Wheelhouse Weekly – February 10, 2005

February 10th 2005



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

Volume 9 . . . . . Number 6 . . . . February 10, 2005

  • ALSO


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


The Pacific Port Halls will be closed for MM&P contractual holidays on Feb.14 for the observance of Lincoln’s Birthday and on Feb.21 for the observance of Presidents Day.


There will be a Grand Opening Party/Open House on Wed., March 9 after the noon job call at the MM&P New Orleans Hall. The NOLA Hall’s new location is 3330 West Esplanade Avenue, South, Suite 209, Metairie, LA 70002-3454. The telephone number, 504-837-5700, remains the same. RSVPs are appreciated. For more info, contact Representative Sue Bourcq by phone or by Email at .



The President’s Fiscal Year 2006 budget was released earlier this week and the good news is that the full funding for the first year of the new, expanded MSP program is included: $156 million for 60 MSP vessels at $2.6 million per ship.

According to the budget message, MSP, “together with the Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement Program and the Ready Reserve Force, assures DOD access to ships and crews during DOD mobilizations, and helps ensure the efficient flow of military cargo through commercial ports.” (Prior to this, the amount needed for the 47-ship MSP was $98.7 million.)

As expected, the President’s budget does not include any funds for the tanker construction assistance program. Nor does the budget include any new funds for the Title XI program (the budget message states that this is “consistent with the Administration’s intent to eliminate corporate subsidies”).

The President’s FY 2006 budget request also significantly reduces PL 480 Title II funding, only providing funding for 1.7 million metric tons of food aid versus the legal mandatory minimum level of 2.5 million metric tons. It seeks only $885,000,000 appropriations for PL 480 Title II, a $300,000,000 cut from the FY 2005 budget request.

Title II PL 480 cargoes are those that are bagged food aid cargoes generally carried by liner companies and under the law, 75 percent of such food aid cargoes must move on US-flag vessels. The rationale provided is that the $300,000,000 is added to the international disaster relief budget for USAID, so the funds can be available for buying commodities when needed for disasters.



The USCG has issued a safety advisory that certain Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers do not provide a proper indication to other connected equipment when manually-entered position offsets are entered into the GPS receiver.

Even a small offset could result in danger of collision or other navigation safety hazard when the receiver is interconnected to devices such as an Automatic Identification System (AIS), Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS), Integrated Navigation Systems (INS) or Track Control System (TCS).

The problem is caused by an error in the NMEA 0183/IEC 61162 data interface Datum Reference (“DTM”) “local datum” field. Navigation systems interconnected to the GPS receiver use this field to determine whether the position received is referenced to World Geodetic System 84 (WGS84) or something different. AIS equipment, for example, disregards external position information for reasons of safety if the “local datum” field does not indicate WGS84.

As a result, equipment that is interfaced to GPS receivers having this problem would act as if the position were referenced to the WGS84 datum, when in fact the position differs from the WGS84 datum by the manual offsets entered by the vessel’s crew or captain.

The problem can be identified if own ship position displayed on an AIS changes in proportion to manually-entered offsets entered into the GPS receiver interconnected to the AIS. The GPS is operating correctly in such a situation if the AIS reverts to its integral GPS and disregards the manually-entered offsets sent from the externally-connected GPS.

GPS Receivers identified having this problem:

  • Furuno GP80
  • Furuno GP90
  • Mariners having these receivers are advised to either take steps to ensure that the manually-offset feature is never and can never be used, or to disconnect these receivers from the AIS, ECDIS, INS, TCS or other navigation or communications system. Technical questions relating to this alert may be addressed to Lee Luft at 860-441-2685 or by Email at:



    MM&P Pilot Membership Group Vice President Capt. George Quick and MM&P Special Representative Capt. Joe Stone attended the 36th Session of the International Maritime Organization’s subcommittee on the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STW 36) that took place at IMO Headquarters in London from January 10-14, 2005.

    The representatives of 70 countries and 16 non-governmental organizations were in attendance. Capt. Quick prepared the following brief overviews of the subjects that were covered during the session.

    Engine Room Resource Management

    The subcommittee is recommending that Part B of the STCW Code be amended to provide for training in Engine Room Resource Management. The recommended guidelines closely follow the present provisions for Bridge Resource Management training.

