Wheelhouse Weekly – December 09, 2004

December 9th 2004


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

Volume 8 . . . . . Number 50 . . . . December 9, 2004






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



The period for casting ballots in the MM&P election is coming to an end. Ballots must be received by 0900 Eastern Time on Dec.13 to be counted. The ballot count will take place at MITAGS on Monday, Dec.13 commencing at 1100 hrs.

Election Update – December 13, 2004:

Initial results in the ballot count that took place on Monday, December 13 indicate wide margins for the incumbent slate of officers. Results are uncertified at this time but show an approximately three-to-one margin returning the following officers to a new four-year term of office:

  • Timothy A. Brown – International President
  • Glen P. Banks – International Secretary-Treasurer
  • Donald Marcus – Pacific Ports Vice President, Offshore Membership Group
  • Richard May – Atlantic Ports Vice President, Offshore Membership Group
  • Robert Groh – Gulf Ports Vice President, Offshore Membership Group
  • Steven Demeroutis – Vice President, United Inland Membership Group
  • George Quick – Vice President, Pilot Membership Group


More detailed information on the officer elections and results for election of convention delegates, alternate delegates and elected representatives will be provided in the December 16 issue of the Wheelhouse Weekly.

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Matson Update

Representatives from MM&P, MEBA and ARA met with officials from Matson Navigation Company on Tuesday, December 7, 2004 in San Francisco. MM&P was represented by a rank and file committee consisting of Mike Bozzone, Colin Kelly and one member who is a candidate for Offshore convention delegate as well as the Union’s Pacific Ports Agent and Pacific Ports Vice President.

Negotiations have been ongoing since August regarding potential replacement vessels for Matson’s Guam service. It is reported that progress was made towards a better understanding between the parties. At the conclusion of the negotiations MM&P presented Matson with a formal contract proposal. The parties agreed to meet again at first opportunity.


Meanwhile, in Honolulu…

A contingent of a dozen MM&P members and applicants, joined by other members from seagoing unions contracted with Matson, spent another afternoon leafleting Alexander and Baldwin’s corporate HQ. It was another outstanding turnout from our Honolulu membership. They are committed to bring public attention to Matson’s threats to outsource Hawaiian jobs.

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Earlier this week, President Bush signed into law the Miscellaneous Trade and Technical Corrections Act of 2004 (HR 1047). This bill contained a MM&P-supported provision that will eliminate, effective April 25, 2005, the duty on the cost of equipment, repair parts, and materials installed on US ships when the installation is performed by the regular crew while the ship is on the high seas.

This provision is a major boost for US-flag shipping interests. The measure includes language which will retroactively exempt US-flag ocean carriers from the 2001 Customs Service regulation. This regulation imposed a 50 percent ad valorem duty on all parts, supplies and equipment used by US citizen crew members to perform day-to-day repairs while the vessels are transporting goods on the high seas.

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The USCG was conducting a rescue effort on Dec.9 in the Bering Sea at Unalaska Island, Alaska for 10 people who were aboard a USCG rescue helicopter when it crashed into the ocean. The helicopter, with four crewmembers based out of Kodiak, were evacuating six seafarers off the grounded Panamax bulk carrier SELENDANG AYU when the chopper crashed during the rescue attempt.

Another helicopter from the USCG cutter ALEX HALEY, which is on scene, picked up four people and have taken them to Dutch Harbor for medical treatment, their condition is unknown. Six people are still unaccounted for. Initial reports from the site of the crash off the Aleutian islands indicate that the four rescued include three of the downed rescue helicopter’s crew and one of the rescued seafarers.

The search continued for the six freighter crewmembers still in the Bering Sea. The water temperature was about 43 degrees, and the waves were as high as 20 feet. “The survival time is right around three hours in those conditions,” said Rear Adm. James Olson, commander of the USCG in Alaska.

The 738-foot-long Malaysia-flagged SELENDANG AYU, loaded with soybeans and 440,000 gallons of its own fuel, ran aground on the island in the Aleutian chain and broke in two an hour after the helicopter crash, the USCG said. A USCG rescue swimmer along with the master of the vessel remained on board, but have since been rescued. Nineteen of the bulker’s crew had already been airlifted to safety.

