Wheelhouse Weekly – February 26, 2013

February 26th 2013


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

Volume 17 . . . Number 9. . . Feb. 26, 2013

(Look in the archives for this weeks Special Edition.)



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


MM&P has joined the rest of the U.S.-flag maritime industry and representatives of America’s agricultural community in calling on the Obama Administration to protect maritime and farming jobs by continuing to fund the Food-for-Peace Program. The Food-for-Peace Program calls for U.S.-flag ships to deliver a portion of overseas food assistance. Concerns over its future were sparked last week when a plan to change it was released as part of the White House’s 2014 budget proposal.

The proposed restructuring could potentially eliminate Food-for-Peace and a sister program, Food-for-Progress, and replace them with a smaller cash outlay managed by the U.S. Agency for International Development. MM&P and other representatives of the U.S.-flag fleet oppose restructuring the two programs because such a move would endanger the jobs of 44,000 American merchant mariners, farmers, shippers, processors and port workers whose jobs rely in part on the provision of food aid. MM&P joined a range of organizations in a Feb. 21 letter to President Obama that expressed strong opposition to proposals to shift resources for the programs to the procurement of commodities overseas.

On Feb. 20, 21 U.S. Senators sent a letter to the White House requesting that the President maintain funding for Food-for-Peace, describing it as “instrumental in linking rural America and the U.S. agriculture and transportation industries to communities in the developing world while building greater awareness and support at home for the needs of the poor, hungry and disenfranchised…”

“Since 1954, Food for Peace has benefited more than three billion people in 150 countries and is an important symbol of America’s goodwill,” said a spokesperson for USA Maritime, of which MM&P is a member. “Any move to eliminate these important U.S. commodity donation programs would be shortsighted, ineffective and could ultimately jeopardize national security and merchant mariner jobs.”


Military Sealift Command (MSC) has received approval to exempt almost all Civil Service mariners deployed in combat zones from possible furloughs in the event that Congress does not take action to halt “sequestration,” the $85 billion in automatic budget cuts scheduled to be implemented by the federal government starting March 1. A furlough is the placing of an employee in a temporary non-duty, non-pay status because of lack of work, lack of funds or other non-disciplinary reasons.

As this issue of The Wheelhouse Weekly was being distributed, MSC had just received approval to exempt from furloughs all Civil Service mariners deployed in combat zones unless their ship is undergoing maintenance. MSC has sent a formal request to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs requesting that all CIVMARs, both ashore and afloat, be exempt from furloughs. “While we are hopeful that all CIVMARs will eventually be exempt, such authority has not been granted to date,” said MM&P Government Fleet Representative Randi Ciszewski.

At the same time, MM&P has notified CNO, MSC, Army Corps and NOAA that it intends to enter into negotiations with management over the processes and procedures used to implement furloughs in order to minimize the foreseeable impact on our members.

The across-the-board cuts, part of the congressionally mandated Budget Control Act of 2011, will lead to fewer teachers, reduced medical care and idle defense workers in all 50 states, President Obama told members of the National Governors Association at the White House on Monday. “The longer these cuts are in place, the bigger the impact will become,” Obama said.

The President is urging the public to lobby members of Congress to adopt an alternate debt-reduction plan. Obama wants a deal that includes both budget cuts and higher taxes on the wealthy through closing tax loopholes and limiting deductions.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told journalists at a White House news briefing that budget cuts would weaken border security, slow responses to emergencies, delay container inspections at ports and lengthen lines at airport security screenings and customs checks. “The lines over the next few weeks are going to start to lengthen,” Napolitano said.

As part of the furlough planning process, the Defense Department (DOD) notified Congress Feb. 20 that should sequestration not be avoided, “the magnitude of the potential reductions would damage force readiness, slow major acquisition programs and necessitate civilian furlough actions that would negatively affect our Federal civilian workforce.”

Every affected DOD employee would be subject to up to 22 discontinuous workdays (176 hours) of furlough. The Department of Defense/Department of the Navy would implement the furlough from April 25 through the pay period ending Sept. 21. Notices would be issued to affected employees on or about March 21-25. Any exceptions to the furlough would have to be endorsed by the Secretary of the Navy and approved by the Department of Defense.


