News

Wheelhouse Weekly – September 13, 2011

September 13th 2011

 

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

Volume 15 . . . . . Number 37. . . . September 13, 2011

STORIES COVERED

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


JONES ACT WAIVERS SPUR INDUSTRY OUTRAGE, HILL ACTION

Notwithstanding the availability of U.S.-flag, Jones Act-qualified tonnage, the Maritime Administration recently issued a series of non-availability rulings that have resulted in more than 45 waivers of the Jones Act. The waivers have allowed foreign-flagged, foreign-crewed vessels to carry oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), denying American ships the business and American crews the jobs.

MM&P and MIRAID have joined others in our industry in vigorously protesting the waivers. “At this time of high unemployment, we are appalled that the government would take such actions,” said the AFL-CIO Maritime Trades Department (MTD), in a statement released on behalf of its affiliates, including MM&P. “When it comes to transporting the reserve oil, U.S. mariners and U.S. ships are ready and able–yet they’ve been left at the docks.” 

In issuing the waivers for the carriage of strategic petroleum reserve oil, the current Maritime Administration has issued more Jones Act waivers than have been issued by all previous Maritime Administrations combined, MTD pointed out.
 
Our outrage and disappointment are shared by key members of Congress. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) added a provision addressing the Jones Act waivers to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding plan for fiscal year 2012. Landrieu’s provision prohibits Jones Act waivers for the transport of SPR oil until adequate measures have been taken to ensure the use of U.S.-flag vessels. It also requires DHS to notify Congress within 48 hours of any requests for waivers. The bill has been approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee and is now pending action by the full Senate.

In her efforts to address the situation, Landrieu has been joined by a number of colleagues from both political parties in the House of Representatives and the Senate, including Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) and Reps. Charles Boustany (R-La.), Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Peter King (R-N.Y.), Candice Miller (R-Mich.), Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.).


PIRACY LEGISLATION CLEARS HOUSE COMMITTEE

Legislation introduced by Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.) to combat piracy has been cleared by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The bill, “The Piracy Suppression Act of 2011,” reflects a number of positions taken by MM&P and others in our industry.

It would, for example, place a greater responsibility on federal agencies to protect U.S.-flag vessels carrying government-generated cargoes, including those shipped under the Food for Peace and other foreign aid programs. It would do so by requiring agencies to either provide security personnel or reimburse owners for the cost of providing armed personnel. The legislation would also direct the U.S. government to seek reimbursement for costs incurred in protecting a foreign-flag vessel from piracy.

HR 2839 has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee for review and action.  MM&P and others in our industry will be working with the committee to ensure that the bill is consistent with the positions we have taken in numerous international forums.


COAST GUARD BILL ADDRESSING MEDICAL EVALUATIONS MOVES FORWARD

The House Committee on Transportation last week approved the Coast Guard authorizations legislation for fiscal year 2012. The bill, HR 2838, is now cleared for action by the full House of Representatives.

Included in the legislation is a requirement that the Coast Guard provide Congress with a report on the adequacy of the National Maritime Center (NMC) merchant mariner medical evaluation program, as well as on alternatives to the NMC program as it is currently configured. The report must include an analysis of how a system similar to those in place at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration could be used by the Coast Guard.

Congress also wants the Coast Guard to explain what modifications to its merchant mariner medical evaluation program will be required under the amendments to the STCW Convention that go into effect in January 2012.


MARITIME SECURITY PROGRAM FUNDING ADVANCES

Fiscal year 2012 funding for the Maritime Security Program (MSP) took a step forward last week when the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations approved legislation funding the Department of Transportation, including MSP.

As approved by the committee, $174 million will be appropriated to support the operation of the U.S.-flag MSP fleet in fiscal year 2012. This is the amount requested by the Administration which, when added to the amount of funds already available, will fully implement MSP in the next fiscal year. The legislation is now cleared for action by the full House of Representatives.


PRESIDENT OBAMA PROPOSES $447 BILLION JOBS INITIATIVE

President Obama urged Congress last week to “stop the political circus and actually do something” to reduce unemployment by approving a $447 billion mix of tax cuts and spending programs. The package, which the President said is vital to putting people back to work, was larger and more ambitious than had been expected. Obama said it would be matched by spending cuts so as not to increase the deficit. He made no predictions about the number of jobs that could be created by the plan, but he forcefully made the case that speedy congressional action is critical.

“This American Jobs Act will lead to new jobs for construction workers, teachers, veterans, first responders, young people and the long-term unemployed,” the President said. The plan would provide tax credits to companies that hire new workers, tax relief for small business owners, and tax cuts for the middle class.

Obama tasked the 12-member super committee set up under the terms of the August deficit reduction compromise to come up with spending cuts to pay for the measures in the plan. The tax cuts include $175 billion for an extension of last year’s reduction in the employee payroll tax, which could save the average American family $1,500 annually; $65 billion to cut employer payroll taxes in half and $5 billion for a bonus payroll tax cut for new hires. Under the President’s plan, taxes would be halved on the first $5 million in wages, a measure the White House said would benefit 98 percent of all businesses.

