Wheelhouse Weekly – Dec. 16, 2014

December 17th 2014 ,

Volume 18 . . . Number 50 . . . Dec. 16, 2014


In this issue:


News for MM&P Members:

Upcoming Events:


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


The MM&P Federal Credit Union, MM&P headquarters and all port offices will be closed on Dec. 24, 25 and 26, and onJan. 1. The MM&P Plan Office will be closed on Dec. 24, 25, 26 and on Jan. 1. Atlantic Ports, Pacific Ports and Gulf Ports are also closed on Dec. 31.

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The fight by MM&P, MIRAID and others in the U.S.-flag fleet to preserve the Maritime Security Program (MSP) has once again proven successful: the $1.1 trillion spending bill cleared by Congress and sent to the President for his signature includes full funding for MSP for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2015. As a result, each vessel in the MSP maritime security fleet will be eligible to receive the full $3.1 million previously authorized by Congress for this fiscal year. The effort to secure full funding for MSP and to ensure the continued availability of its critically important commercial sealift capability for the Department of Defense was led by Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine).

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As one of their last actions before adjourning, the House of Representatives and Senate have passed and sent to the President the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014. The legislation includes language requiring the Maritime Administration to develop a national maritime strategy and contains provisions that will facilitate the hiring of veterans for employment on U.S.-flag commercial vessels. Equally important, the bill includes the text of the legislation introduced by Congressman John Garamendi (D-Calif.) and strongly supported by MM&P that encourages the export of liquefied natural gas (LNG) on U.S.-flag vessels.

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Sen. John McCain, who in January will become chairman of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee, told journalists after a speech at the conservative Heritage Foundation last week that he intends to continue to fight to end the Jones Act and allow greater involvement of foreign shipping interests in domestic maritime operations. McCain introduced a bill in 2010 to repeal the Jones Act but estimated soon after that he probably only had about 20 votes in the 100-member chamber. McCain told reporters that he believes it is a fight he can one day win. “It’s one of these things you just propose amendments to bills and encourage hearings and sooner or later the dam breaks,” McCain said.

He added that U.S. maritime unions, American shipping companies and their supporters in Congress present a united front in opposition to his objective. “I have to tell you,” he said, “the power of this maritime lobby is as powerful as anybody or any organization I have run up against in my political career. All I can do is appeal to the patron saint of lost causes and keep pressing and pressing and sooner or later you have to succeed,” he said.

The Jones Act promotes jobs in the U.S. maritime industry and helps guarantee the availability of U.S. mariners and ships in the event of war or other national emergency. In addition, workers in all 50 U.S. states produce components for Jones Act vessels.

“The Jones Act enjoys rock solid support from lawmakers in Congress and the Administration because leaders from both sides of the aisle understand this law is vital to America’s national, homeland and economic security,” said Tom Allegretti, chairman of the American Maritime Partnership. “The most modern vessels in the world are being built in record numbers in U.S. shipyards all around the country, the industry is responding to the changing energy market caused by the shale oil revolution, and the U.S. maritime industry is growing as a result. It is an exciting time to be a part of this dynamic industry, and the nation is benefiting from the service we provide.”

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“Pirates around the world will be greatly heartened by the award for ‘moral damages’ made by the European Court of Human Rights to a gang of their Somali compatriots whose detention by the French military in 2008 was judged by them to be lacking in legal niceties,” writes maritime industry luminary Michael Grey, himself a former merchant mariner, in an editorial published by Seatrade Communications Limited.

“Apparently the French army, which had arrested this bunch on the high seas and taken them all the way back to France to stand trial, took two days longer than they should have done before arraigning them before a magistrate. The court made a separate award for the pirates’ legal costs. Adding insult to injury, the judges then compensated another nine Somali pirates arrested by a Danish warship after attacking the TORM KANSAS, for the delay they suffered in 2013 when it took 13 days for them to face a judge in the Seychelles.”

“There are, perhaps, two ways of looking at such decisions. If the human rights of pirates are deemed more important than those of seafarers (which regrettably seems often to be the case), they will be seen as a triumph of civilized jurisprudence. But to seafarers in the Indian Ocean, on double watches behind their banks of razor wire, with their armed guards insisting that they regularly practice their ‘citadel drill,’ they will be regarded as a disgrace.”

“Who knows, once the pirates’ lawyers have digested the fruits of their success, they will be suing their clients’ captors for loss of earnings, perhaps even demanding compensation for their burned skiffs, outboard motors and lost armaments. They will be wanting replacement costs for the tall aluminum window-cleaners’ ladders which seem to be an integral part of a pirate’s outfit and which cannot be cheap.”

