Wheelhouse Weekly – August 06, 2013

August 6th 2013


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

Volume 17 . . . Number 32. . . Aug. 6, 2013


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


MM&P President Don Marcus, along with Congressman Elijah Cummings, MEBA President Mike Jewell, SIU President Mike Sacco and AMO President Tom Bethel, met on July 31 with Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Acting Maritime Administrator Chip Jaenichen. 

The meeting, which was organized by Congressman Cummings, focused primarily on the need for administration support to help secure full funding for the Maritime Security Program (MSP). The union presidents and Cummings made clear to the Secretary that without full MSP funding, U.S.-flag vessels would be forced out of MSP and could well be forced to leave the U.S.-flag, which would send American maritime jobs overseas and weaken America’s sealift capability.

Following the meeting, MM&P President Marcus noted that everyone “was extremely impressed with the new Secretary’s understanding of the importance of both the domestic and international U.S.-flag fleet to America’s economic and military security. We greatly appreciate Secretary Foxx and Acting Administrator Jaenichen’s willingness to work with us as we push for full funding for the Maritime Security Program.”


Nearly 90 percent of the cost of gas is driven by three things: the price of crude oil, refining costs and taxes, says Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.). The remaining 10 percent is attributable to marketing, distribution and retailing, leaving room, however big or small, for profit. On this basis, Hunter says, claims by Gulf Oil CEO Joe Petrowski that repealing the Jones Act would cut gas prices by 30 cents a gallon are no more than “wishful thinking.” Hunter is chairman of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation.

“There are many reasonable and relevant proposals to lower gas prices for American families and secure greater energy independence, but repealing the Jones Act is not one of them,” Hunter wrote in an OpEd that was posted last week in a number of online publications.

“To refute the claim that the Jones Act contributes to higher gas prices, it’s necessary to emphasize that the cost of moving a gallon of gasoline on a U.S. ship is less than one penny per gallon, on average,” Hunter says. Overall, the maritime cost is marginal and rarely considered a factor in gasoline prices. It is also a general rule that when the price of crude oil increases, as it has recently, so does the price of gasoline.

“The reality is that the Jones Act, despite claims to the contrary, has little to do with price fluctuations at the pump,” Hunter says. “Calls for its repeal have long been based on misleading presumptions and incomplete information, much of it originating from industries in direct competition with the U.S. maritime industry.”

Hunter said these competing interests “perpetually make the case for replacing U.S. workers and vessels with foreign companies and ships to facilitate trade within our borders—an unprecedented dynamic that would put foreign actors in direct control of domestic commerce.” He said the rate and frequency with which anti-U.S.-flag fleet interests pile on to overturn the Jones Act reminds him of predators “smelling blood in the water.”

“From supplementing global defense sealift capability to revitalizing elements of a waning industrial base, the U.S. maritime industry is a security and economic asset kept strong and healthy by the Jones Act,” Hunter says, adding that the U.S.-flag fleet is particularly essential in today’s era of a shrinking Navy.


MM&P has again joined Federal Workers Alliance (FWA) unions in a collective protest against proposals now in Congress that would further cut the pay and benefits of federal employees, including members of the MM&P Federal Employees Membership Group (FEMG). Together, the FWA unions represent more than 300,000 federal workers. Federal employees, including some civil service mariners who belong to MM&P, are suffering unpaid furlough days, three-years of pay freezes, cuts to their retirement and increased healthcare contributions.

The newest attacks come in the form of two bills introduced by Republicans Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Lynn Jenkins of Kansas.

HR 1541, the “Common Sense in Compensation Act,” would place a 5 percent limit on any form of financial compensation, including merit-based performance awards and quality step increases, that federal employees can receive while the sequester is in effect. In essence, the bill would take away a government agency’s ability to mitigate the impact of unpaid furlough days.

HR 2711, the “Citizen Empowerment Act,” would allow every official interaction with any executive branch employee, whether by phone or face-to-face, to be recorded by the other party. In certain cases, executive branch employees would be required to notify the other party of their right to record the interaction. If the executive branch employee failed to provide notification, they would be subject to “appropriate disciplinary action.” No exception is made in the legislation for sensitive communications, such as law enforcement investigations.

