Wheelhouse Weekly – August 16, 2016

August 16th 2016

Volume 21 . . . Number 33. . . Aug. 16, 2016


In This Issue:

Labor News:

Job Opportunity:

MM&P Membership Meetings:

Mark Your Calendar:

Other News:


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MM&P and the Inland Boatmen’s Union (IBU) are asking state and local authorities in Alaska to review Alyeska Pipeline’s move to outsource tanker escort and spill response service in Prince William Sound.

Crowley Marine, which has provided tanker escort and spill response service in the sound for 25 years without a major incident, employs members of MM&P and IBU.

On Aug. 8, Alyeska signed a contract with Edison Chouest Offshore, a company best known in Alaska for its role in the KULLUK oil rig disaster.

The unions are asking the authorities to find out on what basis the decision was made to award the contract to an out-of-state contractor with a safety record that is questionable at best. Alyeska says cost-cutting was not involved but refuses to provide additional details.

The plan to transfer operations to Edison Chouest raises both economic and environmental concerns, says IBU President Alan Cote.

“We’re insisting that state and local authorities take a much closer look at this agreement, which was negotiated behind closed doors with the goal of cutting costs and cutting corners,” he says.

“Alaska workers and citizens deserve due diligence and transparency before putting human and natural resources at risk.”

Alyeska claims that a “vigorous vetting process” was conducted before the decision was made, but has provided no details.

The unions counter that the out-of-state workers are unfamiliar with Alaska’s unique and sometimes treacherous waters and that their lack of knowledge—as evidenced in the case of the KULLUK oil rig—would put the local environment at risk.

Edison Chouest built the 360-foot ice-class anchor handler AIVIQ to support Shell’s Arctic drilling campaign. In 2012, as the AIVIQ was towing the KULLUK, the lines snapped. The rig eventually wrecked off the coast of Kodiak. Edison Chouest was faulted for errors by the U.S. Coast Guard.

No information about whether the state has reviewed the contract award process has been made public and no public hearings have been held.

“Edison Chouest is a financially troubled company that eliminated more than 2,000 jobs in 2015 and forced deep wage and benefit cuts this year,” said MM&P President Don Marcus.

“Rather than using crews experienced in Alaska’s unforgiving maritime conditions or hiring Alaskan workers, they plan to bring Gulf Coast workers off of layoff and give them the difficult task of operating in Prince William Sound. That’s going to put at risk the Alaska environment as well as the economy. It doesn’t give you much confidence about protecting the waters that sustain fishing, tourism, recreation, maritime and other local industries.”

In addition to its role in the KULLUK disaster, news outlets report that Edison Chouest has failed to meet promises to create jobs in exchange for tax subsidies from state governments in Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.

State and local governments in the Gulf Region are now demanding “clawbacks” in a bid to recoup millions of dollars in subsidies and tax breaks given to Edison Chouest in exchange for creating jobs that never materialized.

Responding to the possible loss of good-paying Alaska jobs and potential threats to Prince William Sound, the IBU and MM&P have launched a campaign demanding public accountability.
A television advertisement sponsored by the two unions has been aired in Anchorage and other Alaska media markets.

An online petition calling on oil industry executives to “keep experienced Alaska workers on the job, so we can keep Prince William Sound safe and clean for future generations” has drawn 2,500 supporters.

Back to Stories Covered


Danish shipping and oil giant A.P. Moller-Maersk last week reported a sharp decline in second quarter profits. Chief Executive Soren Skou said earnings for the year would be significantly below last year’s level.

The group said however in a statement that its financial position remains very strong, with $11.5 billion in liquidity reserves.

For the second quarter, the group reported profits of $118 million, 89 percent below the $1.09 billion it reported for the comparable period in 2015.

Maersk Line (MLL), the group’s largest business unit, reported a loss of $151 million for the second quarter of 2016.

In the same period last year, the company reported a profit of $507 million.

MLL said that despite a 6.9 percent increase in container shipping volumes, freight rates had fallen due to over-capacity. It has said it will stop service to 10 ports in China to lower costs.

“Maersk Line has reduced costs by 15 percent but it has not been enough to match a drop of 24 percent in freight rates,” Skou said in a statement.

“Cost reductions and operational optimizations… made a significant contribution to mitigating the impact of the negative market conditions,” he added.

The drop in costs was attributed by the company to a significant decline in fuel prices, improved fleet utilization and operational efficiencies.

Skou has said he will soon present the results of a strategic review and restructuring plan for the A.P. Moller-Maersk Group that could include selling off some operations as a way to respond to falling oil markets and overcapacity.

The group is seeking to maintain its position as the world’s largest container carrier, with approximately 15 percent of the global market, in the wake of mergers and acquisitions among competitors, particularly in Asia.

