Wheelhouse Weekly – August 11, 2006

August 11th 2006


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

Volume 10 . . . . . Number 32. . . . August 11, 2006




T-AGS Oceanographic Survey Ships Info

Required Coursework

Security Clearances

MSC Physicals

MM&P Health & Benefit Plan News

Notice to Members who are taking Vioxx

NMHC Mail-Order Prescriptions Website Updated & Improved

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.




At 1600 on August 22nd, during the first day of the MM&P Convention, there will be a dedication honoring Captain Charles Pillsbury at MITAGS, as the License Advancement Program (LAP) classroom will be dedicated in his memory. All MM&P members and their guests are welcomed to attend. Captain Pillsbury served as Executive Director of MITAGS from 1992 through 1996. Prior to his service he sailed with Sealand with his last assignment being Master of the SEALAND TACOMA. Following his retirement, he continued teaching at MITAGS and was very active with MERPAC, the Counsel of Master Mariners, and NAVSAC. A more complete biography can be found below.




June 22, 2006 was a sad day for the US Merchant Marine, MM&P and MITAGS. Captain Charles “Chuck” Pillsbury; mariner, educator, and maritime expert crossed the bar to reach his final Port of Call.

Captain Pillsbury was a native of Massachusetts, where he began his maritime career by attending the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. He attained a certificate in Marine Engineering and immediately thereafter enrolled in the US Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY. Following graduation in June 1968, the brand-new Third Mate began his career at sea, a career that would span the next 26 years, interrupted only by related assignments at MITAGS and as an expert maritime consultant.

Chuck sailed on a variety of ships; attaining certification as Master, Oceans Unlimited, in 1976. He also attained a First Class Pilot’s endorsement, Unlimited tonnage, for Southwest Alaska. He served as Master on the Sealand D9, D7, and C4 class vessels in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, as well as the Gulf of Alaska. He commanded the USNS CAPELLA in the Fast Sealift Squadron for the Military Sealift Command. Following a short tour as an Instructor at MITAGS, he returned to sea, where his final command was Master of the M/V SEALAND TACOMA. He was appointed Executive Director of MITAGS in March of 1993.

Besides sailing and teaching at MITAGS, Captain Pillsbury earned a Master of Science Degree in Adult and Continuing Education, with honors, from Johns Hopkins University. During his initial tour at MITAGS in 1974, he served as an Instructor for various programs; including Radar, License Advancement, Computers, and Meteorology, as well as Department Head for the Marine Cargo Operations Program. He was ultimately certified to teach virtually every course offered by MITAGS. He served as a consultant for the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and testified about maritime matters before the United States Coast Guard and numerous other federal government committees. During his tenure as Executive Director, MITAGS became the first maritime training center in the United States to be certified by Det Norske Veritas for its Quality Standards System. It was also second in the world to meet the IMO requirements for the Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW) Code.

Captain Pillsbury received numerous awards for his achievements, including the prestigious United States Coast Guard Award for Meritorious Public Service in May 2000 and the Outstanding Professional Achievement Award from the Board of Directors of the US Merchant Marine Alumni Foundation in 2003. Chuck is survived by his daughter, Gwendolyn, and was laid to rest at North Beverly Cemetery in Beverly, Massachusetts.

Captain Pillsbury dedicated his life to MITAGS and the maritime industry. We mourn his passing and remember the words written long ago:

“Here he lies where he longed to be;
Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.”
–“Requiem,” by Robert Louis Stevenson


Members are reminded that a regular convention of the MM&P will be convened at 1000 hrs on Tuesday, August 22nd at MITAGS, 692 Maritime Boulevard, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090. For further info, contact Diane Chatham at


The following memo is from MM&P Pacific Port Agent Dave Boatner: “Offshore Division members are advised that a Shipping Rules Conference will be held at MM&P Headquarters October 17-18. Members are encouraged to submit resolutions to the committee. Shipping Rules affect ALL offshore division members and all members are encouraged to participate. If you are interested in serving on the Shipping Rules Committee please contact your local Vice President, Agent, or Representative. The Pacific Ports will vote on representatives to the committee at union meetings in September. Meetings are scheduled for Los Angeles/Long Beach 9/13, Seattle 9/14, San Francisco 9/19 and Honolulu 9/21. Remember your participation strengthens our union.”


