Wheelhouse Weekly – April 16, 2013

April 16th 2013


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

Volume 17 . . . Number 16. . . April 16, 2013

(Look in the archives for this weeks Special Edition.)



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


Members of the International Longshoremen’s Association have overwhelmingly approved a new six-year master contract. The contract covers about 14,500 ILA members in 14 Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports. Approval of the contract ends more than a year of negotiations between the union and employers represented by the U.S. Maritime Alliance (USMX).  Along with the master contract, local agreements at most ports along the Atlantic and Gulf Coast, including one with the New York Shipping Association, have also been ratified. Negotiations are continuing in the ports of Baltimore, Philadelphia and Hampton Roads. An ILA spokesperson says those agreements are expected to be completed this week.


Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings will be honored at the Propeller Club’s annual Salute to Congress, which will be held May 7 at the Army Navy Club in Arlington, Va. For more than a quarter century, members of the Propeller Club have recognized national legislators who have demonstrated consistent support for the maritime industry and the U.S.-flag Merchant Marine. The Propeller Club is a non-profit dedicated to the promotion of the maritime industry, commerce and global trade. 

“It’s an honor to recognize Representative Elijah Cummings,” said Propeller Club President Sonny Smith in an official statement. “We look forward to the opportunity to thank him for his support for the maritime sector of the U.S. economy through his service on the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation and his commitment to the education of the next generation of mariners.”

More than 300 guests are expected to attend the ceremony. They will include maritime labor leaders, military officials and representatives of government agencies. Past recipients of the award include then-Speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, the first honoree in 1985, and then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott in 1997. Recent honorees include Sen. David Vitter, Rep. Ike Skelton and, last year, Rep. Norm Dicks.


Maritime communications service provider Globe Wireless has informed MM&P that on June 1 it will discontinue its “Shore Account Service,” which allows shore-side organizations to send e-mail to third-party ships.

The change in service could affect delivery to your ship of The Wheelhouse Weekly and communications from MM&P International Headquarters and MM&P Vice Presidents. If your ship receives communication via HF radio on Globe-email (not through a company e-mail address), please advise us of the new company-supplied address to use for the Weekly by sending an e-mail to

Globe Wireless explained the reasons for the new service policy in a letter to MM&P, which reads in part: “In the last three years, we are seeing broadband solutions being implemented on board ships which have drastically reduced the cost of data transmissions. Ten years ago the cost to send 1 MB to a ship was around $100. Today that is significantly reduced to a few dollars. Now more and more ship-owners are installing flat fee internet services reducing the cost per MB even further. An increasing amount of shipping companies are therefore allowing third parties to send e-mail to their ship at their expense… This has eroded the economic feasibility of maintaining Shore Account service levels.”


Italy has issued the preliminary recommendations arising from its investigation into last year’s grounding of the cruise ship COSTA CONCORDIA. For new ships, the recommendations include double-hull protection of water-tight compartments that contain equipment vital for propulsion and power generation. Five watertight compartments were immediately flooded when the COSTA CONCORDIA struck a reef off the island of Giglio on Jan. 13 of last year.  The recommendations are contained in a report submitted to the International Maritime Organization’s Maritime Safety Committee on March 18.

Accident investigators in Italy noted that some of their recommendations for new buildings or existing ships are already addressed by various amendments to the SOLAS Convention. But they pointed out that although adoption of the recommendations “may permit an improvement in the ship’s survivability… (it) may not be sufficient to render the ship unsinkable when more than two watertight compartments are flooded.”

The recommendations include installation of a computerized stability support system for use by the master in case of flooding and an interface between the flooding detection and monitoring system and the on-board stability computer.

For newbuilds, the recommendations include “discontinuity between compartments containing ship’s essential systems to preserve their functional integrity,” detailed criteria for the distribution along the length of the ship of bilge pumps and the requirement that “at least one pump have the capacity to drain huge quantities of water…”  Other recommendations include increasing emergency generator capacity and installing emergency lights in all cabins that call attention to the location of life jackets.

In related news, a court in Italy convened on April 15 to decide whether to indict the captain and some members of the crew of the COSTA CONCORDIA, which was carrying 4,200 people when the accident took place. Prosecutors want Capt. Francesco Schettino to stand trial for alleged manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship. They want four other crew members and a Costa manager on land to face charges for mishandling the accident.


President Obama announced on April 9 his intent to nominate three people to the National Labor Relations Board: Mark Gaston Pearce, Harry I. Johnson III and Philip A. Miscimarra. “I am pleased to nominate these individuals to serve on the National Labor Relations Board,” the President said in an official statement. “By enforcing workplace protections, upholding the rights of workers and providing a stable workplace environment for businesses, the NLRB plays a vital role in our efforts to grow the economy and strengthen the middle class.” With these nominations, there will be five nominees to the NLRB, both Republicans and Democrats, awaiting Senate confirmation.             

Pearce is the President’s pick to be chairman of the Board, a position he has held since August 2011. He has served as a member of the NLRB since March 2010. Johnson and Miscimarra are both labor and employment attorneys. 

AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka said the nominations were an important step toward “restoring stability to our system of labor-management relations,” a reference to a recent D.C. Circuit Court decision which ruled invalid a number of Obama recess appointments, including those to the NLRB, threatening to nullify a number of key decisions. “For America’s workers, businesses and the promotion of healthy commerce, putting forward a full, bipartisan package of nominees to the NLRB is the right thing to do,” Trumka said.

