Wheelhouse Weekly – Jan. 12, 2016

January 13th 2016

Volume 21 . . . Number 2. . . Jan. 12, 2016


In this issue:

Coast Guard News:


News for MM&P Members:

Upcoming Events:


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A court in India Monday sentenced crewmembers of the SEAMAN GUARD OHIO to five years of forced labor. The sentence is only the most recent in a series of cases in which merchant mariners have faced criminal charges and been sentenced to prison for events beyond their control, including maritime accidents.

This case involves an anti-piracy platform operated by a mysterious company that has so far escaped all liability for what transpired.

The 10-man crew, including citizens of the United Kingdom, the Ukraine, Estonia and India, was arrested after their ship strayed into India’s territorial waters on reports of an approaching hurricane.

They and the 25 security guards aboard the ship were charged with carrying the anti-piracy weapons without the permits required under India’s law and illegally buying fuel from a fisherman.

They spent nine months in prison after the incident and have been out on bail, but refused permission to leave India, since 2013. They have been subsisting since then on contributions from their families, charities and the international maritime community.

“This judgment is totally unfair and a great injustice to the accused,” Arumugaram Ravipandian, a lawyer representing all 35 men, told Reuters. Ravipandian said his clients would seek bail and challenge the verdict in a higher court.

“This appears to be a travesty of justice for the ordinary crewmembers who we understand were not aware of instructions being passed down from the employer, and who were otherwise simply doing their job,” said David Hammond of Human Rights at Sea. He called for governments to intervene immediately in support of the men.

“I am horrified and filled with anguish at this decision, which is deeply unfair and unjust,” said Ken Peters, director of justice and public affairs at the Mission to Seafarers.

“This decision makes a mockery of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea as well as the system of justice in India,” said MM&P Chief of Staff, Klaus Luhta, who has been involved in the campaign to fight this injustice through the International Maritime Organization, the International Transport Workers’ Federation and MM&P. “These mariners, who were at sea and on duty to protect other mariners, must be allowed to go home.”

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The Baltic Dry Index has fallen again to a new low, ending the day Monday at 415 points, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News.

The Baltic Dry Index is a daily average of prices to ship raw materials. It tracks rates for ships carrying industrial commodities. Factors in the slump include concerns over the global economy, a related drop in China’s imports and an oversupply of vessels.

The overall index, which gauges the cost of shipping dry bulk cargoes including iron ore, cement, grain, coal and fertilizer, is now at its lowest point in records that date back to January 1985.

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TV host and comedian Bill Maher is slated to be among the guests on tonight’s edition of “Finding Your Roots,” the PBS celebrity genealogical show.

Maher’s grandfather and great-grandfather—both steamboat captains in New York Harbor–were involved with MM&P for decades. Bill Maher’s grandfather William was president of an MM&P local until the 1930s. Another ancestor, James Maher (b. 1860- d.1917), was also an MM&P official.

So check your local TV schedule for time and settle in with some popcorn….

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The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) are supporting their affiliated Dutch dockers’ union FNV Havens during ongoing protests at the Port of Rotterdam over threatened job losses linked to automation.

Union members walked off their jobs and manned a picket line Thursday after employers failed to meet demands over job guarantees once two new new terminals become fully operational in Rotterdam.

“Hundreds of jobs are being put at risk because there just isn’t the industry growth in Rotterdam to sustain these new terminals as well as the existing ones; employers are trying to play musical chairs with our jobs,” said FNV Havens Secretary Niek Stam at a press conference.

“Members are going to take action because they know that they have to stand up for their rights as hard working men and women. Our livelihoods and the future of our families and our communities rely on decent, secure jobs and those things are worth fighting for.”

FNV Havens wants a guarantee of job security, until at least 2022, for all employees who had a permanent job on Jan. 1, 2015.

Representatives from BTB in Belgium, Ver.di in Germany and CGT in Le Havre, France have joined Dutch workers on the picket line.

“We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters at the Port of Rotterdam,” said Torben Seebold of the ITF and ETF dockers’ sections. “The decision to take strike action is not an easy one but after months of fruitless negotiation and on an issue this important, dockers here have been left with little choice. They have the support of transport workers around the world.”

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A proposal to grant U.S. landing rights to a new long-haul airline operated by third-party contract employees from Singapore and Thailand is not in the public’s best interests, say U.S. and international transport unions.

The permit request by Norwegian Air UK Limited (NAUK) to operate long-haul flights from Europe to the United States should be denied until it is clear how the planes will be crewed, the unions say.

They made the remarks in comments submitted Jan. 4 to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

Underlying the case is an earlier permit request by a sister company which plans to crew its long-haul flights with pilots based in Thailand and flight attendants from Singapore, all working for salaries far below those paid to employees of regular European and U.S. airlines.

The unions, including the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department (TTD), say that scheme is in violation of international air treaties and European labor law. They warn that the newest permit request may well be yet another attempt to undercut the working standards of U.S. and European transport workers.

