News

Wheelhouse Weekly – August 09, 2010

August 9th 2010

 

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

Volume 14 . . . . . Number 32. . . .August 9, 2010

STORIES COVERED

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


RECENT USCG TERMINAL ACCESS AUTHORIZATION RAISES NEW QUESTIONS

In response to a request from a terminal in Texas, the Coast Guard has issued a “seafarer access authorization” that allows up to five non-U.S. crewmembers without Transportation Worker Identification Credentials (TWICs) access to the terminal security van pickup area, provided they are accompanied by the ship security officer. The news was relayed by INTERTANKO to maritime attorney Dennis Bryant, who reported it in his online newsletter, Bryant’s Maritime News.

The Coast Guard authorization states that Baytown ExxonMobil Complex can allow a foreign ship’s vessel security officer (VSO) or an officer designee to accompany up to five non-U.S. crewmembers from the ship’s gangway to the security van pickup area. The Coast Guard said it has determined that the procedure is “an equivalent arrangement under the regulations relating to security measures for access control at waterfront facilities.”

This development is significant in that it authorizes access to seafarers under the authority of the ship’s own security officer. Additionally, since it implies that a foreign ship’s security procedures are equivalent to the terminal’s security procedures, it is a step forward on the issue of facilitating access under the ISPS Code. Many seafarers of all nationalities are routinely denied access to shore by terminals in different countries, including the United States.

For the first time, the USCG is permitting a foreign national who is the ship’s security officer or another designated ship’s officer to act as escort for their own foreign crew members. But none of the ships’ officers who are now authorized to act as escorts have had background security checks and a TWIC as required of American mariners under U.S. law.

Another problem with this arrangement is that it will be difficult for ships to accommodate: someone from the ship has to escort the crew, five at a time, to the gate. Ships’ officers and crews are already stretched. It is often difficult, if not impossible, to dedicate someone to security: officers may be reluctant to take on the responsibility; the company may not want to pay the officer overtime; finally, there may be violations of rules on hours of work and rest. These problems could result in de facto denials of shore leave in some cases.

The request by the Baytown ExxonMobil Complex and the resulting Coast Guard authorization are important in that they recognize seafarers’ need for shore leave. But the recent development does not fill the need for a uniform body of regulations and policies governing access to shore that is implemented across the United States.


NOAA STILL EXPECTS ACTIVE ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON; LA NINA DEVELOPS

The Atlantic Basin remains on track for an active hurricane season, according to the scheduled seasonal outlook update issued last week by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service. The season’s peak–late August through October–is just around the corner.

NOAA also announced that, as predicted last spring, La Nina has formed in the tropical Pacific Ocean. This favors lower wind shear over the Atlantic Basin, allowing storm clouds to grow and organize. Other climate factors pointing to an active hurricane season are warmer-than-average water in the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean, and the tropical multi-decadal signal, which since 1995 has brought favorable ocean and atmospheric conditions in unison, leading to more active seasons.

Across the entire Atlantic Basin for the whole season–June 1 to Nov. 30–NOAA’s updated outlook is projecting, with a 70 percent probability, a total of (including Alex, Bonnie and Colin): 14 to 20 named storms (top winds of 39 mph or higher), including:  eight to 12 hurricanes (top winds of 74 mph or higher), of which: four to six could be major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of at least 111 mph).

These ranges are still indicative of an active season, compared to the average of 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes; however, the upper bounds of the ranges have been lowered from the initial outlook in late May, which reflected the possibility of even more early season activity.


LORAN-C TRAINING NO LONGER NECESSARY, COAST GUARD SAYS

Six months after the Coast Guard ceased transmission of the Loran-C signal, it has announced that mariners are no longer required to demonstrate competency navigating by use of Loran-C. National Maritime Center Deputy Director Brian K. Eisentrout circulated a directive on Aug. 2 stating that mariners applying for Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) endorsement as Officer in Charge of a Navigational Watch (OICNW) will no longer be required to complete the practical assessment to determine a ship’s position by use of electronic LORAN navigational aids. The Coast Guard ceased transmission of the Loran-C signal on Feb. 8.


LEGISLATION TO BOOST GREAT LAKES DREDGING MOVES FORWARD IN CONGRESS

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on July 29 approved legislation that would require the government to fund dredging operations with the tax dollars deposited annually in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund. Similar legislation, sponsored by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) has 15 co-sponsors in the Senate.

At present, much of the money deposited to the trust fund is not actually used for dredging. The legislation, Section 2007 of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA),  provision was derived from another bill sponsored by Reps. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) and Charles Boustany (R-La.). Their bill, HR 4844, requires that amounts credited to the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund be used for harbor maintenance. It has almost 50 co-sponsors.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James L. Oberstar (D-Minn.), is one of the major advocates of legislation that would increase dredging, in particular, on the Great Lakes.

