Wheelhouse Weekly – February 21, 2017

February 22nd 2017

Volume 22…Number 8…Feb. 21, 2017


In This Issue:

Very Important:


News for MM&P Members:


Other News:


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A Russian spy ship off the East Coast of the United States, deployment of banned cruise missiles and a “fly-by” of the Navy destroyer USS PORTER by Russian military aircraft are being seen as a test of the administration of newly elected President Donald Trump.

The Russian spy ship VIKTOR LEONOV was spotted in international waters about 70 miles off the coast of Delaware on the morning of Feb. 14. Four days later, ABC News reported it was positioned 75 miles northeast of Norfolk, Va.

The VIKTOR LEONOV is a Vishnya-class intelligence ship built for the Soviet Navy in the 1980s. Russia operates seven of the ships, which are designed for intelligence gathering via an extensive array of sensors. The ships are armed with two AK-630 close-in weapon systems and SA-N-8 SAM launchers.

The VIKTOR LEONOV was last reported off the East Coast of the United States in April 2015.

Its presence now coincides with reports that Russia has secretly deployed cruise missiles, which are banned under a 1987 treaty with the United States, and that Russian military aircraft “buzzed” the American destroyer USS PORTER on Feb. 10.

A spokesperson for the Pentagon said the Russian aircraft were armed, did not have their transponders on and had approached to an unsafe distance, risking an accident.

“Such incidents are concerning because they can result in accident or miscalculation,” Fox News quoted Pentagon spokeswoman Michelle Baldanza as saying.

She said that the Russian military planes had made low-altitude passes in the vicinity of USS PORTER on three separate occasions.

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The Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee (MERPAC) and its working groups will meet in Washington, D.C., on March 22-23. The meetings will be open to the public.

MERPAC and its working groups are scheduled to meet on Wednesday, March 22, from 0800 until 1730 and the full committee is scheduled to meet on Thursday, March 23, from 0800 until 1730.

The meetings may adjourn early if the committee has completed its business.

Among the topics that will be discussed are STCW implementation, fatigue and issues relating to the National Maritime Center (NMC).

As a reminder, MERPAC meetings provide an opportunity for mariners to interact with NMC officials and staff to discuss pending issues. MM&P members are encouraged to attend these meetings.

The meetings will take place at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C. For information on entering the premises and parking, go to:

Attendees who are U.S. citizens must pre-register for the meetings no later than March 14, 2017, while non-U.S. citizens are required to pre-register no later than March 1, 2017.

For information on how to pre-register, what identification to bring and how to submit written comments in advance, go to:

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Pirates kidnapped eight members of the crew of the German freighter BBC CARIBBEAN on Feb. 5.

Seven Russian nationals and one Ukrainian were taken hostage in the attack.

The ship and crew had departed Cameroon and were headed for Las Palmas. The last AIS signal from the 6,000 dwt freighter showed it off the island of Bioko, Equatorial Guinea.

A spokesperson for the Nigerian Navy said the military had intervened on several occasions this month to stop other attempted hijackings in the region.

The International Transport Workers’ Federation and its member unions in Russia and the Ukraine are calling on the shipowners and authorities to do everything possible to free the men.

In related news, one seafarer was killed and seven abducted in a pirate attack on the Vietnamese-flagged freighter GIANG HAI in the Sulu Sea on Feb. 19. Philippine coast guard and military forces pursued the kidnappers without success and rescued the remaining 17 members of the crew.

The ship was underway from Makassar, Indonesia, to Iloilo, in the Philippines, at the time of the attack. The waters around Tawi Tawi are known for pirate attacks and kidnappings by Abu Sayyaf, a terrorist organization based in Sulu and Basilan. Abu Sayyaf is believed to be holding over two dozen hostages, most of them merchant mariners.

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APL Maritime has new contract training requirements for rotary second mates, chief mates and masters.

Effective Jan. 1, 2017, second mates sailing on APL Maritime vessels must have the following:

· Medical Person-in-Charge (Med-PIC) Endorsement with refresher every five years;
· Drug and Alcohol Testing Certificate with refresher every five years;
· Vessel Security Officer Endorsement (no refresher).

Chief mates and masters must have the above, as well as Emergency SHS, Assessor and Hazardous Materials training.

As the result of a meeting with union officials and APL, MITAGS-PMI East has added a new 10-Day Med-PIC course that starts on March 13.

Please check the website or contact MITAGS admissions for a complete list of original and refresher offerings.

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Drone footage posted on YouTube shows U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) DREDGE POTTER hard at work at the confluence of the Illinois and Mississippi rivers.

