Wheelhouse Weekly – Apr. 26, 2016

April 27th 2016

Volume 21 . . . Number 17. . . April 26, 2016


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The shrinking of the U.S.-flag fleet threatens to undercut the commercial maritime industry’s ability to satisfy the needs of the Department of Defense (DOD), MM&P Chief of Staff Klaus Luhta told members of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security.

Luhta presented testimony on behalf of the maritime unions during an April 20 hearing on “The State of the U.S. Maritime Industry: Stakeholder Perspectives.”

“Our organizations proudly represent the seafaring men and women who continue the tradition of American mariners since the founding of our Nation to sail into harm’s way whenever and wherever needed by our country in order to support and supply our military overseas,” Luhta testified.

“It is these same American mariners who ensure that America’s foreign and domestic seaborne trade, upon which our economy is based, is not exclusively dependent upon foreign nationals.”

Subcommittee Chair Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Ranking Member Cory Booker (D-N.J.) called the hearing to gather information on how federal policy and programs could strengthen the U.S.-flag maritime industry.

In the unions’ testimony, Luhta quoted top DOD officials on the importance of the U.S.-flag fleet.

“The merchant marine has always been there beside us,” Major Gen. Kathleen Gainey, commander, Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, said in 2008.

“There is no amount of thanks that I could give you, because I am here to tell you, having deployed twice, I know how critical it is that equipment and those supplies are delivered on time… You are the fourth arm of defense and you are critical to this nation.”

Yet “despite the repeated expressions from DOD leaders that our Nation needs a U.S.-flag merchant marine, the privately owned U.S.-flag merchant marine has, in recent years, declined, threatening the ability of our Nation to provide the commercial sealift capability and U.S. citizen mariners that DOD requires,” Luhta testified.

As recently as March 2016, for example, the subcommittee heard testimony from Maritime Administrator Paul Jaenichen, who pointed out that the number of vessels in the U.S.-flag foreign trade fleet had declined from 106 in 2011 to 78 at the end of February 2016.

The reduction in vessels and the loss of the associated seafaring billets for American mariners result in a reduction in the pool of mariners available to meet DOD requirements, he testified.

Jaenichen said that at that time there were approximately 11,230 qualified American mariners available to crew commercial or government-owned sealift ships. He cautioned that in the event of a prolonged activation of Maritime Administration and MSC surge vessels, an additional 3,200 mariners would be needed.

Luhta pointed out that it takes many years of experience to become a credentialed U.S. professional mariner. “Young people will not be encouraged to enter an industry that is ignored or abandoned by policy-makers and that promises no realistic future for employment,” he added.

Among the worrying trends: declining DOD cargo due to the drawdown of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and a more than 80 percent reduction in personnel and military bases overseas, two factors in the decision taken by numerous vessel owners to flag out their ships.

Luhta said the Maritime Security Program (MSP) must be fully funded to counter “significant reductions in the amounts of defense and other government cargoes available to U.S.-flag vessels; the proliferation of tax and other economic incentives available to foreign-flag vessels and crews but not to U.S.-flag vessels and crews; the regulatory compliance requirements imposed only on U.S.-flag vessels by the U.S. government; and the growing competition for cargoes from foreign flag-of-convenience vessel operations which fail to meet the standards applicable to U.S.-flag vessels.”

Congress increased funding for MSP for fiscal year 2016 and recognized that further adjustments in funding will be needed. Luhta said the industry is now working to ensure that Congress appropriates the authorized $299,997,000 million for MSP for Fiscal Year 2017.

During his testimony, he urged Congress to restore the U.S.-flag share of PL 480 Food for Peace and other humanitarian food aid cargoes to the 75 percent level that was in place beginning in 1985 until it was reduced to 50 percent in 2012.

He also urged: more oversight to ensure that all U.S. government agencies covered under cargo preference laws use U.S.-flag ships when legally mandated to do so and; that Congress extend the provisions of section 911 of the Internal Revenue Code (the foreign source income exclusion) to American mariners working aboard liquefied natural gas (LNG) vessels engaged in the carriage of LNG exports from the United States.

