News

Wheelhouse Weekly – October 11, 2011

October 11th 2011

 

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

Volume 15 . . . . . Number 41. . . . October 11, 2011

STORIES COVERED

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


BLUE & GOLD FLEET WINS OPERATING AND MAINTENANCE CONTRACT FOR BAY AREA FERRIES

The Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) has awarded a contract for the operation and maintenance of San Francisco Bay Area ferry services to Blue & Gold Fleet, which employs members of MM&P’s United Inland Group (UIG). Routes include the existing Alameda/Oakland and Harbor Bay services, planned South San Francisco ferry services and an option to operate Vallejo ferry service beginning in July 2012. In total, this represents four service routes covering approximately 50 nautical miles and approximately 1.3 million passenger trips annually.

Blue & Gold Fleet has 14 years of experience successfully operating 30-knot vessels and 19 years of experience providing water transit services in the Bay Area. The company has operated the Vallejo service for 17 years and the Alameda/Oakland route for the past 19 years. Staffers for the WETA Board also noted that Blue & Gold’s maintenance and management teams “have extensive experience and are highly qualified” and that the company is “extremely responsive and positive to work with.”

In a memo to Blue & Gold staff, company President Taylor Safford described the award as “the culmination of the excellent, safe and reliable service that each member of the staff has provided for years to the people of the Bay Area.” He also recognized the importance of what he termed “the partnership” that has evolved between Blue & Gold, MM&P’s United Inland Group and the Inland Boatmen’s Union. 

“I want to thank everyone who has worked so hard on this project over the course of the past five years,” said MM&P UIG Vice President Mike Murray. “Invaluable contributions have been made by many MM&P members who work at Blue & Gold, such as Capt. Ezra L. Hunter.  I also want to recognize the efforts of MM&P Regional Representative Ray Shipway and of Veronica Sanchez, who works to preserve and create jobs for MM&P members in the San Francisco area. Without their help, this result would not have been possible.”  


HORIZON LINES SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETES REFINANCING

Horizon Lines says it has completed a $652.8 million refinancing operation that will save the company from bankruptcy. The company and its affiliates have also entered into a $100 million credit facility organized by Wells Fargo Capital Finance. “We now have a new capital structure that eliminates the refinancing uncertainty faced by our company over the past several months and better positions us for the future,” said Horizon Lines President and CEO Stephen H. Fraser in an official statement. “We have put in place a solid financial foundation that affords us the opportunity to grow our business and significantly reduce debt over time.”


MEBA HALTS PICKET OF LIBERTY MARITIME

Members of the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA) have pulled down the picket lines of Liberty Maritime ships in Texas and Louisiana. The lines went up on Sept. 30, after Liberty Maritime locked MEBA out of its bulker fleet. The lockout, which ended a contractual relationship that had lasted over twenty years, followed Liberty’s decision not to renew its collective bargaining agreement with MEBA aboard its five U.S.-flag dry bulk carriers. On Oct. 1, Liberty entered into a contract with the American Maritime Officers (AMO). Liberty’s bulker fleet is engaged primarily in delivery of “Food for Peace” covered under the cargo preference laws.


GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE WILL STUDY EFFECTS OF JONES ACT ON PUERTO RICO

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has agreed to conduct a detailed investigation of the impact on Puerto Rico of the Jones Act. Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi had requested the study to ascertain “what impact the Jones Act has on the island’s economy.” The resident commissioner is the non-voting representative of the commonwealth in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Pierluisi says he requested the study “based on the belief that the best way to obtain any modification to federal law is to demonstrate the effect that the law has on the Puerto Rico economy, including the future development of the Port of the Americas.” In a letter to Pierluisi, GAO–which is the investigative arm of Congress–said it will begin work on the study this year. The Jones Act is the name commonly given to the body of laws that require that all maritime transport of cargo between U.S. ports be carried by vessels built in the United States, owned by U.S. citizens and operated by U.S. citizen crews.


U.S.-FLAG INDUSTRY URGES STRICT ENFORCEMENT OF CARGO PREFERENCE LAWS

Representatives of U.S.-flag shipping companies and maritime unions issued calls last week for tighter enforcement of cargo preference laws for the carriage of government-impelled cargo. They made the remarks at a public meeting organized by Maritime Administrator David Matsuda, who has said he wants industry feedback on an agency rulemaking “that will govern how we implement cargo preference laws moving forward.”

One speaker at the meeting, Bill Kenwell of Maersk Line Ltd., testified that in absence of cargo preference, the U.S. commercial fleet would not be available for national security or moving humanitarian aid. He called cargo preference “a highly cost-efficient means of obtaining sealift capabilities that are vital to our nation’s security.” Kenwell spoke on behalf of the USA Maritime coalition, which wants MARAD to ensure better compliance with the law.

