News

Wheelhouse Weekly – April 14, 2006

April 14th 2006

 

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

Volume 10 . . . . . Number 15. . . . April 14, 2006

STORIES COVERED

REMINDERS

T-AGS Oceanographic Survey Ships Info

Required Coursework

Security Clearances

MSC Physicals

MM&P Health & Benefit Plan News

Notice to Members who are taking Vioxx

NMHC Mail-Order Prescriptions Website Updated & Improved

WWII USCG Veterans Outreach

Company Gives Bucks Back for buying Safe Shoes

Website Offers Union-Made Goods and Services




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





 

MM&P-CONTRACTED HORIZON FINALIZES DEAL FOR FIVE NEW VESSELS

MM&P-contracted Horizon Lines has closed the definitive long-term charters and related agreements with Ship Finance International Limited to lease five newly built, US-flag container vessels. The subsidiaries of Ship Finance will acquire the vessels from third parties for a sum of approximately $280 million.

The five sister vessels will be crewed by MM&P Licensed Deck Officers and are being built at the Hyundai Mipo shipyard in South Korea. Delivery is scheduled over the course of a five-month period commencing at the beginning of 2007. The vessels have a capacity of 2,824 TEUs and are capable of a service speed of 23 knots. Horizon will operate the vessels in its expanded TP1 service from the US West Coast to Guam and Asia.

The term of each bareboat charter will be 12 years with a 3-year renewal option on the part of Horizon, which will have the option to buy the vessels after 5, 8, 12 and 15 years.

Chuck Raymond, President and CEO of Horizon Lines said, “The addition of these five new vessels commences our long-term vessel replacement strategy in a very cost effective and capital efficient manner. This transaction will benefit our customers, partners and shareholders, while reducing the age of our operated fleet to one of the lowest in the markets we serve. We look forward to our mutually beneficial relationship with Ship Finance International Limited.”




 

CONGRESS AUTHORIZES $8.7 BILLION FOR USCG THIS YEAR

Lawmakers have agreed on a law authorizing $8.7 billion in spending by the US Coast Guard for this year. The bill, HR 889, the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2006, was approved by a House-Senate conference committee last week. The bill’s sponsors say that the law includes provisions that will increase the USCG’s ability to provide homeland security, drug and migrant interdiction, search and rescue, and fisheries enforcement missions.

Don Young, (R-AK), said, “This agreement provides the good men and women of the Coast Guard, who performed so well in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, with the resources to carry out their vital missions.” Young is the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman, and also chaired the conference committee.

The USCG’s Integrated Deepwater Systems Program also received a funding level of $1.6 billion to replace or modernize its ships and aircraft. The bill also contains provisions designed to help promote the transportation of liquefied natural gas on US vessels, rather than on foreign-flagged ships.

 


US PORTS REMAIN UNDER FUNDED TO PROVIDE MARITIME SECURITY

The political firestorm that erupted over whether a United Arab Emirates company, Dubai Port World, should be permitted to manage six US ports, has highlighted the relatively small dollar amounts that have been allocated to provide for port security in this country. Although the Administration’s 2007 federal budget includes $65.6 billion for transportation, with $258 million designated for the US Maritime Administration (MARAD), the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) says that amount is not enough.

With virtually 99 percent of US overseas cargo passing through US ports annually, security and deep-draft channel maintenance shortfalls could seriously hamper port operations. The ripple effect through the US economy, in the event of a catastrophic terrorism event or operational casualty, would be significant. The AAPA notes that, “The federal share of the seaport facility security funding partnership needs to be increased.”

In the five rounds of funding since 2002, $708 million of much-needed funding has been distributed to US ports, but this is than 25 percent of what the ports said they needed for security. The USCG has estimated that port facilities needed $5.4 billion over a 10-year period to comply with new regulations in accordance with the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002.

The Army Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works program, which is responsible for maintaining federal navigation channels, also remains under-funded and would require $750 million from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, according to the AAPA. The budget calls for $707 million and, while that is up $33 million over last year, it is less than the $750 million needed for navigation channel maintenance.

 


REP. FOSSELLA CALLS FOR END TO COAST GUARD/FBI TURF BATTLE

Congressman Vito Fossella (R-NY) has called on two federal agencies to resolve an ongoing dispute over who would serve as the lead responder in the event of a terrorist attack in US waterways. Fossella said a turf battle between the USCG and the FBI, as reported in last week’s Wheelhouse Weekly, could hamper the federal response to a terrorist attack aboard passenger and cargo vessels.