    Training Of Fast Rescue Boat Crews In Adverse Weather

    The issue of fast rescue boats is contentious. They are required on Ro-Ro passenger ships as a result of the high loss-of-life in the M/V ESTONIA sinking where other ships in the area were unable to recover passengers from the water. They are considered by many to be a political response to a high profile accident. Seafarers serving on ships with fast rescue boats believe they are both dangerous and impractical in bad weather conditions.

    The United Kingdom proposed an amendment to the STCW Code to provide for the training of crews in launching and recovery, and rescue operations under severe adverse weather conditions. There was serious concern by a number of delegations that training and drills under actual heavy weather conditions at sea would jeopardize the safety and lives of seafarers.

    The final recommendation was that training and exercises under varying weather conditions was desirable, but that onboard training and exercises under adverse weather conditions should be at the Master’s discretion taking into account the sea conditions and safety of the seafarers.

    Measures To Prevent Accidents With Lifeboats

    There have been a number of injuries and deaths associated with exercises in free-fall lifeboats due to premature release of the “onload release hook”. The committee reviewed the requirements for crew participation in free-fall lifeboat exercises. There was a general consensus that shore based training in free-fall lifeboats, including participation in a free-fall launch, should be required of seafarers serving in ships with free-fall lifeboats.

    On board ship it was agreed that drills should be conducted by launching with falls and crew members should participate in simulated free-fall launches where the lifeboat is tethered with a strap and is not actually launched. This is contrary to the provisions of the SOLAS Convention and the matter will be referred to MSC for amendment of SOLAS.

    Maritime Security

    The Maritime Security Working Group finalized the training and certification requirements for persons to be designated as Ship Security Officers. The new requirements are expected to be adopted in May of 2006 and will be incorporated into Part A of the STCW Code. Transitional provisions will be in place to cover persons currently qualified as ship security officers until July 1, 2009 when the new certificates of proficiency will be mandatory. If anyone is interested in the complete text of the new requirements, please contact me.

    During the discussions of the training requirements we were able to raise the issue of increased workload generated by the security activities required under the Ship Security Plan. It was agreed that an in-depth discussion was required on the impact of security generated workload in the context of the IMO Resolution on the Principles of Safe Manning.

    Delegations were invited to submit proposals on needed action in this regard for consideration of the issue at the next session of the STW sub-committee in January 2006. This is a major breakthrough in having the issue placed on the formal agenda and a call for papers.

    Fatigue Prevention, Mitigation And Management

    Up until this session, the IMO position has been that fatigue is an education and training issue that should be addressed through voluntary guidelines in disregard our constant protests that fatigue was a manning issue.

    At this session the United Kingdom delegation advised the committee that as a result of a study conducted by their Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) into casualties it was now their view that the issue of fatigue could no longer be addressed through training requirements and there is a need to ensure that work patterns aboard ships does not lead to fatigue.

    The United Kingdom delegation also informed the committee that it would be proposing a new work program item to MSC 80 in May of this year to ensure that ships were adequately manned, so that seafarers on board were not fatigued.

    The MAIB study deals primarily with two watch ships in the short sea trades which are manned in a similar fashion to our towboats. The MAIB Study points out that present manning provisions under the IMO resolution on Principles of Safe Manning are only recommended guidelines and that each country can interpret the guidelines differently.

    Commercial pressures can induce shipowners to reduce manning for competitive advantage and flag States can offer lenient interpretations of the manning guidelines to attract shipowners to their flags.

    In the coming debates we hope to resolve the fatigue issue by adoption of mandatory international standards for manning levels based on anticipated workloads in the type of trade in which the ship is engaged. The timing seems right to begin making progress on this issue.

    Development Of Competences For Ratings

    The international provisions for the training and certification of ratings is being transferred from the International Labor Organization (ILO) to the IMO STCW Convention. Initially the former ILO provisions will remain in place until the STW sub-committee of IMO develops new knowledge, understanding and proficiency standards; methods for demonstrating and evaluating competence; and service requirements for all ratings except the ship’s cook.