He said the government, U.S.-flag shipping companies and America’s maritime labor organizations should continue to work together to modify and enhance existing programs and to create new programs and opportunities that will increase the number of vessels operating under the U.S. flag, the amount of cargo carried aboard U.S.-flag vessels and shipboard employment opportunities for American licensed and unlicensed merchant mariners.

To be available when needed in time of war or other international emergency, Luhta said, the U.S.-flag merchant marine must be supported during time of peace.

He presented the statement on behalf of MM&P, the American Maritime Officers, the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association, the Marine Firemen’s Union, the Sailors’ Union of the Pacific and the Seafarers International Union.

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Shipping giant Maersk has said it will ensure that any vessel it charters has in place an International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) or similar agreement which assures protections for crews on flag-of-convenience ships.

The company already has collective bargaining agreements covering its proprietary fleet.

Maersk Group vessels, owned or chartered, now total around 500.

ITF maritime coordinator Jacqueline Smith applauded the company’s pledge. “This is welcome news,” she said. “It shows that Maersk Group is reaching for high standards and behaving in a responsible and praiseworthy manner.”

She continued: “This closes a circle that has been kept open by, in some cases, vessel providers who have told Maersk they have agreements on board when we know they haven’t.”

The good news was announced at a meeting of the ITF Maersk Network (which is made up of seafarers’ and dockers’ unions with members based on vessels or in ports operated directly or indirectly by the Maersk Group) in Copenhagen.

“It’s in everyone’s interests for Maersk and the ITF to have a positive relationship,” Smith said.

“Millions of transport workers represented by our unions work for Maersk directly or via subsidiary companies and we are committed to making sure they have decent terms and conditions. As a key industry player we think Maersk wants that too, which is why good faith open dialogue is the only thing that makes sense moving forward.”

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Thousands of U.S. and European airline workers are speaking out against the recent decision by the Department of Transportation (DOT) to approve a new international air service crewed by third-party contract workers hired in low-wage countries.

The DOT order, unless reversed by Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx or President Barack Obama, would allow Norwegian Air International (NAI)–which is actually based in Ireland, not Norway–to begin operations from the United States with contract crew working under the labor laws of Thailand or Singapore.

Airline workers, lawmakers, concerned passengers and air cargo shippers have called on the Obama administration to enforce U.S. trade agreements and ensure fair and free competition for U.S. airlines and their workers.

They say the plan would put U.S. airlines at a competitive disadvantage in the global marketplace and cost thousands of American airline workers their jobs.

“We are strongly opposed to (this) job-killing flag-of-convenience airline that perverts the transatlantic airline market and violates our nation’s aviation trade agreement with the European Union,” said TTD President Ed Wytkind in an official statement.

NAI, a subsidiary of Norway-based Norwegian Air Shuttle, was incorporated in Ireland with the goal of gaining an advantage over air carriers on both sides of the Atlantic by skirting Norway’s regulations and employment laws.

The airline uses Bangkok-based flight crews employed under Singaporean individual employment contracts to avoid complying with collective bargaining obligations in Norway while reaping the benefits of the U.S.-EU Air Transport Agreement.

“When an airline company like NAI scours the globe for the cheapest labor it can find, evades the social and employment laws of its own country, and uses a rogue business model in violation of our trade agreements and laws, our government should not reward that airline with new rights to seize our markets, compete unfairly with our air carriers and kill our members’ jobs,” Wytkind said.

The international Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) have released a joint statement calling on the United States to withdraw its tentative approval of the scheme.

“If endorsed by President Obama, this decision would further undermine labor standards and support the creation of flags of convenience in aviation,” said ITF General Secretary Steve Cotton. “We call upon the President to overrule the decision and deny the permit. We will do our utmost to stop NAI from promoting flags of convenience instead of national labor agreements.”

The ITF represents more than 650,000 civil aviation workers all over the world, including nearly 120,000 aircrew members in the United States. The ETF represents more than 250,000 civil aviation workers all over Europe, including 90,000 aircrew members.

