Bridging the Information Gap With E-News You Can Use

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

Volume 18 . . . Number 10 . . . March 11, 2014


In this issue:

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


MM&P Atlantic Ports union halls and MM&P headquarters will be closed on Monday, March 17 for Gleason’s Birthday, a longshore holiday. The MM&P San Juan Hall will be closed on Monday, March 24 for Puerto Rico Emancipation Day.

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Although President Obama’s 2015 budget requests the full $186 million for the Maritime Security Program (MSP), it also proposes that Congress allow up to 25 percent of the funds appropriated for PL 480 Food for Peace to be distributed in the form of cash aid. Unlike last year’s White House budget, this one at least acknowledges the impact that a reduction in PL 480 commodities would have on the U.S.-flag fleet and on the industry’s ability to meet our country’s national security needs. This budget proposes that an additional $25 million be appropriated to MSP if Congress approves the administration’s PL 480 “reform” request.

Of the $25 million, the budget proposal states, “at least $1 million shall be used to support training programs to retain and advance U.S. citizen mariners for critical positions as determined by the Secretary of Transportation in consultation with the Coast Guard,” and the remaining $24 million shall be used “for further support to mariners, such as providing payments to operators of vessels in foreign trade separate from Maritime Security Program payments…”  The budget is a starting point for program funding and must be approved by Congress.

In related news, the Coast Guard bill that passed out of committee with a number of favorable provisions (including restoring 75 percent cargo preference for PL 480) is set to be considered at the end of March by the full House of Representatives.

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Unions that represent federal government employees are criticizing President Obama’s proposal to raise the pay of civilian workers and most military personnel by only 1 percent in 2015, calling the amount insufficient to correct the destructive impact of years of pay freezes and furloughs. The 1 percent would apply to members of the MM&P Federal Employees Membership Group (FEMG) who work at Military Sealift Command (MSC), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) and Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC).

Congress must approve any raise for federal employees. If it does not include language in legislation supporting or prohibiting a federal pay increase, then the president’s recommendation will become law. Congress has accepted Obama’s recommended pay raise in four of five annual White House budget proposals.

Last year, the president also proposed a 1 percent pay raise for federal employees. It took effect this past January, ending a three-year pay freeze for federal workers. “That raise was long overdue,” says MM&P Government Fleet Representative Randi Ciszewski. “MM&P FEMG members’ wages are not nearly where they should be.”

Federal employees have already contributed $120 billion to deficit reduction through an assortment of cuts to their compensation, she said, and the fact that they are being forced to make disproportionate sacrifices threatens to undermine the quality of the government workforce. “It will undoubtedly have an adverse effect on recruitment and retention,” Ciszewski said.

“Federal employees have endured years of pay freezes and cuts in retirement benefits,” said J. David Cox Sr., president of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE). The union has called for a 4 percent raise in 2015. “Federal employees deserve a meaningful pay raise, not a token increase that will be more than eaten up by rising living costs, including higher retirement and healthcare costs,” he said. Cox points out that since 2010, the cost of living has gone up 9 percent while the wages of federal employees have increased just 3 percent. “A 1 percent pay raise for federal employees who have seen more austerity than anyone else is pitiful,” Cox said.

“I strongly believe that federal employees deserve more and this amount is inadequate,” said Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU). “When compared with wage growth in the private sector, federal workers will fall further behind, making it more difficult for the government to attract and retain qualified personnel.”

Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) chose to accentuate the positive. “This modest [cost-of-living adjustment] would go a long way in further recognizing the value of federal employees and help bring to a close years of pay freezes,” Mikulski said. “I’m proud to fight on the front lines on behalf of federal employee pay just as federal employees work on the front lines each and every day on behalf of the American people. Federal employees have been undervalued and underappreciated for too long.”

