Wheelhouse Weekly – February 13th, 2018

February 14th 2018

Volume 23… Number 7… Feb. 13, 2018


In This Issue:

Coast Guard Update:


MM&P Members:


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The overwhelming majority of professional mariners responding to the Nautilus Federation’s survey on autonomous shipping say they disagree with the predictions of some equipment manufacturers that the first fully autonomous ships will be in service by 2020.

Members of MM&P and 20 other Nautilus Federation affiliates in 16 countries responded to the survey, which was conducted last year.

The roughly 1,000 mariners who responded came from 16 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Denmark and Sweden.

The questionnaire was developed to gather the views of seafarers and other shipping industry staff on the issues surrounding autonomous technology and its potential effect on the maritime sector, and to give a voice to the maritime professionals who will be affected by the move towards ‘smart ships.’

The 30 survey questions sought to address the critical issues around the introduction of autonomous vessels.

Many respondents took the opportunity to provide their opinions, offering frank views and observations based on their professional experience and knowledge.

Concerns around job security and safety dominated much of the feedback, with nearly 84 percent of respondents saying they see automation as a threat to their jobs.

Just over 85 percent of those taking part in the survey said they considered unmanned, remotely controlled vessels to be a threat to safety at sea.

But respondents were not wholly hostile to the concepts and the underpinning systems – many of them noting the potential to use technology in a way that could improve seafarers’ lives by reducing or even eliminating a lot of routine tasks, and to make maritime jobs safer, more skilled and more satisfying.

Eighty-three percent of respondents said they disagreed with the rosy predictions of some equipment manufacturers that commercially viable unmanned/remotely controlled ships will be in service by 2020.

Fewer than 40 percent thought they would be in widespread service within the next 20 years.

To view the survey, go to: and click on the “Resources” tab at the top of the page.

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President Trump’s long-awaited infrastructure proposal shines a welcome spotlight on the need to rebuild America’s infrastructure, says Larry I. Willis, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD).

But the core tenet of the proposal—that almost all funding be provided not by the federal government but by individual states and municipalities—would severely limit its potential to create jobs, fund critical projects and help communities.

“We have long called for America’s infrastructure crisis to be met with a massive infusion of new federal investment that will grow the economy and create good, middle-class jobs,” Willis said in a statement released on Feb. 12.

But “robbing other federal priorities–including important transportation programs–to pay for infrastructure will only add to our growing problems. Furthermore, devolving the federal government’s funding responsibility to cash-strapped states and municipalities will leave too many projects and jobs behind.”

TTD, which represents members of MM&P and 31 other transportation sector unions, is calling on Congress to craft a bipartisan proposal to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, fuel a new wave of middle-class job creation and bolster the American economy in a way that works for everyone.

“Getting there will require robust federal investment, stabilizing the Highway Trust Fund for surface transportation needs and prioritizing Buy America rules and longstanding labor protections that support good jobs and raise wages,” Willis said.

“Creating an infrastructure network capable of supporting a 21st-Century economy requires real federal commitment. It is now time for Congress to take the lead and we stand ready to support that effort.”

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Eighteen months after the expanded Panama Canal opened in June 2016, the tugboat captains who move the giant Neopanamax vessels inside the locks say that attempts by the Panama Canal Authority (PCA) to implement short-sighted cost-saving measures continue to create safety risks.

The PCA is the agency of the government of Panama responsible for the operation and management of the canal.

It says it is seeking ways to expand capacity from the current seven Neopanamax reservation slots a day to eight by the end of the first quarter of 2018 and more in 2019.

The tug captains, members of the Panamanian Union of Captains and Deck Officers (UCOC)–which last year became an MM&P affiliate–say they continue to face problems linked to the PCA’s attempts to boost the number of ships transiting the new locks without making necessary investments in new equipment, construction and personnel.

The authority has not, for example, expanded the Culebra Cut, formerly called the Gaillard Cut, to accommodate two-way traffic.

Last year, UCOC beat back a PCA plan to bring in an outside contractor, the Venezuela-based Meyer’s Group, which operates its own fleet of tugs.

The union said that bringing in an outside fleet, manned by contract workers unfamiliar with canal operations and with only limited knowledge of English, would have created an untenable situation.

The Venezuelan company´s employees would have been able to work on the canal without going through the 2.5-year training and certification process that is required for captains employed directly by PCA.

