Wheelhouse Weekly – Dec. 30, 2014

December 31st 2014 ,

Volume 18 . . . Number 52 . . . Dec. 30, 2014


In this issue:

Make Your Voice Heard:



News for MM&P Members:


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


MM&P wishes you happy holidays and a prosperous 2015.

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The MM&P Plan Office, 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.

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MM&P is pleased to report that the Coast Guard has proposed a new rule requiring each of the 2,498 maritime facilities it regulates to implement a system that provides seafarers with access between vessels and the facility gate “in a timely manner and at no cost.” The proposed regulation seeks to ensure that no facility owner or operator denies or makes it impractical for seafarers or other individuals to transit the facility. It would require maritime facilities to document access procedures in their Facility Security Plans (FSP). The proposed rulemaking would implement an act of Congress that requires terminals to provide access to ships and maritime facility gates in a timely manner and at no cost to the seafarer. The proposed regulation, if approved, would constitute a major step forward for mariners in the United States.

“Shore leave is a basic human right for seafarers,” said MM&P Pilots Group Vice President George Quick, who has spent several years and a great deal of effort to bring the issue to the attention of the Coast Guard. “It is unconscionable that some U.S. terminal operators continue to ignore international treaty agreements and effectively restrict mariners to their vessels by imposing barriers to shore leave,” Quick said. “MM&P is immensely pleased that the Coast Guard is taking action to address the situation.”

It is expected that there will be substantial pushback from terminal owners and operators seeking to avoid responsibility for providing access to mariners. It is extremely important that those affected by lack of timely access provide comments to the USCG docket in support of the proposed regulations.

Submit Your Comments As Soon As Possible

The complete text of the Federal Register Notice can be found on the MM&P website,, or at the Federal eRulemaking Portal under docket number USCG-2013-1087. Comments must be submitted on or before Feb. 27, 2015 or reach the docket management facility by that date. You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-2013-1087 using any one of the following methods:

(1) Federal eRulemaking Portal:

(2) Fax: 202-493-2251

(3) Mail: Docket Management Facility (M-30), U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590-0001.

If you have comments on the accuracy of the background data discussed in the notice, you must also send comments to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, at (include the docket number and “Attention: Desk Officer for Coast Guard, DHS” in the subject line of the email) or fax your comment on the accuracy of the background data to 202-395-6566.

Denial of Access: a Serious Problem

Denial of access through maritime facilities has been a longstanding problem for seafarers and other individuals who need access to ships. The USCG rulemaking is a major step forward in that the proposed rule places the requirement to provide access directly on the terminal owner or operator. Under the rule, facility owners and operators would not be permitted to rely solely on third parties, such as taxi services or seafarers’ welfare organizations, to provide access between the vessel and the facility gate: if owners or operators chose to rely as their primary method on one or more third parties, they would also be required to include in their FSPs a back-up method of providing timely, no-cost access.

Besides requesting written comments from the public on the new regulations, the agency will hold a public meeting on the proposal on Jan. 23 in Washington, D.C. The text of the proposed regulation follows.

§ 105.237 System for seafarers’ access.

(a) Access Required. Each facility owner or operator must implement a system by (365 days after date of publication of final rule) for providing access through the facility that enables individuals to transit to and from a vessel moored at the facility and the facility gate in accordance with the requirements in this section. The system must provide timely access as described in paragraph (c) of this section and incorporate the access methods described in paragraph (d) of this section at no cost to the individuals covered. The system must comply with the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) provisions in this part.

(b) Individuals Covered. The individuals to whom the facility owner or operator must provide the access described in this section include—
(1) The seafarers assigned to a vessel moored at the facility;
(2) The pilots and other authorized personnel performing work for a vessel moored at the facility;
(3) Representatives of seafarers’ welfare and labor organizations; and
(4) Other authorized individuals in accordance with the Declaration of Security (DoS) or other arrangement between the vessel and facility.

(c) Timely Access. The facility owner or operator must provide the access described in this section without unreasonable delay, subject to review by the Captain of the Port (COTP). The facility owner or operator must consider the following when establishing timely access without unreasonable delay:
(1) Length of time the vessel is in port.
(2) Distance of egress/ingress between the vessel and facility gate.
(3) The vessel watch schedules.
(4) The facility’s safety and security procedures as required by law.
(5) Any other factors specific to the vessel or facility that could affect access to and from the vessel.

(d) Access Methods. The facility owner or operator must ensure that the access described in this section is provided through one or more of the following methods:
(1) Regularly scheduled escort between the vessel and the facility gate that conforms to the vessel’s watch schedule as agreed upon between the vessel and facility.
(2) An on-call escort between the vessel and the facility gate.
(3) Arrangements with taxi services, ensuring that any costs for providing the access described in this section, above the taxi’s standard fees charged to any customer, are not charged to the individual to whom such access is provided. If a facility provides arrangements with taxi services as the only method for providing the access described in this section, the facility is responsible to pay the taxi fees for transit within the facility.
(4) Arrangements with seafarers’ welfare organizations to facilitate the access described in this section.
(5) Monitored pedestrian access routes between the vessel and facility gate.
(6) A method, other than those in paragraphs (d)(1) through (d)(5) of this section, approved by the COTP.
(7) If an access method relies on a third party, a back-up access method that will be used if the third-party is unable to or does not provide the required access in any instance. An owner or operator must ensure that the access required in paragraph (a) of this section is actually provided in all instances.

(e) No cost to individuals. The facility owner or operator must provide the access described in this section at no cost to the individual to whom such access is provided.

