News

Wheelhouse Weekly – February 28, 2011

February 28th 2011

 

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

Volume 15 . . . . . Number 9. . . . February 28, 2011

STORIES COVERED

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


THOUSANDS MARCH NATIONWIDE TO PROTEST SCAPEGOATING OF PUBLIC SECTOR WORKERS

Tens of thousands of Americans in 50 cities took to the streets last week in support of public sector workers in Wisconsin and other states who are being scapegoated by politicians for the country’s economic problems. MM&P members at Washington State Ferries (WSF) are among those being targeted: a bill that is pending in the Washington State Legislature would deny them the right to belong to a labor union.

In support of WSF workers, MM&P sent an emergency “call to action” to all members who live in Washington State, urging them to tell their elected officials to vote “NO” on the union-busting bills.  The same call to action is posted on www.bridgedeck.org and on http://www.mmp-uig.org/ members who go to the sites can click through to send a message directly to their state senator and representatives.

Members and staff of MM&P and the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA) marched with 2,000 others on Wednesday at a demonstration that was held outside the Washington, D.C., office of Gov. Scott Walker, the Wisconsin Republican who has introduced legislation that would deny all public sector workers in the state the right to collectively bargain their working conditions. In Madison on Saturday, more than 100,000 people demonstrated in opposition to Walker’s plan.

Similar legislation has now been introduced in at least seven other states. “What we’re witnessing is payback to corporate CEOs who spent more than $1 billion in the last election,” said AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka. “Instead of creating jobs and trying to restore balance, politicians are pushing for more and more tax breaks for CEOs.” 

“Power is what’s really at issue in Wisconsin,” writes columnist Ezra Klein in the Feb. 21 issue of The Washington Post. “It’s why Gov. Scott Walker (R) is uninterested in taking concessions from the unions on wages and benefits if they don’t come alongside concessions on collective bargaining. What he wants isn’t a change in the balance of payments. It’s a change in the balance of power.”

“The deal Wisconsin made with its state employees was simple,” Klein writes. “Accept lower wages than you could get in the private sector in return for better pensions and health-care benefits when you retire. Now Walker wants to renege on that deal. He wants to stiff the teachers and make sure they can’t fight back once he does it. The reason you can’t stiff bondholders is that they can make you regret reneging on a deal by increasing your borrowing costs. An ordinary teacher does not have access to such artillery. Unless of course she’s part of a union.”

“The current economic problems were not created by America’s workers, they were created by CEOs” said Metro Washington AFL-CIO President Jos Williams at a march on Sunday that was attended by members of MM&P who included Stan Kostka, Angel Irlanda and Lars Turner. “We view Wisconsin as Ground Zero in the fight to preserve the living standards of American workers,” Williams said.

“We’re glad to be here to support public sector workers,” said Kostka. “It’s also important to remember that the salaries of workers employed by companies are closely tied to what happens in the public sector.”


IN RESPONSE TO SPIRAL OF PIRACY VIOLENCE, ITF SAYS ARMED GUARDS, SEAFARER BOYCOTT, NOW OPTIONS

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) says it is moving closer to advising mariners to avoid all pirate-infested waters. In a reversal of policy, it also said that at-risk ships should be protected by armed military detachments and that–although seafarers themselves should not carry weapons–private armed guards are a better option than leaving ships to the mercy of pirates. An estimated 800 mariners are currently being held hostage by Somali pirate gangs.

In an official statement released over the weekend, the ITF also called on international governments to “neutralize” the threat of hostage-crewed mother ships “that are allowing pirates to roam the Indian Ocean unmolested.” The ITF represents 201 maritime unions, including MM&P. The organization released its statement following reports that pirates had executed at least three seafarers in recent weeks and murdered four Americans traveling on a private yacht last Tuesday (see story in this issue of The Wheelhouse Weekly). 

