Wheelhouse Weekly – August 21st, 2018

August 22nd 2018

Volume 23… Number 34… Aug. 21, 2018


In This Issue:

Important Drug Screening Test Update:

News From the Government Fleet:


News for MM&P Members:


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The Coast Guard has issued a safety alert about the risk that LED lighting could interfere with VHF-FM radio and AIS reception.

The agency said it has received reports from mariners, ship owners and marine inspectors about poor reception on VHF frequencies used for radiotelephone, digital selective calling (DSC) and automatic identification systems (AIS) in the vicinity of light-emitting diode (LED) lighting on-board ships (e.g., navigation lights, searchlights and floodlights, interior and exterior lights, adornment).

Radio frequency interference caused by LED lighting creates potential safety hazards.

For example, the agency reports, the maritime rescue coordination center in one port was unable to contact a ship involved in a traffic separation scheme incident by VHF radio. That ship also experienced very poor AIS reception.

Other ships in different ports have experienced degradation of VHF receivers, including AIS, caused by their LED navigation lights.

Installation of LED lighting in proximity of VHF antennas has been shown to compound reception problems.

According to the safety advisory, strong radio interference caused by LED sources may not be immediately evident to users of maritime radios.

The agency advises testing for interference as follows:

1. Turn off LED light(s).

2. Tune the VHF radio to a quiet channel (e.g., Ch. 13).

3. Adjust the VHF radio’s squelch control until the radio outputs audio noise.

4. Re-adjust the VHF radio’s squelch control until the audio noise is quiet, only slightly above the noise threshold.

5. Turn on the LED light(s).

If at this point the radio outputs audio noise, the LED lights have raised the noise floor. (The noise floor is generally the amount of interfering signals/static received beyond the specific signal or channel being monitored.)

6. If the radio does not output audio noise, the LED lights have not raised the noise floor.

If the noise floor is found to have been raised, it is likely that both shipboard

VHF marine radio and AIS reception are being degraded by LED lighting.

To determine the extent of the interference, the Coast Guard asks anyone experiencing this problem to report their experiences to the Coast Guard Navigation Center:

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The Defense Authorization bill signed into law on Aug. 13 provides full funding for the Maritime Security Program (MSP) at the authorized level of $300 million in FY ’19.

The $300 million for MSP breaks down to $5 million per vessel.

The law authorizes defense spending and policy priorities, which will be funded later through the appropriations process.

Legislators named the law after Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Armed Services Committee, who is fighting brain cancer.

Maritime labor and the rest of the U.S.-flag fleet will continue working with our friends in Congress to ensure the full amount is appropriated to MSP as the funding process moves forward.

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U.S. maritime authorities are advising mariners to exercise “heightened awareness” when transiting the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman, because of multiple countries’ naval exercises in the area.

“If hailed by non-U.S. or non-coalition naval forces,” the authorities advise, “U.S.-flag commercial vessels… should provide vessel name, flag state and affirm that they are exercising navigation rights in accordance with international law, as reflected in the Law of the Sea Convention.”

“If non-U.S. or non-coalition naval forces seek to board a U.S.-flag commercial vessel navigating these waters, the ship’s Master should, if the safety of the ship and crew would not be compromised, decline permission to board by noting that the vessel is exercising navigation rights in accordance with international law.”

“If non-U.S. or non-coalition naval forces attempt to board a U.S.-flag commercial vessel, the crew should immediately contact the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet Battle Watch. The crew should not forcibly resist the boarding party.”

“Refraining from forcible resistance in no way indicates consent or agreement that such a boarding is consistent with international law.”

“All vessels should be aware that coalition naval forces may conduct maritime awareness calls, queries and approaches to ensure the safety of vessels transiting the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman.”

“U.S. flag commercial vessels approaching coalition naval forces are advised to maintain radio contact on VHF Channel 16.”

U.S.-flag vessels are advised to report any incidents immediately to coalition naval vessels on VHF Channel 16, the 5th Fleet Battle Watch via phone at 973-1785- 3879, and email details to: CUSNC.BWC@ME.NAVY.MIL.”

U.S.-flag commercial vessels bound for the Strait of Hormuz in either direction are encouraged to contact the U.S. Navy 5th Fleet Naval Cooperation and Guidance for Shipping Watch at least two days prior to transit at: CUSNC.NCAGS_BW@ME.NAVY.MIL.

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The AFL-CIO has launched a nationwide TV ad campaign highlighting the fact that Americans are increasingly looking to labor unions to raise their living standards and protect their working conditions.

From Missouri voters’ resounding rejection of “right-to-work” legislation to the election of pro-labor candidates in a number of states, “working people are on the rise,” says AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

The ad will run through Labor Day on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News.

