL TARGET DANGERS OF FATIGUE

    The National Transportation Board (NTSB) says fatigue is the single most important cause of a significant portion of transportation accidents. “It’s one of the most insidious issues in the transportation industry,” said NTSB Chief Deborah A.P. Hersman in a recent speech at the National Press Club in Washington. Investigations of maritime accidents frequently identify fatigue as a causal factor. 

    Hersmann told the audience that in every NTSB accident investigation, a crucial phase is establishment of a 72-hour prior history for those involved. “Unfortunately,” she said, “we find fatigue in more incidents and accidents than you would think.” Hersmann said the agency has asked the Federal Aviation Administration to establish hours of service rules for flight crews, mechanics and air traffic controllers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration plans to propose a new hours of service rule early in 2010. Companies as well as government need to do more to address the issue, Hersmann said, noting that many transportation companies don’t have fatigue policies or procedures that permit adequate periods of rest to avoid fatigue-related accidents.


    ECONOMIC FORECASTERS SAY IMPORTS MAY RISE EARLY NEXT YEAR

    Some economic forecasters are predicting that the slide in imports arriving via American ports could begin to reverse itself beginning in February. If they are correct, it would be the first year-over-year increase in incoming port traffic in more than two years. The projections were compiled and published by the National Retail Federation and the consulting firm IHS Global Insight. The survey includes data from the ports of  Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma on the West Coast; New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston and Savannah on the East Coast, and Houston on the Gulf Coast.

    In September, the surveyed ports handled volumes that averaged 16 percent less than a year earlier. Volume for October, traditionally the peak month of the year, was estimated at 1.17 million TEU, down 15 percent from last year. The downward trend is forecast to break in February, when cargo is expected to total 973,872 TEU. That figure is below the 1 million mark because February is the slowest month of the year. It would, however, represent a 16 percent increase over February 2009. March 2010 is forecast at 1.02 million, a 5 percent increase over March 2009.


    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 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 the members of 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 for directions and more information at: 206-441-8700.


    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: 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) : 2/22

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

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

    FSM � Fatigue, Sleep & Medications: 1/19

    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

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

    LNG AWAR � Liquefied Natural Gas Awareness: 12/14

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

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

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

    MEDIA RSP – Media Response Workshop: 1/29

    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

    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 11-27-2009

    D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
    10,464.40 2,138.44 1,091.49
    Fund Name & Trading Symbol
     Closing
    Price
     Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund(VAARX)
    48.92
     Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
    100.96
     Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
    30.61
     Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
    16.97
     Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
    14.78
     Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
    23.48
     Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
    10.90
     Vanguard Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
    26.48
     Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
    5.37
     Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
    15.24
     Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
    19.48
     Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
    13.49
     Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
    17.79
     Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
    11.24
     Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
    11.45
     Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
    11.36
     Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
    11.57
     Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
    11.96
     Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
    10.55
     Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
    26.75
     Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
    15.23
     Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
    13.66
     Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
    15.55
     Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
    10.34
     Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
    61.65
     Fidelity Small Company Instl (FMACX)
    15.09
     Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
    54.14
     Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
    16.08
     Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX)
    36.13
     Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
    27.84
     Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
    22.53
     Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
    10.79
     Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
    11.54
     Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
    12.65
     Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
    12.61
     Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
    12.36
     Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
    7.13
     Fidelity Freedom 2050 (FFFHX)
    8.28
     Fidelity Total Bond Fund (FTBFX)
    10.60
     Spartan Extended market Index Fund (FSEMX)
    28.77
     Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
    38.73
     Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
    25.36





    ~ 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.