“The world has lost control of piracy,” said ITF Seafarers Section Chairman Dave Heindel. “Each day it’s becoming more savage and more widespread. All the Arabian Gulf and most of the Indian Ocean are now effectively lawless. Yet there is a way that control can be regained: by actively going after pirates, stopping them and prosecuting them. Not this ludicrous situation of taking away their guns and setting them free to strike again.”

The ITF underlined the fact that flag-of-convenience states are not meeting any of their obligations as far as defense of the world’s shipping fleet, although they are “reaping the profits. The burden of dealing with pirates is being borne by a few nations and the burden of actually taking them to court by even fewer,” said a spokesman for the ITF. “If we allow a few thousand thugs to ratchet up the danger and violence then we will soon reach a point where there is no alternative but to stop putting people and ships within their reach.”

“We therefore advise seafarers and their trade unions to begin to prepare to refuse to go through the danger area, which includes the Gulf of Aden, off the Somali coast, the Arabian Sea and the wider Indian Ocean,” the ITF said. The labor organization called on shipowners “to join us in avoiding going through the area.”

It said at-risk ships should be protected by military personnel from the flag State or another State with which it has a bilateral agreement and that embarking private armed guards or using private security vessels should be an option only when there is an agreement with the trade unions representing the seafarers and adequate provisions have been made to avoid the seafarers on board the vessel having to face any potential criminal or civil sanctions. It also said crewmembers should retain rights to choose not to work within that zone and be repatriated without penalty.

The ITF also called on the United Nations to take all necessary measures to address the underlying shore-based situation in Somalia which has allowed piracy to flourish and to address the absence of effective governance and the lack of the rule of law, which has caused the population to live in dire conditions.


GRAND RIVER NAVIGATION WELCOMES TWO NEW ITBs

MM&P-contracted Grand River Navigation (GRN) has added two new ITBs to its Great Lakes fleet: the tug VICTORY pushing the barge JAMES KUBER and the tug OLIVE L. MOORE pushing the barge LOUIS KUBER. Members of the Great Lakes & Rivers Region-United Inland Group will man the vessels top-to-bottom. The arrival of the new vessels means 40 new jobs for MM&P members. “I’m pleased that Grand River Navigation’s expansion has allowed us to increase our job base and the number of opportunities for our members on the Lakes,” said MM&P Great Lakes Representative Charlie Malue.


HORIZON LINES SIGNS AGREEMENT WITH DOJ; MOVES FORWARD WITH DEBT REFINANCING

Horizon Lines has released a press release saying that it has entered into a plea agreement with the Department of Justice Antitrust Division and that it is now able to move forward with “constructive discussions with lenders” involving long-term financing. The company also announced it will suspend its dividend for the current year. Under the terms of the agreement, which is subject to court approval, Horizon Lines will plead guilty to a charge of violating federal antitrust laws solely with respect to the Puerto Rico trade lane and pay a fine of $45 million over five years without interest. “We are optimistic that the plea bargain will pave the way for putting Horizon Lines back on an even keel,” said MM&P International President Tim Brown.


COAST GUARD TO HELP EPA ENFORCE VESSEL GENERAL PERMIT RULES

The Coast Guard and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have announced that they will work together to enforce the Vessel General Permit (VGP) rules that cover discharges from ships. Under the terms of a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by the two agencies, the Coast Guard says it will incorporate into its existing inspection regime procedures to verify compliance with the VGP for domestic and foreign vessels. The agency said the new enforcement procedures may be included in the U.S. Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection process. The regulations bar vessels from discharging any pollutant into domestic waters unless authorized to do so in accordance with the permit.