    A group has been formed under the coordination of the United Kingdom to develop a draft set of standards for consideration at the next session of the STW sub-committee in January of 2006. There are different views on the role and function of ratings. There is a real danger that the IMO will over-regulate the training and certification process creating problems in recruitment and retention.

    There is also a potential problem with shipowners using the new system to justify changes in present shipboard organizational structures to the detriment of officers and engineers.



    As of Jan.31, members of the maritime industry required to provide arrival and departure information to the USCG and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will be able to do so through the submission of one report.

    The USCG and CBP require vessels to submit crew, passenger, vessel, voyage and cargo information for safety and security purposes and for the enforcement of US immigration, import, and export laws, prior to arrival in a US port or place. In the past, vessels were required to submit this info separately to both the USCG and CBP.

    The new Electronic Notice of Arrival/Departure System (eNOAD) will provide the maritime industry with one avenue to submit the required vessel, crew, and passenger info. This system currently cannot receive info for CBP’s mandatory electronic cargo info regulation; however, the two agencies are continuing to work on ways to share this kind of info. Other enhancements to the system include allowing the user to update previously submitted info. The system will also send an Email acknowledgment that the report was received.

    “This is one example of how agencies within the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) are coordinating and collaborating to protect our nation’s interests,” said USCG Commandant Adm. Thomas Collins. “This is a common-sense solution that exemplifies why we have a DHS, and I am proud that we are able to eliminate duplicative reporting requirements.” While use of this new system is not currently mandatory, CBP regulations will be published that will require submission through this system.

    “We are committed to simplifying and easing requirements for our industry partners while we strengthen maritime security. With a single electronic submission, we improve not only the quality but also the accuracy of the information we receive and simultaneously speed the flow of trade and secure our nation,” CBP Commissioner Robert Bonner said.

    More info on the new system, including online forms, can be found on the Coast Guard’s National Vessel Movement Center website at



    After reading last week’s article on the Containerization & Intermodal Institute’s History of Containerization Project, MM&P member Capt. Ed Higgins, who is currently serving as Master of the USNS FISHER, sent in the following Email:

    “While Malcomb McLean has gained worldwide recognition for the advent of containerization, he did not “invent containerization”. In 2001, The Professional Mariner trade magazine published an account of the first intermodal cargo plan and the “Higgins Box” which preceded McLean by over 10 years. Jerry Strachan, author of “AJH and the Boats that Won WWII” reports that he has a bound copy of the “Higgins Container System of Transportation” with a 1945 copyright by Higgins Industries, Inc.

    Strachan advises that, “AJH does not claim to be the originator of containerized shipping. The idea had apparently been around for quite some time. In his company’s book it mentions a report by the ‘Federal Coordinator issued in 1936.’ The report, while focusing on the economical benefits of transporting containers via rail and highway, supposedly does mention that containers could also be handled in vessels.”

    Strachan says that Higgins took the idea of containerization beyond the normal thinking of his time. To quote his company’s study it states, “It is the aim of the Higgins System to coordinate the water-truck service in such a manner so as to give full play to the inherent advantage of each type of service and to alleviate the disadvantages as far as possible.” He then follows in great detail with his company’s plan and he also mentions the idea of using the containers via rail.



    The Chamber of Shipping of America (CSA) is now accepting nominations for the 2004 Rear Admiral Halert Shepheard Award. Presentation of the “Shep” Award will take place at CSA’s annual meeting on April 19 in New York City.

    Nominations for a living individual may be submitted for a single outstanding contribution to merchant marine safety; or in recognition of, dedication to, or exceptional leadership in activities associated with merchant marine safety over time. Nominations should be based upon direct personal and professional knowledge of an individual.

    Nominations must be received no later that Friday, March 4. A web-based nomination form may be downloaded from CSA’s website:, or may be obtained by writing to: “Shep” Award Committee, Chamber of Shipping of America, 1730 M Street, NW, Suite 407, Washington, DC 20036.




