News

Wheelhouse Weekly – October 25, 2011

October 25th 2011

 

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

Volume 15 . . . . . Number 43. . . . October 25, 2011

STORIES COVERED

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


HORIZON LINES TO END TRANS-PACIFIC FSX SERVICE, LAY-UP HUNTER-CLASS D-8S

Citing sharp declines in freight rates and significant increases in the cost of fuel with no relief in sight, Horizon Lines said yesterday it will end its Five-Star Express (FSX) service between the West Coast, Guam and China. Company officials told MM&P, MEBA and the SIU that it will begin winding down the FSX service on Oct. 31, with the last voyage from China scheduled for Nov. 2 and final sailings to Guam on Nov. 8 and 10. Discontinuation of the FSX service will have no impact on the company’s domestic ocean services in Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico.

“This has been a very difficult decision in light of the tremendous contributions from our associates, and our organized labor and vendor partners, who have worked so hard to make the FSX service a success,” said Horizon Lines President and Chief Executive Officer Stephen H. Fraser in an official statement. “Our decision to exit this highly volatile market will allow us to focus on our core domestic ocean shipping services, and provide the opportunity to produce a more profitable and stable financial performance over time.” Between the end of this month and early December, as the D-8s discharge their cargo in China, the vessels will be dry-docked and/or laid-up, and the officers and crew repatriated.

Although the FSX service met volume and vessel usage expectations, eastbound freight rates from China to the United States have fallen more than 37 percent in the past 12 months. At the same time, the average price of bunker fuel has increased by more than 40 percent since the service was started, and forecasts for conditions in the trans-Pacific trade lane leave little room for optimism. “Capacity continues to outpace demand and the forecast for 2012 calls for more of the same,” said Horizon Lines Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Brian Taylor.

“Horizon Lines has told MM&P that all alternatives to continue a U.S.-flag service have been exhausted and that the lay-up of the D-8s can no longer be avoided,” said MM&P International President Tim Brown. “But the company believes that with financing in place and losses contained, it will be in a position to turn things around and stabilize its Jones Act operations. We urge our members to take pride in the job that they have done and continue to perform their duties to the highest standards of our Union.”


CONGRESS SEEKS TO REVISE ENROLLMENT AND RENEWAL PROCEDURES FOR TWIC CARDS

To respond to the frustration of thousands of maritime and other transportation sector workers required to obtain a TWIC card, Congressman Steve Scalise (R-La.) and a bipartisan group of his colleagues have introduced legislation to end the requirement that an individual make multiple trips to an enrollment center.  The bill, HR 3173, would direct the Department of Homeland Security to reform the process for the enrollment, activation, issuance and renewal of a TWIC “to require, in total, not more than one in-person visit to a designated enrollment center.”

It is significant that this legislation has been cosponsored by the chairman and ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security Committee: Congressmen Peter King (R-N.Y) and Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.). The Homeland Security Committee has jurisdiction over HR 3173. MM&P is part of a broad maritime coalition working for the enactment of this legislation.


LEGISLATION INTRODUCED TO HALT FLOOD OF JONES ACT WAIVERS

Bipartisan legislation has been introduced in response to industry and Congressional outrage over the number of Jones Act waivers granted by the Maritime Administration to allow foreign vessels to carry oil from America’s strategic petroleum reserve. HR 3202, the “American Mariners Job Protection Act,” was introduced by Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Jeff Landry (R-La.). The Maritime Administration has issued more than 50 waivers of the Jones Act to date, basing them on its assertion that U.S.-flag Jones Act vessels have not been available to move the oil.

There is no formal requirement that the Maritime Administration disclose the information used to make its determinations on vessel availability. There is also no requirement that it make public the waiver requests it receives. HR 3202 would change the situation by requiring MARAD to notify Congress whenever a waiver is requested or granted, and to make the information available on its website. MM&P supports this legislation and will be working closely with Cummings and Landry to encourage its enactment.


