Wheelhouse Weekly – January 12, 2007

January 12th 2007


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

Volume 11 . . . . . Number 2. . . . January 12, 2007




T-AGS Oceanographic Survey Ships Info

Required Coursework

Security Clearances

MSC Physicals

MM&P Health & Benefit Plan News

Notice to Members who are taking Vioxx

NMHC Mail-Order Prescriptions Website Updated & Improved

WWII USCG Veterans Outreach

Company Gives Bucks Back for buying Safe Shoes

Website Offers Union-Made Goods and Services

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



The following press statement was released by the American Maritime Officers (AMO) union on January 8 and is reprinted below in its entirety. It can also be found on the AMO Web site at

“Michael McKay today resigned as national president of American Maritime Officers following his January 5 conviction on multiple felony counts in US District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Fort Lauderdale.

To fill the vacancy, the AMO national executive committee — acting under its authority as provided in the American Maritime Officers National Constitution — named Thomas Bethel to complete McKay’s term in office, which began January 1.

AMO National Secretary-Treasurer Jose Leonard, AMO National Deep-Sea Vice President Joseph Gremelsbacker, AMO National Vice President At Large Edward Kelly and AMO National Great Lakes Vice President Daniel Smith supported Bethel in the unanimous action by the NEC. Bethel had served as AMO national executive vice president.

Meanwhile, members of the AMO national executive board announced that the board would file suit against McKay and his brother and co-defendant, former AMO National Secretary-Treasurer Robert McKay, to recover money obtained from AMO illegally by Michael McKay and Robert McKay — both of whom were convicted of racketeering, embezzlement, conspiracy and fraud. The joint union-employer trustees of the AMO Pension, Medical, Vacation and Safety and Education Plans were said to be preparing a similar suit.

In addition, measures were taken to deny Michael McKay and Robert McKay access to union offices, other than to retrieve personal property.

Under federal law, a union official, representative or employee found guilty of any felony must resign his post immediately upon acceptance of the jury’s verdict by the presiding judge. But, in McKay’s case, the court reportedly agreed to allow McKay additional time in office pending sentencing in March 2007.

However, Bethel, Leonard and Smith were ready to initiate impeachment proceedings against McKay with the unanimous support of the national executive board of AMO had McKay not resigned. This action, which is provided for in Article XXIII of the AMO national Constitution, would have removed McKay from office and from AMO membership.

“The initial actions taken today by the national executive committee and national executive board will help AMO overcome the difficulties linked to the federal government’s prolonged investigation of AMO and the AMO Plans and the indictment, trial and conviction of Michael McKay and Robert McKay,” Bethel said. “We take our fiduciary responsibilities seriously, and we will do whatever is necessary under US law and regulation and the AMO National Constitution to protect AMO’s interests.”

Bethel added: “This case caused deep division and concern within our ranks, but recovery and reconciliation are within reach. Meanwhile, I can assure AMO members everywhere that our union remains strong and financially sound. There is new but experienced and responsible leadership, and we as an administration remain committed to long-term job and benefit security for all AMO deep-sea, Great Lakes and inland waters members and their families.

“I look forward to working with everyone on the AMO national executive board and with AMO members in all areas and in all trades,” Bethel concluded. “This administration offers accessibility and accountability, and I welcome all comments and questions.”



The following information is excerpted from an article posted January 10th in AMO Currents, the official online periodical of American Maritime Officers:

“James Lynch has been dismissed from his job as deep-sea dispatcher for American Maritime Officers. Lynch was removed from the union payroll January 9 at the direction of Thomas Bethel, the new national president of AMO. Lynch was named in the same indictment handed down against Michael McKay and Robert McKay by a federal grand jury in Miami in June 2005. The indictment, which was unsealed in September 2005, charged Lynch with racketeering and conspiracy. Lynch is awaiting trial in Fort Lauderdale later this month.

