News

Wheelhouse Weekly – September 08, 2005

September 8th 2005


 


THE MASTERS, MATES & PILOTS’
WHEELHOUSE WEEKLYonline

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

Volume 9 . . . . . Number 36 . . . . September 8, 2005


STORIES COVERED

EXPANDED HURRICANE KATRINA COVERAGE

Also

REMINDERS

 

 




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




MM&P, MEBA, AMO AND SIU OPPOSE UNFAIR ADVANTAGE FOR GMATS

Earlier this week, the MM&P along with the MEBA, AMO and SIU jointly expressed their opposition to provisions contained in the Maritime Administration Enhancement Act of 2005 that would give the US Merchant Marine Academy’s Global Maritime and Transportation School (GMATS) an unfair competitive advantage over private training facilities such as those supported by the unions and their contracted shipping companies.

In a letter to Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK), Chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, MM&P President Capt. Tim Brown along with the presidents of MEBA, AMO and the SIU noted that, “These provisions were proposed by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and included in the proposed legislation transmitted to the Congress by DOT without any discussion or consultation with the existing maritime industry training institutions that will be significantly and adversely affected by the proposed changes to GMATS.”

The letter pointed out that, “More specifically, any US government agency will be able to contract for training and services with GMATS directly, without having to advertise and offer its contract for competitive bids through the Government Services Administration (GSA) Schedule or other Federal service. In addition, GMATS will be allowed to accept “gifts” from the Department of Transportation, thereby giving GMATS the opportunity to receive at no cost the goods and services private industry must pay for. Finally, GMATS will be able to “borrow” assets from the Federal government for “cost”, giving GMATS yet another significant opportunity to artificially reduce its costs as compared to private industry.”

The letter warned that, “Taken together, these advantages not only put GMATS in a position to operate as a competitor with privately-run and financed training institutions, but provide to GMATS a significant competitive advantage that may eliminate the opportunity for the training institutions our organizations and contracted shipping companies support to bid for and secure government contracts.”

In conclusion, the letter stated that, “Our training institutions have a long and proud history of providing the US-flag merchant marine with the best trained licensed and unlicensed mariners available anywhere in the world, and of providing the US government with efficient, economical and up-to-the-minute training. It is counterproductive at best for the Congress to approve legislation that gives a government entity the wherewithal to weaken private institutions that already provide the services required and needed by our government.”

 




 

HORIZON LINES FILES FOR IPO REGISTRATION

MM&P-contracted Horizon Lines has filed the registration for its initial public offering of 50.6 percent of its outstanding stock with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The IPO, which is expected to be completed by Sept. 21, will offer 15.6 million shares at $15-17 per share, and is expected to raise between $166.3 million and $183.7 million. The Charlotte-based carrier is offering 11.56 million shares, and stockholders are selling an additional 4.06 million shares, according to the filing.

Horizon said in the statement it plans to use the proceeds of the IPO to pay down its expensive senior debt and improve its balance sheet. The Jones Act carrier plans to buy back 27 percent or $43.3 million of the $160 million of senior debt that bears an 11 percent coupon and 35 percent or $87.5 million of the $250 million of senior debt that pays 9 percent interest. It also plans to redeem all $62.2 million of its Series A preferred stock.

The statement said Horizon would use the IPO proceeds to pay down this debt because the required interest payments “could significantly impair our operating and financial condition.”
The registration statement makes no mention of replacing its aging vessels, but the improvement in its balance sheet will presumably enable the carrier to begin planning the purchase of new ships.

The average age of Horizon’s vessels is approximately 28 years and that they have an expected life of 45 years. The statement said, “Eventually, these vessels will need to be replaced. We may not be able to replace these vessels with new vessels based on uncertainties related to financing, timing and shipyard availability. ”

The registration rescinds an earlier filing under which the proceeds of the IPO would have been used to pay its current owner, the venture capital firm Castle Harlan, a generous dividend. Instead, the filing states that it may start paying a quarterly dividend that would amount to 3 percent, based on the initial offering price of $16 a share, depending on the availability of funds.

Castle Harlan will still own 49.4 percent of Horizon’s stock after the IPO. As a Jones Act carrier, Horizon is required to restrict the foreign ownership of its shares to 25 percent, the IPO statement says. Horizon intends to list its stock on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “HRZ.”



 

MASTERS, MATES & PILOTS DISASTER RELIEF FUND BEING ESTABLISHED

MM&P is currently establishing a relief fund for members and applicants needing assistance following Hurricane Katrina. This fund is named the Masters, Mates & Pilots Disaster Relief Fund, Inc. “We have applied for tax-exempt status for the fund which, when approved, will make contributions tax deductible. Once this occurs, a letter will be sent out with a self-return envelope soliciting donations for this fund,” said MM&P President Capt. Tim Brown. The letter can be viewed on the MM&P web site at .

The Masters, Mates and Pilots will provide $25,000 from the general treasury to kick off the financing of this fund. Once this fund is approved, MM&P will consider requests from victims of Hurricane Katrina. All requests must be made in writing and sent to MM&P Headquarters, 700 Maritime Blvd. Linthicum, MD 21090 in care of John Gorman, Comptroller or Beverly Gutmann, Asst. Comptroller.

