Wheelhouse Weekly – April 28, 2000

April 28th 2000


Bridging the Information Gap With E-News You Can Use

VOLUME 4. . . . . NUMBER 17. . . . April 28, 2000



The fight to derail permanent Normal Trade Relations (NTR) for China and maintain Congress’ annual review of that nation’s abysmal human and workers’ rights record got a boost April 19 when Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-MO.) announced his opposition to the deal. The House minority leader told students at Webster University in St. Louis, “America should not trust the Chinese government to make progress on its own and unilaterally surrender our nation’s ability to influence Chinese policy through trade.” The House is expected to vote on PNTR in May. For more info on the AFL-CIO’s “No Blank Check for China” campaign and to send a message to your House member, visit

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


Tens of thousands of union members, other workers and community allies will gather around the nation April 28 in hundreds of Workers Memorial Day ceremonies to remember those killed and injured on the job and to mobilize for safe jobs. This year, Workers Memorial Day coincides with a series of hearings on OSHA’s proposed new ergonomics standard.

While workers and union safety professionals have testified on the need for tough new workplace safety rules, corporate lawyers and big business representatives have continued their decade-long campaign aimed at derailing such measures. The hearings, which began in Wash, DC, in March, resumed in Portland, OR, earlier this week. Witnesses from the Oregon AFL-CIO, the Washington State Labor Council, AFSCME, SEIU and Painters and Allied Trades will testify in the 10 days of hearings.

AFGE and Communications Workers take the stand on April 28, and during the hearing’s midday break, union members will hold a Workers Memorial Day service at St. James Lutheran Church, including a “Parade of Prayers” and a reading of the names of Oregon workers killed in the last year on the job.

The first Workers Memorial Day was observed in 1989. April 28 was designated because it is the anniversary of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and the day of similar remembrance in Canada. Every year, hundreds of communities and work sites recognize workers who have been killed or injured on the job. Trade unionists around the world now mark April 28 as an International Day of Mourning. For more info about Workers Memorial Day, go to, Email the AFL-CIO Department of Occupational Safety and Health at or call 202-637-5367.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


The MITAGS-affiliated Pacific Northwest Maritime Institute will hold a five day Barge Specific Tankerman PIC Course in the Los Angeles/Long Beach area from June 19-23 at Foss Maritime Company, Pier D, Berth 35, Long Beach.

This course satisfies the requirements set forth in 46CFR Part 13 and STCW­95 Section A­V/1 for persons desiring to serve in the capacity of Person-in-Charge (PIC) aboard a tank vessel or barge carrying dangerous liquid cargoes.

Topics will include operational practices, safety concerns and pollution prevention requirements. For more info about this course call 888-893-7829 (toll free) or visit Students may register on-line at

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater, along with 16 other federal officials, have formalized an interagency partnership that will coordinate recommendations to improve the US marine transportation system. The Interagency Committee on the Marine Transportation System (ICMTS) is charged with advancing communication between agencies “to assure safer, more efficient marine transportation and better links with other modes of transportation.”

The formalization of the Committee took the form of the signing of a memorandum of understanding at USCG HQ in Wash, DC, earlier this week, where it was also announced that a series of regional “dialog sessions” would be conducted throughout the country to collect ideas on how to better marine transportation and waterway management.

Slater, who is in the midst of a two-week multi-modal transportation tour across America, declared that the marine transportation system is in dire need of national focus. “The existing system is not capable of meeting the commercial and recreational user demands forecast for this century, and we cannot allow it to become the weak link in our overall transportation system.”

He further announced another round of outreach sessions in seven port cities across the country. “The objective of the Regional Dialog Sessions is to report on our progress and to get local and regional stakeholders engaged in resolving MTS issues at their level,” he said.

The sessions will take place on various days from May 31st to July 18th in Chicago, Memphis, Philadelphia, Jacksonville, Seattle, Los Angeles/Long Beach and Houston.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


The USCG is proposing to establish a Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) on the Lower Mississippi River and transfer certain vessel traffic management provisions of the Mississippi River, LA­Regulated Navigation Area to the VTS.

The USCG would implement the proposed transition to VTS in a phased manner which would allow for the orderly transition from existing regulations to operating procedures appropriate to an Automatic Identification System (AIS)-based VTS.

