Wheelhouse Weekly – December 10, 2013

December 10th 2013


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

Volume 17 . . . Number 50 . . . Dec. 10, 2013


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


All MM&P port offices, the MM&P Federal Credit Union, the MM&P Plans Office and MM&P Headquarters will be closed on Tuesday, Dec. 24, Wednesday, Dec. 25 and on Wednesday, Jan. 1. In addition, MM&P port offices will be closed on Tuesday, Dec. 31. Happy holidays to all and best wishes for the New Year.


Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Nelson Mandela, who died Thursday at the age of 95, was a staunch supporter of workers’ rights. “During his visit to the United States in 1990, Mandela spoke to the AFL-CIO and called on the labor movement to use its history of empowering America’s workers as a model for South African workers,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “We in the labor movement must take Mandela’s words and continue to strive for equality and fairness for all working people around the globe.”

Trumka said Mandela, the first president of a multi-racial democratic South Africa, “gave more than 60 years of his life to fighting for the rights of South Africans and all of humanity… His quiet dignity earned respect for him and his cause across the globe.”

“Poverty is not an accident,” Mandela once said. “Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings.”


While crossing the Atlantic as a chief mate aboard the SS ASHLEY LYKES, MM&P member Ed Batcho tossed a bottle overboard containing a message dated Jan. 26, 1983. Last month, after more than 30 years, he received a response. It was a letter from Pedro Paulo Guilhermino Lopes, who wrote to say he had found the bottle along the beach in Nazare, Portugal. The message, which included the original 1983 letter, is just the latest in a series of responses that Batcho has received in the three decades in which he has been engaged in his unusual hobby. 

In a telephone interview, Batcho told Nick Barton of the MM&P Communications Department that he had thrown nearly 100 bottles into the Atlantic and Pacific over the course of 30 years sailing for Lykes Lines. Batcho used to collect bottles from neighbors in preparation for his voyages. “I always got the impression that everyone that found them was thrilled,” he said. “Probably the biggest motivation was that somebody would find it and get a kick out of it for a while… Rather than ships passing in the night, it’s a little bit more of an experience.” 


Thousands of fast food and retail workers went on strike across the country on Dec. 5. The strike was the largest of its kind and comes on the heels of over a year of grassroots organizing and community networking by labor and civil rights groups pushing for action on income inequality. Organizers of the strike said fast food outlets in one hundred cities U.S. cities were involved. The battle to raise wages has been gaining momentum recently as states and localities have acted on their own to raise minimum wages in light of federal inaction.

In related news, 111 people were arrested in eight Black Friday acts of civil disobedience against Walmart. The union-backed group Our Walmart said 1,500 protests against Walmart stores took place on Black Friday. For more information and to show your support for Walmart employees and other low-wage workers, go to


The government of France says it will allow private armed guards to protect its shipping fleet against pirate attacks. Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said armed private security detachments would put the French fleet on par with European competitors who have already taken similar measures. France is one of the main contributors to an international naval force that patrols the Gulf of Aden and the northwestern Indian Ocean to deter attacks by pirates based in Somalia.

“We will allow recourse to private teams capable of complementing the navy’s missions,” Ayrault told a journalist for the French newspaper Ouest France. “There has been a strong appeal from shipowners and we have heard it,” he said. Britain, Germany and the United States all allow armed private security teams on vessels sailing under their flags.

Although on-board security teams and naval patrols have reduced attacks by Somali pirates, merchant ships have increasingly been targeted in the Gulf of Guinea off West Africa.


The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Dec. 6 that former Sea Star Line president Frank Peake has been sentenced to serve five years in prison for his role in a price-fixing conspiracy involving coastal freight services between the continental United States and Puerto Rico. Peake was also sentenced to pay a $25,000 criminal fine. The trial took place in January 2013. 

“The sentence imposed today reflects the serious harm these conspirators inflicted on American consumers, both in the continental United States and in Puerto Rico,” said Bill Baer, assistant attorney general in charge of DOJ’s Antitrust Division. “The Antitrust Division will continue to vigorously prosecute executives who collude to fix prices at the expense of consumers.”