MARITIME GRASSROOTS CAMPAIGN EXPANDS ACTIVITIES

The unprecedented maritime grassroots campaign has expanded to include two newly elected members of Congress: Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) and Rep. Janice Hahn (D-Calif.). Last week, maritime advisory committees held meetings in the districts of both. The meetings were organized as part of the effort to ensure that members of Congress understand the importance of our industry to the military, economic and homeland security of the United States, as well as to the economic well-being of their constituents.

MM&P and MEBA were among the first organizations to announce their participation in the nationwide maritime grassroots campaign. “Everyone who is committed to a stronger, more economically viable U.S.-flag maritime industry should join together so that we can take our message back home to the members of Congress in their districts and states,” said MM&P International President Tim Brown. “This approach allows us to elevate our programs and issues to the level they deserve and, in so doing, prevent the exodus of vessels from our flag and the outsourcing of American maritime jobs.” The maritime advisory committees will hold more meetings with members of Congress in coming weeks.


MM&P EXPRESSES CONCERN THAT CUTS TO NOAA FUNDING MAY HOBBLE CRITICAL SURVEY EFFORTS

MM&P has expressed concern to managers at NOAA, CNO and MSC that federal government budget-cutting may interfere with the essential surveys that NOAA carries out to support safe, efficient, and environmentally sound commercial navigation.

An example of the important work regularly conducted by NOAA to the benefit of all maritime industry operators is an ongoing three-month survey of the sea floor off the coast of New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island. NOAA Ship THOMAS JEFFERSON is conducting the survey as part of a multi-year effort to update nautical charts for Block Island Sound and keep large ships and commerce moving safely. In addition to supporting marine navigation, data acquired by the 208-foot hydrographic survey vessel will support a seafloor mapping initiative by Connecticut and New York. The area is seeing an increase in the number of deep-draft vessels requiring depths of more than 60 feet, and pilots need precise and up-to-date depth measurements as they navigate.

“NOAA plays a vital role in our everyday lives by ensuring efficient transportation of public and private maritime assets in U.S. waters by providing nautical charts and products for safe maritime commerce,” said MM&P Government Fleet Representative Randi Ciszewski. “Without proper funding, NOAA’s ability to provide navigational products could be jeopardized.”


MM&P-BACKED BALLAST WATER LEGISLATION CLEARS COMMITTEE

The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure has favorably reported legislation that would establish an achievable, uniform standard for ballast water treatment and protect maritime industry jobs threatened by the current burdensome ballast water treatment regulations. The bill, HR 2840, was introduced by Congressman Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.) and is strongly supported by MM&P and a broad maritime industry coalition.

As reported by the committee, HR 2840 amends the Clean Water Act to set a single nationwide performance standard, which conforms to the standard set by the International Maritime Organization, for the treatment of ballast water. The bill requires the Coast Guard to set an implementation schedule requiring vessel owners to install treatment technology certified to meet the new standard. “The current system threatens international maritime trade,” LoBiondo said when he introduced the legislation. “It is driving industry away from short sea shipping. It is undermining our attempts to revitalize the U.S.-flag fleet. It is destroying jobs. And it is hurting our economic recovery.” The legislation is now pending action by the full House of Representatives.  


OHIO VOTERS HAVE OPPORTUNITY TO REPEAL ANTI-WORKER LAW

On Tuesday, Nov, 8, voters in Ohio have the opportunity to veto Senate Bill 5 by voting “No” on the ballot initiative known as Issue 2. Senate Bill 5 is the law that restricts the collective bargaining rights of teachers, police officers, fire fighters, nurses and other working Ohioans who belong to public sector labor unions. To put the issue on the ballot, the grassroots coalition against Senate Bill 5/Issue 2, collected 1,300,000 signatures, an all-time record for signatures gathered for a ballot initiative in the state.

MM&P sent a letter last week to all members in Ohio with a reminder to go to the polls on Nov. 8 and vote “No” on Issue 2. Polls show a majority of Ohio voters want Senate Bill 5 repealed, but the margin is narrowing and opponents of workers’ rights are pulling out all the stops in their fight to keep this harmful piece of anti-worker legislation on the books.