HOUSING SITUATION

A number of individuals have called in offering temporary housing for those displaced as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Glen Paine has offered temporary lodging at MITAGS for those displaced. Pat Ausband, from Sailors Snug Harbor, has also offered temporary housing at Snug Harbor in Sea Level, North Carolina or help from the Snug Harbor OutReach program. Please contact MM&P HQ if we can be of assistance here. The best phone number is 410-850-8700 extension 11.



 

HURRICANE KATRINA CLOSES REGIONAL EXAM CENTERS

The Coast Guard Regional Examination (REC) in New Orleans is located in an area that was heavily flooded by Hurricane Katrina. Initial estimates indicate that REC New Orleans may be closed for up to six months. Also affected was the REC in Houston that suffered a loss of communications, but services are expected to be restored shortly.

Coast Guard officials at the National Maritime Center are drafting plans to continue to provide credentialing services to mariners located in the areas devastated by Katrina. Until these plans are completed, mariners who would normally apply for a mariner’s credential at REC New Orleans should now apply at any other REC. The nearest RECs to the New Orleans that were not affected by Katrina are located in Miami, FL and Memphis, TN. By now, Houston might also be back to full service.

In addition to continuation of public service, plans are also being developed to process applications filed at REC New Orleans that were under evaluation at the time that the hurricane struck. Further info will be released as plans for processing those applicants are completed. Applicants who were in the pending queue at REC New Orleans and require immediate issuance of a credential may call any REC for information as to the status of their application.

Fair warning: With the added complications brought on by the closing of the New Orleans REC, it might, and probably will, take even longer for MM&P members to get their applications processed so they can obtain the necessary credentials. A word to the wise: It is now more important than ever to start the process sooner rather than later!

 


MEMBERS AND COMPANIES STEP-UP IN WAKE OF KATRINA

MM&P member Doug Adriance, who is sailing as Chief Mate on the USNS BOWDITCH, operated by MM&P-contracted Horizon Lines, sent the following email regarding the company’s actions in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. “We were pleased when Horizon Lines informed the Captain that any crew member affected by Hurricane Katrina could pay-off without penalty (mutual consent) and Horizon would pick-up the tab to fly them home. The Captain granted all crewmembers 10 minutes free satellite phone time to check on their families. Our 3/M, Todd Adams, is going home (his family and girl friend’s family homes are in New Orleans) early and is being replaced by Matt Ferruccio from the Boston Hall. I called Matt this morning and he dropped everything he was doing to relieve early. He will fly out Mon-Tues. I hope that in the future these kind actions will be remembered.”

Do you have information to share about yours or another MM&P member’s experiences during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina? If so, the MM&P Communications Department would like to hear about your human-interest story. Please email your account to communications@bridgedeck.org .


SS NEW RIVER MASTER REPORTS THAT AHL IS STILL GOING STRONG

MM&P member Capt. Scot Coutrurier, who is sailing as Master on the MM&P-contracted AHL SS NEW RIVER, sent the following email regarding the vessel’s departure from Beaumont, TX on Wednesday. “I wanted to relay a bit of news this morning. The NEW RIVER departed Beaumont yesterday and as the ship passed the
R&R Marine Repair Drydock at Port Arthur, we observed a group of approximately 25 people standing atop the dry dock wing wall displaying a large banner proclaiming “AHL Still Going Strong”. It was a heart warming sight to see Richard and the entire New Orleans AHL staff and their family remaining strong and well while going through relocation and recovery from Hurricane Katrina.”


USACE DREDGE WHEELER ASSISTS HURRICANE RECOVERY OPERATIONS

The US Army Corps of Engineers dredge WHEELER, crewed by members of MM&P’s Government Employees’ Membership Group, is in an emergency mode assisting in Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts. Randi Ciszewski, MM&P’s Representative for the government employees’ group, reports that the WHEELER is acting as a communication station, feeding and berthing station for emergency personnel. The dredge is also conducting fuel transfers to emergency vehicles when necessary. “They’re extremely busy and at this time can’t respond to much more than what is provided in this email,” writes Ciszewski.


USNS ARCTIC VITAL TO NOLA HURRICANE RECOVERY EFFORTS

MM&P members onboard the USNS ARCTIC, including the vessel’s Master, Capt. Steven Karavolos and Chief Mate Dean Bradford, report that they were the second platform to arrive in NOLA and have been working non-stop supporting rescue and recovery operations. The ship arrived in the area less then two days after the hurricane. The Licensed Deck Officers from MM&P’s Government Employees’ Membership Group have been providing replenishment to USS BATAAN Group.

The 754-foot ARCTIC carries a crew of 160 civil service mariners and 60 embarked US Navy sailors and is one of more than 30 civilian-crewed MSC ships that provide at sea logistic support to deployed US Navy ships. Fast Combat Support Ships like ARCTIC enable Navy ships to remain at sea, on station and combat ready for extended periods of time. ARCTIC can provide food, fuel, and supplies to USS BATAAN, which is serving as a 325-bed field hospital, throughout its deployment.

