Wheelhouse Weekly – Feb. 9, 2016

February 10th 2016

Volume 21 . . . Number 6. . . Feb. 9, 2016


Breaking News:

Also in this issue:



Coast Guard News:

News for MM&P Members:


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The coalition of unions, MM&P along with the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA), the Sailors’ Union of the Pacific (SUP) and the Marine Firemen’s Union (MFOW), inaccurately dubbed “West Coast Unions” by American President Lines Ltd., have prevailed in their litigation to recover their crewing rights aboard the MV APL GUAM.

In a decision released today, Arbitrator Margaret R. Brogan ruled that APL had “violated the Unions’ collective bargaining agreements when it refused to crew the APL GUAM with employees represented by the Unions.” Determining that the MV APL GUAM was a “replacement vessel” for the MV APL CYPRINE, Arbitrator Brogan stated: “[i]n the end the Company may have the right to decide which subsidiary operates the APL GUAM, but it does not have the right to refuse to award this specific crewing work to the West Coast Unions.”

The decision vindicates the rights of MM&P, MEBA, SUP and MFOW members who have served aboard APL vessels since the inception of the Maritime Security Program (MSP) almost twenty years ago. The unions and their members presented a united front to APL.

MM&P Legal Counsel Gabriel Terrasa saluted the collective efforts of the legal team and the union-side witnesses who testified at the hearing, including SUP President Gunnar Lundeberg, MM&P Pacific Ports Vice President David Boatner and MEBA Contracts Officer Mark Gallagher.

“The contract work and testimony of Captain Boatner were instrumental in making MM&P’s case,” Terrasa said. “He was meticulous in his contract drafting work as well as in upholding our contract rights.”

Under the terms of the decision, the parties have thirty days in which to determine an appropriate remedy for APL’s contract breaches. Arbitrator Brogan will retain jurisdiction over the case to fashion an appropriate remedy herself if an agreement is not reached.

“The importance of this decision will reverberate throughout maritime labor,” said MM&P President Don Marcus. “Great thanks are owed to Gab Terrasa and the rest of the union legal team, to Dave Boatner and those who presented evidence at the hearing, and of course to our members aboard ship who kept their faith in their unions and to those ashore who are ready to regain their rightful billets at sea. Lastly, great appreciation is owed to the Arbitrator, Margaret Brogan, who was able to navigate through the thick fog of this complicated case and do justice to the mariners and their families whose jobs aboard APL MSP vessels are rightfully theirs.”

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MM&P and new employer Chesapeake Crewing have signed labor contracts for two new ships, a product tanker and a general cargo vessel, which have just been reflagged into the U.S. fleet. The vessels are the SLNC GOODWILL, a 2009 built 50,000-ton product tanker under a two-year charter with Military Sealift Command and SLNC CORSICA, a general cargo vessel built in 2001 that has a deadweight of 6,450 tons.

The GOODWILL will transport fuel between Japan, Korea, Guam and Diego Garcia. The CORSICA will provide commercial freight services in the tramp trade. The contracts include participation in all the MM&P plans, including the Adjustable Pension Plan.

“We are extremely happy to make this announcement,” said MM&P Secretary-Treasurer Steve Werse. “The relationship between Chesapeake Crewing and MM&P is a partnership in every sense of the word: well-balanced, mutually beneficial and backed by the full commitment of management. It’s a win-win for the MM&P members who will man the vessels and a milestone for the U.S.-flag industry.”

MM&P has the contract rights to both licensed deck officers and licensed engineering officers but is working in cooperation with the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA) on engineering pass- through billets.

Trinity Ship Management will be acting as agents for Chesapeake Crewing. Patriot Contract Services is supplying technical management to the liquid cargo vessel.

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The Baltic Dry Index (BDI), a daily average of prices to ship raw materials, continues to fall. It hit 293 on Feb. 8, a record low.

Last week was the first time since the BDI’s inception in 1985 that it dropped below 300 points. Key factors in the slump include concerns over the global economy, the drop in China’s imports and an oversupply of vessels. Last year, China’s economy expanded at its slowest pace in 25 years.

Market observers say it is unlikely that the global economy, shipping rates or the index will show improvement in the first half of 2016.

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was formally signed Feb. 4 by trade ministers from the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations. Besides the United States, the other TPP nations are: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

The future of the pact—broadly opposed by trade unions, environmentalists and consumer groups–is uncertain: Congress last year approved “fast track” authority for President Obama, meaning that legislators can only vote it up or down, without adding amendments, but resistance among many legislators and members of the public remains strong.

At the signing ceremony in Auckland, New Zealand, trade ministers hailed the TPP as a landmark achievement that will boost trade and investment among nations that make up nearly 40 percent of the world’s gross domestic product. But outside the meeting, a crowd estimated at 10,000 gathered to denounce the deal, marching through city streets, jumping in front of cars and shutting down major intersections.

