Wheelhouse Weekly – January 07, 2014

January 7th 2014


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

Volume 18 . . . Number 1 . . . Jan. 7, 2014


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


All MM&P union halls, the MM&P Plan Office, the MM&P Federal Credit Union and MM&P headquarters will be closed on Jan. 20 for Martin Luther King’s Birthday. The Nobel Prize laureate and civil rights activist was assassinated in 1968 while on a trip to Memphis to support striking sanitation workers.


Under the new MM&P Offshore Shipping Rules that entered into effect on Jan. 1, job call will be held at 1100 hours local time in all ports except for Honolulu, where it will be held at 1000 hours. The new Shipping Rules have been posted in all MM&P union halls. They can also be viewed in the Members’ Only section of


The Coast Guard announced that the Office of Management and Budget has approved updated versions of Coast Guard forms CG-705A and CG-718A, which are used to execute shipping articles and prepare certificates of discharge for merchant mariners. The Coast Guard will not stock the updated forms in paper format but will make them available electronically in a PDF fillable format at The agency said the previous paper format had been in use since World War II and was last revised in the early 1980s. The agency said that the data collected on the updated forms is nearly identical to that collected on the previous versions, but that the size of the forms has been changed to the standard paper size (8.5 x 11 inches) “to accommodate modern technology.” The agency said the new forms would be available “on or around Jan. 6.” 


The Coast Guard ice breaker POLAR STAR has been dispatched to help two ships stuck in thick ice in Antarctica. The U.S. vessel, the Coast Guard’s only active heavy polar ice-breaker, will plow a channel through the ice to free the Chinese ship XUE LONG and the AKADEMIK SHOKALSKIY, a research vessel trapped since Dec. 24. The POLAR STAR is 399 feet long with a maximum speed of 18 knots, the Coast Guard says. It can continuously break 6 feet of ice at three knots and 21 feet of ice by backing and ramming. It left Sydney, Australia, on Sunday and is expected to arrive at the stranded ships in one week’s time.

In an ironic twist, the XUE LONG became ice-bound after helping to rescue 52 passengers who were stranded on the AKADEMIK SHOKALSKIY. A helicopter from the Chinese vessel transported the passengers and some members of the crew to an Australian ship, the AURORA AUSTRALIS, which is said to be standing by in open water in case its help is needed.

The AKADEMIK SHOKALSKIY became trapped by pack ice driven by strong winds about 1,500 nautical miles south of Hobart, capital of the Australian state of Tasmania. It was being used by the Australasian Antarctic Expedition to conduct research on climate change while following the same route that the explorer Douglas Mawson traveled a century ago. There are 111 people aboard the XUE LONG and 22 remaining crewmembers aboard the AKADEMIK SHOKALSKIY.


USCG Sector Houston-Galveston has issued a Marine Safety Information Bulletin stating that it has received “substantiated complaints” that certain waterfront facilities are charging “an unreasonable price” to remove MARPOL residues and waste from vessels. The agency said it had also received complaints that “certain waterfront facilities are not allowing ships unloading noxious liquid substances (NLS) to drain NLS residues from cargo hoses and piping systems back to the terminal or facility.”

Such actions “are contrary to the MARPOL Convention, which is enforced by the U.S. Coast Guard,” the agency said. It warned that violations can be punished by civil penalties of up to $25,000 per day per violation and that “knowing violations can result in criminal penalties including imprisonment.” 


“Ebenezer Scrooge would love America’s approach to funding its transportation needs, but the miserly refusal by too many of our leaders to invest in transportation could haunt us for decades to come,” says Edward Wytkind, president of the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department (TTD). TTD’s wish list for 2014 includes a comprehensive vision–and adequate resources–for strengthening the country’s transportation systems, which TTD calls “the lifeblood of a growing 21st century economy.” MM&P is one of the 32 TTD member unions.

“Several decades of Scrooge-like transportation budgets have left our bridges falling, our aviation system suffering from outdated technology, our rail and transit systems forced to curtail service as demand soars and our ports and navigation channels unable to compete in a global economy, Wytkind says. He calls on politicians to “stop the brinksmanship, reject destructive austerity budgets and start investing in a long-term plan that ends the decades of neglect of our transportation system.”

Among TTD’s priorities: reforming harbor maintenance spending and passing the Water Resources Development Act. This legislation, pending in a House-Senate conference committee, will make America more competitive and create thousands of jobs by improving our ports, harbors and waterways. More than 50 years have passed since the United States opened the world’s first container terminal at the Port of New York and New Jersey. But today, rather than being on the forefront of maritime transportation innovation, we find ourselves staggering to keep up, in part because dredging has been “slowed to a crawl,” TTD says.

