Wheelhouse Weekly – February 14, 2002

February 14th 2002


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

Volume 6. . . . . Number 6. . . February 14, 2002





On Monday, February 18, MM&P HQ, Plans, Offshore, A&G, PMR and GL&R halls will be closed in observance of President’s Day.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Richard Plant, MM&P’s Director of Special Projects, will be representing the MM&P at a number of maritime academy career days in the coming days and weeks.

  • 2/15: Massachusetts Maritime Academy Career Day in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, aboard the Ft. Schuyler training vessel EMPIRE STATE.
  • 3/1: Texas Maritime Academy Career Day, Galveston, TX.
  • 3/12: SUNY Ft. Schuyler Career Day, Fort Schuyler, NY.

Plant noted that during these events, he looks forward to explaining the various seagoing career options available to academy graduates with Unlimited Third Mate licenses.

MM&P members who are graduates from these or other academies are encouraged to contact Richard Plant to participate with MM&P in academy career day events.

Academy students are also encouraged to contact Richard Plant with questions.

Richard Plant may be reached by emailing or by calling 410-850-8700 x36.


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



On February 12, Mike Rodriguez, Executive Assistant to MM&P President Tim Brown, and Richard Plant, MM&P’s Director of Special Projects, attended a meeting led by Capt. Mike Brown, head of USCG’s STCW Delegation to the International Maritime Organization. In addition to the MM&P, seagoing maritime labor was represented by MEBA, SIU, SUP and AMO. Following are excerpts from Richard Plant’s and Mike Rodriguez’s report on the meeting:

The USCG’s Brown advised that the US Delegation had no knowledge prior to the STCW meeting in London about the IMO’s request for the 6 month delay in enforcement of STCW-95 requirements.

Each union expressed dissatisfaction and discouragement over the delay since a great deal of time, effort and money was invested to comply with the law and now the foreign countries are being given a benefit US mariners are not receiving.

STCW enforcement, according to USCG, is still Feb.1, 2002 and that is what they will require for US mariners going on board vessels sailing foreign.

“The Coast Guard stated that foreign mariners are trained but the backlog is in documentation and certification of their mariners,” said Plant.

USCG is developing 6 “tiger teams” to assist the 6 major US ports where delays in issuing documentation exist. The ports listed are New Orleans, Miami and Charleston, and then Houston, Boston and LA/Long Beach.

The Gap-Closing period whereby a mariner must comply with STCW-95 competencies after 2/1/02 has been delayed one year due to the letter issued by the USCG’s National Maritime Center at the October 2001 SOCP meeting in Norfolk, VA. Basically, enforcement is relaxed for the next 6 months (for foreigners only) while compliance is relaxed for 1 year, up to Feb.1, 2003.

The result is that any US mariner not presently certified and applying for compliance with STCW-95 need not adhere to the new STCW-95 competencies required by STCW until after 2/1/03. Between now and 2/1/03, however, a mariner can apply for STCW-95 certification but cannot sail foreign until receiving the certification. US mariners can sail near coastal (not to PR, HI or AK) without STCW-95 Certification.

An individual mariner going aboard a US-flag vessel after 2/1/02 must have either the STCW-95 certification or a letter (application) showing that he/she applied for STCW-95 certification on or before 2/1/02 for compliance with STCW and that it is the USCG and their backlog of paperwork delaying their receiving the STCW certification.

Proof of STCW certification is not without its hitches. The SUP’s Gunnar Lundeberg showed a STCW-95 certification that contained multiple dates. It was issued by Seattle MSO and was acceptable when the mariner boarded the vessel in Seattle and visited Vancouver, BC. However, when the vessel went to LA/Long Beach the USCG there deemed it not acceptable. The mariner had to depart the vessel, fly back to Seattle and return with one year’s worth of sea service proof (discharges) in the last 5 years to show himself to be an actively sailing mariner for the LA/LB USCG to allow him to sail.