POTTER is a dustpan dredge with jetting nozzles. In the video, it can be seen moving material from the channel to a designated placement area. The dredge repeats the process at trouble spots identified by surveys of the river bottom.

To view the footage, go to and search The USACE Dredge Potter at Work.

The Army Corps of Engineers has three dustpan dredges: DREDGE POTTER (St. Louis District); DREDGE HURLEY (Memphis District); and DREDGE JADWIN (Vicksburg District).

The master of DREDGE POTTER is Randy Jowers. The assistant master is Ted Bielecki. The chief mate is Joe Schafer.

“We keep America’s ‘jugular vein’–the Mississippi River–from getting clogged,” Jowers says.

The licensed deck officers aboard U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredges are represented by the MM&P Federal Employees Membership Group (FEMG).

Dustpan dredges use water pressure to agitate material on the bottom, breaking it up and creating slurry. The slurry is pulled into the dredge pump and discharged through a steel pipeline into the placement area. The pipeline rides on floats called pontoons. The pontoons hold the pipeline out of the water, allowing it to carry the slurry to the disposal area.

A deckhand stationed in the “baffle shack,” the small shelter on the end of the pipeline, uses water pressure to steer the pipeline away from traffic, dikes or other dangers and keep the material in the placement area.

The pontoons are turned into the current to make steering easier, but the line is controlled by the person in the shack turning a big steering wheel to change the angle on the metal plate at the end of the pipeline, which is known as the baffle plate.

When mobilized, the dredge operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Three watch groups work a rotating 12-hour schedule of seven days on and three days off, then seven nights on and four days off. The crew consists of fifty people, many of them seasonal employees.

“I have the utmost respect for the MM&P brothers and sisters who operate U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ dredges in support of USACE districts,” says MM&P Government Fleet Representative Randi Ciszewski.

“They are true professionals who work hard, live in tight spaces when mobilized and make sacrifices on a daily basis on our nation’s behalf.”

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On Feb. 16, an Offshore contract ballot was mailed.

Please go to and enter the Members’ Only section to view the ballot regarding contracts at Central Gulf Lines/Waterman Steamship/Sulphur Carriers Inc. and Maersk Line, Limited and E-Ships Inc.

The voting period for the ballot is from Feb. 16, 2017 to 0900, Monday, April 17, 2017.

If you do not receive a ballot, please contact Star Dorsey,

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The MM&P Health and Benefit Plan has mailed new Identification Cards (ID) to all participants.

Participants should destroy their old ID card when they receive the new card.

Participants’ health benefits have not changed. Only their health identification number has changed.

The Plan Office has notified all health plan providers of the change and they have updated their records/files with participants’ new identification number.

Please note that receipt of the identification card does not mean that you automatically have eligibility.

If you have a question about your current eligibility, or if you have questions about the new ID card, please contact the Plan Office.

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UnionPlus is ready to help you stick to your new resolution of saving more and spending smarter in 2017! has a new look. Be sure to stop by the site and find all sorts of deals and savings.

Over 90 percent of Union Plus Credit Card holders surveyed in February 2016 said they would recommend a Union Plus Credit Card. Do you have one? Featured benefits include auto insurance, AT&T and the new Union Plus Pet Insurance.

Search through the vast offerings at the Benefits & Discounts tab, with sections to direct you to savings in all areas of your life, from home to travel and fun. is standing up for union members and their families. They are committed to improving the quality of life of working families through unique products and services.

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Workers at AT&T Wireless have voted by a large margin to strike, citing opposition to the company’s plan to continue outsourcing call center jobs to workers in low-wage countries.
The vote earlier this month in favor of a strike was 93 percent.

The company has one of the largest union-represented workforces in the United States.

A spokesperson for the Communications Workers of America (CWA) says job security is the main concern of its 21,000 members at AT&T.

The union plans to hold rallies in 35 cities ahead of the Saturday expiration date of its current contract.

“It seems someone should be pointing out that they are selling service in the U.S. and shifting work to places like India,” says a CWA spokesperson.

“Despite making $13 billion in profits last year–and record profits in its wireless division–AT&T has cut more than 8,000 call center jobs and outsourced many of those jobs to low-wage countries,” says AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre.

“The company is refusing to stop outsourcing jobs and is demanding cuts to benefits.”

To show your support for AT&T workers, please sign the petition at

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MITAGS needs your current address! Have you moved recently? Did you remember to send MITAGS your new address for communications regarding courses? Please send your current contact information to or to the fax number below. New dedicated fax line for Admissions only: 1-443-568-1928. For all other MITAGS business, please continue to use: 410-859-5181.