“We, like our fellow global unions, are clear about one thing: the Trans-Pacific Partnership offers nothing to workers in the Asia-Pacific region except job insecurity and exclusion,” said International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) President Paddy Crumlin.

“The TPP has been characterized by secrecy and lack of consultation,” he added. “Unless resisted, as, thankfully, unions and other organizations have done and continue to do, it threatens to usher in a free trade free-for-all where anything goes–except for protections for ordinary citizens.”

The signing marks the end of the negotiating process but members still have two years to get the deal approved at home before it becomes legally binding. In the United States, the next step is for the White House to send implementing legislation to Congress for a vote on final ratification.

Republican leaders in Congress are said to have told the White House that a vote before the November elections could be the end of the TPP since Americans remain concerned about the economy. Leading presidential candidates in both parties have denounced the deal as harmful to U.S. workers.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said this week that the TPP “is about letting multinational corporations rig the rules–on everything from patent protection to food safety standards– to benefit themselves.”

The office of the International Trade Commission is accepting comments from the public untilFeb. 15 about how TPP will affect individuals. Part of the agency’s function is to determine and advise lawmakers on the impact of trade on U.S. industries and to stop unfair trade practices. Thousands of working people already have spoken up by sending in comments to the U.S. Trade Representative.

Please speak up in opposition to a deal that will take away more family-sustaining, middle class U.S. jobs. To sign, go to

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Five crewmembers of the CSL MELBOURNE were forcibly ejected from their vessel by police in Newcastle, Australia, on Feb. 5. The five had occupied the CSL MELBOURNE to protest being fired by Pacific Aluminum, which is planning–with approval from Australia’s government–to outsource their jobs to a flag-of-convenience (FOC) crew. Earlier in the week, Pacific Aluminum had locked the refrigerators and removed all fresh food from the ship in an attempt to force the crewmembers out.

This is the second time in less than a month that Australian seafarers have been forcibly removed from a vessel. On Jan. 13, five crewmembers on board the MV PORTLAND were woken by up security guards in the middle of the night and marched off their vessel.

Some of the crewmembers now have t-shirts printed with the slogan: “Sacked for being Australian.”

The CSL MELBOURNE has been running alumina between Newcastle and Gladstone with an Australian crew for the past five years.

Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) Assistant National Secretary Warren Smith said Pacific Aluminum is exploiting coastal trading laws to replace Australian seafarers with exploited foreign seafarers earning the equivalent of $1.50 US an hour.

“Today’s removal of the crew is an absolute outrage,” he said. “No worker in this country is safe now. These blokes have been removed by the state from their rightful place of work and replaced with workers who earn as little as two Australian dollars an hour,” Smith said.

“They were doing nothing more than standing up for their jobs and their right to work in an Australian industry with decent pay and conditions,” he added. “We have cabotage laws which cover trade through domestic ports and the use of both Australian-flagged and Australian-crewed vessels. The Senate voted in November to retain these laws yet the government has again pushed ahead with the issuing of another temporary license.”

Sacked crewmembers are now organizing protests and meeting with members of Australia’s parliament in an attempt to get their jobs back. Unions say the replacement of domestic crews raises serious concerns in areas that include national security, fuel security, jobs and skills and protection of the environment.

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Members of the MM&P Federal Employees Membership Group (FEMG) were at the helm when Military Sealift Command (MSC) oiler USNS LEROY GRUMMAN replenished MSC supply ship USNS ARCTIC in early February off the Virginia Capes. USNS ARCTIC Chief Mate Elizabeth Strunk and Second Mate Laura Hammond were filmed during the consol operation, when GRUMMAN dispensed 1.2 million gallons of diesel marine fuel into the supply ship.

Captain Randall Rockwood, master of the USNS ARCTIC, and Captain Jason Kennedy, master of USNS LEROY GRUMMAN, are also members of the MM&P Federal Employees Membership Group.

USNS LEROY GRUMMAN (T-AO-195) is a Henry J. Kaiser-class fleet replenishment oiler. USNS ARCTIC (T-AOE-8) is the third ship in the Navy’s Supply class of fast combat support ships.

To view the video, go to:

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U.S. labor leader Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, has been recognized by the interfaith World Peace Prize Council for his contributions to international peace and justice.

The 20 World Peace Prize judges, who hail from every corner of the globe, voted unanimously to recognize Trumka for his work as a labor leader.

In an official statement, they said they had given Trumka the award, the first time the prize has been presented to a union leader, “in the desire to connect justice with peace.”

“The daily bridge between justice and peace is fair employment,” said Father Sean McManus, chief judge of the World Peace Prize Awarding Council. “The best chance an ordinary person has to get justice is to have a decent job with fair pay and no discrimination.”

