Wheelhouse Weekly – August 25, 2006

August 25th 2006


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

Volume 10 . . . . . Number 34. . . . August 25, 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.



In an atmosphere that emphasized the positive results that have been obtained from a continuing spirit of cooperation in many complex maritime matters, members, delegates and guests assembled for the 81st MM&P Convention heard from an impressive array of top maritime union leaders. On August 22nd, International Longshoremen’s Association President John Bowers and Sailors’ Union of the Pacific President Gunnar Lundeberg addressed the convention. On August 23rd, Seafarers International Union President Michael Sacco and Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association President Ron Davis delivered their remarks to those in attendance.

ILA President John Bowers opened his remarks by stating that he was not used to attending such a quiet convention and applauded the continued unity among maritime unions on matters of importance within the industry. He reiterated his firm belief that MM&P and ILA stand together by saying, “If the Masters, Mates & Pilots do not have a contract, neither does the ILA.” He closed his remarks by stating that among the many challenges that currently face today’s unions, there are two that outrank all others: keeping up with technology and dealing with the unrelenting rise in health care costs.

SUP President Gunnar Lundeberg cautioned those in attendance that the House of Labor is under fire in America. He opened his remarks by noting that, “it is important to remember that we are living in one of the most viciously anti-union eras of all time. You have to go way back, past Reagan, past Nixon, past even Taft-Hartley to the era before the National Labor Relations Act. And you have to go back to the era before the 1920s, before the national strikes of 1934, to reach an era of similar hostility. And it’s no accident that you have to go back to that era for a suitable comparison: the great achievements of the New Deal, arising out of great labor and civil unrest, are what this administration has systematically attempted to dismantle for the last six years. There are many examples, from the attempted scuttling of Social Security to the erosion of civil rights, to the lockout of the ILWU in 2002. As you all know, the NLRA is labor’s Magna Carta. It gives us the right to form and join unions. It gives us the right to collectively bargain. Indeed, it establishes collective bargaining as a cornerstone of American commerce. But some of the government officials who are charged with the responsibility ‘to foster, promote and develop the welfare of working people, to improve their working conditions, and to advance their opportunities for profitable employment …’ are today the same officials who are hell-bent on undermining worker’s rights.”

In his remarks, SIU President Michael Sacco highlighted the progress that has come from the continuing cooperation within the American maritime labor movement. He noted that maintaining the type of positive relationships that have developed among the unions over the last several years are vital to maritime labor’s survival. He stated that maritime labor was doing a good job of finding common ground and generally speaking with one voice to those in Washington who want and need to know the position of seagoing unions. The SIU President said that, “by taking a united approach, everyone is on the same page and we are more effective.” He also observed that in today’s world obtaining information quickly is a key to success by stating that it is vital to make a constant effort to get all the information you can from government agencies. He used the current TWIC card controversy as an example of how important it is to learn what the government is planning to do and taking the necessary steps to oppose it if it is not in the best interest of union members. If working with the system to change the proposed rulemaking doesn’t work, then he said that you are then forced to craft legislation that will exempt you from those requirements.

During his presentation to the delegates, MEBA President Ron Davis reaffirmed his commitment to cooperation with the MM&P both in working together to find areas where it makes sense to save operating expenditures. Davis cited the recent move of the MEBA port office in Jacksonville into the existing building housing the MM&P Hall as a primary example of smart cost savings. He also said that the two unions would be looking at similar possibilities in Tampa and Norfolk. He highlighted the important work performed in Washington by Jim Patti and how closely MIRAID works with the American Maritime Congress and that working together in the future as a combined operation could also be a topic for future consideration.

Due to space limitations, convention coverage will be continued in upcoming editions of the Wheelhouse Weekly. Upcoming issues of the Master, Mate & Pilot magazine will also include more coverage on the presentations and events from the 81st MM&P Convention.



Of 22 resolutions submitted for consideration by convention delegates to the 81st MM&P Convention, August 22-23, 2006:

Eight Resolutions were adopted as written, including:
Resolution 4: Hurricane Relief Fund; Resolution 16: Steven Lohman Commendation; Resolution 17: Short Sea Shipping Initiatives; Resolution 18: Preserving Labor Rights for DOD Unions; Resolution 19: Political Action; Resolution 20: Maritime Tax Reform; Resolution 21: Public Recognition for Merchnat Mariners; Resolution 22: Hornblower West Coast Solidarity Campaign (late starter resolution accepted by convention delegates).

Eight Resolutions were turned down.

Five Resolutions were referred to either the Shipping Rules Committee, Offshore Advisory Committee or the General Executive Board.

Resolution 13 was tabled.

