Wheelhouse Weekly – Dec.29, 2015

December 30th 2015

Volume 20 . . . Number 52. . . Dec. 29, 2015


In this issue:


News for MM&P Members:


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MM&P wishes all the readers of The Wheelhouse Weekly, their families and friends a happy and healthy holiday season and a safe and prosperous 2016.

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International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) President Harold Daggett says the increase in Maritime Security Program (MSP) funding approved by Congress as part of Fiscal Year 2016 omnibus appropriations legislation gives a measure of much-needed long-term certainty to the U.S. Merchant Marine fleet.

In an official statement, Daggett added that the funding boost will help retain thousands of family-sustaining jobs while ensuring that the Maritime Security Program and its fleet of 60 militarily useful vessels continue to serve America’s military’s sealift needs going forward. MM&P is the marine affiliate of the ILA.

In the short term, the omnibus legislation, passed by Congress on Dec. 18 and signed immediately afterwards by President Obama, increases MSP funding for Fiscal Year 2016 by $24 million, making each vessel participating in the program eligible for $3.5 million in Fiscal Year 2016 rather than the previously authorized $3.1 million.

In addition, the legislation recognizes the importance of providing a long-term MSP funding schedule that more realistically addresses the impact that reductions in defense and other government cargoes have had on the fleet.

In his official statement, the ILA president also praised another provision of the omnibus measure which postpones for two years the effective date of the so-called “Cadillac Tax” on high-value health insurance plans.

Although no regulatory guidance had been issued regarding exactly how the tax would have been calculated, one interpretation had it kicking in when the cost of a health plan exceeded $27,500. The tax would have been applied only to the cost above the threshold and would have been payable by the health plan, not by individual participants.

Under the omnibus legislation, implementation of the tax would be postponed for two years, until 2020.

“I commend the ILA members and their families and friends who campaigned hard against this Cadillac Tax for contacting their representatives and making their voices heard,” Daggett said.

Members of the ILA and other unions explained to members of Congress that the so-called “high cost” health care plans had been negotiated over many years and would be devalued and diminished by the tax. “To come in now and say we are going to tax one of your best benefits was ridiculous and we were not going to stand for it,” Daggett said.

The ILA represents 65,000 members working at ports from Maine to Texas, in the Great Lakes region, Eastern Canada, major U.S. rivers and Puerto Rico.

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MM&P members who pilot ships in and out of Oakland are honing their professional skills in preparation for the arrival of “mega-ships,” writes Wall Street Journal reporter Erica E. Phillips.

Phillips interviewed San Francisco Bay Pilots Kip Carlson and George Livingstone for a Dec. 25 article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal’s “Business Logistics Report.”

“Inside a simulation chamber, Kip Carlson is attempting to turn around a container ship longer than the Empire State Building within the narrow confines of one of Oakland’s port channels,” she reports.

“It’s a tight squeeze. He has roughly 50 feet to maneuver on either end of the ship, which rises so high out of the water that he can’t see the vessel’s sides, or two simulated tugboats assisting with the turn. Relying on his view of the channel as well as maps and measurements displayed on screens spanning the bridge, he gives orders to the ship’s crew.”

CMA CGM’s BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, the largest container ship ever to call at a North American port, arrived in Los Angeles on Dec. 26. The ship measures 1,305 feet in length and can carry about 18,000 20-foot containers.

“The largest vessels have only a few feet to maneuver in some port channels,” The Wall Street Journal reports. “Stacked-up megaships come within inches of scraping the bottom of the Bayonne Bridge on their way into Newark’s terminals. An accident can cause hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to a ship and its cargo, or trigger an epic port-traffic jam.”

“These are the largest moving objects on the planet,” Nick Cutmore, secretary-general of the International Maritime Pilots Association, told the reporter. But as container ships grow in size, “the ports don’t grow correspondingly… so the squeeze is on the pilots.”

“With larger ships, the increased surface area magnifies the effects of wind in the bay, making the vessels difficult to steer,” Phillips writes.

