Wheelhouse Weekly – January 08, 2004

January 8th 2004


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

Volume 8 . . . . . Number 2 . . . . January 8, 2004




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



The January NY/NJ general membership meeting will be postponed one week until Wed., Jan.21 due to a scheduling conflict with the Trust Meetings in Baltimore.



On January 6, ballots were counted at MM&P HQ in the 90 day referendum on the question of merging the Great Lakes & Rivers Maritime Region and the Atlantic & Gulf Maritime Region membership groups into the Pacific Maritime Region Membership Group (PMR).

Under provisions of the MM&P Constitution in Article V, Section 2, for the measure to carry it had to clear two hurdles:

  1. a majority of those PMR members who cast ballots had to vote in favor of merging the other groups into their membership group; and
  2. a majority of the entire MM&P membership who cast ballots must also vote in favor of the merger.

Uncertified results of the ballot count indicate that:

  • Within the PMR, 75 percent of members said yes to the merger while 24 percent voted no. The balance were either blank or determined to be invalid and were voided.
  • Among all membership groups, 88.9 percent of ballots cast were in favor of the merger; 10.5 percent were opposed; and the remainder were either blank or void.

In addition, of the ballots cast from A&G and GL&R members, 82 percent of A&G members voted in favor of the merger while in the GL&R 83.5 percent said yes.

The newly enlarged PMR will be renamed to reflect the broad base of members in all US inland and coastal areas. Complete integration of operations will take some time to achieve, but the merger itself will be effective immediately once results of the ballot count are certified.

Under the new structure, Steven Demeroutis, current PMR Vice President, will assume the role of Vice President of the new membership group. He will serve in this capacity until the next regular MM&P Officer elections that take place in 2004, at which time he may choose to stand for reelection to a full four-year term of office and other qualified members may be nominated as candidates for VP of the new merged group.

Capt. Bill Rabatsky, currently the GL&R VP, will continue to serve the MM&P as a representative for the new group, handling member issues, problems and events in the Great Lakes area. Luis Ramirez, the current A&G VP, will continue as a representative for the new group with responsibilities in Puerto Rico.

MM&P President Tim Brown stated his belief that the merger will enable a more effective focus on “any number of efforts based on area of expertise rather than based on geographic area. It will also create greater economic and operational efficiencies across-the-board, and will benefit every member of the MM&P,” he said.



On Jan.6, the USCG published a rule that affects the procedures for the renewal and issuance of Merchant Mariners’ Documents (MMDs). This rule takes effect immediately as the USCG determined that advance notice of the changes contained in the rule was “unnecessary, impracticable and contrary to the public interest.”

The MM&P is reviewing the rule and contemplating taking legal action against it.

Among other things, the new rule requires the mariner to appear in person at least once during the application process at a Regional Exam Center in order to have their fingerprints taken, to show proof of citizenship, to show two current proof of identity (one with a photo of the applicant), and to return their old MMD to the USCG.

The USCG will conduct a criminal record review and a safety and security check of the applicant and may disapprove an application for a MMD if the review and check leads the USCG “to determine that the applicant’s criminal record or character and habits of life demonstrate that the applicant is not a safe and suitable person.”

Only totally complete applications will be processed. According to the Federal Register notice, a “safe and suitable person” is a person who, “as determined by the appropriate USCG official, possesses the character and habits of life to warrant the belief that their presence aboard vessels of the US is not adverse to the security of the US.” A person who is “disapproved” will be notified of the reasons in writing.

Under the rule, the definition of “conviction” is revised so that the USCG will consider the applicant to have received a “conviction” if the applicant for a MMD has been found guilty by judgment or plea; pleads no contest; is granted deferred adjudication; is required by the court to attend classes, make contributions of time or money, receive treatment, submit to probation or supervision, or to forego appeal.

A subsequent expungement of the conviction will not negate a conviction unless the USCG is satisfied that the expungement is based upon a showing that the court’s earlier conviction was in error.

