Wheelhouse Weekly – Feb. 2, 2016

February 3rd 2016

Volume 21 . . . Number 5. . . Feb. 2, 2016


In this issue:


Job Opportunity:

News for MM&P Members:


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Sen. John McCain says he will introduce legislation to repeal sections of the Jones Act: he announced last week that he plans to offer an amendment on the Senate floor that would eliminate the U.S.-build requirement for tankers engaged in U.S. coastwise trade.

The Arizona Republican has made repealing the Jones Act a focus of his Congressional career. McCain now says he plans to attach an anti-Jones Act amendment to S 2012, the “Energy Modernization Act of 2015.”

The amendment as filed by McCain would change section 12112 of title 46 of the United States Code (46 U.S.C. 12112 – Coastwise Endorsement) by eliminating the U.S.-build requirement for oil and gasoline tankers involved in U.S. coastwise trade.

S 2012 is sponsored by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Her bill may be up for consideration on the Senate floor in the near future, at which point McCain could offer his amendment.

This is just the most recent in a series of attempts by McCain to dismantle the Jones Act, which requires that all goods shipped between U.S. ports be carried on vessels built in the United States and owned and operated by Americans.

Last year, he vowed to attach a similar amendment to a bill to authorize the Keystone XL pipeline, but he ultimately decided not to offer the legislation on the floor.

MM&P, MIRAID and the rest of the U.S.-flag fleet, along with Congressional supporters of the American maritime industry, have consistently mounted a unified front in opposition to McCain’s long-running anti-Jones Act crusade.

“Senator McCain is working hard to put American mariners and other maritime industry workers out of work,” says MM&P President Don Marcus. “Eliminating the U.S.-build requirement of the Jones Act would cost thousands of middle class, U.S.-tax generating jobs.”

Marcus said that in the face of similar attacks, MM&P “will continue to use our resources to protect our members’ jobs and the honorable profession that has served our country so well in times of peace and war.”

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MM&P has joined many others, including the International Transport Workers’ Federation, in criticizing the Jan. 26 decision by Spain’s Supreme Court to sentence to two years in prison the 81-year-old former master of the tanker PRESTIGE.

Captain Apostolos Mangouras was master of the ship when it broke apart and sank off the Galician coast in 2002 after a storm damaged one of its fuel tanks. In finding him “guilty of gross negligence” and sentencing him to prison, Spain’s Supreme Court overturned a decision by a lower court which had cleared him of any responsibility. Before the catastrophe, the PRESTIGE had been refused emergency refuge by authorities in Spain, Portugal and France.

In last week’s decision, the court absolved a former government minister of Spain who had ordered the PRESTIGE to be towed out to sea instead of following an emergency plan that called for it to be brought to port, where the leaking oil could have been confined.

“Confronted with a refusal by the Spanish authorities to give the damaged ship refuge, Mangouras bravely did all he possibly could to protect crew, ship and cargo and to protect the environment,” according to an article published in The Guardian.

“He remained on board with the chief engineer after the rest of the crew had been evacuated, in order to try and save the ship. Finally, against his judgement, he was obliged by the Spanish authorities to take a series of actions that resulted in the damaged tanker being forced to remain out at sea in appalling conditions, where she eventually broke up.”

“The case of the PRESTIGE is an example of a systemic failure,” says MM&P Chief of Staff Klaus Luhta. “The master should not be jailed.” He said the sentence is yet another example of unjust criminalization of a professional mariner for what was essentially a tragic accident.

Mangouras managed two crucial feats in those first hours, according to his supporters. He was able, though the lifeboats had been crippled by the waves, to arrange for the crew to be lifted off by helicopters and, by opening ballast tanks, prevented the vessel from listing further and sinking just a few miles off the Spanish coast.

Ordering two of the port ballast tanks to be opened and filled with seawater, with the vessel already listing by more than 25 degrees, was one of two potentially life-threatening maneuvers carried out by Mangouras and the crew members who stayed on board.

Then at night, Mangouras and his chief engineer, guided only by torchlight, picked their way along a damaged catwalk to the forecastle to try to secure a line from a salvage tug. Observers said it took them 20 minutes to make their way along the rolling vessel, feeling at each step to see whether the catwalk would give way under them.

The recent court ruling “sets a deplorable precedent,” says Intertanko’s Managing Director Katharina Stanzel. “Are ships’ masters who exercise best professional judgement in impossible circumstances to be shamefully treated as criminals?”

InterManager has described the decision as “abhorrent” and has called on the shipping industry to support Mangouras, who over the course of the past 14 years has been constantly subjected to fines, detention and legal proceedings.

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The percentage of wage and salary workers who were members of labor unions was 11.1 percent in 2015, unchanged from 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The number of wage and salary workers who belonged to unions was 14.8 million in 2015, little different from 2014.

In 1983, the first year for which comparable data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent and there were 17.7 million union workers in the United States.

To coincide with the release of the statistics last week, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez issued a strong endorsement of the benefits of union membership to workers and to society as a whole.

“With today’s Bureau of Labor Statistics’ report, we are reminded again that the labor movement continues to be one of the most powerful forces for strengthening the middle class and providing economic stability, for members and non-members alike,” he said.

“Median weekly earnings of full-time union workers ($975) were more than 25 percent higher than those of non-union workers ($776) in 2015. That’s not pocket change–it comes to more than $10,000 per year. That goes a long way toward writing the mortgage check, paying down the car loan, or even just keeping the kids in snow boots. And, that doesn’t even account for the superior benefits, safer workplaces and other advantages that come with union representation.”

“Plus, strong unions empower all working people, putting upward pressure on wages and labor standards throughout the economy. After all, you don’t need a union card to have benefitted from the advent of the weekend.”