According to court documents and evidence presented at the trial, Peake and his co-conspirators conspired through meetings and other communications in the continental United States and Puerto Rico to “fix, stabilize and maintain rates and surcharges for Puerto Rico freight services, to allocate customers of Puerto Rico freight services between and among them and to rig bids submitted to customers of Puerto Rico freight services.”  Peake was involved in the conspiracy from at least late 2005 until at least April 2008, the government said.

As a result of the investigation, the three largest water freight carriers serving routes between the continental United States and Puerto Rico, including Sea Star, have pleaded guilty and been ordered to pay more than $46 million in criminal fines. Peake is one of six people sentenced to prison terms ranging from seven months to five years. 


The schedule for MM&P Atlantic Ports holiday parties is as follows: Charleston, Dec. 17; Boston, Dec. 19; New York/New Jersey, Dec. 20. All Atlantic Ports parties begin at noon. Most Atlantic Ports parties will begin with a brief membership meeting.

The schedule of holiday parties for MM&P Gulf Ports is as follows: Houston, Dec. 19; Jacksonville, Dec. 13; Miami-Port Everglades, Dec. 16; New Orleans, Dec. 18.

The schedule of holiday parties for MM&P Pacific Ports is as follows: Los Angeles/Long Beach, Dec. 13 and Seattle, Dec. 18. The party in Los Angeles/Long Beach is a joint party with MEBA.


Automated debit and credit services are available to all members of the Masters, Mates & Pilots Federal Credit Union (MM&P FCU). Direct deposit enables members of the credit union to have all or part of their paychecks deposited directly to their accounts. When you elect direct deposit, you can also further direct your deposit to any of your individual accounts including checking, savings or the Christmas Club. And remember: direct deposit is the safest and most convenient way to receive your federal tax refund.

Using the electronic payment option offered by the credit union, you can pay all your monthly expenses with the click of a mouse. Members can use the system, for example, to pay their mortgage, telephone, utilities and insurance premiums. To begin using electronic debit and credit services, contact MM&P FCU Manager Kathy Ann Klisavage at 410-691-8136 or send an e-mail to


The Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA) has launched a campaign focused on bringing attention to the “devastating and unintended effects that sequestration and budget uncertainty continue to have on the United States Navy and naval services,” as well as on thousands of American shipbuilding and repair workers. The SOS campaign will feature a combination of digital advertising, earned media programming and grassroots mobilization. 

“The SOS campaign is about making sure that policymakers and the Administration fully appreciate the real effects of indiscriminately cutting core shipbuilding and repair functions that keep this country safe and secure, and support thousands of American jobs and local economies,” said SCA President Matt Paxton in an official release to the press. “It is crucial that the clumsy budget cuts that will come from sequestration next year be replaced with more targeted, rational and executable reductions.” 

If naval fleet maintenance for FY 2014 is curtailed because of sequestration and a continuing resolution, as Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jon Greenert has warned Congress, private shipyards will lose an estimated $950 million in contracts and nearly 8,000 jobs. Forgoing maintenance would have the long-term effect of shortening the lifespan of ships and reducing the overall number of ships in the fleet by as many as 30 vessels by 2020. Further, the Navy would be forced to keep its hiring freeze in place for most civilian positions, affecting the already anemic job growth the country is experiencing. To learn more about the campaign, go to

SCA members constitute the shipyard industrial base that builds, repairs, maintains and modernizes U.S. Navy ships and craft, U.S. Coast Guard vessels of all sizes, as well as vessels for other U.S. government agencies. In addition, SCA members build, repair and service America’s fleet of commercial vessels. The Council represents 45 companies that own and operate over 85 shipyards, with facilities on all three U.S. coasts, the Great Lakes, the inland waterways system, Alaska and Hawaii.


The 2006 Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) entered into force on Aug. 20. It has been described as the fourth pillar of international shipping regulations along with SOLAS, MARPOL and STCW.  The International Labor Organization consolidated a number of previous conventions in MLC 2006. It establishes minimum standards on conditions of employment, accommodations, health and safety, medical care, crew welfare, recruitment, working conditions and social security protection. MLC will be strictly enforced during port state control inspections, including the potential for more detailed inspections and possible detention where hazardous conditions may exist if ships are not to be in compliance. Visit for more information or to register for the MLC course.


