Wheelhouse Weekly – August 10, 2001

August 10th 2001


Bridging the Information Gap With E-News You Can Use

Volume 5. . . . . Number 32. . . August 10, 2001





As the Bush administration and Congress debate the future of the Title XI shipbuilding loan guarantee program, MM&P-contracted AHL Shipping Co. of New Orleans has submitted a request for a $123.6 million guarantee to build two double-hull tankers at a total cost of $141 million. It plans to build the approx. 45,000 dwt ships at the Kvaerner Philadelphia Shipyard yard. As previously reported, on August 2, the approval of the pending Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) was granted for AHL employees.

Brian Smith, vice president of business development at Kvaerner, said his company has had discussion with several US companies about building similar, handy-sized tankers. He says the company reckons there will be a need for 10-12 tankers of this size to be built in the next five years as provisions of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 kick in and require single hull tankers to be replaced by vessels with double hulls. AHL was the first Jones Act tanker fleet to comply with OPA 90 double hulls on its four vessels.

Besides AHL, several other companies planning to build new vessels have submitted requests for $384 million in guarantees since mid-July. Keystone Shipping has signed a letter of intent with the Philadelphia Shipyard to build four similar double-hull tankers, each costing $68 million.

Viking High Speed Ferries Inc. has submitted a request for three catamaran vessels that it wants to build at Austal USA in Mobile at a cost of $126 million. Austal is a shipyard that specializes in the construction of high-speed, aluminum craft. Viking seeks a $107.4 million guarantee.

Finally, a company called Vessel Leasing LLC is seeking to build 225 covered hopper barges at the Jeffboat shipyard in Jeffersonville, Indiana at a cost of $65 million. It is seeking a $56.9 million guarantee.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Under the headline, “Merchant Marine’s Demise Endangers War Readiness”, the Baltimore Sun ran an in-depth two-part series that appeared in this week’s (Aug.5-6) editions.

The first feature in the series chronicled “how the rapid dwindling of the US-flag cargo fleet has left the Pentagon short of sailors to crew the ships that would supply the military if war broke out. That poses a threat to national security.”

The second feature details to readers the main reasons why the US-flag merchant fleet “once the world’s dominant cargo fleet … has nearly vanished.”

The well-researched articles quote many sources within the US-flag maritime community and they make compelling reading. Both are filled with facts and figures and make an excellent resource in describing to the general public the current state of US-flag shipping and what may lie ahead.

The articles are available online at:

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



The following is an excerpt from a letter-to-the-editor sent to the Baltimore Sun regarding their feature articles on the demise of the US merchant marine from International President Tim Brown.

“On behalf of the Maryland-based Masters, Mates & Pilots Union (MM&P), I am writing to thank you for your recent articles on the plight of America’s merchant marine (Ships without Sailors, August 5 and 6, 2001). We agree that the growing shortage of trained, American seafaring personnel poses a serious security risk for our nation, and you are to be commended for bringing this issue to the public’s attention.

“The MM&P believes that the best solution to this problem is to have a larger US-flag merchant fleet. Unless merchant mariners have employment during times of peace, mariners will not be available in times of war to crew the ships needed to transport and supply America’s forces overseas. It is impractical and dangerous to assume that America’s maritime manpower problems can be rectified by calling-up retirees who have left the industry, have not kept up their skills and certifications, and are unlikely to be familiar with today’s equipment, and technology.

“Rather, maritime labor, management, and the government must come together to support innovative policies and programs that will increase the pool of trained, loyal, active American mariners and to keep and attract merchant vessels for the US-flag.

“The economic and military security of our nation continues to require a strong, active commercial United States-flag merchant fleet. We must begin now to build upon the programs and policies that work. “

Here are some MM&P iniatives:

  • “To encourage the employment of Americans on all American-owned merchant vessels, America’s tax law should exempt the income earned by American mariners working outside the United States from Federal tax just as the income of other Americans working beyond our borders (and the income earned by many foreign mariners) is exempt;
  • “To preserve and expand the number of commercial vessels and shipboard jobs in the United States-flag maritime industry, the existing Maritime Security Program should be extended, expanded and more realistically funded; and
  • “To attract and bring back vessels to the United States-flag merchant marine, America’s tax code for American shipping companies should mirror the tonnage tax regimes that have worked so well in other nations.

“The size of our fleet and the dwindling supply of American crews proves that the status quo is largely not working. It is time for our maritime programs, policies, tax and regulatory frameworks to be adapted to today’s shipping environment. The MM&P stands ready to work with those in our government and our industry who share our commitment to a stronger, larger, more competitive US-flag merchant marine.”

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Air Force Gen. Charles “Tony” Robertson, the current commander-in-chief of the US Transportation Command and commander of the Air Mobility Command has announced that he will retire following 33 years of service. He has served in both positions since Sept. 1998. The date of the retirement ceremony has not been set and will be announced later.