If you are interested in potential employment with Matson Navigation Company as Master or Chief Mate on a Watson Class LMSR, just go to, click on ‘What’s New?’ and scroll to the bottom of the page to download a copy of the Matson Navigation Co. resume form as a PDF file. As previously reported, Matson is actively pursuing new opportunities aboard government contract vessels and the company needs to identify a qualified pool of MM&P senior Licensed Deck Officers.

MM&P members and applicants who have Master and/or Chief Mate experience, particularly aboard LMSR or other government-contract vessels, are urged to send their resume info to Teri Sullivan at the address listed below. Please note that resumes should be in the format recommended by Matson and the Military Sealift Command that is now posted on the MM&P Web site. The resume template may also be obtained from Pacific Ports offices, or from Richard Plant or Mike Rodriguez at MM&P HQ.

Address resumes to:
Teri Sullivan, Office Manager,
Matson Navigation Government Services
1521 Pier “C” Street, 4th Floor
Long Beach, CA 90813


The crew of US Navy fleet ocean tug USNS APACHE (T-ATF 172), crewed by MM&P Licensed Deck Officers from the Government Employees’ Membership Group, recently battled a blaze on the commercial vessel TAHOMA REEFER, which originated in the ship’s engine room while in port. During the incident, the APACHE’s crew rescued nine people from the burning Estonian vessel while assisting in extinguishing the fire. APACHE arrived in the Gulf of Guinea on Aug. 9th as part of an ongoing effort to strengthen emerging partnerships in the region.


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has released a heavily redacted version of its report on the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC). The report finds that significant security vulnerabilities existed relative to the TWIC prototype systems, documentation, and program management. Due to the number and significance of the weaknesses identified, TWIC prototype systems are vulnerable to various internal and external security threats. The security-related issues may threaten the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of sensitive TWIC data. The OIG’s findings echo many of the concerns that MM&P submitted to the TWIC public docket. The OIG report stated that until remedied, the significant security weaknesses jeopardize the certification and accreditation of the systems prior to full implementation of the TWIC program.


The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued its observations on the US Coast Guard’s preparation, response, and recovery efforts related to Hurricane Katrina in three main mission areas: search and rescue, marine pollution response, and management of maritime commerce. The agency’s success in addressing the challenges presented by the natural disaster was, in large measure, due to its operational principles that promote leadership, provide accountability, and enable personnel to take responsibility and action, based on relevant authorities and guidance.


The Secretary of Labor has determined that the re-establishment of the Maritime Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (MACOSH) is in the public interest. The Committee will better enable OSHA to perform the duties imposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.

The Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health will seek advice from this committee on activities in the maritime industry on all matters relevant to the safety and health of employees in that sector. Those activities include strong, fair and effective enforcement; expanded compliance assistance, guidance and outreach; expanded partnerships and voluntary programs; leadership in the national dialog on occupational safety and health; and regulatory matters affecting the maritime industry, as appropriate. The committee will function solely as an advisory body. For further info contact: Jim Maddux, Director, Office of Maritime within the Directorate of Standards and Guidance at 202-693-2086; fax: 202-693-1663.


The US Coast Guard’s National Maritime Center opened its first office in Martinsburg, WV this week, a milestone
in its mariner licensing and documentation program restructuring and centralization project. The NMC office in West Virginia will initially evaluate applications and issue credentials for mariners applying through New Orleans. The transfer of remaining divisions and functions from Arlington, VA to the Martinsburg area will continue over the next year.

When a permanent facility is completed during the summer of 2007, all evaluation and issuing functions will take place in Martinsburg as part of a project to improve customer service to mariners. The mission of the Coast Guard’s Regional Examination Centers will also change to focus on providing direct service to mariners, including fingerprinting, establishing identities, test administration and providing course oversight.


Sometime next week, the nation’s first and only nuclear-powered commercial merchant ship is scheduled to be towed from the James River Reserve Fleet to the Colonna Shipyard in Norfolk, VA. Once there, the NS SAVANNAH will undergo exterior repairs in anticipation of the planned removal of her reactor. The work will take about two months to complete and cost about one million dollars. Following that, a public hearing will be required before the ship’s nuclear reactor can be dismantled. In the end, the work on the SAVANNAH will likely cost more than the $5 million appropriated by Congress for the task.

