Wheelhouse Weekly – December 31, 2013

December 31st 2013


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

Volume 17 . . . Number 53 . . . Dec. 31, 2013


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


MM&P wishes all readers of the Wheelhouse Weekly, on land and at sea, and their friends and families, a happy holiday season.


All MM&P port offices, the MM&P Federal Credit Union, the MM&P Plan Office and MM&P Headquarters will be closed on Wednesday, Jan. 1. In addition, MM&P port offices will be closed on Tuesday, Dec. 31.


The Coast Guard has published a 218-page final rule implementing the 2010 amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) 1978.  The rule makes major changes in licensing and training requirements. Details regarding implementation will be contained in USCG policy letters that will address specific categories of mariners. The details are expected to be made public in the near future. The final rule enters into effect on March 24, 2014, except for certain provisions which take effect on Jan. 23. We will keep readers updated with articles in The Wheelhouse Weekly and on To read the rule in its entirety, go to


The National Maritime Center (NMC) has announced that it is experiencing “elevated processing times and inventories” for merchant mariner credential applications and other services. The agency says that the increases can be partly attributed to the government furloughs and the surge of applicants seeking security endorsements required by Jan. 1. During the first six months of 2013, the NMC said it was providing an average of 500 security endorsements per month. Since September, it said it has been called on to handle an average of nearly 3,000 security endorsement applications each month. The agency said mariners “may note an increase in the time it takes to process applications and to respond to customer inquiries in the Call Center.” It also said that the system-generated e-mails that mariners receive indicating potential production and delivery dates “are not accurate at this time.”


The MANITOWOC, a 630-foot freighter operated by Grand River Navigation, made the front page of the Manistee News Advocate last week when it ran into thick ice in the Manistee River channel and Manistee Lake. MM&P Captain Tom Bell was in command of the freighter, which was carrying a load of coal to a power plant. The trip normally takes an hour but ended up lasting four times as long on Dec. 20 because of conditions along the route. “It took plenty of thrust from the propellers for the MANITOWOC to break its way into the Manistee Harbor on Thursday because of all the ice,” reported journalist Ken Grabowski. “The freighter had to back up four different times to get a running start at the ice in clearing the Maple Street Bridge,” he wrote. The MANITOWOC, which sails out of the port of Cleveland, Ohio, has a capacity of 19,650 tons.


A helicopter will be used to evacuate 52 people from the research ship AKADEMIK SHOKALSKIY, according to an official statement released on Dec. 30 by the Russian Foreign Ministry. In recent days, two icebreakers had been unable to clear a path to the ship, which is carrying scientists, graduate students, journalists and tourists on an expedition to evaluate the impact of climate change. Four crewmembers will be evacuated and the rest of the 22-member crew will remain on board to maintain the ship, according to Russia’s Foreign Ministry. An Australian icebreaker and a Chinese icebreaker had earlier failed to reach the ship, which became stuck Dec. 24 after winds pushed pack ice up against it near Cape de la Motte, about 1,700 miles south of Hobart, Tasmania.


A standoff between striking oil workers and the KazMunaiGas Corporation in the western Kazakhstan town of Zhanaozen led to a violent confrontation in December 2011. When the government sent tanks and military forces to break the strike, 17 people were killed and 500 injured. Thirty-seven workers were put on trial in the aftermath of the tragedy. Now, two years later, seven of the workers are still in prison. Trade unions in Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Georgia are waging a campaign to obtain their freedom. Please show your support by signing the petition posted at


The Trustees received a report from Fund Co-Counsel concerning the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor, and recent federal government guidance, on the Plans’ definition of “Spouse” for purposes of “surviving spouse” options under the Pension Plan, APP and IRAP and health coverage under the Health & Benefit Plan. After much discussion, the Trustees unanimously agreed as follows: (a) effective September 16, 2013, to treat the spouse of a married same-sex couple as a spouse for all standard form of payments, benefit options and spousal consent purposes under the Pension Plan, APP and IRAP; and (b) to allow a spouse of a married same-sex couple to enroll for health coverage under the Health & Benefit Plan during the “open enrollment” period between November 1 and December 31, 2013, for coverage effective January 1, 2014. The validity of the marriage will be determined based on the state in which the marriage took place.


