Wheelhouse Weekly – December 10th, 2019

December 11th 2019

Volume 24… Number 49… Dec. 10, 2019


In This Issue:



News for MM&P Members:


Never miss an issue!
Click here to subscribe to the Wheelhouse Weekly mailing list.
Did you miss a week?
Back editions of the Wheelhouse Weekly are available in the archives section.


House and Senate negotiators on pending defense legislation have agreed to language that would extend the Maritime Security Program for an additional ten years, to fiscal year 2035.

They have also agreed to increase the per-vessel stipend beginning in fiscal year 2022.

The stipend will be $5.3 million in fiscal years 2022-25; $5.8 million in fiscal years 2026-28; $6.3 million in fiscal years 2029-31; and $6.8 million in 2032-35.

The Maritime Security Program authorizes a maritime security fleet comprised of 60 U.S.-flag, U.S.-owned and U.S-crewed militarily useful vessels.

Under the program, these vessels and their U.S.-citizen crews are available to meet the requirements of the Department of Defense whenever and wherever necessary.

The defense legislation as agreed to by the House and Senate negotiators must now be considered by the full House of Representatives and Senate.

Back to Stories Covered


Democrats in the House of Representatives said today that they had reached an agreement with the administration to enhance labor and enforcement provisions in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, thus securing the support of the AFL-CIO.

“Make no mistake, we demanded a trade deal that benefits workers and fought every single day to negotiate that deal,” said AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka.

“And now we have secured an agreement that working people can proudly support.”

“Working people are responsible for a deal that is a vast improvement over both the original NAFTA and the flawed proposal brought forward in 2017,” he said.

“For the first time, there truly will be enforceable labor standards—including a process that allows for the inspection of factories and facilities that are not living up to their obligations.”

He said the new deal eliminates “special carve outs for corporations like the giveaway to Big Pharma in the administration’s initial proposal and loopholes designed to make it harder to prosecute labor violations.”

“The USMCA is far from perfect,” he said.

“It alone is not a solution for outsourcing, inequality or climate change.”

“Successfully tackling these issues requires a full-court press of economic policies that empower workers, including the repeal of tax cuts that reward companies for shipping our jobs overseas.”

“But there is no denying that the trade rules in America will now be fairer because of our hard work and perseverance.”

“Working people have created a new standard for future trade negotiations.”

“President Trump may have opened this deal,” he said. “But working people closed it. And for that, we should be very proud.”

The changes to USMCA, which the three countries signed more than a year ago, must now be incorporated into implementing legislation that the House and Senate will both vote on.

The agreement will also need to be signed by the White House and approved by leaders in Mexico and Canada.

Back to Stories Covered


The crew of MAERSK COLUMBUS assisted in a search and rescue operation off the Spanish coast on the night of Nov. 30.

Captain John C. Finney submitted the following report on behalf of the officers and crew.

On Nov. 30, at about 2000 hours, the MAERSK COLUMBUS received a radio call from RCC ALMERIA (the Almeria branch of Spain’s maritime safety agency), asking if we could assist in a search for a small boat, with unknown persons aboard.

All hands were mustered, and the ship turned about to begin the search. Extra lookouts were posted and bridge wing search lights were manned.

A SAR aircraft gave us a bearing from our position to the last suspected position of the small craft.

With the engine room now fully manned, the captain began slowing the ship as we came about onto the search course.

The SAR aircraft was instrumental in locating the craft, as it had no lights showing and the night was very dark.

Suddenly, small flashing lights were seen off the ship’s port bow.

The craft turned out to be a small black rubber boat with 11 persons on board, including a small child and an infant.

Those aboard had managed to use their cellphones as lights to attract our attention.

The ship was slowed and maneuvered into hailing distance.

The chief mate, being fluent in Arabic, was sent down to main deck to try and establish communication with the people in the boat, and to get an accurate count of persons on board.

The chief mate was able to determine that all those on board were Algerian, and discovered that they had “lost their way” as they were attempting to cross the Mediterranean from Algeria to get to Spain.

The mate could see that they had food, water and fuel on board, and that the boat was not taking on water.

The RCC asked if we could launch our rescue boat and take the persons on board.

Due to the rough conditions, the captain advised the RCC that launching the rescue boat would put more people at risk.

The RCC advised that there was a Spanish patrol boat in the area, but it was involved in another rescue several miles to the north, and that it would be close to an hour before they could assist.

The captain informed the RCC that we would remain on station alongside the small boat until the patrol arrived.