With a top speed of 25 knots, ARCTIC is ideal for re-supplying Navy ships at sea. Additionally, two on-board Navy MH-60 helicopters provide vertical replenishment. Last year, USNS ARCTIC deployed with the HARRY S. TRUMAN Carrier Strike Group on Oct. 13 for a six-month deployment in support of the global war on terrorism. ARCTIC deployed with the USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT Carrier Strike Group and has supported USS GEORGE WASHINGTON and her escorts as well as various amphibious ships including USS WASP and USS KEARSAGE.”


WEB SITE ASSISTS MARAD EMPLOYEES AFFECTED BY KATRINA

This web site is intended to help MARAD employees affected by the Katrina disaster, as well as those MARAD employees who are assisting with the Katrina relief efforts. If you are a MARAD employee and need to contact someone regarding the Katrina relief efforts, please call 1-800-99MARAD (1-800-996-2723) or send your email to webmaster.marad@dot.gov. To contact the Port Arthur office, please call 409-727-4565. You may contact the American Red Cross at 1-866-438-4636. Port of New Orleans personnel may call 866-476-7866.


NEW ORLEANS FLOOD WATER LEVELS LISTED ON WEB SITE

For those interested in tracking the flood water levels in New Orleans, go to http://mapper.cctechnol.com/floodmap.php. Point and click on a map location and the water level will appear.


MARAD SHIPS MOBILIZED FOR HURRICANE RECOVERY

Seven ships from MARAD’s National Defense Reserve Fleet have been activated to serve in the national effort to recover from Hurricane Katrina. Three state maritime academy training ships will provide housing and support for port workers and petroleum industry workers, and four Ready Reserve Force (RRF) ships will provide their unique capabilities to assist in rescue and recovery operations as well as in the area’s economic recovery.

The RRF ship WRIGHT is heading to New Orleans from Baltimore. The Wright is a helicopter repair ship that can provide support for offshore helicopter activity and house more than 325 people. Also needed are the capabilities of the RRF crane ships, which can offload cargo when port facilities are not operable. The crane ship DIAMOND STATE will be arriving from Orange, TX. The EQUALITY STATE has been activated by the Department of Defense, and will be heading to New Orleans from Beaumont, TX.

The CAPE FLATTERY, which can carry 85 barges or 1600 containers, and which can also operate in a damaged port, has been standing by in Orange, TX, crewed and ready to depart. The training vessels STATE OF MAINE, THE EMPIRE STATE, and the SIRIUS are being provisioned and are expected to be in New Orleans by the end of the week.

RRF ships have frequently been activated to help in recovery efforts from disasters in foreign countries, but this is the first time they have been activated to assist in recovery from a domestic disaster. “The Maritime Administration is working day and night to get these vessels successfully deployed,” said Acting Maritime Administrator John Jamian. “What we and the men and women of the US Merchant Marine do best is support this nation in time of peace and war.”

This deployment also marks the first time that a Secretary of Transportation requested release of RRF vessels by the Department of Defense. In announcing the request on Saturday, September 3, Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta said, “We need now to mobilize resources like these ships that can support what is going to be a long-term commitment to rebuilding the region.”

Two other RRF ships are home-ported in New Orleans, and have stayed in New Orleans, throughout the crisis. The CAPE KENNEDY has provided an emergency headquarters for the staff of the Port of New Orleans, and port operations are being directed from there.

 


MILITARY SUPPORT POURS INTO HURRICANE DEVASTATED AREAS

The 66,000 US military forces on the ground in the hurricane-decimated Gulf Coast region are carrying out President Bush’s priorities — saving, then sustaining lives — before getting to the tasks of recovery and reconstruction. As their numbers increase daily, US troops continue to comb New Orleans for hurricane survivors as local officials enforce a mandatory evacuation order. The troops are also helping Katrina survivors as they move to new areas.

Twenty-seven Navy and Coast Guard ships are assigned to the effort. Dept. of Defense officials say that the number of troops in the region will exceed 70,000 by Friday. The headquarters for the military effort has shifted to the USS IWO JIMA, docked in New Orleans. The Navy amphibious assault ship allows commanders and their civilian counterparts to communicate with rescuers and assistance personnel across the region. The hospital ship USNS COMFORT, crewed by some MM&P Licensed Deck Officers, is scheduled to arrive Sept. 9.

In addition, 360 helicopters and 93 planes are also supporting the operation. Broken gas mains and masses of rubble have made fires a threat in the region. Two specially equipped Air Force C-130 aircraft are at Naval Air Station Pensacola, FL, and are available to fly fire-fighting missions assigned by regional fire officials. Helicopters are flying missions in support of the New Orleans fire chief.

To date, military personnel have delivered more than 24.2 million liters of water, 67 million pounds of ice, and 13.6 million individually packaged military rations to areas in Mississippi and Louisiana.

