Wheelhouse Weekly – August 11th, 2020

August 12th 2020

Volume 25… Number 32… Aug. 11, 2020


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With great sorrow we report the tragic deaths of three MM&P members during the past month.

Third Mate Jonathan Morris, a member of the Federal Employees Membership Group, took his own life on July 22 aboard the USNS AMELIA EARHART while in port on deployment with the Fifth Fleet.

Less than two weeks later, on Aug. 3, Offshore member Third Assistant Engineer Trent Lloyd-Rees was killed in a machinery accident aboard the MT SLNC GOODWILL.

Finally, in what makes this one of the worst months in recent memory of our Union, Captain Timothy M. Murray, a member of the Sandy Hook Pilots Association, died from injuries suffered during a boarding accident on the night of Aug. 5.

Captain Murray is the second Sandy Hook pilot to be killed on the job in eight months.

“These tragic deaths of accomplished mariners underscore the hazards of our occupation and the fragility of life,” said MM&P President Don Marcus.

“The officers and crews of the USNS AMELIA EARHART and the MT SLNC GOODWILL are devastated by the loss of their exceptionally promising and well-liked shipmates.”

“In New York Harbor, Sandy Hook Pilot Association members, MM&P boat crews and the entire maritime community are in shock over the loss of yet another Pilot.”

In addition to extending our deepest condolences to the families, friends and shipmates of our three Union Brothers, MM&P urges all members to be vigilant and to remember the unforgiving nature of our jobs.

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A recent article in the Navy Times describes the toll that Military Sealift Command’s “gangway-up” order is taking on hundreds of mariners who have been blocked aboard their ships for months.

Navy Times reporter Geoff Ziezulewicz reports that the July 22 death by suicide of Third Mate Jonathan Morris, a member of the MM&P Federal Employees Membership Group, has brought the impact of the pandemic on American mariners into painful perspective.

MSC officials have declined to comment further on Morris’s death, Ziezulewicz writes, citing an ongoing Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigation.

In a July 29 letter to MSC Commander Rear Adm. Michael Wettlaufer, MM&P President Don Marcus, Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association President Marshall Ainley and Seafarers International Union President Michael Sacco described their “ongoing and increasingly grave concerns” over the mental health of mariners.

The three union presidents urged MSC to reassess its “gangway-up” orders, which were introduced with the stated intention of limiting the spread of the coronavirus.

“There is growing anger, frustration and despair throughout the fleet,” the union presidents warned.

“People have a breaking point, and many of these crewmembers are nearing it.”

Commenting on the death of Jonathan Morris, they said that although “the actual cause of the mariner’s actions may never be known.. the ongoing and selective ‘gangways up’ restrictions may have, in some part, contributed to this unnecessary and senseless act.”

“We are genuinely worried that if restrictions are not eased, the likelihood of shipboard emotional instability will increase,” the union presidents continued.

“Further, the stress-related fatigue caused by the ‘gangways up’ restrictions could lead to safety and mission degradation and operational mishaps.”

The restrictions imposed on MSC mariners are “taking a terrible toll on the families of these mariners as well,” the union presidents said.

They applauded CIVMARS’ fortitude, and implored MSC to “reevaluate the ‘gangways up’ order and adopt a more appropriate and reasonable leave and liberty policy.”

The unions have filed grievances regarding the orders.

Navy Times also reports that a complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in July on behalf of one captain alleges that MSC acted unfairly and negligently by forcing CIVMARs to remain on their ships while failing to provide adequate protective equipment.

Ziezulewicz writes that more than 40 CIVMARs have since added their names to the complaint.

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The crews of three ships docked in Australian ports are refusing to sail because they are months overdue for relief and are demanding to be repatriated.

The International Transport Workers’ Federation reported last week that the UNISON JASPER had been blocked by over-contract crewmembers enforcing their right under the Maritime Labor Convention to refuse to sail.

The crews of the CONTI STOCKHOLM and the BEN RINNES soon followed suit.

“Romanian, Chinese, Sri Lankan, Filipino and Polish crewmembers are refusing to sail the [CONTI STOCKHOLM] and are demanding repatriation after many months at sea,” the ITF said in a statement.

“These seafarers are over contract. They have a right to stop working at completion of their contracts and be returned home at the employers’ expense.”

The ITF said that governments’ failure to implement an effective system of crew change in the face of pandemic-related border and flight restrictions has “directly led to more seafarers being over contract and taking matters into their own hands to get home.”