The RCC concurred, and proceeded to keep the ship informed of the patrol boat’s ETA to our position.

The MAERSK COLUMBUS kept search lights manned and on the small boat, and the chief mate stayed on deck to assure the passengers that help was on the way.

The captain had the mate tell them that we would not leave them, that we would stay as long as it took for the patrol boat to arrive.

The captain maneuvered the ship to create a lee off the port side, and instructed the mate to tell the person in charge on the little boat to stay in the lee, and to stay right alongside the ship.

The Spanish patrol boat arrived on scene at about 2120 hours, and proceeded to take all persons from the small boat on board the patrol boat.

Once all persons were safely on board the patrol boat, RCC ALMERIA was notified, and at about 2145 hours, MAERSK COLUMBUS was released to continue on to its next port of call.

MM&P members on board were Captain John Finney, Chief Mate Marwan Elsamny, Second Mate Greg Danaher and Third Mate Cassandra Clark.

In a letter, the Spanish Maritime Safety Agency expressed its “deepest appreciation for the assistance that MV MAERSK COLUMBUS provided.”

“We are pleased to convey our special thanks to you and the crew for a job well done,” it added.

“The actions of master and crew are in keeping with the highest traditions of Maritime Search and Rescue.”

Back to Stories Covered


The newest issue of The Master, Mate & Pilot will be in your mailbox soon!

In the meantime, look for it online on under “Latest News.”

In this issue of the magazine:

— Professionals on duty in the North Pacific–what the rescue operation carried out by the GREEN LAKE crew says about the importance of teamwork and training;

— MM&P masters on sea trials of Matson’s new ConRo LURLINE;

— Mariner’s Plaque to USNS BRUNSWICK for typhoon response;

— Pilot Membership Group representatives at MM&P Executive Board Meeting;

— Vinik Marine joins MM&P family.


— Download the MM&P app today for complete access to all the functions available on the Members’ Only site!

For more info, go to:

Back to Stories Covered


The Navy League of the United States is urging the Senate to pass S 133, the Merchant Mariners of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2019.

The bill has strong bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress.

It unanimously passed the House of Representatives in September.

There are now have 55 senators supporting the bill, which was sponsored by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

It will take just 12 more to move the bill to the Senate floor!

The maritime unions and others who support the legislation are working hard to get additional supporters to sign on before the holidays.

The bill calls for a Congressional Gold Medal to collectively honor the U.S. merchant mariners of World War II in recognition of their brave and vital service to our nation.

Please help to push it over the finish line!

You can view the list of cosponsors of S 133 at

If your senators have not yet added their names to the list of cosponsors, please remind them of the crucial role American mariners played in the Allied victory in World War II.

The contributions of these brave mariners have been overlooked for far too long.

You can send a ready-made letter to your member of Congress by signing on to the Navy League campaign at:

You can also call your senator through the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

It is time we show our gratitude to these brave veterans and honor the sacrifices they made on behalf of our nation.

Back to Stories Covered


Shortly after pleading guilty to illegal misuse of campaign funds, six-term Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter announced he plans to resign his seat.

In a statement, Hunter said he would leave Congress “shortly after the holidays.”

Republican leaders stripped him of his committee assignments last year and he has been barred him from voting on the House floor.

Back to Stories Covered


The union representing ship captains in Mexico is sounding the alarm over a proposal to transfer control of some or all of the country’s maritime industry to the Ministry of the Navy.

If the plan is implemented, it would effectively end the right of the nation’s maritime workers to engage in collective bargaining of their pay and working conditions.

“We have great respect for the military institutions,” says Jorge Gómez García, general secretary of the captains’ union, Orden de Capitanes y Pilotos Navales de la República Mexican.

“But we know that the freedom of association and collective bargaining that we have fought for for years will not be possible under the military control of our maritime industry.”

MM&P and the union representing Mexico’s ship captains are both members of the International Transport Workers’ Federation.

“We believe it is extremely important that fair trade include the right of workers to organize and to bargain collectively and that such principles be included and supported in trade agreements,” says MM&P President Don Marcus.

“The militarization of the maritime industry in Mexico will not only destroy the rights of maritime workers in Mexico but will also likely lead to the distortion of the shipping market as wages and benefits are kept artificially low.”

“We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Mexico and urge the Mexican government to reject any proposal that would place the country’s maritime industry under the control of the navy.”

Back to Stories Covered


Join us to ring in the season at the MM&P holiday parties!