SEN. VITTER ASSUMES KEY LEADERSHIP POSITION ON TRANSPORTATION SUBCOMMITTEE

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) has been selected to serve as ranking member on the Subcommittee for Transportation and Infrastructure of the Environment and Public Works Committee in the 112th Congress. In this position, the Louisiana Republican will play a key role in formulating legislation on coastal restoration, the Army Corps of Engineers and the country’s transportation infrastructure. “With my leadership position on the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, I’ll be an influential voice for Louisiana priorities in the new water resources bill and in the upcoming highway bill,” Vitter said.  “I’m excited about continuing the fight for what’s best for Louisiana.” Vitter also moves up to the second highest position among Republicans on the full committee.


PIRATES KILL FOUR AMERICANS ON HIJACKED YACHT

Four American retirees were murdered last Tuesday morning by Somali pirates who had hijacked their yacht in the Indian Ocean several days earlier. The four–Jean and Scott Adam, Phyllis Macay and Robert Riggle—had been traveling the world on a custom-built 58-foot yacht, the QUEST. It is not clear why the pirates killed them, either by accident during a firefight or possibly out of revenge.  

U.S. naval forces had been shadowing the hijacked yacht for some time. There were a large number of Somali gunmen crowded onto the small yacht with the hostages, while military choppers flew overhead. The fact that the pirates were blocked from escaping may have been one reason tensions rose. On Monday, two of the pirates boarded a naval destroyer that had pulled within 600 yards of the yacht to negotiate. But the talks seemed to unravel on Tuesday morning, when a pirate aboard the QUEST fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the destroyer. Almost immediately gunfire erupted from inside the yacht’s cabin and several pirates then stepped up to the bow with their hands up.

Fifteen Special Operations officers in two high-speed assault craft rushed in. When they boarded the QUEST, they shot and killed one pirate and stabbed another. The American forces found two pirates already dead, apparently killed by their comrades. The pirates were in disarray, the American military said, and a fight had broken out among them.  All four hostages were already dead or fatally wounded.

The QUEST had departed from a convoy of yachts that was assembled to ward off attacks to go off on its own. The owner of the yacht, Scott Adam, had reportedly taken a security course last year and told friends he often turned off his GPS because pirates had learned to use GPS signals to localize potential victims. The couple had been traveling the world for years, visiting tourist destinations and distributing bibles.


LA/LB D-BOOK COURSE DATE CHANGE: NOW MARCH 9 AND 11

The D-Book Membership Course in Los Angeles/Long Beach will be held on March 9 and March 11. Please check the complete schedule below for other upcoming D-Book Membership courses.


INDUSTRY SAILS IN TO WASHINGTON, D.C. ON MAY 4: REGISTER NOW!

Last year our industry’s first broad-scale advocacy day on Capitol Hill was a resounding success. The Sail-In was widely supported by the American maritime industry including international and domestic ocean carriers, terminal operators and labor unions. We had participants from 20 states, 48 congressional districts, 28 companies, nine unions and labor organizations, and 10 related associations.

The 2010 mid-term elections brought significant changes to the Congressional committees that oversee maritime issues. As a result, a tremendous amount of institutional knowledge and support was lost. A few examples: three of the four most important House committee chairmen for maritime issues did not return to the 112th Congress; there are 20 freshmen members now on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; more than a dozen members who were visited by our industry during last year’s Sail-In did not return to Congress.

The Sail-In is a powerful and direct way to protect and advocate for your job, your company or union, and the maritime industry as a whole. Participants will be actively engaged in the democratic process that the U.S. Constitution guarantees. It will be motivational and inspiring and attendees will leave Washington with a much better view of how government affects our industry and vice versa.

Like all government programs, the legislative pillars that support the U.S.-flag maritime industry are under intense pressure in the new Congress. While we welcome that scrutiny and feel confident that our industry brings tremendous value to our nation, the maritime industry’s story is a bit complex (as it relates to policy) and must be told repeatedly.

Come join us on May 4 on Capitol Hill and let your voice of support be heard. To register for the event, go to http://www.maritimeindustrysailin.com. There is no cost other than your travel expenses. Breakfast and a closing reception will be provided. For additional information please call Linda Arquette at (703) 351-0129.


