Wheelhouse Weekly – April 28, 2008

April 28th 2008


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

Volume 12 . . . . . Number 17. . . .April 28, 2008




T-AGS Oceanographic Survey Ships Info

Required Coursework

Security Clearances

MSC Physicals


MM&P Health & Benefit Plan News

Meet Our New Prescription Benefit Manager, PHARMACARE

Notice to MM&P Health & Benefit Plan Participants

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.


The MM&P International President and the heads of several other seafaring labor unions attended a meeting at USCG headquarters with USCG Commandant Adm. Thad Allen on April 24.  The meeting was a follow up to talks that MM&P began with the commandant in December.

The discussion focused on four items. The commandant heard the unions’ concerns relating to the Sept. 25 TWIC deadline, the USCG’s mariner medical review policy and the rights of mariners with respect to shore leave, visitors and access to representatives from labor and seafarers’ welfare organizations as provided for in the ISPS Code. There was also discussion of the USCG’s concept of a “blended” military and civilian marine inspection office. The unions expressed their view that employment of experienced mariners from all sectors of the industry would enhance the effectiveness of the USCG’s marine safety programs.

“We are hopeful that these kinds of meetings will lead to more open discussions with USCG senior leadership and greater understanding between the USCG and U.S. merchant mariners,” said the MM&P International President.

Those attending the MM&P-brokered meeting included: AMO President Tom Bethel, IBU President Alan Cote, MEBA President Don Keefe, SUP President Gunnar Lundeberg, MFOW President Anthony Poplawski, SIU Executive Vice President Augie Tellez and ARA President Carl Young.


The pilot who was in the wheelhouse of the COSCO BUSAN when it allided with the San Francisco Bay Bridge last November has been charged with a felony for not supplying a complete list of prescribed medications on his annual physical form. Pilots are required to undergo a physical every year to maintain their licenses. The pilot had previously been charged with misdemeanor offenses for violating the Clean Water Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the penalties for which can include fines and imprisonment.

MM&P has argued repeatedly that the growing trend among governmental authorities to pursue criminal charges in accident pollution cases is having a chilling effect on the cooperation of ships’ crew with safety investigations and discouraging young people and others from pursuing maritime careers. “It is important to note in this case that the charges are for failing to list medications that have no bearing on the cause of the accident,” said an MM&P spokesman.

The captain of the containership and three crew members have been detained in the United States since the accident because the government considers them material witnesses.


MM&P is applauding Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston for pressing terminals and port facilities to respect mariners’ right to shore leave.

After receiving “complaints about waterfront facilities making it difficult for crews to take shore leave or to receive visitors,” Captain William J. Diehl, commander of the Houston-Galveston Sector, circulated a memo on shore leave and access to ships in which he encourages terminal operators to balance security needs and human rights.

In the April 7 memo, he encourages terminal operators to refer to the International Maritime Organization ISPS code and to CFR Title 33. “The IMO circular and the CFR discuss the need for proper balance between the needs of security, the protection of the human rights of seafarers and port workers, and the requirement to maintain the safety and working efficiency of the ship by allowing access to ship support services such as the taking on of stores, repair and maintenance of essential equipment and other vital activities that are appropriately undertaken while moored at port facilities,” Diehl wrote.

“A singular focus on the security of the port facility is contrary to the letter and spirit of the ISPS Code and will have possible negative consequences for the international maritime transportation system,” he added.

A spokesman for MM&P called the memo “a step in the right direction.” The union argues that the USCG should refuse to approve facility security plans unless they provide for the human rights of seafarers and their rights under the ISPS Code and ILO Conventions. In addition, MM&P believes that port security grants should be withheld in cases in which access to shore leave for seafarers is illegally limited.


The House of Representatives on April 24 approved the Fiscal Year 2008 Coast Guard Authorizations legislation (HR 2830) by a 395–7 vote. The bill, which has now been sent to the Senate for consideration, contains a number of provisions strongly supported by MM&P and the other seafaring unions. Chief among these is a provision that would transfer jurisdiction over the administrative law judges who hear suspension and revocation cases from the Coast Guard to the National Transportation Safety Board.