Aboard the Marshall Islands-flagged BEN RINNES, berthed in the port of Geelong, Victoria, four members of the crew have been on board for longer than the legal maximum—in one case for 17 months; the fifth will exceed the 11-month limit within the next 30 days.

The five told ITF inspectors that they signed five-month extensions after their nine-month tours on a promise from the owners to repatriate them, but that as yet, the company has not informed them of any repatriation plan.

“The crews of the CONTI STOCKHOLM and the BEN RINNES have bravely stood up and said that they will not be leaving these ports to do another tour of duty on what amount to floating prisons,” ITF Australia Coordinator Dean Summers said.

“They have finished the contracts they signed up for and now they are getting off.”

“It is not their fault that governments like Australia are so profoundly disinterested in shipping that they have not used the last five months of this pandemic to find a way to get international seafarers to and from our ports.”

“These three ships are just the tip of the iceberg,” he added.

“With international crew change all but blocked for the last five months, you can expect to see more and more crews decide to drop anchor and get off…”

Summers called the situation “an economic and humanitarian emergency.”

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MM&P members aboard the Buchanan Marine tug MISTER T saved two men they saw struggling to keep their heads above water off Sands Point, N.Y., in the early evening hours of Sunday, Aug. 2.

In the course of the rescue, three members of the crew—Sean Fitzgerald, Chris Mantlick and Nick Martorano—jumped into the water to keep the two struggling men afloat.

The incident began at about 1900 hours when the MISTER T was off Sands Point, on the way back to Port Washington.

Martorano was outside, cleaning the windows for the oncoming crew, when he noticed a man on a jet ski in the water.

He alerted Captain Howie Flecker, who turned the boat around.

“On arrival, we saw a distraught man screaming for help, trying to keep his friend from drowning,” Fitzgerald said.

“It looked like there was some type of jet ski accident and one of the men had been injured and was unconscious.”

The crew sent out a call for help to the Coast Guard and anyone else in the area.

The nearest help, they were told, would take about eight minutes to arrive.

The crew was quick to act: JJ Hand, Bjorn Sanka and Martorano readied the davit; Fitzpatrick grabbed the sling and jumped into the water.

Nearing the jet ski, he worked with the crew to get the tug as close as possible to the two men.

“We soon realized that one in the water wasn’t going to be enough help, so Chris Mantlick and Nick Martorano jumped in to try to keep the man above water until more help could arrive,” Fitzgerald said.

“Using the davit and sling with the help of those in the water, we were able to lift the man safely and high enough to straddle the jet ski where his friend was holding him.”

The crew was in the water until the New Rochelle harbor master arrived on the scene. They worked with the police to get the unconscious man into the boat and make sure he was secure.

“The crew of the MISTER T did what needed to be done in the heat of the moment to save a life,” Fitzpatrick said.

Back to Stories Covered


A number of countries are responding to calls for help from the island nation of Mauritius, which is confronting an environmental disaster caused by oil leaking from a grounded bulker.

An estimated 1,000 tons of fuel have leaked from the vessel, the WAKASHIO, which may have as much as 2,500 additional tons of oil in its tanks.

Rough seas in the area in recent days caused a fracture on the starboard side of the vessel’s hull in at least one of its fuel tanks.

Ecologists fear the ship could break up, which would cause an even greater leak and inflict potentially catastrophic damage on the island’s coastline.

French President Emmanuel Macron said specialists and equipment were being airlifted from nearby Reunion Island to assist.

They will be joining salvage experts who have been on site for the past several days, working to develop a plan but hampered by bad weather.

In the meantime, residents and environmental groups are trying to limit damage to the fragile marine environment, positioning barriers in an attempt to protect the shoreline and nearby marine parks.

Salvors hired by the ship’s owners, Nagashiki Shipping Co., have also been pumping fuel off the ship.

The incident began on July 25, when the bulker ran aground off the east coast of Mauritius at Pointe d’Esny, which is listed under the Ramsar convention on wetlands of international importance and near the marine park of Blue Bay.

Mauritius depends on its seas for food and for tourism, boasting some of the finest coral reefs in the world.

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The International Transport Workers’ Federation has released a statement on behalf of its 700 affiliate unions and their members expressing shock and despair over the Aug. 4 explosion at the Port of Beirut that devastated the city, killed at least 158 people, injured thousands and left hundreds of thousands homeless.

There has been no word yet on the fate of members of the ITF affiliates headquartered in the port, working aboard nearby vessels or in the rest of the area hit by the blast.

“Tragically, we have been informed that dockers and seafarers have lost their lives, and many workers have been injured,” the ITF said.