For class availability or information on MITAGS courses and programs, contact Amanda Meadows, Admissions Coordinator, toll-free at 866-656-5568 or by e-mail:

Why not try our on-line calendar to register for class:

Please note the special addition to our on-campus schedule of MSC classes marked with an asterisk (*), which are not normally scheduled to be held at MITAGS.

AB – 4/17/17, 8/21/17, 10/16/17

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: 5/23/17

ARPA-OIC – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 4/4/17, 8/8/17, 9/26/17

AZIPOD 2-Day – 3/6/17, 5/22/17, 10/16/17

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 4/3/17, 6/19/17, 9/25/17, 11/13/17

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 3/6/17, 5/22/17, 7/20/17, 11/14/17

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling: Contact Admissions

BRMP-Refresher – 3/8/17, 5/24/17, 7/17/17, 9/12/17, 10/18/17

BT – Basic Safety Training: 4/10/17, 8/14/17, 10/9/17

BT-Revalidation (2-day) – 3/9/17, 5/4/17, 6/22/17, 8/21/17, 9/28/17, 11/8/17, 12/14/17

BT-Refresher (3-day) – 3/9/17, 5/4/17, 6/22/17, 8/20/17, 9/28/17, 11/8/17, 12/14/17

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 5/8/17, 10/30/17

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVNAV-CMM – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): Contact Admissions

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 4/10/17, 6/12/17, 7/31/17, 10/2/17, 12/11/17

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 3/13/17, 6/5/17, 8/7/17, 9/25/17, 12/4/17

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 4/17/17, 10/9/17

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 3/27/17, 6/26/17, 8/14/17, 9/18/17

LMS – Leadership and Managerial Skills (Management Level – Formerly MCL-CMM) 5/22/17,6/19/17, 8/21/17, 9/11/17

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants: 4/3/17

SEC-APPS – Practical Defense Tactics: 3/13/17, 7/31/17, 11/6/17

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management (2 weeks): 5/1/17, 10/30/17

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 3/6/17, 3/20/17, 4/10/17, 4/24/17, 5/8/17,6/5/17, 7/17/17, 7/31/17, 8/14/17, 9/11/17, 10/2/17, 10/30/17, 12/4/17

SHS-ADV-II-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 3/13/17, 3/27/17, 4/17/17, 5/1/17, 5/15/17, 6/12/17, 7/24/17, 8/7/17, 8/21/17, 9/18/17, 10/9/17, 11/6/17, 12/11/17

**SHS-ADV-I & II now approved to include SAR-CMM assessments at MITAGS effective immediately**

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 3/20/17, 10/23/17

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 5/15/17, 11/13/17

CNAV-OIC – Celestial Navigation: 4/24/17, 11/6/17

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: Contact Admissions

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications: 3/2/17

CRSMGT – Crisis Management and Human Behavior – 7/11/17

CDMGT – Crowd Management – 7/10/17

DDE – Great Lakes: 6/5/17

DPA – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-OIC – Contact Admissions

ECDIS for Pilots – 2/28/17, 5/24/17, 11/14/17

ERM – Engine Resource Management: 2/27/17, 7/10/17, 8/28/17, 10/16/17, 12/4/17

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 4/10/17, 8/14/17, 10/9/17

FF-ADV-REV – Advanced Fire Fighting Revalidation & Refresher: 3/7/17, 5/2/17, 6/20/17, 8/23/17, 9/26/17, 11/6/17, 12/12/17

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications: 4/4/17, 4/18/17, 9/12/17

GL-Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization: Contact Admissions

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 3/6/17, 8/21/17

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 6/26/17, 8/28/17, 11/27/17

LAP- 9/11/17

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes: Contact Admissions

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross
Ton License: 3/20/17, 6/5/17, 8/7/17, 12/4/17

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 3/7/17, 4/19/17, 9/13/17

LNG-TPIC – 12/4/17

LTS –Leadership and Teamworking Skills (Formerly MCL-OIC): 4/3/17, 8/15/17, 9/25/17 (*2-Evening Session)

MEECE – Management of Electrical and Electronic Control: Contact Admissions

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 3/13/17, 3/20/17, 5/8/17, 7/10/17, 9/11/17, 10/23/17

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 4/24/17, 6/26/17, 8/28/17, 11/13/17, 12/4/17

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 3/20/17, 4/17/17, 5/8/17, 9/11/17, 10/23/17, 11/27/17

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 3/6/17, 3/18/17, 5/1/17, 6/12/17 (Evening), 6/19/17, 7/16/17, 8/25/17, 9/25/17, 10/28/17, 12/11/17

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: Contact Admissions

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 6/9/17, 8/9/17, 10/2/17

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control: 6/7/17, 8/7/17, 10/3/17