Now UCOC is fighting the PCA’s attempt to deploy its legacy fleet of 30-year-old tugs rather than invest in new equipment.

“Without consulting us, management says it intends to use the ancient Voith tugs, close to 30 years old and with only 30 tons of bollard pull, less than half the amount used today to carry out maneuvers in the new locks,” says Captain Ivan de la Guarda, a UCOC official.

The union has also criticized another PCA plan, this one to deploy its fleet of eight, first-generation Ztech 6000 ASD tugs–purchased from China in 2007–which UCOC says have so many mechanical defects as to represent “a threat to navigation.”

“TheZtech 6000 tugs are highly unreliable and therefore very unsafe,” says another UCOC official, Captain Manuel Ceballos.

“The main engines cannot withstand counter-flow from the ships’ wash if positioned on the stern and frequently shut down without notice, leaving the captain and the crew at great risk, especially in confined spaces such as the locks.”

Together, the tug captains and Panama Canal pilots say they have prevailed in the fight over the Ztech tugs. The stalemate over the Voith tugs is continuing.

“It is a constant cat and mouse game in which our safety and that of the vessel is being put on risk,” says Cristobal Falquez, UCOC’s general secretary.

“To increase shipping, more tugs need to be acquired, not shuffled, and not brought in via outsourcers,” says MM&P President Don Marcus.

“They’re not getting the most out of the canal expansion because of these problems, some of which could be fixed, but all of which cost money,” he says.

“They are playing with fire, as we need the occurrence of only one serious accident for the canal to be closed,” de la Guarda says.

“An accident could easily be provoked by the use of underpowered or faulty equipment. We have warned them for years, but their management style prevents them from listening to anyone but themselves.”

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Pirates in the Gulf of Guinea have released MT MARINE EXPRESS, a Panama-flagged oil tanker

A spokesperson for the ship’s manager Anglo-Eastern said that after being held hostage for nearly a week, the vessel was once again under command of its captain and crew.

All 22 crewmembers have been reported safe and the ship’s cargo is intact, the company said.

The MT MARINE EXPRESS was hijacked Feb. 1 while at anchorage off Cotonou, Benin.

“A full investigation will be carried out into the hijacking of the vessel and Anglo-Eastern wishes to express its gratitude to the captain and crew of the MARINE EXPRESS and their families for their courage and fortitude in dealing with this difficult situation over the past few days, as well as to all of the authorities and agencies involved,” the company said in the statement.

There was no word on whether a ransom had been paid.

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The Coast Guard has established a new option for the submission of medical certificate applications (forms CG-719K and CG-719KE).

Regional Examination Centers (RECs) will continue to accept medical certificate application submissions.

Now, however, mariners can choose to submit “medical certificate only” applications directly to the National Maritime Center (NMC).

Submissions of medical certificate applications to the NMC can be made simply by sending an e-mail to

The agency said that requirements for submission of medical certificate applications, which are posted on the NMC website, have not changed.

At this time, direct submission to the NMC is only for the medical certificate application; applications for a Merchant Mariner Credential (CG-719B/MMC) cannot be submitted directly to the NMC.

The agency said that any e-mailed application for an MMC, with or without a medical certificate application, made directly to the NMC will be deleted and the applicant will get an e-mail response with directions on how to resubmit their application(s) to a REC.

For questions: e-mail, call 1-888-IASKNMC (427-5662) or go to for more information or to chat.

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The Coast Guard’s Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee (MERPAC) will meet on March 20, 21 and 22 in New Orleans.

The meetings, which will be open to the public, will be held at the Coast Guard’s Eighth Coast Guard District, Hale Boggs Federal Building, 500 Poydras St., New Orleans, LA 70130 in Room B106.

Preregistration is not required for access.

To view the agenda and find out more, search: FR Doc. 2018–02924 Filed 2–12–18; 8:4

For more information contact: Davis Breyer, Alternate Designated Federal Officer of the Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee, 2703 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE, Stop 7509, Washington, DC 20593-7509, or 202-372-1445, or

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AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has delivered a scathing critique of President Trump’s first year in office, saying that he has used his power “to actively hurt working people”

In a January meeting with journalists, Trumka said that contrary to President Trump’s campaign pledge to help working people, he has used the White House to favor corporations and billionaires.

