Wheelhouse Weekly – December 18, 2012

December 18th 2012


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

Volume 16 . . . Number 51. . . Dec. 18, 2012


Did you miss a week? Back editions of the Wheelhouse Weekly are available in the 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 Monday, Dec. 24, Tuesday, Dec. 25 and Tuesday, Jan. 1. In addition, MM&P port offices will be closed on Monday, Dec. 31. Happy holidays to all and best wishes for the New Year.


The House of Representatives and the Senate have passed and sent to the President the fiscal year 2013 Coast Guard authorizations legislation (HR 2838). The legislation includes the following provisions, which are strongly supported by MM&P:

  • Jones Act: Prior to issuing a waiver, the Maritime Administrator will be required to identify the actions that can be taken to enable American vessels to carry the cargo in question and to make the findings and the waiver requests public.
  • Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC): Requires the Department of Homeland Security to reform the process for the issuance and renewal of a TWIC so that an individual does not have to make more than one in-person visit to a TWIC enrollment center.
  • Medical certificates: Allows the Coast Guard to extend for up to one year the medical certificate issued to a licensed or unlicensed merchant mariner if it is determined that such extensions are necessary to help alleviate the backlog in the processing of medical certificate applications or in response to a national emergency or disaster.
  • Medical evaluation program: Requires the Coast Guard to submit to Congress an assessment of its merchant mariner medical evaluation program, focusing on the adequacy of the program for making medical evaluation determinations as well as on alternatives to the existing program.
  • U.S.-flag shipping: Requires the Coast Guard to prepare and submit to Congress an assessment of the factors under the authority of the Coast Guard that impact the ability of U.S.-flag vessels to compete in the foreign trades. The Coast Guard is authorized to consult with vessel owners and maritime labor.
  • Piracy: Authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to direct other government departments and agencies to provide armed security personnel or to reimburse vessel owners for the cost of armed security personnel when U.S.-flag vessels are transporting cargo under the auspices of such department or agency. It further requires the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security to jointly prepare and submit to Congress a report on the actions taken by the United States to protect foreign-flag vessels from acts of piracy and the estimated costs associated with such incidents and actions.


    Maritime labor unions are joining the people of Hawaii and the entire nation in mourning the death and honoring the life of Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, a war hero and champion of the middle class. “For more than five decades, transportation workers could count on Sen. Inouye to defend their jobs and rights,” said Transportation Trades Department President Ed Wytkind in an official statement. “The Senator always advocated for increased investments in our transportation system and jobs, and aggressively led on policy initiatives that make our nation the world leader in the safe and efficient movement of goods and people. His unyielding view that Congress should give voice to everyone—not just the wealthy—will forever define the legacy of this truly remarkable leader. And he did so with a deep sense of humility and kindness. We will always remember and be inspired by the compassion and decency that defined his career in public life.”


    USNS SPEARHEAD, the Navy’s first joint high-speed vessel (JHSV), has been delivered to Military Sealift Command (MSC). SPEARHEAD and the other vessels in the JHSV class are designed for the rapid intra-theater transportation of troops and military equipment. MSC will own and operate SPEARHEAD and the eight other JHSVs that are slated to be built. Members of MM&P’s Federal Employees Membership Group (FEMG) will be among the civil service mariners who operate and navigate the ships.

    SPEARHEAD and the other 338-foot-long aluminum catamarans in the class are designed to be fast, flexible and maneuverable, even in shallow waters, making them ideal for transporting troops and equipment quickly within a theater of operations.

    “Flexibility may be the best attribute of this ship,” says MM&P member Capt. Douglas D. Casavant Jr., SPEARHEAD’s civil service master. “Our 20,000-square-foot mission bay area can be reconfigured to quickly adapt to whatever mission we are tasked with, for instance, carrying containerized portable hospitals to support disaster relief or transporting tanks and troops.”