Transportation unions vowed to protect U.S. maritime jobs by strengthening enforcement of cargo preference laws and reversing recent congressional action that undermined these longstanding shipping requirements.

At a meeting earlier this week, the Executive Committee of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD) criticized legislation adopted in 2012 that lowered the percentage of U.S. international food aid shipments transported on American ships. “This language was inserted in the dead of the night,” the Executive Committee pointed out, “without consulting maritime labor or the U.S. maritime industry, and without a single congressional hearing on the subject.”

“The U.S. maritime industry is a critical element of our nation’s transportation system and vital to our economic and national security,” said TTD President Edward Wytkind. “We must reverse last year’s congressional action to weaken cargo preference laws as well as strengthen the enforcement of these statutory requirements across every agency of our government.”

Transportation union leaders announced at the meeting that they will roll out an investment and jobs agenda to fend off proposed cuts in transportation programs. “It is the height of irresponsibility for extremists in Congress to use the sequestration battle to tank our economy and use public and private sector working men and women as pawns in their partisan games,” Wytkind said. “It is time for Congress to end this senseless sequestration stalemate and finally start focusing on an agenda to modernize our failing transportation system and create middle class jobs.”

MM&P is a member of TTD. MM&P International President Don Marcus and International Secretary-Treasurer Steve Werse attended the TTD Executive Committee meeting. Also present were several members of Congress, including the new House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) and Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.), ranking minority member of the Transportation & Infrastructure Water Resources Subcommittee. “I am proud to partner with TTD in advocating for a 21st century American transportation network and fighting back against destructive budget cuts like sequestration that will undermine vital programs,” Bishop said.


The Chamber of Shipping of America (CSA) is seeking entries for its two prestigious awards programs, the Jones F. Devlin Awards and the Safety Achievement Awards. Entries for the calendar year ending Dec. 31, 2012 will be accepted through Friday, March 29.

The Safety Achievement Awards are presented to vessels that have performed outstanding rescues or feats of bravery during the course of a calendar year. Devlin Awards are awarded to any ship or vessel that has operated for two full years or more without a crew member losing a full turn at watch because of an occupational injury. A vessel is recognized for the number of qualifying years beyond the basic two-year award: many vessels receive awards for five years or more of safe operations.

The programs are open to all companies, whether or not they are members of CSA. All vessel owners and operators are encouraged to participate. To find out how to nominate a vessel, access the CSA website at and click on “Other Award Programs.”


Union Plus, the AFL-CIO affiliate that provides union members with discounts on products and services, has joined forces with 21st Century Auto to offer a reduced price car insurance plan to members of labor unions. Union Plus calculates that union members who take advantage of the program can save up to $559 on the annual cost of car insurance (actual savings depend on the price previously paid by the union member to insure his or her car with a competing company). The insurance policy includes 24-hour roadside assistance at no additional charge, evening and weekend policy servicing hours, quick claims settlement and guaranteed repairs. To find out more and to obtain a quote, go to or call 1-800-246-0825.


The MM&P International President, Secretary-Treasurer and the Pacific Ports Vice President will be present at membership meetings in the MM&P union halls in Seattle on Tuesday, March 5, in Los Angeles on Wednesday, March 6 and in Oakland on Thursday, March 7. In addition, there will be a meeting at the Honolulu Hall on Tuesday, March 12. All meetings will be held immediately after job call.


The Offshore Familiarization Course will be offered at the New York/New Jersey Hall on March 12-13 and at the Los Angeles Hall on April 10-11 and Oct. 9-10. For more information or to sign up, please contact the hall at which the course is being offered.


The U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency said last week it had pinpointed the position of MV LYUBOV ORLOVA, a derelict Russian cruise ship that has been drifting for several weeks, at roughly 1,300 nautical miles off the west coast of Ireland. The LYUBOV ORLOVA left Canada on Jan. 23, headed for a scrapyard in the Dominican Republic. A day later the cable of the towing vessel snapped and the ship began to drift. It was later taken under tow by an offshore supply vessel, but once again the line broke. Since then, the derelict vessel has continued its solitary voyage, without crew or warning lights, as the shipowner and international maritime authorities argue over who is responsible for securing it.