“Broken promises are bad enough,” Trumka said.

“But President Trump has also used his office to actively hurt working people. He has joined with corporations and their political allies to undermine the right of workers to bargain collectively. He has taken money out of our pockets and made our workplace less safe.”
The tax cut law, Trumka said, favored companies over workers, adding that it “rewards outsourcing” of jobs.

The AFL-CIO president also expressed disappointment in the Trump administration’s failure to deliver on promises to secure fairer trade deals.

“President Trump said a lot of the right things as a candidate,” Trumka said.

“But his actions haven’t followed suit.”

Trumka said that working people have reacted by “standing up and fighting back.”

“We have elected union members to office. We have raised wages. We passionately made our case for a new set of economic rules designed to achieve broadly shared prosperity. And America has taken notice. Unions’ approval rating among members of the public is more than 60 percent, the highest in almost two decades.”

“If President Trump wants to change course and join us in the fight to raise wages and standards, strengthen our democracy, and build better lives, we will be ready,” Trumka said.

“But if he continues down his current path, workers will be looking for a new president in 2020.”

He said union members had been willing to vote for Trump because they felt establishment candidates in both parties had failed them, and they were ready to give the first-time politician “a chance.”

When Trump was inaugurated last January, an AFL-CIO survey found that 45 percent of union members approved of him and 55 percent disapproved, according to Mike Podhorzer, the AFL-CIO’s political director. Now, Podhorzer says, 37 percent of union members approve of the president while 63 percent disapprove.

Trumka said that the AFL-CIO would “participate aggressively” in the midterm elections in November, backing candidates in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico and Arizona, along with another dozen states.

He warned Democrats to outline an agenda that would appeal to union workers or risk losing their votes again in the midterm elections.

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On Feb. 9, an e-mail was sent to MM&P marine workers at Reinauer Transportation. If you have questions about the e-mail, or if you did not receive the e-mail, please contact your Area Vice President.

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All MM&P union halls, the MM&P Federal Credit Union, MM&P headquarters and the MM&P Plan Office will be closed on Monday, Feb. 19, for Presidents Day.

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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 Amanda Meadows, Admissions Coordinator, toll-free at 866-656-5568 or by e-mail:

Why not try our on-line calendar to register for class:

For Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) processing, MMC problem resolution advice, STCW compliance and VA GI-Bill questions, contact MITAGS-PMI Student/Instructional Services Manager Jennifer Pitzen at 206-739-0720 (direct line); (888) 893-7829 (toll free); or by e-mail:

Please include your Mariner Reference Number, date of birth and the last four digits of your social security number in all emails.

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 – 4/16/18, 8/27/18, 10/15/18

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: 5/23/18, 8/29/18

ARPA-OIC – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 4/3/18, 9/25/18

AZIPOD 2-Day – 5/21/18, 10/15/18

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 2/26/18, 6/18/18, 9/24/18, 10/29/18

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 2/22/18, 3/29/18, 5/21/18, 7/16/18, 12/19/18

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling: Contact Admissions

BRMP-Refresher – 3/26/18, 5/23/18, 7/18/18, 9/11/18

BT – Basic Safety Training: 4/9/18, 8/13/18, 10/22/18

BT-Revalidation (2-day) (Must have 1 year of seatime in last 5 years) – 3/6/18, 4/2/18, 4/30/18, 6/18/18, 7/31/18, 8/27/18, 9/26/18, 10/31/18, 12/18/18

BT-Refresher (3-day) – 3/5/18, 4/29/18, 7/30/18, 9/26/18, 12/17/18

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 5/7/18

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 4/2/18, 6/11/18, 7/30/18, 9/24/18, 12/10/18

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 3/12/18, 6/4/18, 8/6/18, 9/17/18, 12/3/18

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 4/9/18, 10/1/18

CM-OPS 1 – Chief Mate Operations – Week 1: 3/5/18, 6/4/18, 8/6/18, 10/1/18

CM-OPS 2 Maersk – Chief Mate Operations II Maersk Specific: 3/12/18, 6/11/18, 8/13/18, 10/8/18

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information Systems: 3/26/18, 6/25/18, 8/13/18, 11/12/18

LMS – Leadership and Managerial Skills (Management Level – Formerly MCL-CMM): 2/19/18, 5/14/18, 6/18/18, 8/20/18, 11/26/18

