News

Wheelhouse Weekly – September 22, 2000

September 22nd 2000


MASTER AND MMP MEMBERS ABOARD AND INTERESTED PERSONS THE MASTERS, MATES AND PILOTS’ — WHEELHOUSE WEEKLY

Bridging the Information Gap With E-News You Can Use

VOLUME 4. . . . . NUMBER 38. . . September 22, 2000

STORIES COVERED



NOTICE OF PROPOSED EXEMPTION FOR AHL ESOP PUBLISHED IN FED REG.

The Notice of Proposed Exemption regarding the AHL Shipping Company Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) was published in today’s (Sept.22) edition of the Federal Register. The Notice will appear in its entirety in the forthcoming September-October 2000 edition of The Master, Mate & Pilot and may also be viewed by visiting the Government Printing Office website at: http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/aces/aces140.html. From that site, be certain that the “2000 Federal Register” box is checked, then enter 09/22/2000 under “Issue Date”, enter AHL under “Search Terms”, and click the “Submit” button.

If the exemption is granted, it would enable the creation of the AHL Shipping Company ESOP. This ESOP would be the first of its kind in the US maritime industry. Comments on the Proposed Exemption will be permitted for a period of 60 days from today (9-22). It is anticipated that a final exemption may be issued before the end of the year.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


MM&P-SUPPORTED TAX REFORM BILL MOVES FORWARD

On Wednesday, September 20, 2000, the House Committee on the Judiciary favorably reported HR 1293, legislation introduced by Congressman Brian Baird (D-WA) at the request of MM&P/MIRAID, which would eliminate the discriminatory tax treatment of interstate water transportation workers.

This problem is most acute for residents of the State of Washington who work aboard vessels engaged in commerce between Washington and Oregon. The State of Oregon has imposed taxes on these residents regardless of the amount of time they spend working in Oregon waters.

Under existing Federal law, individuals employed in the rail, air or highway transportation industries who have regularly assigned duties in more than one state may not have their income taxed by states other than their state of residence, unless a majority of their duties are performed in that state. HR 1293 will extend the same protection to maritime workers and ensure that all transportation workers are treated the same.

The action by the House Judiciary Committee follows a hearing held on HR 1293 on July 18 during which MM&P’s Capt. Mike Simonsen and Capt. Chris Eckardt testified along with Congressman Baird. Coupled with the action already taken by the Senate Commerce Committee, it means that both chambers have cleared this legislation for floor votes. The MM&P will continue to push for the enactment of this bill before Congress goes home in Oct.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


U.S. TAX COURT OPENS AVENUE FOR MARINERS’ EXPENSE DEDUCTIONS

Two opinions issued September 15, 2000, by the United States Tax Court set the precedent for merchant mariners to claim their incidental expenses incurred during time at sea as a tax-deductible item. According to Judge Laro, who issued opinions in the cases, this can be determined either by actual receipts or by using the government’s Meals & Incidental Expenses (M&IE) table.

The amount of deduction which may be claimed is based on the ports of call while on voyages which require a mariner to be working aboard ship and away from his or her permanent home. Currently the daily incidental expense rate for the continental US is $2 for all cities. For areas outside the continental US, that rate ranges anywhere from $1 to $53 per day.

If a mariner wishes to claim such a deduction, he or she must obtain an official voyage schedule or ship’s log documenting the vessel’s port calls. The ports of call for the vessel determine the daily incidental expense rate which may be claimed if using government tables. Mariners are also allowed to use actual receipts if available.

To read the decisions, visit the US Tax Court web site at: http://ustaxcourt.gov/UstcInOp/asp/HistoricOptions.asp and enter 09/15/00 for the release date, then select Judge Laro from the pull-down menu.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


LEADERS BLAST FOC SHIP SWEATSHOPS AT RALLY ON CAPITOL STEPS

On Tuesday, September 19, 2000, amidst rain squalls from the remnants of Tropical Storm Gordon, a bipartisan strike force of elected leaders including Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Representatives David Bonior (D-MI), William Clay (D-MO), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Gene Taylor (D-MS), and Eliot Engel (D-NY) blasted flag-of-convenience (FOC) operators during the “Workers Against Floating Sweatshops” rally on Capitol Hill.

Chief among the many labor leaders in attendance at Tuesday’s rally was AFL-CIO President John Sweeney who referred to the worst FOC ships as operating under “Flags-of-Cruelty.” Officers from the London-based International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) also spoke at the rally designed to draw attention to the operation of unsafe FOC vessels and to the unconscionable working and living conditions endured by the crews aboard these ships.

The rally was part of this week’s ‘Week of Action’ organized by the ITF on the US East and Gulf Coasts. As part of that effort, MM&P members along with those from other US maritime unions formed special vessel-inspection strike teams that were certified by the ITF. They fanned out over East Coast and Gulf ports to identify FOC vessels that were in violation of globally recognized shipping practices.