A record number of around 150 container vessels is expected to be scrapped in 2016, according to maritime consultant Drewry, but that is not expected to correct the overall imbalance between demand and supply.

Back to Stories Covered


In its updated 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) sees a 70-percent chance of 12–17 named storms, of which 5–8 are expected to become hurricanes, including 2–4 major hurricanes.

This would translate into a normal or above-normal hurricane season. If the predictions come true, this year’s would be the most active Atlantic hurricane season since 2012.

As of Aug. 11, there have been five named storms in 2016, including two hurricanes (Alex and Earl).

Four made landfall: Bonnie (in South Carolina), Colin (in western Florida), Danielle (in eastern Mexico) and Earl (in Belize and Mexico).

Gerry Bell, lead NOAA seasonal hurricane forecaster, said scientists at the agency’s climate prediction center had decided to increase the probability of larger storms in their forecast because of factors such as El Nino ending, weaker vertical wind shear, weaker trade winds over the central tropical Atlantic and a stronger west African monsoon.

He said that “less conducive ocean temperature patterns in both the Atlantic and eastern subtropical North Pacific, combined with stronger wind shear and sinking motion in the atmosphere over the Caribbean Sea, are expected to prevent the season from becoming extremely active.”

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage coastal and marine resources.

Back to Stories Covered


U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez says union members earn about $200 a week more than nonunion workers

“If you are a member of a union, your median weekly income is roughly $200 more than if you are a nonunion member, and that doesn’t include benefits,” Perez said recently in an interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The information he cited comes from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The bureau examines “median” earnings–the halfway point at which 50 percent of workers make less and 50 percent make more.

In 2015, according to the bureau’s most current figures, the median weekly pay of people who were members of a union was $980. For people who were not union members, the median weekly pay was $776.

Back to Stories Covered


A circuit court judge in West Virginia last Wednesday issued an injunction blocking implementation of the state’s new “right-to-work” law.

In response to a suit brought by labor unions in the state, Judge Jennifer Bailey ruled that enforcement could cause irreparable harm to unions and union workers. As a result, she blocked the law temporarily while questions about it are resolved.

“When people are facing the possibility of criminal charges and civil damages, both of which are provided for in this law, it is quite serious,” she said in granting the injunction sought by the West Virginia AFL-CIO and 11 labor unions in the state.

The law, like others implemented in a number of states where anti-labor majorities have gained control of legislatures, allows workers in union shops to become “free riders” and opt out of paying union dues while still benefiting from union contracts.

The unions argued in court that the law constitutes “an illegal taking of union and union members’ property,” since federal labor law requires unions to represent all employees covered by collective bargaining agreements, whether they pay dues or not.

Ken Hall of the Teamsters, who testified during the hearing, said members of his local would end up paying an extra $172 in union dues each year to cover union services provided to free riders.

The figure includes the costs of contract negotiations and representing workers in employee grievances and disciplinary hearings.

A study has projected that unions in the state would experience a 20 percent drop in membership if the law is implemented.

“The whole purpose is to weaken unions, which is to give advantage to corporate management,” said Hall.

In states which have implemented right-to-work laws, most jobs are low wage, household incomes are lower and there are fewer critical public services available to residents.

Back to Stories Covered


The Spill Prevention, Preparedness, and Response program within the Washington State Department of Ecology is looking for a permanent oil spill contingency plan compliance specialist to work in Lacey, Wash.

The mission of this position is to ensure that the Spills Program has a focus on preparedness for oil spills to Washington waters and land, as well as effective and aggressive responses to oil and hazardous substance spills whenever they occur.

The salary is $42,492-$55,728 annually. To find out more, go to

Back to Stories Covered


Transportation officials in Washington State and Toronto, Canada, are trying to figure out how to deal with problems created by Pokemon Go players, some of whom have breached security or obstructed passenger traffic on ferries and at terminals.

The news has been reported by MarEx and other maritime industry publications.

To advance in the game, Pokemon Go players follow a map on their mobile phones to hot spots, known as “PokeStops.”

Last week, the U.S. Coast Guard reported that it was investigating security problems at the ferry terminal in Edmonds, Wash.

The game’s developers have placed a PokeStop at the end of a loading ramp there.

“We had literally hundreds of people who play the game that keep coming out here onto the terminal area,” a spokesperson for Washington State Ferries was quoted as saying.

A spokesperson for the Coast Guard said the agency is working with Nintendo to remove PokeStops and Pokemon characters from federal facilities.

In Toronto, municipal officials say they plan to fence off the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal from a park where hundreds of Pokemon players have been congregating.

Nearly a dozen Pokemon hotspots are located near the terminal, and officials say the game is interfering with commuter traffic. The city has asked Nintendo to move virtual beacons away from the site.

A spokesperson for the City of Toronto Parks and Recreation Department says that around the terminal there are now up to a dozen PokeStops and PokeGyms, areas where players can battle each other with digital monsters they have caught and trained in the game.