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants: 3/5/18, 10/15/18

SEC-APPS – Practical Defense Tactics: 3/12/18, 10/1/18

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management (2 weeks): 4/23/18, 10/29/18

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 3/5/18, 3/19/18, 4/9/18, 4/23/18, 5/7/18, 6/4/18, 6/18/18, 7/16/18, 7/30/18, 8/13/18, 9/10/18, 10/1/18, 11/5/18, 11/26/18

SHS-ADV-II-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 3/12/18, 3/26/18, 4/16/18, 4/30/18, 5/14/18, 6/11/18, 6/25/18, 7/23/18, 8/6/18, 8/20/18, 9/17/18, 10/8/18, 11/12/18, 12/3/18

**SHS-ADV-I & II now approved to include SAR-CMM assessments at MITAGS effective immediately**

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 3/19/18, 10/22/18

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 5/7/18, 9/10/18

CNAV-OIC – Celestial Navigation: 4/23/18

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: Contact Admissions

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications: 2/19/18

CRSMGT – Crisis Management and Human Behavior – 7/12/18

CDMGT – Crowd Management – 7/13/18

CSE – Confined Space Entry: 7/23/18

CSE-AWR – Confined Space Entry Awareness: 5/24/18, 7/26/18

DDE – Great Lakes: 6/4/18

DPA – Contact Admissions

ECDIS for Pilots – 2/20/18, 5/24/18, 8/27/18, 12/17/18

ERM – Engine Resource Management: 4/23/18, 7/9/18, 11/26/18

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 4/9/18, 8/13/18, 10/22/18

FF-ADV-Rev (1-day) (Must have 1 year of seatime in last 5 years) – Advanced Fire Fighting Revalidation: 3/8/18, 4/4/18, 5/2/18, 6/20/18, 8/2/18, 8/29/18, 9/25/18, 10/30/18

FF-ADV-REF (2-day) – Advanced Fire Fighting Refresher: 3/3/18, 4/27/18, 7/28/18, 9/29/18, 12/15/18

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications: 4/17/18, 9/11/18

GL-Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization: Contact Admissions

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 3/5/18

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 5/21/18, 8/20/18, 12/10/18

IEN – Integrated Electronic Navigation – Contact Admissions

LAP – 2/26/18, 7/9/18, 9/17/18

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

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross
Ton License: Contact Admissions

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 3/28/18, 4/18/18, 5/8/18, 9/12/18

LNG-TPIC – 12/3/18

LTS –Leadership and Teamworking Skills (Formerly MCL-OIC): 5/21/18

MEECE – Management of Electrical and Electronic Control Equipment (Assessments not included): 4/30/18, 7/16/18, 12/3/18

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 3/19/18, 5/7/18, 7/9/18, 10/8/18, 11/26/18

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 4/23/18, 6/25/18, 8/20/18, 9/17/18

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 3/19/18, 4/16/18, 5/7/18, 10/8/18, 11/26/18

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 3/9/18, 4/5/18, 5/3/18, 5/12/18, 6/21/18, 7/14/18, 8/30/18, 9/24/18, 10/13/18, 10/29/18, 12/1/18, 12/21/18

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: Contact Admissions

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 2/23/18, 5/24/18, 6/8/18, 8/8/18, 9/12/18, 11/14/18

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control: 2/21/18, 5/22/18, 6/6/18, 8/6/18, 9/13/18, 11/12/18

*MSC-ENVPRO – 2/25/18, 6/3/18, 8/5/18, 11/4/18

*MSC-FF-HELO – 6/4/18, 8/13/18, 10/31/18

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualifications: 2/26/18, 5/14/18, 6/11/18, 7/16/18, 8/12/18, 9/17/18, 11/5/18

*MSC-Security Watch Basic – 2/24/18, 5/13/18, 6/9/18, 8/9/18, 9/15/18, 11/2/18

*MSC-Security Watch Advanced – 3/2/18, 5/18/18, 6/10/18, 7/15/18, 8/10/18, 9/16/18, 11/3/18

*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force – 3/3/18, 5/19/18, 6/15/18, 7/20/18, 8/17/18, 9/21/18, 11/9/18