A “safety and security check” is the process taken by the USCG “to determine whether an applicant for, or holder of, a merchant mariner’s document is a safe and suitable person to be issued such a document or to be employed on a vessel under the authority of such a document.”

Even though the rule was effective as of Jan.6, the USCG is allowing interested parties to comment on it. Comments must be submitted by April 5.



MM&P Executive Assistant to the President Mike Rodriguez will represent MM&P at a classified meeting of USTRANSCOM’s Joint Planning and Advisory Group (JPAG) in Fort Eustis, VA. The meeting is being held Jan.8-9. The JPAG is a group of VISA carriers, military transportation officers, and seafaring labor representatives.

Agenda items include: an operations update, overviews of liner and charter operations, CBR-D equipment and training, and the availability of merchant mariners. Seafaring labor was able to push the CBR-D and inoculations issues at JPAG meetings held in late 2002 and 2003.



While others may have been wrapping presents in December, MITAGS was wrapping up two very significant audits. The USCG and Det Norske Veritas (DNV) each conducted a comprehensive examination to ensure that MITAGS is continuing to operate in accordance with the rules and regulations set forth by their respective organizations.

The Regional Examining Center (REC) in Baltimore conducted the Coast Guard audit on virtually no-notice as part of the REC’s regional oversight responsibility. During the visit the audit team looked closely at the elements required to ensure consistent, effective, quality training and administration, such as record keeping, testing, course presentation, and security issues.

LTJG LaRue, the senior auditor, was especially impressed with the apparent ease with which the staff was able to accommodate a “zero deficiency” audit on such short notice.

Per-Arne Waloen, the DNV lead auditor, followed close on the heels of the USCG. Last year MITAGS, the first site in the US to be certified by DNV as both a Maritime Training Center and Maritime Simulation Center, successfully completed the milestone 5-year recertification audit.

This year’s visit thus marked the first annual audit under the renewed certification. During the course of his 2-day visit, Mr. Waloen found absolutely no non-conformities and thus reaffirmed MITAGS’ status as a preeminent provider of quality maritime training.



When the New Year dawned, about 5,000 ships and 4,000 of the nation’s port facilities had failed to meet the Dec.31, 2003 deadline for submitting maritime security plans showing how they will deal with terrorism threats.

Under the Maritime Security Act, an estimated 15,000 port facilities and large vessels across the country were required to submit the plans. USCG officials said that about 5,200 of 10,000 ships and only 1,100 of 5,000 port facilities met the deadline.

The number of vessels and ports not in compliance with the mandate is troubling considering that the Dept. of Homeland Security has stated that an attack on a seaport could kill thousands, cause tremendous property damage and cost billions of dollars in lost revenue to the US economy.

A maritime industry spokesperson said one reason ships and ports missed their deadline is they were given too little time to comply since the government didn’t finalize MSA requirements until Oct.22.



Just in time to help manage that holiday debt is a special 12/12 promotion from the MM&P Federal Credit Union. The special: $1200 for 12 months at 7.5 percent for loans originated by January 31, 2004.

“These loans, with an interest rate far below most credit card companies’ standard percentage rates, may be the perfect thing to help some of our members manage debt incurred during holiday shopping this year,” said Credit Union Manager Kathy Klisavage.

MM&P Federal Credit Union membership is open to all MM&P members, to all MM&P, MITAGS, MIRAID and Plans staff, and to their immediate families. For additional details or to get answers to your questions on all MM&P Federal Credit Union programs, contact Kathy Klisavage, Credit Union Manager, toll-free at 800-382-7777 or by Email at



On Jan.4, two men were overcome in a confined space and could not be revived after being exposed to toxic fumes on a bulk carrier in international waters. How would you deal with what is lurking in there?

