Wheelhouse Weekly – April 06, 2001

April 6th 2001


Bridging the Information Gap With E-News You Can Use

Volume 5. . . . . Number 14. . . April 6, 2001




The following items highlight recent changes and improvements to the MM&P Health and Benefit Plans as presented by Plans Administrator Valerie Verrecchio to attendees of the Union training seminar held last week.


Increase in Allowable 401K Contribution for Offshore, Seagoing Members

The Board of Trustees has approved raising the voluntary IRAP/401K contribution from 15 to 20 percent effective Jan. 1, 2001 for Offshore members with sea time. This increase does not apply to administrative personnel or CNW members. If you meet this qualification and want to change your voluntary contribution to 20 percent, the Plan office is in the process of printing new election forms. In the meantime, you can use the existing forms by simply crossing out the 15 percent category and filling in 20 percent.

New Investment Option for 401K Participants

Following a review by the Investment Advisor, the Board of Trustees has approved the addition of the Domini Social Equity Fund as a new investment option for participants in the 401K portion of the IRAP Plan effective April 1, 2001. The fund includes investments in companies with positive records in community involvement, the environment, employee relations and hiring practices. It avoids companies with revenues from alcohol, tobacco, nuclear power and gambling. Fidelity has notified the Plan Office that they will be mailing information on this fund shortly. Please contact Fidelity Investments at 1-800-835-5091 or online at for further info.


Elimination of the pre-existing clause

Effective 1/01/01, the Board of Trustees authorized the Plan to eliminate the pre-existing clause for medical and dental benefits.

Medicare Part B Reimbursement

Effective 1/01/01, the Board of Trustees authorized the Plan to reimburse co-pay pensioners for the cost of the Medicare Part B premium (currently $50 per month) who meet the following conditions:

  • Are eligible to and have opted for the Medicare Part B benefit a gross pension amount of $2000 or less 20 years of pension credit (receiving a regular pension) or totally disabled with 10 years of pension credit (receiving a disability pension).
  • The Board of Trustees approved this reimbursement for the year 2001 with the understanding that this reimbursement is subject to approval and possible extension each year. Reimbursement will be made on a quarterly basis. A check for the premium period January 1 through March 31, 2001 will be mailed to you during the month of April 2001.
  • If you feel that you qualify for this reimbursement and have not been notified by mail by the Plan Office by the time you read this article, please contact a Benefit Advisor at 410-850-8500.
Discounted Contraceptives

The Board of Trustees, at the most recent Board meeting, authorized the Plan Office to negotiate a discounted rate for contraceptives for members and their spouses. Effective 4/1/01, members who present their NMHCS card at network pharmacies will receive a discounted price on birth control pills. Members and spouses who go online at will enjoy even greater discounts.

Ceridian Life Balance Program

Don’t forget about the benefits of the LifeBalance Program which is provided to Plan members and their families through Ceridian. LifeBalance is an employee assistance program that provides support, consultation and referral to help members manage the demands of work and life. LifeBalance can assist you and your family 24 hours a day with matters such as relationship issues, financial concerns, elder care issues, dealing with addictions or resolving a legal issue. You can access LifeBalance by calling 1-800-811-2849. Your call will be answered by a Master’s level consultant who can listen to your concerns and help you sort through options. This program is absolutely free to the members and their families.

A comprehensive report of all actions taken by the Board of Trustees at the February meetings will be included in the next issue of the MM&P Master, Mate & Pilot newspaper.


Members can now Email the Plan office at the following addresses:

Plan Office (General):

Valerie Verrecchio, Administrator:

Howard Goldberg, Controller:

Effective April 15, Email addresses for the following Plan staff members are scheduled to become operational:

Patrick McCullough, Deputy Director:

Ken Ryan, Director, Pension, IRAP, Trust:

Ann Marie McCullough, Director, Health and Benefits:


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


Richard Plant, MM&P Director of Special Projects has provided the following info regarding the point of contact for acquiring a Certificate of Equivalent Competency (CEC) for a UK license. A UK license is required for the MM&P-contracted WAVE SENTINEL. Those interested can contact the UK office via the following Email, phone or international mail address.


  • 011-0141-242-2099 for Isabel Fischer at Glasgow
  • 011-44-2380-329231 for Maritime Coastguard Agency, Southhampton, England
  • 011-44-2380-329100 for info on the exam content listed below



Scottish Qualifications Authority Hanover House 24 Douglas Street Glasgow G2 7NQ.

The exams for the CEC which SQA administers on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency consist of the following:

  • UK Legal & Administrative Processes (written) Grade 1 (duration 2.5 hours) £50
  • UK Legal & Administrative Processes (written) Grade 2 (duration 2.0 hours) £40
  • English Language Oral Test (duration 1.0 hour) £50
    (Most likely not required when providing a copy of a US License)

Grade 1

Master merchant navy 70% pass mark required

Grade 2

Deck officer and engineer officer merchant navy 70% pass mark required.

Reference Books for exams, if required to be taken

The Shipmasters Business Companion by Malcolm Maclachlan. Please check requirement with the SQA. Available from:

The Nautical Institute 202 Lambeth Road London SE1 7LQ England   Voice: 011-44-207-928-1351 Fax: 011-44-207-401-2817 Email:

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


The Journal of Commerce reported in its Wednesday edition that the proposed transfer of the Maritime Security Program (MSP) from the Maritime Administration to the Defense Department (DOD) is “a done deal.” Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta made the statement about the MSP in a press conference following his first testimony before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Mineta is a former House member.

