Wheelhouse Weekly – August 14, 2012

August 14th 2012


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

Volume 16 . . . Number 33. . . Aug. 14, 2012


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


Workers at Connecticut’s Mystic Seaport maritime museum have the right to join a labor union and should not be unfairly targeted by management for their attempt to organize, according to the MM&P International President.

In a letter to Steve White, president of the museum, the MM&P International President took issue with a message that museum management sent on July 26 to Mystic Seaport members, some of whom are also members of MM&P.

“As President of the Masters, Mates & Pilots (MM&P), a labor union that has represented Licensed Deck Officers aboard U.S.-flag ships since 1887, it was with consternation that I read the letter you sent your members regarding the attempt by Mystic Seaport staff to organize a union,” the MM&P International President wrote. “It is hard for me to believe that a museum that purports to ‘tell the story of all things maritime’ could adopt a stance that displays either callous indifference to—or complete ignorance of–the essential role played by labor unions in improving the living and working conditions of the world’s seafarers.”

In the July 26 e-mail to museum members, Mystic Seaport Membership Director Alexandra Alpert described how Mystic Seaport President White had refused to recognize the staff union. She also wrote that a staff union would be “detrimental” to the museum.

“I find it unconscionable that rather than adopting a neutral stance, you would broadcast to your members a virulent anti-worker message, including the completely unsubstantiated claim that a staff union would be ‘detrimental’ to Mystic Seaport,” the MM&P International President wrote. “We will make sure our members, many of whom contribute generously to efforts to preserve our maritime heritage, are made aware of your callous attitude towards the employees that keep Mystic Seaport in operation.” 


The MM&P Information Technology Department has added new photos to the “flash” photo sequence on The new photos were provided by: members of the MM&P Pilot Membership Group, including the Alaska Marine Pilots, the Association of Maryland Pilots and the Columbia River Bar Pilots; Offshore members who sail aboard APL, Maersk and Waterman ships; members of the Federal Employees Membership Group who sail aboard U.S. Army Corps dredges MCFARLAND and ESSAYONS; and members of the MM&P United Inland Group who sail for Crowley Maritime, Grand River Navigation, San Francisco Bay Area ferries and the King County Water Taxi.

Remember: we are always looking for photos of our members at work! Please send your photos and story ideas today to!


Tens of thousands of union workers rallied in downtown Philadelphia last Saturday to demand that politicians embrace economic and social policies to shore up America’s shrinking middle class. The crowd, which was estimated by local police to number 30,000 to 40,000, included trade union members from at least 10 states. “Work defines us,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told the crowd. “Work is who we are. But hard work alone never led to decent wages and retirement. It takes hard work… and activism.” 

The rally included 3,500 members of the Communications Workers of America and thousands of members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), as well as public employees, teachers and other union members from as far away as Kentucky and Ohio. 

Speakers at the rally called for an end to stagnant wages, job outsourcing and income inequality. A central theme was “the Second Bill of Rights,” an action plan put forth by, among others, IBEW President Edwin D. Hill, a speaker at the event. Based on an idea conceived by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944 to promote greater prosperity, the Second Bill of Rights asserts that every American is entitled to: full employment and a living wage; full participation in the electoral process; a voice in the workplace; a high-quality education; and a secure, healthy future. Politicians of both parties are being asked to sign on to the Second Bill of Rights. The names of those who sign on—and those who don’t—will be made public.


Capt. Laura Smith of San Francisco’s Blue & Gold Fleet has been profiled in “Bay Crossings,” the magazine for Bay Area commuters. Members of MM&P’s United Inland Group crew and maintain the ferries under a five-year contract with WETA, the regional public agency charged by the State of California with operating the Vallejo Baylink ferry, the Alameda-Oakland ferries and the Harbor Bay Island (Alameda) route. 

Smith was interviewed in the wheelhouse of the ferry TAURUS by journalist Matt Larson, who writes the magazine’s regular feature, “Who’s at the Helm.” Five nights a week she works as captain on the evening Harbor Bay commute to and from San Francisco. When she’s not captaining her vessel, Smith is an abstract painter who also likes to camp, hike and bike.