CSE-AAES=Confined Space Entry, Atmospheric Analysis of Enclosed Spaces (offered Feb.2) is designed for mariners who have a need to enter a vessel’s confined or enclosed spaces. The course presents the construction, operational features, limitations and calibration of oxygen analyzers, portable gas detection instruments and colorimetric tubes.

A training simulator is used along with various other training devices so that the attendee gets as close as possible to realistic training in testing, entering, working in and handling emergencies in a confined or enclosed space.

Class Openings

Between now and the end of February 2004, seats are available in the following courses:

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

  • ARPA — Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 1/5, 2/9


  • BRM — Bridge Resource Management: 1/12, 2/16
  • BST — Basic Safety Training: 1/19


CMM = Chief Mate and Master Courses

  • CMM-ADVSTB — Advanced Stability, 2/16
  • CMM-ADVWX — Advanced Meteorology: 1/26
  • CMM-CHS-1 — Cargo Handling & Stowage (week 1), 2/23
  • CMM-MPP — Marine Propulsion Plants: 1/19, 2/9
  • CMM-SHS-ADV-1 — Advanced Shiphandling (week 1), 2/23
  • CMM-SHS-ADV-2 — Advanced Shiphandling (week 2), 2/9


  • COMP-NET — Computer Networks: 2/2
  • CONT-PLNG — Contingency Planning Workshop: 1/15, 2/5, 2/26
  • CSE-AAES — Confined Space Entry (Atmospheric Analysis of Enclosed Spaces): 2/2


  • FF-ADV — Advanced Firefighting: 1/26


  • GMDSS — Global Marine Distress & Safety Systems: 1/19


  • HAZ — Hazardous Materials: 2/2


  • LAP — License Advancement Program: 1/12
    (must be pre-approved to upgrade by USCG)


  • MED-DOT-DA — Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 1/10, 2/14
  • MEDIA-RSP — Media Response: 1/16, 2/6, 2/27
  • MED-PIC — Medical Person In Charge: 2/9
  • MED-PRO — Medical Care Provider: 2/9


MSC = Military Sealift Command Courses

  • MSC-CBRD-1 — Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Training Orientation: 1/26, 2/27
  • MSC-COMMS — Strategic Sealift Communications: 2/23
  • MSC-DC — Damage Control: 1/22, 1/27, 1/29, 2/28
  • MSC-SMA-Small Arms: 2/23
  • MSC-SMA-Requalification: 1/27, 1/29
    (must have passed all 3 weapons within the previous 2 years)


  • ROP-5 — Radar Observer Program (Original and Renewal): 2/23
  • ROR-1 — Radar Observer Renewal: 1/26, 2/14


  • SEC-OFF PCS — Security Officer-Port, Company, Ship: 2/2, 2/23

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

Check the MITAGS website for up-to-date course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations, and for schedule revisions.


Attendance Verification & Cancellation is Vital

If you are scheduled for a course, call, write, or Email admissions to advise whether or not you will attend. Many classes are in demand and maintain a Standby List. “No Shows” are missed training opportunities for other members.


Schedules, Course Info & Registration

Courses are subject to change. Always check the MITAGS website for updated course availability. You can also check future schedules, review detailed course descriptions and register on-line or contact Admissions at or by calling toll-free, 1-866-656-5568.



Course Schedule

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

  • 1/12-16: ECDIS
  • 1/12-16: Basic Safety Training
  • 1/19-23: Basic and Advanced Firefighting
  • 1/19/23: Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation
  • 1/19-23: Radar Observer Unlimited
  • 1/19-30: Medical Person-In-Charge
  • 1/19-21: Ship Security Officer
  • 1/26-28: Compasses


  • 2/2-6/04: ARPA
  • 2/2-6: Advanced Stability
  • 2/2: Radar recertification
  • 2/2-13: GMDSS
  • 2/9-13: Electronic Navigation
  • 2/9-17: Able Bodied Seaman
  • 2/9-13: Basic Safety Training
  • 2/9-13: Tankerman Person-In-Charge
  • 2/16-20: Basic and Advanced Firefighting
  • 2/16-27: Celestial Navigation
  • 2/16-20: Advanced Watchkeeping
  • 2/16-20: ARPA
  • 2/23-25: Ship Security
  • 2/23-3/5: Ship Management

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

Contact DeeDee Lazik at 206-441-2880 or 888-893-7829 (toll free) for registration.