“Every time a vessel leaves port with its holds less than full we are denying the American economy the efficiencies for which Great Lakes shipping was designed,” says James H.I. Weakley, president of the Great Lakes Maritime Task Force. “Decades of inadequate funding for the Army Corps of Engineers’ dredging program have left 15 million cubic yards of sediment clogging the Great Lakes,” he says.  Big U.S.-flag freighters lose 270 tons of cargo for each inch of reduced draft. At the end of July, vessels designed to carry about 70,000 tons of iron ore or coal each trip are loading only about 65,000 tons because of the falling water levels.


SUICIDE BOMB ATTACK PROBABLY DAMAGED JAPANESE SUPERTANKER

Investigators believe that a small terrorist group linked to al-Qaida is responsible for damage to the Mitsui O.S.K. Lines supertanker M. STAR on July 28 as it transited the Strait of Hormuz. The terrorist group, “the Brigades of Abdullah Azzam,” posted a statement on the Internet claiming responsibility for the attack, in which one crewmember was injured. The tanker sustained a square-shaped dent on the rear side of the hull. The ship, loaded with 270,000 tons of oil, was heading from Das Island in the United Arab Emirates to the Japanese port of Chiba outside Tokyo. The web post by the militant group included a photo of a white-robed man identified as “the martyr Ayyub al-Tishan.”He is shown pointing at a photo of a tanker on a laptop computer.  


PIRATES ATTACK NORWEGIAN CHEMICAL TANKER

An attack on the Norwegian chemical tanker BOW SAGA was repelled by the Spanish frigate VICTORIA. According to the authorities, when BOW SAGA was transiting the Gulf of Aden Internationally Recognized Corridor, a pirate skiff with seven people on board shot at the bridge, damaging the windows. Crewmembers aboard the BOW SAGA deployed water hoses to prevent the pirates from climbing on board, and the officers on the bridge undertook evasive action. VICTORIA already had her helicopter in the air and was able to intervene only ten minutes after the call. The skiff was searched by a boarding team from VICTORIA. Weapons were recovered. The pirates are now being held by European Union Naval Forces.

In related news, pirates hijacked a cargo ship off the coast of Somalia in the early hours of Monday, Aug. 2. The Panamanian-flagged ship MV SUEZ reported being under small arms fire from a pirate attack. A second report from the ship said there were pirates on board. There has been no word since from the ship.


NAVY DESTROYER COLLIDES WITH PASSENGER BOAT

The Navy destroyer SHOUP collided with a small passenger boat off the coast of Southern California last week. Both vessels sustained minor damage but no one was injured. SHOUP was participating in an at-sea training exercise with the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group in the Southern California Operating Area, a large offshore training and weapons range.


RESULTS OF OFFSHORE CONTRACT RATIFICATION BALLOT

By a wide margin, members of the MM&P Offshore Group have approved all nine contracts submitted to them for approval as part of a 90-day ballot distributed in April. The union extends a sincere thank you to the members of the Official Ballot Committee who were present at the count and certified the results: Ted Bernhard, Keith Finnerty and Chris Kavanagh.


SEPT. 8-9 MERPAC MEETING CANCELLED

The Sept. 8-9 meeting of the Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee (MERPAC) will not take place because Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has not signed MERPAC’s charter. We will provide more information as it becomes available.


APU GRADUATE DEGREE ORIENTATION AT MITAGS ON AUG. 11

The American Public University (APU) system will conduct a graduate degree orientation seminar at MITAGS on Wednesday, Aug. 11, at 7:00 p.m. All previous and current MITAGS Chief Mate/Master (CMM) program students are invited to attend. APU allows transfer of academic credit earned from completing the MITAGS CMM License Advancement Program courses into its own graduate degree and certificate programs. All APU courses are delivered on-line so mariners can pursue their educational goals from wherever they are. “This ground-breaking agreement affords merchant mariners the opportunity to complete their graduate degrees from anywhere they have access to the Internet, no matter where and when they travel throughout their maritime career,” said Victor Tufts, program manager at MITAGS. For additional information, contact him at 443-989-3531 or e-mail vtufts@mitags.org. You can also visit the MITAGS website: www.mitags.org.


D-BOOK MEMBERSHIP CLASS AT MM&P HEADQUARTERS AUG. 13-14

The D-Book Membership class will be held at MM&P headquarters on the evening of Aug. 13 and all day Saturday, Aug. 14. All applicants should complete the D-Book Membership Class as soon as possible to avoid delays in becoming members. Applicants should take the course before completing 360 days of covered employment. For more information and to sign up for the Aug. 13-14 course, please contact MM&P Contracts Officer Lars Turner: lturner@bridgedeck.org or 410-850-8700 ext. 28.