    Between now and the end of May 2005 seats are available in the following courses:

    • AIS – Automatic Identification System: 4/29, 5/7
    • ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 3/14, 4/4, 5/2, 5/9
    • BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 2/14
    • BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 4/26
    • BST – Basic Safety Training: 3/07, 4/25, 5/23

      CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses

    • CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 2/14, 5/2
    • CMM-CHS I- Cargo Handling & Stowage (week 1): 3/28
    • CMM-CHS II- Cargo Handling & Stowage (week 2): 3/21
    • CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display and Info Systems: 3/21, 4/18, 5/16
    • CMM-MMP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 2/21
    • CMM-SHMGT-I – Ship Management (week 1): 2/28
    • CMM-SHMGT-II – Ship Management (week 2): 3/07
    • CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 2/14, 3/14, 3/28, 4/18, 5/23
    • CMM-SHS-ADV-II- Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 4/25
    • CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 5/9
    • CMM-WKP- Advanced Watchkeeping: 3/14, 4/11
    • CMM-VPEN-Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 4/25
    • CONT-PLNG – Contingency Planning: 3/04, 4/8, 5/6, 5/13
    • FF-BADV – (Combined) Basic and Advanced Firefighting: 3/07, 4/20, 5/23
    • HAZ – Hazardous Materials [5-day]: 3/28, 4/11
    • LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 4/13, 4/26, 5/4, 5/10
    • MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 3/03, 4/7, 5/5, 5/12
    • MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 3/19, 4/23, 5/14
    • MED-PIC – Medical Person-In-Charge: 3/14, 4/18, 5/9
    • MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 3/14, 4/18, 5/9

      MSC – Military Sealift Command

    • MSC-CBRD-1 – Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Training Orientation: 3/03, 4/23, 5/1, 5/19
    • MSC-DC – Damage Control: 4/18, 4/27, 5/16
    • MSC-ENVPRO: Environmental Protection: 5/18
    • MSC-SMA – Small Arms Training (4-day): 4/25, 5/16
    • MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 4/29, 5/20
      (must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years)
    • ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal (5-day): 3/28, 5/23
    • ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 3/14, 4/4, 5/2, 5/9
    • SEC-FSO – Facility Security Officer: 4/4
    • SEC-MAR-PRO – Maritime Security Professional Train The Trainer Training [5 days], 4/11
    • SEC-OFF-PCS – Security Officer: Port, Company, Ship: 2/28, 5/3
    • SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling (5-day): 3/28, 5/23
    • TRAC-TUG – Water Tractor and Azimuth Stern Drive Tugs: 5/5
    • TPIC – Tankerman Person-In-Charge: 4/4



    If you are scheduled for a course, call, write, or Email admissions to advise whether or not you will attend. Many classes are in demand and maintain a Standby List. “No Shows” are missed training opportunities for other members.


    Courses are subject to change. Check the MITAGS website for up-to-date course descriptions associated with all course title abbreviations, and for schedule revisions and updated course availability. You can also check future schedules, review detailed course descriptions and register on-line or contact Admissions at or by calling toll-free, 1-866-656-5568.


    All the courses below will be conducted at our new facility at 1729 Alaskan Way South, home to the “Maritime Technology and Career Center” which houses PMI’s state-of-the-art Full Mission Ship Simulator.

    February 2005

    • 2/14: Radar Recertification
    • 2/14-18: Basic Safety Training
    • 2/14-18: ARPA
    • 2/14-18: Emergency Shiphandling
    • 2/14-25: Celestial Navigation
    • 2/14-25: 100 Ton Course
    • 2/21-25: Personal Survival Craft/Lifeboatman
    • 2/21-25: Basic Shiphandling
    • 2/21-24: Fast Rescue Boat
    • 2/28-3/4: Basic and Advanced Firefighting
    • 2/28-3/4: Basic Meteorology
    • 2/28-3/2: Ship/Company Security Officer
    • 2/28-3/11: GMDSS

    March 2005

    • 3/07-11: Construction and Stability
    • 3/14-18: Basic Safety Training
    • 3/17-18: Basic Firefighting
    • 3/14-18: Cargo Handling and Stowage
    • 3/14-18: ARPA
    • 3/14-18: Tankerman Person-In-Charge
    • 3/21-25: Able Bodied Seaman
    • 3/21-24: Personal Survival Craft/Lifeboatman
    • 3/21-25: Medical Care Provider
    • 3/21-4/01: Medical Person-In-Charge
    • 3/21-25: ECDIS
    • 3/21-24: Fast Rescue Boat
    • 3/28-29: Ratings Forming Part of a Navigational Watch
    • 3/28-29: Search and Rescue
    • 3/30-4/01: Emergency Procedures
    • 3/28-4/01: ARPA
    • 3/28: Radar Recertification
    • 3/28-4/01: Emergency Shiphandling