The vessel began drifting towards Unalaska Island two days ago after the main engine ceased operating. Unalaska Island, 800 air miles southwest of Anchorage, is home to sensitive wildlife habitat and fisheries. The ship’s 440,000 gallons of heavy bunker oil had been transferred to inboard tanks, and the fuel heaters were turned off to thicken the fuel so in the event of a spill it would not disperse.

USCG cutters and tugboats had tried since Tuesday, Dec.7, to halt the drifting freighter, but 25-foot swells and 30-knot winds broke tow lines on each attempt. A tugboat attached a line to the freighter Tuesday evening, securing it for 12 hours until the line broke and the vessel resumed its path to shore.

The crew of the SELENDANG AYU dropped anchor when it reached shallow water, but it was lost in the rough seas after just a half-hour. A second anchor held for a while with the freighter four-fifths of a mile from shore, Adm. Olsen said.

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The Delaware River was re-opened to all traffic late Tuesday, Dec.7, after the USCG confirmed that divers had found a large curved pipe about 200 yards from the Citgo terminal in Paulsboro, NJ. Preliminary paint tests have matched the 3-ft. diameter x 14-ft. pipe to scrapes on the hull of the 60,880 dwt tanker ATHOS I, which led to a major oil spill in the busy channel on Nov.26.

The pipe will be raised so investigators can ascertain its origin. The USCG expects the investigation to take several months. In the meantime, the remaining Venezuelan crude on board the vessel is being removed so she can be moved dockside for hull repairs. The process is being slowed because only one 30,000-barrel oil barge is available to shuttle the nearly 1,600 tons of Venezuelan heavy crude oil from the ship’s tanks.

While the lightering is underway, a salvage team has been designing and fabricating patches for the 6-ft. by 2-ft. gash caused by the jagged pipe. More than 1,400 people are still working to clean the river and shoreline that has been impacted by the spill.

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According to media reports, Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Jon Corzine (D-NJ) plan to introduce legislation when Congress re-convenes next week which would ban single hull tankers in US waters earlier than the 2010 deadline established by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90).

The lawmakers are taking the action in response to the growing spill from the Cyprus-flagged ATHOS I in the Delaware River, which borders New Jersey. Following an aerial survey of the spill site, the two veteran senators called single-hulled tankers “an accident waiting to happen”.

The foreign-flagged ATHOS I, built in 1983 in Japan, apparently struck a submerged pipe while being pushed into berth by two tugs. That accident ripped several holes in stowage and ballast tanks, causing a huge oil spill. The USCG says that more than 1,600 tons are unaccounted for. It added that it is unlikely that all the missing oil entered the river and some is probably in the ship’s bilges and ballast tanks.

“Oil companies that have decided not to change to safer double hulled vessels should not be immune from paying the entire cost when one of their ships dumps thousands of gallons of oil into our rivers,” said Sen. Lautenberg. “The law on the books is not doing enough to protect the environment and local businesses when an oil spill occurs.”
Sen. Lautenberg’s bill would phase out the current caps placed on damages for single hull oil tankers that cause an oil spill.

The measure would push oil shippers to take the steps necessary convert their fleet from single-hull vessels to double-hull tankers which are far less likely to spill oil in the event of a collision.

MM&P-contracted AHL Shipping led the way in double-hulling when it became the first US-flag and Jones Act tanker company to go to double botttoms in compliance with OPA 90.

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A Norwegian master has lost his job after drinking beer with his colleagues on a pier that is used by fast ferries of his, now former, employers. The skipper has gone to court over the issue, but HSD, the ferry company, says it has a zero tolerance policy concerning the use of alcohol.

According to maritime industry sources, the incident took place on Aug.28, when the master and two of his colleagues drank two six-packs of beer together on a pier at Hufthamar on the west coast of Norway. The master told the paper that none of them were on duty nor wore their uniform at the time.

The company said that since the pier in question is used by its ferries, members of the public could have seen the three members of its staff drinking there, which it says it not acceptable. The master, age 50, resigned from the company in the face of dismissal.

