News

Wheelhouse Weekly – April 21, 2006

April 21st 2006

 

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

Volume 10 . . . . . Number 16. . . . April 21, 2006

STORIES COVERED

Also

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.





 

MITAGS AND PMI SEEK INSTRUCTORS FOR CMM COURSES

MITAGS is accepting applications for an Instructor to teach courses required for attainment of the Chief Mate/Master (CMM) license. The position requires an unlimited tonnage any ocean Master’s license, with five years or more experience sailing as Master. Excellent computer skills, experience with electronic bridge and integrated navigation systems desired. This is a part-time position to start. Applicants should email resumes to hr@mitags.org; or fax to: HR Manager, 443-989-3341. See the MITAGS Web site, www.mitags.org, for more information.

MITAGS is also accepting applications for a full-time instructor to work at its Pacific Maritime Institute in Seattle, WA. The Instructor will develop courses in the maritime field and provide classroom and simulation instruction to merchant marine deck officers. Experience in towing as well as dry and liquid cargo vessels is preferred. Five years maritime experience at the Chief Mate or Master level with knowledge and skills using bridge systems desired. Graduate of maritime or military academy (USNA, USCGA) preferred. Applicants should email resumes to hr@mitags.org; or fax to: HR Manager, 443-989-3341. See the PMI Web site, www.mates.org, for more information.




 

AOTOS NOMINATIONS SOUGHT FOR BRAVERY AT SEA

The Admiral of the Ocean Seas (AOTOS) Award Dinner will be held this year on November 3rd in New York City. As part of the AOTOS program, plaques are awarded to seafarers in the merchant marine, USCG, or others who have risked their lives while performing specific acts of heroism while at sea during 2005 as well as January and February of 2006. If you know of any MM&P members deserving of this recognition, please forward that info to Audrey Scharmann at MM&P HQ by email ascharmann@bridgedeck.org or by phone at 410-850-8700 ext.17.

 


BILL BEING CONSIDERED TO BRING LNG SHIPS BACK TO US-FLAG

The Congress is considering legislation intended to attract liquefied natural gas carriers to the US-registry by promising priority treatment in the licensing process that prospective LNG importers and terminal operators have to undergo. Since there are currently no LNG carriers operating under the US-flag, and none are currently under construction, it is thought by some that such a law could aid in the rebirth of a US-flag LNG fleet due to the increase in demand for LNG.

As energy prices continue to escalate, there is now a renewed interest in building LNG marine terminals to meet rising demand. In fact, an estimated 50 LNG terminal proposals now being considered by the federal government. These plans face considerable examination from the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which oversees land-based projects, and by the USCG and the Maritime Administration, which regulates offshore LNG facilities.

 


GLOBAL OFFICER SHORTAGE WARNING PREDICTED

At a recently held international maritime conference, which focused on the ‘human element’ of the industry, Intertanko chairman Stephen Van Dyck spoke of the worldwide officer shortage and emphasized its impact on maritime safety. “We foresee we are going into a serious shortage of experienced officers based on deliveries that are coming across the whole industry,” he said.

Van Dyck warned that a navigational error on a ship today could have dire consequences if it resulted in collision with a passenger ship, LNG carrier or oil tanker and he underlined the fact that without the right caliber of personnel, no amount of million dollar, hi-tech equipment could compensate for this shortcoming. He reminded his audience that there is a huge demand for properly qualified seafarers just around the corner and since it took 2-3 years for officers to become fully qualified, this demand was extremely serious for the industry.

Furthermore, the trend in Europe to treat officers involved in operational accidents as criminals was another factor that exacerbated the officer shortage problem. He also said that the demand for qualified deck and engine officers is being driven by surging vessel construction that will see more than 250 LNG ships built over the next five years, on top of oil and chemical tankers, containerships and bulk
carriers.

Furthermore, recent LNG newbuildings have already resulted in poaching from various tanker segments because of the similarity in skill sets required, which the industry feels will have a detrimental effect on the entire shipping industry.


MARINE CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS SHORT SEA SHIPPING

Earlier this week, members of the Canadian, Mexican and United States maritime community met in Vancouver, BC, Canada to participate in the “North American Marine Conference – Towards a Shortsea Shipping Strategy for the North American Continent.” Canada’s Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Lawrence Cannon was on hand to welcome participants and gave the opening address. He also planned meetings with US and Mexican officials and key marine stakeholders on a variety of transportation related issues.