DOD officials reported these additional operational highlights late Thursday:

DOD has provided extensive search-and-rescue, evacuation, and medical support, flying more than 5,200 sorties to date, evacuating 75,000 people, rescuing more than 14,000 people, evacuating 7,500 patients by ground and more than 2,500 by air, and treating more than 5,500 patients.

The Army Corps of Engineers closed the 17th Street Canal levee breach in New Orleans and began pumping operations on Sept. 6. Corps staffers are now working to open more of the city’s pumping stations.

Mortuary affairs specialists were expected to arrive at Camp Shelby on Thursday to help the Federal Emergency Management Agency process the deceased. The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology at Walter Reed Army Medical Center is providing a specialized DNA team to help identify fatalities. FEMA has ordered 21 million individually packaged military rations. Field hospitals are providing 745 beds.


PORT OF NEW ORLEANS DAMAGED BUT OPENS FOR US RELIEF SHIPS

The Port of New Orleans, which handles more tonnage than any US port, reopened on Thursday after being damaged by Hurricane Katrina. A spokesman said that the port is planning to handle nine US government ships bearing relief personnel and supplies. The Mississippi River has been cleared to handle vessels with a draft of 35 feet during daylight hours. The river is only open to navigation in one direction at a time. Before the hurricane, New Orleans typically handled ocean-going vessels with 45 feet of draft. The port doesn’t expect to handle commercial cargo for up to two weeks.

“The Port of New Orleans’ riverfront terminals survived Hurricane Katrina in fairly decent shape,” said Port President and CEO Gary LaGrange. “Although they are damaged, they are still workable once electrical power and manpower is available.”
“In the next several weeks, almost all of the Port of New Orleans will be dedicated to military relief vessels. In the next week to two weeks, commercial vessels will return once electrical power and manpower arrive,” LaGrange said

He added that many repairs will be needed to bring the Port back to full capacity. Cargo containers have been tossed around at the Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal and the Nashville Avenue Complex and remain strewn about.

Two gantry cranes at the Napoleon and Nashville Avenue Complexes are expected to have damage to electronic components. The other two gantry cranes at Napoleon/Nashville are expected to work once they have electric power. The US Maritime Administration (MARAD) is working to supply the cranes with power through huge shipboard generators. MARAD is also providing several ships with the capacity to temporarily house 1,000 people who will operate the port. Those 1,000 people will be either essential Port of New Orleans employees or crews working ships at the Port of New Orleans.

The Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet (MRGO), an alternate route for the Mississippi River, is open to nine feet of draft. The conditions of the terminals along the MRGO and the Industrial Canal are unknown except that they have no electrical power and they are severely flooded.

The Port continues to face many challenges, including fires.
Mandeville, Piety and possibly Esplanade Street Wharves have been damaged by fire. The fire started off port property at a produce warehouse when propane tanks exploded. The fire was battled from the river by the GENERAL ROY KELLEY, the Port’s fireboat as well as some other utility boats. “Propane exploding in the air like bombs touched off fires as far as a half-mile away,” LaGrange said. The only way to fight the fire was to use fire-fighting vessels. Fire apparatus responded to the emergency, but didn’t have the ability to pump water.


MSC CHARTERS CRUISE SHIPS FOR FEMA TO RELOCATE KATRINA VICTIMS

The federal government’s effort to relocate Hurricane Katrina survivors from Houston area shelters to three vessels chartered from Carnival Cruise Lines and one from Scotia Prince Cruises is not going as expected. The Federal Emergency Management Agency had hoped to move 7,000 people from shelters to provide them with beds, private rooms and hot food aboard the vessels ECSTASY, HOLIDAY, SENSATION and SCOTIA PRINCE. But initial reports indicate that there are fewer takers for the plan than expected as many refugees say that they need jobs and money instead of cruise ship accommodations.

The four cruise ships were immediately removed from commercial service in response to FEMA’s request for temporary housing. The Military Sealift Command has chartered the ships for six months, beginning no later than Sept. 10. The SENSATION and ECSTASY each accommodate 2,634 passengers; the HOLIDAY carries 1,848; and the MV SCOTIA PRINCE accommodates 1,000.

USCG officials said that while some of the hurricane’s survivors want to get back to work, many others are hesitant to go anywhere near a ship on the water after escaping New Orleans’ floods. Nearly 26,000 evacuees are temporarily housed at Houston’s Astrodome, Reliant Center, Reliant Arena and convention center. Many at the Astrodome now feel that “the dome is home”.


BUSH ADMINISTRATION TEMPORARILY LIFTS JONES ACT RESTRICTIONS

President Bush has lifted Jones Act restrictions, saying that foreign-flagged ships are needed to move petroleum between US ports to meet post-hurricane demands. After noting that the Colonial Pipeline that carries petroleum from the Midwest to the East Coast is operating at only 50% capacity, Bush said the US-flag fleet is insufficient to meet coastal shipment needs. “I’ve instructed the Secretary of Homeland Security to temporarily waive this requirement, so foreign ships can also help distribute oil and gasoline to where it’s needed,” Bush said.