APL Maritime CEO Eric Mensing, who also spoke at the meeting, urged MARAD to assure “better accountability and tougher enforcement… Sadly, we are convinced that shipments that should be subject to cargo preference are frequently slipping through the system,” he said.


MARITIME GRASSROOTS COMMITTEE MEETS WITH REP. RICK LARSEN

The maritime grassroots committee met last week with Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.), the lead Democrat on the all-important House Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee. The grassroots committee, which included members of MM&P and the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA), met with Larsen in his local district office.

“This nationwide effort and the grassroots committee meetings give our industry the opportunity to bring our issues home to the members of Congress and help them better understand how important our programs are to the jobs of their constituents and the economy of their districts,” said MM&P International President Tim Brown. “We encourage all those who share our commitment to a strong U.S.-flag maritime industry to join MEBA, MM&P, Maersk and others in this critically important, long overdue effort.” Additional meetings are planned this week in California and Washington State.


WE NEED JOBS, NOT CUTS: UNIONS CALL FOR PASSAGE OF PRESIDENT’S JOBS PLAN

The country’s labor unions are urging Congress to quickly enact President Obama’s American Jobs Act, which economists say has the potential to create 4.3 million new jobs. Among other things, President Obama’s plan–which adds no new government spending–calls for modernizing schools and investing $50 billion in rebuilding roads, bridges, transit, port, rail, communications and energy systems.

“Americans want to work. And we won’t stop pushing, shoving, fighting and kicking until every one of them has a job,” says AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “When are we going to recognize this as a jobs crisis–not a debt crisis?” Trumka made the remarks at last week’s “Take Back the American Dream Conference,” in Washington, D.C.

The Economic Policy Institute estimates that the President’s plan could create 4.3 million new jobs. The Alliance for American Manufacturing, in a study with the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, says that for every $1 billion in infrastructure spending, 18,000 new jobs would be created. Economists estimate that every manufacturing job pays, on average, 10-50 percent more than service sector jobs and supports five more jobs in the community. For this reason, the “ripple effect” of the President’s plan could be huge, said another speaker at the conference, United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard.

Gerard and other labor leaders are calling on Congress to pass the jobs plan and implement a coordinated manufacturing policy that would: establish a national infrastructure bank to leverage capital for large-scale transportation and energy projects; reshape the tax code in a revenue-neutral way to provide incentives for job creation and investment in America; lower tax rates for manufacturing activity in America and eliminate tax shelters for hedge funds or financial transactions that have no real value; apply “Buy America” domestic content provisions–to as large an extent as possible in the context of our international obligations–to all federal spending to ensure that American workers and businesses get the first shot at procurement contracts; and refocus the trade agenda by giving American businesses new tools to counter China’s currency manipulation, industrial subsidies, intellectual property theft and barriers to market access.


“We simply cannot continue to allow Congress to do nothing to address our jobs crisis,” Gerard said. “Millions out of work, millions thrown out of their homes, and the bonuses keep flowing on Wall Street,” Trumka said. “It’s no wonder there are protests. When is enough enough?”

The USW has created an online toolkit at www.usw.org/jobs where you can find fact sheets, talking points and videos about President Obama’s proposal.


TRANSPORTATION UNIONS ENDORSE PRESIDENT’S TRANSPORTATION BILL

Transportation union leaders last week endorsed the President’s transportation jobs bill, which would make investments in transportation a cornerstone of job creation and economic growth. During their annual fall meeting last Thursday, leaders of the 32 unions that form the Executive Committee of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD) vowed to push jobs creating legislation forward and to defend federal and postal workers from unprecedented attacks on their jobs, pensions and rights. MM&P is a member of TTD.

“With unemployment over 9 percent and our economy still teetering, we need to invest now in a plan to create millions of jobs, repair our nation’s crumbling infrastructure and maintain a first-class transportation network,” said TTD President Edward Wytkind.  “We commend the President for challenging Congress to pass his jobs bill now and we will push lawmakers to end the partisan bickering and pass this plan.”

The TTD Executive Committee welcomed guest speakers Rep. Nick Rahall (W. Va.), the ranking Democrat on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; Rep. Steve LaTourette (Ohio); Jason Furman, deputy director of the National Economic Council; and Polly Trottenberg, assistant secretary for transportation policy at the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The TTD Executive Committee also focused on the need to complete the stalled multi-year Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill, already extended 22 times, to turn back attempts to repeal the National Mediation Board’s union election rules, to reauthorize the surface transportation bill and to stop the anticipated legislative attacks on longstanding worker protections in our laws.

