Wheelhouse Weekly – December 30, 2004

December 30th 2004


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

Volume 8 . . . . . Number 53 . . . . December 30, 2004





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



As this edition of the Wheelhouse Weekly is being distributed, contract negotiations continue between MM&P and ASM. The contract has been re-opened to establish terms and conditions for ASM-managed vessels in the new Maritime Security Program. To date, there have been five meetings between the parties in San Francisco and the Company’s headquarters in Walnut Creek, CA.

The Union negotiating Committee includes rank and file members Mark Remijan, John Dolan and Brian Spillane. Bill Mahoney was also part of the committee until his return to sea. Pacific-Ports VP Don Marcus and Pacific Ports Agent Dave Boatner have been spearheading the effort for the Union, which in one form or another has been pressed by ASM for the last year.

Pacific Ports VP Don Marcus reports that progress has been made and that both sides are close to an agreement that should protect our terms and conditions of employment and bring job security to our membership during the term of the next MSP program. It remains necessary for ASM to extend its management contract with APL/NOL beyond September 30, 2005.



The Kings Point Club of Washington DC will host an Inaugural Gala on Wednesday, Jan.19 from 1830 to 2230 for the midshipmen marching in the 55th Presidential Inauguration Parade. The Gala will be held at the conference facilities of MITAGS and is open to anyone who would like to attend. The event will be financed through sponsorships/donations made from industry, alumni, parents, and friends of the US Merchant Marine Academy.

All sponsorship donations should be made payable to the “USMMA Alumni Foundation/Inaugural Gala” and are tax deductible. Individual tickets are priced at $50 each and are not tax deductible. Dress is black tie optional. Deadline for ticket purchase is Jan.7. For sponsorships and individual tickets, contact Frank August at 703-647-4777 or

Rooms are available at MITAGS during the event for $89 per night that includes breakfast the following morning. The MITAGS reservation number is 1-866-900-3517 or 410-859-5700 ext 0. For more info, contact the gala chairman Chris Thayer at 202-685-5549; Email: or chapter president Lee Kincaid at 202-641-6765; Email:



The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has formally adopted regulations requiring cargo vessels traveling in international waters to carry a voyage data recorder (VDR). The new VDR requirement will be incorporated into the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention that governs international commercial shipping.

Cargo ships greater than 20,000 gross tons are now required to have a VDR installed on their first scheduled dry-docking after July 1, 2006 but not later than July 1, 2009. Cargo ships of 3,000 gross tons and upwards but less than 20,000 gross tons are now required to have a VDR installed at their first scheduled dry docking after July 1, 2007 but not later than July 1, 2010.



The Government Accountability Office has issued a report (GAO-05-106) stating that better planning is needed to develop and operate the maritime worker ID card program. The Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 (MTSA) requires the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to issue a worker ID card that uses biometrics to control access to secure areas in ports and on ships.

The program is delayed, in large part because officials had difficulty obtaining timely approval to proceed with the prototype test. Extra time was also required to identify data to be collected for a cost-benefit analysis. In addition, more work was required to assess card technologies. The agency still lacks an approved comprehensive project plan and has yet to identify eligibility requirements for the ID card.

In order to ensure that TSA meets the challenges it is facing in developing the program, GAO recommended that the Secretary of Homeland Security direct the TSA Administrator to employ industry best practices for project planning and management, by taking the following actions:

  • Develop a comprehensive project plan for managing the remaining life of the project
  • Develop specific, detailed plans for risk mitigation and cost-benefit and alternatives analyses.
  • Text of the 27-page GAO report may be viewed at:



A report issued last week the well-respected Rand Corporation calls for more government action to protect US ports and ships from terrorists, as well as better planning to rapidly restore services in any area that is attacked. The study reports that part of the challenge is developing new screening methods and technology.

Defense planners and counter-terrorism experts have long worried about the possible use of shipping containers to smuggle bombs or other weapons into the US. They also worry about the detonation of a bomb on a ship, which could cripple a port facility.

