News

Wheelhouse Weekly – September 30, 2005

September 30th 2005


 


THE MASTERS, MATES & PILOTS’
WHEELHOUSE WEEKLYonline

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

Volume 9 . . . . . Number 39 . . . . September 30, 2005


STORIES COVERED

HURRICANE RECOVERY AND RELIEF COVERAGE

Also

REMINDERS

 

 




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




MM&P-CREWED MAERSK ARKANSAS RESCUES FOUR FISHERMAN

On Labor Day, September 5th, while on its shuttle run in the Persian Gulf, the US-flagged MAERSK ARKANSAS crewed by MM&P Licensed Deck Officers carried on the timeless tradition of assisting fellow seafarers in distress. En route to Dammam, Saudi Arabia, from Jebel Ali, UAE, SIU Seaman Jozef Dudas, was keeping a sharp look out. At 0803 he spotted a capsized boat with four fishermen huddled together on her keel waving a red shirt. MM&P members on board quickly took action as time was of the essence. Third Mate Michela Worthington urgently passed the message of men in the water to Capt. Jonathan Ahlin. MEBA engineers responded quickly to the sudden order to reduce speed and allowed for immediate maneuvering.

With 8 to 10 foot swells and a Force 5 gale blowing from the Northwest, Capt. Ahlin made a smooth approach to the overturned vessel. The deck gang, headed by Bosun Carlos Soto and supervised by MM&P Chief Mate Rich Conway, rapidly made preparations for the recovery efforts. The ARKANSAS was ready to respond with the pilot ladder, nets, and had the gangway rigged, with the rescue boat at the ready. Due to Master’s expert ship handling, heaving lines and pilot ladder were all that was required to assist the unfortunate fishermen.

The four men made up the entire crew of the fishing vessel TARAT. They were able to climb up the pilot ladder unaided. All were recovered in good health. The four consisted of three Indian nationals and one national from Bahrain. The fishing vessel TARAT had begun began to take on water very early in the morning and had finally capsized around 0400. “The look of relief that showed on their faces as they climbed onboard can not be described,” said C/M Conway who we thank for sending us this account of the rescue.

 




 

USCG BEGINS USING NEW MARINER CERTIFICATION FORM

The Coast Guard began issuing a newly revised US STCW Endorsement, Form CG-5611 (Rev. 01-05) to qualified licensed and unlicensed merchant mariners earlier this week. Over 59,000 US merchant mariners hold a valid STCW endorsement. Mariners’ existing endorsements will be replaced at the time of their scheduled expiration or when their qualifications are upgraded. The new document contains significant security and accountability enhancements. A copy of the Revised US STCW Endorsement Information Sheet is posted on the National Maritime Center’s website, http://www.uscg.mil/stcw. Mariners with questions may contact their nearest REC or Jon Furukawa at 202-493-1014 or by email at jfurukawa@ballston.uscg.mil.



 

MM&P SUPPORTS SALE OF CP SHIPS TO TUI

MM&P has submitted comments to the US Maritime Administration (MARAD) supporting the proposed purchase of CP Ships Limited, the parent company of CP Ships USA, which is the successor company to Lykes Lines Limited by TUI AG. TUI is a German corporation and parent of vessel operator Hapag-Lloyd and the proposed transaction will bring the ultimate control of CP USA’s five Maritime Security Program (MSP) fleet vessels under the ownership of TUI.

In his letter to MARAD, MM&P International President Capt. Tim Brown wrote that, “Based on the information made available to us, and the assurances given to us by the parties to the proposed transaction, we believe that this transaction should be approved by the Maritime Administration. We are convinced that the continued operation of these vessels in the MSP fleet, under the terms and conditions as explained to us, will contribute to the stability in our industry resulting from the operation of the Maritime Security Program.”

Capt. Brown further stated that, “The history of the MSP clearly illustrates that the companies and unions participating in the MSP understand the importance of ensuring that existing collective bargaining and related relationships are preserved when there is a change in the ownership or operation of MSP vessels.”