The World Peace Prize Awarding Council represents all nine of the world’s major religions: Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Catholicism, Protestantism, the Russian Orthodox Church and Iranian Zorastrianism.

Its goal is to encourage, recognize and support prominent world leaders who work for peace. In an official statement, the judges said they had evaluated over 200 candidates during the 25 years of the group’s existence but that only 30 candidates, including Trumka, had received the award since 1989.

“I pray that we together are moving the needle towards a more just world,” Trumka said as he accepted the award. He thanked the council for “what they do for working Americans every day,” adding “the search for justice on the job creates rays of hope.”

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The Coast Guard National Maritime Center reports that last week, released an update to the Merchant Mariner User Fee Payment webpage. NMC said it had initiated the update to streamline and simplify the fee payment process as part of a continued effort to better serve the maritime community.

Changes to the online fee page include: a single-page layout where all fees are now selected and calculated on the same page; updated endorsement names to reflect the fee schedule published in the Code of Federal Regulations; an option to select the fee(s) for both officer and rating endorsements (the system will automatically calculate the appropriate fee in accordance with the regulation); an option to pay required exam and/or issuance fees at a later date.

The agency also said that a link to NMC Live Chat had been added to the fee page, allowing users with questions to connect quickly with an NMC customer service agent for answers during normal business hours.

The agency says that calculating fees can be difficult. It encourages users to visit the NMC webpage for detailed information or to contact the NMC via Live Chat, e-mail or by phone.

The agency says that since many refunds are issued for exams that were never taken, users may want to wait until they have been approved to test before paying the exam fee. NMC says that processing requests for refunds can take several weeks.

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All MM&P union halls, the MM&P Federal Credit Union and MM&P headquarters will be closed on Friday, Feb. 12, for Lincoln’s Birthday and on Monday, Feb. 15, for Presidents’ Day. The MM&P Plan Office will be closed on Monday, Feb. 15, for Presidents’ Day.

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In case of winter storms and inclement weather, please call ahead before visiting MM&P headquarters or MM&P union halls.

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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 Elisabeth Cruz, 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 – 4/18/16, 8/22/16, 10/17/16

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: 5/27/16, 7/22/16

ARPA-OIC – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 4/5/16, 8/9/16, 9/27/16

AZIPOD 2-Day – 2/29/16, 5/25/16, 11/14/16

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 4/4/16, 8/8/16, 10/31/16

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 2/29/16, 05/23/2016, 7/18/16, 11/14/16

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling: 3/2/16,04/13/16

BT – Basic Safety Training: 2/22/16, 04/11/16, 06/27/16, 8/15/16, 10/10/16

BT-Revalidation – 05/10/16, 8/22/16, 10/31/16

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 4/25/16, 11/14/16

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVNAV-CMM – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): Contact Admissions

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 3/28/16, 06/20/16, 8/1/16, 10/17/16

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 3/7/16, 06/06/16, 8/8/16, 11/7/16

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 04/04/16, 10/24/16

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 2/22/16, 3/21/16, 06/13/16, 7/25/16,8/15/16, 9/12/16, 10/10/16, 11/28/16, 12/19/16

LMS – Leadership and Managerial Skills (Management Level – Formerly MCL-CMM) 2/15/16,2/29/16, 3/14/16, 3/28/16, 4/4/16, 4/11/16, 5/16/16, 5/23/16, 6/27/16, 7/11/16, 7/25/16,8/15/16,8/22/16, 9/12/16, 10/3/16, 10/31/16, 11/14/16,11/28/16, 12/5/16, 12/12/16, 12/19/16

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants: 05/02/16, 9/19/16

SEC-APPS – Practical Defense Tactics: 3/28/16, 6/20/16, 8/1/16, 10/31/16

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management (2 weeks): 04/18/16, 10/3/16

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 3/14/16, 04/18/16, 05/09/16, 06/13/16,7/18/16, 8/15/16, 9/12/16, 10/24/16, 11/7/16, 12/5/16

SHS-ADV-II-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 2/15/16, 3/21/16, 04/25/16, 05/16/16, 06/20/16, 7/25/16, 8/22/16, 9/19/16, 10/31/16, 11/14/16, 12/12/16

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 2/29/16, 9/12/16

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 05/09/16, 9/26/16

CNAV-OIC – Celestial Navigation: 05/02/16, 10/24/16

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: Contact Admissions

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications: 3/2/16, 7/19/16

DDE – Great Lakes: 6/6/16

DPA – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-OIC – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-Pilots – 3/2/16, 05/25/16, 7/20/16, 11/14/16

ERM – Engine Resource Management: 3/21/16, 4/18/16, 5/9/16, 7/18/16, 8/22/16, 9/26/16, 10/24/16, 11/14/16, 11/28/16, 12/5/16, 12/12/16, 12/19/16