Opposition is also building in the U.S. Congress.

“Norwegian Air should not be cleared for takeoff to the U.S. until the airline comes into compliance with existing laws that protect competition by ensuring a level playing field,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).

“This decision would undercut American carriers and workers by creating a competitive disadvantage that violates the rules of the runway. I urge the Department to reconsider this decision which would harm U.S. airlines and their workers.”

There will be a public comment period before a final determination is made by DOT.

Follow #DenyNAI on Twitter to lend your voice to the effort to derail the flag-of-convenience airline scheme.

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On April 28, the labor movement will once again observe Workers Memorial Day to remember people who have been killed or injured on the job and to renew the fight for strong safety and health protections. The theme of this year’s Workers Memorial Day is “Working for Safe Jobs.”

Because of their jobs, each year thousands of American workers are killed or injured or become sick. Many on-the-job hazards are unregulated and uncontrolled. Some employers cut corners and violate the law, putting workers in serious danger and costing lives.

The maritime industry is among the most dangerous.

Aboard ship, the most common causes of death and serious injury are falls, mooring line accidents, being struck by a vehicle and suffocation or poisoning in confined spaces.

For longshoremen, the risks are equally great. Just this past March, for example, an accident at the Port of Los Angeles claimed the life of a member of International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 63 marine clerk.

In 2014, the most recent for which statistics are available, “the most frequent cause of longshoring fatalities were accidents in which employees were struck by or run over by vehicles such as trucks, front-end loaders or forklifts,” according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The next most frequent causes of death were falling or drowning, improperly loaded lifts, unstable cargo that toppled over and working below improperly secured loads that fell from cranes.

Four decades ago, the OSHA law and mine safety law were enacted promising workers in this country a right to a safe job. Since that time, workers have made great progress, and workplace fatalities and injuries have significantly declined.

“This progress didn’t just happen because these laws were passed” says AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka. “It happened because workers and their unions organized, fought and demanded action from employers and their government.”

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Ohio Congressman David Joyce (R) has been named a 2016 Great Lakes Legislator of the Year by the largest labor/management coalition representing shipping on America’s Fourth Sea Coast.

The Great Lakes Maritime Task Force (GLMTF) presents the award each year to legislators who have promoted shipping on the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway. Joyce received the award at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on April 12.

“Rep. Joyce’s deep appreciation for Great Lakes shipping stems from having two major ports in his district, Ashtabula and Conneaut,” said GLMTF President Thomas Curelli.

“Countless family-sustaining jobs are created by the cargo that moves across the docks in Ashtabula and Conneaut.”

The dredging crisis has also received Joyce’s attention. “The largest vessels calling on Ashtabula and Conneaut forfeit about 270 tons of cargo for each inch of loaded draft lost to inadequate dredging,” said GLMTF Second Vice President James H.I. Weakley, who is also president of the Lake Carriers’ Association.

“The efficiencies of Great Lakes shipping are the foundation of the Midwest economy and Congressman Joyce has been laser-focused on bringing more dredging dollars back to the Lakes.”

The award also recognizes Joyce’s commitment to international shipping via the St. Lawrence Seaway. “Northern Ohio businesses have direct and efficient access to world markets because of the Seaway,” said GLMTF Third Vice President John D. Baker. “Imports and exports are both key to the future.”

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On Sunday, May 22, the annual National Maritime Day Observance and Memorial Service will be held at the American Merchant Marine Veterans Memorial at Harbor Boulevard and 6th Street in San Pedro at 1000.

The service is hosted by the American Merchant Marine Veterans Memorial Committee. It honors American Merchant Mariners who have served their country in peace and war since the American Revolution–when they acted as our first Navy–until the present day.

Among the speakers will be MM&P President Don Marcus.

Organizations wishing to send wreaths to be displayed during and after the services are requested to have them delivered to the memorial site by 0900 on Sunday, May 22. Massey’s Florist on Western Avenue in Lomita (310-325-8222) has provided very good service and is the preferred florist of the committee.

