Wheelhouse Weekly – January 14th, 2020

January 14th 2020

Volume 25… Number 2… Jan. 14, 2020


In This Issue:



Holiday Closing Schedule:


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The US maritime authorities yesterday released a new advisory regarding threats to commercial vessels from Iran and its proxies in the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, Gulf of Oman, Arabian Sea, Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean.

The advisory warns of the increased risk of threats related to “miscalculation or misidentification,” along with possible instances of GPS interference, bridge-to-bridge communications spoofing and other communications jamming “with little to no warning.”

The authorities said some vessels have reported bridge-to-bridge communications from unknown entities falsely claiming to be US or coalition warships.

This advisory and all previous advisories are posted at:

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The US Fifth Fleet reported last week that the destroyer USS FARRAGUT was “aggressively approached” by a Russian Navy spy ship in the Arabian Sea on Jan. 9.

Officials said that at times, the Russian vessel was as close to the US ship as 180 feet.

Authorities reported that USS FARRAGUT was on routine maneuvers when it was approached by the Russian vessel, the IVAN KHURS.

The spy ship approached FARRAGUT’s starboard quarter and then crossed close behind her stern, the Navy said.

In videos, the KHURS is seen sailing at close range in parallel off FARRAGUT’s starboard side.

In accordance with international rules of the road, FARRAGUT sounded five short blasts.

Officials said there was bridge-to-bridge communication between the two warships and that the crew of FARRAGUT requested that the Russian ship alter course.

The KHURS initially refused, but ultimately complied.

“The initial delay in complying with international rules while it was making an aggressive approach increased the risk of collision,” US Fifth Fleet said in a statement.

The close-quarters interaction is the second between a US and Russian Navy ship in the past six months.

In June 2019, the Russian destroyer ADMIRAL VINOGRADOV approached to within 50-100 feet of the starboard side of the Navy cruiser USS CHANCELLORSVILLE, which had to put all engines back full and maneuver to avoid a collision.

Video of the Jan. 9 incident has been posted by Maritime Executive at:

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A coalition fighting the plan to build a 34,000-seat stadium for the Oakland A’s at Howard Terminal has called on Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred to support an alternative proposal that recommends building the new facility on the site of the Oakland A’s current stadium instead.

“We agree with you that the outcome of this process should be construction of a new, world-class stadium here in Oakland that the A’s can call home for years to come,” the coalition wrote in a Jan. 6 letter to the baseball commissioner.

“But we are unwilling to accept a plan that would weaken Oakland’s vital industrial economic base, displace West Oakland residents and take economic resources away from East Oakland families.”

Opponents of the plan to build the stadium at Howard Terminal include MM&P, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, the Inland Boatmen’s Union, the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association, shipping organizations and religious, community and environmental groups.

The coalition formed to fight the project argues it would “crowd out maritime activities,” create safety risks and displace local residents and businesses.

In the letter, the coalition told the baseball commissioner that besides threatening some of the 27,000 jobs linked to the Port of Oakland, the plan to site the stadium at the terminal would eliminate a critical staging area for truck, train and ship loading.

“Putting a stadium and massive mixed-use development at Howard Terminal threatens the jobs of the tens of thousands of men and women who have good-paying, blue-collar careers at Oakland’s industrial waterfront,” the coalition wrote.

“Those men and women can be counted on to fight hard to protect their livelihood.”

The group said the alternative–building the new stadium in the area where the current one is situated–would allow the project to benefit from a faster permitting process and pre-existing infrastructure.

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The Maritime Administration has awarded Washington State Ferries a $1.5 million grant to help reduce the fleet’s carbon footprint.

The grant was announced by the Department of Transportation earlier this month as part of a total of $7.5 million in awards to marine highway projects in nine different states.

It goes to support the conversion of one of the ferries on the Seattle-Bainbridge run from diesel fuel to hybrid-electric propulsion.

The licensed deck officers who operate the ferries in the WSF fleet are members of the MM&P United Inland Group-Pacific Maritime Region.

The Jumbo Mark II ferries used on the Seattle-Bainbridge run include the TACOMA, the WENATCHEE and the PUYALLUP.

According to WSF, the three account for 26 percent of the fleet’s total fuel consumption.

In a statement, WSF said that since the vessels are due for their 20-year propulsion system replacements, the conversions would be a relatively easy upgrade “with minimal impacts on service.”

Upgrading the three, WSF said, could also significantly extend their service life, improve engine reliability and save up to $14 million a year in operating costs.

The America’s Marine Highway Program supports the increased use of the nation’s navigable waterways to relieve landside congestion, provide new and efficient transportation options and increase the productivity of the surface transportation system.

The program works with public and private stakeholders to achieve these goals.

“The America’s Marine Highway Program is dedicated to expanding the use of our inland waterways for freight movement,” said Maritime Administrator Mark H. Buzby.

“This round of grant funding will be used to continue that expansion and ensure that our waterways are used effectively.”

It is believed that the PUYALLUP will be the beneficiary of the MARAD grant, and that funding obtained previously from the state will be directed later to conversion of the other two Jumbo Mark II ferries.

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The AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department is asking members of Congress to cosponsor a bill that would exempt some domestic commercial shipping operations from the controversial Harbor Maintenance Tax.