REP. FRANK LOBIONDO AT MITAGS ON MARCH 3

Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.), chairman of the House Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee, is the keynote speaker at a March 3 program on maritime transportation policy. The program, which is sponsored by the Kings Point alumni associations, will be held at the Conference Center at the Maritime Institute, 692 Maritime Blvd., Linthicum Heights, MD 21090. The program gets underway at 4:30 p.m. with a tour of the MITAGS simulator. To register, send a check for $35 to Gary G. Hicks 42 Idlewild Street, Bel Air, MD 21014. The deadline for registering is Feb. 28. The cost of registering for the dinner at the door is $40. LoBiondo is a strong supporter of the U.S.-flag shipping industry and the American Merchant Marine. The subcommittee he chairs oversees laws related to the Coast Guard, shipping and all aspects of maritime transportation.


FIDELITY 401K MEETING IN PORTLAND

MM&P members and their spouses in the Portland area are invited to attend a seminar on 401K plans on Feb. 23. The seminar will take place at MM&P’s Portland Hall, 2225 N. Lombard, 2nd floor rear entrance. There will be two seminars, one at 1200 and one at 1800. If you plan on attending the seminar, please RSVP if possible to 503-283-0518 so the correct amount of refreshments will be on hand.


CAMM ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING APRIL 27-29 AT MITAGS

The Council of American Master Mariners (CAMM) will hold its Annual Meeting and Professional Development Conference April 27-29 at MITAGS. The topic of the conference is “The Master and the Burden of Regulations.” Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), ranking member of the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, will be the keynote speaker. Among the other speakers will be MM&P Pilots Group Vice President George Quick. To find out more and to register, go to http://www.mastermariner.org.


UPCOMING UNITED INLAND GROUP-PACIFIC MARITIME REGION MEETINGS

The following dates, times and locations have been selected for UIG-PMR meetings in the Puget Sound region for the first half of 2011.

Tuesday, March 15 – Poulsbo (site TBD): 1000-1200 and 1800-2000

Monday, April 11- Edmonds Office: 1400-1600

Tuesday, May 10- Anacortes (site TBD: 1000-1200 and 1500-1700

Thursday, June 9 – Edmonds Office: 1000-1200


SCHEDULE FOR NEW HORIZON LINES MEDICAL REFRESHER COURSE

MITAGS has developed a new five-day medical refresher course for members who have already completed the STCW-95 Medical Person-in-Charge course (MED-PIC).  The new course meets Horizon Lines five-year medical refresher training requirements for chief mates and masters. It will be offered at MITAGS on the following dates: March 7-11; Sept. 12-16; and Nov. 14-18. The course will be offered at PMI beginning in 2012. Please contact the MITAGS Admissions Office for more details: 866-656-5568 or e-mail admissions@mitags.org.  The course is open to any member who has completed MED-PIC in the past five years.


SCHEDULE FOR 2011 D-BOOK MEMBERSHIP COURSE

The Offshore Division Orientation Course, formerly called the D-Book Membership Course, will be held at regular intervals throughout 2011.

The schedule is as follows (but please note that course dates may change depending on the number of participants who sign up): March 9 and 11 in Los Angeles/Long Beach; April 1-2, June 10-11 and Oct. 21-22 at MM&P headquarters in Linthicum Heights; Oct. 13-14 in Los Angeles/Long Beach; and Nov. 8-9 in New Orleans.

There is no sea-time requirement to take the course. All Offshore applicants, potential transferees from other membership groups and other interested Offshore members are urged to attend.

If you want to attend the course, please RSVP to the local hiring hall where the class is offered or, in the case of a course planned for headquarters, to Lars Turner at lturner@bridgedeck.org.