“But none of these judgments can be a subject for anything other than outrage and ridicule, if one thinks for more than a microsecond of all the misery which this nauseating tribe of bandits has inflicted upon merchant mariners over the last ten years. It was the anticipation of ridiculous legal judgments such as this which would have persuaded so many of the officers commanding warships who had captured pirates to simply put them ashore on the beaches of their failed state, to go a-pirating again.”

“There was an understandable reaction from the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response program, whose director Roy Paul suggested that the decision of the court was ‘an insult to the seafarers and yachtsmen they attacked’ and that the pirates effectively had given up their rights ‘when they set sail to attack innocent seafarers who were simply doing their essential work.’”

“It is perhaps worth noting that the first batch of pirates to be compensated, whose rights were so grievously harmed, were captured in 2008, when the pirates’ ‘business plan’ was still evolving and their depredations were only just starting to properly register with governments. There was then an endless debate about the legality of armed guards, their rules of engagement, and whether they were more likely to mistakenly shoot the crew. Sometimes it seemed that the international lawyers were even then acting for the pirates.”

“The MPHR remind us that the peak of the pirate attacks took place in 2011, when there were 32 ships and 736 hostages in the grisly hands of these barbarians. Merchant mariners might be excused from wondering whether, while all these legal debates were proceeding, the pirates’ sensitivities might have been thought rather more important than the lives and liberty of seafarers. Pirate chiefs must have been chuckling.”

“Thank goodness for Hollywood and ‘Captain Philips.’ This might have restored the balance, and promoted awareness, although doubtless some of the kinsfolk of those pirates who came to a sticky end in the real incident will now be consulting their learned friends, encouraged no end by the ECHR and its curious judgments.”

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The Great Lakes Maritime Task Force (GLMTF) has honored Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) with a lifetime achievement award for his consistent advocacy and support for Great Lakes shipping. Levin, who retires at the end of December, received the “Silver Shovel” award last week from GLMTF President Jim Weakley.

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The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is getting set for changes in the determination of levels of safe manning of vessels which will come into effect in 2015 as a result of new International Maritime Organization (IMO) requirements.

Over the past three years, the IMO has redefined the concept of safe manning and, as a result, conditions should change as of January: flag states and shipowners will be required to safely and transparently meet the unique operational and administrative needs of each vessel.

Until now, minimum safe manning has been certified in accordance with proposals made by the company that were often rubber-stamped by the flag state as a matter of course. In the past these proposals took into account only the vessel’s bare minimum ability to navigate and manage basic emergencies. No allowance was made for a wide range of other crew duties, including frequency of port calls, cargo operations, maintenance or administrative tasks. This process has been open to abuse by companies seeking a cost-cutting competitive advantage by reducing the size of crews.

Minimally manned vessels have been shown to directly affect crew fatigue and have been cited in numerous high-profile groundings and collisions, many of which had disastrous consequences for seafarers and the environment.

The IMO Assembly has adopted Resolution A. 27/Res. 1047, which establishes new safe manning levels based on the actual workload required to operate the ship under all operational requirements and conditions. The resolution contains a lengthy list of tasks and functions that companies should consider to match the manning levels to the operational workload. In addition, the IMO has adopted a revision to the SOLAS Convention that requires manning levels to be determined by a prescribed transparent methodology that takes into account the new safe manning principles.

To add further weight to the need for matching manning levels to actual workload required to operate the ship, the IMO has amended the International Safety Management (ISM) Code effective Jan. 1, 2015, to call the changes in manning requirements to the attention of companies and direct them to ensure their ships are appropriately manned to ensure safe operations.

ITF IMO accredited representative Branko Berlan explained, “Although regulatory changes were introduced in 2011 and 2012, administrations, companies and port state control inspectors have yet to implement them. The cumulative effect of these latest actions is that they will be legally required to do so.”

He urged seafarers’ organizations to use media and the legal system to force the proper determination of vessel manning in a transparent way. “Ultimately these changes are about seafarer safety,” Berlan explained. “Only a concerted effort to force the implementation of these IMO instruments will result in properly manned vessels.”

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Transportation unions in Europe and beyond are calling for strong action in defense of workers in Belgium. The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) have gone on record in support of massive protests by Belgian unions, including, yesterday, a general strike.