The Coast Guard has asked members of the public for assistance in identifying the source of a debris field spotted Feb. 24 about 22 miles east of Jacksonville, Fla. A body was found floating in the vicinity of the wreckage, which included a large portion of a boat. The search for potential survivors continued Monday. Approximately 10 life jackets were found near the debris and a spokesperson for the Coast Guard said the agency will continue to search the area for survivors. Officials declined to identify the man pending notification of his family.


The Coast Guard announced it is soliciting applications for membership in the Area Maritime Security Committee, Eastern Great Lakes, and its five regional subcommittees: Northeast Ohio Region, Northwestern Pennsylvania Region, Western New York Region, Lake Ontario Region, and St. Lawrence Region. Applications for membership should reach the U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port, Buffalo, by March 21. The address is 1 Fuhrmann Boulevard, Buffalo, NY 14203-3189. For questions about submitting an application, or about the Area Maritime Security Committee (AMSC) in general, contact Timothy Balunis, Planning Department, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Buffalo, 1 Fuhrmann Boulevard, Buffalo, NY 14203-3189; 716-843-9559.


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 in the MM&P Member Section. You may also request a copy from Diane Ford ( 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!

Did you know that you can view your course history on Just go to the “Members Only” section and click the “Course History” tab. You can print the course list yourself.


Between now and the end of June, the following courses are scheduled at MITAGS. (Please keep in mind, however, that the schedule may be subject to change.)

For class availability or information on courses and programs, contact MITAGS Admissions Coordinator Kelly Michielli toll free at 866-656-5568 or e-mail her at

Or, try our on-line calendar to register for class:

ARPA – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 3/26/2013, 4/2/2013

AZIPOD (2-DAY) for Pilots: 3/20/2013

BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 3/18/13, 5/12/13

BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 3/7/13, 5/23/13

BST – Basic Safety Training: 4/8/13, 6/24/13

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 4/1/13, 6/17/13

CMM-ADVNAV – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): 3/18/13, 6/3/13

CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 4/28/13

CMM-CHS – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 5/6/13

CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 3/11/13, 5/20/13

CMM-SHMGT – Ship Management (2 weeks): 4/15/13

CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 3/4/13, 4/1/13, 4/15/13, 5/6/13, 6/24/13

CMM-SHS-ADV-I I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 3/11/13, 4/8/13, 4/22/13, 5/13/13, 6/17/13

CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 4/8/13, 6/24/13

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning: 5/9/13

ENVIRO-Regs Permit – Environmental Regulations Permit: 3/5/2013, 5/23/13

ECDIS-ENAV for Pilots (2 day): 6/13/13

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep and Medications: 3/7/13, 5/23/13

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 4/8/13, 6/24/13

FL – Flashing Light: 4/1/13, 4/10/13

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 6/24/13

LAP – License Advancement Program for C/Mate & Master: 4/1/13

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 3/6/13, 5/23/13

MCL – Management, Communications and Leadership, 3/25/13

MEDIA RSP – Media Response Workshop: 3/8/2013

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 3/18/13, 4/22/13, 6/10/13

MED-PIC -R– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 5/13/13

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 3/18/13, 4/22/13, 6/10/13

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 3/23/13, 4/13/13, 4/27/13, 6/15/13, 6/29/13

MSC -SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 3/11/13,

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 3/11/13, 6/3/13

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 3/15/13, 6/7/13

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 3/6/2013, 3/20/2013, 4/3/13, 4/10/134/17/13, 5/1/13, 5/15/13, 5/22/13, 6/5/13, 6/19/13, 6/26/13

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 3/25/13, 4/1/13

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal: 4/8/13

SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 3/25/13, 4/29/13, 6/24/13 SEC-VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 3/4/13, 5/6/13

SHS-ESH-BRMP3 – Emergency Shiphandling and Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 3/4/13, 5/20/13

… Remember: If you can’t make the class, make the call. Be courteous, don’t be a “no show.”

Check the MITAGS website at for course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations.


Please also see our schedule online at For registration, call our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen, at (206) 838-1126.

March 2013

4-15 Celestial Navigation
11th Radar Renewal
12-15 ARPA
18-19 ECDIS for Pilots
18-22 Able Bodied Seaman
20th Fatigue, Sleep, and Medications
21-22 Azipod for Pilots
25-29 ECDIS
27-29 Vessel Security Officer