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  • Boston – 12/20
  • Houston – 12/9 (1200-1600 – RSVP appreciated)
  • Jacksonville – 12/10 (1200-1600 at the hall)
  • Los Angeles ­ 12/10 (after job call starting at 1230. RSVP if possible)
  • Miami/Port Everglades – 12/21 (1100-1400 at the hall)
  • New York/New Jersey – 12/15
  • Norfolk – 12/17
  • San Juan ­ 12/14 (1330 to 1800 at Levis’ Restaurant 1101 Ponce De Leon Avenue near the hall next to Premier Bank; phone: 787-724-4351. Call hall for directions.)
  • Seattle ­ 12/17 (after job call starting at 1230. RSVP if possible)


Contact the Union Halls directly for additional info. Additional events and info will be provided as available.

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Raffle tickets for a chance on winning a beautiful original painting of the SEAWANHAKA by MM&P member, Maryland Pilot and artist Capt. Brian Hope commissioned by the MM&P are available at $25 each, 5 for $100. Proceeds will benefit the Masters, Mates & Pilots Political Contribution Fund. (The fire aboard the SEAWANHAKA and the scapegoating of Capt. Charles Smith are the beginnings of the MM&P.)

Ticket purchases should be made payable to the MM&P PCF with a notation for the raffle in the memo line, and mailed to the MM&P PCF, 700 Maritime Blvd., Linthicum Heights, MD 21090. Tickets can also be obtained by members making PCF contributions through the Members Only section of the MM&P website, noting that the contribution is for the raffle. Tickets are also available through MM&P port offices.

Cutoff for ticket purchases is Dec.31, 2004. Drawing for the prize will take place at noon on Jan.7, 2005 at MITAGS. Also available at a later date will be a limited number of prints of this painting, numbered and signed by the artist, for a $50 contribution to the PCF designated for the print.

The fine print:
Raffle tickets are available only to those individuals who are otherwise eligible to make a contribution to the MM&P PCF. Contributions in exchange for raffle tickets or for a signed and numbered print do not qualify for any other PCF contribution incentive premiums. All contributions to the MM&P PCF, including contributions in exchange for raffle tickets, are voluntary contributions for political purposes and no physical force, job discrimination, financial reprisals or thereat thereof has been or will be used to secure such contributions. PCF contributions are not deductible for tax purposes.

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A note from the MM&P Plan’s EAP Provider at LifeWorks that may help all those members and their spouses, families and loved ones at home (and working!) during the holidays : Make your holidays shine this year, with help from LifeWorks.

Feeling overwhelmed by the holidays?

If thoughts of shopping, cooking, family visits and travel leave you feeling stressed out, take a minute to get in touch with LifeWorks. You’ll find professional, caring consultants on the phone who can help you refocus, put things in perspective, and find new ways to make the holidays a happy time for you and your family. Call any time and you’ll get lots of ideas, advice and resources to help you handle a wide range of issues, from managing your time to managing your budget.

You can also go to anytime to use a quick online tool, How Resilient Are You?, or to read or download articles including the following:

  • Blending Traditions During the Holidays
  • Shopping Tips to Save Time and Money
  • Enjoying the Holidays with Your Children
  • The Holiday Season and Your Older Relative
  • 10 Ways to Bounce Back

Make this year’s holiday season the best ever. Call LifeWorks at 877-234-5151 anytime to speak with a LifeWorks consultant. To read or download articles, visit the LifeWorks web site at (user id: mmp; password: 5100) and click on “This Month’s Feature”. You can also order free materials or email a consultant.

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The Masters, Mates & Pilots Federal Credit Union is offering a special Holiday Signature Loan to give you some extra shopping cash or to pay off those higher-rate credit card balances.

Through Jan.31, 2005, eligible MM&P FCU members may borrow up to $1,500 for 10 months at a Standard Rate of 8.75 percent or a Preferred Borrower Rate of 8.00 percent. Special terms and conditions apply and funds for this promotion may be limited.



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.