It was requested that USCG issue a Certification for STCW with only a single date on the document – not the BST date or any other dates. They have taken this under advisement.

The question of Medical Person In Charge was brought up by Mike Rodriguez. USCG clarified that if a particular billet is assigned as being the MED-PIC then the mariner filling the billet must have MED-PIC training. If the ISM code aboard the vessels designates the Chief Mate, for example, as being the MED-PIC then every C/M coming on board that vessel is required to have MED-PIC training.

It is considered advisable to not assign a specific billet position as being the MED-PIC. By doing this Port State Authorities and ISM codes will not find a violation.


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



On February 13, the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation examined new ways to implement a proposed nationwide security system that would require transportation workers to hold secure identity cards.

Rear Adm. James Underwood, Director, Office of Intelligence and Security, Office of the Secretary of Transportation, testified that in developing recommendations for credentialing transportation workers, the effort must consider that hundreds of thousand of foreign merchant mariners and foreign truck drivers enter the US each year.

He was quick to reiterate that security credentials for port personnel is one significant element of the security system within seaports. “In order for it to work effectively, there must be physical control of all access points, whether that constitutes a barrier, surveillance and interdiction program or another method of control,” he concluded.

During a question and answer session, Adm. Underwood noted that costs of the proposed security check and card issuance would be borne by either the employer or worker.

Among those submitting testimony before the hearing were ILA President John Bowers and the ILWU’s Peter Peyton.

Bowers was supportive of well-thought-out credentialing procedures for controlling access to terminals and maritime related facilities in and around US ports. Following are excerpts from his remarks:

The overwhelming majority of ILA-represented longshore persons are hard working, responsible family members and loyal citizens. The standards for restricting access must not be crafted in terms of any prior run-ins with the law that have no realistic relationship to an individual’s proclivities for committing terrorism or crimes of opportunity on the waterfront.

To the extent that a member of the workforce may be perceived as a security risk the affected individual should be accorded the due process of an appeals procedure that is written into the Act.

I must communicate my and my members’ concerns about the accessibility of containers, both loaded and empty, that enter these ports day in and day out. We have been contending that the main vehicle for terrorizing is the container, of which there are annually millions traversing terminals in each major port.

Rather than view longshore persons as possible suspects, they should more meaningfully be seen as assets in complementing the objectives of this legislation. For what you really have here are over 100,000 sensitized, streetwise eyes and ears that can sense the suspicious cargoes, the irregular movements, the devious individuals who pass their way in everyday traffic.

Peter Peyton expressed the ILWU’s concern over the Port and Maritime Security Act (S.1214). He told the panel that the bill places unwarranted suspicion and burdens on American port workers while providing completely inadequate measures for the inspection and screening of foreign ships, foreign crew and foreign cargo. Excerpts of his remarks follow:

We urge Congress to ensure that S.1214 absolutely mandates certain due process and confidentiality protections and limits background checks just to those persons with security-sensitive positions. We also make a plea for increased inspection of containers and vessels, which are absolutely necessary for true, effective port and national security.

Any government background checks of port workers must be carefully tailored to accomplish the objective of promoting national and port security against terrorism.

Any port worker subject to disqualification or to any limitation affecting employment must be given the right to a meaningful appeal.

Any employment security check program should apply to all individuals, no matter their status, title or rank in any company, who have access to secure areas in port facilities or access to cargo manifests.

The containers on vessels and in port facilities need to be subject to security screening. The proposed legislation should at least mandate that port workers who receive containers inspect the integrity of the outside seal on each container, including supposedly empty containers. A broken seal would alert the port facility that the container has been tampered and that it needs to be carefully inspected before entering a facility or being placed on a vessel.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



On Jan.24, MM&P Offshore member Patrick O’Leary represented the Union at the Propeller Club’s Port of Jacksonville meeting. The featured speaker was Tony Regalbuto, Director of Port Security for the US Coast Guard. He discussed marine transportation and port security issues and how USCG is addressing these issues post-9/11. Pat O’Leary reported that among significant issues covered at the meeting were:

USCG’s use of Sea Marshals and ship boardings for vessels inbbound to US ports.