In his concluding remarks, Capt. Brown noted that, “The MM&P believes that the proposed transaction, coupled with the continuation of the existing labor relationships for the crews aboard the subject vessels, will have a positive impact on the Maritime Security Program and, more specifically, on the personnel who presently crew the subject vessels. By approving this transaction, we believe that the Maritime Administration will help ensure that the Maritime Security Program will continue to be an effective and important component of America’s commercial seapower capability.”



 

HORIZON LINES REWORKS INITIAL PUBLIC OFFERING PLAN

The respected maritime newsletter Fairplay reports that MM&P-contracted Horizon Lines was reworking its initial public offering (IPO) last week after its original plan was not embraced by investors. According to Fairplay, Horizon has now filed a scaled-back registration offering 12.5 million shares at $10-$12 per share for estimated net proceeds of about $122 million. It is the understanding of the MM&P that the IPO went off on Sept. 28.

Horizon’s original offering filed on September 20 proposed the sale of 11.56 million common shares at $15-$17/share, seeking net proceeds of $166.3 million. With 16 vessels, Horizon is the leading Jones Act container shipping operator, controlling almost 40 percent of US service to Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Guam. Private equity group Castle Harlan Group acquired Horizon in July 2004.

 


FUNDS MAY BE LACKING AT THE START OF NEW MSP PROGRAM

MM&P along with other maritime unions, associations and companies met earlier this week in Washington, DC to discuss the fact that there may not be sufficient funds appropriated for the new Maritime Security Program (MSP) for the first three months of the 2006 fiscal year (October to December 2005).

The problem arises because the Congress has not yet completed action on the FY’06 appropriations legislation for the Department of Transportation and therefore DOT and all its agencies and programs, including MSP, will be temporarily continued and funded through a Continuing Resolution (CR) under the FY’05 levels.

For the Maritime Security Program, this means that MSP will be temporarily funded at the $98.7 million level that supported 37 ships at $2.1 million per ship, rather than the $156 million level needed to support 60 ships at $2.6 million each. It is the understanding of those who met in Washington that USTRANSCOM has told the US Maritime Administration (MARAD) that if this occurs, USTRANSCOM wants MARAD to fund all 60 ships under a reduced amount (equal to approximately $1.6 million per ship), rather than funding 38 ships at $2.6 million each.

During the meeting it became clear that it is more important to USTRANSCOM that it has all the ships and their crews available. It is also understood that MARAD will proceed accordingly and will indicate to MSP companies that once the FY’06 appropriations are available, MARAD will make up the shortfall in payments that the companies incur during the first three months of FY’06.


MCTF “DEEPLY TROUBLED” BY NEW JONES ACT PETROLEUM WAIVER

The Maritime Cabotage Task Force (MCTF), America’s largest maritime coalition representing virtually every element of the US maritime industry including the MM&P, has notified Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff that it is “deeply troubled” by the DHS decision to reinstate the blanket waiver of the Jones Act for the transportation of petroleum products.

In a letter to Chertoff, MCTF President Philip Grill writes that the latest Sept. 26 blanket waiver “is particularly disconcerting because American tanker and tank vessel tonnage is available and standing by. You can imagine our frustration when American vessels crewed by American workers stand idle while petroleum products are transported on foreign-flag vessels with foreign crews who operate exempt from most American laws.”

Grill noted that of the 80 US-flag tank barges that serve the Jones Act clean product trade on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, “More than 30 of these barges, with an aggregate capacity of more than two million barrels, are currently available in the spot market.” In addition, he informed Chertoff that there was substantial US-flag tanker capacity currently available in the Gulf region for charter. Grill also requested the opportunity to meet with Chertoff “to outline ways that we can work together to meet American shipping needs without sacrificing basic American principles.”


CARNIVAL CASHES IN ON FEMA HURRICANE RELIEF SHIP DEAL

The Miami Herald reports that nearly a month after foreign-flag Carnival Cruise Lines allowed FEMA to use three of its cruise ships for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts to the tune of $192 million for six months, several US lawmakers are questioning whether the Miami-based company is being paid too much. Rep. Henry Waxman, (D-CA), has requested a copy of Carnival’s contract and documentation supporting its cost from Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, (R-CO), said she plans to order a Congressional investigation into the Sept. 2 deal.