AKER PHILADELPHIA SHIPYARD ANNOUNCES NEW FINANCING VENTURE

Aker Philadelphia Shipyard has announced that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has agreed to partner with it to fund an asset purchase that will allow it to finance the construction of two newbuild tankers. The vessels would be the seventeenth and eighteenth vessels constructed at the yard. As part of the agreement, the City of Philadelphia also will agree to temporarily defer $8 million in tax settlement payments due from the shipyard’s parent company, APSI. “Taxpayers are getting full value for their participation, and this transaction preserves shipbuilding and the thousands of jobs that are connected to it directly and indirectly,” said a spokesman for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.


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!


MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

Between now and the end of March 2011, the following courses are scheduled at MITAGS.  For class availability or information on MITAGS courses and programs, contact Kelly Michielli, Admissions Coordinator, toll free at 866-656-5568 or e-mail: admissions@mitags.org.

AZIPOD-3 day – Azipod Propulsion System: 3/15

BRMP � Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 3/3

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
CMM-ADVWX � Advanced Meteorology: 3/21
CMM-ECDIS � Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems: 3/7
CMM-MPP � Marine Propulsion Plants: 3/28
CMM-SHS-ADV-I � Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 3/14, 3/28
CMM-SHS-ADV-I I � Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 3/7, 3/21
CMM-VPEN � Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 3/14

CONT PLNG � Contingency Planning: 3/17

ECDIS-ENAV – Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems and Electronic Navigation for Pilots: 3/3
ENAV � Electronic Navigation: 3/21
ENVIRO-Regs Permit � Environmental Regulations Permit: 3/15

FSM � Fatique, Sleep and Medications for Pilots: 3/18

HAZ � Hazardous Materials (5 day): 3/7

LAP CMM � License Advancement Program of Upgrade to Chief Mate/Master: 3/28

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 3/2

MCL – Management, Communications and Leadership: 3/21
MED-PIC – Medical Person In Charge: 3/21
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 3/21
MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 3/26

MSC -SMA � Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 3/14

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 3/9, 3/30
ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal Day Class: 3/14

SEC-VCF � Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 3/14
SHS-EMR5 � Emergency Shiphandling: 3/7

TPIC � Tankerman Person In Charge: 3/7

WKP BAS – Watchkeeping Basic � 3/7
WX BAS � Basic Meteorology: 3/28

…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 e-mail: admissions@mitags.org


PMI ACADEMIC NOTES

Schedule of Courses – Please also see our schedule online at www.mates.org

For registration, call our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen, at (206) 838-1126

March 2011

7th      Flashing Light
7-11   Basic Meteorology
7-11   Able Seaman
8-11    ARPA
14-18  ECDIS
21-1   Celestial Navigation
21-23  Fast Rescue Boat
28th   Radar Renewal

April 2011

4-15     GMDSS
11-13   Security VCF
11-15   Basic Stability
18-22  Medical Care Provider
23rd    Medical DOT
18-29  Medical Person-in-Charge
25th    Radar Renewal
25-29  Basic Meteorology


MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 2-25-11

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
12,130.45 2,781.05 1,319.88
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Closing
Price
 Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund (VAARX)
57.18
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
121.92
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
43.72
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
19.58
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
18.97
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
27.13
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
10.72
 Vanguard Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
32.97
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
5.81
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
16.72
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
22.90
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
14.24
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
20.15
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
11.94
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
12.76
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
13.05
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
13.62
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
14.05
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
10.56
 Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
33.25
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
18.32
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
15.83
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
19.14
 Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
10.57
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
75.48
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
72.76
 Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
19.27
 Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX)
47.73
 Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
31.17
 Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
29.94
 Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
11.44
 Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
12.13
 Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
13.95
 Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
14.21
 Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
14.26
 Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
8.33
 Fidelity Freedom 2050 (FFFHX)
9.77
 Fidelity Total Bond Fund (FTBFX)
10.76
 Spartan Extended market Index Fund (FSEMX)
40.27
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
46.83
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
31.28



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.

© 2011, 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.