TTD is also calling on politicians to: provide long-term funding to the Amtrak rail network; fix the broken funding mechanism for America’s transit systems, highways and bridges; and fund and modernize our air traffic control system.

“Let’s hope 2014 can be known as the Year of Transportation, or at the very least, the year we busted the Washington logjam on providing the essential transportation and job needs of our country,” Wytkind says. “Scrooge would cringe, but for the rest of us that’s a resolution we can get behind.”


Hundreds of millions of micro-sized plastic beads in toiletries like facial scrubs and toothpastes are passing through water treatment plants on the Great Lakes, damaging aquatic life and possibly causing cancer in humans. A recent study based on samples from each of the lakes suggested concentrations of as much as 1.1 million bits of micro plastics per square mile. The scientists found beads in all five of the lakes, with the greatest concentrations in Lakes Erie and Ontario, which take the water flows from the other lakes and are ringed with cities and towns. The research was described in an article by John Schwartz that was published in the Dec. 14 issue of The New York Times.

Lorena Rios Mendoza, an assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, told Schwartz that the bits of plastic have a great capacity to attract persistent pollutants. “Plastics are not just acting as mimic food for fish, they can also cause physical damage to the organism,” she said. Scientists are still working through the links of the chain leading back to humans. About 65 million pounds of fish are caught in the Great Lakes each year.

Such findings have sparked international debate and campaigns to end the use of micro-plastics in personal care products. Major cosmetic companies, including Johnson & Johnson, Unilever and Procter & Gamble, have pledged to phase out the beads in favor of natural alternatives, but they say the shift could take two years or more.


An Indian ship captain has finally been freed after spending five months in prison on charges of aiding the pirates who attacked his ship. Captain Sunil James and two members of his crew had been held in the West African nation of Togo since July 31. In a tragic twist, the captain’s infant son died while he was under arrest. The three men were freed last week after the Indian government appealed to the president of Togo for their release on compassionate grounds.

The Indian-flagged OCEAN CENTURION was attacked on July 16, some 45 nautical miles southeast of the Togolese capital Lome. The pirates robbed the crewmembers of cash and personal property, injuring three of them in the process. They ordered the crew to sail towards the Togo-Benin border, where they disembarked and escaped on a speedboat. When Captain James reported the incident to authorities in Togo, he was charged with helping the pirates and sentenced to serve time in jail. He said he was kept in a small cell with 80 other prisoners, many of them violent criminals, and that he survived on bread alone since the rest of the food he was given to eat was inedible.

Now that he has been released, the captain says he intends to return to sea. “I am relieved the charges against me have been dropped,” he told a reporter for The Times of India. “It just shows that I am innocent and was wrongly booked. I have been a sailor for 17 years of my life and I will continue to do so. The incident hasn’t deterred me from performing my job.”


A Hong Kong-registered chemical tanker caught fire Dec. 29 after colliding with a cargo ship on a test run in the waters off Busan, South Korea. The tanker MARITIME MAISIE, which was carrying nearly 30,000 tons of flammable chemicals, struck the freighter GRAVITY HIGHWAY around 2:00 a.m. local time. A South Korean news agency reported that the impact caused two of the 20 chemical containers on board the tanker to catch fire. Fire fighters aboard 16 coast guard rescue boats and several helicopters extinguished the blaze about eight hours later. The cargo vessel also caught fire briefly. No one aboard either vessel was seriously injured. The authorities said they were still in the process of investigating the cause of the accident. They said the chemicals aboard the tanker would be removed before it was towed to a shipyard since the accident had left an 8 meter gash in the hull that put it at risk of breaking in two.


If you are interested in attending the Offshore Familiarization Course, please contact your MM&P Vice President to request that one be scheduled in your area. An Offshore Orientation Course is now scheduled for Los Angeles/Long Beach on March 12-13 and Oct. 8-9. If you are interested in participating in the course, please contact the Los Angeles/Long Beach Hall: 310-834-7201 or 310-834-6667 (fax). 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 encouraged to take the course as soon as possible.


The 2006 Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) entered into force on Aug. 20. It has been described as the fourth pillar of international shipping regulations along with SOLAS, MARPOL and STCW.  The International Labor Organization consolidated a number of previous conventions in MLC 2006. It establishes minimum standards on conditions of employment, accommodations, health and safety, medical care, crew welfare, recruitment, working conditions and social security protection. MLC will be strictly enforced during port state control inspections, including the potential for more detailed inspections and possible detention where hazardous conditions may exist if ships are not to be in compliance. Visit for more information or to register for the MLC course.