“As the ships get bigger and bigger, the responsibility is on us,” agreed George Livingstone, another longtime bar pilot in San Francisco. “And that burden goes up.”

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The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will ensure that at least 50 percent of imported materials bound for federal road projects will be carried aboard U.S.-flag ships.

The FHWA applied this policy to federal-aid highway program between 1979 and 1988. But in 1988, the Department of Justice determined in a legal opinion that the Cargo Preference Act of 1954 (CPA) did not apply to “imported cement and clinker procured by highway construction contractors for the account of States.” Soon after, the FHWA revoked the cargo preference requirement.

A 2008 amendment to the Cargo Preference Act clarified that the preference requirements were applicable to the federal-aid highway program. After consulting with the U.S. Maritime Administration, the FHWA determined that “recipients of the federal-aid highway program must now meet the requirements of the CPA and its implementing regulations.”

Specifically, the 2008 amendment to the CPA stated that the act’s requirements apply to cargoes financed “in any way with federal funds for the account of any persons unless otherwise exempted.”

The FHWA recommended prompt action in making the revision and has stated it will include the requirement in all federal-aid highway projects’ contract specifications. The agency said it would issue a notice and proposed rulemaking, with request for comments, to implement the revisions.

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The accident that claimed the life of the chief engineer of the Dutch-registered cargo ship LADY IRINA last summer could well have killed other members of the crew, say investigators for the Dutch Safety Board.

The final report on the accident was outlined in the December 2015 issue of Nautilus, the magazine of the British, Dutch and Swiss officers’ union.

One key finding: crewmembers who rushed to help their colleague assumed he had fallen into the cargo hold—possibly as a result of a heart attack—and had failed to consider oxygen deficiency as a factor.

The chief engineer had gone to the bow thruster room to prepare for draining the chain locker ahead of a draft survey in the next port. The alarm was raised when he failed to return to his cabin.

During the rescue, the chief mate lost consciousness and two other members of the crew had to be hospitalized because of carbon monoxide poisoning. None of the participants in the rescue had initially used breathing apparatus.

The vessel was carrying a cargo of wood pellets. The investigation revealed that carbon monoxide from the cargo hold had leaked into spaces in the bow, including the CO2 room and the bow thruster room, as a result of a gap in an inspection hatch on a ventilation duct running from the cargo hold through the forecastle.

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MM&P New Orleans Dispatcher Sue Bourcq will retire at the end of this year. The MM&P community extends our best wishes to Sue, along with heartfelt thanks for her many years of excellent service. We wish her well in retirement.

With Sue’s retirement and as a result of the decline in U.S-flag shipping in the Port of New Orleans, the hall will be closing effective Jan. 1, 2016. Members should direct their inquiries to MM&P Headquarters or to their Area Vice President. Services for Gulf Coast members will continue to be provided in Houston and Tampa.

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

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Job-fitted, job-tested Thorogood work boots are made by union members in the United States. Until midnight on Dec. 29, using discount code MRX5XD, MM&P members can get discounts on Thorogood American Heritage Wedge, Classic Comfort and Flex Sole Safety and Non-Safety Styles. To find out more, go to and enter discount code MRX5XD, call 1-800-723-5384 M-F from 0700 to 2100 CST or e-mail

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As previously reported, the Plan Office received approval to close the year-end Internal Revenue Service and company reports and to process Vacation and PRO payments for 2015 no later than Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015, at 3:00 p.m. EST. All requests for 2015 Vacation and PRO payments received after this date and time will be held until Jan. 4, 2016 for processing and will therefore be taxable in 2016. If you have any questions, please contact Ken Ryan at 410-850-8617.

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Union Plus, the specialized product and service provider for union members and their families, is always on the lookout for ways to save you money.

One of the fastest growing Union Plus programs is the AT&& discount, which offers union members and their families a 15 percent monthly discount on select services from the only national unionized wireless carrier. Both new and existing AT&T customers can get the discount. And until Jan. 15, you can also enter the Union Plus AT&T sweepstakes for a chance to win $250.