Critics have noted that only around five percent of containers coming into US ports are inspected. The study says inspectors are trying to keep a balance between security and the efficient operation of the $500 billion-a-year containerized shipping industry. It says inspectors have to rely on imperfect X-ray or gamma-ray scanning technology to check suspect containers.

The Rand report says that what is urgently needed is a set of procedures, using newer technology, that can keep security costs low, while building a greater deterrent against terrorists.

The US government has addressed the threat of terrorism to ports and shipping through a number of programs, including The Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, also known as CTPAT, and through cooperative efforts with other nations under the US Maritime Transportation Security Act. US authorities say they are constantly searching for better technology and measures to protect both commerce and people from terrorism.




This final rule revises 33 CFR, Part 151, Subpart D, by requiring a mandatory BWM (Ballast Water Management) Program for all vessels that are equipped with ballast water tanks bound for ports or places within the US and/or entering US waters. The mandatory BWM requirements for vessels entering the Great Lakes and Hudson River from outside the US Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) remain unchanged. The mandatory program requires that all vessels equipped with ballast water tanks entering US waters after operating beyond the EEZ employ at least one of the following BWM practices:

  • Prior to discharging ballast water in US waters, they must perform a complete ballast water exchange in an area no less than two hundred nautical miles from any shore.
  • Retain ballast water onboard the vessel.
  • Prior to the vessel entering US waters, they must use an alternative, environmentally sound method of BWM that has been approved by the USCG.
  • Although the national mandatory BWM Program provides vessels with the option of using one of three BWM practices, ballast water exchange is likely to be the most used practice because some vessels engaged in trade are unlikely to hold their ballast water after arriving in US waters from outside the EEZ, as this would mean they would not be able to conduct cargo operations.

    Alternative environmentally sound methods of BWM are still being developed and will likely be of limited availability in the near future. Therefore, under this rule, the BWM practice of conducting mid-ocean ballast water exchanges prior to discharging ballast water in US waters will be the practice used by the majority of vessels at this time.

    For additional info, contact Richard Wells, Assistant Chief of the USCG New Orleans Regional Examination Center, at 504-240-7300×232, or via fax at 504-240-7292.

    NVIC 04-07 and G-MOC Policy Letter 04-06 also provide additional guidance for the industry. For complete info on the BWM regulations, please visit the USCG website at


    The USCG has announced the availability of the Final Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) that evaluated the potential environmental impacts resulting from the implementation of the Shipboard Technology Evaluation Program (STEP).

    The purpose of STEP is to facilitate the development of effective ballast water treatment technologies to protect US waters against the unintentional introduction of nonindigenous species via ballast water discharges. STEP will create more options for vessels seeking alternatives to ballast water exchange as they manage their ballast water. This docket is available on the Internet at For more info, contact Bivan Patnaik, Project Manager at 202-267-1744 or Email:


    A shipyard in Baltimore Harbor will be paid $2.3 million to dismantle two aging ships from the Department of Transportation’s James River Reserve Fleet in Virginia under a pair of contracts expected to create new jobs for local residents, according to an announcement made by Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta.

    North American Ship Recycling, a subsidiary of Barletta Willis LLC, will get two retired ships, the LAUDERDALE and the MORMACMOON. The company is expected to hire 50 people, nearly doubling the existing payroll at the company’s Sparrows Point Shipyard facility.

    The contracts, Mineta said, “set the stage for a revival of a vital part of Maryland’s transportation economy. It is exciting to see the opportunity these ships create for a new generation of workers hired to build a new future for the Sparrows Point Shipyard.” The project will be managed by the Maritime Administration and could lead to more work for the company if the first two jobs go as planned.

    The North American Ship Recycling contracts are the latest awarded over the last few months to US companies eager to take on the job of scrapping the outdated fleet. Marine Metals of Brownsville, TX was awarded contracts for two ships and ESCO Marine of Brownsville, TX was awarded contracts for three ships earlier this year.