If you are interested in attending the Offshore Familiarization Course, please contact your MM&P Vice President to request that one be scheduled in your area. An Offshore Orientation Course is now scheduled for Los Angeles/Long Beach on March 12-13 and Oct. 8-9. If you are interested in participating in the course, please contact the Los Angeles/Long Beach Hall: 310-834-7201 or 310-834-6667 (fax). There is no sea-time requirement to take the course. All Offshore applicants, potential transferees from other membership groups and other interested Offshore members are encouraged to take the course as soon as possible.


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


MITAGS needs your current address! Have you moved recently? Did you remember to send MITAGS your new address for communications regarding courses? Please send your current contact information to or to the fax number below.

New dedicated fax line for Admissions only: 1-443-568-1928. For all other MITAGS business, please continue to use: 410-859-5181.

For class availability or information on MITAGS courses and programs, contact Kelly Michielli, Admissions Coordinator, toll-free at 866-656-5568 or by e-mail: Why not try our on-line calendar to register for class:

Please note the special addition to our on-campus schedule of MSC classes marked with an asterisk (*), which are not normally scheduled to be held at MITAGS.

AB – 4/14/14

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: 5/6/14

ARPA – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 1/21/14, 4/1/14

AZIPOD 2-Day – 2/6/14, 5/7/14

BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 1/27/14, 3/24/14, 6/2/14

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

BST – Basic Safety Training: 1/20/14, 2/10/14, 4/7/14, 6/9/14

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

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

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

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

CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 2/3/14, 4/28/14, 6/23/14

CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 3/10/14, 6/16/14

CMM-CHS – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 2/10/14, 5/5/14

CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 1/27/14, 2/24/14, 5/5/14, 6/2/14

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

CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants:  1/20/14, 3/31/14

CMM-SHMGT – Ship Management (2 weeks): 1/6/14, 4/7/14

CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 2/17/14, 3/10/14, 4/7/14, 4/28/14, 6/9/14

CMM-SHS-ADV-I I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 2/24/14, 3/17/14, 4/14/14, 5/5/14, 6/16/14

CMM-VPEN – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 3/3/14, 6/9/14

CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 1/27/14, 4/21/14

CNAV – Celestial Navigation: 4/28/14

CONSTB – 1/27/14

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop:

DDE – Great Lakes: 1/27/14

DPA – 1/6/14

ECDIS-Pilots – 3/5/14

ENVIRO-Regs Permit – Environmental Regulations Permit:

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 1/20/14, 2/10/14, 4/7/14, 6/9/14

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

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

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

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 6/23/14

LAP- 3/10/14

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

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

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

LNG-TPIC – 4/7/14

MCL – Management, Communications and Leadership

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

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

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 1/6/14, 2/17/14, 3/17/14, 4/21/14, 6/16/14

MED-PIC -R– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 1/27/14, 5/12/14

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 1/6/14, 2/17/14, 3/17/14, 4/21/14, 6/16/14

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 1/11/14, 1/25/14, 2/22/14, 3/22/14, 4/26/14, 6/21/14

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

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

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



*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force –

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 1/13/14, 2/3/14, 4/7/14

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 1/20/14, 3/31/14

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 1/8/14, 1/22/14, 2/5/14, 2/19/14, 3/6/14, 3/20/14, 4/2/14, 4/16/14, 4/30/14, 5/7/14, 5/14/14, 6/5/14, 6/18/14

SAR – Search & Rescue

SEC-MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: 12/10/13 PM, 5/5/14 (PM)

SEC-VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: 12/11/13, 5/6/14

SEC-VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 12/12/13, 2/4/14, 5/7/14

SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling:  2/10/14, 6/16/14

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

SHS-ESH-BRMP3 – Emergency Shiphandling and Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 3/5/14, 4/29/14

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

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

TTT – Train the Trainer: 4/7/14

WKP-BAS – Basic Watchkeeping: 3/3/14

WX-BAS – Basic Meteorology: 2/24/13

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

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


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

January 2014

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

February 2014

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

March 2014

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

April 2014

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

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

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