Just visit an AT&T store, bring your union ID card, a printed copy of the flyer posted at and mention “FAN # 3508840.”

Also: The Union Plus credit card program was specifically designed for union members. It offers three credit cards so union members can select the one that fits them best. All three cards offer low introductory rates and 24/7 U.S.-based customer service. One Union Plus credit card offers six months free of interest on balances of up to $10,000. Hardship grants are available to eligible union members if they face disability, hospitalization or job loss.

Union Plus also offers college scholarships, discounts on college testing prep programs and a $500 bonus to union members who open a new 529 college savings plan for a dependent under the age of 12.

To find out about these benefits and more, go to

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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 Elisabeth Cruz, 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 – 4/18/16, 8/22/16, 10/17/16

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: 5/27/16, 7/22/16

ARPA-OIC – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 1/26/16, 4/5/16, 8/9/16, 9/27/16

AZIPOD 2-Day – 2/29/16, 5/25/16, 11/14/16

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 2/1/16, 4/4/16, 8/8/16, 10/31/16

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 2/29/16, 05/23/2016, 7/18/16, 11/14/16

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling: 3/2/16,04/13/16

BT – Basic Safety Training: 1/25/16, 2/22/16, 04/11/16, 06/27/16, 8/15/16, 10/10/16

BT-Revalidation – 05/10/16, 8/22/16, 10/31/16

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 4/25/16, 11/14/16

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

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

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 1/25/16, 3/28/16, 06/20/16, 8/1/16, 10/17/16

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 1/4/16, 3/7/16, 06/06/16, 8/8/16, 11/7/16

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 04/04/16, 10/24/16

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 1/11/16, 2/22/16, 3/21/16, 06/13/16,7/25/16, 8/15/16, 9/12/16, 10/10/16, 11/28/16, 12/19/16

LMS – Leadership and Managerial Skills (Management Level – Formerly MCL-CMM) 1/18/16,2/15/16, 2/29/16, 3/14/16, 4/4/16, 4/11/16, 5/23/16, 6/27/16, 7/11/16, 7/25/16, 8/15/16,8/22/16,9/12/16, 10/3/16, 10/31/16, 11/14/16,11/28/16, 12/5/16, 12/12/16, 12/19/16

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants: 05/02/16, 9/19/16

SEC-APPS – Practical Defense Tactics: 3/28/16, 6/20/16, 8/1/16, 10/31/16

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management (2 weeks): 04/18/16, 10/3/16

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 1/11/16, 2/8/16, 3/14/16, 04/18/16, 05/09/16, 06/13/16, 7/18/16, 8/15/16, 9/12/16, 10/24/16, 11/7/16, 12/5/16

SHS-ADV-II-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 1/18/16, 2/15/16, 3/21/16, 04/25/16, 05/16/16, 06/20/16, 7/25/16, 8/22/16, 9/19/16, 10/31/16, 11/14/16, 12/12/16

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 2/29/16, 9/12/16

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 05/09/16, 9/26/16

CNAV-OIC – Celestial Navigation: 05/02/16, 10/24/16

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: Contact Admissions

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications: 3/2/16, 7/19/16

DDE – Great Lakes: 2/1/16, 6/6/16

DPA – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-OIC – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-Pilots – 3/2/16, 05/25/16, 7/20/16, 11/14/16

ERM – Engine Resource Management: 1/4/16, 2/8/16, 3/21/16, 4/18/16, 5/9/16, 7/18/16, 8/22/16, 9/26/16, 10/24/16, 11/14/16, 11/28/16, 12/5/16, 12/12/16, 12/19/16

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 1/25/16, 2/22/16, 04/11/16, 06/27/16, 8/15/16, 10/10/16

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications: 1/26/16, 04/19/16, 9/20/16

