Wheelhouse Weekly – February 16, 2006

February 16th 2006

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

Volume 10 . . . . . Number 7. . . . February 16, 2006




T-AGS Oceanographic Survey Ships Info

Required Coursework

Security Clearances

MSC Physicals

MM&P Health & Benefit Plan News

Notice to Members who are taking Vioxx

NMHC Mail-Order Prescriptions Website Updated & Improved

WWII USCG Veterans Outreach

Company Gives Bucks Back for buying Safe Shoes

Website Offers Union-Made Goods and Services



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




The following notice is from MM&P Plans Administrator Valerie Verrecchio: “The Internal Revenue Code (IRC) requires that the Plan perform a non-discrimination test on the 401K portion of the IRAP Plan. As a result, a number of our participants will be notified that their contributions exceeded the maximum allowable contribution for their specific group in 2005 and that a portion of their monies are being returned.

The IRS established these rules to assure that highly compensated employees, as defined by the IRS, cannot make a higher tax deferred contribution to a 401K retirement plan than all other employees who were eligible to make contributions but may not have. We apologize for any inconvenience to our members.”



In accordance with Article IV, Section 2, of the International Constitution, you are hereby notified that a regular convention of the MM&P will be convened at 1000 hrs on Tuesday, August 22, 2006, at MITAGS, 692 Maritime Boulevard, Linthicum Heights, Maryland 21090.
Members are also hereby notified that in accordance with Article IV, Section 6., Subsection b), all proposed resolutions must be forwarded to the International Secretary-Treasurer at least 30 days prior to the opening day of the Convention for inclusion on the Agenda and determination by the Convention.


US House of Representatives Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and AFL-CIO President John Sweeney both issued statements this week in support of the retention of MM&P and IBU jobs aboard the Alcatraz ferry service. The action comes in the wake of growing protests over the National Park Service’s decision to award the Alcatraz ferry concession to Hornblower Yachts, a non-union operator, over the MM&P- and IBU-contracted Blue & Gold Fleet, the longtime operator of the Alcatraz service.

Blue & Gold is the largest single ferry operator in the San Francisco Bay area. Through the US Court of Federal Claims, the company is protesting the National Park Service’s failure to apply the Service Contract Act to the contract, and the resulting award of the contract to Hornblower. MM&P members, along with members of the Inlandboatmen’s Union (IBU), have crewed the Alcatraz ferry boats since the Island was opened to the public as a National Park Visitor destination in 1973. Over 1.3 million visitors per year are transported to Alcatraz on the ferries, which operate out of Pier 41 in the heart of Fisherman’s Wharf. The National Park Service also wants to move the ferry service away from Fisherman’s Wharf.


In her statement, US Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi voiced her strong support for the experienced and highly-skilled union crews who now work the Alcatraz ferry route. “For more than a quarter-century, the workers employed under this contract have delivered the highest standards of efficient, safe and customer-friendly service to Alcatraz visitors.

“I have been in frequent contact with the US Secretaries of Interior and Labor to express my view that the Service Contract Act should apply to this contract. The Service Contract Act requires federal contractors to pay either prevailing wage, or the wages and benefits in the collective bargaining agreement of the previous concessioner. No Park Service contractor should be able to underbid another company by offering lower wages and fewer benefits. That’s just plain wrong!

“My commitment to the National Park Service and the Golden Gate Recreational Area is unwavering. I will do everything I can to help our national parks flourish, but it cannot be done at the expense of the workers. I deeply believe that workers should be paid fairly, and the Park Service should not be in the business of undercutting wages.

“I am also concerned about the impact of moving the ferry service away from Fisherman’s Wharf. The continued success and stability of the Alcatraz ferry service is vital to tourism businesses at Fisherman’s Wharf and to local maritime unions that provide highly skilled crews.

“In case Hornblower takes over the Alcatraz ferry contract, I have already urged the company to agree to collective bargaining with your unions. I have also asked the National Park Service to urge Hornblower to hire you. If Hornblower gets the contract, I will press them and the Park Service even harder.

“Just as maintaining the boats and the piers is vital, so too, is protecting our union workers. I join you in your struggle for fair wages, benefits and protections. As the famous ILWU slogan says, ‘An injury to one is an injury to all!'”


“On behalf of the nine million proud members of the AFL-CIO — the women and men all across America who fight our fires, build our homes, mine our coal, and teach our kids — I’m proud to send all my support to each of you in the IBU and MM&P who work on the Alcatraz ferry service. We know about the hard work you do. We know about the high-quality service you’ve provided on the Blue & Gold Fleet to the tens of millions of visitors who come from every corner of the earth to visit Alcatraz Island.

