News

Wheelhouse Weekly – February 16, 2009

February 16th 2009

 

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

Volume 13 . . . . . Number 7. . . .February 16, 2009

STORIES COVERED

REMINDERS

T-AGS Oceanographic Survey Ships Info

Required Coursework

Security Clearances

MSC Physicals

MM&P FCU News

MM&P Health & Benefit Plan News

Meet Our New Prescription Benefit Manager, PHARMACARE

Notice to MM&P Health & Benefit Plan Participants

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.


MM&P CLOSED FOR PRESIDENTS’ DAY

On Feb. 16, MM&P headquarters, MM&P Plans, the MM&P Federal Credit Union and all MM&P port offices will be closed for Presidents’ Day.


IN RESPONSE TO ECONOMIC DOWNTURN, MM&P MEMBERS AT WASHINGTON STATE FERRIES VOLUNTARILY FORGO RAISES

In Washington State, some 1,500 ferry workers, including members of the Masters, Mates & Pilots, will voluntarily forgo the raises they negotiated last year with Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire. The raises would have ranged from 1.6 percent to 10.7 percent. Other unions joining MM&P in the decision to forgo their raises in light of the economic downturn were the Inlandboatmen’s Union, the Puget Sound Metal Trades Council, the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association and the Office and Professional Employees International Union.


CREW OF NEWLY FREED ARMS SHIP THANKS USNS CATAWBA

The officers and crew of MV FAINA, the Ukrainian arms ship released by pirates last week, have expressed their fervent thanks to the officers and crew of USNS CATAWBA, the fleet ocean tug that stood by the vessel during four months of captivity. “Our liberation would not have been possible without your constant presence,” wrote Captain Viktor Nikolsky, the captain of the hijacked vessel, to Captain Charles Rodriguez and the crew of USNS CATAWBA. “It is difficult for me to express my feelings towards you and your crew. Our lives were spared because you were here to protect us.” Nikolsky said all the seafarers aboard FAINA would “keep CATAWBA and her crew in their hearts forever.” The pirates had originally demanded a ransom of $35 million but ultimately agreed to free the ship for less than 10 percent of that. The FAINA was seized Sept. 25. The captain at the time the vessel was seized, Vladimir Kolobkov, died of a heart attack shortly after the ordeal began. The ship was transporting 33 refurbished Soviet-era tanks.


COAST GUARD ANNOUNCES MEASURES AIMED AT ALLEVIATING CREDENTIALS BACKLOG

The Coast Guard says it is taking steps to address the backlog of well over 4,000 credential applications which have piled up at its National Maritime Center (NMC) in Martinsburg, West Va. “The NMC’s average processing time of 80 days is not acceptable to the Coast Guard,” the agency said in an official statement that blamed “a significant portion of the delays on… the complexity of completing the application… and production bottlenecks in the medical evaluation stage of the credential evaluation process.”

As reported in recent issues of the Wheelhouse Weekly, the time it takes the Coast Guard to process mariners’ and pilots’ medical evaluations has more than doubled—from fewer than 40 days to 89 days—since the agency introduced centralized medical vetting procedures in the second half of 2008. Under the new system, NMC staffers try to determine mariners’ and pilots’ “fitness for duty” based exclusively on test results. MM&P had warned the Coast Guard from the outset that the new medical review system would quickly become blocked by the volume of applications and the unnecessary medical tests and evaluations it requires.

At the beginning of January, there were over 4,400 medical evaluations at NMC awaiting action. Each application caught in the Coast Guard’s bottleneck can translate into lost work and financial hardship for mariners, pilots and their families.

In trying to address the problems, the Coast Guard said it will: implement “enhanced risk-based screening procedures”; prioritize renewals to focus on credentials that have expired or are near expiration; and “aggressively surge” national resources to help process the backlog of evaluations. Specifically, the agency said it has reached out for help in reviewing medical evaluations to Coast Guard active duty medical staff from around the country, public health service personnel and members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

MM&P appreciates the fact that the Coast Guard has recognized there is a problem and is taking action. But the union is skeptical about the practicality of the entire centralized vetting program because it makes the medical review process unnecessarily burdensome and costly.  MM&P supports legislation that was introduced in the last session of Congress by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.). The bill would have allowed doctors on a designated list of qualified medical examiners to perform physical exams and certify mariners and pilots as being fit for duty. It is hoped that the legislation will be reintroduced this year and acted on swiftly by Congress.