Bethel, AMO Assistant Vice President at Large Robert Kiefer and Assistant Great Lakes Vice President Donald Cree served on a six-member committee of union and employer AMO Plans trustees cleared by the government to mediate between AMO Plans and the US Departments of Justice and Labor during the departments’ now-concluded joint five-year investigation of AMO and AMO Plans.
The investigation led to the indictment of Michael McKay, Robert McKay, Lynch and a fourth defendant, former AMO Plans maintenance supervisor Phil Ciccarelli, who pleaded guilty to a felony and testified for the prosecution during the trial of Michael McKay and Robert McKay. Lynch did not stand trial with the McKays because his attorney was ill as the trial approached.

During the investigation, the committee of AMO Plans trustees uncovered evidence of wrongdoing by Lynch, who was a full-time small arms and fast rescue boat instructor at the AMO Safety and Education Plan’s RTM Simulation, Training, Assessment and Research Center adjacent to AMO national headquarters in Dania Beach, Fla.
The committee recommended to AMO Plans and RTM STAR Center administration at the time that Lynch be terminated immediately. The recommendation was accepted, but Michael McKay hired Lynch immediately as deep-sea dispatcher.

“I still believe in the American justice system and the presumption of innocence until guilt is proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law,” Bethel said. “But the special committee of three union and three employer AMO Plans trustees and counsel to AMO Plans and the committee found sufficient indisputable reason to drop Jim Lynch from the STAR Center staff. “In that sense, the criminal case pending against Jim Lynch was a factor in Lynch’s dismissal as deep-sea dispatcher” Bethel continued. “But there was more — a steady stream of complaints from AMO members about Lynch’s poor on-the-job performance and his arrogance.”

Brendan Keller, assistant deep-sea dispatcher, assumed Lynch’s duties pending a complete review of the job dispatch system by Bethel and the national executive board of AMO. Bethel also dismissed James F. “Pat” Paterson, a retired longtime National Maritime Union official hired by Michael McKay as an adviser and consultant assigned to the AMO office in Brooklyn, N.Y. In addition, Bethel prepared the required notice of intent to cancel a consulting contract between AMO and Gerald B. Lackey, a former special assistant to Michael McKay and former counsel to AMO on the Great Lakes. Bethel said new dismissals or personnel reassignments were “in the pipeline.” He added: “Anyone who wants to work for AMO will actually have to WORK for AMO.”


Merchant mariners are now able to pay user fees for the evaluation of applications, examinations, issuance of licenses and merchant mariner documents online at allows secure electronic payments to federal government agencies. Payments can be made directly from an individual’s bank account or by credit or debit card, enabling mariners to quickly pay user fees and have proof of payment.

This new method of paying user fees is part of the Coast Guard’s National Maritime Center (NMC) restructuring and centralization project to improve service to mariners and to increase the efficiency of the application review and approval process.

Mariners may continue to pay user fees in person at Coast Guard Regional Examination Centers. Regional Examination Centers also offer assistance in using


A recent research study on merchant mariner fatigue conducted in the UK found that the potential for fatigue at sea is high due to a range of factors, many unique to the marine environment. The study found that:

  • Fatigue increases most significantly during the first week of tour, perhaps reflecting adaptation, a ceiling effect, or a combination of these possibilities.
  • Recovery from fatigue after a tour of duty on average does not occur until the second week of leave.
  • Fatigue can be addressed at three levels: legislation, company policy and personal awareness/management. Success will only be achieved if all three are co-operatively involved.
  • Present reporting systems are inadequately designed to record factors relevant to fatigue.
  • Excessive working hours are a problem in the seafaring industry, hidden by the fact that a concerning number of crew falsify audited records.
  • Those who at least occasionally under-record their working hours were found to report higher fatigue.
  • Fatigue was consistently associated with poor quality sleep, negative environmental factors, high job demands and high stress. Other important factors included frequent port turn-arounds, physical work hazards, working more than 12 hours a day, low job support and finding the switch to port work fatiguing.
  • In the diary study more frequent port calls were associated with greater fatigue among those on shorter tours, and with lower fatigue among those on longer tours.
  • Mini-bulkers arguably represent a worst case scenario in terms of a ship environment conducive to fatigue, as evidenced by subjective and objective testing. The combination of negative factors on this ship type include: frequent port turn-arounds, short port stays, changing cargos, only two watchkeepers (in many cases) and long periods of pilotage.
  • Consequences of fatigue have been shown not only in terms of accident contribution but self-reported physical and mental health problems.