“These bills unfairly target federal employees and do not reflect the best interest of our government,” the FWA said in a letter that was sent to every member of the House of Representatives on July 31. “They would increase the financial hardship on these middle class employees and hinder the government’s ability to deliver important services to the American people.”


The White House and Congress should act promptly, in tandem with the maritime industry, to strengthen the U.S.-flag fleet, says Rear Adm. Wendi B. Carpenter, the president of SUNY Maritime. “The imperative for a holistic United States maritime strategy has never been greater” Carpenter wrote in a column that was published in the July 2013 issue of “Maritime News.”          

“Environmental standards, safety and enforcement are improved by having American-owned vessels and U.S citizen-crews,” she wrote. Carpenter lauded Congressional advocates of the American Merchant Marine, including Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr. (R-Calif.) and Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.). But she also urged everyone who works in our industry to speak up and take a stand.

“It is up to us to encourage Congress to support and work ever more closely with leaders of the American maritime industry to create “THE” comprehensive maritime strategy and pass legislation that will not only support, but also spur further growth in our industry,” Carpenter wrote. “History has shown us what can happen when stakeholders come together, roll up their sleeves and work toward feasible solutions.”


Leaders of the AFL-CIO will ask delegates at its convention, scheduled for Sept. 8-11 in Los Angeles, to enact a massive revamp of the labor movement. The plan is the result of hundreds of forums and discussions that union affiliates of the AFL-CIO nationwide have hosted on how to restore worker power in the United States. What convention delegates will be asked to do in small-group sessions in Los Angeles is figure out the nuts and bolts of the reconstruction. The months-long “revamp dialogue” has drawn 4,700 people to forums hosted by unions and labor groups, as well as almost 3 million Facebook and Twitter posts, “shares” and “retweets.” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka presented the preliminary results to the AFL-CIO Council at the end of July.

The revamp is needed, Trumka says, because the labor movement faces a huge crisis, with private-sector union density at its lowest point since the 1920s. That lessens labor’s influence and hurts workers, union and non-union, by removing a counterweight to the growing power of corporate interests. Only seven percent of private sector workers are unionized and public-sector unions, whose growth helped lessen the slide in overall U.S. union density–now around 12 percent — have also seen membership declines since the Great Recession hit. “The labor movement is organized around the workforce that was, not is,” says AFL-CIO worker safety expert Peg Seminario. “With the growth of the service sector, the self-employed and contingent workers, the labor movement needs to change.”              

Issues that are being discussed include whether the AFL-CIO should transform itself into a voice for all workers, organized and unorganized, with an eye towards eventually organizing and bargaining for the newer members. At the top of every list: the fight for quality jobs. And respondents said labor should not abandon or downgrade the key way to achieve that goal, collective bargaining, but supplement it with other avenues to good jobs and other goals. There is consensus that labor can’t do it alone and with its present structure.

“This is about organizing and broadening the labor movement, increasing political power and involvement and also about how to deal with a global economy,” Seminario says.  “We need to look at new initiatives to enable more people to become part of the labor movement.”

She said respondents frequently cited Working America, the AFL-CIO’s group for people who won’t or can’t join unions, as an example of how to add members. Participants also reiterated—strongly—that labor should make it clear it is not tied to the Democratic Party, and vice versa. They said labor’s political operations should emphasize issues, such as higher wages, a living wage, the rights of public workers and shared prosperity, and not politicians. 


National transportation appropriations legislation, traditionally an example of bipartisan collaboration in Congress, went down to defeat last week. “It is a sad state of affairs when obstructionists in Washington can keep our economy and our deteriorating transportation system on hold while they carry out their austerity-laced partisan agenda,” said AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department President Edward Wytkind in an official statement.  “With today’s vote to kill the once bipartisan transportation appropriations jobs bill, the Senate Republican leadership has, yet again, snatched economic defeat from the jaws of victory.”

The Senate’s failure to pass its version of a transportation appropriations bill came on the heels of Republican leaders in the House pulling the transportation appropriations jobs bill from the floor on Wednesday after debate had already begun. The House bill would have made drastic cuts to transportation programs already reeling from the impact of earlier budget reductions and sequestration. Sponsors of the House bill, Wytkind said, “have learned the hard and embarrassing lesson that there aren’t enough votes to support a bill that makes radical cuts to programs that improve American life and boost our economy.”

