Wheelhouse Weekly – Apr. 28, 2015

April 28th 2015

Volume 19 . . . Number 17 . . . April 28, 2015


Breaking News:

In this issue:


News for MM&P Members:


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


The Pentagon has reported that the Iranian military on Tuesday seized a Western cargo ship in the Persian Gulf. Warning shots were fired but there were no reports of injuries. Iran’s Fars News Agency reported in its English language edition that the Iranian navy had seized the ship at the request of the Iran Ports Authority under a court order. U.S. military officials said the ship was seized in the Strait of Hormuz and was under control of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. “Where’s the Marshall Islands Navy when you need them?” quipped longtime MM&P member and former Pacific Ports Vice President Paul Nielsen. The MAERSK TIGRIS has a crew of 34. There are no U.S. citizens aboard.

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The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced last week it had approved the bid by The Pasha Group to acquire Horizon Lines’ Hawaii business operations, including four Jones Act container ships. The Pasha Group has said it plans to close the deal by the end of the second quarter of this year. The acquisition includes Sunrise Operations, which operates the container ships and associated Horizon Lines facilities and employees in Hawaii, as well as trucking and logistics affiliates.

As stated in a press release issued by Pasha, the company will work with Crowley Maritime to operate the ships engaged in the Hawaii service. MM&P licensed deck officers will continue to serve aboard the vessels, which will be crewed by Crowley subsidiary Marine Transport Management Inc. As previously announced, the Horizon vessels engaged in the Alaska service will be acquired by Matson Navigation Inc. and will also continue to operate with the full complement of MM&P licensed deck officers.

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Representatives of the U.S.-flag maritime industry gathered last week to bestow the industry’s highest honor, the Salute to Congress Award, on Congressman John Garamendi, a staunch advocate for America’s mariners. Garamendi, a Democrat who represents California’s 3rd Congressional District, seized the occasion to advocate for programs, existing and potential, that could halt the decline in the size of the U.S.-flag fleet, a decline he said is putting our country at serious risk.

“We are now in the process of an energy revolution,” Garamendi said of current attempts to lift the export ban on American crude oil, which could be accompanied by action on liquefied natural gas (LNG). “If we are going to ship out crude, it’s going to be on American ships crewed by American mariners.”

The congressman, the ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, said current attempts in Congress to carve the American Merchant Marine out of food aid programs by substituting food deliveries with cash vouchers put both the U.S.-flag fleet and starving people around the world who benefit from food aid at serious risk. Garamendi and his wife started their married life as Peace Corps volunteers teaching and doing community development work in Ethiopia. His wife has served as assistant director of the Peace Corps and as a deputy administrator at the United States Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service. “My wife and I have been in the famine camps,” he said. “We know that in these camps, chaos reigns… If you bring cash into chaos, you cannot guarantee that it will be turned into food.”

Garamendi called the Jones Act “absolutely essential for our nation and all who are involved in the ocean.” In the course of his speech, he mentioned the Masters, Mates & Pilots as an example of a group that symbolizes the endeavor and commitment of U.S.-flag industry professionals nationwide.

He called on everyone who works in the U.S.-flag maritime industry to work together “to write the 16 lines of law” that will ensure LNG exports are carried on U.S.-flag ships “and put it on the President’s desk to sign.” Garamendi received a standing ovation from the crowd, who joined him in calls for “CARGO, CARGO” for America’s seamen and ships.

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Seafarers International House (SIH) and the maritime community on April 20 recognized the achievements of two maritime industry VIPs in the area of seafarers’ welfare: International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) General Vice President Stephen Knott and TOTE Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer Anthony Chiarello. The two were honored for their extensive work revitalizing the Port of New York/New Jersey and for their support of the world’s maritime industry workers.

Chiarello told Knott that his father had been a member of ILA Local 1814 and that his family had always had a tremendous amount of respect for the longshoremen’s union. He told the audience that the success of the maritime industry rests on the shoulders of all its participants. “As a manager you won’t last long in the industry” if you feel your opinion counts more than those of your employees, he said. He attributed a major part of the continuing competitive success of the Port of New York and New Jersey to the leadership of Stephen Knott and the ILA and their well-qualified and dedicated membership.

During the event, SIH Executive Director Marsh Luther Dredge thanked MM&P members, who were represented by President Don Marcus, Secretary-Treasurer Steve Werse and other union officials and staffers, for their support. “I want to thank Don Marcus and his team for their involvement in seafarers’ welfare,” he said. Thanks to contributions from MM&P and the Seafarers’ International Union, he said, SIH was able last year to give $500 checks to more than 750 needy mariners.

