News

Wheelhouse Weekly – February 14, 2012

February 14th 2012

 

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

Volume 16 . . . . . Number 7. . . . February 14, 2012

STORIES COVERED

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


MM&P CLOSED FEB. 20 FOR PRESIDENTS’ DAY

All MM&P union halls, MM&P Plans, the MM&P Federal Credit Union and MM&P headquarters will be closed on Feb. 20 for Presidents’ Day.


ACCOLADES CONTINUE TO FLOW IN FOR OFFICERS AND CREW OF HORIZON RELIANCE

Newspapers, magazines and TV stations in the United States, Canada and other countries have reported on last week’s rescue by the officers and crew of HORIZON RELIANCE of a family of three in the middle of the Pacific. Horizon Lines management has also seized the opportunity to commend the crew of the vessel and all the company’s employees for their professionalism and commitment to safety.

“A miracle occurred in the predawn darkness in the middle of the Pacific Ocean” wrote Horizon Lines CEO Stephen Fraser in a message to all the company’s employees. “As winds gusted to 50 mph and with seas swelling above 20 feet, the 893-foot HORIZON RELIANCE eased up to a crippled 38-foot sailboat to rescue the three people on board, including a 9-year-old boy and his father.”   

“Capt. Kelleher and his brave crew managed to maneuver the HORIZON RELIANCE–nearly three football fields in length–close enough to lift all three to safety. The rescue was indeed a miracle, but one that would not have happened without the training, experience, skill and professionalism demonstrated by the Captain and crew,” Fraser said.

“I am proud of our vessel crews and the tremendous job they perform; sometimes well above and beyond the call of duty. Jim Kelleher and crew faced perilous circumstances that allowed them to demonstrate for the world the dedication and professionalism that exemplify the Horizon Lines culture. Each of you also exemplifies this very same culture in everything you do for Horizon Lines. I am proud to be a part of this culture and to call all of you colleagues,” Fraser wrote.


U.S. DENIES ESCOPETA OIL’S PETITION FOR RELIEF FROM JONES ACT VIOLATION FINE

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency has denied a petition by Escopeta Oil Company for relief from the $15 million fine the company was assessed for violating the Jones Act last year. The agency upheld the full amount of the fine and reiterated that payment is due at the end of March.

The case revolves around a decision made by the company in March 2011 to transport a Spartan 151 jack-up rig to Alaska aboard a Chinese-owned bulker. The company was racing to take advantage of the state’s offer of $25 million in tax credits to the first company to drill in Cook Inlet. The company petitioned for a Jones Act waiver to move the rig from Texas to Canada to Cook Inlet, and decided to go forward despite the fact that its petition was rejected by the government.

In October, CBP fined the company $15 million. Escopeta continues to claim that there was no U.S.-flagged vessel capable of making the trip. The company also argues that energy shortages in Alaska created an emergency situation.

“We find the facts of the case support the conclusion that the Jones Act violation was deliberate, and thus aggravated,” CBP Penalties Chief Officer John Connors wrote the company in a Jan. 25 letter. Connors said that in March, MARAD determined that coastwise-qualified vessels were available to transport the rig. On March 22, 2011 Escopeta received a letter from MARAD stating that Crowley Maritime Corporation would have a suitable vessel available for transport in October 2011.

Connors also pointed out that the agency has the right to impose a fine that would offset any economic gain–in this case, the oil company’s $10 million profit on the operation.


BLUE & GOLD CAPT. ANDY MILLER PROFILED IN BAY CROSSINGS MAGAZINE

Capt. Andy Miller, a 23-year veteran of San Francisco’s Blue & Gold Fleet, has been profiled in the most recent edition of “Bay Crossings,” the magazine for San Francisco Bay Area commuters. Miller was interviewed in the wheelhouse of the ferry PERALTA by journalist Matt Larson, who writes the magazine’s regular feature, “Who’s at the Helm.”

As a professional mariner, Miller says he’s very excited that San Francisco was chosen as the venue for the next edition of the America’s Cup. “I saw the America’s Cup in New Zealand in 2000, and it was amazing,” he says. “Like a Super Bowl, just thousands and thousands of people watching the races.”

“The America’s Cup people got it right when they chose this place,” he adds. “They’re going to have sailboat racing right up here in front of Alcatraz. It’s a great venue.”

