News

Wheelhouse Weekly – February 17, 2005

February 17th 2005


 


THE MASTERS, MATES & PILOTS’
WHEELHOUSE WEEKLYonline

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

Volume 9 . . . . . Number 7 . . . . February 17, 2005


STORIES COVERED
  • ALSO

REMINDERS




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




IMPORTANT NEWS FROM MM&P PLANS ON IRAP 401 (K) PLAN

Each year the Internal Revenue Code requires that the Plan Office perform a non-discrimination test for the MM&P IRAP 401(k) Plan. This test was conducted on an industry wide basis for Collectively Bargained members (i.e. – all MM&P members working for participating companies).

The Plan Office has just completed the testing and unfortunately, the Offshore and CNW Collectively Bargained Employees Group has failed the non-discrimination testing. This means that the contribution percentage made by specific Highly Compensated Employees in each division exceeded the ratio allowed by the Internal Revenue Service.

  • The Plan Office will be advising each member by mail who is affected by this test.
  • The Plan Office must return to the affected members their excess contributions plus earnings thereof in accordance with Internal Revenue Code regulations. The 401(k) Investment Manager (Fidelity Investments) will be calculating the amount and mailing your check in the next few days. Please note that the amount of this distribution must be reported as income for 2004 when filing your taxes. If you have already filed, it will be necessary to submit an amended return.
  • The gross amount of your excess contribution must be reported as income for 2004. The difference in the amount of your return of excess contributions and the gross amount of your check represents the gains/losses in your account. In January 2006, you will receive a 1099-R from Fidelity Investment which will represent the gains/losses on the amount listed above and must be reported as part of your 2005 taxes.


  • MOU BALLOT COUNT CERTIFIED AS ALL CONTRACTS ARE RATIFIED

    On Feb.16, a ballot count was conducted at MM&P HQ for the contract ratification of seven MOUs for various companies.
    All contracts were overwhelmingly ratified. Of 2,588 ballots sent out to offshore members, 944 were returned during the 90-day voting period that ended on Feb.16th. The Ballot Agent was John Seibel of Trueballot, Inc. The Ballot Committee consisted of Phil Mullikin, Lou Ramey and Chuck Pillsbury. Final ballot counts for each MOU are available at all Offshore port offices.



     

    OCEANBLUE EXPRESS AIMS TO TAKE ON MATSON AND HORIZON

    Published reports say that California-based OceanBlue Express (OBE) has obtained a $57-million line of credit for its start-up Jones Act operations aimed at taking on MM&P-contracted Matson Navigation and MM&P-contracted Horizon Lines in the Oakland-Los Angeles-Honolulu service.

    Former long-time Matson boss Brad Mulholland heads OBE. A team of Matson veterans is also on board at OBE and they reportedly have been sent to Honolulu to work out operational matters with Hawaii stevedores.

    On the Wash DC front, OBE has hired former US Maritime Deputy Administrator John Graykowski to head up government relations for its Jones Act container-line project. A former top Washington maritime regulator during the Clinton Administration, Graykowski is a heavy-hitter with extensive knowledge of what it takes to be a successful player in the Jones Act trades.

    Before taking on the OBE project, Graykowski was the marketing director at Kvaerner Philadelphia Shipyard where Matson’s two new containerships were built. The shipyard is currently building two more as yet unsold containerships, one 2,500-TEUs and the other 2,600-TEUs.

    Scandinavian shipping tycoon Kjell Inge Rokke controls both OBE and the Kvaerner Philadelphia Shipyard. According to the well-respected maritime industry publication “TradeWinds” some industry skeptics wonder whether the start-up of OBE is a bluff by Rokke to force US owners to bite the bullet and pay the price for new US-built containerships.

    The publication says that OBE refutes those charges and is telling potential investors that there is money to be made attacking a fat target. Both Matson Navigation and Horizon Lines are making record profits and enjoying high-capacity utilization in the Jones Act service.

    According to the “TradeWinds” article, OBE intends to price its services 12-percent under the market and calculates that its competition cannot turn a profit if they cut prices as much as 10-percent. OBE is projecting an August launch of its Jones Act service.

    OBE also calculates that with a newbuilt fleet, it will have fewer cancellations owning to technical problems and greater mechanical efficiency, especially over Horizon with its all-steam fleet. The article relates that creditors are expected to turn thumbs-down to any move by heavily indebted Horizon to renew its fleet.



     

    MM&P-CREWED USNS FISCHER LOADS 3RD ACR CARGO IN TEXAS

    Two of the world’s largest cargo ships, one of which is the MM&P-crewed USNS FISHER, loaded more than 522,000 square feet of equipment for the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Beaumont, TX, this month. MM&P members aboard the FISCHER are ship’s Master, Capt. Ed Higgins, C/M Morgan McManus, 2/M Tim Kalke, 3/M James Warmack and 3/M Margaret Meehan.