    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced that eight port areas qualify for Tier I security grants, (the highest risk status) in fiscal year 2007. They will receive a total of $120 million, or about 60% of total Port Security Grant Program funding this year. The remaining US ports are included within three additional risk tiers, and will compete for the additional 40 percent of available funds. Grant funding priorities include training, exercises, activities to mitigate the risk of improvised explosive devices, and employee credentials and access controls.

    Tier I Port Security Grant Program areas are: NY/NJ: $27.1 million; New Orleans: $17.3 million; Houston-Galveston: $15.7 million; Los Angeles-Long Beach: $14.7 million; Puget Sound (Seattle-Tacoma area): $12.2 million; Delaware Bay (Philadelphia, Wilmington, DE, and Southern New Jersey): $11.3 million; San Francisco Bay: $11.2 million; and Sabine-Neches River (Port Arthur-Beaumont, TX): $10.9 million.

    Transit Security Grants will fund enhanced security for 19 ferry systems in 14 regions. Those systems and eligible award amounts are: Seattle: $2,400,603; NY/NJ: $1,532,903; Houston: $599,793; San Francisco Bay Area: $586,714; North Carolina: $429,685; Connecticut-New York: $414,350; Boston: $400,960; Alaska-Washington: $352,040; New Orleans: $325,000; Martha’s Vineyard: $274,120; Jamestown, VA: $235,444; Delaware-New Jersey: $155,807; and Greater Los Angeles: $122,581.


    The US Coast Guard is seeking comment regarding the future of the North American Long Range Aids to Navigation (LORAN- C) program. Options under consideration include: (1) decommissioning the LORAN-C system; (2) maintaining the system as currently configured; (3) developing a fully deployed Enhanced LORAN (eLORAN) system. Information concerning LORAN-C and concerning eLORAN is available on the USCG Web site at Comments should be submitted by February 7th.


    The St. Lawrence Seaway closed for the season on December 30th. The Seaway’s 48th navigation season commenced on March 23rd, with the system remaining open for a record of 283 days. “We are very pleased to report that Seaway traffic for the 2006 navigation season is projected to amount to a total of 48 million tons, a 10% increase over the 2005 results. This achievement bodes well for the future of our Seaway, as a strong performance within our traditional bulk and breakbulk staples was complemented by a series of new and diversified cargo movements” stated Richard Corfe, President and CEO of the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation.


    The US Naval Forces Central Command in Bahrain reports that no US Sailors or merchant crew were injured when a US Navy submarine and a commercial cargo vessel collided in the Strait of Hormuz on Monday evening January 8th. The collision between USS NEWPORT NEWS (SSN 750) and the Japanese-flagged motor vessel MOGAMIGAWA occurred at approximately 2215 in the evening (local time) in the Strait of Hormuz while the submarine was transiting submerged.

    Overall damage to the USS NEWPORT NEWS is being evaluated. The propulsion plant was unaffected by this collision. The incident is currently under investigation. USS NEWPORT NEWS is currently on a regularly scheduled deployment to the US Navy Central Command area of responsibility conducting Maritime Security Operations (MSO). MSO sets the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment as well as complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations. MSO denies terrorists the use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons, or other material.


    In a statement released to the media last week, the US Coast Guard announced that an administrative law judge had suspended the license of Pilot John C. McCarthy III for a period of eight months. Ruling that the USCG had proved its case of negligence and misconduct against him, the judge also imposed a further penalty of 12 months of probation for McCarthy. USCG investigators also determined that the Captain of the US-flag tanker CHARLESTON was also negligent and was accordingly issued a letter or warning in lieu of suspension or revocation.

    The action against both individuals emanates from an incident which occurred back in March of 2006, when a 940-foot LNG carrier broke away from its moorings while discharging its cargo of LNG at an LNG terminal near Savannah, GA. Quick response and safety measures prevented a spill or worse. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Coast Guard both investigated the incident, which shut down the dock for 36 hours at a terminal on the Savannah River. The city of Savannah, GA rests just five miles away.

