Wheelhouse Weekly – December 17th, 2019

December 18th 2019

Volume 24… Number 50… Dec. 17, 2019


In This Issue:

Coast Guard News:


News for MM&P Members:


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The campaign to enact legislation to provide long-overdue recognition for World War II merchant mariners has cleared a major hurdle: 68 senators have now joined sponsor Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) in cosponsoring the bill.

The legislation, which needed 67 cosponsors to be eligible for action in the Senate, would award a Congressional gold medal to the class of United States World War II merchant mariners in recognition of their dedicated, vital service to our country.

Identical legislation, introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman John Garamendi (D-Calif.), was passed unanimously by the full House in September.

MM&P and MIRAID are working with other supporters of the legislation to have the bill voted on in the Senate as soon as possible so that it can be sent to the president for his signature.

America’s merchant mariners are the unsung heroes of World War II.

More than 250,000 merchant seamen served, carrying seven million fighters and tens of millions of tons of essential equipment, ammunition and other supplies.

“We are proud to serve in an industry associated with these courageous men and women,” MM&P, MIRAID, the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department and other supporters of the U.S.-flag fleet wrote earlier this month in a letter to Congress.

World War II merchant mariners were promised benefits equivalent to the GI Bill by President Franklin Roosevelt.

But they waited 43 years–until 1988–and then received only limited benefits.

Today, only about 2,000 World War II merchant mariners remain.

Back to Stories Covered


Civil Service mariners and Navy divers assisted a passenger ship that had run aground in a storm off the coast of Chuuk, Micronesia.

USNS SALVOR, one of only two rescue and salvage vessels in the Military Sealift Command fleet and the only ship of its kind in the Far East, was in Weno Harbor when distress calls went out from a charter vessel on Dec. 1.

The SS THORFINN, a live-aboard dive boat, had run aground on a reef in Chuuk Lagoon between the Fefan and Dublon islands.

Under authorization from Commander Task Force 73, SALVOR, which was riding out the storm pier side, proceeded to render assistance.

When the MSC ship dropped anchor approximately two nautical miles from where the THORFINN lay aground, winds were from the northwest at 35 knots and seas were in excess of six feet.

After SALVOR’s Master Pete Lenardson made the decision to wait until the storm abated before proceeding further, the CIVMAR crew launched the RHIB with five Navy divers and a fleet salvage officer on board.

They found the port-aft portion of THORFINN dug in, with rudders and propeller in the sand and anchors in the water.

There appeared to be no hull penetration or leaking fluids.

After assessing the situation with the fleet salvage officer, the master diver and the rest of SALVOR’s bridge team, Lenardson decided the MSC ship would remain at anchor through the night with a plan to reevaluate conditions in the morning.

The next day, the weather had calmed enough to allow the salvage ship to navigate between the islands of Fefan and Dublon.

The Japanese military maintained bases in the archipelago during World War II, so the waters in the area teem with shipwrecks and downed aircraft; there are also coral reefs, several of which are uncharted.

SALVOR’s RHIB and workboat were dispatched to reassess and survey the grounded vessel.

On board the RHIB were SALVOR’s First Officer Alexander Delevers with a chart, GPS and track lines developed by Navigator Patrick Fagan.

Delevers used the workboat’s fathometer to survey an identified channel for the salvage ship to reach the passenger vessel.

After attempting to pull it free with the workboat, they returned to SALVOR.

Using ship’s charts and real-time fathometer depth readings on the small boats to safely clear a narrow path, SALVOR was able to get within 900 feet of THORFINN, close enough to use a tow line.

Once the line was attached, and with a rising tide, the salvage ship and its CIVMAR crew needed only minimum power ahead to shift the passenger vessel loose.

At this point, the tow line was quickly transferred to the workboat, which was able to safely finish the tow while the bridge team aboard SALVOR—including Third Officer Michael Breaux and ABs Vu Tran and Henry Nguyen–maneuvered back through the same path the salvage vessel had followed in.

With assistance from the CIVMARs aboard the workboat, the four-person crew of SS THORFINN was able to re-anchor just outside Dublon Island.

“It was a great example of what we can accomplish when we work together as a team,” said Captain Robert Williams, commodore of Military Sealift Command Far East.

“Our civilian mariners and Navy divers were ready to respond when needed and worked seamlessly together to safely and professionally execute the rescue.”

The licensed deck officers aboard USNS SALVOR are represented by the MM&P Federal Employees Membership Group.

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A band of pirates Sunday abducted all but one member of the crew of the Marshall Islands-flagged oil/chemical tanker DUKE in the Gulf of Guinea.

The attack occurred as the ship was sailing from Luanda, Angola, to Lomé, Togo.

Officials report that the six pirates who boarded the vessel about 115 nautical miles southeast of Lomé kidnapped 20 Indian seafarers, leaving behind a single crewmember, reportedly a Nigerian national.

It was the largest mass kidnapping of the year in West African waters.

The authorities have concluded that the attackers were operating from a mothership since the attack took place relatively far from the coast.