SOME GULF REFINERIES MAKE PREPARATIONS TO RESTART OPERATIONS

Five of eight refineries along the Gulf Coast that were closed by Hurricane Katrina have indicated that they are preparing to restart their operations. Industry sources expect that at least four of the facilities will be back online within the next week. Marathon Petroleum began restart procedures on Wednesday at its refinery in Garyville, LA. Electrical power has been restored at Valero Energy’s St. Charles facility and hopes are to resume production by Thursday. Several other refineries are struggling with major repairs and leaks.

Domestic oil production and refinery output should return to pre-hurricane levels by November, the Energy Department said, as repairs are made to damaged oil rigs and Gulf coast refineries. Facilities in the Gulf region account for 1.5 million barrels a day, or 29 percent of US domestic oil production.


DISPLACED DOD CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES CAN RELOCATE IN 48 STATES

Like their military counterparts, families of Dept. of Defense (DOD) civilian employees ordered to evacuate their duty stations due to Hurricane Katrina and whose housing is now uninhabitable can seek temporary safe haven anywhere within the continental US. The policy affects civilian employees who were ordered to evacuate their official duty stations in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama by installation commanders or civil authorities.

Affected civilian employees must remain within the geographic area designated by their respective commanders. However, their family members may seek a safe haven anywhere within the lower 48 states, with the federal government picking up the tab for their travel costs and per diem.

Family members will receive safe haven allowances in terms of the Joint Travel Regulation, calculated similarly to allowances for temporary-duty travel. This includes travel costs, the actual cost of lodging, and a separate allowance for meals and incidentals. Civilian employees and their immediate family members age 12 and over will receive travel pay and 100 percent of the per diem for their safe haven location for the first 30 days. DOD will pay full travel costs and 50 percent of the per diem rate for family members under age 12. The allowance authorization extends for the duration of the evacuation order, but no longer than 180 days.

Two additional civilian personnel policies are under consideration and expected to be approved soon. One policy would permit former civilian employees who accepted a voluntary separation incentive when they retired or resigned to return to the federal workforce without penalty to support hurricane-recovery efforts. Normally, these former employees would have to return their “early out” bonuses if they return to federal employment within five years of retiring or resigning.

A program that will allow federal employees to donate annual leave to hurricane-affected civilians is also expected to be instituted soon. President Bush approved the effort, and the Office of Personnel Management directed all federal agencies, including DOD, to implement it. Each military department will operate its own leave-donation program for its civilian workforce.


USPS SUSPENDS MAIL AND PERIODICALS TO STORM-STRICKEN AREAS

The Postal Service is not accepting any Standard Mail (letters and flats) or Periodicals Mail – from any source – addressed for delivery within the 369, 393, 394, 395, 396, 700, 701 and 704 ZIP Code ranges. The Postal Service continues to formulate plans for handling Standard Mail and Periodicals Mail already in the mail stream that is addressed for delivery to these eight ZIP Code areas. Express Mail service remains suspended for the 369, 393, 394, 395, 396, 700, 701, 703, and 704 ZIP Code ranges.


MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

CLASS OPENINGS: Between now and the end of December 2005, seats are available in the following courses:


AIS – Automatic Identification System: 10/13, 12/15
ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 9/26, 10/24, 12/5
AZIPOD – Azipod Propulsion System (2 day): 12/5

BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 10/11, 11/2, 12/12
BST – Basic Safety Training: 9/26, 10/31

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 1): 11/14
CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 11/7
CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display and Info Systems: 12/5
CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 10/24, 12/5
CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 9/26, 10/10, 11/14
CMM-SHS-ADV-II – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 10/03, 11/28, 12/12
CMM-SHMGT I – Ship Management (week 1): 9/26, 10/24, 12/12
CMM-SHMGT I I- Ship Management (week 2): 9/19, 10/31
CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 10/17, 10/31
CMM-VPEN – Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 9/12
CMM-WKP – Watchkeeping: 11/28

CONT-PLNG – Contingency Planning: 10/7, 11/11, 12/2, 12/16

FF-BADV – (Combined) Basic and Advanced Firefighting: 9/26, 10/26

HAZ-Hazardous Materials (5-day): 9/12, 10/17, 11/14

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage [Evening Seminar]: 9/21

MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 10/6, 11/10, 12/1
MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 9/24, 10/22, 12/10
MED-PIC – Medical Person-In-Charge: 9/26, 10/17, 12/5
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 9/26, 10/17, 12/5
MED-SMC – Shipboard Medical Care (4 weeks): 10/17

[MSC – Military Sealift Command]
MSC-SMA – Small Arms Training (4 day): 10/31
MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 9/8, 11/4 (must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years)

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal (5-day): 11/28
ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 9/26, 10/17, 10/24, 12/10

SEC-OFF-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 10/4, 11/7, 11/28, 12/12
SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 10/24, 11/7
SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling (5 day): 10/10
SHS-ESH-BRMP- Emergency Shiphandling/Bridge Resource Management for Pilots (3-day): 12/5

TPIC – Tankerman Person-In-Charge: 9/26
TRAC-TUG – Water Tractor and Azimuth Stern Drive Tugs (3-day): 12/8


Check the MITAGS website at www.mitags.org for course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations, and schedule revisions. For class availability or info on MITAGS courses and programs, contact admissions toll-free at 866-656-5568 or Email: admissions@mitags.org.