The bill as passed also contains an MM&P-backed provision especially important to our members in the Pacific Northwest. Specifically, language was added to the bill by Congressman Brian Baird (D-Wash.) that would clarify that mariner tax legislation enacted in 2000 applies to all interstate waterway workers on all waterways, not just to those who work on waterways that are jointly owned by two or more states. According to Baird, this language should “make clear that states are prohibited from taxing the income of a non-resident interstate waterway worker.”

Another MM&P-backed provision included in HR 2830 addresses the problem of limits posed by some terminals and ports on mariners’ access to shore. Specifically, the bill states that port security plans must “provide a system for seamen assigned to a vessel at that facility, for pilots, and for representatives of seamen welfare and labor organizations to board and depart the vessel through the facility in a timely manner at no cost to the individual.”

Additional information on these and the numerous other provisions contained in HR 2830 will be made available on the MM&P web page.


At the urging of MM&P and others in the maritime industry, 22 senators, led by Democrat Barbara Mikulski (Md.) and Republican Gordon Smith (Ore.), have urged their colleagues to support full funding for the Maritime Security Program (MSP) for fiscal year 2009. MSP authorizes $174 million for FY’09, the amount that is necessary to fully fund the continued operation of the 60 militarily useful U.S.-flag vessels that comprise the maritime security fleet. The senators reminded their colleagues that “the Maritime Security Program guarantees that the Department of Defense has access to the U.S.-flag ships and U.S.-citizen crews it needs during mobilizations [and] provides the reliable and timely flow of military cargo to our troops overseas.”

Joining Mikulski and Smith in this effort are Democrats Daniel Akaka (Hawaii), Barbara Boxer (Calif.), Maria Cantwell (Wash.), Ben Cardin (Md.), Daniel Inouye (Hawaii), Mary Landrieu (La.), Frank Lautenberg (N.J.), Robert Menendez (N.J.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Jack Reed (R.I.), Charles Schumer (N.Y.), James Webb (Va.), Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), and Ron Wyden (Ore.), and Republicans Richard Burr (N.C.), Saxby Chambliss (Ga.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Jeff Sessions (Ala.), Arlen Specter (Pa.) and David Vitter (La.).


Federal law enforcement officials in mid-April began an investigation into the pricing practices of the ocean carriers that operate in the Puerto Rico trades. As this issue of The Wheelhouse Weekly was being produced, government investigators had requested information from all four major container carriers between the U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico — Horizon Lines, Crowley Maritime, Sea Star Line and Trailer Bridge. In addition, Alexander & Baldwin Inc., parent company of Matson Navigation, which operates vessels between the U.S. West Coast and Hawaii, announced that it had also been informed it would receive a subpoena.“Matson Navigation, A&B’s ocean transportation subsidiary, does not operate vessels in the Puerto Rico trade,” the company said in an official release to the press. “However, Matson has been informed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) that it will receive a subpoena for documents related to domestic ocean carriage.” The company said it would “cooperate fully” with DOJ.

Crowley Maritime Corp. issued a statement saying “federal law enforcement officials are conducting an investigation concerning antitrust issues in the Puerto Rico shipping trade lane. Certain records were obtained by investigators Thursday. Crowley intends to cooperate with investigators and is confident that it has acted appropriately in all respects. Neither Crowley nor its employees have been identified as targets of this investigation.”

Horizon Lines issued a statement confirming that federal agents had served it with search warrants and a subpoena. The company is “cooperating fully with government officials,” according to an official statement, which specified that the company had not been informed of the specific subject matter of the inquiry. Horizon said the investigation was not expected to have any effect at all on the level of service provided to customers.


In a tense stand-off, a Chinese ship laden with arms destined for Zimbabwe’s discredited government was forced to change course last week after members of the South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (SATAWU) declared they would not unload it. The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF), of which SATAWU and MM&P are members, then succeeded in mobilizing workers across Southern Africa to oppose any transfer of the AN YUE JIANG’s load of arms. ITF General Secretary David Cockroft stated that a return of the ship to China was the only realistic option for the Chinese government. “The ITF fully, strongly and un-categorically supports SATAWU’s actions and will be following this case with the closest of interest,” Cockroft said.

The South African government had earlier indicated it would not intervene in the arms shipment, calling the matter an issue of trade between Zimbabwe and China and saying that the vessel had complied with all the necessary requirements to dock at the port of Durban.

