Wheelhouse Weekly – August 28, 2012

August 28th 2012


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

Volume 16 . . . Number 35. . . Aug. 28, 2012


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


All MM&P port offices, the MM&P Health & Benefit Plans, the MM&P Federal Credit Union and MM&P headquarters will be closed on Monday, Sept. 3, for Labor Day.


MM&P licensed deck officers are now in the wheelhouse of the American President Lines (APL) vessel MV PEARL. Both the PEARL and its sister ship APL CYPRINE were previously under contract with the American Maritime Officers. The two have now joined MV AGATE and MV CORAL under MM&P contract.

MM&P officers aboard MV PEARL during the transition were Capt. Nikolai Sinkevich, Chief Mate Darrin N. Muenzberg, Second Mate Drew Corneille and Third Mate Michael Spradlin. Critical support throughout the turnover operation came from PRO Capt. Joseph Ahlstrom, Capt. Jonathan Komlosy and Capt. Michael McCormick, as well as APL officials John Dragone, Capt. Brian Peter and Capt. Mark Remijan. “MM&P was well represented with Nick Sinkevich as master and a strong complement of mates,” McCormick said.

APL has replaced its four U.S.-flag C-10 Class vessels with four newer S-12 Class vessels as part of its Maritime Security Program (MSP) fleet. Although the C-10 Class ships–MV PRESIDENT ADAMS, MV PRESIDENT JACKSON, MV PRESIDENT POLK and MV PRESIDENT TRUMAN—are leaving the MSP program, they are slated to remain in U.S.-flag operation under the terms of the MM&P-APL collective bargaining agreement. These developments have resulted in a net gain of two ships under MM&P contract.


Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings has called on President Obama to ensure that Jones Act qualified vessels are used every time oil is released from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). Cummings, a tireless advocate for America’s merchant mariners, is the highest ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

“The Jones Act supports tens of thousands of domestic maritime and shipbuilding jobs and is critical to maintaining a domestic maritime industry,” Cummings wrote in a letter to President Obama. “In the event of another SPR release, all available measures should be taken to ensure full compliance with the requirements of the Jones Act.”

In the 2011 drawdown from the SPR, dozens of waivers were issued to allow oil to travel on non-Jones-Act vessels. “Of particular concern,” Cummings wrote, “numerous Jones Act-qualified vessels were interested in transporting oil from the SPR to U.S. oil refineries but they were not deemed ‘available’ apparently because they could not transport oil in lots of 500,000 barrels.” Under a recent agreement signed by the Departments of Transportation, Energy and Homeland Security, the Maritime Administration (MARAD) has been instructed that it can divide cargoes into multiple vessels to maximize the use of the Jones Act-qualified fleet.

Cummings noted that the law now prohibits MARAD from making a “non-availability” determination unless it provides a list of U.S.-flagged vessels that collectively have the capacity to transport oil from the SPR to U.S. oil refineries, along with a written justification explaining why those vessels are not being used.

The Jones Act “is the cornerstone of our nation’s maritime industry,” Cummings told the President. “It should never be waived for the convenience of oil refiners or to the benefit of vessels from foreign nations.”


Bargaining between the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and the U.S. Maritime Alliance (USMX) was suspended last week. In an official statement released on Aug. 22, the ILA said the employers’ group had undercut negotiations by distributing distorted information on wages and benefits to the press. “The USMX tactic of presenting averages for wages and benefits without explaining how these averages were derived is meant to inflame the general public which has no knowledge of the longshore industry,” the union said. “USMX should stop the inflammatory rhetoric and return to the bargaining table with realistic demands,” the union said. The current contract expires Sept. 30.


U.S. Transportation Command has awarded six U.S.-flag ship operators extensions to an existing indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity fixed-price contract for ocean and intermodal distribution services. Work will be performed worldwide as specified on each individual order and is expected to be completed Sept. 30, 2012.  Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The extensions are being awarded to American President Lines, American Roll-On Roll-Off Carrier, Farrell Lines, Hapag-Lloyd USA, Liberty Global Logistics and Maersk Line Ltd.