Is your medical evaluation one of the thousands awaiting action at the National Maritime Center? If so, we want to know about it so we can take your concerns to Congress. Please immediately send an e-mail to communications@bridgedeck.org that specifies:

— Your name, address, e-mail and phone number;
— Number of years you have been a merchant mariner or pilot;
— License you sail under;
— Date you sent your application for upgrade or renewal to the Coast Guard;
— How long before your license was scheduled to expire you started the renewal process;
— Dates and nature of follow-up correspondence with the Coast Guard, including requests by NMC that you undergo additional medical tests;
— Any details about how long it took you to complete the additional medical tests, in particular given the need to schedule them during periods when you were not at sea.


TANKER STRIKES CONTAINERSHIP IN DUBAI

A containership and a chemical tanker collided last Tuesday outside the port of Jebel Ali in Dubai. The containership, SIMA SAMAN, and the tanker, KASHMIR, collided at 1220. Two crew members reported minor injuries. The tanker was laden with chemicals used in manufacturing plastic. After the collision, clouds of thick black smoke could be seen rising from the area. The port is on the southwestern end of the city, in the direction of Abu Dhabi.


TWIC COUNTDOWN: 58 DAYS UNTIL ALL MARINERS MUST HAVE A TWIC

Reminder: April 15 is the deadline for all mariners and other maritime industry workers to obtain the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC).


WHY RETIREES SHOULD CARE ABOUT PASSAGE OF THE EMPLOYEE FREE CHOICE ACT

Former Machinists Union President George J. Kourpias explains why passage of the Employee Free Choice Act is essential to the wellbeing of pensioners—as well as everyone still in the workforce.

“Unions built the middle class. By standing together, we fought for and won better wages, health care and pensions, and safety and respect on the job. But much of what we achieved is crumbling in today’s troubled economy. Many of us worry that our children and grandchildren will not live as well as we have. More than ever, American workers need the good wages and benefits that they can best achieve through collective bargaining. 
 
“As the former president of the Machinists Union – and now as president of the Alliance for Retired Americans – there is no doubt in my mind that the fate of workers and retirees is undeniably linked. We cannot have a solid, stable retirement unless we have a solid, stable middle class. For example, union workers are three times more likely to have defined-benefit pension plan that non-union workers. And union workers are five times more likely to have health insurance than non-union workers.
 
“To me, it is no coincidence that as it becomes harder for workers to form and join unions, more and more Americans are struggling to take care of their families, see a doctor or get a prescription filled, or retire with any sense of comfort. According to the National Labor Relations Board, in 2007 nearly 30,000 workers faced illegal employer retaliation for trying to join a union – that is five times as many as in 1967. 
 
“How do we change this? Workers and retirees must fight together to pass the Employee Free Choice Act so we can finally crack down on companies that break the law and block a worker’s freedom to join a union. 

“What can retirees do to help? First, talk to your children and grandchildren. Polls have shown that many younger workers may not be aware of the benefits of collective bargaining. Tell them all about what our generation went through to create jobs that could support a family. And tell them how much it hurts to see it all slipping away.
 
“Next, tell your representatives and senators in Washington. Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.
 
“Retirees have a lot at stake in this fight.  We know what collective bargaining did for us, and we want only the best for our children and grandchildren.  If we stand together – retirees, workers, and community leaders – we can pass the Employee Free Choice Act and restore economic security to people of all ages. For more information, contact, www.RetiredAmericans.org or call 1-888-373-6497.”

In related news, President Obama has reaffirmed his strong support for the Employee Free Choice Act. Speaking last week to reporters in the Oval Office, Obama discounted the argument made by some in the business community that workers’ freedom to bargain collectively is bad for the economy. “I don’t buy the argument that providing workers with collective bargaining rights somehow weakens the economy or worsens the business environment,” the President said. “If you’ve got workers who have decent pay and benefits, they’re also customers for business.”


TRUSTEES APPROVE NEW TRAVEL REIMBURSEMENT POLICY FOR MM&P TRUST STUDENTS

Starting March 1, MITAGS will no longer purchase airline tickets in advance for eligible students traveling to MITAGS. Eligible students will be reimbursed upon their successful completion of at least four days of classes. Furthermore, reimbursements are limited to the cost of a 14-day advance fare purchase. If the ticket is over $500 round trip, you must have written permissions from the MITAGS Admissions Office. Call or e-mail Admissions for a complete copy of this policy. It is also posted at www.mitags.org on the MM&P Trust Student page.