The ITF said it does not rule out the possibility that the ship could still receive a change of orders to put into a Namibian port to refuel or even attempt transshipment of the goods at sea, and continues to lobby the South African, Angolan and Namibian governments to follow the lead of their own workers and unions and declare that any assistance will be limited to that necessary to return the 28 crew members to their homes—and the cargo of ammunition to its point of origin, thousands of miles from Zimbabwe.

“This shipment of death has no place in the hands of Zimbabwe’s teetering and thuggish government,” Cockroft said. “Once again we call on the Chinese authorities to recognize that it’s time to bring this ship and its crew home.”

He continued: “There’s a lesson here: that when governments refuse to do what they should, it’s in the power of ordinary people – in the ITF, our member unions, the International Trade Union Confederation the Southern Africa Litigation Centre and the churches – to do what has to be done. We will draw on that experience if we learn that any further attempts are being made to hand Mugabe’s thugs the weapons they would doubtless use against the people of Zimbabwe.”

Meanwhile, as this issue of The Wheelhouse Weekly was being distributed, in Zimbabwe’s capital city, Harare, cores of heavily armed police raided opposition headquarters, beating, shoving and arresting hundreds of people. The raid came a day after the United States declared the opposition leader had won the March 29 elections — from which Zimbabweans are still awaiting official results amid charges President Robert Mugabe is using violence and stealth to hold on to power.


The Vice President of MM&P’s Pilot Membership Group has told port security officials from North and South America that the United States’ unwillingness to accept an internationally recognized Seafarers Identity Document (SID) has thrown the implementation of shore leave and access control provisions “into a state of limbo,” fostering a climate of distrust and animosity between ships and port facilities.

The MM&P official made the remarks in the context of a speech about maritime security from labor’s viewpoint at the Organization of American States Third Hemispheric Conference on Port Security, held April 7-10, in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. MM&P attended the conference as part of a delegation headed by Maritime Administrator Sean Connaughton.

In his speech, the MM&P vice president emphasized that seafarers need credentials that are interoperable across all ports and countries where their ships trade. When countries deny seafarers without individual visas access to shore, as does the U.S. State Department Customs and Border Patrol, he said, there “is little difference between going to sea and going to prison.”

Australia, which was also reluctant to accept a document based on screening conducted by another nation, solved the problem by creating a “Maritime Crew Visa,” which can be issued electronically within three-four days after an online application is submitted. The United States should institute a similar program for the short term to grant seafarers their fundamental right to shore leave and access until a final decision is made on whether SID would be adopted, the MM&P vice president said.


Horizon Lines Chairman and CEO Chuck Raymond took the floor at a recent Maritime Administration-sponsored conference to call for a national port development plan that includes reliance on short sea shipping to ease congestion around gateway trade corridors and improve the efficiency of our country’s national transportation system.

Raymond said in a speech at the North American Marine Highways Conference in mid-April that Horizon Lines is working with maritime labor unions to create a model for a coastwise container feeder network. He said the feeder service could act as a safety valve, allowing containers to be moved off congested gateways to smaller ports closer to destination with better intermodal connections.

To further the effort, he called for a national port development plan within the National Freight Transportation Program recommended by the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission. “A strategic approach to port development within a national freight transportation funding framework will play a key role in creating a viable marine highway system,” Raymond said. “Gateway ports with deep water will serve the large containerships and the primary metropolitan consumer markets. Regional ports will provide the intermodal safety valve served by a network of smaller container vessels and ro/ro ships, offering fast connections and efficient service to local markets. Inland ports will develop efficient highway alternatives, supporting barge and ferry networks.”

Raymond said that an effective short sea shipping network would improve the fuel efficiency of the national transportation system, ease highway and rail congestion around major cities and help reduce pollution.


The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has released statistics showing that 49 piracy attacks occurred in the first quarter of 2008, compared with 41 during the same period last year and 61 in 2006. Thirty-seven of the reported incidents were full-fledged attacks. Twelve were attempted attacks. According to the report, 36 vessels were boarded by pirates and one, the Danish-registered tug SVITZER KORSAKOV, was hijacked in the Gulf of Aden on Feb. 1. The crew of the tug was held hostage for 46 days and released after a ransom of some $700,000 was paid.