“And because you’ve joined together in two great unions — the ILWU’s Inlandboatmen’s Union of the Pacific and the Masters, Mates & Pilots — you’ve won the decent wages and benefits every working person deserves, you have the training to do your job right, and you have the freedom to raise safety issues on the job without retaliation. But now, the Bush administration’s National Park Service is trying to destroy what you’ve built. They want to violate the Service Contract Act — throw your sacred rights and freedoms in the garbage — and pick the anti-union, anti-worker Hornblower Yachts to take over the Alcatraz ferry route.

“Well, they don’t fool us. We see what they’re up to. We understand that they’re trying to destroy high-quality union jobs and replace them with jobs that have low wages and benefits, no dignity, and no respect.

“Your jobs and your future are at stake. So all of us in the AFL-CIO, from Maine to Honolulu, send a message to you: Those jobs on the Alcatraz route were IBU and MM&P jobs yesterday, they are IBU and MM&P jobs today, and they should remain IBU and MM&P jobs for the rest of our lives, our children’s lives, and long beyond. Your battle to keep good union jobs, regardless of which company has the contract — your battle for what is fair and just — is also our battle. Just as you always support us when we need your help, we support you now when you need our help. You believe in solidarity. So do we. We promise that we’ll stand alongside you and join with you until you defeat the Park Service’s scheme to steal your jobs, and you win this struggle once and for all.”


MM&P-contracted Matson Navigation has launched its new weekly US West Coast/Hawaii/Guam/China service, marking its return to the transpacific trade after an absence of over 35 years. The new service succeeds the former 10-year Matson/APL Alliance arrangement in which Matson and APL shared vessel deployments.

The 2,890-TEU vessel MV MANULANI arrived in Guam earlier this week. MM&P Licensed Deck Officers on board for the first voyage to China are Master Andrew J. Merrill, C/M Paul D. Calvin, 2/M Russell Stewart and 3/M Richard Thomas. With the new service, Guam will be served by Matson’s five most modern, fuel-efficient vessels, including four new ships built in the past four years.

Matson has invested $365 million in vessel, container and terminal assets for the new service. The deployment is part of a new Matson Guam-China service with a port rotation of Long Beach, Honolulu, Guam, Ningbo, Shanghai, Long Beach. The MANULANI will depart Guam on Feb. 16th and is scheduled to arrive in Ningbo, China on Feb. 21st. She will leave later that day for Shanghai from where she will depart on Feb. 23rd.

“Developing this successor service has been a high priority for Matson and one that represents a long-term commitment in terms of financial investment and service offerings,” said CEO James Andrasick, adding that Matson is the only line to make a significant capital investment in the Guam/Micronesia trade. “That commitment extends to all of Guam’s neighboring islands: Saipan, Tinian, Rota, Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, Kosrae and Palau.”

Andrasick noted that, “Since commencing our Guam and Micronesia service 10 years ago, Matson has made significant strides in providing high quality service, particularly by offering competitive transit times and increasing the amount of transshipment activity in Guam and Micronesia, which has facilitated the economic growth of the islands. We are the only ocean carrier that has made significant capital investments into the Guam/Micronesia trade, with new ships and new equipment.”


Following its recent $2.7 billion acquisition of P&O Nedlloyd, A.P. Moller-Maersk has formally commenced trading its enlarged container shipping business under the name Maersk Line. In 1999, Maersk acquired Sea-Land Service and had marketed the combined activities under a joint name, Maersk Sealand. All operations will now be conducted under the Maersk Line brand.

“The majority of P&O Nedlloyd vessels will be phased in during February 2006. The large majority of services will be in place by mid-March, and by June 2006 the Maersk Line network will be fully implemented,” Maersk Line said. The takeover of P&O Nedlloyd makes the Danish company the world’s largest ocean carrier, boosting its containership fleet by about 500,000 TEUs to about 1.7 million TEUs, twice that of its nearest rival Mediterranean Shipping Co.


MM&P’s Web site has undergone an extensive overhaul and has set sail in cyber space. It is now much more user-friendly and a breeze to navigate. After surfing the new and improved Web site, MM&P member and MITAGS instructor Capt. John Carlisle sent the following email: “Wow! Thanks to all those involved in creating the new website. The new look is great. It shows in big smiling pictures who we are and right up front it says we are the best. Plus, we see our ships. I’ll be sure to remind students to log on and see the new look of the mighty”


Two US Navy sailors and a merchant mariner assigned to the Military Sealift Command vessel USNS JOHN MCDONNELL, a T-AGS vessel operated by MM&P-contracted Horizon Lines, provided medical assistance to the victim of a knife attack while visiting Singapore.

