Wheelhouse Weekly – April 22, 2014

April 22nd 2014


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

Volume 18 . . . Number 16 . . . April 22, 2014


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


Authorities in South Korea said Tuesday that for reasons that are still unclear, the ferry that sank last week made a 180-degree turn shortly before the disaster. A spokesperson for South Korea’s ministry of oceans and fisheries told journalists that data confirmed by a shore-based station shows that the ship made a J-shaped turn before beginning to list. The third mate was with the helmsman in the wheelhouse at the time of the accident. The captain was not on the bridge. Two hundred people were missing and 108 bodies had been recovered as of Tuesday morning.

A transcript of the crew’s final communications with emergency dispatchers shows the ship’s onboard communications system had broken down and the order to don life jackets was never given to passengers. Crew members using the ferry’s intercom had previously instructed passengers to stay where they were. One crew member said he heard the captain give the order to evacuate, but did not hear that message broadcast over the intercom.

Besides 476 passengers, the ship carried a full load of cargo, including cars, trucks and containers. One crew member has told authorities he had noticed while making the rounds that the straps tying down several of the vehicles being transported on the ferry had come loose. Investigators say unsecured cargo may have shifted, contributing to the accident. The tragedy took place in a waterway known for rapid and unpredictable currents and frequent alllisions. The captain and two members of the crew have been arrested and six other members of the crew have been detained for questioning by prosecutors.     


As rescue teams in South Korea searched for missing passengers at the site of the sunken ferry SEWOL, journalists seeking background information on shipboard safety protocols contacted the Masters, Mates & Pilots. A reporter for CNN spoke with MM&P President Don Marcus in the TRANSAS simulator at MITAGS. Long-time MM&P member Captain James Staples was interviewed by CNN and National Public Radio (NPR).

Marcus told Randy Kaye of CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 that the captain of the SEWOL was not following standard protocol if indeed he had warned passengers to stay in their rooms after the ferry had begun to list. “It is not standard protocol to warn passengers to stay where they are,” Marcus said. “Passengers should have been moved to upper decks. You’d certainly go to a higher deck… to where you can exit the vessel.”

“Generally speaking you’re safer on the vessel until such point as you assess that yes, the vessel is going to sink,” he added, “and then you’ve got to abandon ship.”

Staples was interviewed by Anderson Cooper as well as by Robin Young, co-host of Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston. Young asked about the timeframe of the emergency response by the crew, and in particular the evacuation order coming “only after a half an hour.”

“It is of great concern to me that the captain wouldn’t have done that initially,” Staples said, “knowing that he couldn’t correct the righting situation and bring [the ship] back to a normal, stable position. The command to evacuate should have been given probably within the first couple of minutes. I think in this situation he would have known that right off.”

Young also questioned Staples about Associated Press reports that the crew was trying to right the ferry. “The only way they could possibly try to right the vessel would have been to pump ballast,” Staples said, “and to pump that amount of water in that short a time is probably impossible, and the captain should have known that.”

“It looks like some of the roll-on, roll-off cargo was not lashed to the deck,” he added. “And when you have a shift in cargo, you have a shift in the center of gravity of the vessel, and there’s no way to correct that unless you’ve got equipment on board that can physically move these big tractor-trucks and cars.”

Staples explained that such ferries carry life rafts, “not what we call a lifeboat.” He said the crew “definitely waited too long… that should have been one of the first things they did was to muster everybody to get them into the life rafts immediately, to get them away from that vessel because it looked like a hopeless situation.”

In response to a question about whether a watertight door might have been left open, Staples said it was a possibility. “That’s one reason a vessel would go down very fast is because the watertight compartmentation onboard was not secure, which would mean that you would have a large area being filled with water that was not supposed to be filled with water.” To view the CNN reports, go to and


The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) issued a notice stating that it is upgrading the technology used for issuance of Transportation Worker Identification Credentials (TWICs).  During the system upgrade, specific TWIC card services will be temporarily unavailable. Services for card transfers, card replacements and extended expiration date TWICs will be unavailable from April 22 to May 4. Card pick-up, activation, and personal identification number (PIN) resets will be unavailable from April 26 through May 4.


An in-depth investigation into the campaign by coal companies to deny black lung benefits to miners has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize. The series, “Breathless and Burdened: Dying from Black Lung, Buried by Law and Medicine,” is a year-long investigation by Chris Hamby, a reporter for the Center for Public Integrity, that shows how corrupt doctors and lawyers working side-by-side with the coal industry helped defeat the benefit claims of coal miners who were dying of black lung disease.
One segment of the three-part, 25,000-word series was produced in partnership with the ABC News Investigative Unit, whose work included an in-depth Nightline segment.