    The JHSVs are capable of transporting approximately 600 tons of military troops, vehicles, supplies and equipment 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots, and can operate in shallow-draft ports and waterways. The aviation flight deck can support day and night flight operations.

    All the JHSVs will be civilian-crewed. The first four will be crewed by civil service mariners, while the next six are slated to be crewed by civilian mariners working for a private company under contract to MSC.

    SPEARHEAD is participating in operational testing before sailing to its lay berth in Little Creek, Va. The Navy expects the ship to begin conducting missions in the first quarter of fiscal year 2013.


    The “right-to-work” law passed in Michigan earlier this month will lower the living standards of all workers in the state, according to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. The average worker in a “right-to-work” state makes $1,540 less than workers in other states. Fewer people have health insurance and the poverty rate is significantly higher, as is the rate of workplace deaths.
    The law “will undoubtedly please the Koch Brothers and corporate CEOs,” Trumka says, “but it will diminish the voice of every working man and woman in Michigan.” The AFL-CIO president made the remarks in an official statement and in an OpEd that was posted online in USA Today last week.

    The Republican-controlled Michigan state legislature approved the law earlier this month, as thousands of workers and their supporters protested inside and outside the state capitol building in Lansing. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder signed the measure into law shortly thereafter. Like similar legislation on the books in 23 other states, the Michigan law allows employees to opt out of financially supporting a workplace union while profiting from the same wages and benefits as dues-paying union members.

    “Some people would have us believe that the answer to the weak economy is to continue to downgrade jobs, and to make college, retirement security and home ownership less affordable,” Trumka said. “Instead of asking how working people can do better, the critics say middle-class workers with good union jobs don’t deserve their hard-earned benefits.”

    Trumka said attacks on unions such as “right-to-work” laws “grease the downward slide” of working conditions in America. He vowed that unions would work harder to promote policies that “put America back on track with good jobs and shared prosperity.”


    Republican Congressman Randy Forbes (Va.) has been chosen to serve as chairman of the House Seapower Subcommittee of the Armed Services Committee in the 113th Congress. The subcommittee has jurisdiction over the national security programs and policies affecting the U.S.-flag merchant marine, including the Maritime Security Program (MSP). Forbes has been a strong proponent of the MSP and our industry.


    The Department of Transportation (DOT) has issued a notice about the initiatives passed by some states in the last election to permit use of marijuana. “We want to make it perfectly clear that the state initiatives will have no bearing on the Department of Transportation’s regulated drug testing program,” the agency said in a statement. “49 CFR Part 40 does not authorize the use of Schedule I drugs, including marijuana, for any reason,” the agency said, even if recommended by a physician in one of the states that permits use of marijuana for medical purposes.


    The MM&P General Executive Board is seeking resumes from members interested in working as Port Agent in the Port of Oakland. If you wish to apply, please send your resume to the Offshore Division Pacific Vice President by Jan. 25. The resume should include work experience under MM&P contracts, labor relations experience and higher education or labor training degrees/certificates. Remuneration and benefits will be based on qualifications and experience, and shall be in accordance with the Offshore Division Work Rules.


    The MM&P General Executive Board (GEB) has scheduled the following meetings for 2013: March 19-20; June 25-26; September 17-18; and December 10-11. All meetings will take place at MM&P Headquarters in Linthicum Heights, Md.


    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 2012 no later than Thursday, Dec. 27, at 1:00 p.m. EST. All requests for 2012 Vacation and PRO payments received after this date and time will be held until Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, for processing and payment, and will therefore be taxable in 2013. If you have any questions, contact Ken Ryan at 410-850-8617.


    The United Nations International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea has ordered authorities in Ghana to release an Argentine Navy training ship that had been impounded in the port of Tema since October. The case stems from Argentina’s default on part of its external debt in 2002. NML Capital, a U.S. hedge fund, says the country still owes it over $200 million and has been pursuing the country’s assets, including its ships, in international courts. About 300 crewmembers and naval cadets were repatriated from the vessel in the fall, leaving a skeleton crew on board. The UN court ordered release of the ship, the ARA LIBERTAD, after ruling that it had immunity from the claims because it is a military vessel.