As reported previously in the Wheelhouse Weekly, President Bush proposed transferring the program in an outline of his budget request for upcoming fiscal year, but some believed there would be resistance to the idea in Congress. Under the MSP program, 47 vessels receive $2.1 million per ship, per year to remain under the US-flag and be available in a national emergency. The program expires in 2005 and there are reports that there will likely be opposition to its renewal.

International President Capt. Tim Brown has voiced the MM&P’s displeasure with the proposed move of the MSP from MARAD to the DOD, joining with those who have expressed concern that the program is best administered by MARAD, whose mission it is to promote the US-flag merchant marine. The agency would be expected to strongly fight for the program’s renewal.

Others, however, have remarked that the Pentagon would not necessarily be an inhospitable home for MSP because the Defense Department in coming years will be looking for any possible way to save money, and MSP might provide an opportunity for inexpensive sealift.

Mineta also offered a written response to other US-flag maritime policy issues raised by the committee. He said he hopes to bolster the strength and effectiveness of the US-flag maritime industry in order to stay competitive in the 21st Century global economy. “While it is necessary to continue to support key elements of the US-flag commercial fleet, such as the Jones Act and the Maritime Security Program, this Administration will also vigorously pursue negotiations aimed at ending international practices that disadvantage US companies.”

He also said that “the reservation of US Government cargoes to US-flag vessels is critical to retaining a US-flag merchant marine in foreign trade. The US carriers rely on such shipments to form a cargo base which allows US-flag ships to compete more effectively and obtain commercial cargoes moving in international trade to fill up the ships.”

Mineta told the committee that “the administration will press foreign governments to eliminate practices which distort the operation of a free marketplace for shipping services and remove restrictions and barriers on US companies so that they can compete fairly in the world market.”

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


The search for crewmen missing in what is believed to be Alaska’s worst fishing disaster was hampered by bad weather and poor visibility in the Bering Sea on Tuesday, the USCG said.

Two crew members, including the captain, were found dead and 13 were missing from the ARCTIC ROSE, a vessel that sank Monday in an area about 200 miles northwest of Alaska’s St. Paul Island, 850 southwest of Anchorage.

The USCG has been using an ice-breaking vessel and aircraft to search the area, but has sighted nothing since finding some empty survival suits, an empty life raft and an oil sheen on Monday.

Winds in the area were reported at 40 knots and seas were at 20 to 25 ft., the Coast Guard said. ALASKAN ROSE, sistership of ARCTIC ROSE, had been helping in the search but had to leave the area for safety because of ice building up on it.

The 92-ft. vessel, a freezer-longliner that harvests fish on hooks attached to long lines, was harvesting rock sole when it sent out an emergency signal early Monday morning.

The bodies of two crew members reportedly were spotted Monday by the ALASKAN ROSE, but only one was recovered. The Coast Guard identified the body as the ship’s captain, David Rundall, of Hawaii. If all 15 crewmen are dead, this would be the worst Alaska fishing disaster on record. Aside from the captain, the ARCTIC ROSE crewmen were from Washington State, Montana and Minnesota and ranged from 19 to 50 years of age.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


Openings in classes through the end of June follow:

  • 4/16-19: SMA
  • 4/21-22: MSC-DC
  • 4/23-27: BST; 5/7-11: BST
  • 5/14-18: TPIC, EINS
  • 5/14-17: SMA
  • 5/21-25: DCS, FF-ADV, BST
  • 6/4-8: BRM-3, WX-HWA, BST
  • 6/11-15: COMP-MAR
  • 6/11-14: SMA
  • 6/18-22: BST, COMP-NET, FF-ADV
  • 6/25-29: ARPA, BST
MSC Classes

The next Damage Control class at MITAGS will be weekend of April 21-22. With Small Arms beginning on April 16, this is an opportunity to get Small Arms and Damage Control back to back. To sign-up for MSC courses contact Mike Wein at 443-989-3238 or Email

Schedule through Dec. 2001 is being maintained on the website. Hard copy schedule updates are also provided to the halls. Check the MITAGS website at: for up-to-date info. For additional course info, contact Mary Matlock at voice: 443-989-3226 or Email:

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


The Pacific Northwest Maritime Institute has updated their blind pilotage labaratory. Students are now placed in a blind pilotage environment utilizing four seperate ownships each with the Navisailor 2400 ECDIS and ARPA Display. The school currently utilizes the Furuno 2110, Furuno 2800, Raytheon Mk34, Sperry Rascar, and the Decca Bridgemaster Arpa Displays.

Course openings are as follows:

  • BRM: 4/9-11
  • ARPA: 4/23-27
  • BRM: 4/23-25
  • ECDIS: 4/30-5/4
    • (Note: Currently the ECDIS course satisfies the EINS Requirements.)

For more info on their new ECDIS Course or the PNMI, please visit their website at

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 D O W

 N A S D A Q


+118.99 for the week 


 -35.37 for the week 

 Vanguard 500 Index Fund


+0.34 for the week

 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund 


-0.09 for the week

 Vanguard International Growth Fund


+0.43  for the week

 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund


-0.04 for the week

 Vanguard Windsor II Fund


+0.19 for the week

 Vanguard GNMA Fund


+0.02 for the week

 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)


+0.09  for the week

 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)


+0.02 for the week

 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)


+0.19 for the week

Fidelity Magellan Fund (FAGX)


+0.44 for the week

 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)


 +0.13  for the week

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly

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: For further info contact John Peige at The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea, broadcast worldwide via FEC marine telex andis posted on our web page under “News” at:

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