NSAP-MMP – Navigational Skills Assessment Program-MM&P – 3/29/18, 4/23/18, 4/25/18, 6/25/18, 6/27/18, 7/31/18, 8/2/18, 8/28/18, 8/30/18, 11/12/18, 11/14/18, 12/17/18, 12/19/18

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 9/24/18

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 2/21/18, 3/7/18, 3/21/18, 4/4/18, 4/18/18, 5/2/18, 5/9/18, 5/16/18, 6/6/18, 6/20/18, 7/11/18, 7/25/18, 8/8/18, 8/22/18, 10/3/18, 10/17/18, 10/31/18, 11/7/18, 11/14/18, 11/28/18, 12/5/18, 12/12/18, 12/19/18

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 9/17/18

SAR – Search & Rescue – (Now with OIC and CMM assessments): 5/22/18, 12/17/18

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling: 5/14/18, 8/27/18, 10/22/18

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day – 2/19/18, 3/12/18, 4/2/18, 5/21/18, 7/23/18, 9/24/18, 10/29/18, 12/10/18

SMS – Contact Admissions

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: Contact Admissions

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: Contact Admissions

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: 4/16/18, 7/9/18

TRAC-TUG-2: Contact Admissions

TTT – Contact Admissions

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: 4/12/18

VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 4/9/18, 7/9/18

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level): 2/19/18

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): 3/19/18

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Winter-Spring 2018

For registration, please contact our registrar, Mary McGhee, at 206.838.1126 or You can also view our schedule and enroll online at

February 2018
19-21 24-Hour Hazwoper
20-23 Advanced Firefighting
23rd Medical DOT
24-26 Basic Training Revalidation (no class on Sunday)
26-2 Medical Care Provider
26-9 Medical Person-In-Charge
27th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
27th Vessel Personnel w/ Designated Security Duties (VPDSD)

March 2018
5-9 Engine Resource Management
7th Hazwoper Refresher
8th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
9-10 Basic Training Revalidation
12th Radar Renewal
12-16 MEECE
12-16 Tankerman PIC
13-16 Advanced Firefighting
19-21 24-Hour Hazwoper
19-23 Basic Training
19-23 Leadership & Managerial Skills
23-24 Basic Training Revalidation
26th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
26th Medical DOT
26-30 Able Seaman
27th Vessel Personnel w/ Designated Security Duties (VPDSD)

April 2018
3-6 ARPA
9-13 Basic Training
9-20 GMDSS
9-20 Watchkeeping (Operational Level)
9-27 Terrestrial & Coastal Navigation
11th Hazwoper Refresher
13th Radar Renewal
13-14 Basic Training Revalidation
16th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
16-18 24-Hour Hazwoper
16-20 Medical Care Provider
16-27 Medical Person-In-Charge
23rd Vessel Personnel w/ Designated Security Duties (VPDSD)
23-4 GMDSS
23-4 Watchkeeping (Operational Level)
26th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
27-28 Basic Training Revalidation
30-4 Leadership & Managerial Skills

May 2018
7-11 Radar Observer Unlimited
7-18 License Preparation
9th Hazwoper Refresher
11-12 Basic Training Revalidation
11-14 Basic Training Refresher (no class on Sunday)
14th Radar Renewal
14-18 Basic Training
14-18 Ship Construction and Basic Stability
15th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
21-23 Search and Rescue
21-25 ECDIS
23-25 24-Hour Hazwoper
25th Vessel Personnel w/ Designated Security Duties (VPDSD)
29-31 Security Officer – Vessel, Company, and Facility
29-1 Advanced Firefighting

June 2018
2-4 Basic Training Revalidation (no class on Sunday)
4th Radar Renewal
4th Leadership & Teamworking Skills
4-8 Medical Care Provider
4-15 Medical Person-In-Charge
5-8 ARPA
11-14 Advanced Firefighting
11-22 GMDSS
11-22 Watchkeeping (Operational Level)
18-22 Engine Resource Management
22-23 Basic Training Revalidation
22-24 Basic Training Refresher
25th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
25-29 Meteorology (Operational Level)
25-29 Leadership & Managerial Skills
26th Medical DOT

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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 © 2017. Articles can be reprinted without prior permission if credit is given to The MM&P WheelhouseWeekly. For subscriptions, address changes or messages to the editor or to MM&P headquarters, e-mail Back issues of The Weekly are posted on