    The investigation determined that the LNG carrier was pulled some 15 feet from its berth by a surge caused by the excessive speed of the CHARLESTON as it passed by. The tanker, piloted by McCarthy, passed the liquefied natural gas facility on Elba Island at a speed in excess of 14 knots. The resulting surge caused an emergency dock shutdown, cargo hose, mooring line and gangway failures. Coast Guard actions gave significant weight to McCarthy’s past history, which, according to the USCG press statement, included three previous proved charges for negligence. McCarthy works as a federal pilot on the Savannah River and is not affiliated with the state-commissioned Savannah Pilots Association, which handles all foreign, registered deep-draft traffic coming in and out of the port of Savannah, GA.


    CLASS OPENINGS: Between now and the end of April 2007, seats are available in the following courses:

    AIS – Automatic Identification System: 3/23
    ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 1/16, 2/6, 3/6, 4/3

    BRM Bridge Resource Management: 1/22, 2/19, 3/26, 4/23
    BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 5/3
    BST – Basic Safety Training: 2/5, 3/12, 4/9

    [CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
    CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 1/22, 4/2
    CMM-ADVSTB – 1/29, 4/9
    CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 1): 2/12, 4/23
    CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 2/5, 4/16
    CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart and Display Information System: 3/19
    CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 2/19
    CMM-SHMGT-I – Ship Management II (week 1): 2/26, 4/30
    CMM-SHMGT-II – Ship Management II (week 2): 3/5
    Available on a “Stand-By Basis Only”: CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 2/5, 3/12
    Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 3/19
    Available on a “Stand-By Basis Only”: CMM-SHS-ADV-II – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 2/12, 4/16
    CMM-VPEN – Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 3/26
    CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 3/12

    CONT-PLNG – Contingency Planning: 1/26

    CSE-AASE – Confined Space Entry: 1/15, 4/25

    FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 2/5, 3/12, 4/9

    HAZ-Hazardous Materials (5-day): 2/12, 4/16

    MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 1/25, 3/22

    MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 1/13, 2/17, 3/3, 4/21
    MED-PIC – Medical Person In Charge: 2/12, 2/26, 4/16
    MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 2/12, 2/26, 4/16

    [MSC – Military Sealift Command]
    MSC-CBRD-1 (Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Orientation): 3/30
    MSC-DC (Damage Control): 1/18, 3/22, 4/23
    MSC-SMA – Small Arms Training: 3/26
    MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 3/30 (must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years)

    ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal (5-day): 1/29, 3/26
    ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 1/15, 2/5, 3/5, 4/2, 4/30

    SEC-OFF-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 1/22, 3/19
    SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 2/19, 3/26, 4/23
    SHS-EMR- Emergency Shiphandling: 2/12, 2/26, 4/2, 4/30
    SHS-EMR- BRMP-3- Emergency Shiphandling & Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 3/19
    TPIC-DL – Tanker Person-In-Charge, Dangerous Liquids: 2/12

    Check the MITAGS website at 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 Email:


    Winter – Spring 2007

    Due to the high demand for this program, PMI has now scheduled another that is already close to full enrollment for its 2007-start date. See the PMI Web site at for more info on this new development.


    SCHEDULE OF COURSES – (Course schedule also posted online at

    January 2007
    2-5 Mate Program Orientation Week
    8-12 BST
    9-12 LFBT
    15-19 ARPA
    15-19 AB
    22-26 TPIC
    22-26 SHS EMR-5
    29-2 ROP
    29-2 MED PRO
    29-9 MED PIC
    29-9 GMDSS

    February 2007
    6-9 LFBT
    12-16 BST
    12-16 ENAV
    12-16 MED PRO
    12-14 SEC VCF
    19-23 ECDIS
    19-23 SHS BAS
    19-2 CNAV
    26-2 FF ADV
    26-2 ARPA
    26-9 SHS ADV

    March 2007
    5-6 SAR
    6-9 LFBT
    7-9 EP
    12-16 BST
    12-16 AB
    12-16 STB BAS
    12-16 ARPA
    19-23 CHS BAS
    19-23 SHS EMR-5

    April 2007
    2-6 WX BAS
    2-6 TPIC
    9-11 SEC VCF
    9-13 FF BADV
    9-13 SHS BAS
    9-13 ARPA
    9-13 ECDIS
    9-20 GMDSS
    16-27 WKP BAS
    23-25 BRM
    24-27 LFBT
    30-4 AB
    30-4 FF ADV
    30-4 SHS BAS

