Wheelhouse Weekly – January 14, 2000

January 14th 2000


Bridging the Information Gap With E-News You Can Use

VOLUME 4. . . . . NUMBER 2. . . . . January 14, 2000



US Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater is proposing requirements for strengthening the transportation sector drug and alcohol testing program to prevent affected transportation workers from circumventing the testing process. The proposal is part of a rulemaking update to drug and alcohol testing regulations first issued 10 years ago.

If it becomes final, the proposed rulemaking will affect an estimated 8.3 million transportation workers across all sectors of the U.S. transportation industry

The proposal would change how laboratories and medical review officers (MRO) handle adulterated and substituted specimens. According to the Notice, there has been an increase in the number of specimens submitted by workers in all transportation modes which are adulterated or substituted in attempts to circumvent the testing process.

DOT has proposed that laboratories test all specimens for adulterants and for attempts of substitution. Specimens which are found to be tampered with would be reported to the employer as a refusal to test.

DOT is proposing a process by which third parties are held accountable for providing appropriate service in support of the employers’ drug and alcohol programs.

The department also is proposing a procedure to permit confirmed positive test results to be reported by the MRO to all DOT-regulated employers for whom the employee currently works, not just to the employer who ordered the test. The NPRM calls for limitations on the sharing of this information and limits it to those employers for whom the MRO performs the review functions.

Because the revisions are extensive, DOT is providing a comment period of 120 days from the date of publication and is planning on holding three public listening sessions within approximately 90 days.

The NPRM was published in the Federal Register of Dec. 10th. Copies may be obtained from the Internet at; by calling the
fax-on-demand phone line (1-800-225-3784) and requesting document 151; by writing to the USDOT, Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance, 400 Seventh Street, SW, Room 10403, Washington, DC 20590; or by calling the Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance at 202-366-3784.

Comments on the proposal should be sent by April 7, 2000, to the USDOT Docket Facility, Docket No. OST 99-6578, 400 Seventh St., SW, Washington, DC 20590. Comments also may be submitted to the docket by Email by going to on the Internet and clicking on “Submit”. MM&P members submitting comments are asked to send a copy of their comments to MM&P HQ at the address listed below or via Email at:

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


MITAGS US Coast Guard approved Weather Courses (Basic & Advanced, & Heavy Weather Avoidance) are scheduled as follows:

  • One day course at SAIL EXPO in Atlantic City on Jan.19. (Emphasis on Satellite Imagery, Gulf Stream and Dynamic Fetch)
  • Five day Heavy Weather Avoidance at MITAGS Jan 31-Feb. 4.
  • Two day course in San Francisco Feb 4-5.
  • Two day course in St. Petersburg FL Feb. 19-20.
  • Five day Heavy Weather Course at MITAGS March 13-17.
  • Subjects covered include: Use of 500-mb upper air charts, surface analysis and forecast charts, low pressure development and tracking, correlation of on-scene conditions with official forecasts and satellite imagery, real-time satellite imagery capture, vessel stability & dynamics, wave and sea state development, routing & weather software, communications systems,
    tropical systems, hurricane tracking and avoidance, Internet weather data, case studies & routing exercises.

    For more info contact: Instructor Michael Carr, Marine Weather and Safety; Phone: 410-859-5700 ext 3254 or direct: 443-989-3254; Fax: 410-859-5181; E-mail:

    MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


    MITAGS Marine Weather and Safety Instructor Michael Carr reports that Ocean and Coastal Environmental Sensing, Inc. (OCENS) has developed new features for its Station 2000 weather and ocean imaging system. “MITAGS uses OCENS equipment and software in our weather and heavy weather avoidance courses and this will be of interest to many of our users. A unique Hurricane Tracking module has been added to SeaStation 2000 Internet software and direct capture systems. OCENS also has enhanced the functionality of its weatherfax capture engine,” Carr said.

    The new Hurricane Tracking module permits users to dynamically monitor the position and strength of tropical storms with their Station 2000 package. Data is acquired from the Internet or radiofax and displayed as a screen animation upon a world map auto-centered on storm position.

    A sidebar provides information on storm location, surge, pressure, and wind speed. Distance from user’s station is auto-calculated and constantly updated through integration with the system GPS. Graphs provide rapid assessments of current wind speed and pressure, storm level, and direction of storm movement. Animation tools permit users to cycle through the developing storm on a step-by-step basis or via a continuous video loop.

    The Hurricane Tracking module is available on all SeaStation 2000 Internet software and direct capture systems. OCENS has also augmented the original capabilities of Station 2000 to capture and process weather charts acquired from SSB or weatherfax radios. Users now have the option to obtain charts in an automated, unattended mode or via direct, on-demand methods.