The series won in the category of Investigative Reporting. The Pulitzers, administered by Columbia University, are considered the most prestigious prizes in journalism. The Center for Public Integrity is a nonprofit, digital, investigative news organization. One result of the series is that it sparked changes in legislation that mean miners with black lung will finally receive the financial benefits they deserve.

The reporting took place against the backdrop of a surge in the number of coal miners diagnosed with black lung disease in Central Appalachia, with younger miners increasingly getting the most severe form of the disease. Hamby’s reporting showed that the coal companies were well aware of the risk and that the government agency with oversight, the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), was ineffective in protecting those at risk. From 2000 to 2011, MSHA received more than 53,000 air samples showing that miners had been exposed to more dust than was allowed, yet the agency issued fewer than 2,400 citations to companies.

“This was more than just a project to me,” Hamby says. “I spent a lot of time in West Virginia with people who were slowly suffocating to death and they had been essentially screwed by a system that was completely stacked against them and they had no recourse. These are some of the most voiceless people in the country.” His series is posted at


SUNY Maritime’s TS EMPIRE STATE VI will hold receptions in honor of Maritime Day in the Port of Baltimore and the Port of Philadelphia. The reception in Baltimore will take place on Wednesday, May 21, from 1900 to 2100. The reception in the Port of Philadelphia will take place on Friday, May 23, from 1900 to 2100. Due to limited capacity aboard the ship, please register here by May 14: There is no fee to attend the receptions. For questions, please contact Ashley Scotti at 718-409-4001 or


The annual National Maritime Day Observance and Memorial Service will be held at the American Merchant Marine Veterans Memorial and Walls of Honor, located on Harbor Boulevard at the foot of 6th Street, San Pedro, Calif., on Thursday, May 22. The ceremony begins at 1100. It will be the 25th anniversary of the construction of the American Merchant Marine Veterans Memorial and the observance of National Maritime Day in San Pedro.

National Maritime Day honors the American merchant mariners who have served their country in peace and war since the American Revolution. The observance will include speakers representing state and local organizations and the American maritime industry. A memorial service will be conducted by local clergy and veterans groups. A luncheon at Ports O’Call Restaurant at Berth 76, San Pedro, will follow the observance at 1230. For more information, please contact John Pitts at 562-716-2899 or or Paul Nielsen at or 310-325-3506.


James Caponiti has been appointed president of the American Maritime Congress (AMC). He has been executive director of AMC since October 2011. Previously, he had a career lasting more than 30 years at the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD).


If you are interested in attending the Offshore Familiarization Course, please contact your MM&P Vice President to request that one be scheduled in your area. An Offshore Orientation Course is now scheduled for Los Angeles/Long Beach on Oct. 8-9. If you are interested in participating in the course, please contact the Los Angeles/Long Beach Hall: 310-834-7201 or 310-834-6667 (fax). There is no sea-time requirement to take the course. All Offshore applicants, potential transferees from other membership groups and other interested Offshore members are encouraged to take the course as soon as possible.


The 2006 Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) entered into force on Aug. 20. It has been described as the fourth pillar of international shipping regulations along with SOLAS, MARPOL and STCW.  The International Labor Organization consolidated a number of previous conventions in MLC 2006. It establishes minimum standards on conditions of employment, accommodations, health and safety, medical care, crew welfare, recruitment, working conditions and social security protection. MLC will be strictly enforced during port state control inspections, including the potential for more detailed inspections and possible detention where hazardous conditions may exist if ships are not to be in compliance. Visit for more information or to register for the MLC course.


MITAGS needs your current address! Have you moved recently? Did you remember to send MITAGS your new address for communications regarding courses? Please send your current contact information to or to the fax number below.

New dedicated fax line for Admissions only: 1-443-568-1928. For all other MITAGS business, please continue to use: 410-859-5181.

For class availability or information on MITAGS courses and programs, contact Kelly Michielli, Admissions Coordinator, toll-free at 866-656-5568 or by e-mail: Why not try our on-line calendar to register for class:

Please note the special addition to our on-campus schedule of MSC classes marked with an asterisk (*), which are not normally scheduled to be held at MITAGS.