“Given the extensive damage to the port precinct, including the destruction of the office of the Lebanese Seaman’s Syndicate, sadly we expect the death and injury toll to rise.”

ITF President Paddy Crumlin and General Secretary Stephen Cotton have pledged international solidarity and support from the ITF, its affiliates, members, officers and staff to the federation’s Lebanese affiliates, including the General Confederation of Drivers and Transport Workers in Lebanon, the Union of Beirut Port Employees, the Syndicate of Middle East Airlines and Affiliate Companies, the Lebanese Cabin Crew Association and the Lebanese Seaman’s Syndicate.

The ITF said it is committed to assisting affiliates, their members and the wider community.

MM&P is an affiliate of the ITF.

Back to Stories Covered


Investigators say that the explosive material responsible for the devastating blast was carried to the Port of Beirut in 2013 by a Russian cargo ship, the RHOSUS.

The ship was blocked by port state control for a number of serious deficiencies and then impounded by Lebanese authorities for unpaid port costs.

The former captain of the ship, Boris Prokoshev, told The New York Times that the Lebanese authorities had transferred its highly dangerous cargo—2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate–to a warehouse in the port and that some years later, the ship sank.

The New York Times used satellite imagery and tracking data to locate the ship.

Click here to read the Times investigation: Ship Cited in Beirut Blast Hasn’t Sailed in 7 Years. We Found It.

The government of Lebanon has detained 16 people in connection with the blast and Lebanon’s central bank has also moved to block the assets of the director of the port and the head of Lebanese customs, along with five other individuals, according to Reuters.

The port’s director-general, Hassam Kraytem, was quoted by CNN as saying that he had been aware that the ammonium nitrate was dangerous, “but not to that extent.”

He said that workers had been performing maintenance on the warehouse door in the hours before the explosion.

Back to Stories Covered


The National Maritime Center will reopen the Juneau Regional Examination Center
and the Ketchikan Monitoring Unit for limited exam services beginning on Monday, Aug. 17.

Mariners seeking to schedule examinations may do so by calling the phone numbers below:

— REC Juneau – (907) 463-2458;

— MU Ketchikan – (907) 225-4496 (extension #3).

Exam services will be by appointment only. No walk-in appointments are available and
all other application customer service functions will continue to be handled remotely.

Mariners will be subject to Covid-19 screening questions and temperature checks.

Mariners experiencing Covid-19 symptoms will not be permitted to enter the REC or the MU and will need to reschedule their appointments.

Mariners will be required to wear a face covering at all times. Those who refuse to wear a face covering, or who remove the face covering during exams, will be dismissed and could be subject to examination module failure.

People with documented health issues which prevent them from wearing face coverings must notify the REC/MU when scheduling an appointment.

Mariners should bring their own #2 pencils, a non-programmable calculator and plotting equipment. No other personal belongings will be allowed in the facility.

All counter service appointments and hand delivery of applications remain suspended.

The Customer Service Center is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday. If you have questions, please reach out to the call center at 1-888-IASKNMC (427-5662) or

The NMC will announce the reopening of additional RECs and MUs shortly.

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All MM&P union halls, the MM&P Plan Office, the MM&P Federal Credit Union and MM&P headquarters will be closed on Monday, Sept. 7, for Labor Day.

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The MITAGS East/Maritime Conference Center and MITAGS West Covid-19 policies have been posted on the MITAGS home page at

It’s particularly important that you read our latest policies for each campus, as they are slightly different for Seattle and Baltimore.

The MITAGS East/MCC policy is posted at:

The MITAGS West policy is posted at:

Please keep in mind that this is a very fluid situation.

We will continue to update our website and keep you informed in as timely a matter as possible.

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Please be advised that as of the June MATES Trustees meeting, the number of sea days required to receive covered training at MITAGS will now be 42 days instead of 30, until further notice.