JOBS AVAILABLE ON T-AGS VESSELS

There are positions currently open on the T-AGS oceanographic survey ships. The jobs can be bid with a port relief card instead of a regular shipping card. Mariners on vacation can also take these jobs. If you are interested, please immediately contact MM&P’s New York/New Jersey Hall, 201-963-1918 or nynj@bridgedeck.org.


MIAMI’S NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER OPENS DOORS TO MM&P MEMBERS

MM&P members have an opportunity to tour the National Hurricane Center in Miami on Saturday, March 14. The tour will begin at 10:00 and should be finished at about 12:00. It will include the National Hurricane Center, Tropical Analysis & Forecast Branch, as well as the local Miami forecast center. The NHC tour can accommodate 25 to 30 people. NHC Director Bill Read and Executive Officer Christopher Burr will be on hand to answer questions. If you are interested, contact the MM&P Miami/Port Everglades Hall at pompano@bridgedeck.org or (954) 946-7883 by March 1. The National Hurricane Center is located with the Miami National Weather Service Forecast Office on the main campus of Florida International University, 11691 SW 17th St., about 12 miles west of downtown and eight miles southwest of Miami International Airport. Parking is available near the main entrance on the south side of the center, which faces SW 17th Street.


NEW CONTACT INFO FOR MM&P HOUSTON HALL

MM&P’s Houston Hall has a new address: 4620 Fairmont Parkway, Suite 203, Pasadena, Texas, 77504. The phone number is: 281-487-4649. The fax number is: 281-487-0686.


PREVIOUSLY REPORTED NEWS ON THE MM&P DEFINED BENEFIT PENSION PLAN

As previously reported in the Wheelhouse Weekly, the MM&P Board of Trustees met Feb. 3–4 to discuss the current economic situation as it has affected the MM&P Defined Benefit Pension Plan. As permitted by the Worker, Retiree, and Employer Recovery Act of 2008, agreement was reached to remain in the “green,” or safe zone under the Pension Protection Act of 2006. All current benefit options will be available for another year. As part of this agreement, employer pension plan contributions will be increased and deductions will be taken from Offshore vacation pay. The Board of Trustees will meet again in May 2009 to discuss long-term pension plan design changes and other measures to safeguard our retirement security.


FORMER MARITIME ADMINISTRATOR SEAN CONNAUGHTON JOINS ABS

Ship classification society ABS has announced that Sean Connaughton, who served as Maritime Administrator from 2006 to January 2009, will become its corporate vice president for government affairs. Connaughton is to act as the society’s primary liaison with national governments, establishing and maintaining relationships with the principal executive and legislative bodies that influence maritime policy. ABS has as its corporate mission the protection of life, property and the marine environment through the development and verification of standards for the design, construction and maintenance of ships.


NTSB HOLDS PUBLIC MEETING ON COSCO BUSAN

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will hold a public board meeting on its investigation into the COSCO BUSAN accident on Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009 at 8:30 a.m. in its Board Room and Conference Center, 429 L’Enfant Plaza, S.W. A live and archived webcast of the proceedings will be available on the Board’s website at http://www.ntsb.gov/Events/Boardmeeting.htm . A summary of the board’s final report, which will include its findings, probable cause and safety recommendations, will appear on the website shortly after the conclusion of the meeting. The entire report will appear on the website several weeks later. Directions to the NTSB Board Room: Front door located on Lower 10th Street, directly below L’Enfant Plaza. From Metro, exit L’Enfant Plaza station at 9th and D Streets escalator, walk through shopping mall, at the CVS store (on the left), and take escalator (on the right) down one level. The Board room will be to your left.


WOULD YOU LIKE TO RECEIVE YOUR OWN COPY OF THE WHEELHOUSE WEEKLY?

MM&P’s e-newsletter, the Wheelhouse Weekly, is distributed free of charge, every Monday of the year. The Weekly is distributed to all MM&P Port Offices, to MM&P-contracted vessels, and to all other members of the MM&P community who request it. If you would like to receive your own copy of the Weekly, please send an e-mail to communications@bridgedeck.org and your name will be added immediately to the distribution list.


COURSE EQUIVALENCIES FOR REQUIRED COMPANY TRAINING

Given the number of required company training courses, it is extremely important for new members to request a transcript review to determine whether they meet the course equivalency requirements.  The courses that are eligible for equivalency are listed in the MITAGS Trust Student Guide located on www.mitags.org in the MM&P Member Section. You may also request a copy from Diane Ford (dford@mitags.org or call 443-989-3238). Remember, the dispatcher in the union hall cannot assign you a job unless you meet the company’s training requirements!