AB –8/11/14, 10/13/14

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: 5/6/14

ARPA-OIC – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 8/5/14, 9/23/14, 11/18/14

AZIPOD 2-Day – 5/7/14, 7/10/14, 10/9/14

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 6/2/14, 8/25/14, 10/13/14

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 5/22/14, 7/24/14, 8/20/14, 9/22/14, 11/20/14

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling:  4/29/14, 7/7/14, 10/6/14

BST – Basic Safety Training: 6/9/14, 8/11/14, 10/6/14

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 10/27/14

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVNAV-CMM – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): 6/2/14, 8/4/14, 11/10/14

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 4/28/14, 6/23/14, 9/22/14

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 6/16/14, 9/8/14

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 5/5/14, 7/7/14, 9/29/14

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 5/5/14, 6/2/14, 7/14/14, 8/4/14, 10/20/14, 11/10/14

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications: 7/23/14, 11/19/14

MCL-CMM – Management, Communication, & Leadership (Management Level): 5/19/14, 9/15/14

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants:  7/21/14, 10/27/14

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management (2 weeks): 8/18/14, 10/13/14

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 4/28/14, 6/9/14, 8/4/14, 9/8/14, 9/22/14, 10/20/14, 11/3/14, 12/1/14

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 5/5/14, 6/16/14, 8/11/14, 9/15/14, 9/29/14, 10/27/14, 11/10/14, 12/8/14

TRAC-TUG-2: 7/21/14

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 6/9/14, 8/11/14, 11/17/14

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 4/21/14, 7/28/14, 11/3/14

CNAV-OIC – Celestial Navigation: 4/28/14, 11/3/14

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: Contact Admissions

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications:  10/7/14

DDE – Great Lakes: Contact Admissions

DPA – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-OIC –9/8/14

ECDIS-Pilots – Contact Admissions

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 6/9/14, 8/11/14, 10/6/14

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep & Medications:  5/21/14, 11/19/14

GL Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization: Contact Admissions

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 8/18/14

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 6/23/14, 9/15/14, 11/17/14

LAP- 9/8/14

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross Ton License: 6/2/14

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 5/21/14, 7/8/14, 10/7/14, 11/20/14

LNG-TPIC – Contact Admissions

MCL-OIC –Management, Communications, and Leadership OICNW level: 9/5/14, 10/7/14

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 4/21/14, 6/16/14, 9/8/14, 11/3/14, 12/1/14

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 5/12/14, 8/4/14, 10/13/14

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 4/21/14, 6/16/14, 9/8/14, 10/20/14, 11/3/14, 12/1/14

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 4/26/14, 6/21/14, 8/3/14, 9/13/14, 10/12/14, 11/8/14, 12/6/14

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: 5/5/14 (PM), 8/4/14 (PM), 10/6/14 (PM)

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 6/6/14, 8/22/14, 10/3/14

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 6/2/14, 8/18/14, 9/29/14

MSC-ENV – Contact Admissions

MSC-FF-HELO – Contact Admissions

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification:  6/2/14, 8/18/14, 9/29/14, 11/10/14

*MSC-Security Watch Basic – Contact Admissions

*MSC-Security Watch Advanced – Contact Admissions

*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force – Contact Admissions

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 8/4/14, 9/22/14, 11/17/14

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 4/30/14, 5/7/14, 5/14/14, 6/5/14, 6/11/14, 6/18/14, 7/9/14, 7/24/14, 8/6/14, 8/20/14, 9/10/14, 9/17/14, 10/1/14, 10/15/14, 10/29/14, 11/12/14, 12/3/14, 12/10/14

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 7/28/14, 11/10/14

SAR-OIC – Search & Rescue –10/13/14

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling:  5/12/14, 6/16/14, 8/18/14, 11/17/14

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day: 7/14/14, 10/6/14

SMS – Contact Admissions

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 8/4/14

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 7/7/14

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge:  8/25/14

TTT – Train the Trainer: Contact Admissions

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: 5/6/14, 8/5/14, 10/7/14

VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 5/7/14, 8/6/14, 9/2/14, 10/8/14, 10/22/14

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level) : 9/29/14

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

…And 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, and schedule revisions.


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

April 2014

28-30     Vessel Security Officer
28-2       ECDIS
28-2       Medical Care Provider
28-9       Medical Person-In-Charge

May 2014

5th         Radar Renewal
12-16     ECDIS
12-16     Tankerman Person-In-Charge
19-21     Vessel Security Officer
19-23     Train the Trainer

June 2014

2-6          Basic Meteorology
9th         Radar Renewal
9-20       GMDSS
9-27       Terrestrial and Coastal Navigation
11-13     Vessel Security Officer
16-20     ECDIS

July 2014

7-11       Radar Observer Unlimited
7-18       GMDSS
14th       Radar Renewal
14th       Flashing Light
15-18     ARPA
21-25     Bridge Resource Management
28-1       ECDIS
28-1       Medical Care Provider

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. Suite B, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1953. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973; Email: For further info or to subscribe contact Lisa Rosenthal at The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea and is posted on our web page.

© 2014, International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots. All the material contained in this publication is protected by copyright. For permission to reprint text from the Weekly, contact the MM&P Communications Department: For changes of address, contact Lisa Rosenthal at