For more info, contact FCU manager Kathy Klisavage toll-free at 1-800-382-7777 or Email her at

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In an effort to facilitate required contacted company and MSC recurrent training, MITAGS has developed “Course Clusters” that will be offered once a quarter during 2005. January options include:

Option 1
MSC-DC, Combined Basic & Advanced FF, MSC-CBRD-1, BST & MED-PIC

  • 01/24-25 – MSC-Damage Control
  • 01/26-28 – Begin Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting
    Must take entire BAFF course for a certificate.
  • 01/29 – MSC-CBRD 1 day orientation
  • 01/30 (Sunday-No classes)
  • 01/31-02/01 – Basic (BST) Portion of Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting, complete BAFF
  • 02/02-04 – Complete remaining modules of Basic Safety Training, complete BST
  • 02/07-18 – Medical Person-In-Charge


Option 2
Combined Basic & Advanced FF, CBRD-1, MSC-DC, SMA-Requal

  • 01/26-28 – Begin Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting (Must take entire BAFF course for a certificate)
  • 01/29 – MSC CBRD 1 day orientation
  • 01/30 – (Sunday-No classes)
  • 01/31-02/01 – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting
  • 02/02-03 – MSC Damage Control
  • 02/04-05 – Small Arms Re-Qualification 2-day
    To be eligible, must present proof of attending a MSC SMA course within the preceding two years and passing all 3 weapons.


Option 3
SMA 4-day, CBRD-1, MED-PIC

  • 01/31-02/03 – MSC-Small Arms Qualification (4 day)
  • 02/04-05 – (Friday-Saturday-No classes)
  • 02/06 – MSC-CBRD-1
  • 02/07-18 – Medical Person-In-Charge

Given our resources, to accomplish as much training as possible in one trip to MITAGS may involve an unconventional schedule such as starting mid-week and/or weekend classes.

The complete “Company Required Courses” list can be accessed and downloaded from MITAGS’ website at



Between now and the end of February 2005, seats are available in the following courses:

  • ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 1/03, 2/07
  • AZIPOD – Azipod Propulsion System: 1/03


  • BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 1/24, 2/14
  • BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 12/07, 2/07
  • BST – Basic Safety Training: 12/13, 1/31


CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses

  • CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 2/14
  • CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 1/31
  • CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display and Info Systems: 1/10, 2/07
  • CMM-MMP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 1/17, 2/21
  • CMM-SHMGT-I – Ship Management (week 1): 12/06, 1/10, 2/07
  • CMM-SHMGT-II – Ship Management (week 2): 12/13
  • CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 12/06, 1/10, 1/24, 1/31, 2/14
  • CMM-SHS-ADV-II- Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 12/13, 1/17, 1/31
  • CMM-VPEN – Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 1/24
  • CMM-WKP- Advanced Watchkeeping: 1/03


  • COMP-OPSYS – Computer Operating Systems: 1/17
  • CONT-PLNG – Contingency Planning: 12/09, 1/21, 2/11


  • FF-BADV – (Combined) Basic and Advanced Firefighting: 12/13, 1/26


  • GMDSS – Global Marine Distress and Safety System: 1/24


  • HAZ – Hazardous Materials [5-day]: 1/03


  • LAP – License Advancement Program: 1/10
  • LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage [Evening Seminar]: 12/07, 2/08


  • MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 12/10, 1/20, 2/10
  • MED-DOT-DA – DOT Drug & Alcohol Testing: 1/15, 2/12
  • MED-PIC – Medical Person-In-Charge: 1/10, 2/07
  • MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 1/10, 2/07


MSC – Military Sealift Command

  • MSC-CBRD-1 – Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Training Orientation: 12/12, 1/29, 2/06
  • MSC-DC – Damage Control: 12/10, 1/24, 2/02
  • MSC-SMA – Small Arms Training (4-day): 1/31
  • MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 2/04
    must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years


  • ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal (5-day): 1/17
  • ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 12/07, 1/03, 2/07
  • ROR-1 – Evening Course Radar Observer Renewal: 12/13


  • SEC-FSO – Facility Security Officer: 2/08
  • SEC-OFF-PCS – Security Officer: Port, Company, Ship: 12/06, 1/17
  • SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 1/10
  • SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling (5-day): 1/17


  • TRAC-TUG – Water Tractor and Azimuth Stern Drive Tugs: 1/06
  • TPIC – Tankerman Person-In-Charge: 1/24


If you are scheduled for a course, call, write, or Email admissions to advise whether or not you will attend. Many classes are in demand and maintain a Standby List. “No Shows” are missed training opportunities for other members.



Courses are subject to change. Check the MITAGS website for up-to-date course descriptions associated with all course title abbreviations, and for schedule revisions and updated course availability. You can also check future schedules, review detailed course descriptions and register on-line or contact Admissions at or by calling toll-free, 1-866-656-5568.