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A coalition of unions and shipping companies, including Masters, Mates & Pilots and MIRAID, is urging senators weighing changes in America’s international food aid programs to maintain the components of the program that ensure the country has the trained U.S. mariners and U.S.-flag ships needed to protect our national security. In a letter dated April 15, 19 organizations reminded the elected officials of the importance of the program to a strong, viable U.S.-flag fleet. The letter was written to coincide with a committee hearing on food aid, including a change that would eliminate the role in the program of U.S. ships and crews.

“Key components of U.S. maritime policy that promote the use of U.S.-flag vessels and enhance the economic and security interests of the United States are the U.S.-flag cargo preference statutes,” the maritime coalition wrote to Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), committee chair, and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), its ranking member. “They provide U.S.-flag vessels with a critical base of cargo, giving them the opportunity to stay active while they work to compete against lower-cost and often tax-free foreign-flag vessels for the carriage of commercial cargoes in the United States. This in turn helps to ensure that the U.S.-flag vessels and their American crews remain available to the Department of Defense in time of war or other international emergency.”

“We strongly urge that any proposal to reform or revise the PL-480 Food for Peace Program, our nation’s most successful foreign aid food assistance program, must ensure that the militarily useful U.S.-flag commercial vessels, American maritime jobs and worldwide logistical networks available to our nation through the Maritime Security Program, our nation’s most important commercial sealift capability program, are not adversely affected or lost.” To maintain America’s readiness, the coalition wrote, DOD would have to compensate in other ways for cargoes eliminated in the context of food aid report.

Today, they added, “because of reductions in the size of the U.S.-flag fleet, DOD’s commercial sealift capabilities are in peril.” They quoted Gen. Paul Selva, commander of U.S. Transportation Command, who has told legislators in official testimony that “the reduction in government-impelled cargoes due to the drawdown in Afghanistan and reductions in food aid… are driving vessels owners” away from the U.S. flag… which “puts our ability to fully activate, deploy and sustain forces at increased risk.”

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European Union (EU) leaders agreed April 23 to ramp up funding for refugee search and rescue following the accident off the coast of Libya that is now believed to have killed 900 people. The ministers agreed to restore funds that had previously been cut when the search and rescue operation was privatized last year.

British and German warships are now preparing to sail for waters off Libya. Britain’s flagship BULWARK left waters near Istanbul on Sunday. Germany will add a frigate and supply vessel to aid in the search for refugees.

Unresolved issues include proposals on how to deal with human traffickers, how to redistribute asylum-seekers around the 28 nations and how to handle rescues in areas outside of EU territorial waters.

One particularly controversial proposal approved by the ministers is to seek out, capture and destroy vessels used by traffickers. The medical charity Doctors Without Borders and other aid groups have sharply criticized this aspect of the plan. “Focusing on keeping people out by cutting off their only existing routes is only going to push those fleeing for their lives to find other routes that are potentially even more dangerous,” a spokesperson for the group told journalists.

Last year approximately 40,000 people were rescued by merchant ships in the Mediterranean, with single ships boarding as many as 500 refugees at a time. Over a million people are now said to be blocked in Libya, waiting to attempt the trip. The International Transport Workers Union and the European Transport Workers Union have called on EU governments to increase their own national forces in the region so as to reduce the burdens and dangers for mariners sailing aboard merchant ships in the area.

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The MSC JHSV USNS SPEARHEAD, with members of the MM&P Federal Employees Membership Group at the helm, is participating in Saharan Express, a 12-nation exercise off the coast of West Africa. The program, which is sponsored by the U.S. Africa Command, is designed to increase maritime security. This is the fourth time it has been conducted. In this year’s exercise, SPEARHEAD is playing the role of a “suspect vessel,” which is tracked by personnel in command operation centers of the participating nations who are working to improve their monitoring and information-sharing capabilities.

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In May, the monthly membership meeting at the MM&P New York/New Jersey Hall will take place on the third Wednesday of the month, May 20, instead of on the second Wednesday of the month. All members in the area are encouraged to attend the meeting. The hall is located at 35 Journal Square, Suite 912, Jersey City, NJ 07306-4103.

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The Offshore Familiarization Course will be held at the MM&P New York/New Jersey Hall on May 19 and 20. The class begins at 0900 hours on May 19. 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. If you are interested in participating, please contact Ana Victorio in the MM&P New York/New Jersey, or 201-963-1900.

