Wheelhouse Weekly – February 05, 2013

February 5th 2013


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

Volume 17 . . . Number 6. . . Feb. 5, 2013


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


MM&P East Coast, Gulf Coast and Pacific Coast union halls will be closed on Feb. 12 for Lincoln’s Birthday.


The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) has reached an agreement with East and Gulf Coast ports represented by the U.S. Maritime Alliance (USMX). The agreement was announced over the weekend by federal mediators after hard-fought negotiations that were extended several times. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) Director George Cohen said the agreement, which awaits approval by both groups, was a clear demonstration of the importance of labor unions.

“As the negotiations have been conducted under the auspices of the FMCS, commencing last September and continuing to date, I can report that the tentative agreement reflects the culmination of good faith negotiations in which the parties successfully accommodated strongly held competing positions because of their commitment to problem solving,” Cohen said in an official statement. “Again, collective bargaining has proven its worth by avoiding a potential work stoppage that would have had a severe negative impact on the nation’s economy,” he added.

“We urge the parties to quickly complete any outstanding negotiations, including local negotiations at each of the individual 14 ports, and quickly ratify the new labor agreement,” said a spokesperson for the National Retail Federation who was interviewed by The New York Times. The spokesperson added that the tentative agreement, if ratified, “will bring much-needed certainty and predictability to the supply chain for retailers, manufacturers, farmers and other industries that rely on the ports to move the nation’s commerce and trade.”

“MM&P congratulates the ILA negotiating team on reaching a tentative agreement,” said MM&P International President Don Marcus. “Once this agreement is finalized and ratified, it should ensure good terms of employment and labor peace on East and Gulf Coast docks for six years.”

MM&P is the marine affiliate of the ILA and is linked to both the ILA and the ILWU in the Maritime Labor Alliance, which was formed last year to protect the jurisdictional rights of union members. The Maritime Labor Alliance also includes the American Radio Association (ARA), the Inland Boatmen’s Union (IBU) and the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA).


Inadequate funding for dredging projects on the Mississippi River and nationwide “is a critical failure and directly impacts our nation’s economy, our ability to compete globally and the safety by which we transport goods,” says Associated Branch Pilots President Michael R. Lorino Jr., a member of the MM&P Pilot Membership Group. In testimony Jan. 31 before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Lorino underlined the fact that because of inadequate funding and the inability to properly dredge, the Lower Mississippi River deep-draft channel at Southwest Pass is only 100 feet wide–although the majority of the channel is authorized to 750 feet wide.

“A channel at less than authorized dimensions is like a highway with only one lane open, causing painful and costly delays while also increasing the possibility of an accident,” Lorino told the senators. He urged members of the committee to take action to ensure that money in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) be used for maintenance of the country’s navigation system. “There is no doubt hard decisions have to be made,” he said. “But we urge this committee to seek legislative fixes that will allow the full flow of funding into our waters.”


Everyone who works in the maritime industry should look for opportunities to educate the public about the importance of America’s waterways and ports, says Major Gen. Michael J. Walsh of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Speaking at a recent meeting of the Washington Propeller Club, he urged those present to work harder to get the message out. “We don’t teach kids in our schools how important our ports are,” he said. “I need your help to tell the story.” Walsh is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Deputy Commanding General for Civil and Emergency Operations.

During his speech, Walsh cited a Sept. 13 article in The Washington Post entitled, “America’s Ailing Ports, Invisible Amid the Country’s Failing Infrastructure.” The article, by journalist Ashley Halsey III, centers on a report by the American Society of Civil Engineers which found that “keeping our nation competitive in a global economy where most goods are moved by water will require spending $30 billion by 2020, more than twice as much as is being spent today.”

The authors of the report estimated that without massive new investments, the country would experience export losses of $270 billion by 2020 along with a $697 billion drop in gross domestic product, equal to the loss of 738,000 jobs.

Walsh said he sees some cause for optimism in the fact that President Obama, in his FY 2013 Budget, called for the establishment of a White House Task Force to develop a federal strategy for future port and related infrastructure investments. Additionally, as part of its “We Can’t Wait Initiative,” the Obama Administration announced that five major port projects–in Jacksonville, Miami, Savannah, New York/New Jersey and Charleston–would be expedited.

Walsh cited a third important development, the publication by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers of a report entitled “U.S. Port and Inland Waterways Modernization: Preparing for Post-Panamax Vessels.” The report presents options for future modernization of U.S. ports and inland waterways.