    The civilian-crewed, noncombatant ships are operated by the US Navy’s Military Sealift Command, which moves more than 95 percent of military equipment and supplies used by deployed US forces. More than 3,000 pieces of cargo, including 350 containers of supplies and more than 1,650 trucks, tanks and helicopters, were loaded aboard the two large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off (LMSR) ships.

    “LMSRs are specifically designed to carry oversized combat cargo for US war fighters around the world,” said Tim Pickering, MSC cargo project officer. “Each ship has a carrying capacity of 380,000 square feet. That’s eight football fields of equipment!”

    The combat equipment is destined for Iraq where more than 5,000 troops from the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, based in Fort Carson, CO, will arrive in March. This is the regiment’s second deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The deployment is expected to last one year.

    To date, MSC ships have moved more than 70.4 million square feet of combat cargo and equipment for US forces involved in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. That amount is equal to more than 740,000 SUVs lined up bumper-to-bumper, stretching 2,086 miles from Washington, DC, to Salt Lake City, UT.

    MSC operates more than 110 noncombatant, civilian-crewed ships that replenish US Navy ships at sea, chart ocean bottoms, conduct undersea surveillance, preposition combat cargo at sea and move supplies for the US military.



     

    MARINE ELECTRIC SINKING TO BE REBROADCAST ON FEB.17

    The History Channel will rebroadcast an episode of “Deep Sea Detectives” that examines the sinking of the MM&P-crewed SS MARINE ELECTRIC in the Atlantic off the coast of Virginia 22 years ago.

    The show is scheduled to air at 1800 hrs Eastern/Pacific time and includes an interview with Bob Cusick, an MM&P survivor along with a segment with author Robert Frump who wrote a book on the sinking entitled, “Until the Sea Shall Free Them”.

    The History Channel describes the program this way: “While hauling coal on the night of February 12, 1983, she suddenly capsized and sank in a savage winter storm. With no time to launch lifeboats, 34 men were hurled into the frozen Atlantic. Only three survived. What caused a veteran merchant ship to plunge to the ocean floor?

    Survivors blamed the owners for sending an unsafe boat to sea. But the owners charged that one of the survivors caused his crewmates’ deaths by failing to observe basic safety procedures. In the shadow of these allegations, the wreck is a potential crime scene. Divers pore over the rusting hulk hunting for evidence in an effort to answer the tantalizing question of what, or who, sent the MARINE ELECTRIC to her watery grave.”




     

    USCG RESCUES THREE FISHERMEN IN LIFE RAFT OFF MASS. COAST

    A USCG helicopter crew rescued three fishermen after their boat sank 45 miles east of Gloucester, MA, earlier this week. Rescued were: Richard Shatford, Lewis Mitchell and Brian Clancy, all from Gloucester.

    A USCG Falcon jet crew heard a Mayday call from the fishing vessel HOLLYWOOD, a 38-foot boat home-ported in Gloucester, reporting the boat was sinking and all three people on board were getting in a life raft in the frigid waters of the Atlantic.

    Fortunately, a USCG helicopter was flying in the Gloucester area headed toward the sinking vessel’s position and rescued all three people on the life raft. The helicopter crew took the fisherman to USCG Station Gloucester, where local emergency medical crews met them. All refused treatment and were released.

    Officials on the scene attributed the successful outcome of this rescue to the fact that two of the three fishermen were wearing survival suits. They also had an emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB), which was activated when the life raft went into the water and confirmed its exact position for USCG rescue crews.

     


    BULKER SUCCESSFULLY FLOATED FREE OF REEF OFF HAWAII

    The bulker MV CAPE FLATTERY was successfully re-floated off a reef about 400-yards off the entrance to Barber’s Point Harbor, HI, last week with the assistance of three tugs. The vessel was towed by tugs to safe anchorage about one mile offshore. Assessments of the internal spaces on the vessel and the hull will be conducted prior to the ship being allowed to enter port.

    Efforts to refloat the vessel required the removal of all but enough fuel oil to operate the vessel’s engines and the removal of about 9,000 metric tons of the granular cement cargo.

    The MV HAWAII RESPONDER, a privately operated oil spill response vessel also responded to the scene, standing by assist with any reported pollution in the water. There are no current reports of pollution. Helicopter over-flights of the area were conducted to verify that there is no oil in the water. Throughout the operation, a Unified Command comprised of federal, state, and the vessel owners and their representatives monitored the cargo offload and the re-floating efforts.

    Originally six tugs were on the scene to stabilize the CAPE FLATTERY that was partially ballasted to minimize bouncing or moving in the tide and sea swells. The USCG Cutter WALNUT enforced a 500-yard safety zone around the scene during the entire incident.