“This era of transportation budget cutting, outsourcing and privatizing is threatening our economy and your members’ jobs,” said Rep. Rahall. “We stand with you against the House Republican agenda to use transportation legislation to attack collective bargaining and organizing rights.”

“It is time to pass a multi-year FAA bill that doesn’t attack the rights of working men and women,” Rep. LaTourette told the Executive Committee. “Your agenda to push for long overdue transportation investments and create millions of jobs is my agenda.  We can’t cut our way to prosperity as some in this town want to do.”


AFL-CIO FIGHTS LATEST ATTACK ON UNIONS

Minnesota Republican John Kline has introduced legislation that would turn back regulations proposed by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and significantly slow the timeframe in which a union election could take place. HR 3094, the misnamed “Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act,” would make it harder for workers to unionize by requiring that no election could be held until at least 35 days after a petition is filed before the NLRB. The bill would also nullify a recent NLRB decision that would allow unions to organize several small bargaining units instead of one larger unit. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka denounced Kline’s bill as yet another attempt to undermine unions. “This latest attempt to strip workers of their rights and stop fairness in the workplace is another example of politicians’ determination to push an agenda for the top 1 percent at the expense of the 99 percent,” Trumka said.


UNITED INLAND GROUP MEMBERS VOTING ON NEW BY-LAWS

Members of MM&P’s United Inland Group (UIG) are now voting on new by-laws. The UIG was formed in 2004, when members approved a referendum uniting the Pacific Maritime Region, the Great Lakes & Rivers Region and the Atlantic & Gulf Region. The Union urges a YES vote on the by-laws. Ballots are due back by Monday, Dec. 5, at 0900.


DRAMATIC YOU TUBE VIDEO DEPICTS HUMAN COST OF PIRACY

A powerful short film, posted to You Tube by the international “Save Our Seafarers (SOS) campaign,” campaign, features a moving interview with a mariner who was held hostage for eight months by Somali pirates. The six-minute video uses a mixture of interviews and dramatizations to create a frightening, realistic sequence in which a ship is captured and hostages taken. The re-enactment is followed by a compelling report given by a former hostage and interviews with the European Union Naval Forces chief of staff and a member of the SOS Steering Group.

 “Seafarers have been constantly under threat from Somali pirates for the last five years, with at times more than 800 innocent seafarers being held hostage for months on end in appalling conditions and facing mental and physical torture at the hands of their captors,” said SOS spokesman Bill Box. “Piracy costs the global economy as much as 12 billion pounds a year and continues to threaten key transport routes through the Indian Ocean. The aim of our video is to take the campaign message to a wider audience and to gain support outside as well as inside the maritime industry, calling for more determined government action against Somali piracy.”

The campaign, which was launched in March of this year, is made up of the largest ever grouping of international seafarers’ organizations, shipping companies and shipping industry associations. It has already received backing from the British, Philippine and Georgian governments and has seen support from 180 countries.

To watch the video and sign a petition in support of concerted government action to end piracy, go to www.saveourseafarers.com.


LIFE IN PRISON FOR PIRATES CONVICTED IN KILLINGS ABOARD YACHT

Two Somali nationals who pleaded guilty to piracy in the hijacking of the yacht QUEST in the Indian Ocean have been sentenced to life in prison. Four U.S. citizens on the yacht were killed during the hijacking.


SOCP MEETING AT MITAGS NOV. 2-3

The Ship Operations Cooperative Program (SOCP), an industry-government partnership formed to address maritime safety and environmental issues, invites you to attend its Nov. 2-3 meeting at MITAGS. The topic is safety/security issues and regulatory changes that affect the maritime industry. Topics include vessel security, mariner safety, the North American ECA and STCW. All industry representatives are welcome to attend. To register, go to www.socp.us.


MARAD/SOCP ANTI-PIRACY DEMONSTRATION NOV. 1 AT BALTIMORE HARBOR

SOCP also invites you to attend a joint MARAD/SOCP Anti-Piracy Training and Technology demonstration to be held at 399 East Cromwell Street, Baltimore, on Nov, 1. The number of attendees will be capped at 200 and attendees will not be permitted onboard the ship. Please contact the SOCP Program Administrator for details: programadmin@socp.us or (301) 538-7627.


OFFSHORE DIVISION ORIENTATION COURSE SCHEDULE

The Offshore Division Orientation course, formerly called the D-Book Membership Course, will be held: Oct. 21-22 at MM&P headquarters in Linthicum Heights; and Nov. 8-9 in New Orleans. If sufficient showing of interest is demonstrated at other union halls, additional courses may be added to the schedule. 

Under the changes to the shipping rules that were ratified by the membership in August, members who want to upgrade to a B-Book or an A-Book are now required to attend the course. It is also a pre-requisite for D-Book status. Applicants should take this course as soon as possible.