It is anticipated that the move would facilitate vessel transits, enhance good order, promote safe navigation, and improve upon existing operating measures on the waterway.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


In a case that matched Goliath against the little guy, Donald Dale Lamb, a former merchant marine tankerman for Reinauer Transportation Companies based in New York, was sentenced to serve one year in prison, three years probation and pay a $2,000 fine on March 29. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, US Coast Guard Criminal Investigative Service and the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office Environmental Crimes Section and was prosecuted by the US Attorney’s Office in Newark.

The defendant previously pleaded guilty to negligently violating the Clean Water Act. In his plea, Lamb admitted that on May 15, 1997, instead of remaining topside to supervise loading, he went below decks on the barge RTC 320 while it was taking on a load of No.2 fuel oil. While he was below, fuel oil spilled into the Arthur Kill waterway near Carteret, NJ and Lamb was skewered by the feds and state officials as being single-handedly responsible for the spill.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


As mentioned in last week’s Wheelhouse Weekly, MM&P member Jared Myregard was interviewed as part of a upcoming Discovery Channel documentary to mark the 25th anniversary of the MAYAGUEZ incident, which will air Sunday, May 14 at 2000 hrs EDST.

If you have not already seen it, mariners might also be interested in viewing an upcoming program on the History Channel. This documentary, titled “THE DOCKS: Trouble On The Waterfront”, describes the role of waterfront towns and cities in the growth of nations, from Rome’s port city of Ostia to New York’s dockyards. It somewhat parallels the classic movie “On The Waterfront” which starred Marlon Brando. According to the May issue of ORBIT, a satellite programming guide, it is presently scheduled for May 19, at 1300 and again at 1800 (EDST).

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


Michael Carr, MITAGS Instructor of Marine Weather & Safety reports that boaters are increasingly turning to cellular phones to call the USCG for assistance. Use of cellular telephones to contact the USCG can be facilitated by pressing *CG (*24). This system doesn’t replace 911 but it will put boaters in contact with the proper USCG Group operation center.

In an incident that occurred last week, reported on the USCG Seventh District’s website, a USCG helicopter crew from Air Station Miami rescued three persons after their 20-foot boat started taking on water and capsized around 2200 hrs. about seven miles east of Black Point Marina in Homestead, FL.

The Coast Guard was notified of the vessel in distress after one of the boaters used a cell phone to call for help. Besides the chopper, two rescue boats from Station Miami Beach and a boat from the Biscayne National Park responded to the distress call. The helicopter crew located the three men about midnight clinging to their overturned vessel. A USCG rescue swimmer was placed in the water and the three men were hoisted to safety by 0100. They were all in good condition and did not need medical attention.

The USCG reminds boaters that cellular phones are a reliable secondary form of communication during a marine emergency and encourages all boaters to maintain a working marine band radio.

The USCG remains vigil and will continue to listen to VHF-FM radio channel 16, the international distress frequency, 24-hours a day as the primary means of communicating with boaters.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


MITAGS has the following course openings:

  • May 10: CPR
  • May 13: CBRD
  • May 15-28: GMDSS
  • May 15-19: FF-ADV, TPIC
  • May 16-17: EAPT
  • May 22-26: BST
  • May 24: HAZ-MAT Night
  • June 5-18: MED-PIC, GMDSS
  • June 5-11: HAZ, EINS, HWA, ARPA
  • June 12-18: DCS, BRM, BST
  • June 17: CBRD
  • June 14: HAZ-MAT NITE
  • June19-25: BST, BRM, COMP-APS
  • June21: CPR
  • June24: CBRD
  • June19- July 2: GMDSS
  • June 26-July 02: FF-ADV, BRM, ROP, TPIC BARGE
  • June 27-28: EAPT

PLEASE NOTE: CBRD on May 27, 2000, has been cancelled. Week 022: May 29-June 4 there will be no classes. May 29, MEMORIAL DAY observed.

Contact Mary Matlock at MITAGS admissions at: Email: or phone: 443-989-3226. Information and applications are also available on the MITAGS web site at

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly

The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is being produced under MM&P election guidelines which have been previously published and may be found in their entirety on the MM&P website. The Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates, and Pilots, ILA, AFL-CIO, 700 Maritime Blvd., Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1941. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973; Email: For further info contact John Peige at The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea, broadcast worldwide via FEC marine telex and is posted on our web page under “News” at:

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