In letters to Secretary Michael Chertoff, Department of Homeland Security, and US Attorney General Alberto
Gonzalez, Fossella urged the agencies to establish regulations that delineate each other’s responsibilities in the event of a terrorist attack, including who serves as the lead responder.

In part, Fossella wrote that, “Our nation must be fully prepared to respond to a terrorist threat at a moments notice. It is essential that the agencies come to a resolution that would establish who will serve as lead responder during an attack. The establishment of clear jurisdictional lines of responsibility would ensure that not a moment is sacrificed or lost in the event of an attack.”


AGENCIES TEST NY/NJ PORT SECURITY PLANS

Agencies from New York and New Jersey and numerous local municipalities worked through tabletop security exercises earlier this month with the USCG and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the latest round of Port Security Training Exercises Program (PortSTEP). The exercise was geared at reviewing and updating the Area Maritime Security Plans in addition to supporting other members of the maritime transport community that depend upon the port being secure. PortSTEP exercises are being conducted at 40 major US ports.


JAMIAN’S LEAVING MARAD MAKES WAY FOR NELSON TO ASSUME POST

As first reported in last week’s Wheelhouse Weekly, John Jamian, acting head of the US Maritime Administration (MARAD), will be leaving the position in several weeks to return home to Michigan. MARAD’s Chief Counsel, Julie Nelson, will assume the helm until another nominee can be confirmed.

A maritime industry reception has been set up in appreciation of Jamian who has been in command since Capt. William Schubert stepped down from MARAD in February 2005. The reception will take place on April 26th in Room 1334 of the Longworth House Office Building from 1730 to 1930 hrs. Contact 202-661-3868 for further info.


SMOOTH PEAK SEASON PREDICTED FOR CONTAINER IMPORTS

The National Retail Federation (NRF) is forecasting that the forthcoming US peak season for container imports will be even less congested than the trouble-free 2005 period. With the slow season now nearing its end, the NRF/Global Insight ‘Port Tracker’ survey released last week said that despite continuing concerns about rail and truck capacity, the 2006 peak season should be marked by higher volumes year-on-year but “little or no network congestion”.

Seattle/Tacoma should not see the same volume gains as last year, with market share stabilized following carrier service changes in reaction to the 2004 LA/Long Beach congestion crisis. East Coast ports including New York/New Jersey and Hampton Roads, Virginia should see double-digit volume gains, but within system limits.


NOT-SO-SMOOTH SEASON PREDICTED FOR ATLANTIC HURRICANES

A team of veteran storm forecasters has predicted that the 2006 hurricane season will be unusually busy. While it is not expected to be as ferocious as last year, when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, the forecast team said it expects 17 named storms to form in the Atlantic basin during the six-month season starting in June.

Nine of the storms will probably strengthen into hurricanes, with winds of at least 74 mph. The forecasters said five of the hurricanes are likely to be major storms, reaching at least Category 3 status with winds of at least 111 mph.

The forecast team said there is less chance of major storms making landfall in the US compared with the record-breaking 2005 season. The long-term statistical average is about 10 named storms per season, of which six become hurricanes. Last season — which, at $80 billion, was the costliest on record in terms of damage — saw 27 named storms, of which 15 developed into hurricanes.

In addition to Katrina, Hurricane Rita hammered Texas and Hurricane Wilma briefly became the most intense Atlantic hurricane ever observed before hitting the Mexican resort of Cancun and then curving back over South Florida, where it caused $10 billion in damage.


FOREIGN-FLAG CHIEF ENGINEER SENTENCED FOR MAGIC PIPE SCHEME

The chief engineer of the foreign-flagged containership MSC ELENA was sentenced to two months in jail last week for his role in orchestrating an oil-dumping scheme aboard his vessel. The 58-year-old Indian national will also have to pay a $3,000 fine and $500 in fees, according to a statement from federal prosecutors in Boston. In sentencing the defendant, US District Judge Patti Saris said the term was “poetic justice” because it corresponded to the period in which the defendant supervised the dumping of tons of sludge from the vessel.

The alien C/E, who pleaded guilty in early January to charges of conspiracy, obstruction, destruction of evidence, false statements and violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, could have faced up to 20 years imprisonment if given maximum penalties. The case dates back to May 2005 when the Panama-flagged containership was subjected to a port state inspection during a call at Boston where USCG officers found a “magic pipe” installed to bypass the oily water separator. MSC Ship Management has already agreed to pay a $10.5M fine in connection with the incident.