They also say it is akin to the flag-of-convenience (FOC) model which has cost so many maritime workers in industrialized countries their jobs and brought heightened environmental and safety risks to the global maritime environment. MM&P is one of the 32 transport unions that belong to TTD.

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The Coast Guard’s National Maritime Center (NMC) reminds mariners to submit applications for Merchant Mariner Credentials and Medical Certificates to their local Regional Exam Center (REC). It says it has noted an increase in the number of applications sent to NMC instead.

“Please note,” the agency says, “that applications for Merchant Mariner Credentials and Medical Certificates (CG-719B, CG-719K, and CG-719K/E), including supporting documentation, must be submitted to a Regional Exam Center (REC).”

It said some of the confusion could be due to a modification the agency made to one of the forms in question.

It adds that only those mariners who are applying for a USRP Certificate should send their applications to the Great Lakes Pilotage Division at U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters. Additionally, those applicants must use form CG-4509, Application for Registration as United States Registered Pilot.

The agency says Merchant Mariner Credential and Medical Certificate applications (CG-719 series) may be submitted electronically, by mail, fax or in person to any REC. Applications not submitted via a REC may be returned.

For procedures on submitting an application, and to find the nearest REC, go to the NMC website and click the REC button or contact the NMC by online chat, e-mail ( or phone at 1-888-IASKNMC (427-5662).

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The U.S. Coast Guard issued a notice stating that the minimum random drug testing rate for calendar year 2016 is 25 percent of covered crewmembers.

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday heard oral arguments in a case that could make it far more difficult for working people to achieve fair pay and safe working conditions through union participation.

The plaintiffs in the case—known as Friedrichs vs California Teachers Association–are backed by the Koch brothers and other corporate CEOs and anti-worker groups.

They are fighting to overturn a 40-year-old ruling in which a previous Supreme Court decided unanimously that anyone who benefits from an agreement that a public sector union negotiates should contribute their fair share to the costs of negotiating and administering that agreement—even if they choose not to join the union.

The contribution is known as a “fair share fee.”

The plaintiffs in the case are seeking to eliminate fair share fees.

The immediate impact of the pending case is nominally restricted to public employees like teachers, nurses, police and firefighters, but is expected to have repercussions nationwide.

A decision to overturn the previous court’s decision would also immediately render “moot” every existing public sector labor contract in the country, which would take cities, localities and states into unknown territory and could compromise delivery to the public of vital services.

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Longtime mariner and true union Brother Geno Spaulding has passed away. A great shipmate and friend to many, Geno will be sorely missed. One of his many friends has started a fund to help provide for funeral services to send Geno off in the way he would have wanted. If you would like to contribute, please go to:

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There will be an Offshore membership meeting at the NY/NJ hall following job call on Wednesday, Jan. 13. MM&P President Don Marcus, Secretary-Treasurer Steve Werse and Atlantic Ports Vice President Don Josberger will participate in the meeting.

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The California Maritime Academy (CMA), with the support of the Maritime Administration (MARAD), will host the eighth annual Women on the Water (WOW) Conference on the CMA campus in Vallejo, Calif., March 17 to 19. The conference will be held in conjunction with CMA’s Pearls of Power (POP) Conference.

The combined conferences will bring cadets at state maritime academies and Kings Point together with professional women and men who are leaders in various sectors of the maritime industry. It will provide opportunities for cadets to learn about careers in maritime and to network.

More information is available on the CMA website. Information regarding registration and attendance is also available on the MARAD website. Questions can be sent by e-mail

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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 Elisabeth Cruz, 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 – 4/18/16, 8/22/16, 10/17/16

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: 5/27/16, 7/22/16

ARPA-OIC – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 1/26/16, 4/5/16, 8/9/16, 9/27/16

AZIPOD 2-Day – 2/29/16, 5/25/16, 11/14/16

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 2/1/16, 4/4/16, 8/8/16, 10/31/16

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 2/29/16, 05/23/2016, 7/18/16, 11/14/16

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling: 3/2/16,04/13/16

BT – Basic Safety Training: 1/25/16, 2/22/16, 04/11/16, 06/27/16, 8/15/16, 10/10/16

BT-Revalidation – 05/10/16, 8/22/16, 10/31/16

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 4/25/16, 11/14/16

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

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

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 1/25/16, 3/28/16, 06/20/16, 8/1/16, 10/17/16

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 3/7/16, 06/06/16, 8/8/16, 11/7/16

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 04/04/16, 10/24/16

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 2/22/16, 3/21/16, 06/13/16, 7/25/16,8/15/16, 9/12/16, 10/10/16, 11/28/16, 12/19/16

LMS – Leadership and Managerial Skills (Management Level – Formerly MCL-CMM) 1/18/16,2/15/16, 2/29/16, 3/14/16, 4/4/16, 4/11/16, 5/23/16, 6/27/16, 7/11/16, 7/25/16, 8/15/16,8/22/16,9/12/16, 10/3/16, 10/31/16, 11/14/16,11/28/16, 12/5/16, 12/12/16, 12/19/16

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants: 05/02/16, 9/19/16

SEC-APPS – Practical Defense Tactics: 3/28/16, 6/20/16, 8/1/16, 10/31/16

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management (2 weeks): 04/18/16, 10/3/16