\\Classes are 5-day unless otherwise noted\\

Class dates followed by an * are full

AB – Able Seaman –8/17/20, 10/5/20

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation (1-Day): Not currently scheduled

ARPA-OIC (4-Day) – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 9/22/20

AZIPOD (2-Day) – 10/5/20

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 9/28/20

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots (2-Day): 9/15/20

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling – (Now also included in BRMP-Refresher) (3-Day): 10/7/20

BRMP-Refresher (Now including Emergency Shiphandling for Pilots) (3-Day) – Not currently scheduled

BT – Basic Safety Training: 10/12/20

BT-Revalidation (2-day) (Must have 1 year of sea service in last 5 years) – 8/31/20, 9/23/20*, 10/28/20, 12/15/20

BT-Refresher (3-day) – 9/23/20*, 12/14/20

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 10/26/20

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 10/5/20, 11/30/20

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 9/28/20, 12/7/20

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (10 Days): 10/12/20

CM-OPS 1 – Chief Mate Operations – Week 1: 8/24/20, 11/9/20

CM-OPS 2 Maersk – Chief Mate Operations II Maersk Specific: 8/31/20, 11/16/20

CM-OPS 2 APL – Chief Mate Operations II APL Specific – Not currently scheduled

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information Systems: 8/17/20, 11/9/20

LMS – Leadership and Managerial Skills (Management Level – Formerly MCL-CMM): 11/16/20, 12/14/20

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants: 9/14/20 (DCS-1 available on request – contact Admissions)

SEC-APPS – Practical Defense Tactics: Not Currently Scheduled

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management: 9/21/20

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 9/14/20, 9/28/20, 10/12/20, 11/2/20, 1/30/20

SHS-ADV-II-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 8/17/20, 9/21/20, 10/5/20, 10/19/20, 11/9/20, 12/7/20

**SHS-ADV-I & II are now approved to include SAR-CMM assessments at MITAGS**

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 11/2/20

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 10/26/20

WX-HW-ATL – Heavy Weather Avoidance Routing: Atlantic Ocean (2-day) – Contact Admissions

WX-HW-IND – Heavy Weather Avoidance Routing: Indian Ocean (2-day) – Contact Admissions

WX-HW-PAC – Heavy Weather Avoidance Routing: Pacific Ocean (2-day) – Contact Admissions

CIW-DPA/IA – Continual Improvement Workshop: Designated Person Ashore & Internal Auditor (3-Day) ** This course is NOT covered by the MATES Program ** – 10/14/20

CIW-SMS – Continual Improvement Workshop: Successful Safety Management (2-Day) – Not currently scheduled

CNAV-OIC (15-Day) – Celestial Navigation: 11/2/20

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications (1-Day): Not currently scheduled

CRSMGT – Crisis Management and Human Behavior (1-Day) – Not currently scheduled

CDMGT – Crowd Management (1-Day) – Not currently scheduled

CSE – Confined Space Entry (3-Day): Not currently scheduled

CSE-AWR – Confined Space Entry Awareness (2-Day): Not currently scheduled

CY-MAR – Cyber-Skilled Mariner ** This course is NOT covered by the MATES Program ** – Not currently scheduled

DDE – Great Lakes (20-Day): Not currently scheduled

ECDIS for Pilots (2-Day) – 12/3/20

ERM – Engine Resource Management: 8/17/20, 12/7/20

ADV-FF – Advanced Fire-Fighting (4-day) – Not currently scheduled

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 10/12/20

FF-ADV-Rev (1-day) (Must have 1 year of sea service in last 5 years) – Advanced Fire Fighting Revalidation: 9/2/20, 9/22/20, 10/27/20, 12/17/20

FF-ADV-REF (2-day) – Advanced Fire Fighting Refresher: 9/26/20, 12/12/20

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications (1-Day): 9/15/20

GL-Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization (2-Day): Not currently scheduled

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (10-Day): Not currently scheduled

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 8/24/20, 11/16/20

IEN – Integrated Electronic Navigation (3-Day) – Not currently scheduled

LAP – License Advancement Program for Mate to Master (20-Day): 9/28/20

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes (15-Day): Not currently scheduled

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross
Ton License (15-Day): Contact Admissions

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage (1-Day): 9/16/20

LNG-TPIC (10-Day) – 11/30/20

LTS –Leadership and Teamworking Skills (Formerly MCL-OIC) (1-Day): 9/21/20

MEECE – Management of Electrical and Electronic Control Equipment (Assessments not included): 8/24/20, 11/30/20

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge (10-Day): 9/28/20*, 11/30/20

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 8/17/20, 10/19/20

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 9/28/20*, 11/30/20

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing (1-Day): 9/3/20, 9/21/20, 10/3/20, 10/26/20, 12/5/20, 12/18/20

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic) (1-Day): 9/11/20, 11/10/20

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (2-day): 9/9/20, 10/30/20

MSC-ENVPRO (1-Day) – 11/1/20

MSC-FF-HELO (2-Day) – 10/28/20

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualifications (4-Day): 9/14/20, 11/2/20