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Future U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) should travel on American ships, MM&P President Don Marcus told a journalist for Bloomberg News in a telephone interview last week. Seconding remarks made recently by Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.), Marcus said reserving strategic cargoes such as LNG for transport by U.S. ships is essential to preserving American maritime jobs. There are now fewer than 14,000 American mariners in the oceangoing U.S. fleet, Marcus told Bloomberg reporter Isaac Arnsdorf, “below the bare minimum” necessary to maintain the country’s sealift capability. The article was posted online on March 7 at

Lawmakers who recognize the importance of the U.S.-flag fleet to our country’s economy and national security are making a new push to require exports of natural gas be carried on American ships. Under a proposal put forth by Garamendi at the Maritime Industry Symposium in January, future U.S. LNG exports would be shipped on U.S.-built, U.S.-crewed ships. Such proposals have been attracting renewed attention because of the standoff in Ukraine, a conflict that has raised the possibility of sanctions against Russia, which could respond by cutting gas exports to Western Europe. “If you’re going to export it, let’s do that in a way that further strengthens the American economy by exporting that gas on American-made ships with American crews,” Garamendi told Bloomberg News in a telephone interview.

The fleet of ocean-going U.S.-flag cargo ships has dwindled to 179 from more than 1,000 in the 1950s, Bloomberg reported. “New cargoes for U.S.-flag ships are the key, and the sector ripest for that is energy exports, specifically LNG, even if it is just a small percentage that is required to be carried aboard a U.S.-flag vessel,” said Acting Maritime Administrator Chip Jaenichen at the maritime symposium. Garamendi’s amendment to Coast Guard legislation would have phased in a requirement that all LNG exports from the U.S. would be on U.S.-built and U.S.-flagged ships with American crews. While the congressman withdrew the amendment anticipating it would not pass, Garamendi said he is committed to reintroducing the proposal on the House floor after building more support.

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), who chairs the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, plans to examine all opportunities to expand the U.S. fleet, including LNG tankers, said a spokesman. “This is going to be a great 50 years with the energy that we have in this country,” Hunter said at the MARAD symposium. “We’re saying that if you’re going to get it out of U.S. soil and you’re going to export energy out of the U.S., maybe it ought to be on U.S. ships with U.S. mariners.”

Opponents of such proposals include oil and gas companies and their trade groups, which are also pushing for lifting the Jones Act on future exports of LNG or crude oil. “The Jones Act needs modifying, and it certainly does not need modifying to make it more restrictive,” says Charles Drevna, president of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, an industry group whose members include Exxon Mobil and Chevron (CVX) Corp.

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As part of what it calls a campaign to defend ethnic Russians in Crimea, Russia last Thursday deliberately sunk three of its own ships to keep Ukrainian naval vessels from gaining access to the Black Sea. On March 6, Russian vessels towed the decommissioned anti-submarine ship OCHAKOV from the Russian base at Sevastopol to the entrance to Donuzlav Lake and blew it up. The OCHAKOV and two smaller Russian ships are now blocking the narrow opening to the lake, which is adjacent to the Black Sea. Ukraine’s navy headquarters in Sevastopol is currently barricaded by pro-Russian militants. The country suffered another major blow last week when the head of Ukraine’s navy, Denis Berezovsky, announced he had switched allegiance to the pro-Russia faction in Crimea.

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The Coast Guard has promulgated a final rule that modifies Great Lakes pilotage rates. The rule raises rates by approximately 2.5 percent. Most of the adjustments come into effect on Aug. 1.

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Union Plus offers discounts on textbooks for union members and their families through, an online resource with a wide selection of alternatives to costly textbooks. Those eligible for the discounts include union members, retirees and their families, as well as all holders of the Union Plus Credit Card. Also at, union members can earn extra cash by selling used textbooks through the textbook buyback program, which offers free shipping via UPS or USPS.

With your Union Plus discount, you can: save 5 percent on all orders over $25 by entering the discount code UNION at checkout. You can use coupon code 10OFF150 for $10 off orders over $150. There is free shipping on orders over $59. For buybacks, use coupon code PLUS2 to earn an extra $2 on buybacks over $15.

Go to for more information on benefits available at and at eTextbooks, where you can: make your selection from thousands of textbooks, sign up for the only online rewards program for textbooks and save 15 percent to 60 percent on The Princeton Review’s college test preparation courses.