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 2/22/16, 04/11/16, 06/27/16, 8/15/16, 10/10/16

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications: 04/19/16, 9/20/16

GL Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization: Contact Admissions

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 3/7/16, 8/22/16

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 6/27/16, 8/29/16, 12/5/16

LAP- 4/4/16, 9/19/16

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes: Contact Admissions

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross
Ton License: 3/7/16, 06/06/16, 8/8/16, 12/5/16

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 3/1/16, 4/20/16, 5/23/16, 7/19/16, 9/21/16, 11/15/16

LNG-TPIC – 12/5/16

LTS –Leadership and Teamworking Skills (Formerly MCL-OIC): 4/4/16

MEECE – Management of Electrical and Electronic Control: 2/22/16, 3/28/16, 4/25/16, 5/16/16, 7/11/16, 8/29/16, 9/19/16, 10/17/16, 11/7/16, 11/28/16, 12/5/16, 12/12/16, 12/19/16

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 3/21/16, 05/16/16, 7/11/16, 11/7/16, 12/12/16

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 3/14/16, 05/02/16, 8/29/16, 10/3/16

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 2/15/16, 3/21/16, 05/16/16, 11/7/16, 11/28/16, 12/12/16

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 3/19/16, 05/14/16, 8/28/16, 11/12/16, 12/17/16

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: Contact Admissions

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 3/8/16, 6/10/16, 8/10/16, 10/17/16

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control: 3/5/16 (March is 4 evenings), 6/8/16, 8/8/16, 10/18/16

*MSC-ENVPRO –2/28/16, 6/5/16, 8/7/16, 10/16/16

*MSC-FF-HELO – 2/23/16, 6/6/16, 8/22/16, 10/31/16

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 2/29/16, 6/13/16, 8/14/16, 10/23/16

*MSC-Security Watch Basic – 2/26/16, 6/11/16, 8/11/16, 10/20/16

*MSC-Security Watch Advanced – 3/4/16, 6/17/16, 8/13/16, 10/22/16

*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force – 3/5/16, 6/18/16, 8/18/16, 10/27/16

NSAP-MMP – Navigational Skills Assessment Program-MM&P – 5/23/16, 7/26/16, 10/25/16

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 5/9/16

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 2/24/16, 3/9/16, 3/16/16, 3/29/16, 04/06/16, 4/13/16, 04/20/16, 05/04/16, 05/18/16, 06/08/16, 06/22/16, 7/13/16, 7/27/16, 8/10/16, 8/24/16, 9/21/16, 10/5/16, 10/19/16, 11/2/16, 11/9/16, 11/16/16, 11/30/16, 12/7/16, 12/14/16

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 8/1/16

SAR-OIC – Search & Rescue – 04/18/16, 11/7/16

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling: 2/15/16, 04/11/16, 06/27/16, 8/29/16, 10/17/16

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day: 3/7/16, 05/02/16, 8/1/16, 10/3/16, 11/28/16

SMS – Contact Admissions

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 8/8/16

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 7/11/16

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: 2/22/16, 8/8/16

TRAC-TUG-2: Contact Admissions

TTT – Contact Admissions

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: 4/28/16

VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 2/15/16, 04/25/16, 7/13/16, 9/7/16, 10/22/16

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level): 3/21/16, 10/3/16

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): 2/29/16, 9/19/16

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Please also see our schedule and enroll online at For registration contact our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen: 206.838.1126 or

February 2016

15-19 Medical Care Provider
15-26 Medical Person-In-Charge
22-26 ECDIS (waitlist only)
22-26 Leadership & Managerial Skills (waitlist only)
22-26 Bridge Resource Management
22-26 MEECE (waitlist only)
29-4 Basic Meteorology

March 2016

7th Radar Renewal
7-11 Leadership & Managerial Skills (waitlist only)
14-18 MEECE (waitlist only)
15th Leadership & Teamworking Skills
16-17 Security Officer – Vessel, Company, and Facility
21-25 ECDIS (waitlist only)
21-25 Leadership & Managerial Skills (waitlist only)
21-25 Engine Resource Management (waitlist only)
28-8 Celestial Navigation
30-31 Leadership for Shoreside Managers

April 2016

4-8 Leadership & Managerial Skills (waitlist only)
4-8 Engine Resource Management (waitlist only)
11th Radar Renewal
11-22 GMDSS
18-22 Leadership & Managerial Skills (waitlist only)
18-22 Medical Care Provider
18-22 MEECE (waitlist only)
25-29 ECDIS
27-29 Bridge Resource Management & Emergency Shiphandling for Pilots

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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 © 2015. Articles can be reprinted without prior permission if credit is given to The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly. For address changes, send an e-mail to Back issues of The Weekly are posted on