The ultimate fate of the SAVANNAH has not yet been determined. Once the reactor has been removed, she could be sold for scrap, or perhaps turned into a floating museum. With this in mind, the shipyard has been instructed to keep the vessel’s amenities and general fixtures intact. MARAD estimates that it will take until 2011 to get the ship ready for the next phase of her life, or death. The SAVANNAH was conceived and built in the 1950s in an effort to demonstrate one of many peaceful uses for nuclear power. The vessel was retired in 1971 and is still designated as a National Historic Landmark of the United States.


The US Department of Justice announced last week that a grand jury in Newark, NJ returned a three-count indictment against the Chief Engineer and the Second Engineer of a foreign flagged bulk carrier. The charges allege that officers of the M/V SUN NEW obstructed justice, and violated the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships. Specifically, prosecutors allege that the use of two bypass hoses allowed the discharge of sludge and oil contaminated bilge waste overboard into the ocean.

Through a press release, the Department of Justice said that “the defendants used two hoses on a trip from Korea to Camden, NJ between November 20, 2005, and December 31, 2005, to circumvent required pollution prevention equipment and dump sludge and oily bilge waste into the ocean. This bypass equipment was discovered by the USCG during an inspection of the vessel in Camden on January 3, 2006.”

Both defendants were charged with conspiracy and a violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships for using the bypass hoses and failing to record these discharges in the Oil Record Book. The indictment further outlines alleged obstruction of USCG inspections. Both officers, if convicted, face a maximum statutory sentence of five years in prison on the conspiracy charge, five years in prison on the obstruction charge, and five years in prison on the violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships.


The Panama Canal Authority issued an advisory stating that the west lane of Gatun Locks will have restricted lockages on August 12-24 and will be out of service on August 14-20 while critical work is performed. The number of available slots for the Transit Reservation System will be reduced during this period and Condition 2 will be in effect on August 15-20.


Published reports say that the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CONNDOT), in coordination with the State of New York, intends to hire a contractor to manage and operate the marine pilot system in Long Island Sound. Saying that “We are partners in this due to the nature of the waters,” CONNDOT’s Chuck Beck left no doubt that Connecticut intends to continue the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the States of New York and Connecticut. Still to be worked out are the details of the pending Request for Proposal (RFP) that Beck says he hopes to have out within the next 45 days.

Beck refused to characterize the new and proposed plan as “outsourcing,” saying, “Certain pieces of pilot oversight in Long Island Sound have already been outsourced.” He also left the door open for the current providers of the MOA administration to stay in place. “Anybody and everybody can bid for this contract,” In the end, he says, “We’ve been waiting for people to come together for a long time. We can continue to muddle along as before, or we can try to create change.” If all goes well, he says, the new system could be up and running by January 1, 2007.


The International Union of Operating Engineers-Local No.17 has asked for MM&P’s help in their efforts to obtain a first contract with the Adams’ Mark hotel in Buffalo, NY. It is request that the MM&P membership avoid using the Adams’ Mark hotel until a first contract has been obtained.


The Ship Operations Cooperative Program (SOCP) in partnership with Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Preparedness Directorate, US Department of Transportation (US DOT), Maritime Administration (MARAD) and an array of other maritime industry organizations conducted a multi-port preparedness identity management (PIM) exercise on July 20th. The “Maritime Interoperability Demonstration (MID)” was an exercise of the First Responder electronic identity/attribute trust model.

The MID was conducted simultaneously at four major eastern seaboard public/private ports located in Baltimore, Norfolk, and Jacksonville. Specifically, the demonstration tested the ability of the Mariner Administrative Card (MAC) to provide identity and attribute information in a trusted, wireless environment. The MAC is designed to conform to the Federal Information Processing Standard.

This exercise simulated a communication-out emergency response environment. Portable handheld readers integrated with light-weight satellite communications (SATCOM) units transmitted and exchanged data between ports. Within 10 minutes of the final card reading, all ports had total visibility of all participants and their access status to include time in/out and access location. The SATCOM units transmitted to multiple locations simultaneously via broadband global area network (BGAN), which was a first ever in the US as the Federal Communications Commission recently authorized BGAN transmissions on June 6th. 