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:

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation:

ARPA – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 1/21/14

AZIPOD 2-Day – 2/6/14

BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 12/16/13, 1/27/14, 3/24/14

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 2/4/14, 3/3/14

BST – Basic Safety Training: 1/20/14, 2/10/14

CHS-BAS – Cargo Handling Basic: 4/14/14

CONSTB – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 1/27/14

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

CMM-ADVNAV – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): 2/24/14

CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 2/3/14

CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 3/10/14

CMM-CHS – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 2/10/14

CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 12/16/13, 1/27/14, 2/24/14

CMM-LDRSHP – Management, Communication, & Leadership (Management Level): 3/17/14

CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants:  1/20/14

CMM-SHMGT – Ship Management (2 weeks): 1/6/14

CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 2/17/14, 3/10/14

CMM-SHS-ADV-I I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 2/24/14, 3/17/14

CMM-VPEN – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 3/3/14

CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 12/16/13, 1/27/14

CNAV – Celestial Navigation: 4/28/14

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop:

DDE – Great Lakes: 1/27/14

ECDIS-Pilots – 3/5/14

ENVIRO-Regs Permit – Environmental Regulations Permit:

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 1/20/14, 2/10/14

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep & Medications:  1/8/14, 2/3/14

GL Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization: 1/24/14

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 3/17/14

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 1/13/14

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes:  1/27/14

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross Ton License: 6/2/14

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 1/22/14, 3/5/14

MCL – Management, Communications and Leadership

MCL OICNW –Management, Communications, and Leadership OICNW level: 9/5/14, 10/7/14

MEDIA-RSP – Media Response Workshop:  2/7/14

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 1/6/14, 2/17/14, 3/17/14

MED-PIC -R– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 1/27/14

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 1/6/14, 2/17/14, 3/17/14

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 1/11/14, 1/25/14, 3/22/14

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 12/13-12/14/13(evening), 3/14/14

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 12/19/13, 3/10/14

MSC -SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification:  3/10/14



*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force – 12/16/13

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 1/13/14, 2/3/14

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 1/20/14

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 12/11/13, 1/8/14, 1/22/14, 2/5/14, 2/19/14, 3/6/14, 3/20/14

SAR – Search & Rescue

SEC-MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: 12/10/13 PM

SEC-VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: 12/11/13

SEC-VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 12/12/13, 2/4/14

SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling:  2/10/14

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day: 1/20/14, 3/3/14

SHS-ESH-BRMP3 – Emergency Shiphandling and Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 3/5/14

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 1/6/14

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge:  2/24/14

TTT – Train the Trainer: 4/7/14

WKP-BAS – Basic Watchkeeping: 3/3/14

WX-BAS – Basic Meteorology: 2/24/13

…And remember: If you can’t make the class, make the call.  Be courteous, don’t be a “no show.”

Check the MITAGS website at for course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations, and schedule revisions.


Please also see our schedule online at For registration, call our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen, at (206) 838-1126.

January 2014

6th         Radar Renewal
6-24       Terrestrial and Coastal Navigation
7-9          Vessel Security Officer
13-17     ECDIS
13-24     GMDSS
27-31     Radar Observer Unlimited
27-31     Medical Care Provider
27-7       Medical Person-In-Charge

February 2014

3rd         Radar Renewal
3rd         Flashing Light
3-7          Basic Watchkeeping (Rules of the Road)
4-7          ARPA
10-14     ECDIS
10-14     Bridge Resource Management w/ Simulation
10-21     GMDSS
17-21     ECDIS
17-21     Bridge Resource Management w/ Simulation
24-28     Medical Care Provider
26-28     Vessel Security Officer

March 2014

3-14       Celestial Navigation
10-21     GMDSS
17th       Radar Renewal
24-28     ECDIS
24-28     Able Seaman
24-4       License Preparation (Mate Level)

April 2014

7-11       ECDIS
14th       Radar Renewal
14-18     Medical Care Provider
14-25     Medical Person-In-Charge
15-18     ARPA
28-2       ECDIS

The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates, and Pilots, ILA, AFL-CIO, 700 Maritime Blvd. Suite B, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1953. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973; Email: For further info or to subscribe contact Lisa Rosenthal at The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea and is posted on our web page.

© 2013, International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots. All the material contained in this publication is protected by copyright. For permission to reprint text from the Weekly, contact the MM&P Communications Department: For changes of address, contact Lisa Rosenthal at