Miller grew up in the Bay Area, attended Cal Maritime and lives in Sausalito. When not at the helm, he surfs in Southern California and hikes in the Himalayas. “In Tibet I got up to 18,600 feet trekking,” he says. Even if it comes down to taking an exercise break at opportune moments on the ferryboat, Miller sustains a challenging physical regimen, aiming for 100 pushups a day.

His number one priority at work is, of course, safety. His second is timeliness. “Sometimes it’s challenging with the slow bells and the evening rush hour for the ships, sometimes we’ve got to go slow for them. It’s frustrating for me because I know people want to get home, I’m up here chomping at the bit,” he says.

In October 2011, MM&P-contracted Blue & Gold was awarded a minimum five-year contract to operate and maintain the San Francisco Bay Area ferries.


IF YOU’RE A UNION MEMBER SAVING FOR A YOUNG CHILD’S COLLEGE EDUCATION, UNION PLUS HAS $500 FOR YOU!

If you are a union member and have a child 12 years old or younger, you are strongly encouraged to take advantage of a $500 college savings grant from Union Plus. This is a great benefit for those interested in saving for their child’s college education. The requirements are simple to meet and you receive the grant very quickly.

The program requires only that you open a new 529 account–at any financial institution you wish–and fund it with at least $1,000. Once the account reaches this threshold, you must complete an online application at unionplus.org and provide some substantiating account documentation. After completing the required steps, you will receive a check from Union Plus in two to three weeks. It’s really that easy. Visit www.unionplus.org to learn more. Click on “Legal & Education” then “College Savings Grants.”


MM&P MATES PROGRAM EXPANDS TRAINING BENEFITS EFFECTIVE FEB. 1, 2012

Trustees for MM&P and the companies that participate in the MATES Trust agreed at their most recent meeting to expand the training benefit for members enrolled in the STCW95 Chief Mate/Master Program (CMM). MM&P members with the following qualifications may now take up to 12 weeks of CMM training. (Previously, the length of training was limited to eight weeks.) The increase will allow members to complete all mandatory training in one eligibility period. This increase in length of stay is restricted to the CMM Program. Members must meet the existing and the following additional requirements: be an MM&P member in good standing; be seeking a chief mate’s license (enrolled in the CMM Program); have a minimum of five years being covered under the MM&P Health Plan; 720 days of sea time while working under a CBA between the employer and the union; maintain eligibility in the MM&P Health Plan through the period of training.

For more information, please contact MITAGS Admissions at admissions@mitags.org, or 866-656-5568.


COURT GRANTS MM&P VACATION PLAN PRIORITY IN EFFORT TO RECOVER WAGES FOR SS DOWNING CREW

A U.S. District Court in Texas has granted the MM&P Vacation Plan “wage lien status” for the amounts owed to the Plan on behalf of the crew of the SS CAPTAIN H.A. DOWNING. But the court denied MM&P’s similar request for wage lien status for the amounts owed to the Individual Retirement Account Plan. Judge Ron Clark has also issued a final judgment as to all claimants for their vacation wage claims against the proceeds of the sale of the vessel, which was owned by AHL Shipping, which filed for bankruptcy in 2010. As soon as this judgment is final, the MM&P Plan can move the court for release of the funds.


MITAGS SEEKS PART-TIME SIMULATOR OPERATORS

MITAGS-PMI is seeking part-time simulator operators for the Transas simulation system. A simulator operator is primarily responsible for the performance of, and planning for, the use of the simulators in all courses and assists other team members of the Engineering Department in service and support of computer network systems.  Major duties include preparing and operating ship simulators for any course requiring their use, assisting Simulation Engineers in the daily simulation system checks and problem solving, assisting in the development of ship models and databases for simulation systems by organizing and preparing documentation of model and database testing as well as other reports as required and other duties within the scope of the position as assigned by the Supervisor.

Desired qualifications include background or degree in Computer Science/Engineering or other related field, with two years’ experience in network support, systems integration and programming, experience servicing and designing local area networks and personal computer systems and analyzing computer systems, knowledge of, or work experience in the maritime industry, able to work flexible hours, to include early morning, evening and/or weekend schedules, excellent writing and communications skills, and proficiency in use of Microsoft Office suite. This position requires moderate physical activity.  If you are interested in this position, forward a cover letter and resume to MITAGS Director of Training Eric Friend at efriend@mitags.org.