(f) Described in the Facility Security Plan (FSP). On or before (insert date 10 months after publication of the final rule), the facility owner or operator must document the facility’s system for providing the access described in this section in the approved FSP in accordance with 33 CFR 105.410 or 33 CFR 105.415. The description of the facility’s system must include:
(1) Location of transit area(s) used for providing the access described in this section;
(2) Duties and number of facility personnel assigned to each duty associated with providing the access described in this section;
(3) Methods of escorting and/or monitoring individuals transiting through the facility;
(4) Agreements or arrangements between the facility and private parties, nonprofit organizations, or other parties, to facilitate the access described in this section; and
(5) Maximum length of time an individual would wait for the access described in this section, based on the provided access method(s).

Things to Keep in Mind

The Coast Guard says it will consider all comments and material received during the comment period and may change the proposed rule based on the comments received, so it is important that seafarers provide input from their perspective on the need for timely access. The agency specifically requests comments on the following:
1. Whether one year is an appropriate timeframe to implement the system that would be required under the proposed rule.
2. Whether the proposed rule provides an appropriately inclusive list of individuals who should be allowed to access a vessel or whether the list is too broad or too narrow.
3. Instead of proposing a single regulatory definition of “timely access” that would apply to all facilities, the proposal lists factors for facility owners and operators to consider (and document in the FSP) so that they provide “timely access” without unreasonable delay. Comments are requested on whether this approach is reasonable and provides the flexibility needed to cover the diverse circumstances of different facilities and ships with COTP oversight to ensure that “timely access” is reasonable in each case.
4. Whether the proposed “Access Methods” (33 CFR 105.237(d) above) provides an appropriately inclusive list of methods for providing seafarers’ access, or whether there are any other methods that should be on the list.
5. The Coast Guard estimates that there is a 10.3 percent non-compliance rate of MTSA-regulated facilities with respect to providing seafarers’ access. Comments are requested as to whether this is a reasonable estimate based on the experience of seafarers and other individuals.

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Two more deaths have occurred as a result of the fire that broke out Sunday aboard a car ferry off the northwest coast of Greece: two Albanian seafarers died Dec. 30 when a cable connecting their boat to the ferry got caught in a propeller and snapped. Their deaths bring the total of confirmed victims in the disaster to 12. Authorities said that because of inaccuracies in the passenger list, they are not sure whether more bodies will be found in the smoking wreckage of the NORMAN ATLANTIC, an Italian-flagged ferry that was operated by Greek ferry operator Anek Lines. Amid smoke and flames, hundreds of people were airlifted from the vessel by Italian and Greek helicopters in a 36-hour rescue operation that unfolded in rough seas and gale-force winds. Argilio Giacomazzi, the master of the vessel, was the last to leave, Italian officials said. A spokesperson for the Italian navy says a total of 427 people were rescued.

According to the ferry’s manifest, however, there were 478 people on board.

The two seamen killed on Tuesday were part of an eight-person crew which had been towing the ferry. There is no word yet on the cause of the fire.

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The National Maritime Center (NMC) and Regional Exam Centers (RECs) have issued an announcement saying they will be closed on Jan 1. The NMC Customer Service Center will be closing at 1400 EST on Wednesday, Dec. 31. While the office is closed, customers who send an e-mail to will receive a response within 1-2 business days, the agency says. REC customers are encouraged to check the REC web pages for local closures and to use the appointment scheduler to make appointments prior to visiting a REC. The scheduler can be accessed from the NMC website.

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The Washington State Board of Pilotage Commissioners plans to hold an exam during the first half of October 2015 to identify qualified candidates for pilot training for the Puget Sound Pilotage District or Grays Harbor Pilotage District. The Board foresees the need for an unknown number of newly licensed pilots in the next several years. A monthly training stipend is available to full-time trainees who meet certain criteria. The stipend is now set at $6,000/month. A trainee is not an employee of the State and there are no taxes of any kind withheld from stipend payments, and no taxes or benefits are paid on a trainee’s behalf. Puget Sound pilots are independent contractors, all of whom are currently members of the Puget Sound Pilots Association. Grays Harbor pilots are employees of the Port of Grays Harbor.

To qualify to take the exam, applicants must meet the pre-examination requirements of statute RCW 88.16.090 and rules set forth in WAC 363-116-076. A federal pilotage endorsement for the area is no longer required prior to the exam or to obtain a training license. However, it will be required prior to getting a state pilot license. In general, applicants must meet specified service requirements as master for one to two years, while holding a minimum license as master of steam or motor vessels of not more than 1600 GRT or 3000 GT (ITC). Other types of service may also qualify. Refer to the Board’s web site for specific links at:

If you are interested in receiving more information or signing up for notices regarding the examination, please contact the Washington State Board of Pilotage Commissioners via e-mail at

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The Southeast Alaska Pilots’ Association has scheduled an exam for new trainees to be held at the Pacific Maritime Institute in Seattle from May 11-15, 2015. Basic details of the application process are on the Southeast Alaska Pilots’ Association web page at The exam fee for simulator and classroom time is expected to be about $2000 and will be payable to PMI. Applications must be postmarked by March 23, 2015. Please direct all questions to Absolutely no phone calls should be made to the SEAPA Business Office. All candidates must be able to qualify for a USCG Pilotage endorsement without tonnage restriction. If the applicant has seatime that may be applicable (i. e. combined tug and tow,), but does not currently hold an Unlimited license, he or she will need to provide proof from the USCG Regional Exam Center in Juneau that they are eligible for the appropriate federal endorsement.

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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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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

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

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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