During the first three months of 2008, IMB reported three mariners were killed by pirates, seven were taken hostage, six were kidnapped and one is missing and presumed dead. In the majority of incidents, the attackers were heavily armed with guns or knives.
The report called Nigeria the leading piracy hotspot and said attacks are concentrated off Lagos. Five incidents of piracy were reported each in India and the Gulf of Aden. Only four incidents of piracy were reported in Indonesia, marking the first time in the past decade that the region has not been ranked at the top of the danger list, according to the IMB. Indonesia ranked fourth in the quarterly figures for 2008, and the Indonesian military should be commended for the anti-piracy measures taken, the IMB said. There were incidents reported in the Malacca Straits during the quarter. The IMB attributed this to the enhanced cooperation between the littoral states.


The Maritime Administration announced today it had awarded grants to 19 small shipyards under the terms of the new Assistance to Small Shipyards program, set up under the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006. “Small shipyards are vitally important for the health of the maritime industry and for the economy of the nation,” said Maritime Administrator Sean T. Connaughton. The purpose of the grants is to make capital and infrastructure improvements that facilitate the efficiency, cost-effectiveness and quality of domestic ship construction, conversion or repair for commercial and federal government use. The grants cover a maximum of 75-percent of the estimated cost of improvements.


The MM&P-crewed USNS AMELIA EARHART was launched earlier this month in a ceremony at NASSCO Shipyard in San Diego. The vessel, the sixth newbuild in Military Sealift Command’s Lewis and Clark-class of dry cargo/ammunition ships, is named in honor of the first woman to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. Earhart received the award after completing a solo flight across the Atlantic. She disappeared in 1937 over the central Pacific Ocean in an ill-fated attempt to circle the earth. The AMELIA EARHART will be delivered to the Navy later this year.


The officers and crew of MM&P-contracted HORIZON FALCON were honored with the AMVER-Assisted Rescue at Sea Award at the 2008 Lloyd’s List London Awards earlier this month. The FALCON helped rescue the crew of a ship that went down in a typhoon off Guam last July. The award was accepted on behalf of the ship’s officers and crew by Captain Tom McDorr.


MM&P reminds members that the Sept. 25 deadline for carrying a TWIC card is around the corner and urges those who haven’t pre-enrolled yet to do so now. Remember: Once you have applied, you can go online to check the status of your application and schedule an appointment to pick up your card at the enrollment center.


The nation’s workplace safety laws and penalties are too weak to effectively protect workers, according to the AFL-CIO’s annual “Death on the Job” report, which was released on April 24.  The report tallied the number of people who lost their lives or were injured at workplaces in the past year and provides in-depth state analysis on workplace safety. 

Alaska and Wyoming had the highest rates of worker fatalities in 2007, and New Hampshire and Rhode Island had the lowest rates. Oregon and South Carolina were the states with the lowest average penalties for employers who were cited for serious violations of worker safety protections.

This year’s report also examined job safety enforcement in cases of worker deaths, finding that the average national total penalty in fatality investigations was just $10,133.  Delaware had the lowest average penalties in fatality cases, with no penalties assessed, followed by Alaska, with $750 in penalties per fatality case, and Oregon with $793 in penalties.

The report was released to coincide with Workers Memorial Day, April 28, which commemorates workers killed or injured on the job. 


The MM&P Federal Credit Union (MM&P FCU) provides information on timely topics as part of its services to members. Here the credit union dispels some commonly held mistaken beliefs about the public availability of cell phone numbers.

The Federal Trade Commission has reiterated that despite the claims made in e-mails circulating on the Internet, consumers should not be concerned that their cell phone numbers will be released to telemarketers in the near future. It is therefore not necessary to register cell phone numbers on the National Do Not Call (DNC) Registry to be protected from most telemarketing calls to cell phones. Here is the truth about cell phones and the DNC Registry:

  • Contrary to information contained in some e-mails, cell phone numbers are NOT being released to telemarketers, and you will not soon be getting telemarketing calls on your cell phone.
  • There is no deadline by which you must register your cell phone number on the Registry.
  • Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations prohibit telemarketers from using automated dialers to call cell phone numbers. Automated dialers are standard in the industry, so most telemarketers are barred from calling consumers on their cell phones without their consent.
  • The national telemarketing associations have stated that their members do not intend to start calling consumers’ cell phones.
  • There is only one National DNC Registry. There is no separate registry for cell phones.  The DNC Registry accepts registrations from both cell phones and land lines. You must call from the phone number that you want to register. If you register online, you must respond to a confirmation e-mail.
  • Although the telecommunications industry has been discussing the possibility of creating a wireless 411 directory, according to the FCC, even if a wireless 411 directory were to be established, most telemarketing calls to cell phones would still be illegal, regardless of whether the number were listed on the federal government’s Do Not Call Registry.

    In addition, according to the telemarketing industry:

  • Your number would not be included in a wireless 411 directory unless you wanted it to be (i.e., you would have to “opt-in”); and
  • The wireless 411 directory would not be available in a printed, electronic or Internet list for telemarketers. In other words, a list of numbers on the wireless 411 directory would not be made available to telemarketers.

    For more on the DNC Registry, go to Information about a planned wireless 411 directory is at:


    In an article published in installments in the online maritime industry newsletter MarEx, Andy Hammond, who spent many years working as a manager at the Coast Guard’s Boston Regional Exam Center, offers a behind-the-scenes look at the NMC along with an overview of the centralization effort now underway. Hammond and MarEx Managing Editor Joe Keefe have given MM&P permission to post the entire article on To view the article, go to and click on “What’s New.”


    The members of Nautilus UK and Nautilus NL have voted overwhelmingly to form a trans-boundary union for maritime professionals. The new union will represent more than 25,000 members in both countries. “Shipping is the original globalized industry, and it makes sense for seafarers to organize across borders in response,” said Nautilus UK General Secretary Brian Orrell. The new trans-national union, Nautilus, will have a head office in the United Kingdom and national branches in each country with autonomy over specifically domestic issues. It will have a single executive council with 32 members, 24 English and eight Dutch. The merger will become effective next May.


    CLASS OPENINGS: Between now and the end of July, seats are available in the following courses:

    AIS-1 � Automatic Identification System (1 day), 7/11
    AIS ECDIS 3 for Pilots – Automatic Identification System and Electronic Chart Display Information System (3 day) for Pilots:  6/23

    ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 6/2

    BST – Basic Safety Training:  6/23
    BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 5/19, 6/16, 7/21
    BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 6/26

    [CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
    CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 6/16
    CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 6/9
    CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 1):  6/23
    CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 7/7
    CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display & Information Systems: 6/16
    CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 5/19, 7/28
    CMM-SHS-ADV-I-Advanced Shiphandling (week 1):  5/5
    CMM-SHS-ADV-II-Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 7/14
    CMM-SHMGT-I � Ship Management(week 1): 7/14
    CMM-SHMGT-II � Ship Management(week 2): 5/5, 7/21
    CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 5/12

    CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: 5/9
    CSE-AWR2 – Confined Space Entry Awareness (2 day): 6/16

    FF-BADV – Combined Basic & Advanced Fire Fighting: 6/23

    HAZ – Hazardous Materials 5 day Course: 4/14

    LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 6/25

    [MSC – Military Sealift Command]
    MSC-CBRD-1 – CBRD Orientation: 6/20
    MSC-DC – Damage Control: 6/18
    MSC-SMA – Small Arms Training: 6/16

    MED-PIC – Medical Person-In-Charge: 5/12, 6/9, 7/21
    MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 5/12, 6/9, 7/21  
    MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 5/17, 6/7, 7/26
    MEDIA RSP – Media Response: 5/8, 7/10

    ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original or Renewal (5 Day): 5/26
    ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 6/2, 7/7

    SEC-VCF – Security Officer: Vessel, Company & Facility: 7/7
    SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 6/16, 7/21
    SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling: 6/23, 7/28

    TPIC – Tankship Dangerous Liquids (PIC): 6/9

    …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. For class availability or info on MITAGS courses and programs, contact admissions toll-free at 866-656-5568 or by e-mail:


    PMI Web site at for more info


    SCHEDULE OF COURSES – (Course schedule also posted online at

    May 2008
    5-9       MED PRO
    5-9       SHS EMR
    8-9       BFF
    12-15   SHS BAS
    12-16   ECDIS
    12-16   BST
    12-16   ROP
    12-15   TPIC
    19-23   WKP BAS
    19-23   ROP
    26        ROR
    27         FL
    27-30  ARPA
    27-29  AFF
    27-31  WKP BAS/BRM
    28-30 CHS BAS

    June 2008
    2          FL
    2-20    TCNAV/CO
    2-6      ROP
    2-6      SHS ASSESS
    3-5      AFF
    9         ROR
    9-13    SHS ASSESS
    9-13    BST
    9-20    GMDSS
    10        FL
    10-13  ARPA
    16-20  MED PRO
    16-20  SHS BAS
    16-20  BST
    16-27  MED PIC
    23-25  SEC VCF
    23-27  ROP
    23-27  BAFF

    July 2008
    7-11MED PRO
    14-18MED PIC
    21-25STB BAS
    21-8/1SHS ADV
    28-30SEC VCF

    August 2008
    4-8MED PRO
    11-15MED PRO
    11-15SHS BAS
    25-29MED PRO
    25-29SHS BAS

    September 2008
    2-6CHS BAS
    2-6MED PRO
    8-12MED PIC
    9-12SHS EMR-5
    15-19WX BAS
    22-26MED PRO

    For registration call Jennifer Pitzen 888-893-7829


    High-quality clothing embroidered with the NEW PMI logo! We can ship these items also! Acceptable forms of payment are check, credit card, money order and exact cash. Call Laura Bendixen at 888-893-7829 for prices and to order. If we don’t have your size, we’ll be glad to special order for you at no extra cost.

    MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 4-25-2008

    D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
    12,849 2,429 1,389
    Fund Name & Trading Symbol
     Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund(VAARX)
     Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
     Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
     Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
     Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
     Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
     Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
     Vanguard Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
     Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
     Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
     Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
     Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
     Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
     Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
     Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
     Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
     Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
     Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
     Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
     Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
     Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
     Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
     Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
     Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
     Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
     Fidelity Small Company Instl (FMACX)
     Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
     Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
     Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX)
     Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
     Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
     Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
     Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
     Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
     Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
     Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
     Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
     Fidelity Freedom 2050 (FFFHX)
     Fidelity Total Bond Fund (FTBFX)
     Spartan Extended market Index Fund (FSEMX)
     Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
     Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)

    ~ Reminders ~




    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:, 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:, by fax to 410-850-0973 or by mail to:

    Richard Plant, Director of Special Projects

    700 Maritime Blvd.
    Linthicum Heights, MD 21090


    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 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.


    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.



    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:

    6.50 percent for terms up to 24 months.
    Standard loan rates for longer-term loans are:

    6.75 percent for 25-48 months;
    7.50 percent for 49-60 months ($20,000 minimum); and
    8.00 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.

    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 or call 1-800-382-7777 toll-free.




    As you know, effective July 1, 2007, MM&P will have a new Prescription Benefit Manager, PharmaCare. If you use the mail service and have not sent your Confidential Mail Service Enrollment Form to the MM&P Plan Office, you have until June 30 to do so. Otherwise, you can call PharmaCare’s customer service line and give them the information over the telephone or send the form with your first new mail prescription directly to PharmaCare. In the next couple of days, you will be receiving a letter with your new MM&P identification cards and a prescription booklet with information on how to obtain your prescriptions. PharmaCare’s customer service number is listed in the booklet. If you have any questions, please contact the MM&P Health & Benefit Plan Advisors.


    As you know, MM&P Health & Benefit Plan members have a new prescription benefit manager, PharmaCare. When you first obtain a prescription at your retail drug store, please show your new Health & Benefit Identification Card with PharmaCare’s information. If you do not show your card, please inform your pharmacist of the following information so you can receive your prescriptions through the Plan. Your identification number HAS NOT CHANGED. Please provide the pharmacist with your full member identification number. You will have to also provide the following numbers. RxGrp#- Z50136968, RxBin: 610468 and RxPCN: PC2 

    If your pharmacist has any questions, he or she should call PharmaCare directly at (800) 503-3241.  If you have any questions, PharmaCare members can call the company directly at (888) 364-6815.


    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

    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.



    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)


    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 and click on “Union Made Product Search”. To shop for union-made products online, go to



    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,, 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. 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.

    © 2008, 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