Smith says she loves her job. “Being out there on the water, in the open air–it’s freedom,” she says. “My favorite moment is docking, because that’s a challenge and every time it’s different. I’m constantly learning, constantly evolving. I always want to perfect it. It’s never good enough.”


Eugene “Nicky” Reyes, former director of marine personnel with Central Gulf Lines, died Aug. 8. “Nicky was not only a gentleman, but a man of his word,” said the MM&P Atlantic Ports Vice President. Nicky was a mentor and an advocate, who had many friends in the MM&P fleet. He will be remembered by all for his kindness, his intelligence and his generous spirit. 


The MM&P Norfolk Hall has a new schedule. Effective immediately, the hall will be open 0900-0300 Monday through Friday.


Two boys who had been traveling with pirate gangs are being sent back to their families in Somalia. The boys, ages 12 and 11, were captured in January by the Seychelles police along with 12 other Somalis. The entire group was put on trial for piracy. Authorities in the Seychelles said the 11-year-old was acquitted because of his age and the 12-year-old will be released to the custody of his family. 


The Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee (MERPAC) will meet in Washington, D.C., Sept. 11-12. The meeting will be open to the public. MERPAC working groups will meet on Sept. 11 from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. The full committee will meet briefly on the morning of Sept. 11 and again on Sept. 12 from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Written comments to be distributed to committee members and placed on the MERPAC website are due by Aug. 31. The committee will meet in Room 2501 of Coast Guard Headquarters, 2100 Second Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20593. Attendees will be required to provide a photo identification card. Visitors should arrive at least 30 minutes in advance of the meeting. 

Written comments must be identified by Docket No. USCG–2012-0763 and submitted by one of the following methods: 1) Federal eRulemaking Portal:; Fax: 202-372-1918; Mail: Docket Management Facility (M-30), Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, D.C. 20590-0001; Hand delivery: Same as mail address above. The telephone number is 202-366-9329. All submissions must include the words “Department of Homeland Security” and the docket number. 

Requests to make oral presentations should be made in advance using one of the methods listed above. For more information contact Rogers Henderson,
202-372-1408. for questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, call Renee V. Wright, 202-366-9826. To see the agenda for the meeting, go to:


The Norfolk Tides will honor merchant mariners and support staff on Wednesday, Aug. 15, at 7:15 p.m., when they host the Gwinnett Braves. Military Sealift Command has arranged with the team to provide tickets in an area that will be reserved for mariners, support staffs, their family and friends. Tickets cost $11. Contact Lieut. Frank Lemene at 757-443-2743 or by e-mail


The Offshore Familiarization Course, formerly called the D-Book Membership Course, will be held at regular intervals throughout 2012. 

The schedule is as follows (but please note that course dates may change depending on the number of participants who sign up): Sept. 7-8 at MM&P Headquarters; Oct. 9-10 in New Jersey; Oct. 17-18 in Los Angeles; Nov. 7-8 in Houston. 

There is no sea-time requirement to take the course. All Offshore applicants, potential transferees from other membership groups and other interested Offshore members are urged to attend. 

If you want to attend the course, please RSVP to the local hiring hall where the class is offered or, in the case of a course planned for headquarters, to MM&P Membership Secretary Mary Seidman:


The AFL-CIO last week called for a nationwide boycott of Palermo’s Pizza, including Costco’s Kirkland frozen pizza and Palermo “Classics” frozen pizza. Workers at the Palermo Pizza plant have been on strike since June 1. At issue are workplace safety, pay levels and lack of sick leave. The striking workers have filed an unfair labor practice complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging that Palermo fired 75 employees for trying to join a union. Many workers at Palermo’s have no sick days and make little more than the minimum wage. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in an official statement that he hopes the boycott “will encourage Palermo to finally respect its workers.” 