“This level of use and potential congestion is not sustainable,” he said. “There have . . . been incidences of players charging our gates and running through the crowds, presumably in search of something in the game.”

Back to Stories Covered


MM&P President Don Marcus and Secretary-Treasurer Steve Werse will join Atlantic Ports Vice President Don Josberger at the Offshore Membership Meeting at the New York/New Jersey Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 7.

All Offshore members in the area are encouraged to attend the meeting, which will start at 1100.

The New York/New Jersey Hall is located at 570 Broad Street, Suite 701, Newark, NJ 07102. The phone number is 201-963-1900.

Back to Stories Covered


MM&P President Don Marcus and Secretary-Treasurer Steve Werse will join Atlantic Ports Vice President Don Josberger to inaugurate the new MM&P Charleston Hall on Thursday, Sept. 15, at 1200. An Offshore membership meeting will follow. All members in the area are urged to attend.

The MM&P Charleston Hall is located at 1481 Tobias Gadson Blvd., Suite 2C, Charleston, SC 29407-4794. The phone number is 843-766-3565.

Back to Stories Covered


The Offshore Familiarization Course will be held in the New York/New Jersey Hall on Tuesdayand Wednesday, Sept. 6-7. On Sept. 6, the class begins at 0900.

On Sept. 7, the class begins at 0830 with the Labor History section of the course presented by MM&P President Don Marcus.

All Offshore members—not just applicants—are encouraged to participate in the course on Sept. 7.

It will be followed by an Offshore Membership Meeting at 1100 with Don Marcus, Secretary Treasurer Steve Werse and Atlantic Ports Vice President Don Josberger.

Interested applicants should sign up for the Familiarization Course by calling the hall at 201-963-1900. (There is no need to sign up if you are attending just the Labor History part of the course and the membership meeting on Sept. 7.)

The New York/New Jersey Hall is located at 570 Broad Street, Suite 701, Newark, NJ 07102.

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 encouraged to take the course as soon as possible.

Back to Stories Covered


MITAGS needs your current address! Have you moved recently? Did you remember to send MITAGS your new address for communications regarding courses? Please send your current contact information to or to the fax number below. New dedicated fax line for Admissions only: 1-443-568-1928. For all other MITAGS business, please continue to use: 410-859-5181.

For class availability or information on MITAGS courses and programs, contact Amanda Meadows, Admissions Coordinator, toll-free at 866-656-5568 or by e-mail: Why not try our on-line calendar to register for class:

Please note the special addition to our on-campus schedule of MSC classes marked with an asterisk (*), which are not normally scheduled to be held at MITAGS.

AB – 8/22/16, 10/17/16

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: Contact Admissions

ARPA-OIC – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 9/27/16, 1/24/17

AZIPOD 2-Day – 11/14/16, 3/6/17

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 10/31/16, 1/30/17

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 11/14/16, 3/6/17

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling: Contact Admissions

BT – Basic Safety Training: 10/10/16, 1/23/17

BT-Revalidation (2-day) – 8/22/16, 10/31/16, 3/9/17

BT-Refresher (3-day) – 10/30/16, 3/9/17

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 11/14/16

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVNAV-CMM – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): Contact Admissions

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 10/17/16, 1/16/17

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 11/7/16, 1/9/17, 3/13/17

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 10/24/16

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 9/12/16, 10/10/16, 11/28/16, 12/19/16,1/23/17, 3/27/17

LMS – Leadership and Managerial Skills (Management Level – Formerly MCL-CMM 8/22/16,8/29/16, 9/12/16, 10/3/16, 10/31/16, 11/14/16,11/28/16, 12/5/16, 12/12/16, 12/19/16, 1/30/17,2/20/17

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants: 9/19/16

SEC-APPS – Practical Defense Tactics: 10/31/16, 3/13/17

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management (2 weeks): 10/3/16

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 9/12/16, 10/24/16, 11/7/16, 12/5/16,1/16/17, 2/6/17, 3/6/17, 3/20/17

SHS-ADV-II-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 8/22/16, 9/19/16, 10/31/16, 11/14/16,12/12/16, 1/23/17, 2/13/17, 3/13/17, 3/27/17

**SHS-ADV-I & II now approved to include SAR-CMM assessments at MITAGS effective immediately. Both weeks must be taken together in order to complete SAR-CMM**

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 9/12/16, 3/20/17

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 9/26/16

CNAV-OIC – Celestial Navigation: 10/24/16

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: Contact Admissions

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications: 3/2/17

DDE – Great Lakes: 1/30/17

DPA – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-OIC – Contact Admissions