PMI SEEKS MCSE NETWORK ENGINEER/SIMULATOR OPERATOR (ENTRY LEVEL)

The Pacific Maritime Institute (PMI), a subsidiary of The Maritime Institute of Technology & Graduate Studies (MITAGS), is seeking a qualified Network Administrator with desktop support experience. This individual should be a team leader and a team player with strong written and verbal communication skills. The candidate should have a basic understanding of network schemas, Microsoft 2003-2008 servers in an Active Directory environment, Microsoft CRM, folder shares and permissions, data backups, virus protection, patch management, server and PC hardware, firmware updates, application installation, TCP-IP knowledge, CAT-5/CAT-6 cable installation and excellent troubleshooting skills for a variety of complex problems.

Duties include but are not limited to daily simulator operator/operation of ship-handling simulation in a Windows environment, management of a small to mid-size Microsoft Active Directory environment on a day-to-day basis, end-user support, repair and building of custom PC’s, nightly backup management, weekly security patch installations, virus detection and removal, web filtering and firewall management, regular infrastructure improvements and upgrades, support and operation of simulation systems. 

Additionally, the candidate will manage Microsoft CRM program on-site and liaise/troubleshoot with counterpart system at MITAGS. Additional duties include overall facilities support, such as building security and fire alarm systems, interface with utility providers, such as telephones and internet, and other facility support tasks as directed.

A candidate with a maritime industry background is preferred because of the need to operate and support ship-handling simulators. Knowledge of telephone/communication systems and audio/visual equipment is also desirable.

Minimum requirements: background or degree in Computer Science/Engineering or related field–MCSE certified and three years’ system support experience preferred; experience in installing, configuring and supporting an Active Directory 2003/2008 environment; strong background in hardware, software and LAN administration and troubleshooting; professional knowledge of TCP/IP protocol; ability to analyze, identify, troubleshoot and solve complex network connectivity, server and PC hardware and software related issues; Office 2003 through 2010 application knowledge; experience with network switches, routers, firewalls and NAS equipment.

This position offers a highly competitive full health & benefits package and opportunity for great growth possibilities for the successful candidate. Starting salary will be commensurate with certifications and experience. Work hours are between 8am to 4pm (PST) with 24×7 telephone support in emergency instances. If you are interested and meet the minimum requirements please send your resume and salary requirements to employment@mates.org. MITAGS-PMI is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


PIRATES HIJACK GREEK TANKER IN ARABIAN SEA

Pirates hijacked the Greek-owned tanker MV FREE GODDESS in the Arabian Sea on Thursday, Feb. 9. There are 21 crewmembers on board. Reports from Somalia say that the vessel arrived near Garacad in Mudug the following day, but that local officials did not allow it to anchor. The pirates then reportedly began looking for a hub in the vicinity of the fishing village of Dhinooda. No ransom has yet been requested. At the time of the hijacking, the MV FREE GODDESS was on its way to Singapore from Egypt with a cargo of steel cables.

Counter-piracy operations have been conducted in the region in recent months, often with the support of locals. In December, Puntland forces launched a major anti-pirate offensive and captured 43 pirates, although none has yet been brought to trial. Two other hijacked vessels are currently being held in the Dhinooda area: the MT ENRICO LEVOLI and the MT LIQUID VELVET. Some 200 pirates are said to operate in Garacad, while more than 300 operate in Dhinooda and a small nearby village named Buq.


SCHEDULE FOR 2012 OFFSHORE FAMILIARIZATION COURSES

The Offshore Familiarization Course, formerly called the D-Book Membership Course, will be held at regular intervals throughout 2012.

The schedule is as follows (but please note that course dates may change depending on the number of participants who sign up): Feb. 28-29 in Honolulu; April 3-4 in Boston; April 11-12 in Los Angeles; May 29-30 in New Orleans; May 30-31 in Charleston; June 8-9 at MM&P Headquarters; Sept. 7-8 at MM&P Headquarters; Oct. 9-10 in New Jersey and Los Angeles; Nov. 7-8 in Houston.

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 urged to attend.

If you want to attend the course, please RSVP to the local hiring hall where the class is offered or, in the case of a course planned for headquarters, to MM&P Membership Secretary Mary Seidman: mseidman@bridgedeck.org.


MARK YOUR CALENDAR: PACIFIC PORTS MEETINGS IN FEBRUARY

A membership meeting will be held at the Honolulu Hall on Feb. 28. All members in the area are encouraged to attend.