    Furthermore, OCENS has completed an extensive review of the global set of active and broadcasting radiofax stations. Unfortunately, a great number of these stations terminated operations in 1999. The results of these many changes are integrated into OCENS fax station database distributed with the January 2000 release of Station 2000.

    Weatherfax reception capabilities are available in the WeatherStation 2000 HW fax capture system and all SeaStation 2000 direct capture systems. For further info, contact Mark Freeberg at phone: 800-746-1462 or 206-878-8270; or visit the OCENS website at:

    MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


    This Tues., 19 Chinese were discovered stowed away in a container aboard a freighter at the Port of Seattle just a few hours after 15 stowaways and three dead men were found on another vessel. The incidents marked the fourth time in the week that illegal Chinese immigrants were uncovered aboard ships in that city.

    Authorities say organized crime is increasingly turning to containers to smuggle their illegal human cargoes from the Far East to the western coast of North America. This method of concealment poses unique challenges to shipowners, as the detection of stowaways inside sealed containers is extremely difficult. To overcome this problem, some carriers are looking at the installation of specialized equipment, such as atmosphere monitors and motion detectors, for use on their ships.

    Since December, stoways have been discovered on the vessels of six trans-Pacific carriers: Zim, NYK, Maersk Sealand, OOCL, Norasia, and Hanjin. Those discoveries included:

    • On Jan.4, Canadian immigration authorities discovered 25 Chinese in two containers on a ship berthed in Vancouver. The stowaways were believed to have been on-board the ship since its departure from Hong Kong 15 days earlier and were located in containers scheduled to be offloaded in Seattle.
    • Also on Jan.4, immigration officials in Seattle discovered 14 stowaways hiding in a canvas-topped container during a spot check at the terminal. The vessel had sailed to Seattle via Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea.
    • On Jan.2, 12 Chinese, who apparently boarded the ship in Hong Kong, were discovered by US authorities in a container unloaded in Seattle. Their temporary home was outfitted with lights, a fan, mattresses, and buckets to use as toilets.
    • Also on Jan.2, 18 stowaways were detained at the Port of Long Beach after the crew discovered them hiding in a container. This ship had left Hong Kong several weeks earlier.
    • On Dec.28, two containers, loaded with Chinese stowaways, were discovered by US immigration authorities in Los Angeles.
    • On Dec.25, nine Chinese stowaways were discovered in a purpose-fitted container at LA. The container was equipped with water, lights, portable toilets, cell phones and ladders.
    • On Dec.25, 21 stowaways were detained at Long Beach after their discovery in a similar container. Most of these stowaways originate from Fujian province, China.

    All of the incidents follow almost an identical pattern in that canvas or soft-top containers are used because air can come down from the top. Because the container doors are sealed and the shipments are properly booked (albeit with misdescribed cargo destined for fictitious consignees), up until this latest flood of stowaways, carriers have had no reason to be suspicious.

    Shipping officials say that when stowaways are discovered, it produces a series of bills for the carriers. They have to pay for food, security, lodging and the costs of flying stowaways back to Asia which averages about $15,000 per stowaway, plus the costs involved in repairing the damaged container, cleaning up the human waste and sterilizing which runs an additional $2,500.

    Authorities on both sides of the Pacific are now employing carbon dioxide detectors, heat sensors and other high-tech imaging devices to closely examine soft-top containers.

    MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


    The Interagency Commission on Crime and Security in US Seaports, set up this last April by Presidential order has announced three public meetings/listening sessions in order to receive input and feedback from the private sector concerning the significant issues involving crime, security, and terrorism in US seaports.

    The meetings/listening sessions will be held on Feb.2, in the Norfolk/Hampton Roads, Virginia area; Feb.16, in the Oakland/San Francisco area; and March 1 in the Houston area.

    • The Norfolk/Hampton Roads session will be held at the Ramada Inn, 615 Atlantic Ave., Virginia Beach.
    • The Oakland/San Francisco meeting will be held at the Holiday Inn Financial District, 750 Kearney St., San Francisco.
    • The Houston session will be held at the Radisson Conference Center, 9100 Gulf Freeway, Houston.

    All meetings are scheduled to begin at 0900 and conclude at 1300 hrs. For further info, contact James Kelly, Interagency Commission on Crime and Security in US Seaports, (202) 927-3741.

    MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


    MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


    NFL Wildcard Playoff Results: Sat: Ten 22 at Buf 16, Was 27 Det 13. Sun: Min 24 Dal 10, Mia 20 Sea 17. //NFL Divisional Playoffs: Sat: Mia at Jac, Was at TB. Sun: Min at StL, Ten at Ind.

    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 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 under “News” at:

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