ANOTHER EXXON VALDEZ HEARING HELD

Over a decade-and-a-half after the EXXON VALDEZ tanker grounded in Prince William Sound, oil residues remain in the water and on the minds of Alaskans affected by the landmark event. Recent media reports say local residents remain resentful and that a series of state hearings on the continued effects of the 11-million-gallon spill have done nothing but fuel the emotions of Alaska’s taxpayers.

For their part, Exxon Mobil maintains that the company has paid the compensation it owes, and that Prince William Sound has been shown to be healthy, robust, and thriving. Testimony given earlier this month by fishermen, Native leaders, conservationists and academics, however, supported potential government efforts to seek additional damages of up to $100 million for unexpected effects of the spill.

At least two more hearings are scheduled, during which state officials will decide whether to file a claim for additional damages from the operator of the EXXON VALDEZ. Potential uses for additional funds, according to those who testified, include research and restoration efforts to additional assistance to those who claim that their way of life has been destroyed.

The 1991 civil settlement stipulated that Exxon pay $900 million over a 10-year period, ended in 2001. An obscure provision also allowed a window from 2002 to 2006, during which both the state and federal governments could claim up to an additional $100 million. That is separate from an unresolved punitive damage judgment of $4.5 billion that the company has not paid.

Assessments of damages and lingering affects of the spill estimate that as much as six miles of the sound’s shoreline is still affected by the spill, and that as much as 100 tons of EXXON VALDEZ oil remains in the sound. An undetermined amount may linger beyond the sound. The reopener provision expires Sept. 1, and the state and federal governments must file a claim 90 days before that date.


TRAINING REMINDER FOR MEMBERS WHO SAIL ON HORIZON VESSELS

Rich May, MM&P’s Vice President for Atlantic Ports, has posted the following reminder regarding training requirements for members who sail on MM&P-contracted Horizon Line vessels:

“The current Collective Bargaining Agreement completed between MM&P and Horizon Lines in June 2004 contained major modifications to Section X. TRAINING. Certain courses must be completed by prescribed dates in accordance with the Agreement. Many course titles have changed and they will be granted equivalencies of credit to courses previously offered. Others are very new in content and have no equivalent in previously offered courses.

Of note is the Emergency Ship Handling course (SHS-EMR) that must be taken by Masters by December 31, 2006. Basic Ship handling (5 days) will be required by all rotary Second Mates by the same date. All Chief Mates must also complete the 5-day HAZMAT course by December 31, 2006.

All permanent employees, prospective employees, and rotary mates should plan to have the necessary courses by the required date. Early reservations should be made with MITAGS due to the fact that several of the courses require simulator time that is limited. It may be difficult to complete the courses in time if members wait to the last minute and try to secure a place in a class that has already been filled.

The following list contains the courses that are currently required which have replaced the previous courses in their entirety:

MASTER
HAZMAT (evening seminar)**
MED-PIC (10 days once every 5 years)
WX
Emergency Ship Handling (SHS-EMR)
Ship Security Officer (SSO)

CHIEF MATE
HAZMAT (5) DAY
MED-PIC (10 DAYS ONCE EVERY 5 YEARS)
Watch Keeping (CMM-WKP)*
Ship Management (CMM-SHMGT-week 1)*
Ship handling Intermediate 1&2 (CMM-SHS-ADV I & CMM-SHS- ADV II-total 10 days)
DCS (Diesel ships only)
Ship Security Officer (SSO)

SECOND MATE
HAZMAT (evening seminar)**
Basic Ship handling (5 days)
DCS (Diesel Ships Only)
Ship Security Officer

THIRD MATE
HAZMAT (evening seminar)**
DCS (Diesel Ships only)
Ship Security Officer (SSO)
*Required for all new permanent Chief Mates after June 2004
** Required once every 3 years per CFR.

For more info or questions on the Horizon training requirements, contact Rich May by email at rmay@bridgedeck.org or call the NY/NJ Hall at 201-963-1900.


MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

CLASS OPENINGS: Between January and the end of June 2006, seats are available in the following courses:


AIS – Automated Identification Systems: 5/5
ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 5/1, 6/5
AZIPOD-2 – Two-Day Azipod Steering and Propulsion: 6/5

BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 5/15, 6/12
BST – Basic Safety Training: 4/24, 5/22, 6/26

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 1): 6/12
CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 6/19
*WX-BASREF-2 – Two day Basic weather refresher, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED PREP for Advanced Meteorology: 6/22
CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 5/22, 6/26
CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display and Info Systems: 5/15
CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 6/26
CMM-SHMGT – Ship Management I (week 1): 4/24, 6/19
CMM-SHMGT – Ship Management II (week 2): 5/15, 6/12
CMM-SHS-ADV-II – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 5/29
CMM-VPEN – Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 5/1, 5/8, 6/5
CMM-WKP – Watchkeeping: 6/5

COMP-OPSYS – Basic Computer Operating Systems: 6/26
CONT-PLNG – Contingency Planning: 6/9
CSE-AASE – Confined Space Entry: 5/15

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 4/24, 5/22, 6/26

HAZ-Hazardous Materials (5-day): 5/1, 6/12

MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 5/4, 6/8
MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 4/22, 5/13, 6/10, 6/24
MED-PIC – Medical Person-In-Charge: 5/8, 6/5, 6/19
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 5/8, 6/5, 6/19


[MSC – Military Sealift Command]
MSC-CBRD-1 (Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Orientation): 5/10, 6/19
MSC-DC (Damage Control): 5/11, 6/20
MSC-SMA – Small Arms (4-day): 5/15, 6/19
MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 4/28, 5/19, 6/23 (must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years)

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal (5-day): 5/22
ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 5/1, 5/15, 6/5, 6/21

SEC-OFF-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 5/1, 6/5
SHS-EMR – Emergency Shiphandling: 6/26


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

Spring – Summer 2006

April 2006

4/10-14 ECDIS
4/10-14 Radar Observer Unlimited
4/10-14 AB
4/10-21 GMDSS
4/17-21 ARPA
4/17 Radar Renew
4/17-21 Basic Shiphandling
4/24-5/5 Watchkeeping (BRM Inc.)

May 2006
5/1-3 BRM
5/1-5 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
5/2-5 Survival Craft (Lifeboatman)
5/8-12 Basic Shiphandling
5/8-12 BST
5/8-12 AB
5/8-19 GMDSS
5/8-20 100 Ton OUPV
5/15-19 MEDPRO
5/15-26 MEDPIC
5/22 Flashing Light

June 2006
6/5-9 ECDIS
6/5-9 ARPA
6/5-9 BST
6/6-9 Survival Craft (Lifeboatman)
6/5-23 TCNAV/CO
6/19-23 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
6/19-30 GMDSS
6/26-30 Radar Observer Unlimited
6/26-30 Basic Shiphandling

August 2006
31 Jul-4 Aug Basic Shiphandling
7-11 ECDIS
7-11 Basic Safety Training
7-11 Meteorology – Basic
8-11 Survival Craft / Lifeboatman
14-18 Able Bodied Seaman
14-18 Basic and Advanced Firefighting
14-25 GMDSS
14-25 Shiphandling – Advanced
21-25 Ship Construction & Basic Stability
21-25 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
28-1 Sep Cargo Handling & Stowage – Basic

September 2006
5-9 (tu-sa) Medical Care Provider
5-9 (tu-sa) Emergency Shiphandling 5-day
5-15 Medical Person-In-Charge
11-12 Search and Rescue
11-15 Basic Safety Training
11-23 100 Ton OUPV
12-15 Survival Craft / Lifeboatman
13-15 Emergency Procedures
18-22 Radar Observer Unlimited
18-22 Shiphandling – Basic
18-22 Able Bodied Seaman
18-6 Oct Terrestrial & Coastal Navigation with Compasses
25th Radar Recertification
25-29 ARPA
25-2 Oct Watchkeeping & BRM

For registration call Jennifer Fowler 888-893-7829

PMI MERCHANDISE FOR SALE!!!

High quality with embroidered PMI logo.
Navy or Khaki Hats : $16 / includes tax
———————————-
Button Down Long Sleeve Dress Shirts
Blue or Khaki: $38 / includes tax
———————————-
Pocket t-shirts with Logo: $12 / includes tax
————————————
15oz. Cobalt Blue Ceramic Mug: $8 / includes tax

Call DeeDee Lazik 206-838-8328 or e-mail dlazik@mates.org.


MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 4-13

 

 D O W  N A S D A Q  S & P 500
11,137.65 -78.85 for the week 2,326.11 -41.06 for the week 1,289.12 +1.87 for the week

 

Fund Name & Trading Symbol
Closing
Price
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
118.79
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
35.05
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
23.27
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
18.62
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
32.52
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
10.08
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX)
6.14
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
9.79
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
20.05
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
16.26
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
35.54
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
112.55
 Fidelity Small Company Instl (FMACX)
21.86
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
80.20
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX) 45.64
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
30.74

 






~ 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.