Participants in this exercise used smart identity (ID) credentials or State driver’s licenses that were electronically read and validated through handheld devices used by relying parties to make informed decisions for granting access. In all ports, the unanimous feedback from law enforcement/security officials was that they were able to make informed decisions with confidence. This was the first of a series of exercises to be conducted throughout the remainder of this year. The next steps are to increase the complexity and include electronic identity management as a performance measure in all future exercises.  


The International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships, has launched a new award for exceptional bravery at sea. The award will provide international recognition for those who, at the risk of losing their own life, perform acts of exceptional bravery, displaying outstanding courage in attempting to save life at sea or in attempting to prevent or mitigate damage to the marine environment.

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2007 IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea. Nominations are expected to focus on such factors as location of the incident; prevailing weather conditions; skill displayed; leadership demonstrated; determination to conduct the rescue operation; exceptional courage demonstrated; and degree of risk (to human lives and/or the marine environment) involved. The Award may also be granted posthumously. The deadline for Award nominations is April 15, 2007.


Participants are now able to access discounted optical services through VSP, a major provider of optical services. You can sign on to the VSP site through and get a listing of optical providers in your area.

VSP provides a 20% discount off the price of an exam. In addition, you’ll receive a 20% discount off the price of unlimited pairs of prescription glasses (lenses and frame) and a 15% discount on contact lens exams (fitting and evaluation) when eyewear is purchased within 12 months from the VSP doctor who performed your original exam.

Your eye exam includes the necessary tests to evaluate and monitor visual wellness. The contact lens exam is a special exam for ensuring proper fit of your contacts and evaluating your vision with the contacts.

Please remember that these discounted services are available even if you have exhausted your $360 every two-year benefit. You will still save money! You should also bear in mind that many practitioners will expect payment up front and you will have to send your receipts to the Plan office for any allowable reimbursement remaining for your benefit.



CLASS OPENINGS: Between now and the end of October 2006, seats are available in the following courses:

ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 9/12, 9/26, 10/10, 10/24
AZIPOD-KAM-2 – Two-Day Azipod and Kamewa Steering and Propulsion Systems: 9/19, 9/23, 10/2

BRMP – Bridge Resource Mangement for Pilots: 9/27, 10/10
BST – Basic Safety Training: 8/28, 9/25, 10/30

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
*WX-BASREF-2 – Two day Basic weather refresher, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED PREP for Advanced Meteorology: 10/26
*CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 9/11, 10/30
CMM-ADVSTB – 8/21, 9/11, 10/2
CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 1): 9/25
CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 9/18
CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart and Display Information System: 9/18, 10/16
CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 10/30
CMM-SHMGT-I – Ship Management I (week 1): 8/21
CMM-SHMGT-II – Ship Management II (week 2): 8/14
CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 8/21
CMM-SHS-ADV-II – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 8/14
CMM-VPEN – Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 10/9
CMM-WKP – Watchkeeping: 8/28

CONT-PLNG – Contingency Planning: 10/13

CSE-AASE – Confined Space Entry: 8/28

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 8/28, 9/25, 10/30

HAZ-Hazardous Materials (5-day): 9/11

MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 10/12

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 8/12, 9/24, 10/22
MED-PIC – Medical Person-In-Charge: 8/14, 10/16
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 8/14, 9/11, 10/16

[MSC – Military Sealift Command]
MSC-CBRD-1 (Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Orientation): 8/23, 10/25
MSC-DC (Damage Control): 8/24, 10/26
MSC-SMA – Small Arms Training: 8/28,10/30
MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 9/1, 11/3 (must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years)

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal (5-day): 8/28
ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 9/25, 10/9, 10/23

SEC-OFF-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 10/9
SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 10/23
SHS-EMR – Emergency Shiphandling: 8/28, 10/30

TPIC – Tankerman Person-In-Charge: 9/25

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 Email:


Summer – Fall 2006

August 2006
14-18 Able Bodied Seaman
14-18 Basic and Advanced Firefighting
14-25 GMDSS
14-25 Shiphandling – Advanced
21-25 Ship Construction & Basic Stability
21-25 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
28-1 Sep Cargo Handling & Stowage – Basic