    May 2007
    7-11 SHS BAS
    7-18 GMDSS
    7-18 CNAV
    14-18 ARPA
    14-18 SHS EMR-5
    14-25 GMDSS
    16-18 FF ADV
    21-25 BST
    21-25 ENAV
    21-25 CHS BAS
    21ST FL
    22-23 SHS ASSESS
    29TH FL

    For registration call Jennifer Fowler 888-893-7829


    High quality clothing embroidered with the NEW PMI log!.
    We can ship these items also! Acceptable forms of payment are check, credit card, money order, and exact cash.
    MEN’S WEAR: Button Down Long Sleeve Dress Shirt; Polo Shirt; Fleece Pullover; Hooded Sweatshirt; Windbreaker.
    WOMEN’S WEAR: Button-Down Blouse; Sport Polo; Snap-Front Shirt 3/4 Sleeve; Fleece Pullover; Fleece Front Zip
    ALSO: Navy and Stone Caps; 15oz. Cobalt Blue Ceramic Mug.
    Call Laura Bendixen at 888-893-7829 or email her at for prices and ordering.



     D O W  N A S D A Q  S & P 500
    12,514.98 +34.29 for the week 2,484.85 +31.42 for the week 1,423.82 +5.48 for the week
    Fund Name & Trading Symbol
     Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
     Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
     Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
     Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
     Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
     Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
     Vanguard High Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX)
     Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
     Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
     Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
     Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
     Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
     Fidelity Small Company Instl (FMACX)
     Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
     Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
     Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)


    ~ Reminders ~




    All MM&P members are reminded that to sail aboard the T-AGS ships that MM&P-contracted Horizon Lines will be operating, you must have the required training certification and your certificates must be current in accordance with Military Sealift Command requirements. Members are also required to have had a MSC pre-employment physical and to possess Ship Security Clearance (see below).

    The MSC Contract calls for all training certificates required for manning of these vessels to be no older than 5 years and that all STCW-95 courses be renewed every 5 years, or annually, as applicable.

    Five-year renewable courses include, but are not limited to:

    • Advanced Fire Fighting
    • Basic Safety Training, and
    • Damage Control

    Small Arms certificates must be less than 1 year old and MUST NOT expire during your tour of duty.

    Members interested in applying for one of the positions onboard the T-AGS vessels are advised to make sure your certificates are up to date. If not, contact Mary Matlock or Diane Ford at MITAGS Admissions, email:, and schedule to take the course(s) needed.

    Those MM&P members interested in obtaining more information and facts about the T-AGS Oceanographic Vessels are asked to email the Director of Special Projects requesting the “facts sheet”. It will be provided by return email in an Adobe Acrobat PDF format.

    Members interested in employment on the T-AGS ships are asked to provide a 1-2 page resume. Please list the desired position you are seeking along with the certificates of training you possess and their dates. Upon receipt it will be forwarded to Horizon Lines and a confirmation sent back to the member. Vessel turnover commenced Oct.17, 2004. Positions for all ratings remain open.

    The point of contact for sending a resume for employment on the Horizon Lines T-AGS Oceanographic Vessels is Richard Plant, MM&P’s Director of Special Projects. Send resumes in an email or as a Word file attachment to him at:, by fax to 410-850-0973 or by mail to:

    Richard Plant, Director of Special Projects

    700 Maritime Blvd.
    Linthicum Heights, MD 21090


    Members who want to sail for Horizon Lines on the T-AGS Oceanographic Survey vessels the company is set to begin operating for MSC must have Ship Security Clearance before going aboard.

    Special software must be downloaded from the US Government’s Defense Security Service to complete the Security Clearance application. You must have an Internet connection and a Windows-based computer to retrieve the application and run the program.

    Go to to download the software titled “EPSQ SUBJECT2_2”.

    After the software is installed and the program is launched, select “Create” from the menu bar at the top of the screen. You will be required to enter your Social Security Number and a case-sensitive password. A window titled “Type of Form” will appear.

    All Deck Officers should select the first button titled “Request for Security Clearance (SF86)” and then click “OK” to go to the next screen, “Type of Investigation”.