Workers object to government plans to implement austerity measures: raising the pension age, freezing wages and cutting public services. The protests began in November when 100,000 people took part in a march in Brussels. The demonstration was followed by provincial actions in November and December, halting underground trains, buses and trams throughout Belgium. High-speed trains to France, the Netherlands and Germany were suspended, along with Eurostar services to London.

“The Belgian government is using EU austerity targets to penalize families, employed and unemployed, students and the poorest of society rather than targeting the big capital that remains almost untouched by the government’s austerity measures,” said ETF President Lars Lindgren. “Unions, together with the community, are taking a clear stand to defend them; we welcome this strong stance. Last month saw one of Belgium’s biggest labor demonstrations since World War II. Unions and workers are saying ‘enough is enough.’”

“A sick economy is like any illness,” says ITF President Paddy Crumlin. “Deprivation is not the key to a return to full health: intervention, support and extra nourishment are. Austerity budgets are the refuge of the politically inept and negligent and must be confronted in the public interest particularly by those working women and men and their communities that will bear the brunt of the harm caused.”

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On January 7, 2015, the MM&P Pension Plan and the MM&P Individual Retirement Account Plan will file applications with the Internal Revenue Service for determination letters confirming that their provisions continue to satisfy the qualification requirements of the Internal Revenue Code. The IRS requires new applications every five years. Further information about them is included in notices posted at the Union Halls, International Headquarters, Plan Office, and MITAGS and on the Plan’s section of the Union website.

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The Plan Office has received approval to close the year-end Internal Revenue Service and company reports and to process Vacation and PRO payments for 2014 no later than Monday, Dec. 29, at 1:00 p.m. EST. All requests for 2014 Vacation and PRO payments received after this date and time will be held until Friday, Jan. 2, 2015 for processing and payment, and will therefore be taxable in 2015. If you have any questions, contact Ken Ryan at 410-850-8617.

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Here is the schedule for upcoming MM&P holiday parties:

Pacific Ports: Honolulu, Tuesday, Dec. 23, 1200 to 1600.

Atlantic Ports: New York-New Jersey, Wednesday, Dec. 17,at The John Noble Collection, 1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, 1200-1600.

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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 Kelly Michielli, 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 – 4/13/15, 8/17/15, 10/12/15

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: 6/19/15, 7/13/15

ARPA-OIC – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 1/20/15, 3/31/15, 8/4/15, 9/22/15

AZIPOD 2-Day – 2/2/15, 4/6/15, 10/1/15

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 1/26/15, 3/23/15, 5/18/15, 8/3/15, 10/19/15

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 2/4/15, 3/2/15, 4/13/15, 6/17/15, 7/16/15, 11/9/15

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling: 3/4/15, 4/8/15, 9/28/15

BT – Basic Safety Training: 1/19/15, 2/9/15, 4/6/15, 6/8/15, 8/10/15, 10/5/15

BT-Revalidation –8/4/15, 11/3/15

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 4/13/15, 10/26/15

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

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

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 1/19/15, 4/20/15, 6/15/15, 7/27/15, 9/28/15

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 1/12/15, 4/13/15, 6/1/15, 8/3/15, 10/19/15

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 4/27/15, 10/5/15

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 1/5/15, 4/6/15, 6/8/15, 8/17/15, 11/2/15, 12/7/15

LMS – Leadership and Managerial Skills (Management Level – Formerly MCL-CMM): 1/26/15, 2/16/15, 3/30/15, 6/22/15,8/10/15, 10/26/15, 11/30/15

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants: 3/2/15, 11/16/15

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management (2 weeks): 3/9/15, 9/14/15

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 2/2/15, 3/9/15, 3/30/15, 4/13/15, 5/4/15, 6/1/15, 7/13/15, 8/10/15,8/24/15, 10/5/15, 11/9/15, 11/30/15

SHS-ADV-II-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 2/9/15, 3/16/15, 4/6/15, 4/20/15, 5/11/15, 6/8/15, 7/20/15, 8/17/15, 8/31/15, 10/12/15, 11/16/15, 12/7/15

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 3/23/15

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 5/11/15, 11/9/15

CNAV-OIC – Celestial Navigation: 4/27/15, 11/9/15

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: Contact Admissions

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications: 7/9/15

DDE – Great Lakes: 1/26/15, 5/27/15

DPA – 3/19/15

ECDIS-OIC – 2/16/15

ECDIS-Pilots – 3/2/15, 6/15/15, 7/14/15, 11/12/15

ERM – Engine Resource Management: 2/23/15

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 1/19/15, 2/9/15, 4/6/15, 6/8/15, 8/10/15, 10/5/15