GL Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization: 1/22/16

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 3/7/16, 8/22/16

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 6/27/16, 8/29/16, 12/5/16

LAP- 4/4/16, 9/19/16

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes: 1/25/16

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross
Ton License: 3/7/16, 06/06/16, 8/8/16, 12/5/16

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 1/27/16, 3/1/16, 4/20/16, 5/23/16, 7/19/16, 9/21/16, 11/15/16

LNG-TPIC – 12/5/16

LTS –Leadership and Teamworking Skills (Formerly MCL-OIC): 1/7/16, 4/4/16

MEECE – Management of Electrical and Electronic Control: 1/11/16, 2/22/16, 3/28/16, 4/25/16, 5/16/16, 7/11/16, 8/29/16, 9/19/16, 10/17/16, 11/7/16, 11/28/16, 12/5/16, 12/12/16, 12/19/16

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 1/4/16, 3/21/16, 05/16/16, 7/11/16, 11/7/16, 12/12/16

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 2/1/15, 3/14/16, 05/02/16, 8/29/16, 10/3/16

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 1/4/15, 2/15/16, 3/21/16, 05/16/16, 11/7/16, 11/28/16, 12/12/16

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 1/9/16, 1/31/16, 3/19/16, 05/14/16, 8/28/16, 11/12/16, 12/17/16

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: Contact Admissions

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 3/8/16, 6/10/16, 8/10/16, 10/17/16

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control: 3/5/16 (March is 4 evenings), 6/8/16, 8/8/16, 10/18/16

*MSC-ENVPRO –2/28/16, 6/5/16, 8/7/16, 10/16/16

*MSC-FF-HELO – 2/22/16, 6/6/16, 8/22/16, 10/31/16

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 1/4/16, 2/29/16, 6/13/16, 8/14/16, 10/23/16

*MSC-Security Watch Basic – 2/26/16, 6/11/16, 8/11/16, 10/20/16

*MSC-Security Watch Advanced – 1/8/16, 3/4/16, 6/17/16, 8/13/16, 10/22/16

*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force – 1/10/16, 3/5/16, 6/18/16, 8/18/16, 10/27/16

NSAP-MMP – Navigational Skills Assessment Program-MM&P – Contact Admissions

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 1/25/16, 5/9/16

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 1/6/16, 1/13/16, 2/3/16, 2/10/16, 2/24/16, 3/9/16, 3/16/16, 04/06/16, 04/20/16, 05/04/16, 05/18/16, 06/08/16, 06/22/16, 7/13/16, 7/27/16, 8/10/16, 8/24/16, 9/21/16, 10/5/16, 10/19/16, 11/2/16, 11/9/16, 11/16/16, 11/30/16, 12/7/16, 12/14/16

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 1/18/16, 2/1/16, 8/1/16

SAR-OIC – Search & Rescue – 04/18/16, 11/7/16

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling: 2/15/16, 04/11/16, 06/27/16, 8/29/16, 10/17/16

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day: 1/25/16, 3/7/16, 05/02/16, 8/1/16, 10/3/16, 11/28/16

SMS – Contact Admissions

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 2/8/16, 8/8/16

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 1/4/16, 7/11/16

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: 2/22/16, 8/8/16

TRAC-TUG-2: Contact Admissions

TTT – Contact Admissions

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: 4/28/16

VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 2/15/16, 04/25/16, 7/13/16, 9/7/16, 10/22/16

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level): 3/21/16, 10/3/16

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): 2/29/16, 9/19/16

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

January 2016

4-8 Leadership & Managerial Skills (waitlist only)
4-8 Engine Resource Management
4-22 Terrestrial & Coastal Navigation
11th Flashing Light
11-15 ECDIS
11-15 Train the Trainer
18-22 Leadership & Managerial Skills (waitlist only)
25-29 Radar Observer Unlimited
25-29 MEECE

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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 © 2015. Articles can be reprinted without prior permission if credit is given to The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly. For address changes, send an e-mail to Back issues of The Weekly are posted on