    PASSENGERS THREATEN TO SUE CAPTAIN AFTER STORM

    Passengers from the VOYAGER cruise ship have threatened to take legal action against the vessel’s captain for steering the ship into a heavy storm. The passengers, most of who were from Spain, arrived home earlier this week describing how they were thrown about the ship as the VOYAGER was hit by 40-foot waves during their cruise.

    A group of several families is now looking to start a negligence claim against the Captain, who they believe should not have sailed the VOYAGER under such poor weather conditions. A spokesman for the vessel’s owner, V.Ships, said that the VOYAGER left port in winds of Force 4-6. A low-pressure system then unexpectedly moved into the area that resulted in the Force 9-10 conditions that could not have been foreseen by the Captain.

    The VOYAGER was set adrift, after a huge wave estimated to be over 40-feet breached the bridge and knocked out its electronics and propulsion. The ship was carrying 776 passengers and crew. The ship was hit by the storm about 60 miles off Palma, Mallorca near Sardinia while the vessel was sailing from Tunis to Barcelona.

    Two tugs were dispatched to assist the cruise ship, along with several aircraft. While most of the passengers returned home uninjured, at least four remain in the hospital with fractured limbs. The ship is now undergoing repairs in Sardinia.


    NEW ORLEANS HALL TO HOLD GRAND OPENING AT NEW LOCATION

    There will be a Grand Opening Party/Open House on Wed., March 9 after the noon job call at the MM&P New Orleans Hall. The NOLA Hall’s new location is 3330 West Esplanade Avenue, South, Suite 209, Metairie, LA 70002-3454. The telephone number, 504-837-5700, remains the same. RSVPs are appreciated. For more info, contact Representative Sue Bourcq by phone or by Email at sbourcq@bridgedeck.org .


    REMINDER: APPLICATIONS FOR 2004 “SHEP” AWARD

    The Chamber of Shipping of America (CSA) is now accepting nominations for the 2004 Rear Admiral Halert Shepheard Award. Presentation of the “Shep” Award will take place at CSA’s annual meeting on April 19 in New York City.

    Nominations for a living individual may be submitted for a single outstanding contribution to merchant marine safety; or in recognition of, dedication to, or exceptional leadership in activities associated with merchant marine safety over time. Nominations should be based upon direct personal and professional knowledge of an individual.

    Nominations must be received no later that Friday, March 4. A web-based nomination form may be downloaded from CSA’s website: www.knowships.org, or may be obtained by writing to: “Shep” Award Committee, Chamber of Shipping of America, 1730 M Street, NW, Suite 407, Washington, DC 20036.


    MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

     

    CLASS OPENINGS

    Between now and the end of May 2005 seats are available in the following courses:

    • AIS – Automatic Identification System: 4/29, 5/7
    • ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 3/14, 4/4, 5/2, 5/9
    • BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 2/14
    • BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 4/26
    • BST – Basic Safety Training: 3/07, 4/25, 5/23

      CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses

    • CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 5/2
    • CMM-CHS I- Cargo Handling & Stowage (week 1): 3/28
    • CMM-CHS II- Cargo Handling & Stowage (week 2): 3/21
    • CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display and Info Systems: 3/21, 4/18, 5/16
    • CMM-MMP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 2/21
    • CMM-SHMGT-I – Ship Management (week 1): 2/28
    • CMM-SHMGT-II – Ship Management (week 2): 3/07
    • CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 3/28, 4/18, 5/23
    • CMM-SHS-ADV-II- Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 4/25
    • CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 5/9
    • CMM-WKP- Advanced Watchkeeping: 3/14, 4/11
    • CMM-VPEN-Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 4/25
    • CONT-PLNG – Contingency Planning: 3/04, 4/8, 5/6, 5/13
    • FF-BADV – (Combined) Basic and Advanced Firefighting: 3/07, 4/20, 5/23
    • HAZ – Hazardous Materials [5-day]: 3/28, 4/11, 5/2
    • LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 4/13, 4/26, 5/4, 5/10
    • MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 3/03, 4/7, 5/5, 5/12
    • MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 3/19, 4/23, 5/14
    • MED-PIC – Medical Person-In-Charge: 3/14, 4/18, 5/9
    • MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 3/14, 4/18, 5/9

      MSC – Military Sealift Command

    • MSC-CBRD-1 – Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Training Orientation: 3/03, 4/23, 5/1, 5/19
    • MSC-DC – Damage Control: 4/18, 4/27, 5/16
    • MSC-ENVPRO: Environmental Protection: 5/18
    • MSC-SMA – Small Arms Training (4-day): 4/25, 5/16
    • MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 4/29, 5/20
      (must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years)
    • ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal (5-day): 3/28, 5/23
    • ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 3/14, 4/4, 5/2, 5/9
    • SEC-FSO – Facility Security Officer: 4/4
    • SEC-MAR-PRO – Maritime Security Professional Train The Trainer Training [5 days], 4/11
    • SEC-OFF-PCS – Security Officer: Port, Company, Ship: 2/28, 5/3
    • SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling (5-day): 3/28, 5/23
    • TRAC-TUG – Water Tractor and Azimuth Stern Drive Tugs: 5/5
    • TPIC – Tankerman Person-In-Charge: 4/4

     


    ATTENDANCE VERIFICATION & CANCELLATION IS VITAL

    If you are scheduled for a course, call, write, or Email admissions to advise whether or not you will attend. Many classes are in demand and maintain a Standby List. “No Shows” are missed training opportunities for other members.