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications: 1/20/15, 4/14/15, 7/6/15, 9/15/15, 11/11/15

GL Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization: 1/23/15

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 3/16/15, 8/24/15

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 6/22/15, 8/31/15, 11/16/15

LAP- 4/6/15, 9/14/15

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes: 1/26/15

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross
Ton License: 1/5/15, 3/2/15, 6/1/15, 8/3/15, 11/30/15

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 1/21/15, 3/3/15, 4/15/15, 6/17/15, 7/16/15, 9/16/15, 11/10/15

LNG-TPIC – 12/7/15

LTS –Leadership and Teamworking Skills (Formerly MCL-OIC): 3/30/15, 9/21/15

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 1/5/15, 3/16/15, 4/20/15, 6/15/15, 8/24/15, 12/7/15

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 3/2/15, 5/11/15, 7/27/15, 9/28/15

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 1/5/15, 3/16/15, 4/20/15, 6/15/15, 8/24/15, 10/12/15, 12/7/15

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 1/10/15, 1/24/15, 3/21/15, 4/25/15, 6/20/15, 7/25/15, 8/28/15, 11/5/15, 12/12/15

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: Contact Admissions

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 2/26/15, 6/5/15, 8/19/15, 10/29/15

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 2/23/15, 6/2/15, 8/17/15, 10/27/15

*MSC-ENVPRO – 2/15/15, 6/6/15, 8/16/15, 10/31/15

*MSC-FF-HELO – 2/10/15, 6/9/15, 8/3/15, 11/2/15

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 2/16/15, 5/26/15, 8/8/15, 10/19/15

*MSC-Security Watch Basic – 2/20/15, 5/30/15, 8/6/15, 10/17/15

*MSC-Security Watch Advanced – 2/22/15, 6/1/15, 8/12/15, 10/23/15

*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force – 2/23/15, 6/2/15, 8/13/15, 10/24/15

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 1/19/15, 3/30/15, 8/3/15, 9/21/15

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 1/7/15, 1/14/15, 1/28/15, 2/4/15, 2/18/15, 3/6/15, 3/18/15, 4/1/15, 4/15/15, 4/29/15, 5/6/15, 5/13/15, 6/3/15, 6/17/15, 7/8/15, 7/22/15, 8/5/15, 8/19/15, 9/2/15, 9/16/15, 9/30/15, 10/14/15, 10/28/15, 11/3/15, 11/11/15, 11/18/15, 12/2/15, 12/10/15

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 1/12/15, 2/2/15, 3/23/15, 6/1/15, 7/27/15

SAR-OIC – Search & Rescue – 4/6/15, 10/19/15

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling: 2/16/15, 5/11/15, 6/22/15, 11/2/15

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day: 1/19/15, 3/2/15, 4/27/15, 7/27/15, 9/28/15

SMS – 3/17/15

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 1/26/15, 8/3/15

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 1/5/15, 7/6/15

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: 2/23/15, 8/3/15

TRAC-TUG-2: Contact Admissions

TTT – 3/23/15

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: 5/21/15

VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 2/4/15, 4/18/15, 5/18/15, 7/22/15, 9/9/15, 10/7/15, 10/17/15

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level): 3/2/15, 9/28/15

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): 2/23/15, 9/14/15

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

December 2014

17-19 Security Officer – Vessel, Company, and Facility

January 2015

5th Radar Renewal
5-23 Terrestrial and Coastal Navigation
12th Flashing Light
12-16 Leadership and Managerial Skills
12-16 ECDIS
12-23 GMDSS
26-30 Radar Observer Unlimited
26-30 Leadership and Managerial Skills

February 2015

2nd Flashing Light
3-7 ARPA
9-13 ECDIS
9-13 Leadership and Managerial Skills
9-13 Medical Care Provider
16-20 Rules of the Road
16-27 GMDSS
23-27 ECDIS
23-27 Leadership and Managerial Skills

March 2015

2-6 Leadership and Managerial Skills
2-6 Basic Construction and Stability
9th Radar Renewal
9-20 Celestial Navigation
16-20 Leadership and Managerial Skills
16-20 Medical Care Provider
16-27 GMDSS
16-27 Medical Person-In-Charge
23-27 ECDIS
30-3 Leadership and Managerial Skills
Bridging the Information Gap
With E-News You Can Use

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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 © 2014. Articles can be reprinted without prior permission if credit is given to The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly. For new subscriptions or address changes, send an e-mail to Back issues of The Weekly are posted on