It celebrates a number of recent victories for working families:

— pro-worker candidates have won special elections in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Alabama and elsewhere across the country;

— “right-to-work” was voted down by two-thirds of Missouri voters (including half of Republicans);

— 262,000 working people joined unions last year—three quarters of them under the age of the 35;

— labor unions’ approval rating has risen to 61 percent, the highest in nearly 15 years.

“In recent decades, conservative activists and lawmakers have turned labor unions into convenient punching bags,” the editorial staff of The Washington Post wrote in an Aug. 8 editorial.

“There’s always a danger in over-interpreting the results of a single election, but the two-to-one margin by which Missouri voters overturned the so-called right-to-work law appears to be the latest sign of resurgent and effective labor activism.”

“Voters there, as in much of the country, seem to be waking up to the concerted, years-long conservative campaigns to exacerbate income inequality and impoverish working-class families,” they added.

The Missouri vote “and the popular support for teacher strikes in red states show that unions have the wind at their backs for the first time in a long while,” they concluded.

“That is welcome news for long-suffering American workers.”

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As many members are already aware, a new Federal Drug Testing Custody and Control Form (CCF) is now being used. Expired forms will no longer be accepted.

The new form contains fields for newly required testing, including one for screening for semi-synthetic opiates.

You can tell if you have a new form by looking at Block F. Drug Tests to be Performed.

In that box, you must see the following: ( ) 67643N DOT DRUG PANEL.

If you do not see 67643N in box F, you have an expired form.

If you need new drug testing forms, you can get them at any MM&P Port Office, or by calling MM&P Plans at 410-850-8636 or by e-mailing Eric McCollum:

When you fill out the form, you must check the following boxes:

D. Specify Testing Authority: USCG

E. Reason for Test: Pre-employment

F. Drug Tests to be Performed: 67643N DOT DRUG PANEL

Also: Please make sure you have the test done at a Quest facility or a Quest-contracted facility.

It costs MM&P Plan several times more if you do not use a Quest facility.

Please do not assume that just because you have used a certain facility in the past, it is a Quest facility.

To find out the location of the nearest Quest facility, call 866-697-8378, where you will be asked to enter your zip code.

Or go to and click on “For Patients” in the bar at the top of the page, and then “Find Location.” There, you will be asked to enter your zip code.

If you have any questions, please call Dave Romano in the Plan Office: 867-667-5522 ext. 29 or 410-850-8629, or send an e-mail to:

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The hospital ship USNS COMFORT will be deployed on a humanitarian mission to Colombia, according to U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who says that medical personnel aboard the ship will treat the many thousands of people entering the country to escape violence and poverty in Venezuela.

USNS COMFORT is based in Norfolk, Va. The licensed deck officers aboard the ship are represented by the MM&P Federal Employees Membership Group (FEMG).

Mattis discussed plans to deploy the hospital ship while he was in Colombia to meet with the country’s defense minister.

The United Nations estimates that 2.3 million people, many suffering from malnourishment, have fled Venezuela to Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil.
Colombia says that as a result of social and economic upheaval in Venezuela and Nicaragua, it has already given temporary residence to over 800,000 people.

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Military Sealift Command (MSC) will welcome a new high-speed ferry, USNS BURLINGTON, to its fleet of expeditionary fast transport (EPF) vessels this fall.

BURLINGTON is the 10th of 12 planned MSC Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) vessels.

MM&P, the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association and the Seafarers International Union represent the men and women who crew MSC’s EPF fleet.

The Spearhead-class EPFs are non-combatant transport ships.

They have the capability to carry out a wide range of operations, including non-combatant evacuation, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, but their main purpose is the fast intra-theater transportation of troops, military vehicles and equipment.

EPFs are capable of transporting 600 short tons 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots.

Each vessel includes a flight deck to support day and night aircraft launch and recovery operations.

The ships are capable of interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities, as well as on/off-loading vehicles such as a fully combat-loaded Abrams Main Battle Tank.

USNS BURLINGTON, named for the capital city of Vermont, completed acceptance trials in the Gulf of Mexico over the summer.

The trials are the last milestone before delivery of a ship.

The 11th and 12th vessels in the EPF Spearhead class are under construction at Austal USA’s Mobile, Alabama, facility.

They will be named the USNS PUERTO RICO and the USNS NEWPORT.

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The Liberty Ship SS JOHN W. BROWN needs help on Sept. 1 for a Living History trip.

The captain is especially in need of deckhands with AB endorsement. As many as four ABs are needed.