More coverage of the Resolutions that were adopted will be contained in an upcoming issue of the Master, Mate & Pilot magazine.


An agreement was reached this week with Matson Navigation regarding the contract re-opener with Matson Navigation. The re-opener, which covered wage increases for vessels other than the CV2600 and CV2500 Class vessels, was slated to be resolved in arbitration on Thursday, August 24, 2006.

Vice President, Pacific Ports Don Marcus reports that: “Matson and MM&P agreed to settle short of arbitration with a package that we believe is acceptable to the membership.” Particulars of the deal include the following: extending the term of the master agreement until 6/15/09, wage and wage related increases of 3.5% effective retroactively on 6/16/06 with additional wage and wage related increases of 3% on 6/16/07 and 3.5% on 6/16/08. In addition, on 6/16/07 the IRAP contribution rate will be increased by 1% on 6/16/07 and a contract clarification regarding the payment of Nonwatch pay to day working LDOs during shipyard periods was agreed to.

This agreement was reached in consultation with negotiating partners MEBA. International Headquarters and VP Marcus wish to express their thanks to negotiating committee members BJ Diggins, Patrick Glenn, Jeff Hill and Mike Carmody as well as Dave Boatner, Agent Pacific Ports for their contributions to this effort which has drawn out since January 2006.


All current and former MM&P-contracted AHL employees are requested to get in touch with the company as soon as possible to update their contact information. Apparently because of the address changes caused by the hurricanes last year, when AHL undertook a recent mailing to send out some important information to its current and former employees, over 150 items were returned and did not reach the intended recipient. Members are reminded that AHL Shipping Company has moved to new offices located at 219 E. Houston Street, Suite 300, San Antonio, TX 78205. The new main phone number is 210-228-2700; the new job line number is 210-228-2771; and the new fax number is 210-222-9102.


MITAGS is seeking retired US Navy Officers interested in providing simulator-based professional maritime training to US Navy students. Hiring instructors that are retired US Navy Officers is a Navy requirement of this contract. Subjects include shiphandling, navigation and maritime safety skills required for top performance in the fleet. Positions require a minimum of 18 months US Navy surface warfare command-at-sea experience. STCW, ARPA/ECDIS qualifications and designation as Navy Master Training Specialist are plusses. Employment would be in the following areas:

  • Norfolk, VA
  • San Diego, CA
  • Jacksonville, FL
  • Honolulu, HI
  • Everett/Bremerton, WA
  • Japan

E-mail resume and letter of interest to or fax to (443) 989-3341. For more information, visit the MITAGS Web site at


MM&P Pacific Port Agent Dave Boatner has sent in the following reminder: Offshore Division members are advised that a Shipping Rules Conference will be held at MM&P HQ 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. For further info or to submit comments, members can contact Dave Boatner at


As previously reported in the Wheelhouse Weekly, on August 15th, the Coast Guard released a message providing an update to the status of the regulatory project to require transportation workers within the maritime sector to obtain TWICs. The 45 day comment period for the proposed rule published in the Federal Register of May 22, 2006 has expired. Although the Coast Guard and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have decided not to extend the comment period for the original rulemaking, the large number of comments requesting an extension and additional public meetings, has resulted in the following actions:

  • The TWIC provisions in the original proposal have been divided into two separate regulatory projects.
  • While the requirement to obtain TWICs will continue to move forward through the original regulatory project, other implementation provisions including the requirement to purchase and use TWIC readers will be moved to a new regulatory project. The public will be afforded additional opportunities to comment on the provisions of the new regulatory project that will be published as another Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.
  • Additional details regarding the new regulatory project will be provided after the final rule for the original rulemaking is published through a TWIC Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular and Commandant Instruction. Interested persons should monitor Homeport and the MTSA-ISPS Web site ( or call the MTSA-ISPS Helpdesk Hotline at 1-877-687-2243.


    Edward Wytkind, President of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), released the following statement earlier this week following the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) new plan to implement the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) affecting 750,000 workers needing unescorted access to secure areas of ports and vessels including longshoremen, maritime employees, rail workers and truck drivers without requiring the purchase or installation of card readers:

    “The recent decision by TSA to postpone the installation and purchase of biometric card readers, while still forcing workers to undergo extensive background checks and pay for a biometric ID card, is extremely troubling. Our government says the TWIC program was designed to use biometric technology and collect biographical data to control access to our nation’s maritime facilities.