“This conference is an excellent opportunity to promote short sea shipping as a means to improve the performance of the national transportation system and to contribute to environmental sustainability,” said Cannon. “It will also serve as a public venue to discuss business opportunities and highlight obstacles related to short sea shipping.” Approximately 250 participants from Canada, the United States, and Mexico are taking part in the conference.

The event is the result of collaboration between Canada, the US and Mexico following the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation on Shortsea Shipping in 2003. Shortsea shipping involves the movement of cargo or passengers by water over relatively short distances. It can occur within lakes and river systems and along coastlines. It consists mainly of domestic shipping but can also include cross-border traffic.


RARE WHALE KILLED WHEN STRUCK OFF MID-ATLANTIC COAST

An endangered sei whale was killed this week when it was struck by a foreign-flag container ship between Boston and Baltimore earlier this week. The 7.7-ton male cetacean arrived in Baltimore on the bulbous bow of the MSC JOHANNESBURG, according to state wildlife officials, who reported the whale had numerous broken bones consistent with striking a ship.

For the last several years, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has been in the process of drafting a proposed rule to institute the speed and routing restrictions to help avoid such incidents. Current plans call for NOAA to publish the rule for public comment early in the summer. The rule is primarily geared toward protection of the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale, of which there are about 300, but the agency believes that all cetaceans would benefit from such a policy.

After the proposed rule is published, the final rule should be in force within eight to nine months. It is estimated that were 42 whale strikes along the Atlantic coast from 2000 to 2004. The latest incident that killed the sei whale will be added to that database. The whale’s normal habitat is the deeper waters of the North Atlantic and would be rarely found in Chesapeake Bay, especially along the approaches to Baltimore harbor.


US NAVY SAYS IT HAS NO FINALIZED DEAL WITH SOMALIA

High-ranking US government sources say that a deal has not been finalized where the US Navy would drastically increase its patrols off the coast of Somalia in the battle against piracy in the East African waters. That was the message that was transmitted earlier this week from Navy Fifth Fleet spokesmen in Bahrain who denied widely published reports that US warships would take a more active role in anti-piracy efforts in the area. The US State Department also denied any such deal, although it does admit that “diplomatic discussions” have been held with members of Somalia’s exiled transitional government.

According to published reports, the Navy is already taking an active anti-piracy role in the area and has increased its presence in recent weeks. Insiders also report that a broader anti-piracy strategy is being developed that could soon take the US Navy back to its roots, which in colonial days, included fighting pirates.


US GOVERNMENT GEARS UP FOR 2006 HURRICANE SEASON

Following an unprecedented domestic disaster relief effort in 2005, Defense Logistics Agency officials here say DLA is ready to provide support during the 2006 hurricane season, which begins June 1. As previously reported in the Wheelhouse Weekly, weather officials are predicting a large number of hurricanes again this year.

A recently completed agency wide review of DLA’s response to domestic disasters in 2005 was an opportunity for the headquarters and field activities staff to assess agency support, evaluate actions necessary to improve that support — which cost the agency $476.6 million — and to be prepared for similar missions in 2006, officials said.

To ensure effective relief support during the upcoming hurricane season, DLA co-hosted a domestic disaster response logistics working group meeting last week along with several top-level Pentagon organizations including the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and the Joint Staff Logistics Directorate. Other participants included the US Northern Command, US Transportation Command, the National Guard Bureau, Army Materiel Command and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

DLA’s preparations for 2006 disaster relief efforts include signing an interagency agreement with FEMA, resulting in sales of $67 million and allowing for advance coordination between the agencies. DLA storage and management of three million military ration meals purchased by FEMA to provide an interim feeding solution until alternative meals are delivered by commercial sources. The concept is to provide distribution services for 200,000 persons per day.

DLA provides supply support, and technical and logistics services to the military services and to several civilian agencies. The agency is the one source for nearly every consumable item, whether for combat readiness, emergency preparedness or day-to-day operations.


OCEAN CONTAINERS: A HALF-CENTURY OF LOGISTICS EXCELLENCE

It has been 50 years since the introduction of the shipping container, which revolutionized the ocean freight industry. The father of this remarkable invention was North Carolina native Malcom McLean. His humble beginnings in the shipping industry eventually brought him from the trucking industry to the world of sea transport, forever uniting the two businesses and giving birth to the intermodal age.