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 Kelly Michielli, 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 – 4/14/14

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: 5/6/14

ARPA – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 1/21/14, 4/1/14

AZIPOD 2-Day – 2/6/14, 5/7/14

BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 1/27/14, 3/24/14, 6/2/14

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 2/4/14, 3/3/14

BST – Basic Safety Training: 1/20/14, 2/10/14, 4/7/14, 6/9/14

CHS-BAS – Cargo Handling Basic: 4/14/14

CONSTB – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 1/27/14

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

CMM-ADVNAV – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): 2/24/14

CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 2/3/14, 4/28/14, 6/23/14

CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 3/10/14, 6/16/14

CMM-CHS – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 2/10/14, 5/5/14

CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 1/27/14, 2/24/14, 5/5/14, 6/2/14

CMM-LDRSHP – Management, Communication, & Leadership (Management Level): 3/17/14

CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants:  1/20/14, 3/31/14

CMM-SHMGT – Ship Management (2 weeks): 1/6/14, 4/7/14

CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 2/17/14, 3/10/14, 4/7/14, 4/28/14, 6/9/14

CMM-SHS-ADV-I I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 2/24/14, 3/17/14, 4/14/14, 5/5/14, 6/16/14

CMM-VPEN – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 3/3/14, 6/9/14

CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 1/27/14, 4/21/14

CNAV – Celestial Navigation: 4/28/14

CONSTB – 1/27/14

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop:

DDE – Great Lakes: 1/27/14

DPA – 1/6/14

ECDIS-Pilots – 3/5/14

ENVIRO-Regs Permit – Environmental Regulations Permit:

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 1/20/14, 2/10/14, 4/7/14, 6/9/14

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep & Medications:  2/3/14

GL Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization: 1/24/14

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 3/17/14

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 6/23/14

LAP- 3/10/14

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes:  1/27/14

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross Ton License: 6/2/14

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 1/22/14, 3/5/14

LNG-TPIC – 4/7/14

MCL – Management, Communications and Leadership

MCL OICNW –Management, Communications, and Leadership OICNW level: 9/5/14, 10/7/14

MEDIA-RSP – Media Response Workshop:  2/7/14

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 1/6/14, 2/17/14, 3/17/14, 4/21/14, 6/16/14

MED-PIC -R– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 1/27/14, 5/12/14

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 1/6/14, 2/17/14, 3/17/14, 4/21/14, 6/16/14

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 1/11/14, 1/25/14, 2/22/14, 3/22/14, 4/26/14, 6/21/14

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 3/14/14

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 3/10/14

MSC -SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification:  3/10/14



*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force –

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 1/13/14, 2/3/14, 4/7/14

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 1/20/14, 3/31/14

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 1/8/14, 1/22/14, 2/5/14, 2/19/14, 3/6/14, 3/20/14, 4/2/14, 4/16/14, 4/30/14, 5/7/14, 5/14/14, 6/5/14, 6/18/14

SAR – Search & Rescue

SEC-MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: 12/10/13 PM, 5/5/14 (PM)

SEC-VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: 12/11/13, 5/6/14

SEC-VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 12/12/13, 2/4/14, 5/7/14

SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling:  2/10/14, 6/16/14

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day: 1/20/14, 3/3/14

SHS-ESH-BRMP3 – Emergency Shiphandling and Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 3/5/14, 4/29/14

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 1/6/14

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge:  2/24/14

TTT – Train the Trainer: 4/7/14

WKP-BAS – Basic Watchkeeping: 3/3/14

WX-BAS – Basic Meteorology: 2/24/13

…And 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, and schedule revisions.


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

January 2014

7-9          Vessel Security Officer
13-17     ECDIS
13-24     GMDSS
27-31     Radar Observer Unlimited
27-31     Medical Care Provider
27-7       Medical Person-In-Charge

February 2014

3rd         Radar Renewal
3rd         Flashing Light
3-7          Basic Watchkeeping (Rules of the Road)
4-7          ARPA
10-14     ECDIS
10-14     Bridge Resource Management w/ Simulation
10-21     GMDSS
17-21     ECDIS
17-21     Bridge Resource Management w/ Simulation
24-28     Medical Care Provider
26-28     Vessel Security Officer

March 2014

3-14       Celestial Navigation
10-21     GMDSS
17th       Radar Renewal
24-28     ECDIS
24-28     Able Seaman
24-4       License Preparation (Mate Level)

April 2014

7-11       ECDIS
14th       Radar Renewal
14-18     Medical Care Provider
14-25     Medical Person-In-Charge
15-18     ARPA
28-2       ECDIS

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: For further info or to subscribe contact Lisa Rosenthal at The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea and is posted on our web page.

© 2014, 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: For changes of address, contact Lisa Rosenthal at