 D O W

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~ Reminders ~




The US Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) raised the Homeland Security Advisory System (HSAS) from elevated (yellow) to threat condition high (orange) on Dec. 21. This condition signifies a high risk of terrorist attack.

The US Maritime Administration issued an advisory on Dec.30 that US merchant vessels and cruise ships should be on a heightened state of security, should closely monitor the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency’s (NGA) broadcast warnings ( and should review the emergency communication procedures for assistance in NGA publication 117, chapter 8, available for download in PDF at

Public and private owners of maritime vessels and facilities are requested to:

  1. review all vessel security plans,
  2. monitor restricted areas,
  3. control access to the vessel,
  4. monitor deck areas and areas surrounding the vessel,
  5. implement security lookouts and/or security patrols to ensure continuous monitoring,
  6. perform waterside boat patrols and monitoring,
  7. use divers to inspect the underwater pier structures associated with vessel berthing and
  8. loading/unloading operations, including piers, docks, moles, pol dolphins, etc, prior to
  9. vessel arrival and upon vessel’s arrival, and in other situations where deemed appropriate,
  10. control the embarkation of persons, and
  11. supervise handling of cargo, ship stores, and fuel.

Maritime industry operators are urged to maintain high levels of security and implement appropriate protective measures that correspond to threat condition orange.

The US Intelligence Community ( also believes that Al-Qaeda continues to develop plans to use aircraft as a weapon in suicide attacks in the US, and continues to study countries to determine those that have the least stringent aviation security measures.

In addition, the acquisition, production, or theft of chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear materials and subsequent dissemination is thought to be a top Al-Qaeda objective.

DHS encourages recipients of this advisory to report info concerning suspicious or criminal activity to local law enforcement, local FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force or the Homeland Security Operations Center (HSOC). The HSOC may be contacted at phone: 202-282-8101.

The transportation industry can also report info concerning suspicious activity to their local FBI office through the FBI website or to the National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) at its website

All US-flag operators are requested to forward this advisory to their ships by the most expedient means. This advisory will subsequently be published in the “Weekly Notice to Mariners” and MARAD internet web site:

For further info regarding this advisory contact the Maritime Administration’s Office of Ship Operations by Email at




The buildings remain where they have always stood, but they have now been assigned new addresses. Local authorities have determined that it was necessary to put in place new street numbering for the MM&P’s MITAGS facility and for the MM&P Health & Benefit Plan office. The longstanding address of 5700 Hammonds Ferry Rd., used for both MITAGS and the Plan, has been eliminated.

Effective immediately:

  • The mailing address for MITAGS has been changed to:
    • 692 Maritime Blvd
      Linthicum Heights, MD 21090
  • The new mailing address for the Plan Office is now:
    • 700 Maritime Blvd.
      Suite A
      Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1996
    • This is the same street address as the Union headquarters since both offices are housed in the same building, but the Plan Office is denoted with a suite number.
  • The mailing address for the MM&P Federal Credit Union, located in the Plans Building Lobby, is now:
    • 700 Maritime Blvd.
      Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1996

The change brings the MITAGS, Plans and MM&P FCU addresses into conformance with Postal and 911 emergency mapping since all the buildings are located on the same road of the campus.

Plan Administrator Valerie Verrecchio advises Plan participants that “it is important to remember when you send mail to the Plans that you clearly address it to ‘MM&P Plans’ and to include our new suite number. This is what the Post Office will use to differentiate mail between the Union and the Plan office. Otherwise, the Post Office may send it through the mail system at the Union and your claims processing could be delayed for a couple of days.”