Rep. Waxman says that many of the cruise ship berths are going unfilled, and that even if all the berths were filled, the cost for a family of five appears to exceed $20,000 per month. This would appear to be far more than other options, such as providing community-based housing.

According to an article in the Washington Post, if the ships were at capacity, with 7,116 evacuees, for six months, the price per evacuee would total $1,275 a week, based on calculations by aides to Sen. Tom Coburn, (R-OK). A seven-day western Caribbean cruise out of Galveston can be had for $599 a person, and that would include entertainment and the cost of actually making the ship move. The Post also reports that Congressional investigators are examining Carnival’s tax status.


AFL-CIO SAYS IT IS TIME FOR A NEW DIRECTION FOR US LEADERS

The AFL-CIO called for a “new direction” for the nation to reverse the failed priorities of national leadership revealed by the Hurricane Katrina disaster. America not only must rebuild the devastated Gulf Coast region but also must redefine national priorities to focus on good jobs, strong communities and a just economy, the 10-member AFL-CIO Executive Committee said in announcing the “America Needs a New Direction” initiative on Sept. 22.

The New Direction initiative includes immediate steps to address hurricane damage as well as longer-term, nationwide efforts. “The inability of our federal leaders to deal with this continuing tragedy is a failure of huge proportions. What happened on the Gulf Coast is graphic evidence that our leaders have broken faith with the American Dream,” said AFL-CIO President John Sweeney.

In the Gulf region, the New Direction’s rebuilding efforts will include establishing a Gulf Coast Worker Network to coordinate all union responses in the region; creating a “Coalition of Fairness in Federal Disaster Relief” to restore the prevailing wage standards and affirmative action requirements for federal contractors that the Bush administration revoked; and setting up an investment network to marshal the power of the more than $400 billion in union-sponsored pension plans behind new capital investment in the region.

Nationally, the initiative calls for dozens of town hall meetings this fall and winter focused on the priorities for a strong and secure America; a mass national “Community Walk for Change” to highlight and build support for working family priorities; grassroots pressure on Congress to defeat schemes to pay for Gulf Coast rebuilding by cutting programs for working people and poor people while extending tax cuts for the rich; and mobilizing working families to fight for a federal agenda that includes a minimum wage increase, guaranteed health care for all and the creation of good jobs.

On a related note, see the AFL-CIO Gulf Coast Worker Network Hurricane Relief Update for the latest hurricane relief efforts of the AFL-CIO and affiliate unions by visiting www.aflcio.org/hurricane.


MM&P DISASTER RELIEF FUND IS OPEN FOR DONATIONS

The hurricane ravished Gulf Coast is home to several hundred MM&P members, retirees and their families, some of whom have suffered severe financial losses. The MM&P Disaster Relief Fund has been established to help members and applicants needing assistance. A letter has been sent to all members, MM&P contracted companies and provisioners and other unions soliciting donations for this fund. The letter is on the MM&P web site (www.bridgedeck.org) at
.

MM&P has provided a significant contribution to kick off the financing of this fund and members are encouraged to contribute to help their brothers and sisters who now must deal with the aftermath of this tragedy. Contributions by credit card are welcomed. All requests for assistance from the proceeds generated by this fund 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.


US COAST GUARD TASK FORCE TRACKS HURRICANE RECOVERY

The USCG’s Maritime Recovery and Restoration Task Force is tracking the short-term recovery and long-term restoration of the maritime transportation system (MTS) impacted by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The task force is tracking data relating to the status of the MTS that focus on critical infrastructure, the environment, waterway management and offshore oil and natural gas production. The info can be viewed at http://www.uscgstormwatch.com.


HURRICANES HAVE SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON US ENERGY SOURCES

The full extent of damage caused to the US energy industry by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita is becoming clearer, with production impacts roughly three times more severe than those seen after last year’s Hurricane Ivan. As of Thursday, 97 percent of the Gulf of Mexico’s oil production and 77 percent of natural gas production remained shut down.