    SCHEDULES, UPDATED COURSE AVAILABILITY, INFO & REGISTRATION

    Courses are subject to change. Check the MITAGS website for up-to-date course descriptions associated with all course title abbreviations, and for schedule revisions and updated course availability. You can also check future schedules, review detailed course descriptions and register on-line or contact Admissions at admissions@mitags.org or by calling toll-free, 1-866-656-5568.



    PMI MARITIME TECHNOLOGY & CAREER CENTER ACADEMIC SCHEDULE – Winter 2004 – Spring 2005

    All the courses below will be conducted at our new facility at 1729 Alaskan Way South, home to the “Maritime Technology and Career Center” which houses PMI’s state-of-the-art Full Mission Ship Simulator.

    February 2005

    • 2/21-25: Personal Survival Craft/Lifeboatman
    • 2/21-25: Basic Shiphandling
    • 2/21-24: Fast Rescue Boat
    • 2/28-3/4: Basic and Advanced Firefighting
    • 2/28-3/4: Basic Meteorology
    • 2/28-3/2: Ship/Company Security Officer
    • 2/28-3/11: GMDSS

    March 2005

    • 3/07-11: Construction and Stability
    • 3/14-18: Basic Safety Training
    • 3/17-18: Basic Firefighting
    • 3/14-18: Cargo Handling and Stowage
    • 3/14-18: ARPA
    • 3/14-18: Tankerman Person-In-Charge
    • 3/21-25: Able Bodied Seaman
    • 3/21-24: Personal Survival Craft/Lifeboatman
    • 3/21-25: Medical Care Provider
    • 3/21-4/01: Medical Person-In-Charge
    • 3/21-25: ECDIS
    • 3/21-24: Fast Rescue Boat
    • 3/28-29: Ratings Forming Part of a Navigational Watch
    • 3/28-29: Search and Rescue
    • 3/30-4/01: Emergency Procedures
    • 3/28-4/01: ARPA
    • 3/28: Radar Recertification
    • 3/28-4/01: Emergency Shiphandling

    For registration and more info call DeeDee Lazik or Jennifer Fowler at 888-893-7829, check the PMI website at mates.org or Email PMI at admin@mates.org.




     
     

    MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF February 16, 2005 CLOSE


     D O W    N A S D A Q
     10,834.8811 +170.77 for the week  2,087.43  +54.67 for the week
    Fund Name & Trading Symbol
    Closing
    Price
     Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
    111.74
     Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
    31.07
     Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
    18.87
     Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
    16.12
     Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
    31.12
     Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
    10.47
     Vanguard High Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX)
    6.43
     Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
    10.36
     Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
    17.90
     Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
    16.21
     Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
    38.07
     Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
    104.20
     Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
    42.90





    ~ 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.

    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 commences Oct.17, 2004 and will continue until Jan.3, 2005. Crew rotations will start beginning as early as January 2005 and will continue through as late as June 2005. 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.
    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.

    When complete and all information has been validated, click on “Communications” from the menu bar at the top of the screen and select “Transmit to Security Officer”. Save the file to the hard drive on your computer using your last name (surname) as the file name. Send this file as an email attachment to Mike Bohlman at Horizon Lines, Mbohlman@horizon-lines.com. His phone number is 908-259-2803. You will need to provide Mike Bohlman with your name and the case-sensitive password you assigned to the file in order for Horizon Lines to open the file and process your Security Clearance.



    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.

    On Dec.6, MM&P members will begin manning the third of seven T-AGS ships operated by Horizon. The USNS SUMNER will be crewed-up in Portland, OR. MM&P wishes the crew a safe voyage and happy holidays.


    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:

    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.

    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

    NOTICE TO MEMBERS WHO ARE TAKING VIOXX

    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 www.vioxx.com 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.”



    NMHC MAIL-ORDER PRESCRIPTIONS WEBSITE UPDATED & IMPROVED

    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 www.nmhcmail.com 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 https://members.nmhcrx.com/Login/Login.aspx.

    • 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.



    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., Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1941. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973; Email: iommp@bridgedeck.org. For further info or to subscribe contact John Peige at jpeige@bridgedeck.org. 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.

    IOMMP

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