MASS MARITIME HOSTS EDUCATION SUMMIT

Massachusetts Maritime Academy will host a maritime education summit April 15 -17. The event is intended to facilitate networking among maritime educators and administrators, industry leaders and regulatory personnel. A maritime workforce panel, led by representatives of major maritime corporations and the national shipping unions, will be convened. Breakout sessions will focus on maritime training, strategy and administration, and general education. Specific topics scheduled for presentation include piracy, port security and emergency response.

The summit will run concurrently with the spring meeting of the Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee (MERPAC). For more information on the summit, visit www.maritime.edu/educationsummit or e-mail educationsummitinfo@maritime.edu or call Kristine Esdale, director of annual giving, at (508) 830-5269.


MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

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

AIS � (1-Day) Automatic Identification System: 4/2
ARPA � Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 4/13
AZIPOD � (2-Day) Azipod Propulsion Systems: 4/20
BRM � Bridge Resource Management: 5/4
BST � Basic Safety Training: 4/6
CONT PLNG � Contingency Planning: 5/15

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
CMM-ADVSTAB � Advanced Stability: 4/20
CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 4/6
CMM-CHS I � Advanced Cargo Handling (week 1): 4/27
CMM-CHS II � Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 5/4
CMM-ECDIS � Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems: 3/30
CMM-MPP � Marine Propulsion Plants: 4/13
CMM-SHMGT I � Ship Management (week 1) : 2/23, 5/11
CMM-SHMGT II � Ship Management (week 2) : 3/2, 5/18
CMM-SHS-ADV-I � Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 4/27, 5/11
CMM-SHS-ADV-I I � Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 5/4, 5/18
CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 3/9, 5/25

CSE-AWR2 � Confined Space Entry Awareness (2 day): 5/11
CSE-AAES � Confined Space Entry � Atmospheric Analysis of Enclosed Spaces: 2/26
FF-BADV � Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting Combined: 4/6
GMDSS � Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 2/23, 4/6
HAZ � Hazardous Materials (5 day): 5/4
LAP � License Advancement Program for upgrade to Chief Mate/Master: 3/30
LEG � Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 4/22

MEDIA RSP – Media Response: 2/27
MED-PIC – Medical Person-In-Charge: 3/2, 4/13
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 3/2, 4/13, 5/4
MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 2/26, 3/7, 4/3, 4/18, 5/14

[MSC – Military Sealift Command]
MSC-CBRD-1 � CBRD Orientation: 2/25, 3/27, 5/22
MSC-DC � Damage Control: 2/23, Special Evening MSC-DC Class: 5/18 to 5/21
MSC-SMA � Small Arms Training: 3/23, 5/18

[OICNW � Officer in Charge of a Navigation Watch Courses]
OICNW-CHS-BAS � Basic Cargo Handling and Stowage: 4/20, 5/25
OICNW-CNAV � Celestial Navigation: 4/20
OICNW-ENAV � Electronic Navigation: 3/9
OICNW-EP � Emergency Procedures: 5/14
OICNW-SAR � Search and Rescue: 5/11
OICNW-WKP BAS � Basic Watchkeeping: 3/30
OICNW-WX BAS � Basic Meteorology: 3/23

ROP-5 � Radar Observer Program (Original or Renewal): 5/4
ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 4/13

SEC-VCF – Security Officer: Vessel, Company & Facility: 2/23, 3/30, 5/11
SEC-VSO-R � Vessel Security Officer Refresher (1 day): 2/26, 4/21, 5/14
SHS-BAS � Basic Shiphandling: 2/23, 4/27, 5/18
SHS-EMR � Emergency Shiphandling: 4/20
SHS-ESH-BRMP3 � Emergency Shiphandling and Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 4/20

TPIC � Tankerman Person in Charge (Dangerous Liquids): 5/25

…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. For class availability or info on MITAGS courses and programs, contact admissions toll-free at 866-656-5568 or by e-mail: admissions@mitags.org.


PMI ACADEMIC NOTES

PMI Web site at www.mates.org for more info

FOR REGISTRATION CALL JENNIFER PITZEN: 206 838-1126

SCHEDULE OF COURSES – (Course schedule also posted online at www.mates.org)

February 2009
17 ROR
16-20 MED PRO
16-27 MED PIC
23-27 ROP

March 2009
2 ROR
2-6 WX BAS
9-20 GMDSS
10-13 ARPA
9-20 SHS ADV
16-20 ENAV
23-3 CNAV

For registration call Jennifer Pitzen 888-893-7829

PMI MERCHANDISE FOR SALE!!!