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The Pacific Maritime Institute’s last “Company/Ship Security Officer” course for the year is December 20-22, 2004 (Mon.-Wed.). The deadline to take this course is December 31, 2004 for all Masters and Chief Mates. Sign up today by sending an email to or call toll-free 888-893-7829.

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All the courses below will be conducted at the new Pacific Maritime Institute facility located in Seattle at 1727 Alaskan Way South, Pier 34. The new facility features a state-of-the art Ship Simulator that has to be experienced. PMI phone numbers remain the same. Come see the new facility at PMI’s “Maritime Technology and Career Center”.


  • Holidays:
    We will not be running classes from December 27-January 2, 2005 in observance of Christmas and New Years Day. The school will still be open that week.
  • 12/13-17: SAR/EP
  • 12/13-17: Basic Safety Training
  • 12/13-17: Advanced Meteorology
  • 12/13-17: Basic Shiphandling
  • 12/20-24: Radar Observer Unlimited

January 2005

  • 1/03-21: Terrestrial and Coastal Navigation/Compasses
  • 1/03-07: ARPA
  • 1/03-05: Radar Recertification
  • 1/10-11: Search and Rescue
  • 1/10-12: Ship/Company Security Officer
  • 1/12-14: Emergency Procedures
  • 1/17-28: GMDSS
  • 1/24-28: Radar Observer Unlimited
  • 1/24-28: Tankerman Person-In-Charge
  • 1/24-28: Medical Care Provider
  • 1/24-2/4: Medical Person-In-Charge
  • 1/24-28: Emergency Shiphandling
  • 1/31-2/04: ARPA
  • 1/31: Radar Recertification
  • 1/31-2/11: Advanced Shiphandling

For registration and more info call DeeDee Lazik or Jennifer Fowler at 888-893-7829, check the PMI website at or Email PMI at

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 D O W    N A S D A Q
 10,494.23 -95.99 for the week  2,126.11  -14.22 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)

 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)



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~ 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.

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 commences Oct.17, 2004 and will continue until Jan.3, 2005. Crew rotations will start beginning as early as January 2005 and will continue through as late as June 2005. 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 MM&P’s Director of Special Projects. Send resumes in an email or as a Word file attachment to:, by fax to 410-850-0973 or by mail to:

Director of Special Projects IOMM&P 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.

When complete and all information has been validated, click on “Communications” from the menu bar at the top of the screen and select “Transmit to Security Officer”. Save the file to the hard drive on your computer using your last name (surname) as the file name. Send this file as an email attachment to Mike Bohlman at Horizon Lines, His phone number is 908-259-2803. You will need to provide Mike Bohlman with your name and the case-sensitive password you assigned to the file in order for Horizon Lines to open the file and process your Security Clearance.


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.

On Dec.6, MM&P members will begin manning the third of seven T-AGS ships operated by Horizon. The USNS SUMNER will be crewed-up in Portland, OR. MM&P wishes the crew a safe voyage and happy holidays.

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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.

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The U.S. Coast Guard has a number of jobs that might be of interest to retired MMP members. Go to the USCG website at then click on the link for “Coast Guard Jobs” in the lower left column, then “Jobs/Careers”, then “Civilian Careers” and then “Current Job Openings”.

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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.

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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

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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”.

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Members are reminded that for the duration of the MM&P election period the name or likeness of any known candidate for any elected MM&P position will not be referred to by name or photo in any MM&P publication. Reference may be made by title or in contact information such as an email address when it is directly relevant to the communication.

As example, the Master of a MM&P-contracted ship who has declared himself to be a candidate for a MM&P elective position was recently quoted in an article appearing in the “Master, Mate & Pilot”, but was referenced as the Master of the vessel and not by name. Similarly, this member’s likeness was not included in a photo published with the article. This same rule was applied within the same publication with regard to two other members employed by MM&P at Union headquarters who are candidates for elective position.

This rule has been put into effect to ensure that publications by the MM&P to MM&P members are not used on behalf of any candidate for campaign purposes. These exclusions will end upon completion of the election.

Members wanting to know more about this policy may contact International Counsel John Singleton at 410-850-8700 x19, email:, or Communications Director Karl Schwartz at 410-850-8700 x27, email: communications@bridgedeck. org.

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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, broadcast worldwide via FEC marine telex and is posted on our web page.

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