    For registration and more info call DeeDee Lazik or Jennifer Fowler at 888-893-7829, check the PMI website at or Email PMI at


    MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF February 9, 2005 CLOSE

     D O W    N A S D A Q
     10,664.11 +66.32 for the week  2,032.76  -42.30 for the week
    Fund Name & Trading Symbol
     Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
     Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
     Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
     Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
     Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
     Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
     Vanguard High Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX)
     Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
     Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
     Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
     Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
     Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
     Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)

    ~ Reminders ~




    All MM&P members are reminded that to sail aboard the T-AGS ships that MM&P-contracted Horizon Lines will be operating, you must have the required training certification and your certificates must be current in accordance with Military Sealift Command requirements. Members are also required to have had a MSC pre-employment physical and to possess Ship Security Clearance (see below).

    The MSC Contract calls for all training certificates required for manning of these vessels to be no older than 5 years and that all STCW-95 courses be renewed every 5 years, or annually, as applicable.

    Five-year renewable courses include, but are not limited to:

    • Advanced Fire Fighting
    • Basic Safety Training, and
    • Damage Control

    Small Arms certificates must be less than 1 year old.

    Members interested in applying for one of the positions onboard the T-AGS vessels are advised to make sure your certificates are up to date. If not, contact Mary Matlock or Diane Ford at MITAGS Admissions, email:, and schedule to take the course(s) needed.

    Those MM&P members interested in obtaining more information and facts about the T-AGS Oceanographic Vessels are asked to email the Director of Special Projects requesting the “facts sheet”. It will be provided by return email in an Adobe Acrobat PDF format.

    Members interested in employment on the T-AGS ships are asked to provide a 1-2 page resume. Please list the desired position you are seeking along with the certificates of training you possess and their dates. Upon receipt it will be forwarded to Horizon Lines and a confirmation sent back to the member. Vessel turnover commences Oct.17, 2004 and will continue until Jan.3, 2005. Crew rotations will start beginning as early as January 2005 and will continue through as late as June 2005. Positions for all ratings remain open.

    The point of contact for sending a resume for employment on the Horizon Lines T-AGS Oceanographic Vessels is Richard Plant, MM&P’s Director of Special Projects. Send resumes in an email or as a Word file attachment to him at:, by fax to 410-850-0973 or by mail to:

    Richard Plant, Director of Special Projects

    700 Maritime Blvd.
    Linthicum Heights, MD 21090


    Members who want to sail for Horizon Lines on the T-AGS Oceanographic Survey vessels the company is set to begin operating for MSC must have Ship Security Clearance before going aboard.

    Special software must be downloaded from the US Government’s Defense Security Service to complete the Security Clearance application. You must have an Internet connection and a Windows-based computer to retrieve the application and run the program.

    Go to to download the software titled “EPSQ SUBJECT2_2”.

    After the software is installed and the program is launched, select “Create” from the menu bar at the top of the screen. You will be required to enter your Social Security Number and a case-sensitive password. A window titled “Type of Form” will appear.

    All Deck Officers should select the first button titled “Request for Security Clearance (SF86)” and then click “OK” to go to the next screen, “Type of Investigation”.

    From the “Type of Investigation” screen:

    • Masters and Radio Officers should select the first button, “Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI)”.
    • All other Deck Officers (C/M, 2/M, 3/M) should click on the second button, “National Agency Check (NAC or NACLC)”.

    After selecting the appropriate investigation type, click on “OK” to begin filling in the forms.

    When complete and all information has been validated, click on “Communications” from the menu bar at the top of the screen and select “Transmit to Security Officer”. Save the file to the hard drive on your computer using your last name (surname) as the file name. Send this file as an email attachment to Mike Bohlman at Horizon Lines, His phone number is 908-259-2803. You will need to provide Mike Bohlman with your name and the case-sensitive password you assigned to the file in order for Horizon Lines to open the file and process your Security Clearance.