    From the “Type of Investigation” screen:

    • Masters and Radio Officers should select the first button, “Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI)”.
    • All other Deck Officers (C/M, 2/M, 3/M) should click on the second button, “National Agency Check (NAC or NACLC)”.

    After selecting the appropriate investigation type, click on “OK” to begin filling in the forms.



    Horizon Lines requests all mariners seeking employment aboard the T-AGS Oceanographic vessels to take their MSC Physical at specially-designated facilities only after being advised to do so by the Company. This is to assure that all requirements of the MSC Physical are properly met.




    Is it time to replace that car you’re driving? Vehicle loan rates are looking great at MM&P FCU.

    Drive away in a new or used vehicle for a standard loan rate of:

    4.75 percent for terms up to 24 months.
    Standard loan rates for longer-term loans are:

    5.00 percent for 25-48 months;
    5.75 percent for 49-60 months ($20,000 minimum); and
    6.25 percent for terms extending from 61-72 months ($25,000 minimum).
    You can lower your loan rate even more — by 0.75 percent — by becoming a Preferred Borrower.

    Are you paying a higher rate on your current vehicle loan at another institution? Consider refinancing your outside loan at the MM&P FCU and taking advantage of our lower loan rates.

    MM&P FCU will finance up to 100 percent of your new vehicle loan, and up to 90 percent of NADA Book Value on a used vehicle. Maximum vehicle loan amount is $30,000.

    MM&P FCU members can reduce the interest rate they pay on any new loan even further by becoming a preferred borrower. What is a preferred borrower? That’s a member who deposits at least 10 percent of the original loan amount into their MM&P FCU savings account and keeps those funds on deposit until the loan is paid in full. By doing this you save twice – first, your deposit works for you by earning our regular dividend savings rate, and second, you save money by reducing the interest rate on your loan by 0.75 percent.

    Contact the MM&P FCU for full details on all loan programs by email to or call 1-800-382-7777 toll-free.





    On Sept.30, Merck & Co. voluntarily withdrew Vioxx, a popular anti-inflammatory medication, from the market. As a result, individuals who are currently taking the drug have been asked to contact their health care professionals to discuss discontinuing use of Vioxx and possible alternative treatments.

    MM&P Plans Administrator Valerie Verrecchio reports that, “We have gotten a number of calls from members who want to know what to do with their remaining supply of Vioxx and whether the Plan or NMHC will refund their co-pay for the unused portion.

    “Unfortunately, neither NMHC nor the Plan was aware of the Merck decision prior to the public announcement on Sept.30. As of that date, all deliveries of Vioxx to our members was suspended in accordance with Merck’s announcement. Orders that had already been processed and were in transit could not be stopped.

    “In regard to refunds, Merck has set up a website at where members can obtain information on how to recover refunds from Merck for the unused portion of medication. Members can also call following toll free number for information: 1-888-368-4699.

    “We are sorry for any inc onvenience this may have caused to members currently taking this medication, however, the matter is out of the control of the Plans.”


    MM&P Plans Administrator Valerie Verrecchio reports, “Good news! NMHC mail has finally gotten their website upgraded and functioning properly. I went in and tested it myself and found it to be quite user friendly.”

    To use NMHC’s upgraded service, go to the NMHC Mail website at and click on “MEMBER LOGIN” at the bottom of the screen.

    First-time and Registered users may bypass the welcome screen and go directly to the log-in page at

    • First-time users should then click on the link marked “NEW USER: REGISTER HERE”.
      This will take you to a page titled “MEMBER REGISTRATION” where you will need to enter demographic information and submit it by clicking on the
    • “CREATE ACCOUNT” button.

    After creating your account, NMHC will email you a password to gain entry into your records. With your first sign-in, the NMHC system will prompt you to change the NMHC password to one of your own choosing.

    Once you are registered at NMHC, you can check the status of open orders by logging-in to the system through the “MEMBER LOGIN” page and going into the “MAIL ORDER” menu. You can look up all prescriptions and get the price our members will pay for any medication. You can also view an order history of all of your medication transactions (both retail and mail) for the last 24 months, locate 24-hour pharmacies in your zip code region as well as access other helpful member education information.