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They say we’re all Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. Why not celebrate Ireland’s patron saint with union libations and hearty fare made by members of labor unions that include the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), the Machinists (IAM), the United Auto Workers (UAW) and the Teamsters (IBT)?

You can propose a St. Patrick’s Day toast with these fine whiskies–including some tasty single barrels–from distilleries where workers enjoy the benefits of UFCW contracts: Baker’s; Basil Hayden’s; Blanton’s; Elijah Craig; Henry McKenna; Jim Beam; Knob Creek; Old Crow; and Old Grand-Dad.

Here are just some of the union-made beers brought to you by members of the UFCW, the IAM, the UAW and the IBT: Budweiser; Budweiser American Ale; Bud Light; Hamm’s; Henry Weinhard’s Private Reserve and Blue Board Pale Ale; Leinenkugel’s; Michelob; Miller Genuine Draft; Miller High Life; Miller Lite; Moosehead; Rolling Rock; Shock Top; and Steelhead.

For a touch of global solidarity, the Irish-imported favorite Guinness is brewed at facilities where workers are represented by affiliates of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, including the Services Industrial Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU) and the Guinness Staff Union (GSU).

And what would St. Patrick’s Day be without a nice piece of corned beef from Saag’s, which is produced by members of the UFCW? Buy a union-made St. Patrick’s Day card from American Greetings brought to you by 500 IBT members who print and produce cards at the firm’s Bardstown, Ky., plant.

So paint the town green. And if you want a list of more union-made products, text MADE to 235246 (standard data and message rates may apply).

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If you are interested in attending the Offshore Familiarization Course, please contact your MM&P Vice President to request that one be scheduled in your area. An Offshore Orientation Course is now scheduled for Los Angeles/Long Beach on March 12-13 and Oct. 8-9. If you are interested in participating in the course, please contact the Los Angeles/Long Beach Hall: 310-834-7201 or 310-834-6667 (fax). There is no sea-time requirement to take the course. All Offshore applicants, potential transferees from other membership groups and other interested Offshore members are encouraged to take the course as soon as possible.

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The 2006 Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) entered into force on Aug. 20. It has been described as the fourth pillar of international shipping regulations along with SOLAS, MARPOL and STCW.  The International Labor Organization consolidated a number of previous conventions in MLC 2006. It establishes minimum standards on conditions of employment, accommodations, health and safety, medical care, crew welfare, recruitment, working conditions and social security protection. MLC will be strictly enforced during port state control inspections, including the potential for more detailed inspections and possible detention where hazardous conditions may exist if ships are not to be in compliance. Visit for more information or to register for the MLC course.

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MITAGS needs your current address! Have you moved recently? Did you remember to send MITAGS your new address for communications regarding courses? Please send your current contact information to or to the fax number below.

New dedicated fax line for Admissions only: 1-443-568-1928. For all other MITAGS business, please continue to use: 410-859-5181.

For class availability or information on MITAGS courses and programs, contact Kelly Michielli, Admissions Coordinator, toll-free at 866-656-5568 or by e-mail: Why not try our on-line calendar to register for class:

Please note the special addition to our on-campus schedule of MSC classes marked with an asterisk (*), which are not normally scheduled to be held at MITAGS.

AB – 3/24/14, 8/11/14, 10/13/14

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: 5/6/14

ARPA-OIC – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 4/1/14, 8/5/14, 9/23/14, 11/18/14

AZIPOD 2-Day – 5/7/14, 5/19/14, 7/10/14, 10/9/14

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 3/24/14, 6/2/14, 8/25/14, 10/13/14

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 4/14/14, 5/22/14, 8/20/14, 9/22/14, 11/20/14

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling:  4/29/14, 7/7/14, 10/6/14

BST – Basic Safety Training: 4/7/14, 6/9/14, 8/11/14, 10/6/14

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 4/14/14, 10/27/14

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVNAV-CMM – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): 6/2/14, 8/4/14, 11/10/14

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 4/28/14, 6/23/14, 9/22/14

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 6/16/14, 9/8/14

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 5/5/14, 7/7/14, 9/29/14

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 5/5/14, 6/2/14, 7/14/14, 8/4/14, 10/20/14, 11/10/14