If you are interested in taking the course in a port office, please contact the local union hall. If you are interested in taking a course offered at MM&P headquarters, please contact Mary Seidman at mseidman@bridgedeck.org.


CAPTAIN OF GROUNDED CONTAINERSHIP ARRESTED IN NEW ZEALAND

Authorities in New Zealand have arrested the captain of the containership RENA, which grounded last Wednesday on the Astrolabe Reef in the pristine Bay of Plenty. On Monday night, seventy containers fell from the heavily listing ship and fuel is said to be gushing out. The captain of the Liberia-flagged vessel, Mauro Arieves Balomaga, has been charged with “operating a vessel in a manner causing unnecessary danger or risk.” New Zealand Transport Minister Steven Joyce said more charges would follow. “It is inexplicable that on a perfectly calm day, with all the modern technology that is available in terms of navigation, a very well-documented reef would be hit in this way,” a government spokesman said. At the time of this writing, fuel oil was reported to be gushing from the ship and the weather has worsened to the point that authorities say they have little hope of safely removing the remaining fuel oil and diesel on board.


MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

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

For class availability or info on MITAGS courses and programs, contact Kelly Michielli, Admissions Coordinator, toll-free at 866-656-5568 or Email: admissions@mitags.org.

AB – Able Bodied Seaman: 10/17
 
AZIPOD (2-DAY) for Pilots: 10/13

BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 11/14

BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots:  11/28

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 11/14
 
CMM-ADVNAV – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): 10/31
 
CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems: 12/5
 
CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 10/24
 
CMM-SHMGT – Ship Management (2 weeks): 12/5
 
CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 10/24, 11/7, 11/28
 
CMM-SHS-ADV-I I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 10/31, 11/14, 12/5
 
CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 11/28

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning: 11/10
 
CHS BAS – Basic Cargo Handing and Stowage: 10/31
 –
ECDIS-ENAV (2 DAY) for Pilots: 10/17
 
EP – Emergency Procedures: 10/19
 
ENVIRO-Regs Permit – Environmental Regulations Permit: 11/8
 –
FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 10/10
 
FSM – Fatigue, Sleep and Medications for Pilots: 10/19

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 11/28

LAP-ORG 3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3/Mate: 12/5
 
LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 10/17, 11/28

MEDIA-RSP – Media Response Workshop: 11/11
 
MED-PIC – Medical Person In Charge: 10/24
 
MED-PIC -R– Medical Person In Charge Refresher: 11/14

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 10/24
 
MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 10/29

MSC -SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 11/14

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 10/19, 11/2, 11/16, 12/7, 12/14
 
ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal: 11/7

SAR – Search & Rescue: 10/17
 
SEC-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 11/7
 
SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 12/12
 
SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling: 10/17

C-NAV – Celestial Navigation: 11/7
 
…Remember: If you can’t make the class, make the call. Be courteous, don’t be a “no show.”

Check the MITAGS website at www.mitags.org for course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations, and schedule revisions.
 


PMI ACADEMIC NOTES

Schedule of Courses – Please also see our schedule online at www.mates.org
 
For registration, call our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen, at (206) 838-1126
 
October 2011
 
21st      Radar Renewal
17-21   Management, Communication, and Leadership
17-21   Basic Shiphandling
18-20  Security – Vessel, Company, and Facility
31st     Flashing Light

November 2011

7-11     ECDIS
7-11     TPIC
7-18    GMDSS
28th   Radar Renewal
28-2    Medical Care Provider
28-9    Medical Person-In-Charge
29-2    ARPA

December 2011

5th      Radar Renewal
5-9      Train the Trainer
5-16     GMDSS
12-16   Radar Observer Unlimited
19-22  ARPA


MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 10-10-11

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
11,433.18 2,566.05 1,194.89
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Closing
Price
 Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund (VAARX)
52.06
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
110.11
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
37.10
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
16.87
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
17.13
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
24.44
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
11.07
 Vanguard Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
30.59
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
5.42
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
15.95
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
20.71
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
14.00
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
18.87
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
12.01
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
12.24
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
12.12
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
12.34
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
12.70
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
10.90
 Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
29.68
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
16.91
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
14.75
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
17.08
 Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
10.76
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
61.90
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
60.33
 Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
16.08
 Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
26.11
 Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
24.78
 Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
11.21
 Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
11.94
 Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
13.18
 Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
13.21
 Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
12.92
 Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
7.39
 Fidelity Freedom 2050 (FFFHX)
8.57
 Fidelity Total Bond Fund (FTBFX)
10.94
 Spartan Extended market Index Fund (FSEMX)
33.87
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
42.31
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
29.01



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.

© 2011, 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.