    Between now and the end of March 2013, the following courses are scheduled at MITAGS. (Please keep in mind, however, that the schedule may be subject to change.)

    For class availability or information on courses and programs, contact MITAGS Admissions Coordinator Kelly Michielli toll free at 866-656-5568 or e-mail her at

    Try our on-line calendar to register for class: Click Here

    Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 1/22/2013, 3/26/2013

    AZIPOD (2-DAY) for Pilots: 3/20/2013

    BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 1/14/2013, 3/18/2013

    BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 1/21/2013, 2/7/2013, 3/7/2013

    BST – Basic Safety Training: 1/21/13

    [CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

    CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 1/21/2013

    CMM-ADVNAV – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): 1/7/2013, 3/18/2013

    CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 2/18/2013

    CMM-CHS – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 2/25/2013

    CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 3/11/13

    CMM-SHMGT – Ship Management (2 weeks): 2/4/13

    CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 1/14/2013, 1/28/2013, 2/18/2013, 3/4/2013

    CMM-SHS-ADV-I I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 1/21/2013, 2/4/2013, 2/25/2013, 3/11/2013

    CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 1/28/2013

    DDE: Designated Duty Engineer: 1/28/2013

    ENVIRO-Regs Permit – Environmental Regulations Permit: 3/5/2013

    FSM – Fatigue, Sleep and Medications: 3/7/13

    FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 1/21/13

    HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 2/11/13

    LAP – License Advancement Program for Great Lakes: 1/28/2013

    LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 3/6/2013

    MCL – Management, Communications and Leadership, 3/25/2013

    MEDIA RSP – Media Response Workshop: 3/8/2013

    MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 1/7/13, 2/18/13, 3/18/13

    MED-PIC -R– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 1/28/2013

    MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 1/7/2013, 2/18/2013, 3/18/2013

    MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 1/12/2013, 1/26/2013, 2/23/2013, 3/23/2013

    MSC -SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 3/11/13

    MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 3/11/13

    MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 3/15/13

    ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 1/9/2013, 1/23/2013, 2/6/2013, 2/20/2013, 3/6/2013, 3/20/2013,

    ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 1/21/2013, 3/25/2013

    ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal: 1/14/13

    SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 1/28/13, 3/25/13

    SEC-VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 3/4/2013

    SHS-ESH-BRMP3 – Emergency Shiphandling and Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 3/4/13

    SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling: 2/11/13

    TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: 2/25/13

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

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


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

    January 2013
    4th Radar Renewal
    7-11 ECDIS
    7-18 GMDSS
    7-25 Terrestrial and Coastal Navigation
    14-18 Medical Care Provider
    23-25 Vessel Security Officer
    28th Med DOT
    28-1 Radar Observer Unlimited
    February 2013
    4th Flashing Light Exam
    11th Radar Renewal
    11-15 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
    11-15 Bridge Resource Management
    18-22 ECDIS
    20-21 Environmental Regulations in the Maritime Industry / Vessel General Permit
    25-1 Medical Care Provider
    25-8 Medical Person-In-Charge
    25-8 GMDSS

    March 2013
    4-15 Celestial Navigation
    11th Radar Renewal
    12-15 ARPA
    18-19 ECDIS for Pilots
    18-22 Able Bodied Seaman
    20th Fatigue, Sleep, and Medications
    21-22 Azipod for Pilots
    25-29 ECDIS
    27-29 Vessel Security Officer

    MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 12-04-2012 at 11:30 a.m. EST

    D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
    13,311.79 3,042.04 1,440.81

    Mutual Funds (Live)

    Click a mutual fund for more information.
    Click the right or left arrow on the right side of the ticker to browse the mutual funds.

    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.

    © 2012, 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