It was McLean who developed the idea of using ships to carry portable truck trailers on board ship. His idea originated during the long, frustrating hours spent waiting in his truck cab waiting for his cargo to be loaded aboard a ship in Hoboken, NJ. The solution to his frustration was borne in the concept of coordinating sea and land transport around portable truck-like container units that could be hoisted aboard ships without their cargo being unloaded.

The container age began alongside a berth at Newark, NJ, when the first T-2 tanker, “Ideal X,” loaded 58 containers for her maiden voyage to Texas. Three sister ships were later added to the service, resulting in a successful and far more cost effective method of transport than was previously thought possible.

The use of tankers for container transport was only a temporary effort, and the development of containerships able to carry boxes below decks soon followed, along with rail mounted cranes specially designed to load and unload the containers. The eventual creation of the Sea-Land Shipping company led the way for others to develop what is now a multi-national, highly efficient shipping method, which is now taken for granted. Along the way, McLean’s transport philosophies were later embraced by the US military and have since revolutionized how America prepares for and goes to war.

McLean died in 2001 at the age of 88, after compiling a record of enterprise and shipping innovation that may never again be matched. His accomplishments far eclipsed his fame as the inventor of the modern container, and McLean will always be remembered as one of the primary architects of today’s efficient world trade and logistics excellence.


PASSPORT RENEWAL AVAILABLE AT NO CHARGE

MM&P member Ken Welch advises that members about to renew their US passport can save some money by getting their renewal at no charge. Welch recently renewed his passport using this method free of charge. The only problem he encountered was originally enclosing a letter from the union instead of my employer attesting to the fact he was employed on a US registered ship. Once he provided the proper letter, his passport was renewed and returned by overnight Fed-Ex.

Welch writes that, “I had contacted several passport issuing agencies around the country but none of them knew anything about the below listed Code Of Federal Regulations and/or US Codes. After a lot of searching, I located the only agency that handles these types of issuances or renewals. It is the same agency that issues diplomatic passports. As it turned out, my employer handles this matter for their overseas employees on a fairly routine basis and was quite familiar with the procedure.”

You will need to provide:
1) Current valid passport
2) Two passport quality photos
3) An ORIGINAL signed letter on your employer’s company letterhead confirming your employment on a US registered ship.
4) Photocopy (front and back) of your USCG merchant marine license.
5) Photocopy (front and back) of your USCG MMD (Z-card).
6) Application for passport renewal, Form DS-82.

Unlicensed personnel should contact the issuing agency to determine other required documentation. Anyone can call and verify all this information beforehand should you have any questions. Allow 4-6 weeks for processing, but, if you have not received your new passport after about 3 weeks, you should call their office to inquire. Bearing in mind the poor USPS service, I strongly suggest you certify your packet of documents, or send them via UPS or Fed-Ex.

The address to send the information to is:
Passport Office – Special Issuance Agency
Attn: Special Assistance Department
1111 19TH Street NW, Room 200
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: (202) 955-0198
Fax: (202) 955-0182
1) You can pick up a passport renewal form (DS-82) at any US post-office or passport office. Or, download one from numerous sites such as: http://travel.state.gov/passport/forms/ds82/ds82_843.html where you can even complete it online before printing.
2) 22CFR22.1.4b can be found at: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/cfr/retrieve.html
3) 22USC214 can be found at: http://techlawreporter.com/toa/codes/usc/titles/TITLE22/22USC214.html

Other US Code of Federal Regulations sections pertaining to No-Fee Passports include:
22CFR13.1 – Improper exaction of fees
22CFR22.6 – Refund of fees
For more info, email Welch at kgscwelch@juno.com .


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): 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: 5/8, 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: 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: 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

 

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 4-20

 

 D O W  N A S D A Q  S & P 500
11,347.45 +209.80 for the week 2,342.86 +16.75 for the week 1,311.28 +22.16 for the week

 

Fund Name & Trading Symbol
Closing
Price
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
120.86
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
38.08
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
23.95
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
18.97
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
33.05
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
10.11
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX)
6.14
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
9.82
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
20.71
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
16.36
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
36.10
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
115.27
 Fidelity Small Company Instl (FMACX)
22.49
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
81.94
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX) 46.44
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
30.94

 






~ 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.