“It is difficult to watch this spectacle given all the hot rhetoric we hear from these same obstructionists about the need to create good jobs in America. This is a jobs bill,” he added. “For every billion dollars we invest in transportation, more than 30,000 Americans go to work and we boost manufacturing as well. Do the math:  we have 12 million unemployed Americans. Perhaps the senators who opposed this bill would like to ask a few of them if they’d like a chance to apply for the jobs they just voted to kill?”

“This has fast become the worst period in the modern era for dysfunction and destructive partisanship in Washington,” he concluded. “If the leaders that voters send to Washington cannot even direct investments to support the daily needs of Americans and businesses, such as a safe and reliable transportation system, then something is seriously wrong.”

Wytkind said the nation’s transportation unions will continue to mobilize in favor of transportation job investments and “publicly call out those in office who are pushing a dangerous austerity agenda that is accelerating the erosion of our transportation system, undermining American competitiveness, and dooming millions of Americans to long-term unemployment.”


The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is fully staffed and able to continue to function to protect workers’ rights after the U.S. Senate last week confirmed five members. The votes end a months-long blockade on President Obama’s nominees by Senate Republicans who threatened to shut the board down on Aug. 27.

The five members are current NLRB Chairman Mark Pearce; Nancy Schiffer, a former AFL-CIO associate general counsel; and NLRB attorney Kent Hirozawa, currently the chief counsel to Pearce; and attorneys Philip Miscimarra and Harry Johnson, who represent management in labor-management relations.

Earlier this month, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was set to change Senate rules on filibusters, Republicans ended their obstruction of the NLRB nominees, Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez and several others.


The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) says the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should “take a step back” and conduct an assessment of the overall effectiveness of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) before requiring the industry to introduce card readers.

In official comments to the docket regarding the TWIC reader rulemaking proposal, the ILWU said the entire program should be re-examined. “We urge the Department of Homeland Security to take a step back and order a neutral assessment of the efficacy of the TWIC program as a whole before imposing reader requirements on maritime employers and their workforces and adding to the program’s already high costs,” wrote ILWU attorney Leonard Carder.

One concern voiced by industry representatives of our industry who submitted comments was that the TWIC reader rule might actually have a negative effect on port security. They predicted that the high cost of installing readers might lead port facilities to compensate by reducing the number of security personnel. Another frequent comment: that access points to secure areas on some vessels, particularly smaller ones, are not even manned—which would make the readers useless in any case.


The 2013-2014 midterm Congressional election cycle is in full swing and a number of senators and representatives who support our industry are facing serious, well-financed challenges. Many of these members of Congress–Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives–have worked with us to preserve the Jones Act, to fund the Maritime Security Program and to save the PL 480 food aid program and its U.S.-flag shipping requirement. These members of Congress stand with us and support us at every turn. It is now important for us to stand with them and give them the support they need to run successful reelection campaigns.

To support the legislators who stand with us, each MM&P active and retired member and employee should make a contribution to the MM&P PCF as quickly as possible. The attacks against our industry show no sign of letting up. Our success and our jobs are directly dependent on those who know and understand the importance of a strong U.S.-flag maritime industry to our nation’s economic, military and homeland security and who are willing to fight for the U.S.-flag merchant marine.

It is essential that each of us support the MM&P PCF to the maximum degree possible so that we in turn can support our friends and supporters in Congress.  To contribute, please go to today!


Please be sure that MM&P has your current address on file, as well as your e-mail address and cell phone number. If your address has recently changed, or if you have not yet given MM&P your e-mail address and cell phone number, please send an e-mail to that includes your full name, MM&P membership group and complete contact information.


MM&P President Don Marcus will attend the membership meeting being conducted by Atlantic Ports Vice President Don Josberger at the MM&P Charleston Hall on Wednesday, Aug. 14, at 1100 hours.


