Wheelhouse Weekly – February 04, 2014

February 4th 2014


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

Volume 18 . . . Number 5 . . . Feb. 4, 2014


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


The new farm legislation now working its way through Congress reaffirms longstanding support for the PL 480 Food-for-Peace Program and its requirements that food aid agricultural commodities be purchased in the United States and shipped in part on U.S.-flag vessels. 

For the past year, MM&P and others in our industry–along with domestic transportation and agricultural commodity groups–have been fighting proposals that would shift PL 480 from a food-based program to one in which taxpayer dollars, instead of American farm commodities, were sent to the world’s neediest nations. 

That proposal would hurt American farmers and reduce the cargo available to U.S.-flag vessels, weakening America’s economic and military security in the process.  House and Senate conferees on the farm legislation rejected the plan, agreeing instead to maintain the PL 480 program in its current form. 

“This action shows that Congress believes the American people should receive a return on their investment in the PL 480 food aid program,” said MM&P President Don Marcus. “It also shows that Congress believes that American taxpayer dollars should be used to purchase U.S. rather than foreign agricultural commodities, and should be used for U.S.-flag rather than foreign-flag vessels.”

“We look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to continue to improve the efficient implementation of the PL 480 program so that America’s interests and the interests of those abroad who we are helping are enhanced,” Marcus said.

It is important to note that the legislation also creates a permanent, separate program that allows up to $80 million in U.S. funds to be spent to purchase food aid commodities overseas under certain conditions.

“We will be working diligently to ensure that the funding for this local regional purchase program is not taken from the funds appropriated for the PL 480 program and does not cause a reduction in the amount of commodities purchased and shipped under PL 480,” Marcus said.


The Coast Guard’s National Maritime Center (NMC) said it has recently discovered that some mariners have been issued medical certificates that will expire between January and September of 2014. To resolve this issue, the NMC said it will “mitigate additional obligations for those mariners impacted by issuing a new medical certificate with STCW expiration in 2015.” The agency said the provision applies only to mariners whose Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) containing STCW endorsements was originally issued during the period of January to September 2012. The agency said mariners who have medical waivers with an annual submission requirement will still receive a time-limited medical certificate that corresponds with the appropriate required submission dates.

The NMC said it “wishes to thank those mariners impacted for their patience while their medical certificates are corrected and sent to them.” It offered to provide more information through the usual channels: a phone call to 1-800-IASKNMC (1-800-437-5662) or e-mail


Finally: some good news for the members of the MM&P Federal Employees Membership Group (FEMG) and other Civil Service mariners. They have been awarded a 1 percent increase in pay which reflects the terms of an executive order signed by President Obama at the end of December. The executive order gives federal employees a 1 percent across-the-board pay increase, ending a 3-year pay freeze. The pay raise became effective in January.

MM&P and other maritime labor unions played a central role in ensuring that the raise was extended to Civil Service mariners. Unlike shore-side General Schedule employees, CIVMARS do not automatically receive cost-of-living allowances. Every year, MM&P must substantiate and justify pay adjustments governed by 5 U.S.C. 5348 for wage employees (i.e., MM&P officers employed by CNIC, CNO, MSC, Army Corps and NOAA).

MM&P must annually submit, to Military Sealift Command (MSC), the deep-sea prevailing rates achieved through commercial negotiations with private shipping companies. MSC is required to mirror those wages. Other federal agencies that employ CIVMARs follow MSC’s lead in establishing CIVMARs’ rates of pay. 

As a result of MM&P’s deep-sea negotiated wages, the union was able to justify a wage adjustment for MM&P officers entitling them to the percentage pay adjustment received by GS employees: 1 percent.

“This long overdue pay raise for Civil Service merchant mariners is a good step in the right direction, but MM&P FEMG members’ wages are not where they should be,” said MM&P Government Fleet Representative Randi Ciszewski.

“All federal workers are being targeted by unwarranted attacks on their livelihood. Civil Service merchant mariners and their families sacrifice most of their adult life supporting the Department of Defense mission in support of our nation. They earn very little leave. They receive limited liberty because of buddy system and liberty restrictions. Their wages, allowances, and overtime are capped. And they’ve been furloughed and unfairly used as political pawns during sequestration.”


Seafarers’ Rights International (SRI) is working to expand mariners’ access to needed legal services. The group has announced a new “Charter of Good Practice for the Provision of Legal Services to Seafarers,” to which over 100 lawyers from 50 different law firms across 34 countries have already committed. The group aims to provide knowledgeable and affordable legal counsel to seafarers worldwide.