    Mineta noted the facilities at the Baltimore shipyard provide for scrapping of the ships in dry docks, ensuring that the environment will be protected while the work is being completed. The majority of the steel from the ships is expected to be recycled at a local business located in Sparrows Point, he said.

    We expect that parts of these ships may find their way back into our transportation economy, perhaps as a girder for a bridge or a plate to cover a hole in the road.


    MM&P members can find a wealth of information at the Moore-McCormack website located on the internet at The site is dedicated to the officers, crew, and staff who served, and passengers who sailed on the ships that once flew the Moore-McCormack flag.

    Photos and artifacts are associated with their appropriate ship sections but are not necessarily in date order. There are many photos and a couple of videos currently on the site that are best viewed with high-speed Internet access.

    The site is for historical purposes only and has been designed so that buffs can share their Moore-McCormack memories since the company dissolved in 1982.


    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.

    Time is running out. Cutoff for ticket purchases is Dec.31, 2004. Drawing for the prize will take place at noon on Jan.7, 2005 at MITAGS.

      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.



    Now is a great time to start thinking about the holidays and 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.

    From November 12004 through January 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.


    MM&P FCU members can reduce the interest rate they pay on any new loan even further by becoming a preferred borrower. What is a preferred borrower? That’s a member who deposits at least 10 percent of the original loan amount into their MM&P FCU savings account and keeps those funds on deposit until the loan is paid in full. By doing this you save twice – first, your deposit works for you by earning our regular dividend savings rate, and second, you save money by reducing the interest rate on your loan by 0.75 percent.

    Contact the MM&P FCU for full details on all loan programs by email to or call 1-800-382-7777 toll-free.

    Loan percentage rates for all loans are APR, or Annual Percentage Rate. Savings percentage rates are APY, or Annual Percentage Yield. Loan and Dividend rates are subject to change without notice. Loan approval is subject to income requirements and credit review.




    COMP-OPSYS (Computer Operating Systems), designed for members with little or no computer experience, will be offered January 17-21, 2005. Don’t miss the opportunity to attend this seldom-offered course.


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

    • ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 1/03, 2/07, 3/14
    • AZIPOD – Azipod Propulsion System: 1/03
    • BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 1/24, 2/14
    • BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 2/07
    • BST – Basic Safety Training: 1/31, 3/07

      CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses

    • CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 2/14
    • CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 1/31
    • CMM-CHS I- Cargo Handling & Stowage (week 1): 3/28
    • CMM-CHS II- Cargo Handling & Stowage (week 2): 3/21
    • CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display and Info Systems: 1/10, 2/07, 3/21
    • CMM-MMP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 1/17, 2/21
    • CMM-SHMGT-I – Ship Management (week 1): 1/10, 2/07, 2/28
    • CMM-SHMGT-II – Ship Management (week 2): 3/07
    • CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 1/24, 1/31, 2/14, 3/14, 3/28
    • CMM-SHS-ADV-II- Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 1/31, 3/21
    • CMM-VPEN – Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 1/24
    • CMM-WKP- Advanced Watchkeeping: 1/03, 3/14
    • COMP-OPSYS – Computer Operating Systems: 1/17
    • COMP-NET – Computer Networking: 2/28
    • COMP-DB – Computer Databases: 3/28
    • CONT-PLNG – Contingency Planning: 1/21, 2/11, 3/04, 3/16
    • CSE-AAES – Confined Space Entry, Atmospheric Analysis of Enclosed Spaces (2 day): 3/14
    • FF-BADV – (Combined) Basic and Advanced Firefighting: 1/26, 3/07
    • GMDSS – Global Marine Distress & Safety System: 1/24
    • HAZ – Hazardous Materials [5-day]: 1/03, 3/28
    • LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 2/08
    • MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 1/20, 2/10, 3/03, 3/17
    • MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 1/15, 2/12, 3/19
    • MED-PIC – Medical Person-In-Charge: 1/10, 2/07, 3/14
    • MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 1/10, 2/07, 3/14