MSC-Security Watch Basic (1-Day) – 9/12/20, 11/2/20

MSC-Security Watch Advanced (1-Day) – 9/13/20, 11/6/20

MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force (3-Day) – 9/18/20, 11/7/20

NDMS-ENAV – Navigational Decision Making Series – Best Practice in eNav (3-Day) – 11/30/20

NSAP-MMP – Navigational Skills Assessment Program-MM&P (2-Day) – 8/31/20, 9/2/20*, 10/26/20, 10/28/20*, 12/14/20, 12/16/20

PSC – Personal Survival Craft (5-Day) – 10/19/20

PSC-REF – Personal Survival Craft Refresher (2-Day) – 12/10/20

RFPNW – Ratings Forming Part of a Navigational Watch (3-day) – 9/30/20

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal (1-Day): 9/21/20

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes (1-Night): 9/15/20, 12/14/20

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: Not currently scheduled

SAR – Search & Rescue – (Now with OIC and CMM assessments) (3-Day): 10/14/20, 11/30/20

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling: 8/24/20, 10/19/20

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling (5 Day) – 8/31/20*, 11/16/20*, 12/14/20*

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: Not currently scheduled

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses (15-Day): Not currently scheduled

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: Not currently scheduled

TRAC-TUG-2 (2-Day): Not currently scheduled

TTT – ** This course is NOT covered by the MATES Program ** Not currently scheduled

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties (1-Day): Not Currently Scheduled

VSO – Vessel Security Officer (3-Day): 9/9/20

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level) (10-Day): 10/5/20

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): 9/14/20

Back to Stories Covered


Schedule of Courses – Please also see our schedule and enroll online at

For Registration Contact our Admissions Department: 206.441.2880 or

August 2020

17-18 Basic Training Revalidation
19th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
20-21 Advanced Firefighting Refresher
31-4 Radar Observer Unlimited

September 2020

14-18 Engine Resource Management
14-18 Basic Training
14-2 License Preparation (OICNW)
21-25 Management of Electrical and Electronic Control Equipment (MEECE)
21-2 GMDSS
28-29 Basic Training Revalidation
30th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation

October 2020

12-16 ECDIS
12-16 Ship Construction and Basic Stability
12-16 Basic Training
12-16 Medical Care Provider
12-23 Medical Person-In-Charge
19-20 Basic Training Revalidation
19-23 Advanced Meteorology
19-6 Celestial Navigation
21st Medical DOT
22nd Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
26-29 Advanced Firefighting
26-30 Advanced Shiphandling I

November 2020

2-6 Advanced Shiphandling II
2-6 Radar Observer Unlimited
2-6 Basic Training
9-12 Advanced Firefighting
9-13 Leadership & Managerial Skills
9-13 Medical Care Provider
9-20 Medical Person-In-Charge
13th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
16-17 Basic Training Revalidation
16-18 Security Officer – Vessel, Company and Facility
16-19 ARPA
16-20 Advanced Stability
30-4 Basic Training

December 2020

4, 7-8 Basic Training Refresher
7-8 Basic Training Revalidation
7-11 Medical Care Provider
7-18 Medical Person-In-Charge
9th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
10-11 Advanced Firefighting Refresher

Back to Stories Covered


We now offer blended learning options ( for a variety of USCG and VA approved courses.

Blended learning involves online and in person learning. First, course materials will be delivered remotely, via an online platform.

The second portion of your course will be completed on campus since some USCG-approved courses require assessments (exams and practical exercises) to be completed in person.

Dates of in-person course completion will be determined at a later date.

MITAGS is currently able to offer the following blended learning courses.

Check individual courses often for any upcoming scheduled course dates.

New course sessions are being added regularly.

— Advanced Meteorology (Blended)

— Basic Firefighting (Blended)

— Basic Training (Blended)

— Basic Training Refresher (Blended)

— Basic Training Revalidation (Blended)

— Bridge Resource Management for Pilots (Online Course)

— Cargo Handling & Stowage (Operational Level) (Blended)

— Fatigue, Sleep & Medications (Online)

— Leadership & Managerial Skills (Blended)

— Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities (Blended)

— Personal Survival Techniques (Blended)

— Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses (Blended)

Please contact us via e-mail if you have questions or concerns.

Back to Stories Covered

The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots, 700 Maritime Blvd. Suite B, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1953. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973. All rights reserved. The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly © 2020. Articles can be reprinted without prior permission if credit is given to The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly. For subscriptions, address changes or messages to the editor or to MM&P headquarters, e-mail Back issues of The Weekly are posted on