SHOP AT UNIONIZED ONLINE BOOKSTORE FOR YOUR BACK-TO-SCHOOL BOOKS

Did you know that there is a unionized online bookstore that offers new and used books at affordable prices? Visit http://www.powells.com/ for your back-to-school book purchases, including textbooks. At Powell’s, you can also sell your gently used books. Go to www.powells.com to find out more.


MITAGS ANNOUNCES NEW MANAGEMENT, COMMUNICATIONS AND LEADERSHIP COURSE

MITAGS has launched a new five-day course designed for senior ships officers and company management. “The course was developed for Horizon Lines, but the first four days are applicable to all mariners sailing at the management or department levels,” said MITAGS Executive Director Paine. “Effective ship management requires training in both technical and personnel skills. The new Management, Communication, and Leadership Course focus on the soft skills necessary for today modern shipboard operations.” The topics covered include: “leadership versus management”; generational differences; conducting meetings; and disciplinary methods. For more information, please contact Bob Becker: rbecker@mitags.org or 443-989-3235.


MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

CLASS OPENINGS: Between now and the end of September 2010, as of the Friday before this publication, seats are available in the following courses:

ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 9/10

BRM-Bridge Resource Management: 9/27
BST-Basic Safety Training: 8/16

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 9/13
CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 9/20
CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Operations (week 1): 9/27
CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants (with optional DCS): 8/30
CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 8/16, 9/13, 9/27
CMM-SHS-ADV-I I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 8/9, 9/20
CMM-SHPMGT II – Ship Management (week 2) 8/2
CMM-VPEN – Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 8/9
CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 8/23

CONSTB – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 8/9
CNAV – Celestial Navigation: 8/23

ENVIRO-Regs Permit – Environmental Regulations Permit: 9/1
EP � Emergency Procedures: 9/15

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 8/16

HAZ- Hazardous Materials (5 Day): 8/23

[LAP – Must be USCG Approved for the Licensing Test to attend]
LAP – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, 500/1600T: 8/16
LAP – License Advancement Program for Chief Mate & Master: 9/20

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 9/14, 9/20

MED-PIC – Medical Person In Charge: 8/23, 9/27
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 8/23, 9/27
MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 8/28, 10/2

[Military Sealift Command Courses]
MSC-CBRD1 – Basic CBR Defense: 8/13
MSC-DC – Damage Control: 8/9
MSC-SMA – Small Arms: 8/9

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 8/9

SAR � Search and Rescue: 9/13
SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 8/30
SHS-EMR- Emergency Shiphandling: 8/23

TPIC – Tankerman Person In Charge: 9/27

WKP-BAS – Basic Watchkeeping: 9/27
WX-BAS – Basic Meteorology: 9/20

…remember: If you can’t make the class, make the call.  Be courteous, don’t be a “no show.”


Check the MITAGS website at www.mitags.org for course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations, and schedule revisions. For class availability or info on MITAGS courses and programs, contact admissions toll-free at 866-656-5568 or e-mail: admissions@mitags.org.


PMI ACADEMIC NOTES

Schedule of Courses – Please also see our schedule online at www.mates.org

For registration, call our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen, at (206) 838-1126

August 2010

16-20  ECDIS
16-20  Tankerman Person-In-Charge
23        Radar Renewal

September 2010

7-17   Celestial Navigation
13       Security Refresher
13-24  GMDSS
14-16  Security VCF
20-24  Basic Construction & Stability
20-22  Fast Rescue Boat
27       Radar Renewal
27-1   Basic Shiphandling
27-1   ECDIS

October 2010

4-8    Tankerman Person-In-Charge
4-15  Basic Watchkeeping with BRM
11-22GMDSS
12-15ARPA
18-29 Celestial Navigation
18-22 Medical Care Provider
18-29 Medical Person-In-Charge
23     Med DOT
25-27 Fast Rescue Boat
27     Radar Renewal


MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 8-6-10

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
10,674.98 2,288.47 1,121.64
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Closing
Price
 Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund (VAARX)
50.56
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
103.45
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
34.72
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
17.28
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
15.47
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
23.30
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
11.09
 Vanguard Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
27.44
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
5.61
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
15.72
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
20.10
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
13.89
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
18.33
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
11.49
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
11.78
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
11.70
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
11.91
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
12.33
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
10.81
 Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
27.85
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
15.28
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
14.32
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
15.99
 Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
10.66
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
62.67
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
59.88
 Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
16.38
 Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX)
38.32
 Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
27.39
 Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
24.22
 Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
11.03
 Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
11.69
 Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
12.83
 Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
12.82
 Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
12.59
 Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
7.25
 Fidelity Freedom 2050 (FFFHX)
8.41
 Fidelity Total Bond Fund (FTBFX)
10.99
 Spartan Extended market Index Fund (FSEMX)
32.17
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
39.76
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
26.41



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: iommp@bridgedeck.org. For further info or to subscribe contact Lisa Rosenthal at lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org. The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea and is posted on our web page.

© 2010, 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: lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org. For changes of address, contact Lisa Rosenthal at lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org.




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