The committee is again planning to have an interesting program, with national, state, and city officials invited to participate as speakers.

The committee is seeking sponsors to help us this year by purchasing an advertisement in our 2016 program booklet.

A luncheon will be held immediately following the National Maritime Day Observance at the Ports O’Call Restaurant located at Berth 76 in Ports O’Call Village. A no host bar will open at 1100 hours, with lunch being served at approximately 1130 hours. Parking is available in Ports O’Call with transportation provided to and from the memorial service.

The committee cordially invites all sponsors and the general public to attend the National Maritime Day Observance and luncheon. For more information, please contact Paul Nielsen at (310) 325 3506.

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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 Elisabeth Cruz, 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 – 8/22/16, 10/17/16

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: 5/27/16, 7/22/16

ARPA-OIC – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 8/9/16, 9/27/16

AZIPOD 2-Day – 5/23/16, 11/14/16

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 8/8/16, 10/31/16

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 05/23/2016, 7/18/16, 11/14/16

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling: 04/19/16

BT – Basic Safety Training: 06/27/16, 8/15/16, 10/10/16

BT-Revalidation – 05/10/16, 8/22/16, 10/31/16

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 11/14/16

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVNAV-CMM – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): Contact Admissions

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 06/20/16, 8/1/16, 10/17/16

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 06/06/16, 8/8/16, 11/7/16

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 10/24/16

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 06/13/16, 7/25/16, 8/15/16, 9/12/16,10/10/16, 11/28/16, 12/19/16

LMS – Leadership and Managerial Skills (Management Level – Formerly MCL-CMM – 5/9/16,5/16/16, 5/23/16, 6/27/16, 7/11/16, 7/25/16, 8/1/16, 8/8/16, 8/15/16,8/22/16, 9/12/16, 10/3/16,10/31/16, 11/14/16,11/28/16, 12/5/16, 12/12/16, 12/19/16

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants: 05/02/16, 9/19/16

SEC-APPS – Practical Defense Tactics: 6/20/16, 8/1/16, 10/31/16

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management (2 weeks): 10/3/16

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 05/09/16, 06/13/16, 7/18/16, 8/15/16,9/12/16, 10/24/16, 11/7/16, 12/5/16

SHS-ADV-II-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 05/16/16, 06/20/16, 7/25/16, 8/22/16,9/19/16, 10/31/16, 11/14/16, 12/12/16

**SHS-ADV-I & II now approved to include SAR-CMM assessments at MITAGS after August 1, 2016. Both weeks must be taken together in order to complete SAR-CMM**

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 9/12/16

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 05/09/16, 9/26/16

CNAV-OIC – Celestial Navigation: 05/02/16, 10/24/16

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: Contact Admissions

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications: 7/19/16

DDE – Great Lakes: Contact Admissions

DPA – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-OIC – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-Pilots – 05/25/16, 7/20/16, 11/14/16

ERM – Engine Resource Management: 5/9/16, 7/18/16, 8/22/16, 9/26/16, 10/24/16, 11/14/16,11/28/16, 12/5/16, 12/12/16, 12/19/16

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 06/27/16, 8/15/16, 10/10/16

FF-ADV-REV – Advanced Fire Fighting Revalidation & Refresher: 5/12/16, 8/24/16, 11/2/16

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications: 5/16/13, 6/1/16, 6/15/16, 9/20/16

GL Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization: Contact Admissions

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 8/22/16

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 6/27/16, 8/29/16, 12/5/16

LAP- 9/19/16

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes: Contact Admissions

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross
Ton License: 06/06/16, 8/8/16, 12/5/16

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 5/23/16, 7/19/16, 9/21/16, 11/15/16

LNG-TPIC – 12/5/16

LTS –Leadership and Teamworking Skills (Formerly MCL-OIC): 7/12/16, 9/26/16, 10/26/16*, 11/14/16*, 12/19/16* (*Evening Session)