MITAGS-PMI is seeking part-time simulator operators for the Transas simulation system. Simulator operators are responsible for planning for use of the simulators in all courses and assisting other team members of the Engineering Department in service and support of computer network systems.

Major duties include preparing and operating ship simulators for use in courses, assisting simulation engineers in daily system checks and problem solving, assisting in the development of ship models and databases for simulation systems by organizing and preparing documentation of model and database testing, as well as other reports as required.

Applicants should have knowledge of, or work experience in, the maritime industry. Applicants with a background or degree in Computer Science/Engineering or other related field, with two years’ experience in network support, systems integration and programming, experience servicing and designing local area networks and personal computer systems and analyzing computer systems, can be considered.

In addition all applicants must be able to work flexible hours, to include early morning, evening and/or weekend schedules, have excellent writing and communications skills, and proficiency in use of Microsoft Office Suite. This position requires moderate physical activity. If you are interested in this position, forward a cover letter and resume to the Human Resource Manager, Jane Sibiski,


The 2006 Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) will enter into force on Aug. 20, 2013.  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.

Please note: There is a new dedicated fax line for Admissions only: 1-443-568-1928. For all other MITAGS business, please continue to use: 410-859-5181.

Between now and the end of September, the following courses are scheduled at MITAGS.  Please be advised that the schedule is subject to change. For class availability or info on MITAGS courses and programs, contact Kelly Michielli, Admissions Coordinator, toll-free at 866-656-5568 or e-mail: Or, try our on-line calendar to register for class:

AB – Able Seaman: 8/19/13, 10/14/13

AIS-1 – Automatic Identification Systems Orientation: 9/30/13

ARPA – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 8/13/13, 9/24/13, 10/29/13

AZIPOD (2-DAY) for Pilots: 10/3/13

BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 8/26/13

BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots:  8/19/13, 9/23/13

BST – Basic Safety Training: 8/12/13, 10/7/13

CHS-BAS – Cargo Handling Basic: 10/21/13

CONSTB – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 1/27/14

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 9/23/13

CMM-ADVNAV – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): 9/9/13

CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 10/28/13

CMM-CHS – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 8/12/13

CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 9/9/13, 10/28/13

CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 8/26/13, 10/21/13

CMM-SHMGT – Ship Management (2 weeks): 10/7/13

CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 9/9/13, 9/23/13, 10/21/13

CMM-SHS-ADV-I I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 9/16/13, 9/30/13, 10/28/13

CMM-VPEN – 9/16/13

CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 9/30/13

ECDIS-ENAV – 10/1/13

ECDIS-OICNW – 10/14/13

ENVIRO-Regs Permit – Environmental Regulations Permit: 8/26/13

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep and Medications:  9/18/13

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 8/12/13, 10/7/13

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 8/19/13

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 9/16/13

LAP – License Advancement Program for C/Mate & Master: 9/23/13

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 9/25/13, 10/8/13

MCL OICNW –Management, Communications, and Leadership OICNW level: 9/3/13

MEDIA-RSP – Media Response Workshop:  11/6/13

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 9/9/13, 10/14/13

MED-PIC -R– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 11/11/13

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 9/9/13, 10/14/13, 10/28/13

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 8/17/13, 9/14/13, 10/12/13, 10/19/13

MSC -SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 8/19/13, 9/30/13

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 8/19/13, 9/30/13

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 8/23/13, 10/4/13

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 8/14/13, 8/28/13, 9/11/13, 9/18/13, 10/2/13, 10/9/13, 10/16/13, 10/30/13

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 8/12/13, 9/23/13, 10/28/13

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal: 10/21/13

SEC-VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 9/4/13

SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 8/12/13, 10/7/13

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling: 8/19/13, 10/14/13

SHS-ESH-BRMP3 – Emergency Shiphandling and Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 10/7/13

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 1/6/14

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge:  8/26/13

TTT – Train the Trainer: 8/12/13

WX-BAS – Basic Meteorology: 9/16/13

…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.

August 2013

12th       Radar Renewal                
12th       Med DOT
12-23     GMDSS
19-23     Medical Care Provider
20th       RFPNW Assessments
26-30  ECDIS
26-30  Basic Cargo Handling and Stowage

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.

© 2013, 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