ECDIS for Pilots – 11/14/16, 2/28/17

ERM – Engine Resource Management: 8/22/16, 9/26/16, 10/24/16, 11/14/16, 11/28/16, 12/5/16,12/12/16, 12/19/16, 2/27/17

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 10/10/16, 1/23/17

FF-ADV-REV – Advanced Fire Fighting Revalidation & Refresher: 3/7/17

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications: 9/20/16, 10/3/16

GL-Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization: 1/6/17

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 8/22/16, 3/6/17

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 8/29/16, 12/5/16

LAP- 9/19/16, 2/13/17

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes: 1/9/17

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross
Ton License: 12/5/16

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 9/21/16, 11/15/16

LNG-TPIC – 12/5/16

LTS –Leadership and Teamworking Skills (Formerly MCL-OIC): 9/26/16, 10/26/16*, 11/14/16*, 12/19/16*, 2/13/17 (*Evening Session)

MEECE – Management of Electrical and Electronic Control: 8/29/16, 9/19/16, 10/17/16, 11/7/16, 11/28/16, 12/5/16, 12/12/16, 12/19/16

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 11/7/16, 12/12/16, 1/9/17, 3/20/17

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 8/29/16, 10/3/16, 1/30/17

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 11/7/16, 11/28/16, 12/12/16, 1/9/17, 3/20/17

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 8/28/16, 11/12/16, 12/17/16, 1/14/17, 3/6/17

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: Contact Admissions

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 10/17/16, 2/23/17

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control: 10/18/16, 2/21/17

*MSC-ENVPRO – 10/16/16, 2/26/17

*MSC-FF-HELO – 8/22/16, 10/31/16, 3/9/17

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 10/23/16, 1/9/17, 2/27/17

*MSC-Security Watch Basic – 10/20/16, 2/24/17

*MSC-Security Watch Advanced – 10/22/16, 1/13/17, 3/3/17

*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force – 10/27/16, 1/16/17

NSAP-MMP – Navigational Skills Assessment Program-MM&P – 10/25/16

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 9/26/16, 1/23/17

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 8/24/16, 9/21/16, 10/5/16, 10/19/16, 11/2/16, 11/9/16, 11/16/16, 11/30/16, 12/7/16, 12/14/16, 1/11/17, 2/1/17, 2/8/17, 2/22/17, 3/8/17, 3/22/17

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 1/16/17

SAR-OIC – Search & Rescue – 11/7/16

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling: 8/29/16, 10/17/16, 2/20/17

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day: 10/3/16, 11/28/16, 2/20/17

SMS – 12/19/16

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 1/9/17

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 1/30/17

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: 2/13/17

TRAC-TUG-2: Contact Admissions

TTT – 12/12/16

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: Contact Admissions

VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 9/7/16, 10/22/16, 2/14/17

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level): 10/3/16, 2/20/17

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): 9/19/16, 3/20/17

Back to Stories Covered


Please also see our schedule and enroll online at For registration contact our registrar, Mary McGhee: 206.838.1126 or

August 2016

22-26 ECDIS
22-26 MEECE
22-2 GMDSS
29-2 Leadership & Managerial Skills

September 2016

7th Leadership & Teamworking Skills
12-16 Basic Cargo Handling & Stowage
12-16 Engine Resource Management
12-16 MEECE
12-23 GMDSS
19-23 ECDIS
19-23 Medical Care Provider
19-23 Leadership & Managerial Skills
19-30 Celestial Navigation
19-30 Medical Person-In-Charge
26-30 MEECE

October 2016

3-7 Leadership & Managerial Skills
3-7 Medical Care Provider
3-14 License Preparation
10-14 Radar Observer Unlimited
10-14 Engine Resource Management
10-14 MEECE
10-21 GMDSS
17th Radar Renewal
17-21 Leadership & Managerial Skills
17-21 Basic Stability
18-21 ARPA
24-28 Leadership & Managerial Skills
24-28 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
24-28 MEECE
31-1 Search & Rescue
31-4 Leadership & Managerial Skills
31-4 Engine Resource Management

November 2016

7th Radar Renewal
8th Leadership & Teamworking Skills
14-18 ECDIS
14-18 Leadership & Managerial Skills
14-18 Engine Resource Management
14-18 MEECE
28-2 Medical Care Provider
28-9 Medical Person-In-Charge
28-9 GMDSS

December 2016

5th Radar Renewal
5-9 Leadership & Managerial Skills
5-9 Engine Resource Management
12-16 ECDIS
12-16 Leadership & Managerial Skills
12-16 MEECE
19-23 Tankerman Person-In-Charge

Back to Stories Covered

The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates, & Pilots, ILA, AFL-CIO, 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 © 2016. Articles can be reprinted without prior permission if credit is given to The MM&P WheelhouseWeekly. For subscriptions, address changes or messages to the editor or to MM&P headquarters, e-mail Back issues of The Weekly are posted on