“When three things happen in three years, it’s significant,” Walsh said, “especially as the country comes out of a state of general economic malaise.” It’s up to everyone who works in the maritime industry to continue to spread the word, he added. “We all have to put our shoulder into this and make sure that–in navigation terms–we win in the turns.”


The Vermont State Senate is expected to vote today on a bill that calls on public employees who don’t join their union to pay the union an agency fee for representing them in collective bargaining. The bill would affect teachers, state and municipal employees whose pay and working conditions are negotiated by labor unions. If the employee doesn’t join the union and pay dues, he or she would be required to pay 85 percent of what union members pay in dues. The Senate voted 26-3 to support a committee’s version of the bill and then advanced it on a voice vote on Feb. 1. It was scheduled to come up for final approval as this issue of The Wheelhouse Weekly was being distributed.


A coalition of labor unions and civil rights groups last week petitioned a Michigan judge to strike down a new anti-union law, charging that lawmakers illegally debated it while the public was locked out of the Capitol. The suit builds on the coalition’s earlier request in Ingham County Circuit Court to reopen the building’s doors Dec. 6 after state police locked them during a legislative session. That day, Judge Joyce Draganchuk issued a temporary restraining order forcing authorities to reopen the doors. But the next day, another judge ruled that police had acted within their authority in locking the doors. While the doors were closed, several hundred members of the public and the press were allowed to remain in the building.

During the lockout, several thousand union members were barred from the Michigan State Capitol Building as the Senate debated the law, which allows people who don’t pay union dues to enjoy all the benefits of working under a union-negotiated contract. So-called “right-to-work” laws, which have been approved in many U.S. states, are linked to falling wages and depressed living standards, an increase in workplace fatalities and curtailed access to health care among all working families in the state.

“Rushing controversial bills through a lame-duck session is a bad way to make public policy under the best of circumstances; doing so on such important issues while the public is shut out of the debate every step of the way is illegal and shameful,” Kary L. Moss, executive director of Michigan’s ACLU, said in a statement. The ACLU is a co-plaintiff in the proceedings. Other plaintiffs include the Michigan Education Association, Michigan State AFL-CIO and the Michigan Building & Construction Trades Council.


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The Coast Guard’s National Maritime Center (NMC) has issued a notice stating that it has experienced technical difficulties getting the latest version of the Mariner Credentialing Program (MCP) forms posted on the internet. The agency advises those wishing to complete an application to continue to use the forms currently linked from the NMC website.


William P. Doyle, former chief of staff of the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA), became the newest member of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) last Wednesday, after a swearing-in ceremony presided over by FMC Chair Richard Lidinsky. “We need your experience in the deepwater industry,” Lidinsky told Doyle. “We need your knowledge of the offshore.”

MM&P International Secretary-Treasurer Steve Werse attended the ceremony and congratulated Doyle on behalf of the membership of the Masters, Mates & Pilots. Also in attendance were MM&P headquarters staffers and C. James Patti, president of MIRAID, along with other representatives of maritime labor and the U.S.-flag shipping industry.

Before becoming part of the five-member commission, Doyle, who was nominated by President Obama last February, was appointed by the Senate to serve on the FMC for the term expiring June 30, 2013. When his term ends in June, he could be reconfirmed for a five-year term, or, alternatively, would retain the seat until a replacement is confirmed.


There will be a meeting for MM&P members at the MM&P New York/New Jersey Hall on Wednesday, Feb. 13. All members in the vicinity are urged to attend the meeting.


Attention all members of the Offshore Group: Feb. 12 is the deadline for receipt of the 75-day contract ratification ballot that was mailed on Nov. 30. Your ballot must be received no later than 9:00 a.m. on Feb. 12 to be counted on Feb. 13. Please vote your ballot and send it in as soon as possible if you have not already done so. If you have questions, please contact MM&P International Comptroller Beverly Gutmann,, 410-850-8700 ext. 112 or Juli Rodriguez,, 410-850-8700, ext. 129.


An oil tanker that disappeared on Sunday off the Ivory Coast with a crew of 17 has been hijacked by pirates, according to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB). An IMB spokesman linked the attack to a spate of similar incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, where naval patrols, particularly off the Ivory Coast, are infrequent. Once they seize a ship, the pirates take it to Nigeria, where they siphon off the fuel and steal all the valuables. Yesterday a sailor was shot as pirates tried to hijack a ship off the coast of Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos. Last week, pirates in skiffs fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a tanker off the Nigerian coast, but the ship was able to escape.