If you would like to volunteer, please e-mail Diane: or

Please direct any questions to Diane: or

The SS JOHN W. BROWN is one of only two remaining fully operational Liberty ships that participated in World War II.

Through the efforts of talented and dedicated volunteers, coupled with the generous financial support of members and friends, SS JOHN W. BROWN continues to educate by operating as a historic museum ship, furnishing visitors with a unique opportunity to experience the “living history” of the World War II merchant marine.

The ship is berthed at Pier 1, 2020 S. Clinton St., Baltimore, MD 21224.

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Attention all MM&P members in the greater Los Angeles Area!

Once again this year, MM&P will be participating in the Annual Labor Day March and Rally.

The march will be held on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 3.

Members will meet at 0900 at the MM&P Hall at 533 N. Marine Ave., Suite A, Wilmington, and head over one block to assemble for the march at the corner of “E” and Broad.

The parade starts at 1000.

When the march ends, hot dogs and drinks will be served at the rally at Banning Park. There will be speakers, music and more!

Come one, come all, and bring your family members and friends!

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The November mid-term elections are fast approaching.

To protect American maritime jobs and the U.S.-flag fleet, we must help our friends in Congress win their elections.

To do so, we need the support of every MM&P member, pensioner and employee.

Stand with your union brothers and sisters!

Support the MM&P Political Contribution Fund by making a contribution to the PCF today.

Go to and click on the “Protect Your Job” button in the top right-hand corner of the page.

Visit the “Who We Support” page in the Members’ Only section of to find out whether your representatives in Congress stand with the American Merchant Marine and the U.S.-flag fleet.

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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. 3, for Labor Day.

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MITAGS-PMI is interested in receiving photo submissions from MM&P members for use on the official MITAGS-PMI social media platform.

The goal is to document members’ voyages. As suggestions, photos can be of events and sights onboard, crewmembers at work or scenic locations.

If you are interested in sharing photos, please send them with caption information to or

Be sure to tell us whether you would like to be credited for the photo.

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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:

For Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) processing, MMC problem resolution advice, STCW compliance and VA GI-Bill questions, contact MITAGS-PMI Student/Instructional Services Manager Jennifer Pitzen at 206-739-0720 (direct line); (888) 893-7829 (toll free); or by e-mail:

Please include your Mariner Reference Number, date of birth and the last four digits of your social security number in all emails.

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.

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

AB – 10/15/18

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation (1-Day): 8/29/18

ARPA-OIC (4-Day) – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 9/25/18

AZIPOD (2-Day) – 10/15/18

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 9/24/18, 10/29/18

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots (2-Day): 12/19/18

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling – (Now also included in BRMP-Refresher) (3-Day): 10/17/18

BRMP-Refresher (Now including Emergency Shiphandling for Pilots) (3-Day) –9/11/18

BT – Basic Safety Training: 10/22/18, 1/14/19, 4/8/19

BT-Revalidation (2-day) (Must have 1 year of sea service in last 5 years) –8/27/18, 9/26/18, 10/31/18, 12/18/18

BT-Refresher (3-day) – 9/26/18, 12/17/18

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: Contact Admissions

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 9/24/18, 12/10/18, 1/14/19, 3/11/19,6/10/19

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 9/17/18, 12/3/18, 1/7/19, 4/8/19,6/3/19

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (10 Days): 10/1/18

CM-OPS 1 – Chief Mate Operations – Week 1: 10/1/18

CM-OPS 2 Maersk – Chief Mate Operations II Maersk Specific: 10/8/18

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information Systems: 11/12/18

LMS – Leadership and Managerial Skills (Management Level – Formerly MCL-CMM): 11/26/18

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants: 10/15/18

SEC-APPS – Practical Defense Tactics: 10/1/18

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management: 10/29/18

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 9/10/18, 10/1/18,11/5/18, 11/26/18

SHS-ADV-II-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 9/17/18, 10/8/18,11/12/18, 12/3/18

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

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 10/22/18

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 9/10/18

CNAV-OIC (10-Day) – Celestial Navigation: Contact Admissions

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop (1-Day): Not currently scheduled

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): Contact Admissions

CSE-AWR – Confined Space Entry Awareness (2-Day): Contact Admissions

DDE – Great Lakes (20-Day): 1/21/19, 6/3/19

DPA (2-Day) – Contact Admissions

ECDIS for Pilots (2-Day) – 8/27/18, 12/17/18

ERM – Engine Resource Management: 11/26/18

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 10/22/18, 1/14/19,4/8/19

FF-ADV-Rev (1-day) (Must have 1 year of sea service in last 5 years) – Advanced Fire Fighting Revalidation: 8/29/18, 9/25/18, 10/30/18, 12/20/18