    Horizon Lines requests all mariners seeking employment aboard the T-AGS Oceanographic vessels to take their MSC Physical at specially-designated facilities only after being advised to do so by the Company. This is to assure that all requirements of the MSC Physical are properly met.

    On Dec.6, MM&P members will begin manning the third of seven T-AGS ships operated by Horizon. The USNS SUMNER will be crewed-up in Portland, OR. MM&P wishes the crew a safe voyage and happy holidays.



    Is it time to replace that car you’re driving? Vehicle loan rates are looking great at MM&P FCU.

    Drive away in a new or used vehicle for a standard loan rate of:

    4.75 percent for terms up to 24 months.
    Standard loan rates for longer-term loans are:

    5.00 percent for 25-48 months;
    5.75 percent for 49-60 months ($20,000 minimum); and
    6.25 percent for terms extending from 61-72 months ($25,000 minimum).
    You can lower your loan rate even more — by 0.75 percent — by becoming a Preferred Borrower.

    Are you paying a higher rate on your current vehicle loan at another institution? Consider refinancing your outside loan at the MM&P FCU and taking advantage of our lower loan rates.

    MM&P FCU will finance up to 100 percent of your new vehicle loan, and up to 90 percent of NADA Book Value on a used vehicle. Maximum vehicle loan amount is $30,000.

    MM&P FCU members can reduce the interest rate they pay on any new loan even further by becoming a preferred borrower. What is a preferred borrower? That’s a member who deposits at least 10 percent of the original loan amount into their MM&P FCU savings account and keeps those funds on deposit until the loan is paid in full. By doing this you save twice – first, your deposit works for you by earning our regular dividend savings rate, and second, you save money by reducing the interest rate on your loan by 0.75 percent.

    Contact the MM&P FCU for full details on all loan programs by email to or call 1-800-382-7777 toll-free.




    On Sept.30, Merck & Co. voluntarily withdrew Vioxx, a popular anti-inflammatory medication, from the market. As a result, individuals who are currently taking the drug have been asked to contact their health care professionals to discuss discontinuing use of Vioxx and possible alternative treatments.

    MM&P Plans Administrator Valerie Verrecchio reports that, “We have gotten a number of calls from members who want to know what to do with their remaining supply of Vioxx and whether the Plan or NMHC will refund their co-pay for the unused portion.

    “Unfortunately, neither NMHC nor the Plan was aware of the Merck decision prior to the public announcement on Sept.30. As of that date, all deliveries of Vioxx to our members was suspended in accordance with Merck’s announcement. Orders that had already been processed and were in transit could not be stopped.

    “In regard to refunds, Merck has set up a website at where members can obtain information on how to recover refunds from Merck for the unused portion of medication. Members can also call following toll free number for information: 1-888-368-4699.

    “We are sorry for any inc onvenience this may have caused to members currently taking this medication, however, the matter is out of the control of the Plans.”


    MM&P Plans Administrator Valerie Verrecchio reports, “Good news! NMHC mail has finally gotten their website upgraded and functioning properly. I went in and tested it myself and found it to be quite user friendly.”

    To use NMHC’s upgraded service, go to the NMHC Mail website at and click on “MEMBER LOGIN” at the bottom of the screen.

    First-time and Registered users may bypass the welcome screen and go directly to the log-in page at

    • First-time users should then click on the link marked “NEW USER: REGISTER HERE”.
      This will take you to a page titled “MEMBER REGISTRATION” where you will need to enter demographic information and submit it by clicking on the
    • “CREATE ACCOUNT” button.

    After creating your account, NMHC will email you a password to gain entry into your records. With your first sign-in, the NMHC system will prompt you to change the NMHC password to one of your own choosing.

    Once you are registered at NMHC, you can check the status of open orders by logging-in to the system through the “MEMBER LOGIN” page and going into the “MAIL ORDER” menu. You can look up all prescriptions and get the price our members will pay for any medication. You can also view an order history of all of your medication transactions (both retail and mail) for the last 24 months, locate 24-hour pharmacies in your zip code region as well as access other helpful member education information.