“It can be difficult for anyone to find a good affordable lawyer, but for seafarers, this is an even greater task because they are travelling from port to port, in places where they don’t speak the language and don’t know anyone,” says SRI Executive Director Deirdre Fitzpatrick. “Finding a lawyer who may be able to help them can be so difficult. Those who try to assist seafarers will tell them about their rights and how to enforce their rights, but this assumes that seafarers have access to legal assistance in the first place.”

Fitzpatrick says that SRI believes the legal charter will be an important tool in identifying lawyers who are willing to act in seafarers’ best interests. Plans for an app that lists lawyers who have signed up to participate in the charter are in the works. The information will also be made available offline.


The number of workers in unions in 2013 rose by 162,000, with the increase of 281,000 workers in private-sector unions offset by the decrease of 118,000 public-sector union members, according to figures released last week by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

There were strong gains in construction and manufacturing, against a background of strike actions by low-wage workers in the private sector. But layoffs of public-sector workers continued to hurt overall public-sector union membership, leaving the total percentage of the workforce that is unionized virtually unchanged.

“Wall Street’s Great Recession cost millions of America’s workers their jobs and pushed already depressed wages down even further, but in 2013, America’s workers pushed back,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “At the same time, these numbers show that as unorganized workers have taken up the fight for their right to a voice on the job, union employers are hiring–creating good jobs our economy desperately needs.”

Workers in the public sector continued to bear the brunt of the continuing economic crisis, weak labor laws and political assaults on their rights on the job. In Wisconsin, political attacks on public-sector workers’ right to collectively bargain resulted in bargaining coverage falling. Broadly, federal, state and local governments continued to lay off public workers, leading to an overall loss of 118,000 union members.

Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez said the figures again show that union members continue to have higher weekly median earnings than nonunion workers: $950 a week compared to $750 a week. He said union members also have greater access to health care, retirement savings plans, sick and vacation leave than workers who don’t have a union on the job.


William P. Doyle, former chief of staff of the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA), has been nominated by President Obama to serve a full five-year term as a commissioner on the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC). Before becoming part of the five-member commission in January of last year, Doyle served over a decade as a merchant marine officer aboard numerous classes of vessels. He has over 20 years of experience in the transportation industry, including both the maritime and energy sectors.


MM&P member Larry R. Mack is seeking to contact Fort Schuyler graduates in the Tampa, Fla., area, to participate in an alumni group. If you live in the Tampa Bay area and would like to participate, please contact Larry R. Mack, class of ’77, at


Instances of mass sea bird deaths off the coast of the United Kingdom in 2013 have prompted the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to ban any discharge at sea of the chemical polyisobutylene, also known as PIB. According to Ship Management International, over 4,000 birds of at least 18 species died last year off the U.K. coast after being smothered with high-viscosity PIB, a lubricant used to improve engine performance on ships. Hundreds more died in a separate incident off the Dutch coast in March 2010. The IMO said PIB sticks to birds and restricts their movements, rendering them unable to feed and causing them to die from hypothermia or starvation. The IMO’s working group on the evaluation of safety and pollution hazards of chemicals (ESPH) has reclassified PIBs starting this year, so that ships will only be able to wash their tanks and dispose of PIB residues in port.


Save up to 25 percent on flowers this Valentine’s Day with Union Plus Flower Delivery Service, offering discounts through Teleflora to union members, retirees and their families. Visit Teleflora’s website to get more information Click on the “Union Plus” banner on the top of the Teleflora page. Your 25 percent discount will be applied at check out. The promotion lasts until Dec. 31, 2014. And remember: stay connected with Union Plus on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for union benefits information, fun and engaging contests, and to connect with a community of union members.


Two-day to two-week opening, with option for repeat assignments, for a professional to conduct: ship audits, general ship IMO-related assistance, vessel documentation and baseline configurations. Excellent day rate, reimbursement for travel and per diem expenses. The organization will be involved with auditing several different classes of vessels, including brand-name cruise ships. Current opportunity will last from two days to two weeks, depending on the volume. This will be repeat business. For more information, e-mail MM&P retiree Dan Marsh, Engineering Supervisor at


There will be Offshore Membership Division meetings in the following ports on the indicated dates: San Francisco/Oakland, Thursday, Feb. 20, directly after 11:00 job call; Seattle, Thursday, Feb. 27, directly after 11:00 job call; Honolulu, Wednesday, March 5, directly after 10:00 job call. All members in the area are urged to attend.


There will be Offshore Membership Division meetings in the following ports on the indicated dates: San Francisco/Oakland, Thursday, Feb. 20, directly after 11:00 job call; Seattle, Thursday, Feb. 27, directly after 11:00 job call; Honolulu, Wednesday, March 5, directly after 10:00 job call. All members in the area are urged to attend.