While in the US as part of the ITF contingent, Bill Armstrong, an Executive Council memner of NUMAST, the British officers maritime union, paid a courtesy call to MITAGS where he was hosted by Union and Institute representatives.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


ITF TAKES FIGHT FOR RIGHTS INTO CRUISE SHIP ARENA

On Wed. (9-20) the ITF also demonstrated its determination to improve conditions in the burgeoning cruise industry with the official opening of a campaign office in Port Canaveral, FL.

Since the 1980s cruise shipping has grown at an average 9.6 per cent per year, racing ahead of other maritime sectors. Port Canaveral is the world’s third leading port for this trade, handling 1.35 million passengers per year.

However, the gains have been one-sided: most vessels fly flags-of-convenience which allow unscrupulous operators to pay crews a pittance while demanding they work up to 12 hours a day, seven days a week.

The new office commenced partial operations in June this year, and even before its official opening has already been visited by nearly 1000 seafarers. Jim Given, ITF Cruise Campaign Co-ordinator, explained the kind of problems they have reported: “Things are worse than we thought. Long hours, low wages, abuse, poor food and little time off are just the tip of the iceberg.”

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


MEMO ON POTENTIAL OPENING AT HQ FROM MM&P PRESIDENT TIM BROWN

The following memorandum from MM&P International President Tim Brown:

As most of the membership of the Offshore Membership Group knows, the member who currently functions as the Executive Assistant to the President is running for Offshore Vice President on the West Coast. If this candidate is successful, the International will need to fill this position on or before the first of January 2001. I want to make this position as widely known as possible in order to attract highly qualified and motivated candidates.

I would like to see the successful candidate for this position have the following qualifications:

  • An Unlimited Master’s or Chief Mate’s License;
  • An undergraduate degree, preferably some postgraduate work;
  • Substantial verbal and written communication skills;
  • An emphasis on generating computer spreadsheets and word processing. Data base management and analysis will be helpful;
  • A strong work ethic;
  • An ability to meet deadlines in a team environment.

This position will pay between $75,000 and $80,000 per year depending on qualifications and experience. The position is covered by Pension, Health and IRAP contributions. The successful candidate will also be able to contribute to a 401(k) from his or her salary.

Individuals interested in being interviewed for this position are asked to send a resume and a cover letter detailing related job experience to:

Capt. Timothy Brown c/o Ms. Audrey Scharmann Masters, Mates, & Pilots 700 Maritime Blvd. Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1941

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


REMINDER: BALLOTS FOR MM&P ELECTION 2000 DUE BACK BY NOV.20

Ballots were mailed to all members eligible to vote in the MM&P 2000 election on Aug.21. Members who have not received a ballot should contact MM&P Controller John Gorman at 410-850-8700×12 or Email jgorman@bridgedeck.org, to request a duplicate ballot request form. To be counted ballots must be received at the collection facility by Monday, Nov. 20.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


MITAGS HAS THE FOLLOWING COURSE OPENINGS

  • 10/30-11/03: MED-1ST; DCS; SHS-EMR
  • 11/13-17: BST; VPM; COMP-OPS
  • 11/27-12/1: MED-1ST; HAZ; ENIS; TPIC; WX-HWA
  • 12/4-8: COMP-APS
  • 12/11-15: COMP-NET; ROP

COMP-NET cancelled for 10/23-27

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Course changes are posted on the MITAGS website as soon as they are made and are also updated in the Wheelhouse Weekly. It is highly recommended to check with Mary Matlock, MITAGS Admissions, for the latest course info. She may be reached at: Voice: 410-859-5700 ext. 3246; Fax: 410-859-5181; Email: admissions@mitags.org.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


PNMI OFFERS TANKERMAN-PIC COURSE OCT.9-13

MITAGS-affiliated Pacific Northwest Maritime Institute will offer a Tankerman-Barge PIC Course from 10/9-13 in Seattle. For more info and to download the PIC Table of Requirements visit their website at: http://www.stcw95.com/tpic-barge.htm.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 9-21

Since the Wheelhouse Weekly is usually distributed before the markets close on Friday, the numbers cited will be from Thursday’s close unless otherwise specified.

 DOW

 10,765.52

-321.95 for the week

 NASDAQ

 3,828.87

-84.99 for the week

We have also received requests to list the following six funds that are representative of many members’ IRAP holdings in Vanguard and Chase Mutual Funds. In future weeks, the change up or down for the week will also be indicated for the stock averages quoted above and the mutual funds listed below:

 Vanguard 500 Index Fund

 134.04

 -2.94 for the week

 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund

 36.94

 -1.54 for the week

 Vanguard International Growth Fund

 20.47

 -0.96 for the week

 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund

 22.68

 -0.77 for the week

 Vanguard Windsor II Fund

 26.32

 -0.93 for the week

 Chase Growth Fund

 17.87

  -0.06 for the week

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is being produced under MM&P election guidelines which have been previously published and may be found in their entirety on the MM&P website. The 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 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 under “News” at: http://www.bridgedeck.org.

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