President Bush has nominated US Air Force vice chief of staff Gen. John Handy to be the next commander-in-chief of the US Transportation Command and commander, Air Mobility Command. The nomination is subject to Senate confirmation.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



The USCG Captain of the Port of Baltimore is preparing a letter of recommendation as to the suitability of the Chesapeake Bay waterway for liquefied hazardous gas (LHG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG) marine traffic in response to a request to operate the LNG facility at Cove Point, MD.

In preparation for issuance of the letter of recommendation, the USCG will sponsor a public meeting to receive comments regarding the suitability of the Chesapeake Bay waterway for LHG or LNG vessel traffic.

The meeting will be held Thurs, Aug.23, from 1530 to 1900 hrs. Those who plan to speak at the meeting should provide their name by Aug.21. The comment period associated with the public meeting will remain open for seven days following the meeting. Written comments and related material must reach the Coast Guard on or before Aug.30.

The meeting location is: The Holiday Inn, 155 Holiday Drive, Solomon’s Island, MD. You may submit written comments to the USCG at the meeting or you may mail comments and related material to Commander, USCG Activities Baltimore, 2401 Hawkins Point Road, Balto., MD 21226-5000. For further info, contact Lt. Commander Gordon Loebl at USCG Activities Baltimore (410) 576-2526.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



The MM&P bulletin board has been established and it is ready for use. Since the bulletin board is only for members, it is available only by subscription. Use of the bulletin board is subject to terms of use that will be posted to the bulletin board, which will be provided to members at the time they sign up or upon request of any member prior to signing up.

After registering, any member is free to post to this board as long as they take full responsibility for any content that they post. Any foul or abusive language may prevent members from future participation on the site.

To be able to sign-on or for additional info, members should send an Email to John Gorman, MM&P Comptroller, who is administering the board. His Email address is: The following info is required to be provided in order to be provided access information: Full name; SS Number; Date of birth; and Email address.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Effective Sept. 1, the MM&P Great Lakes & Rivers Membership Group new office address will be:

1250 Old River Rd. Cleveland, OH 44113

The new phone number is 216-774-1667 and the new fax number is 216-774-1668.

For further info, contact GL&R’s Vice President Bill Rabatsky at Email:; phone: 216-228-8111.

MM&P’s Port Everglades union hall is also relocating effective Sept. 1. Phone numbers are not yet available. The new address will be:

540 McNab Rd. – Suite B Pompano Beach, FL 33060

For additional information, contact Offshore Gulf Ports VP Capt. Robert Groh at or Port Everglades Rep. Duane Koran at

Members are encouraged to visit after the moves.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Openings in classes through the end of this year
  • 8/20-24: ARPA, VPM
  • 8/27-31: BST, ROP
  • 9/10-14: MED-FIRST, DCS, COMP-APS, BST
  • 9/17-20: SMA
  • 9/17-21: COMP-NET, TPIC
  • 9/24-28: BRM, COMP-MAR
  • 10/1-5: BRM, FF-ADV
  • 10/1-12: GMDSS
  • 10/8-12: ARPA
  • 10/22-26: BST, SHS-INT II, COMP-NET
  • 10/22-11/02: MED-PIC
  • 10/29-11/2: FF-ADV, BRM, WX-HWA
  • 11/5-7: BRMP
  • 11/5-9: ROP
  • 11/5-16: GMDSS
  • 11/12-16: FF-ADV, BST, BRM, VPM
  • 11/12-15: SMA
  • 11/26-12/7: MED-PIC, GMDSS
  • 11/26-30: BST, BRM, TPIC
  • 12/3-7:ECDIS, BRM, FF-ADV
  • 12/10-21: MED-PIC, GMDSS
  • 12/10-14: BRM, ARPA, COMP-NET, DCS
  • 12/17-21: BST, FF-ADV, ARPA, COMP-MAR
  • 12/17-20: SMA
STCW95 Certificates

Various interpretations at USCG RECs in regard to the STCW95 certificate requirements are not uncommon. Recently, MED-PIC and Lifeboatman have created problems for our mariners. MED-PIC is not required for the STCW-95 certificate and deck officers should not have a problem because of Lifeboatman. If you do encounter what you believe is an incorrect interpretation, let us know at MITAGS. Notify Mike Wein at (443) 989-3238 or e-mail

Schedule through Dec. 2001 is being maintained on the website. Hard copy schedule updates are also provided to the halls. Check the MITAGS website at: for up-to-date info. For additional course info, contact Mary Matlock at voice: 443-989-3226 or Email:

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Openings in classes through December
  • 8/20-24: ARPA
  • 8/27-31: TPIC
  • 9/3-7: ARPA, BRM
  • 9/10-14: BRM, GMDSS
  • 9/17-21: ARPA, FF, AFF
  • 9/24-28: BRM, GMDSS
  • 10/8-12: ARPA, BRM
  • 10/15-19: ARPA
  • 10/22-26: ECDIS
  • 10/29-11/2: BRM
  • 11/5-99: ARPA
  • 12/3-7: ARPA
  • 12/10-14: ARPA, GMDSS, BRM
  • 12/17-21: ARPA,BRM

For more info on courses or PMI, visit their website at  

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly

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., 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 andis posted on our web page under “News” at:

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