The new spending would include tax credits for companies hiring veterans, aid to state and local governments to prevent layoffs of police, firefighters and teachers, the modernization of 35,000 public schools, and a $10 billion infrastructure bank to help modernize roads, bridges, railroads and airports. “I applaud the President for again making transportation investments a key pillar of his vision to revive the economy,” said Ed Wytkind, president of the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department (TTD), in an announcement following the speech. “President Obama’s call to lawmakers to finally begin the long overdue job of modernizing our transportation system was a blunt warning that America is standing still while nations around the world are making the investments necessary to win in the global economy.”

Obama said that the elements of his package have previously been supported by many Republicans and should therefore garner bipartisan approval.


ILWU MEMBERS CONTINUE PROTESTS AT LONGVIEW GRAIN TERMINAL

Hundreds of members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and their families demonstrated last week against the corporate owners of the EGT grain terminal in Longview, Wash. During the course of the protest, the demonstrators blocked a train that was carrying grain to the terminal, which is at the center of a months-long labor dispute because its owners have refused to honor the ILWU’s contract with the Port of Longview.

Police in riot gear charged the group of peaceful protesters, which included women and children, injuring several in the process. “Everyone came to the tracks of their own free will to stand up for justice and protect good jobs in this community,” said ILWU President Bob McEllrath, who stood with the volunteers on Wednesday afternoon. “It shouldn’t be a crime to fight for good jobs in America.”

The terminal is owned and operated by a consortium of companies that includes North America/South Korea-based STX Pan Ocean and Japan-based Itochu Corp. Over the course of the summer, members of the ILWU have engaged in a series of protests at the terminal, blocking a number of Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) trains. Members of MM&P’s United Inland Group (UIG) have joined other unions in demonstrations supporting the ILWU.

The EGT grain elevator is the first to be built on the West Coast in almost 25 years. Port officials have been arguing on the side of the union, demanding that ILWU longshoremen fill the 50 new jobs. But in January, EGT sued the Port of Longview in federal court, arguing that the company was not bound by the contract with the union.


DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION HONORS SERVICE OF MERCHANT MARINERS ON 9/11

The heroism of merchant mariners who evacuated hundreds of thousands of people from Lower Manhattan after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks is featured in a new video released by the Maritime Administration. “Rescue at Water’s Edge,” includes interviews with vessel operators, emergency responders and passengers.

“The story of merchant mariners coming to the aid of those in need on September 11 is an inspiring one,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “On that terrible day, our nation’s seafarers, with courage and selflessness, transported hundreds of thousands of people out of harm’s way to safety.” More than 300,000 people were evacuated by water from lower Manhattan after the terrorist attacks.


HUNDREDS DEAD AFTER FERRY CAPSIZES OFF TANZANIA

A rickety, overcrowded ferry carrying at least 600 people sank in deep sea off mainland Tanzania on Saturday. Scores of bodies have been recovered and hundreds of people are missing. The ferry sank in an area with heavy currents between mainland Tanzania and Pemba Island in the Zanzibar Archipelago. The exact cause of the accident was not known.


INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING GROUP ASKS UN TO PROVIDE ARMED GUARDS

The Round Table of International Shipping Associations has asked the United Nations to provide armed security detachments aboard merchant vessels in high-risk waters. “Control of the Indian Ocean has been ceded to pirates…” the group wrote in a letter to the International Maritime Organization. “The current approach is not working.” The letter calls on the UN to establish a force of armed military guards that could be deployed in small numbers aboard merchant ships.


PIRATES RELEASE LIBERIAN-FLAG CONTAINER SHIP AFTER NINE MONTHS

Somali pirates have released the container ship MSC PANAMA, reportedly upon receipt of a $7 million ransom dropped onto the deck from a small plane. The ship and its 23-man crew had been held captive since Dec. 10, 2010. The vessel was seized in the Indian Ocean south of Tanzania, while on its way to Mozambique.


NY/NJ MEMBERSHIP MEETING ON THURSDAY, SEPT. 15

This month, the membership meeting at MM&P’s New York/New Jersey Hall will be held on Thursday, Sept. 15. The meeting will be held at 1:00 p.m., after job call. All members in the area are encouraged to attend.


SAVE HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS BY SWITCHING YOUR MOTOR VEHICLE LOAN TO THE MM&P FEDERAL CREDIT UNION!

The MM&P Federal Credit Union will beat your current secured loan rate on a motor vehicle loan by 1%-2% APR! You can save hundreds of dollars over the life of your loan just by reducing the interest rate. The credit union is open to all regular, applicant and retired members of the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots, to employees of MM&P, MIRAID, the MM&P Benefit Plans, MITAGS, and their immediate family members. Call us today for more information: 410-850-8700 ext. 43 or 800-382-7777. We would be happy to tell you how much you can save by switching!


KETCHIKAN FERRY NEGOTIATIONS UNDERWAY

The MM&P United Inland Group-Pacific Maritime Region has resumed negotiations with Ketchikan Gateway Borough. MM&P members in Ketchikan are captains of the Borough’s airport ferries. Their current contract expires on Sept. 30. The first negotiating session took place in Ketchikan on Aug. 17. Negotiations are scheduled to resume Sept. 26.