Approaches to vessel safety, including instituting use of ship transponders; required 96-hour advance notice of vessel arrivals; and using Lloyd’s Register as a vessel database.

Domestic cargo inspections are another area of concern to USCG. Although foreign-source cargo is under jurisdiction of the US Customs Service, the USCG is looking at the inspection process and how it might be changed to ensure greater security.

Overseas cargo inspections for US-bound cargoes are another avenue being considered. Issues of crossing national sovereignty bounds are part of this equation.

O’Leary pointed out that the GMDSS registry could be used as an alternate vessel database, and asked about the use of GMDSS equipment as a form of vessel transponder. Regalbuto advised that there were no imminent plans to integrate GMDSS equipment into vessel transponder technology.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Openings in Classes Through the End of June 2002

  • 2/25-3/8: MED-PIC
  • 2/25-3/1: BRM
  • 2/25-27: SHS-EMR
  • 3/2: CBRD-1, ROR
  • 3/4-8: BRM, VPM
  • 3/4-15: GMDSS
  • 3/11-15: FF-ADV, ARPA, COMP-APS
  • 3/15: ATER, ENVPRO
  • 3/18-22: BST
  • 3/23: CBRD-1, ROR
  • 3/25-29: HAZ, BRM, COMP-NET, SHS-EMR
  • 4/1-5: FF-ADV, COMP-ABSS
  • 4/8-12: BST, ARPA, TPIC
  • 4/8-19: GMDSS
  • 4/13: CBRD-1, ROR
  • 4/15-19: HAZ, BRM, ECDIS
  • 4/15-18: SMA
  • 4/19: ATER, ENV PRO
  • 5/6-10: BST, ARPA
  • 5/6-9: SMA
  • 5/10: ATER, ENVPRO
  • 5/11: CBRD-1, ROR
  • 5/13-24: MED-PIC
  • 5/13-17: BST, ARPA, COMP-NET
  • 5/20: CBRD-1
  • 5/21: HAZMAT, EAP
  • 5/22-24: MED-DOT-DA
  • 6/3-28: SMC
  • 6/3: ROR
  • 6/3-14: GMDSS
  • 6/10-14: BST, SHS-BAS, BRM, COMP-NET, FRB
  • 6/10-13: SMA
  • 6/14: ATER, ENVPRO; 6/15: CBRD-1, ROR
  • 6/17-21: FF-ADV, BRM, ARPA, WX-HWA
  • 6/17: ROR
  • 6/24-28: SHS-EMR, BRM, VPM



Please note that a single form has been developed for claims for (1) Out of Eligibility Training at MITAGS or PMI, (2) Room and Board at PMI, or (3) Off-site Training for Courses not offered at MITAGS or PMI. The form is available at both schools and the halls. Failure to use the correct form will result in processing delays.



Schedule through June 2002 is being maintained on the website. Hard copies of the January-June 2002 schedule have been mailed to the halls. Check the MITAGS website at: for up-to-date info. For additional course info, contact Mary Matlock at voice: 443-989-3226 or Email:


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Openings in Classes Through the End of March 2002

  • 2/18-22: ARPA, Med 1st, Med PIC
  • 2/25-3/1: ECDIS
  • 3/4-8: Radar, BRM, GMDSS, BST
  • 3/11-15: Comp. Basics, BAFF
  • 3/18-22: ARPA, Med 1st, Med PIC
  • 3/25-29: ECDIS



PMI is now offering two week “Medical Person in Charge” and one week “Medical First Aid Provider” course. To learn more about the STCW Requirements for Medical First Aid Provider and Medical Person in Charge, refer to PMI’s webpage at which will link you to the relevant policy letter.



Register online at


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MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly

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 contact John Peige at The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea, broadcast worldwide via FEC marine telex andis posted on our web page under “News” at:

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