The incident occurred in the early hours of Feb. 5, while Boatswains Mate 2nd Class Paulryan Judi, USN, Master-at-Arms Seaman Gregory Chaney, USN, and merchant mariner and ship’s Third Mate Colin Campbell were enjoying a night out near a popular Singapore tourist district. The ship was making a routine port visit in Singapore for liberty and to pick up supplies.

On their way by taxicab, the crewmembers observed a violent altercation between two local men, which involved an 18-inch ‘machete.’ The crewmembers asked the taxi driver to stop immediately. One man fled the scene, the other was bleeding heavily from multiple lacerations to the left forearm, including flesh and bone wounds. The MCDONNELL crewmembers had completed first aid training which enabled them to administer aid to the victim until local authorities arrived. The victim was rushed to a local hospital. His prognosis is not known.

The Master of the MCDONNELL, MM&P member Capt. Michael Bacher of Annapolis, MD, spoke highly of his crewmembers, saying that he was certain, due to the blood loss and the severity of the wounds, that they had most likely saved the victim’s life. “The display of courage and bravery displayed by these sailors, and third officer Campbell, is reflective of the best the Navy has to offer,” Bacher said.

USNS JOHN MCDONNELL is one of seven oceanographic survey ships that are part of MSC’s Special Mission Program. Oceanographic survey ships study the world’s oceans using multi-beam, wide-angle, precision hydrographic sonar systems to collect bathymetric data. Information gathered is used to develop accurate maritime charts.

MSC operates the ship on behalf of the Naval Oceanographic Office, a subordinate command under the Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, based at Stennis Space Center, MS. There are eight scientists embarked aboard the ship led by senior scientist Marian Clough.
The ship has a crew of 21 merchant mariners, under contract to MSC, is 208 feet in length, has a beam of 45 feet, and displaces 2,054 tons. For more information, log on to the MSC’s Web site at


The Ship Operations Cooperative Program (SOCP) meeting will be held in Jacksonville, FL from March 7-8. MM&P’s Director of Special Projects Richard Plant will represent MM&P. The theme of the meeting is “Maritime Support of Domestic Disaster Relief” and the role that the commercial maritime industry can play in planning, preparing and implementing disaster relief activities. The meeting will focus on preparedness planning and lessons learned from the hurricane Katrina relief efforts and on vessel and port facility recovery response and preparedness planning for both natural and terrorist induced disasters.

All industry representatives are welcome to attend. There is no registration fee, but interested persons are urged to reserve a seat by contacting Kim-Anh Rester at their earliest convenience by email at, or by phone at 202-366-0364. Please provide your name, position title, organization, address, phone, fax, and email address.

SOCP is an industry-government partnership that was formed in 1993 to share resources in the development and evaluation of technologies to advance shipboard safety, training, reliability and productivity for its members in an effort to improve the competitiveness of the US maritime industry.


One of the most famous vessels of the later half of the 20th century now lies rotting in the harbor of La Rochelle, France. The ship is the legendary CALYPSO, a former British minesweeper that sailed the oceans with the French undersea adventurer Jacques Cousteau, who took a starring role in celebrated films and television programs.

Nine years after Cousteau’s death, the ship that brought the wonders of the sea into millions of living rooms around the world has fallen victim to a bitter family feud, and its chances of a new life as a museum or research vessel do not look good. The ship is in such bad shape that most of the wood has rotted and every part of the vessel would have to be replaced.

The CALYPSO’s decline began in 1996, a year before Cousteau’s death at 87, when the ship was badly damaged in a collision with a barge in Singapore. She was towed back to France, where the plan was to make her into a maritime museum, but questions of ownership emerged. Since Cousteau’s death, two associations have laid claim to the ship. One is the French arm of the US-based Cousteau Society, which represents the interest of Cousteau’s widow. The other group is backed by Jean-Michel Cousteau, the explorer’s son by his first marriage, as well as by several of the CALYPSO’s former crewmembers.

Last November, a Paris court ruled in favor of Mrs. Cousteau. But Cousteau’s son said that he will appeal the ruling. Meanwhile, authorities in La Rochelle want to get rid of the rotting hulk. Some have suggested that the CALYPSO be towed out to sea and scuttled, where it could be used as a training area for deep-sea divers.


MITAGS is accepting applications for an Instructor to teach courses required for attainment of the Chief Mate/Master (CMM) license. The position requires an unlimited tonnage any ocean Master’s license, with five years or more experience sailing as Master. Excellent computer skills, experience with electronic bridge and integrated navigation systems desired. This is a part-time position to start.

Applicants should email resumes to; or fax to: HR Manager, 443-989-3341. See the MITAGS Web site,, for more information.