PMI ACADEMIC NOTES

September 2005

9/12-16 Medical Care Provider
9/12-16 Radar Observer Unlimited
9/12-24 100 Ton OUPV (12 days Mon.-Sat.)
9/12-23 Medical Person-In-Charge
9/12-23 GMDSS
9/19-23 Basic Safety Training
9/19-23 Emergency Shiphandling – 5 day
9/19-23 ARPA
9/19/05 Radar Renewal
9/19-20 Search and Rescue
9/20-23 Lifeboat/Survival Craft
9/21-23 Emergency Procedures

October 2005

10/3-7 ECDIS
10/3-14 Basic Watchkeeping
10/10-12 Bridge Resource Management
10/10-10-14 Basic Safety Training
10/10-14 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
10/10-14 Emergency Shiphandling – 5 day
10/17-28 GMDSS
10/18-21 Lifeboat/Survival Craft
10/24-26 Ship Security Officer
10/24-28 ARPA
10/24 Radar Renewal
10/31 Flashing Light

November 2005

10/31-11/2 Medical Care Provider
10/31-11/11 Medical Person-In-Charge
11/7-11 TPIC
11/7-18 GMDSS
11/7-19 100 Ton OUPV
11/14-18 ECDIS
11/28-12/2 Radar Observer Unlimited
11/28-12/2 Emergency Shiphandling 5-day

December 2005

12/5-9 Medical Care Provider
12/5-9 ARPA
12/5-16 Basic Safety Training
12/5-16 GMDSS
12/5-16 Medical Person-In-Charge
12/13-16 Lifeboat/Survival Craft
12/19-21 Ship Security Officer
12/19-23 ARPA
12/19-23 Basic Shiphandling
12/26-30 Emergency Shiphandling 5-day

 

For registration call Jennifer Fowler 888-893-7829

PMI Merchandise for Sale: High quality with embroidered PMI logo. All prices include tax. Navy Caps: $18.00; Button Down Long Sleeve Dress Shirts Blue or Khaki: $38.00; Coming Soon: Navy, Burgundy, Khaki T-shirts, high quality thick Hanes shirt with pocket $22.00; 15 oz. Beautiful Cobalt Blue Ceramic Mug $10.Call DeeDee Lazik 206-838-8328 or e-mail dlazik@mates.org.


ABBREVIATED MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 9-8

 


 D O W  N A S D A Q  S & P 500
10,595.93 +161.06 for the week  2,166.03  +31.66 for the week  1,231.67  +24.08 for the week

 

 





~ Reminders ~




 

T-AGS OCEANOGRAPHIC SURVEY SHIPS MANNING REQUIREMENTS

REQUIRED COURSEWORK

All MM&P members are reminded that to sail aboard the T-AGS ships that MM&P-contracted Horizon Lines will be operating, you must have the required training certification and your certificates must be current in accordance with Military Sealift Command requirements. Members are also required to have had a MSC pre-employment physical and to possess Ship Security Clearance (see below).

The MSC Contract calls for all training certificates required for manning of these vessels to be no older than 5 years and that all STCW-95 courses be renewed every 5 years, or annually, as applicable.

Five-year renewable courses include, but are not limited to:

  • Advanced Fire Fighting
  • Basic Safety Training, and
  • Damage Control

Small Arms certificates must be less than 1 year old and MUST NOT expire during your tour of duty.

Members interested in applying for one of the positions onboard the T-AGS vessels are advised to make sure your certificates are up to date. If not, contact Mary Matlock or Diane Ford at MITAGS Admissions, email: admissions@mitags.org, and schedule to take the course(s) needed.

Those MM&P members interested in obtaining more information and facts about the T-AGS Oceanographic Vessels are asked to email the Director of Special Projects requesting the “facts sheet”. It will be provided by return email in an Adobe Acrobat PDF format.

Members interested in employment on the T-AGS ships are asked to provide a 1-2 page resume. Please list the desired position you are seeking along with the certificates of training you possess and their dates. Upon receipt it will be forwarded to Horizon Lines and a confirmation sent back to the member. Vessel turnover commenced Oct.17, 2004. Positions for all ratings remain open.

The point of contact for sending a resume for employment on the Horizon Lines T-AGS Oceanographic Vessels is Richard Plant, MM&P’s Director of Special Projects. Send resumes in an email or as a Word file attachment to him at: rplant@bridgedeck.org, by fax to 410-850-0973 or by mail to:

Richard Plant, Director of Special Projects

IOMM&P
700 Maritime Blvd.
Linthicum Heights, MD 21090



SHIP SECURITY CLEARANCE NEEDED

Members who want to sail for Horizon Lines on the T-AGS Oceanographic Survey vessels the company is set to begin operating for MSC must have Ship Security Clearance before going aboard.