FF-ADV-REF (2-day) – Advanced Fire Fighting Refresher: 9/29/18, 12/15/18

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications (1-Day): 9/11/18

GL-Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization (2-Day): 1/18/19

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

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 12/10/18

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

LAP – License Advancement Program for Mate to Master (20-Day): 9/17/18,2/25/19

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes (20-Day):1/21/19

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): 9/12/18

LNG-TPIC (10-Day) – 12/3/18

LTS –Leadership and Teamworking Skills (Formerly MCL-OIC) (1-Day): Contact Admissions

MEECE – Management of Electrical and Electronic Control Equipment (Assessments not included): 12/3/18

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge (10-Day): 10/8/18, 11/26/18

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 9/17/18

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 10/8/18, 11/26/18

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing (1-Day):8/30/18, 9/24/18, 10/13/18, 10/29/18, 12/1/18, 12/21/18

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: Not currently scheduled

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic) (1-Day): 9/12/18, 11/14/18

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (2-day): 9/13/18,11/12/18

*MSC-ENVPRO (1-Day) – 11/4/18

*MSC-FF-HELO (2-Day) – 10/31/18

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualifications (4-Day):9/17/18, 11/5/18

*MSC-Security Watch Basic (1-Day) – 9/15/18, 11/2/18

*MSC-Security Watch Advanced (1-Day) – 9/16/18, 11/3/18

*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force (3-Day) – 9/21/18, 11/9/18

NSAP-MMP – Navigational Skills Assessment Program-MM&P (2-Day) – 8/28/18, 8/30/18, 11/12/18, 11/14/18, 12/17/18, 12/19/18

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal (1-Day): 9/24/18

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes (1-Night): 10/3/18, 10/17/18, 10/31/18, 11/7/18, 11/14/18, 11/28/18, 12/5/18, 12/12/18, 12/19/18

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 9/17/18, 1/7/19

SAR – Search & Rescue – (Now with OIC and CMM assessments) (3-Day): 12/17/18

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling: 10/22/18

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling (5 Day) – 9/24/18, 10/29/18, 12/10/18

SMS – Successful Safety Management (2-Day) – Not currently scheduled

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: Contact Admissions

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses (15-Day): Contact Admissions

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: Contact Admissions

TRAC-TUG-2 (2-Day): Contact Admissions

TTT – 9/17/18

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties (1-Day): Contact Admissions

VSO – Vessel Security Officer (3-Day): Contact Admissions

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level) (10-Day): Contact Admissions

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): Contact Admissions

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Summer-Fall 2018

For registration, contact our admissions department: 206.441.2880 or

Please also see our schedule and enroll online at

August 2018
27th Medical DOT
27-31 Medical Care Provider

September 2018
4th Flashing Light
5-7 Security Officer – Vessel, Company, and Facility
6th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
7-8 Basic Training Revalidation
7-10 Basic Training Refresher
10th Radar Renewal
10-14 Basic Training
10-21 License Preparation (OICNW)
17-20 Advanced Firefighting
17-21 ECDIS
20-21 Basic Training Revalidation
21st Vessel Personnel w/ Designated Security Duties (VPDSD)
24th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
24-28 Medical Care Provider
24-5 Medical Person-In-Charge

October 2018
4-5 Basic Training Revalidation
4-8 Basic Training Refresher
8th Radar Renewal
8-12 Leadership & Managerial Skills
8-12 Basic Training
9th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
8-12 Pilot Exam Preparation
15-18 Advanced Firefighting
15-19 ECDIS
15-19 Engine Resource Management (ERM)
18-19 Basic Training Revalidation
19th Medical DOT
22nd Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
22-26 MEECE
22-2 Celestial Navigation
31-1 Basic Training Revalidation
31-5 Basic Training Refresher

November 2018
2nd Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
5th Radar Renewal
5-8 Advanced Firefighting
5-9 Basic Training
12-14 Security Officer – Vessel, Company, and Facility
13-16 Advanced Firefighting
16th Medical DOT
16th Vessel Personnel w/ Designated Security Duties (VPDSD)
19-20 Basic Training Revalidation
21st Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
26-30 Radar Observer Unlimited
29-30 Basic Training Revalidation

December 2018
3rd Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
3-7 Leadership & Managerial Skills
3-7 Medical Care Provider
3-14 Medical Person-In-Charge
10-13 ARPA
10-14 Basic Training
14th Radar Renewal
14th Medical DOT
14-18 Basic Training Refresher
17-18 Basic Training Revalidation
17-20 Search & Rescue
18-21 Advanced Firefighting
19th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation

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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 © 2018. 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