CLASS OPENINGS: Between January and the end of May 2006, seats are available in the following courses:

AIS – Automated Identification Systems: 5/5
ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 4/3, 5/1, 5/15
AZIPOD-KAM – Azipod and Kamewa Steering and Propulsion Systems: 3/14, 5/15

BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 2/13, 5/15
BST – Basic Safety Training: 3/6, 4/24, 5/22

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 1): 2/20, 3/20
CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 2/27, 3/27
CMM-ADVSTAB – Advanced Stability: 3/6, 4/3, 5/22
CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 3/13, 4/24
CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display and Info Systems: 3/20, 5/1, 5/21
CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 3/6, 4/17
CMM-SHMGT I – Ship Management (week 1): 2/27
CMM-SHMGT II – Ship Management (week 2): 3/6
CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 3/20, 4/17, 5/22
CMM-SHS-ADV-II – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 5/29
CMM-VPEN – Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 3/27, 5/8
CMM-WKP – Watchkeeping: 2/20, 3/13, 4/10

CONT-PLNG – Contingency Planning: 3/24
CSE-AASE – Confined Space Entry: 5/15

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 3/6, 4/24, 5/22

HAZ-Hazardous Materials (5-day): 3/27, 4/10, 5/1

MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 3/23, 5/4
MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 3/18, 4/22, 5/13
MED-PIC – Medical Person-In-Charge: 3/13, 4/17, 5/8
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 3/13, 4/17, 5/8

[MSC – Military Sealift Command]
MSC-CBRD-1 (Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Orientation): 3/15, 4/19, 5/10
MSC-DC (Damage Control): 3/16, 4/20, 5/11
MSC-SMA – Small Arms (4-day): 3/27, 4/24, 5/15
MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 3/31, 4/28, 5/19(must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years)

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal (5-day): 5/22
ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 3/20, 4/3, 4/5, 5/1, 5/15

SEC-OFF-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 3/20, 5/1

SHS-EMR-Emergency Shiphandling: 2/20

TPIC – Tankerman Person-In-Charge: 4/10

Check the MITAGS website at for course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations, and schedule revisions. For class availability or info on MITAGS courses and programs, contact admissions toll-free at 866-656-5568 or Email:


Winter – Summer 2006

February 2006

2/13-17 ENAV
2/20-3/3 CNAV
2/20-3/3 Advanced Shiphandling
2/20-3/4 100 Ton OUPV
2/27-3/3 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
2/27-3/3 ARPA
2/27 Radar Renewal

March 2006

3/6-10 BST
3/6-9 Lifeboat/Survival Craft
3/6-10 Basic Meteorology
3/6-18 100 Ton OUPV
3/13-24 GMDSS
3/13-17 CONSTB
3/20-24 CHS BAS
3/27-31 MEDPRO
3/27-31 ARPA
3/27 Radar Renewal
3/27-4/7 MEDPIC

April 2006
4/3-4 Search and Rescue
4/5-7 Emergency Procedures
4/3-7 BST
4/4-7 Survival Craft (Lifeboatman)
4/10-14 ECDIS
4/10-14 Radar Observer Unlimited
4/10-14 AB
4/10-21 GMDSS
4/17-21 ARPA
4/17 Radar Renew
4/17-21 Basic Shiphandling
4/24-5/5 Watchkeeping (BRM Inc.)

May 2006
5/1-3 BRM
5/1-5 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
5/2-5 Survival Craft (Lifeboatman)
5/8-12 Basic Shiphandling
5/8-12 BST
5/8-12 AB
5/8-19 GMDSS
5/8-20 100 Ton OUPV
5/15-19 MEDPRO
5/15-26 MEDPIC
5/22 Flashing Light

June 2006
6/5-9 ECDIS
6/5-9 ARPA
6/5-9 BST
6/6-9 Survival Craft (Lifeboatman)
6/5-23 TCNAV/CO
6/19-23 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
6/19-30 GMDSS
6/26-30 Radar Observer Unlimited
6/26-30 Basic Shiphandling

For registration call Jennifer Fowler 888-893-7829


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Navy or Khaki Hats : $16 / includes tax
Button Down Long Sleeve Dress Shirts
Blue or Khaki: $38 / includes tax
Pocket t-shirts with Logo: $12 / includes tax
15oz. Cobalt Blue Ceramic Mug: $8 / includes tax

Call DeeDee Lazik 206-838-8328 or e-mail



 D O W  N A S D A Q  S & P 500
11,058.97 +151.02 for the week 2,276.43 -4.59 for the week 1,280.00 +7.35 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)
 Fidelity Small Company Instl (FMACX)
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX) 45.39 +.53
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)


~ 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 and MUST NOT expire during your tour of duty.

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 commenced Oct.17, 2004. 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.



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.




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.