*MSC-ENVPRO – 2/26/17, 6/4/17, 8/6/17, 10/1/17

*MSC-FF-HELO – 6/5/17, 8/13/17, 10/16/17

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 2/27/17, 6/12/17, 7/17/17, 8/13/17, 10/9/17

*MSC-Security Watch Basic – 6/10/17, 8/10/17, 10/5/17

*MSC-Security Watch Advanced – 3/3/17, 6/16/17, 7/21/17, 8/12/17, 10/7/17

*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force – 6/17/17, 7/24/17, 8/18/17, 10/13/17

NSAP-MMP – Navigational Skills Assessment Program-MM&P – 3/22/17, 5/9/17, 6/13/17, 8/14/17, 10/2/17

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 8/17/17, 9/25/17

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 3/8/17, 3/22/17, 4/5/17, 4/19/17, 5/3/17, 5/10/17, 5/17/17, 6/7/17, 6/21/17, 7/12/17, 7/26/17, 8/9/17, 8/23/17, 9/20/17, 10/4/17, 10/18/17, 11/1/17, 11/8/17, 11/15/17, 11/29/17, 12/6/17, 12/13/17

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 7/31/17

SAR-OIC – Search & Rescue – 4/10/17, 10/16/17

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling: 5/15/17, 8/28/17, 10/23/17

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day – 5/1/17, 6/26/17, 9/25/17, 11/27/17

SMS – Contact Admissions

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 8/7/17

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 7/10/17

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: 5/8/17, 8/7/17

TRAC-TUG-2: Contact Admissions

TTT – Contact Admissions

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: Contact Admissions

VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 4/17/17, 5/22/17, 7/13/17, 9/6/17

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level): 10/2/17

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): 3/20/17, 9/11/17

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Winter-Spring 2017

For registration, please contact our registrar, Mary McGhee, at 206.838.1126 or You can also view our schedule and enroll online at

February 2017

27-2 Advanced Firefighting

March 2017

2nd Radar Renewal
4-6 Basic Training Refresher
6th Leadership & Teamworking Skills
6-10 Radar Observer Unlimited
6-10 Basic Training
13th Vessel Personnel w/ Designated Security Duties
13-16 Advanced Firefighting
13-17 ECDIS
13-17 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
13-17 Meteorology – Operational Level
18-20 Basic Training Refresher
20-24 Engine Resource Management
20-24 Basic Construction and Stability
21st Radar Renewal
21-23 Security Officer – Vessel, Company, and Facility
22-24 Integrated Electronic Navigation
27th Flashing Light
27-31 Leadership & Managerial Skills
28-31 ARPA

April 2017

3-4 ECDIS for Pilots
3-7 Search & Rescue / Emergency Procedures
3-14 GMDSS
8-10 Basic Training Refresher
10-14 Basic Training
10-14 Medical Care Provider
10-21 Medical Person-In-Charge
10-21 Watchkeeping – Operational Level
17th Vessel Personnel w/ Designated Security Duties
17-20 Advanced Firefighting
18th Radar Renewal
22-24 Basic Training Refresher
24-28 Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation (VPEN)
24-5 GMDSS

May 2017

2-4 Rating Forming Part of a Navigational Watch
6-8 Basic Training Refresher
8-12 ECDIS
8-12 Basic Training
8-12 Marine Propulsion Plants
15th Vessel Personnel w/ Designated Security Duties
15-18 Advanced Firefighting
15-19 Able Seaman
15-26 Watchkeeping – Operational Level
15-26 Celestial Navigation
16-18 Integrated Electronic Navigation
20-22 Basic Training Refresher
23rd Radar Renewal
30th Leadership & Teamworking Skills
31-2 Security Officer – Vessel, Company, and Facility

June 2017

5-9 Medical Care Provider
5-9 Basic Shiphandling
5-16 Medical Person-In-Charge
10-12 Basic Training Refresher
12-16 Basic Training
12-16 Cargo Handling and Stowage – Operational Level
19th Vessel Personnel w/ Designated Security Duties
20th Radar Renewal
19-22 Advanced Firefighting
19-23 Advanced Watchkeeping
19-23 Leadership & Managerial Skills
24-26 Basic Training Refresher
26-30 Engine Resource Management
27-29 Integrated Electronic Navigation

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The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates, & Pilots, ILA, AFL-CIO, 700 Maritime Blvd. Suite B, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1953. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973. All rights reserved. The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly © 2017. Articles can be reprinted without prior permission if credit is given to The MM&P WheelhouseWeekly. For subscriptions, address changes or messages to the editor or to MM&P headquarters, e-mail Back issues of The Weekly are posted on