Special software must be downloaded from the US Government’s Defense Security Service to complete the Security Clearance application. You must have an Internet connection and a Windows-based computer to retrieve the application and run the program.

Go to https://sclient.dss.mil/download/w9xfull.htm to download the software titled “EPSQ SUBJECT2_2”.

After the software is installed and the program is launched, select “Create” from the menu bar at the top of the screen. You will be required to enter your Social Security Number and a case-sensitive password. A window titled “Type of Form” will appear.

All Deck Officers should select the first button titled “Request for Security Clearance (SF86)” and then click “OK” to go to the next screen, “Type of Investigation”.

From the “Type of Investigation” screen:

  • Masters and Radio Officers should select the first button, “Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI)”.
  • All other Deck Officers (C/M, 2/M, 3/M) should click on the second button, “National Agency Check (NAC or NACLC)”.

After selecting the appropriate investigation type, click on “OK” to begin filling in the forms.

 



MSC PHYSICALS

Horizon Lines requests all mariners seeking employment aboard the T-AGS Oceanographic vessels to take their MSC Physical at specially-designated facilities only after being advised to do so by the Company. This is to assure that all requirements of the MSC Physical are properly met.

 


MM&P FCU NEWS

GET NEW WHEELS OR LOWER EXISTING PAYMENTS WITH MM&P FCU VEHICLE FINANCING

Is it time to replace that car you’re driving? Vehicle loan rates are looking great at MM&P FCU.

Drive away in a new or used vehicle for a standard loan rate of:

4.75 percent for terms up to 24 months.
Standard loan rates for longer-term loans are:

5.00 percent for 25-48 months;
5.75 percent for 49-60 months ($20,000 minimum); and
6.25 percent for terms extending from 61-72 months ($25,000 minimum).
You can lower your loan rate even more — by 0.75 percent — by becoming a Preferred Borrower.

Are you paying a higher rate on your current vehicle loan at another institution? Consider refinancing your outside loan at the MM&P FCU and taking advantage of our lower loan rates.

MM&P FCU will finance up to 100 percent of your new vehicle loan, and up to 90 percent of NADA Book Value on a used vehicle. Maximum vehicle loan amount is $30,000.

PREFERRED BORROWERS GET LOWER LOAN RATES
MM&P FCU members can reduce the interest rate they pay on any new loan even further by becoming a preferred borrower. What is a preferred borrower? That’s a member who deposits at least 10 percent of the original loan amount into their MM&P FCU savings account and keeps those funds on deposit until the loan is paid in full. By doing this you save twice – first, your deposit works for you by earning our regular dividend savings rate, and second, you save money by reducing the interest rate on your loan by 0.75 percent.

Contact the MM&P FCU for full details on all loan programs by email to mmpfcu@bridgedeck.org or call 1-800-382-7777 toll-free.



 

MM&P HEALTH & BENEFIT PLAN NEWS

NOTICE TO MEMBERS WHO ARE TAKING VIOXX

On Sept.30, Merck & Co. voluntarily withdrew Vioxx, a popular anti-inflammatory medication, from the market. As a result, individuals who are currently taking the drug have been asked to contact their health care professionals to discuss discontinuing use of Vioxx and possible alternative treatments.

MM&P Plans Administrator Valerie Verrecchio reports that, “We have gotten a number of calls from members who want to know what to do with their remaining supply of Vioxx and whether the Plan or NMHC will refund their co-pay for the unused portion.

“Unfortunately, neither NMHC nor the Plan was aware of the Merck decision prior to the public announcement on Sept.30. As of that date, all deliveries of Vioxx to our members was suspended in accordance with Merck’s announcement. Orders that had already been processed and were in transit could not be stopped.

“In regard to refunds, Merck has set up a website at www.vioxx.com where members can obtain information on how to recover refunds from Merck for the unused portion of medication. Members can also call following toll free number for information: 1-888-368-4699.

“We are sorry for any inc onvenience this may have caused to members currently taking this medication, however, the matter is out of the control of the Plans.”



NMHC MAIL-ORDER PRESCRIPTIONS WEBSITE UPDATED & IMPROVED

MM&P Plans Administrator Valerie Verrecchio reports, “Good news! NMHC mail has finally gotten their website upgraded and functioning properly. I went in and tested it myself and found it to be quite user friendly.”

To use NMHC’s upgraded service, go to the NMHC Mail website at www.nmhcmail.com and click on “MEMBER LOGIN” at the bottom of the screen.

First-time and Registered users may bypass the welcome screen and go directly to the log-in page at https://members.nmhcrx.com/Login/Login.aspx.

  • First-time users should then click on the link marked “NEW USER: REGISTER HERE”.
    This will take you to a page titled “MEMBER REGISTRATION” where you will need to enter demographic information and submit it by clicking on the
  • “CREATE ACCOUNT” button.

After creating your account, NMHC will email you a password to gain entry into your records. With your first sign-in, the NMHC system will prompt you to change the NMHC password to one of your own choosing.