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 2/8/16, 3/14/16, 04/18/16, 05/09/16, 06/13/16, 7/18/16, 8/15/16, 9/12/16, 10/24/16, 11/7/16, 12/5/16

SHS-ADV-II-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 1/18/16, 2/15/16, 3/21/16, 04/25/16, 05/16/16, 06/20/16, 7/25/16, 8/22/16, 9/19/16, 10/31/16, 11/14/16, 12/12/16

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 2/29/16, 9/12/16

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 05/09/16, 9/26/16

CNAV-OIC – Celestial Navigation: 05/02/16, 10/24/16

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: Contact Admissions

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications: 3/2/16, 7/19/16

DDE – Great Lakes: 2/1/16, 6/6/16

DPA – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-OIC – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-Pilots – 3/2/16, 05/25/16, 7/20/16, 11/14/16

ERM – Engine Resource Management: 2/8/16, 3/21/16, 4/18/16, 5/9/16, 7/18/16, 8/22/16, 9/26/16, 10/24/16, 11/14/16, 11/28/16, 12/5/16, 12/12/16, 12/19/16

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 1/25/16, 2/22/16, 04/11/16, 06/27/16, 8/15/16, 10/10/16

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications: 1/26/16, 04/19/16, 9/20/16

GL Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization: 1/22/16

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 3/7/16, 8/22/16

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 6/27/16, 8/29/16, 12/5/16

LAP- 4/4/16, 9/19/16

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes: 1/25/16

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross
Ton License: 3/7/16, 06/06/16, 8/8/16, 12/5/16

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 1/27/16, 3/1/16, 4/20/16, 5/23/16, 7/19/16, 9/21/16, 11/15/16

LNG-TPIC – 12/5/16

LTS –Leadership and Teamworking Skills (Formerly MCL-OIC): 4/4/16

MEECE – Management of Electrical and Electronic Control: 2/22/16, 3/28/16, 4/25/16, 5/16/16, 7/11/16, 8/29/16, 9/19/16, 10/17/16, 11/7/16, 11/28/16, 12/5/16, 12/12/16, 12/19/16

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 3/21/16, 05/16/16, 7/11/16, 11/7/16, 12/12/16

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 2/1/15, 3/14/16, 05/02/16, 8/29/16, 10/3/16

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 2/15/16, 3/21/16, 05/16/16, 11/7/16, 11/28/16, 12/12/16

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 1/31/16, 3/19/16, 05/14/16, 8/28/16, 11/12/16, 12/17/16

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: Contact Admissions

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 3/8/16, 6/10/16, 8/10/16, 10/17/16

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control: 3/5/16 (March is 4 evenings), 6/8/16, 8/8/16, 10/18/16

*MSC-ENVPRO –2/28/16, 6/5/16, 8/7/16, 10/16/16

*MSC-FF-HELO – 2/22/16, 6/6/16, 8/22/16, 10/31/16

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 2/29/16, 6/13/16, 8/14/16, 10/23/16

*MSC-Security Watch Basic – 2/26/16, 6/11/16, 8/11/16, 10/20/16

*MSC-Security Watch Advanced – 3/4/16, 6/17/16, 8/13/16, 10/22/16

*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force – 3/5/16, 6/18/16, 8/18/16, 10/27/16

NSAP-MMP – Navigational Skills Assessment Program-MM&P – 2/11/16, 5/23/16, 7/26/16, 10/25/16

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 1/25/16, 5/9/16

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 2/3/16, 2/10/16, 2/24/16, 3/9/16, 3/16/16, 04/06/16, 04/20/16, 05/04/16, 05/18/16, 06/08/16, 06/22/16, 7/13/16, 7/27/16, 8/10/16, 8/24/16, 9/21/16, 10/5/16, 10/19/16, 11/2/16, 11/9/16, 11/16/16, 11/30/16, 12/7/16, 12/14/16

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 1/18/16, 2/1/16, 8/1/16

SAR-OIC – Search & Rescue – 04/18/16, 11/7/16

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling: 2/15/16, 04/11/16, 06/27/16, 8/29/16, 10/17/16

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day: 1/25/16, 3/7/16, 05/02/16, 8/1/16, 10/3/16, 11/28/16

SMS – Contact Admissions

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 2/8/16, 8/8/16

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 7/11/16

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: 2/22/16, 8/8/16

TRAC-TUG-2: Contact Admissions

TTT – Contact Admissions

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: 4/28/16

VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 2/15/16, 04/25/16, 7/13/16, 9/7/16, 10/22/16

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level): 3/21/16, 10/3/16

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): 2/29/16, 9/19/16

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Please also see our schedule and enroll online at For registration contact our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen: 206.838.1126 or

January 2016

18-22 Leadership & Managerial Skills (waitlist only)
25-29 Radar Observer Unlimited
25-29 MEECE

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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 © 2015. Articles can be reprinted without prior permission if credit is given to The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly. For address changes, send an e-mail to Back issues of The Weekly are posted on