“So we all have skin in the game when unions are threatened and collective bargaining rights come under attack. When a larger percentage of workers belong to unions, the middle class grows and thrives. Research shows that a decline in union membership over roughly the last four decades is responsible for one-third of the growth in wage inequality among men and one-fifth of the growth in wage inequality among women.”

“The Obama administration continues to push back against these attacks, exploring avenues for strengthening the right to organize and new strategies for giving workers greater voice on the job. We believe this is essential to building an economy that works for everyone.”

“We’ve made a dramatic turnaround in the last seven years–from a devastating recession to the highest levels of job growth since the late 1990s. But there is still unfinished business. We must do more to ensure that all working families can share in the fruits of this recovery.”

“When more workers are able to stand together and speak up for one another, negotiating for their fair share of the value they help create, it strengthens all of us. To restore balance to the economy and create shared prosperity, we need robust labor unions and powerful worker voice.”

In response to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ release of the Annual Union Membership Report, AFL-CIO Communications Director Eric Hauser said:

“The latest numbers on union density are simply another sign of how working people continued to make their voice on the job heard, despite relentless attempts by anti-worker politicians and corporate interests to drown them out. While not nearly enough, in 2015 millions of working people were able to bargain for a better life. A voice on the job matters to working people and we will continue to make our voices heard in the workplace and at the ballot box.”

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The failure by U.S. politicians to invest in our nation’s ports is compromising America’s supply chain and negatively affecting the entire economy, says the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department (TTD). To meet projected 2025 freight volumes, the American Association of Port Authorities says nearly a third of U.S. ports need $100 million each in upgrades.

“While other nations see the value in port investments–many of our global competitors have ports that can accommodate the largest, most modern ships–U.S. politicians have allowed American seaports to fall behind,” writes TTD President Ed Wytkind in a Jan. 28 OpEd in The Huffington Post. “Narrow, shallow channels and outdated, inadequate facilities mean our ports struggle to keep up with demand,” he says.

In the article, the third in a series on the link between the transportation sector and the health of the middle class, Wytkind says underinvestment in America’s ports is harming our country’s ability to compete internationally.

“The modern, global economy lives by one rule: faster is better. As technology breakthroughs and innovations take hold, the world’s markets demand efficiency, fluidity and speed. Nations that fail to keep up watch as other countries reap the benefits.”

“Our task ahead is to convince the people we elect that this era of dangerous austerity policies is nothing to brag about,” he says, adding, “elected officials need to be held accountable if they don’t listen.” MM&P is one of 32 transportation sector unions that belong to TTD. You can read the piece in its entirety at

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The pure car and truck carrier (PCTC) MODERN EXPRESS is being towed away from the coast of France and should arrive in the port of Bilbao, Spain, on Wednesday morning, according to local authorities.

The Panamanian-flagged vessel, which was transporting 3,600 tons of wood and construction machinery from Gabon to France, had been drifting on its side in the Bay of Biscay towards the French coast. Its 22-person crew was evacuated by helicopter last week.

The vessel was listing by about 40 degrees in high winds and heavy seas. Until Monday, the extreme incline of the ship as well as the difficult sea conditions had prevented salvage teams from boarding.

Four salvage experts were able to winch down from a helicopter Monday when the weather improved and hook up a cable linking the PCTC to the tug CENTAURUS.

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Ellora Hammerberg, a member of the MM&P Great Lakes & Rivers Region, was interviewed recently for a Duluth News Tribune article entitled, “The New Faces of Maritime: Local Women Highlight Changing Workforce.”

Journalist Brady Slater accompanied Hammerberg on a voyage aboard the EDWIN H. GOTT, which is owned and operated by Duluth-based Great Lakes Fleet.

Hammerberg, Slater writes, is an example of the new generation of mariners entering the world of Great Lakes shipping.

“For an industry that is experiencing a graying of its workforce, it’s imperative that people like Hammerberg find their way to it,” he writes. “Hers is among the fresh faces in an industry known for its scruffy beards.”

“Watching the big boats come into the harbor always fascinated me,” says Hammerberg, who currently sails as third mate aboard the 1,000-foot freighter. “It also fascinated me that people didn’t pay attention to how important these ships are to keeping our economy going.”

The article cites a recent survey that found that 35 percent of the American maritime workforce is approaching retirement age. The study also found that women make up between 20 and 30 percent of the global maritime workforce, and only 10 percent of management, hence the need to attract a new generation of recruits.

But maritime is not for everyone, warns the head of the transportation-logistics department at University of Wisconsin-Superior, Richard Stewart, himself a former mariner. “It’s a 24/7 job… Managers are expected to get out into the field. They need to be willing to take a call at 4 a.m.on a Sunday to hear, ‘We’ve got a problem?’ and respond with, ‘Give me the details.’”

Hammerberg graduated from Great Lakes Maritime Academy and went to work for Great Lakes Fleet, now owned by CN. She says that since she made her career choice, she’s spent little time back home in Duluth.

“I live on the boat more often than anything else,” she told the reporter. “You learn to see the world from a different point of view from what a lot of people see. When you’re away you fully appreciate being home. You don’t take a lot of the things for granted that people normally do.”

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The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has posted a notice at stating that it seeks qualified applicants for the position of Marine Accident Investigator (Nautical). Applications must be received by Feb. 10.

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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.

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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): 2/8/16, 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: 2/8/16, 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 – 2/11/16, 5/23/16, 7/26/16, 10/25/16

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

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 2/10/16, 2/24/16, 3/9/16, 3/16/16, 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: 2/8/16, 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

Back to Stories Covered


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

February 2016

8th Radar Renewal
8-12 Engine Resource Management (waitlist only)
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