There is no change to the Union HQ mailing address.



Give the Gift of Good Jobs: Holiday shoppers have a new way to support good jobs as well as please family and friends, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said in announcing AFL-CIO support for “Buy Union Week,” which ran from Nov.29 – Dec.7.

“Shoppers can take the sweat(shop) out of holiday shopping and can give the gift of good jobs – the gift our country needs most of all,” he said. Although the push was on for holiday shopping, these web sites are active all year around.

Consumers can visit new Internet web sites that specialize in selling union-made clothing and other items, Sweeney said. One site – – serves as a “virtual mall” populated by such union companies as No Sweat Apparel; SweatX; Union Jean and Apparel; Union Threads and Unionwear. Shoppers can also visit the AFL-CIO’s The Union Shop at, and Justice Clothing [].

“You can fill 10 shopping carts with union-made gifts through these companies. You could shop all day at any mall in the US and have problems filling even one cart with US union-made goods. That’s an indication of how bad the economy is for US workers, but here is a chance for us to start turning things around,” Sweeney said.



All Licensed Deck Officers who possess STCW-95 certificates containing Basic Safety Training (BST) completion dates close to or more than five years old need to carry copies of their USCG discharges with them so they can prove that they have the required sea service necessary to extend their BST qualification. For questions or further info, contact Mike Rodriguez at 410-850-8700 ext.23 or Email:



In an increasing tight job market, many former private sector employees are considering a civil service mariner position with Military Sealift Command, a global Navy command that operates more than 100 civilian-crewed, non-combatant ships in support of the Department of Defense.

Civilian mariners who are licensed deck officers are MM&P bargaining unit members. MSC offers its civil service mariners many benefits including competitive pay, health insurance, lodging, meals and training.

It is a branch of the Navy, but its mariners are not military personnel. MSC is the largest single employer of US merchant mariners. MSC’s Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force ships provide underway replenishment of supplies, towing and salvage operations for the Navy’s combatant fleet.

Two NFAF ships also serve as afloat medical facilities normally kept in reduced operating status. MSC ships also conduct oceanographic and hydrographic surveys, underwater surveillance, missile flight data collection, submarine support and other specialized services through its Special Mission Program ships.

The command’s sealift ships provide ocean transportation of cargo for the Department of Defense. Through the Prepositioning Program, MSC maintains ships laden with combat equipment and supplies in strategic ocean areas around the world for US forces. These ships are ready to sail quickly to potential contingency sites.

The NFAF ships and two special mission ships are crewed by federal civil service mariners hired by MSC. Sealift ships, prepositioning ships and the remaining special mission ships are crewed by commercial mariners working for operating companies under contract to MSC.

Based on the fiscal year 2004 Congressional budget, MSC is expecting a 33 percent increase in the civil service mariner workforce from 4,044 in 2003 to 5,385 in 2008. About 1,340 civil service mariners will be needed to crew the additional eight ships that will join the MSC fleet in the next five years. For more on employment info with the MSC, visit or call 877-JOBS-MSC.



MITAGS Executive Director Glen Paine announced that MITAGS and PMI have implemented an innovative program, with reduced tuition and hotel costs, to assist professional mariners seeking license advancement to Chief Mate/Master (CMM).

The Institutes now offer one of the fastest, most versatile, and cost-effective routes for mariners to obtain their CMM licenses. The MITAGS/PMI program, which covers all USCG requirements, is only 12 weeks in duration.

Forty-one of the 53 required assessments may be completed during these courses. To flexibly meet their schedule, students can take the required courses at the PMI campus in Seattle, Washington and/or at the MITAGS campus in Baltimore, Maryland.