Issue 2 takes away the rights and voices of hardworking Ohioans. It unfairly shifts the balance and all the power to management by stripping workers of their rights. Ohio’s teachers, nurses, firefighters and other public employees have already made great sacrifices, saving Ohio taxpayers $350 million dollars to help fix the budget crisis. To learn more about Issue 2, visit: www.weareohio.com.


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

The Ship Operations Cooperative Program (SOCP) 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.


SOCP MEETING AT MITAGS NOV. 2-3

The Ship Operations Cooperative Program (SOCP) 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.


OFFSHORE FAMILIARIZATION COURSE SCHEDULE

The Offshore Familiarization Course, formerly called the D-Book Membership Course, will be held 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.


PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP IN LOUISIANA WOULD PRESERVE AVONDALE SHIPYARD JOBS

A joint venture that would preserve the jobs of approximately 3,850 workers at Avondale Shipyard was announced last week by the state of Louisiana and a private company, Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII). Under the terms of the agreement, the state of Louisiana would provide HII with $214 million in incentives for retooling shipyard facilities and retraining employees. “This agreement with HII means we are one step closer to securing the future of Avondale and its incredible workforce,” said Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. “For generations, folks at Avondale have worked to build the ships that protect our country and keep our soldiers safe, and we will not rest until every option is exhausted to keep jobs in Louisiana.”

As an initial step in the process, in May of this year, the U.S. Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment awarded the Louisiana Economic Development organization a $1.49 million grant to evaluate best practices from prior shipyard reuse projects and assess Avondale’s facilities and workforce as compared to trends in shipbuilding and other manufacturing sectors.


HALF THE OIL REMOVED FROM GROUNDED CONTAINERSHIP RENA

Salvors said Tuesday they had reached the halfway mark in removing oil from the container ship RENA, which grounded Oct. 5 on New Zealand’s Astrolabe Reef. About 645 tons of oil have been removed from the ship. In the meantime, the captain and navigational officer have both been charged with “operating a vessel in a manner causing unnecessary danger or risk.” The two are scheduled to appear again in court on Nov. 2. They face up to 12 months in prison and a $10,000 fine. The Filipino seafarers rights group International Seafarers Action has called the RENA “an old, substandard vessel,” and “an accident waiting to happen.”  In the past three years, the group says, the RENA failed half of her inspections and was detained in Australia for 17 deficiencies. “This accident shows the evils of substandard shipping and the flag-of-convenience system used by unscrupulous shipowners,” said a spokesman for the Manila-based seafarers’ rights group.

In the wake of the accident, wildlife rehabilitators have recovered more than a thousand dead birds and a number of dead seal pups. A spokesperson for a local environmental group said the spill is New Zealand’s worst-ever ecological disaster.


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.

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-SHMGT – Ship Management (2 weeks): 12/5
 
CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 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
 –
ENVIRO-Regs Permit – Environmental Regulations Permit: 11/8
 –
HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 11/28

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

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

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: 11/2, 11/16, 12/7, 12/14
 
ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal: 11/7

SEC-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 11/7
 
SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 12/12
 
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
 
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 10-21-11

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
11,808.79 2,637.46 1,238.25
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Closing
Price
 Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund (VAARX)
53.28
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
114.16
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
38.63
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
17.20
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
17.69
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
25.38
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
11.08
 Vanguard Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
31.66
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
5.62
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
16.19
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
21.27
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
14.13
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
19.26
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
12.15
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
12.49
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
12.46
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
12.71
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
13.08
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
10.92
 Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
30.80
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
17.46
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
15.02
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
17.73
 Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
10.79
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
63.78
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
62.98
 Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
16.86
Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX) 43.16
 Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
26.81
 Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
25.75
 Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
11.31
 Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
12.06
 Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
13.41
 Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
13.47
 Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
13.22
 Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
7.59
 Fidelity Freedom 2050 (FFFHX)
8.81
 Fidelity Total Bond Fund (FTBFX)
10.85
 Spartan Extended market Index Fund (FSEMX)
35.26
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
43.87
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
29.98



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.