A U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer collided with an oil tanker early Sunday morning just outside the Strait of Hormuz. The collision left a large hole in the starboard side of the destroyer USS PORTER. There were no injuries on either vessel, according to an official statement released by the Navy over the weekend. The cause of the collision with the Panamanian-flagged Japanese-owned oil tanker MV OTOWASAN is under investigation. There were no reports of spills or leaks from either vessel. USS PORTER, which is homeported in Norfolk, is on a scheduled deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet in Bahrain.


Try our on-line calendar to register for class: 

For class availability or information on courses and programs, contact MITAGS Admissions Coordinator Kelly Michielli toll free at 866-656-5568 or e-mail her at

Between now and the end of September, the following courses are scheduled at MITAGS.

AB – Able Bodied Seaman: 8/20, 10/15

AIS-1 – Automatic Identification Systems (one day): 10/10

ARPA – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 9/25, 10/23, 12/3

AZIPOD (2-DAY) for Pilots: 10/11, 11/12

BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 8/27, 10/19

BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 8/23, 11/29

BST – Basic Safety Training: 10/8

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 9/10, 11/12

CMM-ADVNAV – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): 10/22

CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 10/1, 12/17

CMM-CHS – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 10/8

CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information Systems: 11/12

CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 8/20, 11/26

CMM-SHMGT – Ship Management (2 weeks): 9/17, 12/3

CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 9/10, 9/4, 10/22, 11/5, 11/26, 12/10 

CMM-SHS-ADV-II – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 9/17, 10/1, 10/29, 11/12, 12/3, 12/17 

CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 8/27, 11/5

CHS-BAS – Basic Cargo Handling & Stowage: 10/22

CNAV – Celestial Navigation: 11/5

CONSTAB – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 12/15

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning: 11/10

ECDIS-ENAV (2 DAY) for Pilots: 10/11

ENVIRO-Regs Permit – Environmental Regulations Permit: 8/28, 11/8

EP – Emergency Procedures: 10/17

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 10/8

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress Safety Signal: 8/20

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 8/20, 11/26

LAP – License Advancement Program for Chief Mate & Master: 9/17

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 8/16, 10/10, 11/29

MEDIA RSP – Media Response Workshop: 11/6

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 9/17, 10/15, 12/3

MED-PIC -R– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 11/12

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 9/17, 10/15, 10/29, 12/3

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 9/22, 10/20, 12/8

MSC -SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 10/1, 11/12

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 10/1

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 10/5

RFPNW – Rating Forming Part of a Navigational Watch: 10/1

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 8/15, 8/29, 9/14, 10/3, 10/17, 10/31, 11/14, 12/5, 12/12

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 9/24, 10/11

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal: 10/7, 11/26

SAR – Search & Rescue: 10/15

SEC-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 11/7

SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 10/8, 11/16

SHS-ESH-BRMP3 – Emergency Shiphandling and Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 8/15, 10/8

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling: 8/20, 10/15

WX-BAS – Basic Meteorology: 9/17

WKP-BAS – Watchkeeping Basic (2 weeks): 10/1

… 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. 


Schedule of Courses – Please also see our schedule online at For registration, call our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen, at (206) 838-1126.

August 2012

20-24 Radar Observer Unlimited
20-24 Medical Care Provider
20-31 Medical Person-in-Charge
27th Radar Renewal
27th Flashing Light
28-31 ARPA

September 2012

4-7 Basic Cargo Handling and Stowage
5-6 Vessel Security Officer
10-14 Radar Observer Unlimited
10-14 Bridge Resource Management w/ Simulation
10-21 Celestial Navigation
17-21 Basic Construction and Stability
17-28 GMDSS
24-27 ARPA
24-28 Able Bodied Seaman
24-28 Medical Care Provider

MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 8-14-2012 at 10:30 a.m. 

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
13,198.85 3,027.95 1,407.13

Mutual Funds (Live)

Click a mutual fund for more information.
Click the right or left arrow on the right side of the ticker to browse the mutual funds.

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.

© 2012, 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