The MITAGS/PMI program can be completed in 60 days for under $14,000. Other programs take up to 71 days and charge $19,000 to complete the CMM requirements. Students taking ALL of the CMM courses at MITAGS and/or PMI will receive a 15 percent tuition discount from the normal pricing, which brings the total CMM tuition down to $13,303.

In addition to this cost reduction, those students taking ALL of the CMM courses at MITAGS/PMI will receive a substantial reduction in the room and board rates. If needed, MITAGS and PMI will also provide a convenient and flexible payment plan.

For more info regarding the CMM License Advancement, or any other course programs offered by MITAGS or PMI, please contact Capt. Craig Thomas (MITAGS) toll free at 866-656-5569 or via Email at You may also contact Gregg Trunnell at PMI in Seattle at 206-239-9965 or via Email at



The Robert J. Pfeiffer Memorial Fund has been established at California Maritime Academy Foundation with the input and guidance from Brad Mulholland, Jeff Hull, and Capt. Lynn Korwatch.

It is anticipated that many seagoing personnel as well as Matson employees will wish to donate to this fund in honor of Mr. Pfeiffer. Donations may be sent to:

California Maritime Foundation Attn: Robert Pfeiffer Memorial Fund 200 Maritime Academy Dr. Vallejo, CA 94590

or contact Mr. Chris Walker at 707-654-1245 or Email at

All donations are tax deductible and all contributors will receive a letter of thanks acknowledging their donation. Names and donation amounts will also be passed on to the Pfeiffer family.



Through a special arrangement with ShipCom, MM&P members at sea will now receive a significant discount on personal ship-to-shore radiotelephone calls. The rate is $2.50 per minute to any phone number in the US. This is a significant discount from the usual rate of $3.99 per minute. Calls may be placed collect, or billed to any major credit card.

To take advantage of this offer or for more info contact Station WLO on HF SSB channels 405, 607, 824, 1212, 16401, 1807, or 2237 or on HF radio telex channels (selcall 1090) 406, 606, 806, 810, 815, 1205, 1211, 1605, 1615, 1810 or 2215.

MM&P members must identify themselves as an MM&P member and provide the operator with the last 4 digits of their MM&P book number in order to get the discounted rate.

Any vessel equipped with HF radio telex may send and receive Internet email via the telex terminal. For more info contact WLO radio via telex or HF SSB voice.



The National WWII Memorial has a site on its webpage for individuals who served in any capacity during WWII to register to be included in the Memorial’s Registry. The main site is

If the individual clicks on WWII Registry, he/she can find out if he/she is already included as a result of one of the WWII databases and, if not, can follow the directions to register. Any American who contributed to the war effort is eligible for the Registry.



  • Do you want an easy way to grow your savings?
  • Do you want an easier way to make deposits to your Masters, Mates & Pilots Federal Credit Union account?

Consider establishing payroll or pension direct deposit.

Many employers allow you to directly deposit your pay into several different financial institutions. Trinity Management, Strong America and Moran Towing of Florida are among the MM&P-contracted companies that already provide for employees to deposit funds directly into the MM&P Federal Credit Union.

MM&P Health & Benefit Plans Pensioners and A&G Region Pensioners may have deductions made directly from their pension check to their Credit Union account. In addition, employees of MM&P, Plans, MITAGS and MIRAID are also eligible for payroll deduction directly into their Credit Union account.

Add to your savings by paying yourself first! Contact your payroll office to establish Credit Union direct deposit or to find out if this is available for you.


Who Can Be a Member?

MM&P Federal Credit Union membership is open to all MM&P members, to all MM&P, MITAGS, MIRAID and Plans staff, and to their immediate families.


Want to Know More?

For additional details or to get answers to your questions on all MM&P Federal Credit Union programs, contact Kathy Klisavage, Credit Union Manager, toll-free at 1-800-382-7777 or by Email at


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., Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1941. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973; Email: For further info or to subscribe contact John Peige at The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea, broadcast worldwide via FEC marine telex and is posted on our web page.