Carolyn Horgan, president of San Francisco’s Blue & Gold Fleet, has been profiled in the July-August issue of Maritime Executive Magazine. The Blue & Gold president began her career in 1973 answering phones at Red & White Fleet. She was named president of Blue & Gold last spring. Today, Horgan oversees 20 ferries, 250 employees and a ridership of about three million passengers. In 2013, her responsibilities will grow when she takes on the position of president of the 550-member Passenger Vehicle Association. “It’s been an exciting career,” said Horgan, “and I love being a part of the ferry industry.”

Members of MM&P’s United Inland Group (UIG) 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, the Harbor Bay Island (Alameda) route and the new South San Francisco route. “Carolyn is a tough negotiator across the table but she is totally professional and committed to Blue & Gold Fleet’s success,” said the UIG California Regional Representative. “She’s accessible and fair to her employees. Blue & Gold is a great company and Carolyn deserves lots of credit for the strong partnership the company has with our union.”


What better way to celebrate Labor Day than with a union-made cookout? Here’s a great menu using only union-made ingredients.

Fire up the grill to make some Butterball burgers and almost any brand of hot dogs (Johnsonville, Oscar Meyer, Ball Park, Hormel or Hebrew National). Stick them on a bun made by Wonder Bread or Arnold, and top them off with good old Heinz ketchup, French’s mustard, Frank’s Red Hot and some Vlasic brand pickles.

Want a little something to go with your burgers and dogs? We suggest union-made chips from Frito-Lay or Doritos. You can’t go wrong with Chex Mix, Rold Gold and Funyuns either.

Thirsty? Try Miller beer, Michelob, Budweiser or Shock Top for you, and Pepsi, Coke, Mountain Dew or Sprite for the kids. Looking for something healthier? Welch’s, Minute Maid, Mott’s and V8 are all union-made.

Have a great Labor Day and we hope you’ll remember to support unions when stocking up for your cookout!


“Congress Kills the Maritime Security Program… The Jones Act Is Repealed…. Cargo Preference Finished.” These are headlines we all hope to never see. But they could very well become reality if every member of our union does not do his or her part to help the supporters of the U.S.-Flag Merchant Marine retain their seats in Congress on Nov. 6. Go to now to make a contribution to the MM&P PCF. 

We have just seen the Cargo Preference Program gutted. We are witnessing a barrage of attacks against the Jones Act in Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Legislation to reauthorize the Maritime Security Program is bottled up in Congress. Never have the three programs crucial to the job of every MM&P member been at such a tremendous risk of being eliminated or defunded.

Our friends in Congress are facing powerful opponents funded by SuperPACs which oppose the Jones Act, cargo preference and maritime labor. The time is NOW. Protect your job. Protect your family. Go to to make a contribution to the PCF.              


The St. Lawrence Seaway Pilots Association is accepting applications for membership to fill a current opening and in anticipation of future openings. For information please write or call: The St. Lawrence Seaway Pilots Association, P.O. Box 274, Cape Vincent, NY, 13618; telephone 315-654-2900; fax 315-654-4491; or send an e-mail to


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:


Given the number of required company training courses, it is extremely important for new members to request a transcript review to determine whether they meet the course equivalency requirements.

The courses that are eligible for equivalency are listed in the MITAGS Trust Student Guide located on in the MM&P Member Section. You may also request a copy from Diane Ford ( or call 443-989-3238). Remember, the dispatcher in the union hall cannot assign you a job unless you meet the company’s training requirements.

Did you know that you can view your course history on Just go to the “Members Only” section and click the “Course History” tab. You can print the course list yourself. 


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: 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: 10/19

BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots:  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: 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-I I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 9/17, 10/1, 10/29, 11/12, 12/3, 12/17

CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 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: 11/8

EP – Emergency Procedures: 10/17

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

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

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

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

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling:  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.

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 8-28-2012 at 10:00 a.m.

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
13,15.23 3,072.77 1,408.51

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