SEATTLE, Thursday, Dec. 12, 1200 @ Seattle Union Hall (Offshore/United Inland Group).

POMPANO, Friday, Dec. 13, 1230-1530 @ Brew Fish Bar & Grill 200 E McNab Rd., Pompano Beach, FL 33060.

NEW YORK/NEW JERSEY, Monday, Dec. 16, 1200-1700 @ Robert Treat Hotel, 50 Park Place, Newark NJ 07102 (Offshore/Atlantic Maritime Group).

HOUSTON, Friday, Dec. 20, 1300-1545 @ Perry’s Steakhouse and Grill, 700 Baybrook Mall Drive, Suite H110, Friendswood, TX 77546.

Back to Stories Covered


MM&P union halls, the MM&P Federal Credit Union and MM&P headquarters will be closed on Tuesday, Dec. 24 and Wednesday, Dec. 25, for the Christmas holidays, and on Tuesday, Dec. 31 and Wednesday, Jan. 1 for New Year’s.

The MM&P Plan Office will be closed on Dec. 24, Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.

The MM&P Hawaii Hall will be closed on Thursday, Jan. 2 for Jack Hall Day, an ILWU holiday.

Back to Stories Covered


The Plan Office has received approval to close the year-end Internal Revenue Service and company reports and to process Vacation and PRO payments for 2019 no later than Wednesday, December 18, 2019 at 3:00 p.m. EST.

All requests for 2019 Vacation and PRO payments received after this date and time will be held until January 2, 2020 for processing and will therefore be taxable in 2020.

If you have any questions, please contact the Vacation Department at 410-850-8625, 410-850-8647.

Back to Stories Covered


If you are interested in applying for Optional Life Insurance through MetLife but have not yet done so, please keep in mind that the simplified enrollment period ends on Dec. 31.

All MM&P members and employees are eligible to apply for coverage.

Note: MM&P does not receive financial compensation either for making this plan available or in the event that you choose to purchase Optional Life Insurance through this plan.

If you would like to learn more or apply, visit by Dec. 31.

If you have questions, please contact MM&P Federal Credit Union Manager Kathy Klisavage at: 1- 800-382-7777.

Back to Stories Covered


MITAGS is interested in receiving photo submissions from MM&P members for use on the official MITAGS social media platforms.

The goal is to document members’ voyages and promote the maritime industry. As suggestions, photos can be of events and sights onboard, crewmembers at work or scenic locations.

If you are interested in sharing photos, please send them with caption information to MITAGS Marketing Manager Lindsay Moran, at

Be sure to tell us whether you would like to be credited for the photo.

Back to Stories Covered


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 Amanda Meadows, Admissions Coordinator, toll-free at 866-656-5568 or by e-mail:

Why not try our on-line calendar to register for class:

For Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) processing, MMC problem resolution advice, STCW compliance and VA GI-Bill questions, contact MITAGS-PMI Student/Instructional Services Manager Jennifer Pitzen at 206-739-0720 (direct line); (888) 893-7829 (toll free); or by e-mail:

Please include your Mariner Reference Number, date of birth and the last four digits of your social security number in all emails.

Classes are 5-day unless otherwise noted

Class dates followed by an * are full

AB – Able Seaman – 4/13/20, 8/17/20, 10/5/20

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation (1-Day): 9/4/20

ARPA-OIC (4-Day) – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 1/14/20, 3/31/20

AZIPOD (2-Day) – 3/9/20, 4/30/20

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 2/24/20, 5/11/20, 8/3/20, 9/28/20

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots (2-Day): 1/15/20, 3/9/20, 3/31/20, 4/30/20, 5/18/20, 7/13/20, 9/15/20

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling – (Now also included in BRMP-Refresher) (3-Day): 3/11/20, 4/27/20, 7/15/20, 10/7/20

BRMP-Refresher (Now including Emergency Shiphandling for Pilots) (3-Day) – Not currently scheduled

BT – Basic Safety Training: 2/24/20, 4/20/20, 8/10/20, 10/12/20

BT-Revalidation (2-day) (Must have 1 year of sea service in last 5 years) – 12/17/19*, 2/4/20, 3/4/20, 4/2/20, 4/28/20, 6/15/20, 7/28/20, 8/31/20, 9/23/20, 10/28/20, 12/15/20