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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 – 8/17/15, 10/12/15

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: 6/19/15, 7/13/15

ARPA-OIC – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 8/4/15, 9/22/15

AZIPOD 2-Day – 10/1/15

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 5/18/15, 8/3/15, 10/19/15

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 6/17/15, 7/16/15, 11/9/15

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling: 9/28/15

BT – Basic Safety Training: 6/8/15, 8/10/15, 10/5/15

BT-Revalidation – 8/4/15, 11/3/15

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 10/26/15

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

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

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 6/15/15, 7/27/15, 9/28/15

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 6/1/15, 8/3/15, 10/19/15

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 10/5/15

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 6/8/15, 8/17/15, 11/2/15, 12/7/15

LMS – Leadership and Managerial Skills (Management Level – Formerly MCL-CMM): 5/11/15, 6/22/15, 7/13/15, 8/10/15,8/31/15, 9/28/15, 10/26/15, 11/16/15, 11/30/15

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants: 11/16/15

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management (2 weeks): 9/14/15

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 5/4/15, 6/1/15, 7/13/15, 8/10/15, 8/24/15, 10/5/15, 11/9/15, 11/30/15

SHS-ADV-II-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 5/11/15, 6/8/15, 7/20/15, 8/17/15, 8/31/15, 10/12/15, 11/16/15, 12/7/15

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: Contact Admissions

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 5/11/15, 11/9/15

CNAV-OIC – Celestial Navigation: 11/9/15

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: Contact Admissions

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications: 7/9/15

DDE – Great Lakes: 5/27/15

DPA – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-OIC – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-Pilots – 6/15/15, 7/14/15, 11/12/15

ERM – Engine Resource Management: 5/4/15, 6/15/15, 7/20/15, 8/24/15, 9/21/15, 10/19/15, 11/9/15, 12/14/15

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 8/10/15, 10/5/15

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications: 7/6/15, 9/15/15, 11/11/15

GL Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization: Contact Admissions

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 8/24/15

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 6/22/15, 8/31/15, 11/16/15

LAP- 9/14/15

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

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross
Ton License: 6/1/15, 8/3/15, 11/30/15

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 6/17/15, 7/16/15, 9/16/15, 11/10/15

LNG-TPIC – 12/7/15

LTS –Leadership and Teamworking Skills (Formerly MCL-OIC): 9/21/15

MEECE – Management of Electrical and Electronic Control: 6/8/15, 7/6/15, 8/17/15, 9/14/15, 10/12/15, 11/2/15, 12/7/15

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 6/15/15, 8/24/15, 12/7/15

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 7/27/15, 9/28/15

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 6/15/15, 8/24/15, 10/12/15, 12/7/15

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 6/20/15, 7/25/15, 8/28/15, 11/5/15, 12/12/15

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: Contact Admissions

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 6/5/15, 8/19/15, 10/29/15

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 6/2/15, 8/17/15, 10/27/15

*MSC-ENVPRO – 6/6/15, 8/16/15, 10/31/15

*MSC-FF-HELO – 6/9/15, 8/3/15, 11/2/15

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 5/26/15, 8/8/15, 10/19/15

*MSC-Security Watch Basic – 5/30/15, 8/6/15, 10/17/15

*MSC-Security Watch Advanced –6/1/15, 8/12/15, 10/23/15

*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force – 6/2/15, 8/13/15, 10/24/15

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 8/3/15, 9/21/15

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 5/6/15, 5/13/15, 6/3/15, 6/10/15, 6/17/15, 7/8/15, 7/22/15, 8/5/15, 8/19/15, 9/2/15, 9/16/15, 9/30/15, 10/14/15, 10/28/15, 11/3/15, 11/11/15, 11/18/15, 12/2/15, 12/10/15

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 6/1/15, 7/27/15

SAR-OIC – Search & Rescue – 10/19/15

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling: 5/11/15, 6/22/15, 11/2/15

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day: 7/27/15, 9/28/15

SMS – Contact Admissions

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 8/3/15

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 7/6/15

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: 8/3/15

TRAC-TUG-2: Contact Admissions

TTT – Contact Admissions

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: 5/21/15

VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 5/18/15, 7/22/15, 9/9/15, 10/7/15, 10/17/15

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level): 9/28/15

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

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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 2015

4-8 Train the Trainer
4-8 Leadership and Managerial Skills
4-15 GMDSS
11-15 Leadership and Managerial Skills
11-15 Medical Care Provider
18-22 Leadership and Managerial Skills
26th Radar Renewal
27-29 Bridge Resource Management and Emergency Shiphandling for Pilots

June 2015

1-3 Security – Vessel, Company, and Facility
1-5 Medical Care Provider
1-12 Medical Person-In-Charge
8-12 Leadership and Managerial Skills
15-19 ECDIS
15-19 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
22-26 Leadership and Managerial Skills
22-26 Basic Meteorology
29-3 Leadership and Managerial Skills

July 2015

6-24 Terrestrial and Coastal Navigation
13-17 Leadership and Managerial Skills
13-24 GMDSS
20-23 ARPA
27-31 Radar Observer Unlimited

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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 new subscriptions or address changes, send an e-mail to Back issues of The Weekly are posted on