MEECE – Management of Electrical and Electronic Control: 5/16/16, 7/11/16, 8/29/16, 9/19/16, 10/17/16, 11/7/16, 11/28/16, 12/5/16, 12/12/16, 12/19/16

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 05/16/16, 7/11/16, 11/7/16, 12/12/16

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 05/02/16, 8/29/16, 10/3/16

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 05/16/16, 11/7/16, 11/28/16, 12/12/16

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 05/14/16, 8/28/16, 11/12/16, 12/17/16

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: Contact Admissions

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 6/10/16, 8/10/16, 10/17/16

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control: 6/8/16, 8/8/16, 10/18/16

*MSC-ENVPRO – 6/5/16, 8/7/16, 10/16/16

*MSC-FF-HELO – 6/6/16, 8/22/16, 10/31/16

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 6/13/16, 8/14/16, 10/23/16

*MSC-Security Watch Basic – 6/11/16, 8/11/16, 10/20/16

*MSC-Security Watch Advanced – 6/17/16, 8/13/16, 10/22/16

*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force – 6/18/16, 8/18/16, 10/27/16

NSAP-MMP – Navigational Skills Assessment Program-MM&P – 5/23/16, 7/26/16, 10/25/16

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 5/9/16, 8/8/16, 9/26/16

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 05/04/16, 05/18/16, 06/08/16, 06/22/16, 7/13/16, 7/27/16, 8/10/16, 8/24/16, 9/21/16, 10/5/16, 10/19/16, 11/2/16, 11/9/16, 11/16/16, 11/30/16, 12/7/16, 12/14/16

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 8/1/16

SAR-OIC – Search & Rescue – 11/7/16

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling: 06/27/16, 8/29/16, 10/17/16

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day: 05/02/16, 8/1/16, 10/3/16, 11/28/16

SMS – Contact Admissions

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 8/8/16

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 7/11/16

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: 8/8/16

TRAC-TUG-2: Contact Admissions

TTT – Contact Admissions

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: Contact Admissions

VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 7/13/16, 9/7/16, 10/22/16

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level): 10/3/16

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): 9/19/16

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Please also see our schedule and enroll online at For registration contact our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen: 206.838.1126 or

May 2016

2-6 Medical Care Provider
2-6 Engine Resource Management
3-6 ARPA
9-13 Leadership & Managerial Skills
9-13 MEECE
16-20 ECDIS
23-27 Leadership & Managerial Skills
23-27 MEECE

June 2016

1-2 Risk Based Internal Auditing
1-3 Security Officer – Vessel, Company & Facility
6-10 ECDIS
6-10 Leadership & Managerial Skills
6-10 Engine Resource Management
6-10 Bridge Resource Management w/ Simulation
13th Radar Renewal
13-24 License Preparation
13-24 GMDSS
13-1 Terrestrial & Coastal Navigation w/ Compasses
15-17 Bridge Resource Management and Emergency Shiphandling for Pilots
20-24 MEECE
20-24 Train the Trainer
27-1 Leadership & Managerial Skills

July 2016

5th Flashing Light
6-8 Security Officer – Vessel, Company & Facility
11-15 Radar Observer Unlimited
11-15 Leadership & Managerial Skills
11-15 Engine Resource Management
11-22 GMDSS
18th Leadership & Teamworking Skills
18-22 ECDIS
25th Radar Renewal
25-29 Leadership & Managerial Skills
25-29 Engine Resource Management
25-29 MEECE
26-29 ARPA

August 2016

1-5 Leadership & Managerial Skills
1-5 Bridge Resource Management
8-12 Basic Meteorology
8-12 Engine Resource Management
15th Radar Renewal
15-19 Leadership & Managerial Skills
22-26 ECDIS
22-26 MEECE
22-2 GMDSS
29-2 Leadership & Managerial Skills

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The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates, & Pilots, ILA, AFL-CIO, 700 Maritime Blvd. Suite B, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1953. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973. All rights reserved. The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly © 2015. Articles can be reprinted without prior permission if credit is given to The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly. For address changes, send an e-mail to Back issues of The Weekly are posted on