The cumulative impact of the two hurricanes has already cost the region about 38 million barrels of oil, or 7 percent of its annual production with no end in sight. On the refinery front, the Department of Energy reports that as much as 15 percent of total US refining capacity could be offline for at least several weeks.


SEAMEN’S INSTITUTE HELPS MARINERS AFFECTED BY HURRICANES

The Seamen’s Church Institute is making grants and interest-free loans to active mariners and immediate family members affected by the hurricanes. You may refer a mariner for assistance by calling 212-349-9090 (for deep-sea mariners) or 270-575-1005 (for inland waterway mariners). You may contribute to the Mariners’ Assistance Fund by calling 202-349-9090 or go to the Internet site at http://www.seamenschurch.org/


ACCOUNTING SERVICES AVAILABLE FOR MARINER HURRICANE VICTIMS

With the serious financial losses caused by the Gulf Coast hurricanes, the Wheelhouse Weekly is making MM&P members aware of two accounting firms that have experience in dealing with mariners in both tax work and casualty losses. MM&P makes no recommendation regarding these two firms except that they are both well known and are experienced with seafarer tax issues.

If you have been affected by the hurricanes and have suffered a loss, you may be able to deduct a portion of the loss on your tax return (IRS limitations apply). Info on casualty losses can be obtained from IRS Publication 547. If you have any further questions on casualty losses and deductions, feel free to contact Transport Workers Tax Service at 866-777-TWTS (8987) or by email at twts@transport1040.com.

Martin Kapp, CPA, is also offering his professional time and services free to any MM&P members affected by the Gulf hurricanes. His accounting office specializes in mariner tax issues. For more info, call his office in Los Angeles toll-free at 800-728-1040 or visit his web site at www.sailortax.com.


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: 10/24, 12/5
AZIPOD – Azipod Propulsion System (2 day): 12/5

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

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 1): 11/7
CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 11/14
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): 11/14
CMM-SHS-ADV-II – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 11/28, 12/12
CMM-SHMGT I – Ship Management (week 1): 10/24, 12/12
CMM-SHMGT I I- Ship Management (week 2): 10/31
CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 10/17, 10/31
CMM-VPEN – Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 10/10
CMM-WKP – Watchkeeping: 11/28

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

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

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

MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 10/6, 11/10, 12/1
MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 10/22, 12/10
MED-PIC – Medical Person-In-Charge: 10/17, 10/31, 12/5
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 10/17, 10/31, 12/5


[MSC – Military Sealift Command]
MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 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: 10/17, 10/24, 12/5, 12/10

SEC-OFF-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 10/3, 11/7, 11/28, 12/12
SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 10/24, 11/7

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

PMI is offering a USCG Crew Endurance Management Coaches Seminar in Seattle from October 26-27 in addition to its regular course offerings listed below. This training is designed to provide commercial mariners the knowledge and skills to develop, deploy, and assess Crew Endurance Management Systems (CEMS) within their companies.

As a Crew Endurance Coach, the employee is critical to the success of CEMS implementation. Coaches provide education and guidance on the principles of light and sleep management, assist with changes to the work and rest environment, make recommendations on schedule changes, and help create personal endurance plans for each crewmember. Once successfully completing the training the Coach will have the necessary training to educate personnel on a vessel, and the processes and practices specific to the USCG Crew Endurance Management Program. The training session spans two full days and includes a written exam.

October 2005

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 9-29

 


 D O W  N A S D A Q  S & P 500
10,552.78 +174.75 for the week  2,141.22  +34.58 for the week  1,227.68  +17.48 for the week

 

Fund Name & Trading Symbol
Closing
Price
Change
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
113.09
+1.12
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
33.50
+.67
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
20.69
+.26
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
16.94
+.29
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
32.53
+.45
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
10.33
-.03
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX)
6.21
-.01
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
10.13
-.05
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
18.97
+.34
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
16.26
+.12
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
37.13
+.57
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
105.71
+1.28
 Fidelity Small Company Instl (FMACX)
23.23
+.73
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
77.88
+1.13
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
43.63
+.64

 





~ 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.