REVITALIZING THE MARITIME INDUSTRY CONFERENCE SPONSORED BY THE MARITIME EXECUTIVE MAY 7-8 AT MITAGS

A two-day conference, “Revitalizing the Maritime Industry,” will be held at MITAGS on May 7-8 by The Maritime Executive. America’s marine highways have been underutilized for decades due to failed federal policies and inadequate funding mechanisms. Today, while the infrastructure is in place, U.S. vessel operators, shipbuilders, training institutions and port authorities have been overlooked as vital assets in the U.S. economic recovery plan. The Maritime Executive, with your support, aims to change that perspective in Congress and, most importantly, among the American people. To register for the event, go to: http://tiny.cc/MarEx


NO DISCHARGE ZONE ALONG ENTIRE CALIFORNIA COAST

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a news release stating that it is approving the proposal by the State of California to ban all sewage from large cruise ships and most other large ocean-going ships in state marine waters and surrounding islands. The new restriction, to be published in the near future, will ban even treated sewage from being discharged in California marine waters by creating a no-discharge zone that extends along the state’s entire coastline out to a distance of three nautical miles.


MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

Try our on-line interactive calendar to register for class: http://mitags-pmi.org/courses/calendar/

For class availability, contact Admissions Coordinator Kelly Michielli toll-free at 866-656-5568 or e-mail: admissions@mitags.org.

ARPA – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 3/13

AZIPOD (2-DAY) for Pilots: 3/13

BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 2/20

BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots:  3/1

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 3/19

CMM-ADVNAV – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): 3/5

CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 3/26

CMM-SHMGT – Ship Management (2 weeks): 2/20

CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 2/27, 3/12, 3/26

CMM-SHS-ADV-I I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 3/5, 3/19

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning: 3/15

ECDIS-ENAV (2 DAY) for Pilots: 3/1

ENAV – Electronic Navigation: 3/19

ENVIRO-Regs Permit – Environmental Regulations Permit: 3/13

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep and Medications for Pilots: 3/16

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress Safety Signal: 2/20

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 3/5

LAP – License Advancement Program for Chief Mate & Master: 3/19

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 3/1

MCL – Management, Communication & Leadership: 3/26

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 3/19

MED-PIC -R– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 3/5

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 3/19

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 3/24

MSC -SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 3/12

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 2/22, 3/7, 3/21

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 3/12


SEC-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 3/12

SHS-ESH-BRMP3 – Emergency Shiphandling and Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 2/27

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling: 3/5

TPIC-DL – Tankerman Person in Charge Dangerous Liquids: 3/5

WKP BAS – Basic Watchkeeping: 3/5

WX-BAS – Basic Meteorology: 3/26
 
…Remember: If you can’t make the class, make the call. Be courteous, don’t be a “no show.”

Check the MITAGS website at www.mitags.org for course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations, and schedule revisions.


PMI ACADEMIC NOTES

Schedule of Courses – Please also see our schedule online at www.mates.org.
For registration, call our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen, at (206) 838-1126.
 
February 2012
20-24     Medical Care Provider
20-24     Able Seaman
21-24     ARPA
27-2       Basic Meteorology
27-9       Celestial Navigation

March 2012
5-9          ECDIS
12-16     Radar Observer Unlimited
12-23     GMDSS
12-30     License Preparation (Mate – 500Ton, 1600Ton, 3rd Unlimited)
20-21     Safety Management Systems
22-23     Build Your Own Internal Auditing Team Seminar
26th       Radar Renewal
26-30     Medical Care Provider


MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 2-10-12
Mutual Fund Data at 2-13-12 Market Close

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
12,801.23 2,903.88 1,347.96
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Closing
Price
 Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund (VAARX)
56.17
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
123.85
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
43.67
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
18.07
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
19.36
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
27.43
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
11.08
 Vanguard Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
34.69
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
5.85
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
16.80
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
22.52
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
14.43
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
20.15
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
12.33
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
12.91
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
13.02
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
13.42
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
13.84
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
11.03
 Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
33.72
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
18.35
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
15.82
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
19.50
 Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
10.96
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
69.03
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
70.04
 Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
18.25
Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX)
47.09
 Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
27.73
 Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
28.98
 Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
11.51
 Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
12.18
 Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
13.71
 Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
13.83
 Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
13.67
 Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
7.89
 Fidelity Freedom 2050 (FFFHX)
9.19
 Fidelity Total Bond Fund (FTBFX)
11.02
 Spartan Extended market Index Fund (FSEMX)
39.37
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
47.59
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
32.72



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: iommp@bridgedeck.org. For further info or to subscribe contact Lisa Rosenthal at lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org. The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea and is posted on our web page.

© 2012, 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: lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org. For changes of address, contact Lisa Rosenthal at lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org.