Trumka said the group “includes individuals who have challenged recent actions by the NLRB and who have views on labor relations matters that we do not agree with, but working people need and deserve a functioning NLRB, and confirmation of a full package will provide that stability.” He urged the Senate to act quickly to approve the nominees.


Dockers at the Port of Vancouver in Washington, USA, have now been locked out for six weeks by their employer, Japanese conglomerate Mitsui-United Grain. The ITF sees this as an anti-union attack and an attempt to avoid negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) after the existing agreement expired.

“A Japanese conglomerate must not be allowed to destroy decades of prosperity for union workers and their families on the Columbia River,” said MM&P International President Don Marcus. “All MM&P members are urged to support the ILWU to the full extent permitted by law.”
The Vancouver dockers need your support now! Send a protest letter to Mitsui telling them to end the lockout and enter into dialogue over a new CBA by clicking here.


A strike by dockworkers at the port of Hong Kong, the world’s third busiest container port, is now in its third week. The striking workers have not had a pay raise in 15 years and are required to work 12-hour shifts, often in cramped quarters. They are demanding a 15-20 percent increase in pay, better working conditions and a safe working environment.

“Four and a half million transport workers around the world are united in their solidarity with the Union of Hong Kong Dockers and other workers in the port in the struggle for decent treatment and fair pay,” said Paddy Crumlin, president of the International Transport Workers Federation, who visited the striking workers last week. He criticized terminal operators for treating the dockworkers “only a little better than caged animals.”

In a country unused to labor protests, the strike has attracted a groundswell of public support: organizers say they have received the equivalent of almost half a million U.S. dollars in donations from members of the public and labor unions. Truck drivers who call at the port have staged a “sick out” to show their solidarity. Local supporters have launched a boycott of businesses owned by Li Ka-shing, who controls a 70-percent share of container traffic at the port. Li has corporate holdings that include the city’s biggest pharmacy, a major grocery chain, a large electronics retailer and Hong Kong’s largest mobile phone service carriers. He is said to be the eighth richest man in the world.

If the walk-out lasts until April 21, a total of 90 vessels will have bypassed the container terminals, according to operator Hong Kong International Terminals, which says it is losing almost $650,000 a day.


As reported in the April 9 issue of The Wheelhouse Weekly, Congress has directed the Coast Guard to seek public comment on its merchant mariner medical evaluation program. Your views on the current Coast Guard medical evaluation program and alternatives are important and should be communicated to the Coast Guard.

You may submit comments identified by docket number: USCG–2013–0089 using any of the following methods: 

— Federal eRulemaking Portal:;

— Fax: 202-493-2251;

— Mail: Docket Management Facility (M–30), U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue S.E., Washington, DC 20590–0001.

Background information on the areas in which comments are being sought was published in the April 9 issue of The Wheelhouse Weekly, which can be accessed on under the “News” button.

In meetings with the Coast Guard and in testimony before Congress, MM&P has repeatedly gone on record with objections to the current program. The union welcomes this long overdue assessment and the opportunity for mariners to participate in change by submitting public comments to the official docket.


Between now and the end of June, the following courses are scheduled at MITAGS. (Please keep in mind, however, that the schedule may be subject to change.)

For class availability or information on courses and programs, contact MITAGS Admissions Coordinator Kelly Michielli toll free at 866-656-5568 or e-mail her at

Or, try our on-line calendar to register for class:

BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 5/12/13

BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 5/23/13

BST – Basic Safety Training: 6/24/13

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 6/17/13

CMM-ADVNAV – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): 6/3/13

CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 4/28/13

CMM-CHS – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 5/6/13

CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 5/20/13

CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 5/6/13, 6/24/13

CMM-SHS-ADV-I I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 4/22/13, 5/13/13, 6/17/13

CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 6/24/13

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning: 5/9/13

ENVIRO-Regs Permit – Environmental Regulations Permit: 5/23/13

ECDIS-ENAV for Pilots (2 day): 6/13/13

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep and Medications: 5/23/13

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 6/24/13

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 6/24/13

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage:  5/23/13

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 4/22/13, 6/10/13

MED-PIC -R– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 5/13/13

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 4/22/13, 6/10/13

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 4/27/13, 6/15/13, 6/29/13

MSC -SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 6/3/13

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 6/3/13

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 6/7/13

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 4/17/13, 5/1/13, 5/15/13, 5/22/13, 6/5/13, 6/19/13, 6/26/13

SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 4/29/13, 6/24/13 SEC-VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 5/6/13

SHS-ESH-BRMP3 – Emergency Shiphandling and Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 5/20/13

… 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.


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

April 2013

22-26     ECDIS
22-26     Train the Trainer
22-3       GMDSS
29th       Med DOT
29-3       Medical Care Provider
29-10     Medical Person-In-Charge

May 2013

6-7          ECDIS for Pilots
6-10       Basic Meteorology
13th       Radar Renewal
14th       RFPNW Assessments
20-24     ECDIS
21-23     Bridge Resource Management for Pilots
28-31     ARPA
29-30     ECDIS for Pilots
29-31     Vessel Security Officer

June 2013

3-7          ECDIS
3-14       GMDSS
3-21       Terrestrial and Coastal Navigation
10th       Radar Renewal
11-13     Bridge Resource Management for Pilots (3-day)
14th       Fatigue, Sleep, and Medications for Pilots
24-28     Radar Observer Unlimited
24-28     Medical Care Provider
27-28     Bridge Resource Management for Pilots (2-day)