    “It makes no sense to impose onerous requirements on workers now and force them to pay almost $150 for a glorified flash pass that may never be used as intended. Without the ability to verify a worker’s identity through biometric data, there are limited safeguards to ensure that someone with terrorist intentions does not assume a false identity. Thus, our government is saying that it will burden workers with extensive background checks and new fees but it will take a pass on requiring and providing funding for installation of card readers. Why should workers bear the brunt of our government’s transportation security programs?

    “If TSA is not ready to proceed with TWIC as Congress mandated, then the entire program should be halted. We urge TSA to work with transportation labor to ensure that the problems and concerns of workers surrounding privacy rights, background checks and due process in appeals are addressed before this program proceeds. And to be fair, the government – not individual workers – must absorb the costs of the program.”


    The following article announces the initiation of the first phase of the USCG mariner licensing and documentation (MLD) program restructuring and centralization (RC) project that will significantly improve the level of service the USCG provides to mariners.

    1. The RC project will restructure the MLD program, relocate the National Maritime Center (NMC) and change mission focus for the 17 Regional Examination Centers (REC). When the four phases of the plan are completed RECs will fingerprint mariners, establish their identities, provide application assistance, administer testing, and provide course oversight. The processing of all applications will be centralized and managed by the reorganized NMC staff in Martinsburg, WV. The relocation of the NMC will be conducted in phases with projected completion in summer of 2007. The RECs will begin transitioning to new operational processes prior to the NMC relocation.

    2. The NMC has been reorganized into 5 divisions. This reorganization will facilitate the future growth in the unit and the transition to centralized application processing and more efficient and consistent customer service.

    3. The address of the NMC for visitors and vendors remains the same. Subsequent changes will be announced as certain staff elements are relocated to the WV area.

    4. Below is a list of the new NMC divisions and corresponding Persons of Contact (POC) and phone numbers:

    Guidance And Quality Assurance Division (NMC-1)
    Stewart Walker 202-493-1022
    Training And Assessment Division (NMC-2)
    Perry Stutman 202-493-1024
    Program Support Division (NMC-3)
    Albert Kirchner 202-493-1072
    Mariner Records Division (NMC-4)
    Bill Chubb 202-493-1023
    Mariner Services Division (NMC-5)
    CDR. Craig Swirbliss (Acting) 304-728-9100

    5. As a result of the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina, the first REC to transition will be New Orleans (NOLA). REC NOLA departed temporary spaces in Memphis, Tn on July 28, 2006 and reestablished a REC in New Orleans on August 9, 2006. REC NOLA will no longer evaluate new applications. As part of the REC New Orleans transition, all files in their backlog at the time of departure from Memphis have been forwarded to other RECs for processing. All new applications received at REC NOLA will be transferred to and processed by the newly established NMC staff (NMC-5) in WV. REC NOLA will continue to advise mariners and has resumed full service operations except for the evaluation of new applications. In mid-august 2006 the NMC detachment in WV will begin evaluating REC NOLA applications and issuing credentials.

    6. Due to the importance of improving service to mariners as rapidly as possible some process changes will be initiated prior to the relocation of the NMC. All RECs are directed to use the quality standards system (QSS) and implement best practices to reduce backlog and overall times for application processing, as well as improving customer service. REC personnel are strongly encouraged to look for and initiate methods that will reduce the backlog of applications and report the success of these methods to NMC so they may be passed to and utilized by all RECs.

    7. Planned changes will dramatically impact all MLD employees. To keep all personnel informed during the transition period, the NMC will provide monthly updates, in addition to weekly conference calls with REC supervisors and other USCG stakeholders. ALCOAST messages will inform sectors, districts and areas of RC project progress, and an NMC Web page will be established for stakeholders and others affected by this change to provide project and contact
    information. The RC project web page link is at:

    8. Significant financial, organizational, and personnel changes are in progress and details will be provided in project updates. Headquarters staff elements are fully engaged in support of this significant effort to improve credentialing services to US mariners.

    9. This project has the personal interest of the commandant, chief of staff, and congress. As such, the chief of staff will be provided quarterly reports on the R and C project and specifically the status of the backlogs at the recs. This project must be successful to reach our goal of customer service excellence. Of primary concern is the effect of the transition on the backlog of mariner applications. Additional contractor support is being provided to the extent resources allow and other measures are being implemented to promote customer service and efficiency by RECS and to move to more productive processes as rapidly as possible.

    10. Area, district, and sector commanders shall monitor the condition of the backlog within their aor and ensure the most efficient use of resources as well as improved customer service. All within the chain of command should provide needed support to promote a reduction of the backlog, increased access to RECs by mariners, and enhancement of customer service consistent with the USCG’s multi-mission nature. The success of these measures during the transition will be closely monitored by our stakeholders including maritime organizations and mariners who rely upon the coast guards level of service for their livelihoods. They deserve improved service and I challenge all to find innovative ways to help provide it. The above statements are authorized by RADML C. E. Bone, USCG Assistant Commandant for Prevention.