      MSC – Military Sealift Command

    • MSC-CBRD-1 – Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Training Orientation: 1/29, 2/06, 3/03
    • MSC-DC – Damage Control: 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, 3/28
    • ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 1/03, 2/07, 3/14
    • SEC-FSO – Facility Security Officer: 2/08
    • SEC-OFF-PCS – Security Officer: Port, Company, Ship: 1/17, 2/28
    • SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 1/10
    • SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling (5-day): 1/17, 3/28
    • TPIC – Tankerman Person-In-Charge: 1/24
    • TRAC-TUG – Water Tractor and Azimuth Stern Drive Tugs: 1/06


    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.


    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.
    • 12/20-24: Radar Observer Unlimited
    • 12/20-23: Ship/Company Security Officer

    January 2005

    • 1/03-21: Terrestrial and Coastal Navigation/Compasses
    • 1/03-07: ARPA
    • 1/04: Radar Recertification
    • 1/10-11: Search and Rescue
    • 1/10-12: Ship/Company Security Officer
    • 1/10-14: ECDIS
    • 1/10-14: Basic Safety Training
    • 1/12-14: Emergency Procedures
    • 1/13-14: Basic Firefighting
    • 1/17-21: Able Bodied Seaman
    • 1/18-19: MAXIMO
    • 1/17-28: GMDSS
    • 1/24-25: Ratings Forming Part of a Navigational Watch
    • 1/24-28: Radar Observer Unlimited
    • 1/24-27: Personal Survival Craft/Lifeboatman
    • 1/24-27: Fast Rescue Boat
    • 1/24/28: Tankerman Person-In-Charge
    • 1/24-28: Medical Care Provider
    • 1/24-2/04: Medical Person-In-Charge
    • 1/24-2/04: GMDSS
    • 1/24-28: Emergency Shiphandling
    • 1/31: Radar Recertification
    • 1/31-2/04: ARPA
    • 1/31-2/04: Electronic Navigation
    • 1/31-2/11: Advanced Shiphandling

    February 2005

    • 2/07-11: Electronic Navigation
    • 2/07-18: GMDSS
    • 2/14: Radar Recertification
    • 2/14-18: Basic Safety Training
    • 2/14-18: ARPA
    • 2/14-18: Emergency Shiphandling
    • 2/14-25: Celestial Navigation
    • 2/14-25: 100 Ton Course
    • 2/21-25: Personal Survival Craft/Lifeboatman
    • 2/21-25: Basic Shiphandling
    • 2/21-24: Fast Rescue Boat
    • 2/28-3/4: Basic and Advanced Firefighting
    • 2/28-3/4: Basic Meteorology
    • 2/28-3/2: Ship/Company Security Officer
    • 2/28-3/11: GMDSS

    March 2005

    • 3/07-11: Construction and Stability
    • 3/14-18: Basic Safety Training
    • 3/17-18: Basic Firefighting
    • 3/14-18: Cargo Handling and Stowage
    • 3/14-18: ARPA
    • 3/14-18: Tankerman Person-In-Charge
    • 3/21-25: Able Bodied Seaman
    • 3/21-24: Personal Survival Craft/Lifeboatman
    • 3/21-25: Medical Care Provider
    • 3/21-4/01: Medical Person-In-Charge
    • 3/21-25: ECDIS
    • 3/21-24: Fast Rescue Boat
    • 3/28-29: Ratings Forming Part of a Navigational Watch
    • 3/28-29: Search and Rescue
    • 3/30-4/01: Emergency Procedures
    • 3/28-4/01: ARPA
    • 3/28: Radar Recertification
    • 3/28-4/01: Emergency 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



     D O W    N A S D A Q
     10,829.19 +20.39 for the week  2,177.00  +21.69 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)

    ~ 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 Richard Plant, MM&P’s Director of Special Projects. Send resumes in an email or as a Word file attachment to him at:, by fax to 410-850-0973 or by mail to:

    Richard Plant, Director of Special Projects

    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.




    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.


    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.



    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



    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”.

    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.