    “We hope this welcome improvement will assist our members. Although you cannot order refills on line if you don’t provide a credit or debit card number, you can phone in your refill. Once you register on the website, you will still have access to all of the other information including checking the status of your order once it is phoned in,” said Ms. Verrecchio.


    The U.S. Coast Guard has announced an initiative to identify and collect the oral histories of its World War II veterans. Coast Guard WWII veterans, including SPARS and merchant mariners, are encouraged to record their histories online with the Library of Congress Veterans History Project at

    Those veterans needing assistance in recording their stories can receive help from their local Coast Guard Auxiliary public affairs contact by leaving a message at 1-877-875-6296, a toll-free call.



    LMS Ship Management, the company that manages vessels for Central Gulf, Sulphur Carriers and Waterman Steamship, wants to remind MM&P members that they offer their crewmembers a $75 reimbursement on the cost of purchasing certain slip-resistant shoes and boots for use aboard ship.

    This offer has been in place for some time and LMS reports that “we have been pleased with the participation to date, but feel a reminder may be in order.” Their goal is for every crewmember to wear slip resistant footwear during working hours aboard their vessels.

    The $75 reimbursement is available to each crewmember who provides LMS with an original receipt for the purchase of slip resistant footwear. In order for the crewmember to obtain the reimbursement, they must wear the shoes while on duty. Upon presentation of the receipt, the crewmember will be reimbursed on their pay voucher. The receipt will be retained by the Master and will remain aboard the vessel.

    Vessels in the LMS footwear reimbursement program are:

    • Green Cove
    • Green Dale
    • Green Lake
    • Green Point
    • Atlantic Forest
    • Sulphur Enterprise
    • Energy Enterprise
    • SGT Matej C. Kocak
    • MAJ Stephen W. Pless, and
    • PFC Eugene A. Obregon

    LMS notes that in order to receive reimbursement, crewmembers must purchase one of the following recommended brands:

    • WORX by Red Wing Slip Resistant Footwear
    • Caterpillar (must have steel toe & slip resistant sole)
    • Wolverine (must have steel toe and slip resistant sole)
    • Dunham Sierra Work Boot EH
    • Steel Toe Voyager
    • Georgia Boot 6- or 8-inch Safety Toe Boot
    • Dr. Marten’s (must have steel toe & slip resistant sole)


    Of the boots listed above, Red Wing, Caterpillar and Wolverine boots are produced by US union labor.

    Redwing’s Union-made products are: Red Wing shoes and boots, Red Wing motorcycle boots and Craftsman (Sears).

    Wolverine World Wide manufactures boots under the Caterpillar brand using US union labor. (Other union made safety-shoe brands by Wolverine are the company’s Hy-Test, Durashock and Bates Military labels. The company’s Wolverine brand combat boots are also produced using US union labor.)

    Most Dr. Marten’s shoes and boots are produced in the UK.

    To find US, union-made products, visit the AFL-CIO Union Label Service and Trades website at and click on “Union Made Product Search”. To shop for union-made products online, go to



    The Union Label recently went digital with a new website offering shoppers an array of union-made gifts, from clothing and chocolates to computers, games and greeting cards.

    The website,, launches on the eve of the fall and winter holidays, when shoppers will spend an estimated $1 trillion on gifts, food, drinks and other seasonal items, explained Matt Bates, Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO Union Label & Service Trades Department. The all-union shopping site, however, will be a year-round operation because that is what consumers demand, he added.

    “Shoppers spent $56 billion in Internet sales last year, and on-line spending is doubling every two to three years. Everyday we receive Email and calls from people who want to support good jobs by buying union-made goods and services. The website will reach millions of people, 24 hours a day, with a quick convenient way to shop union,” Bates said.

    “The public is ready for this. People have seen millions of good jobs disappear and they are looking for ways to take a stand and make a difference,” he added.

    The AFL-CIO will target the peak of the holiday shopping season by promoting “Buy Union Week” Nov. 26 through Dec. 5. The newly-launched, all-union shopping site will be a cornerstone of that campaign. MM&P has a link to the Shop Union Site on this website under “Links and Other Sources”.

    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 and is posted on our web page.

    C 2006, 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 John Peige at