    US Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao and Sean Connaughton, the new US Maritime Administrator, will be guest speakers at the United States Merchant Marine Academy Alumni Foundation dinner in New York on Wednesday, September 27 honoring America’s Deep-Sea Domestic fleet. The gala dinner will benefit the American Merchant Marine Museum located on the Academy’s campus in Kings Point, Long Island.

    Secretary Chao, whose career has spanned international transportation issues on many levels, will be the keynote speaker and Mr. Connaughton, a 1983 graduate of the Academy who also served in the US Coast Guard, will give a special address at his first New York-area public engagement.

    “It is a special privilege to have both the Honorable Elaine Chao and our newest US maritime policy spokesperson, Sean Connaughton, appear at this signature event for Kings Point,” said Eugene McCormick, Foundation President & CEO. “The ocean carriers that serve the US domestic trades are being honored by our Foundation recognizing their vital role in our country’s defense and commerce as well as by these two esteemed US government representatives who will address our dinner.”

    Secretary Chao’s career has spanned the public, private and non-profit sectors. Her contributions to international transportation service also include serving as Deputy Secretary at the US Department of Transportation, Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission, Deputy Maritime Administrator in the US Department of Transportation and White House Fellow. In her present position, Ms. Chao has been dedicated to carrying out the Department of Labor’s mission of promoting and protecting the health, safety, retirement security, and competitiveness of the nation’s workforce.


    The United States Merchant Marine Academy-Alumni Foundation Chesapeake Chapter will hold a dinner and business meeting on Wednesday, September 20th, beginning at 1800 hrs at MITAGS. RADM Robert D. Reilly, Jr., Commander, Military Sealift Command will be the featured speaker. All interested parties are welcome to attend. Dinner cost: $20.00/Chapter Member, $25.00/Non-Member. For further info, contact Gary Hicks ’76- President, at 410-893-0450; e-mail:


    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-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 8/21
    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: 9/24, 10/22
    MED-PIC – Medical Person-In-Charge: 10/16
    MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 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 – Winter 2006

    Come check out all the new and exciting things happening in Seattle at PMI.

    We have some new members on our team to introduce to all. Captain Doug Pine is our new Simulation Department Manager, and works on specialty projects for PMI also. Tami Otschko is our new Administrative Assistant, taking over Jenny Fowler’s clerical front-desk duties to free Jenny up to concentrate on her very busy duties as our Registrar. Tami is the first point of contact at PMI now in our newly constructed reception area. Jenny can now be reached at and at her new direct line, 206 838-1126 for registration.

    We have revamped our Web site completely and invite you to go online to take a look. We think you’ll find it a great improvement and much easier to navigate through. Check it out at

    MATE 500/1600 TONS Program Begins January 2007
    Due to the high demand for this program, which began in May 2006 with seven candidates, we have now scheduled another. As of this date we have close to full enrollment already for this 2007 start! Thanks to all the companies who are backing our dream! See our website at www. for more information on this amazing new step into the industry!

    SCHEDULE OF COURSES – (Course schedule also posted online at

    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

    November 2006
    10/30-11/3 Tankerman Person in Charge
    10/30-11/3 Able Bodied Seaman
    10/30-11/3 Medical Person in Charge
    10/30-11/3 Medical First Aid Provider
    11/6-10 Tankerman Person in Charge
    11/6-10 ARPA
    11/6-10 Emergency Shiphandling
    11/6-17 GMDSS
    11/27-12/1 Radar Observer Unlimited

    December 2007
    12/4-8 ARPA
    12/4-15 Shiphandling – Advanced
    12/11-13 Security Officer – Vessel, Company, and Facility
    12/11-22 GMDSS
    12/18-22 ECDIS
    12/18-22 ARPA
    12/18-22 Medical First Aid Provider
    12/19 Radar Recertification

    January 2007
    1/2 Mate Program Begins/Orientation
    1/8-1/26 Ratings Forming Part of a Navigational Watch
    1/22-1/26 Terrestrial and Coastal Navigation
    1/22-1/26 Tankerman Person in Charge
    1/22-1/26 Emergency Shiphandling
    1/29-2/2 Medical First Aid Provider
    1/29-2/2 Radar Observer Unlimited
    1/29-2/9 Medical Person in Charge
    1/29-2/9 GMDSS

    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
    11,304.46 -77.01 for the week 2,137.11 -26.84 for the week 1,296.02 -6.28 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.