Earlier this month, pirates kidnapped 19 members of the crew of the Hong Kong-flagged supertanker NAVE CONSTELLATION.

In related news, the manager of the Greek-flagged oil tanker ELKA ARISTOTLE said pirates who attacked the vessel about 10 nautical miles off the port of Lomé on Nov. 4 have released three kidnapped crewmembers.

The freed hostages have returned to their home countries: the Philippines, Georgia and Greece.

A fourth crewmember died in captivity of illness, the company said.

In October, the International Maritime Bureau reported that attacks in the Gulf of Guinea account for more than 80 percent of all crew kidnappings worldwide.

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The Coast Guard last week issued the following update to its Qualified Assessor requirements.

The 2010 amendments to the STCW Convention came into force on Jan. 1, 2017.

These amendments were incorporated into regulation as part of the final rule titled ‘Implementation of the Amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978, and Changes to National Endorsements’ (78 FR 77796).

The rule included provisions that impact seafarers serving on vessels subject to the STCW Convention (vessels operating beyond the boundary line).
This notice concerns the requirements for Qualified Assessor (QA).

Assessments of competence for STCW endorsements must be signed by a Coast Guard approved QA in accordance with 46 CFR 11.301(a)(1)(i) and 12.601(b)(1)(i).

QAs must be approved by the Coast Guard either individually or as part of a Coast Guard-approved or accepted course or training program, as described in Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) 19-14 (Policy on Qualified Assessors).

Current policy allows for the acceptance of STCW assessments performed for and signed by an assessor not approved by the Coast Guard until Dec. 31, 2019.

Such an assessor must meet the professional requirements in 46 CFR 10.405(a)(3) to determine competence for the specific endorsement.

The Coast Guard is aware that as a result of the limited number of approved QAs, there may be a hardship on mariners trying to complete STCW assessments after Dec. 31, 2019.

In consideration of this, the Coast Guard will continue to allow STCW assessments to be signed by an assessor who meets the requirements specified in NVIC 19-14 until Dec. 31, 2021.

These assessments must be submitted to the Coast Guard as part of a complete application no later than June 30, 2022.

Qualified military personnel need not be approved QAs and may continue to sign assessments after Dec. 31, 2021.

Mariners are encouraged to obtain approval as a QA in accordance with 46 CFR 10.405(a).

Additional information on obtaining approval can be found in NVIC 19-14 Enclosure (1).

NVIC 19-14 is posted at

Mariners and others with questions or feedback should contact the Mariner Credentialing Program Policy Division at (202) 372-2357 or

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The Coast Guard said last week it had returned to service all but five of the 23 New York Waterway ferries it had sidelined before Thanksgiving because of concerns over their ability to operate safely.

Inspectors determined that some of the 23 had damage or discrepancies including: inoperable fixed fire extinguishing systems and bilge alarms; expired lifesaving equipment; and structural damage affecting watertight integrity.

To ensure continued compliance with safety requirements going forward, the Coast Guard said it plans to increase the number and frequency of inspections of the New York Waterway fleet.

“The safety of the passengers that ride these ferries is our top priority,” said Captain Jason Tama, commander of Coast Guard Sector New York, which oversees approximately 200 ferries operating within the greater New York City area.

“We expect passenger vessels to be in compliance with safety standards and ready for inspection at all times.”

“We know many people rely on these ferries for their daily commutes, and we will continue to work with New York Waterway to ensure sustained compliance with Coast Guard safety requirements.”

Tama said that as part of the effort, Coast Guard Sector New York will increase both scheduled and unannounced inspections of the fleet going forward.

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Kevin Coulombe, who recently retired from a career sailing as master with MM&P, says volunteering for the US Coast Guard Auxiliary offers multiple benefits, including an excellent opportunity to remain active on the waterfront.

“I have been a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary for about 10 years,” he says.

“I originally joined as a way to contribute in my community. But I soon learned that membership served my continuous professional development at sea.”

“The Auxiliary–or ‘AUX,’ as we call it–afforded me an excellent informed perspective of the US Coast Guard that made me very comfortable working with the Coast Guard professionally,” he says.

Membership also provides “unparalleled training opportunities in leadership, small boat seamanship, personal protection equipment maintenance and management, boat patrol risk management, and team coordination training.”

“All training and equipment is provided free of charge,” he says, “and all the training is highly applicable to the professional mariner.”

Annual membership dues are $64.

“I highly recommend that Union sisters and brothers check out the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary,” Coulombe says.

For more information, go to:

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Join us to ring in the season at the MM&P Houston Hall on Friday, Dec. 20, 1300-1545 @ Perry’s Steakhouse and Grill, 700 Baybrook Mall Drive, Suite H110, Friendswood, TX 77546.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 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) – 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) – 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: 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): 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: 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: 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

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

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

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) – 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): 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) – 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): 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

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For registration, contact our admissions department: 206.441.2880 or

Please also see our schedule and enroll online at

December 2019
17-18 Basic Training Revalidation

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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 © 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