Once you are registered at NMHC, you can check the status of open orders by logging-in to the system through the “MEMBER LOGIN” page and going into the “MAIL ORDER” menu. You can look up all prescriptions and get the price our members will pay for any medication. You can also view an order history of all of your medication transactions (both retail and mail) for the last 24 months, locate 24-hour pharmacies in your zip code region as well as access other helpful member education information.

“We hope this welcome improvement will assist our members. Although you cannot order refills on line if you don’t provide a credit or debit card number, you can phone in your refill. Once you register on the website, you will still have access to all of the other information including checking the status of your order once it is phoned in,” said Ms. Verrecchio.



WWII USCG VETERANS OUTREACH

The U.S. Coast Guard has announced an initiative to identify and collect the oral histories of its World War II veterans. Coast Guard WWII veterans, including SPARS and merchant mariners, are encouraged to record their histories online with the Library of Congress Veterans History Project at www.loc.gov/folklife/vets.

Those veterans needing assistance in recording their stories can receive help from their local Coast Guard Auxiliary public affairs contact by leaving a message at 1-877-875-6296, a toll-free call.




 

COMPANY GIVES BUCKS BACK FOR BUYING SAFE SHOES

LMS Ship Management, the company that manages vessels for Central Gulf, Sulphur Carriers and Waterman Steamship, wants to remind MM&P members that they offer their crewmembers a $75 reimbursement on the cost of purchasing certain slip-resistant shoes and boots for use aboard ship.

This offer has been in place for some time and LMS reports that “we have been pleased with the participation to date, but feel a reminder may be in order.” Their goal is for every crewmember to wear slip resistant footwear during working hours aboard their vessels.

The $75 reimbursement is available to each crewmember who provides LMS with an original receipt for the purchase of slip resistant footwear. In order for the crewmember to obtain the reimbursement, they must wear the shoes while on duty. Upon presentation of the receipt, the crewmember will be reimbursed on their pay voucher. The receipt will be retained by the Master and will remain aboard the vessel.
 
 

Vessels in the LMS footwear reimbursement program are:

  • Green Cove
  • Green Dale
  • Green Lake
  • Green Point
  • Atlantic Forest
  • Sulphur Enterprise
  • Energy Enterprise
  • SGT Matej C. Kocak
  • MAJ Stephen W. Pless, and
  • PFC Eugene A. Obregon

LMS notes that in order to receive reimbursement, crewmembers must purchase one of the following recommended brands:

  • WORX by Red Wing Slip Resistant Footwear
  • Caterpillar (must have steel toe & slip resistant sole)
  • Wolverine (must have steel toe and slip resistant sole)
  • Dunham Sierra Work Boot EH
  • Steel Toe Voyager
  • Georgia Boot 6- or 8-inch Safety Toe Boot
  • Dr. Marten’s (must have steel toe & slip resistant sole)

LOOK FOR THE UNION LABEL:

Of the boots listed above, Red Wing, Caterpillar and Wolverine boots are produced by US union labor.

Redwing’s Union-made products are: Red Wing shoes and boots, Red Wing motorcycle boots and Craftsman (Sears).

Wolverine World Wide manufactures boots under the Caterpillar brand using US union labor. (Other union made safety-shoe brands by Wolverine are the company’s Hy-Test, Durashock and Bates Military labels. The company’s Wolverine brand combat boots are also produced using US union labor.)

Most Dr. Marten’s shoes and boots are produced in the UK.

To find US, union-made products, visit the AFL-CIO Union Label Service and Trades website at www.unionlabel.org and click on “Union Made Product Search”. To shop for union-made products online, go to www.ShopUnionMade.org.




 

WEBSITE OFFERS UNION-MADE GOODS AND SERVICES

The Union Label recently went digital with a new website offering shoppers an array of union-made gifts, from clothing and chocolates to computers, games and greeting cards.

The website, www.shopunionmade.org, launches on the eve of the fall and winter holidays, when shoppers will spend an estimated $1 trillion on gifts, food, drinks and other seasonal items, explained Matt Bates, Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO Union Label & Service Trades Department. The all-union shopping site, however, will be a year-round operation because that is what consumers demand, he added.

“Shoppers spent $56 billion in Internet sales last year, and on-line spending is doubling every two to three years. Everyday we receive Email and calls from people who want to support good jobs by buying union-made goods and services. The website will reach millions of people, 24 hours a day, with a quick convenient way to shop union,” Bates said.

“The public is ready for this. People have seen millions of good jobs disappear and they are looking for ways to take a stand and make a difference,” he added.

The AFL-CIO will target the peak of the holiday shopping season by promoting “Buy Union Week” Nov. 26 through Dec. 5. The newly-launched, all-union shopping site will be a cornerstone of that campaign. MM&P has a link to the Shop Union Site on this website under “Links and Other Sources”.



The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates, and Pilots, ILA, AFL-CIO, 700 Maritime Blvd., Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1941. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973; Email: iommp@bridgedeck.org. For further info or to subscribe contact John Peige at jpeige@bridgedeck.org. The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea, broadcast worldwide via FEC marine telex and is posted on our web page.