JONES ACT FORUM OCT. 12-13

The Jones Act has the potential to generate hundreds of thousands of new jobs and should be a central focus of the campaign to jumpstart the nation’s economy. This is the tenet of a national forum sponsored by Maritime Executive, the publishing company that produces Maritime Executive magazine and MarEx newsletter. The company will hold a national forum on the Jones Act at MITAGS Oct. 12-13.

“Today, U.S. vessel operators, shipbuilders, training institutions and port authorities have been overlooked as vital assets in the U.S. economic recovery plan,” the company said in an official release. “With your support, we aim to change that perspective in Congress and, most importantly, among the American people through a media campaign titled ‘Strong Ships for America’ and a series of strategic Jones Act conferences.” To register, go to: http://www.maritime-executive.com/registration.php.


COAST GUARD ANNOUNCES PUBLIC MEETINGS ON TOWING VESSEL INSPECTIONS

The Coast Guard will conduct a series of public meetings to receive comments on its proposed rulemaking on inspection of towing vessels. Meetings will be held in Newport News (Oct. 18); St. Louis (Oct. 24); New Orleans (Oct. 26); and Seattle (Nov. 16).


FIVE DEAD IN SHIP EXPLOSION OFF COAST OF NIGERIA

A Liberian-flagged ship exploded last week off the coast of Lagos, killing five mariners. The explosion came after the leak of an unknown substance into the ocean, an engine room explosion and a fire. There were 12 mariners aboard the ship at the time of the accident. Observers aboard another ship said the fatal chain of events began when a crane collapsed. The accident is under investigation.


GERMAN SHIP OPERATOR FINED FOR ILLEGAL OIL DISCHARGE

Uniteam Marine Shipping GmbH has been sentenced to pay a fine of $800,000 for the illegal discharge of oily bilge. The court found the company had violated the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships and made false statements to the Coast Guard. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation will receive $200,000 of the fine to fund projects aimed at the restoration of marine and aquatic resources in the District of Puerto Rico, including projects intended to protect and rehabilitate marine mammals and their habitat.


MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

Try our on-line interactive calendar to register for class: MITAGS:PMI :: Courses

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

ARPA � Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 9/27
AZIPOD (2-DAY) for Pilots: 10/13

BRM � Bridge Resource Management: 9/26, 11/14
BRMP � Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 11/28
BST – Basic Safety Training: 10/10

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
CMM-ADVWX � Advanced Meteorology: 11/14
CMM-ADVNAV � Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): 10/31
CMM-ADVSTB � Advanced Stability: 10/3
CMM-CHS � Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 10/10
CMM-ECDIS � Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems: 11/17, 12/5
CMM-MPP � Marine Propulsion Plants: 10/24
CMM-SHMGT – Ship Management (2 weeks): 9/19, 12/5
CMM-SHS-ADV-I � Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 9/26, 10/24, 11/7, 11/28
CMM-SHS-ADV-I I � Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 9/19, 10/3, 10/31, 11/14, 12/5
CMM-VPEN � Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 10/31
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 � License Advancement Program for Chief Mate & Master: 10/3
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-CBRD1 � Basic Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense: 10/7
MSC-DC � Damage Control: 10/3
MSC -SMA � Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 10/3, 11/14

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 9/14, 10/5, 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: 10/10, 12/12
SHS-ESH-BRMP3 � Emergency Shiphandling and Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 10/10
SHS-EMR5 � Emergency Shiphandling: 10/17

C-NAV � Celestial Navigation: 11/7

WX BAS � Basic Meteorology: 9/19, 10/3

…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

September 2011

19-23  Medical Care Provider
26-30 Med PIC Refresher
26-30 ECDIS
26-30 Basic Shiphandling

October 2011

3-7      Basic Construction and Stability
3-14    GMDSS
10-14  ECDIS
11th      Flashing Light
12-13   Basic Environmental Awareness w/ Vessel General Permit
17th      Radar Renewal
17-21   Management, Communication, and Leadership
17-21   Basic Shiphandling
18-20  Security – Vessel, Company, and Facility
24-28 Basic Cargo Handling and Stowage


MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 9-9-11

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
10,992.13 2,467.99 1,154.23
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Closing
Price
 Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund (VAARX)
50.89
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
106.74
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
36.89
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
16.95
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
16.65
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
23.42
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
11.21
 Vanguard Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
29.72
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
5.60
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
15.95
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
20.36
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
14.11
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
18.66
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
12.01
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
12.14
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
12.00
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
12.13
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
12.47
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
11.06
 Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
28.93
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
16.46
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
14.85
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
16.60
 Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
10.95
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
62.63
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
59.39
 Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
15.66
 Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX)
41.34
 Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
26.34
 Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
24.70
 Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
11.30
 Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
12.03
 Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
13.27
 Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
13.29
 Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
12.98
 Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
7.41
 Fidelity Freedom 2050 (FFFHX)
8.59
 Fidelity Total Bond Fund (FTBFX)
11.11
 Spartan Extended market Index Fund (FSEMX)
33.70
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
41.01
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
28.13



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.