BT-Refresher (3-day) – 12/16/19*, 3/4/20, 4/27/20, 7/27/20, 9/23/20, 12/14/20

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 4/6/20

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 12/16/19, 2/3/20, 4/13/20, 6/8/20, 7/27/20, 10/5/20, 11/30/20

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 1/27/20, 4/6/20, 6/15/20, 8/3/20

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (10 Days): 2/10/20

CM-OPS 1 – Chief Mate Operations – Week 1: 3/16/20, 6/1/20, 8/24/20

CM-OPS 2 Maersk – Chief Mate Operations II Maersk Specific: 3/23/20, 6/8/20, 8/31/20

CM-OPS 2 APL – Chief Mate Operations II APL Specific – 3/9/20*

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information Systems: 3/9/20, 6/1/20, 8/17/20, 11/9/20

LMS – Leadership and Managerial Skills (Management Level – Formerly MCL-CMM): 12/16/19, 3/2/20, 4/20/20, 6/22/20, 8/10/20, 11/16/20, 12/14/20

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants: 1/13/20, 9/14/20 (DCS-1 available on request – contact Admissions)

SEC-APPS – Practical Defense Tactics: Not Currently Scheduled

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management: 10/28/19, 1/6/20

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 1/13/20, 2/10/20, 3/2/20*, 3/16/20, 4/13/20, 4/27/20, 6/1/20, 6/15/20, 7/20/20, 8/10/20, 9/14/20, 9/28/20, 10/12/20, 11/2/20, 1/30/20

SHS-ADV-II-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 1/20/20*, 2/17/20, 3/9/20, 3/23/20, 4/20/20, 5/4/20, 6/8/20, 6/22/20, 7/27/20, 8/17/20, 9/21/20, 10/5/20, 10/19/20, 11/9/20, 12/7/20

**SHS-ADV-I & II are now approved to include SAR-CMM assessments at MITAGS**

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 2/24/20

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 1/20/20

WX-HW-ATL – Heavy Weather Avoidance Routing: Atlantic Ocean (2-day) – 5/18/20

WX-HW-IND – Heavy Weather Avoidance Routing: Indian Ocean (2-day) – 5/22/20

WX-HW-PAC – Heavy Weather Avoidance Routing: Pacific Ocean (2-day) – 5/20/20

CIW-DPA/IA – Continual Improvement Workshop: Designated Person Ashore & Internal Auditor (3-Day) ** This course is NOT covered by the MATES Program ** – 6/24/20, 10/14/20

CIW-SMS – Continual Improvement Workshop: Successful Safety Management (2-Day) – Not currently scheduled

CNAV-OIC (15-Day) – Celestial Navigation: 4/27/20

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications (1-Day): 2/21/20

CRSMGT – Crisis Management and Human Behavior (1-Day) – 2/14/20, 7/24/20

CDMGT – Crowd Management (1-Day) – 2/13/20, 7/23/20

CSE – Confined Space Entry (3-Day): 7/20/20

CSE-AWR – Confined Space Entry Awareness (2-Day): Not currently scheduled

CY-MAR – Cyber-Skilled Mariner ** This course is NOT covered by the MATES Program ** – Not currently scheduled

DDE – Great Lakes (20-Day): 2/3/20

ECDIS for Pilots (2-Day) – 1/20/20, 4/30/20, 7/20/20

ERM – Engine Resource Management: 3/9/20, 6/8/20, 8/17/20, 12/7/20

FF-ADV – Advanced Fire-Fighting (4-day) – 1/13/20

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 2/24/20, 4/20/20, 8/10/20, 10/12/20

FF-ADV-Rev (1-day) (Must have 1 year of sea service in last 5 years) – Advanced Fire Fighting Revalidation: 12/19/19, 2/6/20, 3/2/20, 4/1/20, 4/30/20, 6/17/20, 7/30/20, 9/2/20, 9/22/20, 10/27/20, 12/17/20

FF-ADV-REF (2-day) – Advanced Fire Fighting Refresher: 12/14/19, 3/7/20, 4/25/20, 7/25/20, 9/26/20, 12/12/20

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications (1-Day): 1/7/20, 4/7/20, 9/15/20

GL-Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization (2-Day): 3/14/20

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (10-Day): 3/16/20, 8/24/20

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 4/13/20, 8/24/20, 11/16/20

IEN – Integrated Electronic Navigation (3-Day) – Not currently scheduled

LAP – License Advancement Program for Mate to Master (20-Day): 1/6/20*, 7/27/20, 9/28/20