    “We hope this welcome improvement will assist our members. Although you cannot order refills on line if you don’t provide a credit or debit card number, you can phone in your refill. Once you register on the website, you will still have access to all of the other information including checking the status of your order once it is phoned in,” said Ms. Verrecchio.


    The U.S. Coast Guard has announced an initiative to identify and collect the oral histories of its World War II veterans. Coast Guard WWII veterans, including SPARS and merchant mariners, are encouraged to record their histories online with the Library of Congress Veterans History Project at

    Those veterans needing assistance in recording their stories can receive help from their local Coast Guard Auxiliary public affairs contact by leaving a message at 1-877-875-6296, a toll-free call.



    LMS Ship Management, the company that manages vessels for Central Gulf, Sulphur Carriers and Waterman Steamship, wants to remind MM&P members that they offer their crewmembers a $75 reimbursement on the cost of purchasing certain slip-resistant shoes and boots for use aboard ship.

    This offer has been in place for some time and LMS reports that “we have been pleased with the participation to date, but feel a reminder may be in order.” Their goal is for every crewmember to wear slip resistant footwear during working hours aboard their vessels.

    The $75 reimbursement is available to each crewmember who provides LMS with an original receipt for the purchase of slip resistant footwear. In order for the crewmember to obtain the reimbursement, they must wear the shoes while on duty. Upon presentation of the receipt, the crewmember will be reimbursed on their pay voucher. The receipt will be retained by the Master and will remain aboard the vessel.

    Vessels in the LMS footwear reimbursement program are:

    • Green Cove
    • Green Dale
    • Green Lake
    • Green Point
    • Atlantic Forest
    • Sulphur Enterprise
    • Energy Enterprise
    • SGT Matej C. Kocak
    • MAJ Stephen W. Pless, and
    • PFC Eugene A. Obregon

    LMS notes that in order to receive reimbursement, crewmembers must purchase one of the following recommended brands:

    • WORX by Red Wing Slip Resistant Footwear
    • Caterpillar (must have steel toe & slip resistant sole)
    • Wolverine (must have steel toe and slip resistant sole)
    • Dunham Sierra Work Boot EH
    • Steel Toe Voyager
    • Georgia Boot 6- or 8-inch Safety Toe Boot
    • Dr. Marten’s (must have steel toe & slip resistant sole)


    Of the boots listed above, Red Wing, Caterpillar and Wolverine boots are produced by US union labor.

    Redwing’s Union-made products are: Red Wing shoes and boots, Red Wing motorcycle boots and Craftsman (Sears).

    Wolverine World Wide manufactures boots under the Caterpillar brand using US union labor. (Other union made safety-shoe brands by Wolverine are the company’s Hy-Test, Durashock and Bates Military labels. The company’s Wolverine brand combat boots are also produced using US union labor.)

    Most Dr. Marten’s shoes and boots are produced in the UK.

    To find US, union-made products, visit the AFL-CIO Union Label Service and Trades website at and click on “Union Made Product Search”. To shop for union-made products online, go to



    The Union Label recently went digital with a new website offering shoppers an array of union-made gifts, from clothing and chocolates to computers, games and greeting cards.

    The website,, launches on the eve of the fall and winter holidays, when shoppers will spend an estimated $1 trillion on gifts, food, drinks and other seasonal items, explained Matt Bates, Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO Union Label & Service Trades Department. The all-union shopping site, however, will be a year-round operation because that is what consumers demand, he added.

    “Shoppers spent $56 billion in Internet sales last year, and on-line spending is doubling every two to three years. Everyday we receive Email and calls from people who want to support good jobs by buying union-made goods and services. The website will reach millions of people, 24 hours a day, with a quick convenient way to shop union,” Bates said.

    “The public is ready for this. People have seen millions of good jobs disappear and they are looking for ways to take a stand and make a difference,” he added.

    The AFL-CIO will target the peak of the holiday shopping season by promoting “Buy Union Week” Nov. 26 through Dec. 5. The newly-launched, all-union shopping site will be a cornerstone of that campaign. MM&P has a link to the Shop Union Site on this website under “Links and Other Sources”.

    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., Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1941. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973; Email: For further info or to subscribe contact John Peige at The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea, broadcast worldwide via FEC marine telex and is posted on our web page.