September 2006
5-9 (tu-sa) Medical Care Provider
5-9 (tu-sa) Emergency Shiphandling 5-day
5-15 Medical Person-In-Charge
11-12 Search and Rescue
11-15 Basic Safety Training
11-23 100 Ton OUPV
12-15 Survival Craft / Lifeboatman
13-15 Emergency Procedures
18-22 Radar Observer Unlimited
18-22 Shiphandling – Basic
18-22 Able Bodied Seaman
18-6 Oct Terrestrial & Coastal Navigation with Compasses
25th Radar Recertification
25-29 ARPA
25-2 Oct Watchkeeping & BRM

October 2006
10/2-4 Ship Security Officer
10/2-4 Basic Safety Training
10/2-13 Shiphandling – Advanced
10/9-13 ECDIS
10/9-13 Radar Observer Unlimited
10/9-20 GMDSS
10/10-13 Survival Craft / Lifeboatman
10/16-20 Basic & Advanced Firefighting
10/23 Flashing Light
10/23-27 ARPA
10/23-27 Cargo Handling & Stowage – Basic
10/24-25 Simulation Assessment

For registration call Jennifer Fowler 888-893-7829


High quality with embroidered PMI logo.
Navy or Khaki Hats : $16 / includes tax
Button Down Long Sleeve Dress Shirts
Blue or Khaki: $38 / includes tax
Pocket t-shirts with Logo: $12 / includes tax
15oz. Cobalt Blue Ceramic Mug: $8 / includes tax

Call DeeDee Lazik 206-838-8328 or e-mail



 D O W  N A S D A Q  S & P 500
11,088.03 -154.56 for the week 2,057.71 -34.63 for the week 1,266.74 -13.53 for the week


Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 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 High Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX)
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
 Fidelity Small Company Instl (FMACX)
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
 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:

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

5.00 percent for 25-48 months;
5.75 percent for 49-60 months ($20,000 minimum); and
6.25 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.




On Sept.30, Merck & Co. voluntarily withdrew Vioxx, a popular anti-inflammatory medication, from the market. As a result, individuals who are currently taking the drug have been asked to contact their health care professionals to discuss discontinuing use of Vioxx and possible alternative treatments.

MM&P Plans Administrator Valerie Verrecchio reports that, “We have gotten a number of calls from members who want to know what to do with their remaining supply of Vioxx and whether the Plan or NMHC will refund their co-pay for the unused portion.

“Unfortunately, neither NMHC nor the Plan was aware of the Merck decision prior to the public announcement on Sept.30. As of that date, all deliveries of Vioxx to our members was suspended in accordance with Merck’s announcement. Orders that had already been processed and were in transit could not be stopped.

“In regard to refunds, Merck has set up a website at where members can obtain information on how to recover refunds from Merck for the unused portion of medication. Members can also call following toll free number for information: 1-888-368-4699.

“We are sorry for any inc onvenience this may have caused to members currently taking this medication, however, the matter is out of the control of the Plans.”


MM&P Plans Administrator Valerie Verrecchio reports, “Good news! NMHC mail has finally gotten their website upgraded and functioning properly. I went in and tested it myself and found it to be quite user friendly.”

To use NMHC’s upgraded service, go to the NMHC Mail website at and click on “MEMBER LOGIN” at the bottom of the screen.

First-time and Registered users may bypass the welcome screen and go directly to the log-in page at

  • First-time users should then click on the link marked “NEW USER: REGISTER HERE”.
    This will take you to a page titled “MEMBER REGISTRATION” where you will need to enter demographic information and submit it by clicking on the
  • “CREATE ACCOUNT” button.

After creating your account, NMHC will email you a password to gain entry into your records. With your first sign-in, the NMHC system will prompt you to change the NMHC password to one of your own choosing.

Once you are registered at NMHC, you can check the status of open orders by logging-in to the system through the “MEMBER LOGIN” page and going into the “MAIL ORDER” menu. You can look up all prescriptions and get the price our members will pay for any medication. You can also view an order history of all of your medication transactions (both retail and mail) for the last 24 months, locate 24-hour pharmacies in your zip code region as well as access other helpful member education information.

“We hope this welcome improvement will assist our members. Although you cannot order refills on line if you don’t provide a credit or debit card number, you can phone in your refill. Once you register on the website, you will still have access to all of the other information including checking the status of your order once it is phoned in,” said Ms. Verrecchio.


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., Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1941. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973; Email: For further info or to subscribe contact John Peige at The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea and is posted on our web page.