The Coast Guard on Saturday announced it had reopened the Mississippi River to vessel traffic in both directions after finishing the cleanup of thousands of gallons of oil from a leaking barge. The agency reported in a news release that the safety zone had been reduced to one mile on either side of the two barges that collided with a railroad bridge near Vicksburg last Sunday, causing a leak from one barge. The news release said the light crude oil had been “effectively removed” to allow for a damage assessment, temporary repairs and transit of the barges to a maritime facility. More than 250,000 gallons of a mixture of oil and water was removed. The Coast Guard said its investigation of the incident is continuing.


The Maritime Administration and SUNY Maritime College have announced the dates for the 2013 Women on the Water Conference: Oct. 31-Nov. 3. The conference will be held at SUNY Maritime College, 6 Pennyfield Avenue, Throggs Neck, NY. 10465. For more information, go to or send an e-mail with your contact information (mailing address, e-mail, phone number) to The conference will provide an open forum for discussions and will be an opportunity to network, build relationships, share experiences and learn about the maritime industry.


Between now and the end of June, the following courses are scheduled at MITAGS. (Please keep in mind, however, that the schedule may be subject to change.)

For class availability or information on courses and programs, contact MITAGS Admissions Coordinator Kelly Michielli toll free at 866-656-5568 or e-mail her at

Or, try our on-line calendar to register for class:

ARPA – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 3/26/2013, 4/2/2013

AZIPOD (2-DAY) for Pilots: 3/20/2013

BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 3/18/13, 5/12/13

BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 2/7/13, 3/7/13, 5/23/13

BST – Basic Safety Training: 4/8/13, 6/24/13

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 4/1/13, 6/17/13

CMM-ADVNAV – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): 3/18/13, 6/3/13

CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 2/18/13, 4/28/13

CMM-CHS – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 2/25/13, 5/6/13

CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 3/11/13, 5/20/13

CMM-SHMGT – Ship Management (2 weeks): 4/15/13

CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 2/18/13, 3/4/13, 4/1/13, 4/15/13, 5/6/13, 6/24/13

CMM-SHS-ADV-I I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 2/25/13, 3/11/13, 4/8/13, 4/22/13, 5/13/13, 6/17/13

CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 4/8/13, 6/24/13

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning: 5/9/13

ENVIRO-Regs Permit – Environmental Regulations Permit: 3/5/2013, 5/23/13

ECDIS-ENAV for Pilots (2 day): 6/13/13

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep and Medications: 3/7/13, 5/23/13

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 4/8/13, 6/24/13

FL – Flashing Light: 4/1/13, 4/10/13

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 2/11/13, 6/24/13

LAP – License Advancement Program for C/Mate & Master: 4/1/13

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 3/6/13, 5/23/13

MCL – Management, Communications and Leadership, 3/25/13

MEDIA RSP – Media Response Workshop: 3/8/2013

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 2/18/13, 3/18/13, 4/22/13, 6/10/13

MED-PIC -R– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 5/13/13

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 2/18/13, 3/18/13, 4/22/13, 6/10/13

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 2/23/13, 3/23/13, 4/13/13, 4/27/13, 6/15/13, 6/29/13

MSC -SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 3/11/13,

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 3/11/13, 6/3/13

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 3/15/13, 6/7/13

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 2/6/2013, 2/20/2013, 3/6/2013, 3/20/2013, 4/3/13, 4/10/134/17/13, 5/1/13, 5/15/13, 5/22/13, 6/5/13, 6/19/13, 6/26/13

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 3/25/13, 4/1/13

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal: 4/8/13

SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 3/25/13, 4/29/13, 6/24/13 SEC-VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 3/4/13, 5/6/13

SHS-ESH-BRMP3 – Emergency Shiphandling and Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 3/4/13, 5/20/13

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling: 2/11/13

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: 2/25/13

… 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.


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

February 2013

11th Radar Renewal
11-15 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
11-15 Bridge Resource Management
18-22 ECDIS
20-21 Environmental Regulations / Vessel General Permit
25-1 Medical Care Provider
25-8 Medical Person-In-Charge
25-8 GMDSS

March 2013

4-15 Celestial Navigation
11th Radar Renewal
12-15 ARPA
18-19 ECDIS for Pilots
18-22 Able Bodied Seaman
20th Fatigue, Sleep, and Medications
21-22 Azipod for Pilots
25-29 ECDIS
27-29 Vessel Security Officer

Up-to-date information on the mutual funds open to participants in the MM&P IRAP and 401(k) Plans can be found by viewing The Wheelhouse Weekly online at