High-quality clothing embroidered with the NEW PMI logo! We can ship these items also! Acceptable forms of payment are check, credit card, money order and exact cash. Call Laura Bendixen at 888-893-7829 for prices and to order. If we don’t have your size, we’ll be glad to special order for you at no extra cost.


MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 2-13-2009

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
7,850.41 1,534.36 826.68
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Closing
Price
 Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund(VAARX)
38.37
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
76.33
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
22.36
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
11.07
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
11.05
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
17.36
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
10.56
 Vanguard Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
19.86
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
4.51
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
12.79
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
14.78
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
11.97
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
14.18
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
9.37
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
9.04
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
8.66
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
8.55
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
8.84
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
10.08
 Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
20.12
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
13.28
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
10.70
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
11.85
 Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
9.23
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
43.69
 Fidelity Small Company Instl (FMACX)
11.69
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
35.48
 Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
11.60
 Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX)
24.85
 Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
19.27
 Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
14.77
 Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
9.42
 Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
9.90
 Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
9.97
 Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
9.56
 Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
9.16
 Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
5.22
 Fidelity Freedom 2050 (FFFHX)
6.00
 Fidelity Total Bond Fund (FTBFX)
9.36
 Spartan Extended market Index Fund (FSEMX)
21.13
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
29.31
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
17.97





~ Reminders ~



 

T-AGS OCEANOGRAPHIC SURVEY SHIPS MANNING REQUIREMENTS

REQUIRED COURSEWORK

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: admissions@mitags.org, 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: rplant@bridgedeck.org, by fax to 410-850-0973 or by mail to:

Richard Plant, Director of Special Projects

IOMM&P
700 Maritime Blvd. Suite B
Linthicum Heights, MD 21090



SHIP SECURITY CLEARANCE NEEDED

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 https://sclient.dss.mil/download/w9xfull.htm 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.



MSC PHYSICALS

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.


MM&P FCU NEWS

GET NEW WHEELS OR LOWER EXISTING PAYMENTS WITH MM&P FCU VEHICLE FINANCING

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:

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

6.75 percent for 25-48 months;
7.50 percent for 49-60 months ($20,000 minimum); and
8.00 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.

PREFERRED BORROWERS GET LOWER LOAN RATES
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 mmpfcu@bridgedeck.org or call 1-800-382-7777 toll-free.



 

MM&P HEALTH & BENEFIT PLAN NEWS

MEET OUR NEW PRESCRIPTION BENEFIT MANAGER, PHARMACARE

As you know, effective July 1, 2007, MM&P will have a new Prescription Benefit Manager, PharmaCare. If you use the mail service and have not sent your Confidential Mail Service Enrollment Form to the MM&P Plan Office, you have until June 30 to do so. Otherwise, you can call PharmaCare’s customer service line and give them the information over the telephone or send the form with your first new mail prescription directly to PharmaCare. In the next couple of days, you will be receiving a letter with your new MM&P identification cards and a prescription booklet with information on how to obtain your prescriptions. PharmaCare’s customer service number is listed in the booklet. If you have any questions, please contact the MM&P Health & Benefit Plan Advisors.



NOTICE TO MM&P HEALTH & BENEFIT PLAN PARTICIPANTS

As you know, MM&P Health & Benefit Plan members have a new prescription benefit manager, PharmaCare. When you first obtain a prescription at your retail drug store, please show your new Health & Benefit Identification Card with PharmaCare’s information. If you do not show your card, please inform your pharmacist of the following information so you can receive your prescriptions through the Plan. Your identification number HAS NOT CHANGED. Please provide the pharmacist with your full member identification number. You will have to also provide the following numbers. RxGrp#- Z50136968, RxBin: 610468 and RxPCN: PC2 

If your pharmacist has any questions, he or she should call PharmaCare directly at (800) 503-3241.  If you have any questions, PharmaCare members can call the company directly at (888) 364-6815.


WWII USCG VETERANS OUTREACH

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 www.loc.gov/folklife/vets.

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.



 

COMPANY GIVES BUCKS BACK FOR BUYING SAFE SHOES

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)

LOOK FOR THE UNION LABEL:

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 www.unionlabel.org and click on “Union Made Product Search”. To shop for union-made products online, go to www.ShopUnionMade.org.


 

WEBSITE OFFERS UNION-MADE GOODS AND SERVICES

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, www.shopunionmade.org, 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. 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.

© 2009, 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.