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, 8/11/14, 10/13/14

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: 5/6/14, 7/9/14

ARPA-OIC – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 4/1/14, 8/5/14, 9/23/14, 11/18/14

AZIPOD 2-Day – 2/6/14, 5/7/14, 5/19/14, 7/10/14, 10/9/14

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 3/24/14, 6/2/14, 8/25/14, 10/13/14

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 3/3/14, 4/14/14, 5/22/14, 8/20/14, 9/22/14, 11/20/14

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling: 3/5/14, 4/29/14, 7/7/14, 10/6/14

BST – Basic Safety Training: 2/10/14, 4/7/14, 6/9/14, 8/11/14, 10/6/14

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 4/14/14, 10/27/14

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVNAV-CMM – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): 2/24/14, 6/2/14, 8/4/14, 11/10/14

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 4/28/14, 6/23/14, 9/22/14

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 3/10/14, 6/16/14, 9/8/14

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 2/10/14, 5/5/14, 7/7/14, 9/29/14

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 2/24/14, 5/5/14, 6/2/14, 7/14/14, 8/4/14, 10/20/14, 11/10/14

MCL-CMM – Management, Communication, & Leadership (Management Level): 3/17/14, 5/19/14, 9/15/14

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants:  3/31/14, 7/21/14, 10/27/14

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management (2 weeks): 4/7/14, 8/18/14, 10/13/14

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 2/17/14, 3/10/14, 4/7/14, 4/28/14, 6/9/14, 8/4/14, 9/8/14, 9/22/14, 10/20/14, 11/3/14, 12/1/14

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 2/24/14, 3/17/14, 4/14/14, 5/5/14, 6/16/14, 8/11/14, 9/15/14, 9/29/14, 10/27/14, 11/10/14, 12/8/14

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 3/3/14, 6/9/14, 8/11/14, 11/17/14

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 4/21/14, 7/28/14, 11/3/14

CNAV-OIC – Celestial Navigation: 4/28/14, 11/3/14

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop:

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications:  2/7/14, 10/7/14

DDE – Great Lakes:


ECDIS-OIC – 2/17/14, 9/8/14

ECDIS-Pilots – 3/5/14, 5/19/14, 7/10/14

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 2/10/14, 4/7/14, 6/9/14, 8/11/14, 10/6/14

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep & Medications:  5/21/14, 11/19/14

GL Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization:

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 3/17/14, 8/18/14

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 6/23/14, 9/15/14, 11/17/14

LAP- 3/10/14, 9/8/14

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes

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

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 3/5/14, 5/21/14, 7/8/14, 10/7/14, 11/20/14

LNG-TPIC – 4/7/14

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

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 2/17/14, 4/21/14, 6/16/14, 9/8/14, 11/3/14, 12/1/14

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 5/12/14, 8/4/14, 10/13/14

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 2/17/14, 3/17/14, 4/21/14, 6/16/14, 9/8/14, 10/20/14, 11/3/14, 12/1/14

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 2/22/14, 3/22/14, 4/26/14, 6/21/14, 8/3/14, 9/13/14, 10/12/14, 11/8/14, 12/6/14

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: 5/5/14 (PM), 8/4/14 (PM), 10/6/14 (PM)

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 3/14/14, 6/6/14, 8/22/14, 10/3/14

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 3/10/14, 6/2/14, 8/18/14, 9/29/14

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification:  3/10/14, 6/2/14, 8/18/14, 9/29/14, 11/10/14

*MSC-SECURITY WATCH BASIC – Contact Admissions


*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force – Contact Admissions

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 3/31/14, 8/4/14, 9/22/14, 11/17/14

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 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, 7/9/14, 7/24/14, 8/6/14, 8/20/14, 9/10/14, 9/17/14, 10/1/14, 10/15/14, 10/29/14, 11/12/14, 12/3/14, 12/10/14

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 4/7/14, 7/28/14, 11/10/14

SAR-OIC – Search & Rescue – 4/7/14, 10/13/14

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling:  2/10/14, 5/12/14, 6/16/14, 8/18/14, 11/17/14

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day: 3/3/14, 7/14/14, 10/6/14

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 8/4/14

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 7/7/14

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge:  2/24/14, 8/25/14

TTT – Train the Trainer: 4/7/14

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: 5/6/14, 8/5/14, 10/7/14

VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 5/7/14, 8/6/14, 9/2/14, 10/8/14

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level) : 3/3/14, 9/29/14

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level) : 2/24/13, 9/15/14

…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.

February 2014

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.

© 2014, 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