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes (15-Day): 3/9/20

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross
Ton License (15-Day): 6/1/20

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage (1-Day): 1/8/20, 3/12/20, 4/8/20, 5/18/20, 9/16/20

LNG-TPIC (10-Day) – Not currently scheduled

LTS –Leadership and Teamworking Skills (Formerly MCL-OIC) (1-Day): 5/26/20

MEECE – Management of Electrical and Electronic Control Equipment (Assessments not included): 3/16/20, 6/15/20, 8/24/20, 11/30/20

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge (10-Day): 1/20/20, 3/16/20, 5/4/20, 7/6/20, 9/28/20, 11/30/20

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 1/6/20, 3/9/20, 6/22/20, 8/17/20, 10/19/20

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 1/20/20, 3/16/20, 4/13/20, 5/4/20

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing (1-Day): 1/11/20, 1/25/20, 2/7/20, 3/21/20, 3/31/20, 5/1/20, 5/9/20, 6/18/20, 7/11/20, 9/3/20, 9/21/20, 10/3/20, 10/26/20, 12/5/20, 12/18/20

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic) (1-Day): 2/20/20, 5/21/20, 6/3/20, 8/5/20, 9/11/20, 11/10/20

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (2-day): 2/18/20, 5/19/20, 6/1/20, 8/3/20, 9/9/20, 10/30/20

MSC-ENVPRO (1-Day) – 2/23/20, 5/31/20, 8/2/20, 11/1/20

MSC-FF-HELO (2-Day) – Not currently scheduled

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualifications (4-Day): 1/6/20, 2/24/20, 5/11/20, 6/7/20, 7/6/20, 8/9/20, 9/14/20, 11/2/20 (2020 dates may shift based on gun range availability)

MSC-Security Watch Basic (1-Day) – 2/21/20, 5/10/20, 6/4/20, 8/6/20, 9/12/20, 11/2/20

MSC-Security Watch Advanced (1-Day) – 1/5/20, 2/22/20, 5/15/20, 6/5/20, 7/10/20, 8/8/20, 9/13/20, 11/6/20 (2020 dates may shift based on gun range availability)

MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force (3-Day) – 1/10/20, 2/28/20, 5/16/20, 6/11/20, 7/11/20, 8/14/20, 9/18/20, 11/7/20 (2020 dates may shift based on gun range availability)

NDMS-ENAV – Navigational Decision Making Series – Best Practice in eNav (3-Day) – 1/22/20

NSAP-MMP – Navigational Skills Assessment Program-MM&P (2-Day) – 12/16/19, 12/18/19, 1/13/20*, 3/16/20*, 4/9/20, 6/22/20, 6/24/20, 7/13/20, 8/31/20, 9/2/20, 10/26/20, 10/28/20, 12/14/20, 12/16/20

RFPNW – Ratings Forming Part of a Navigational Watch (3-day) – Not currently scheduled

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal (1-Day): 1/13/20

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes (1-Night): 12/18/19, 3/6/20, 3/7/20, 4/27/20, 4/28/20, 7/27/20, 9/15/20, 12/14/20

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 1/6/20, 7/27/20

SAR – Search & Rescue – (Now with OIC and CMM assessments) (3-Day): 3/28/20, 10/14/20, 11/30/20

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling: 2/3/20, 5/18/20, 8/24/20, 10/19/20

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling (5 Day) – 12/16/19*, 1/27/20*, 3/30/20*, 5/4/20, 7/13/20, 8/31/20, 11/16/20, 12/14/20

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 1/20/20, 8/3/20

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses (15-Day): 1/27/20, 7/6/20

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: 1/6/20, 5/11/20, 7/6/20

TRAC-TUG-2 (2-Day): 2/17/20

TTT – ** This course is NOT covered by the MATES Program ** Not currently scheduled

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties (1-Day): 2/9/20

VSO – Vessel Security Officer (3-Day): 2/10/20, 4/6/20, 5/27/20, 9/9/20

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level) (10-Day): 2/17/20

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): 3/2/20

Back to Stories Covered


For registration, contact our admissions department: 206.441.2880 or

Please also see our schedule and enroll online at

December 2019
13th Radar Renewal
16th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
17-18 Basic Training Revalidation

Back to Stories Covered

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 © 2019. Articles can be reprinted without prior permission if credit is given to The MM&P WheelhouseWeekly. For subscriptions, address changes or messages to the editor or to MM&P headquarters, e-mail Back issues of The Weekly are posted on