MCL-CMM – Management, Communication, & Leadership (Management Level): 3/17/14, 5/19/14, 9/15/14

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants:  3/31/14, 7/21/14, 10/27/14

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management (2 weeks): 4/7/14, 8/18/14, 10/13/14

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 4/7/14, 4/28/14, 6/9/14, 8/4/14, 9/8/14, 9/22/14, 10/20/14, 11/3/14, 12/1/14

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 3/17/14, 4/14/14, 5/5/14, 6/16/14, 8/11/14, 9/15/14, 9/29/14, 10/27/14, 11/10/14, 12/8/14

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 6/9/14, 8/11/14, 11/17/14

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 4/21/14, 7/28/14, 11/3/14

CNAV-OIC – Celestial Navigation: 4/28/14, 11/3/14

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop:

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications:  10/7/14

DDE – Great Lakes:


ECDIS-OIC –9/8/14

ECDIS-Pilots – 5/19/14

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 4/7/14, 6/9/14, 8/11/14, 10/6/14

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep & Medications:  5/21/14, 11/19/14

GL Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization:

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 3/17/14, 8/18/14

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 6/23/14, 9/15/14, 11/17/14

LAP- 3/10/14, 9/8/14

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross Ton License: 6/2/14

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 5/21/14, 7/8/14, 10/7/14, 11/20/14

LNG-TPIC – 4/7/14

MCL-OIC –Management, Communications, and Leadership OICNW level: 9/5/14, 10/7/14

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 4/21/14, 6/16/14, 9/8/14, 11/3/14, 12/1/14

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 5/12/14, 8/4/14, 10/13/14

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 3/17/14, 4/21/14, 6/16/14, 9/8/14, 10/20/14, 11/3/14, 12/1/14

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 3/22/14, 4/26/14, 6/21/14, 8/3/14, 9/13/14, 10/12/14, 11/8/14, 12/6/14

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: 5/5/14 (PM), 8/4/14 (PM), 10/6/14 (PM)

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 3/14/14, 6/6/14, 8/22/14, 10/3/14

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 6/2/14, 8/18/14, 9/29/14

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification:  6/2/14, 8/18/14, 9/29/14, 11/10/14

*MSC-SECURITY WATCH BASIC – Contact Admissions


*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force – Contact Admissions

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 3/31/14, 8/4/14, 9/22/14, 11/17/14

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 3/20/14, 4/2/14, 4/16/14, 4/30/14, 5/7/14, 5/14/14, 6/5/14, 6/18/14, 7/9/14, 7/24/14, 8/6/14, 8/20/14, 9/10/14, 9/17/14, 10/1/14, 10/15/14, 10/29/14, 11/12/14, 12/3/14, 12/10/14

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 4/7/14, 7/28/14, 11/10/14

SAR-OIC – Search & Rescue – 4/7/14, 10/13/14

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling:  5/12/14, 6/16/14, 8/18/14, 11/17/14

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day: 7/14/14, 10/6/14

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 8/4/14

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 7/7/14

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge:  8/25/14

TTT – Train the Trainer: 4/7/14

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: 5/6/14, 8/5/14, 10/7/14

VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 3/21/14, 5/7/14, 8/6/14, 9/2/14, 10/8/14

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level): 9/29/14

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): 9/15/14

…And remember: If you can’t make the class, make the call.  Be courteous, don’t be a “no show.”

Check the MITAGS website at for course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations, and schedule revisions.

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Please also see our schedule online at For registration, call our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen, at (206) 838-1126.

March 2014

17th       Radar Renewal
24-28     ECDIS
24-28     Able Seaman
24-4       License Preparation (Mate Level)

April 2014

7-11       ECDIS
14th       Radar Renewal
14-18     Medical Care Provider
14-25     Medical Person-In-Charge
15-18     ARPA
28-2       ECDIS

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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: For further info or to subscribe contact Lisa Rosenthal at The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea and is posted on our web page.

© 2014, 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: For changes of address, contact Lisa Rosenthal at

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