The HMT is currently levied at each US port at which a waterborne shipment arrives.

Truck and rail transport is not subject to the same adverse fiscal regime.

As it now stands, the double taxation assessed on waterborne commerce makes it impossible to operate a domestic short sea shipping service at a profit.

But legislation introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.) and Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) would correct the imbalance.

The bill, the Short Sea Shipping Act of 2019, “would unlock the benefits of the short sea shipping industry,” says TTD President Larry I. Willis.

He told members of Congress in a Jan. 13 letter that policy makers “must provide waterborne transportation a fair opportunity to move the massive amount of freight that is critical to our economy.”

TTD has previously testified in support of the legislation, HR 5351, which is supported by MM&P, MIRAID and the rest of the US-flag fleet.

“Specifically, this bill would end the unfair and unnecessary double taxation imposed on cargo that arrives via ocean vessels and then uses domestic ships or barges for delivery to another US port or harbor,” Willis says.

Today, goods arriving from overseas at US ports are transferred primarily to trucks and rail carriers.

“The domestic movement of goods via ship or through inland waterways to less congested and smaller ports is rarely considered and generally thought to be economically unfeasible,” he said.

“Inequitable double taxation under the HMT creates a significant economic disadvantage for shippers to use what could be a viable transportation option.”

“By making short sea shipping a more viable transportation option,” Willis said, “Congress can create new jobs in the maritime industry by increasing the need for qualified US mariners to operate short sea vessels.”

“Increased cargo volumes would also create jobs for longshoremen who load and unload these new waterborne shipments, particularly at smaller ports and harbors with underutilized capacity.”

“Finally, widespread adoption of short sea shipping would require the construction of additional suitable short-sea vessels, bringing badly needed business to domestic shipyards at a time when facilities across the country face closures.”

In short, Willis said, HR 5351 offers a simple solution that provides immediate benefits to working people and businesses seeking innovative ways to move their products.

Specifically, the bill would exempt non-bulk commercial cargo loaded at a port in the US mainland and unloaded at another port in the US mainland after transport solely by coastal route or river, or a port in Canada located in the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System.

It would also exempt such cargo loaded at a port in Canada located in the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System and unloaded at a mainland US port.

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The MARCUS G. LANGSETH, a world-class research ship crewed by MM&P members, is the focus of a recent article in The New York Times.

Scientists set off last summer aboard the ship to create the first internal 3D images of an underwater volcano–Axial Seamount—located 300 miles off the coast of Oregon.

The MARCUS G. LANGSETH belongs to the National Science Foundation and is operated by Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

“Trailing the ship were four electronic serpents, each five miles in length… adorned with scientific instruments able to peer into the beating heart of the monster volcano a mile below the waves,” wrote journalist Robin George Andrews in the article, “A Deep-Sea Magma Monster Gets a Body Scan.”

With the ship’s expansive and heavily equipped array of sensors, scientists got a 3D view into an active volcano for the first time.

“The ship’s crew had one overriding imperative: Do not let the cables get tangled,” said Sam Mitchell, a submarine volcanologist who joined the voyage. “If they did, it’s game over.”

“The ship had to be steered carefully and couldn’t be stopped abruptly, or else those cables could settle, drift and become entangled, like earphones getting twisted in your pocket, only with profoundly expensive consequences,” The Times reported.

“You get one shot to do these expeditions,” Mitchell said.

The volcano’s next eruption is predicted to be in 2020 or 2021.

MM&P member Russ Williams, who sailed on the MARCUS G. LANGSETH in 2013, shared a link to the article.

Read it at:

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The maritime union Nautilus International has slammed Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines for seeking third officers willing to work 12-hour days for $2,000/month.

The schedule for third officers at RCCL is four months on and four months off–with no vacation pay.

The union calculates that this equates to an annual salary of $16,000 and an approximate hourly wage of $5.56, less than the UK’s national minimum wage for young people under the age of 18.

The union–which partners in the Nautilus Federation with MM&P and 17 other like-minded maritime labor organizations–sounded the alarm in response to a “help wanted” campaign that the cruise line disseminated over social media.

“Nautilus believes the advertised RCCL third officer roles are a clear case of social dumping,” the union said in an article by Communications Director Helen Kelly in the December 2019 issue of Nautilus Telegraph.

Social dumping is the practice in which employers use cheaper labor than is available domestically, such as seafarers from low-wage countries or migrant workers.

A cruise line spokesperson told Nautilus in fact that “the target audience” for the help-wanted social media campaign “is not UK nationals.”

Nautilus recently launched its Fair Pay at Sea campaign to push for passage of legislation that would set minimum wages for all seafarers working in UK national waters—no matter what country they are from.

The union is also working with the European Transport Workers’ Federation to introduce a minimum wage for seafarers across Europe.

According to the article, “The Latest Race to the Bottom,” the Fair Pay campaign will also target what Nautilus calls “scams by unscrupulous operators who seek to undermine ITF/ILO agreed minimum rates by creating new subordinate ranks aboard vessels.”

For example, Kelly writes, some companies have “rebranded” traditional third officer jobs as junior officer positions that are paid significantly less than third officers.

“Junior officer is a generic descriptive term used for Third Officers,” the union says, adding “There is no officially recognized rank of Junior Officer.”

Some unscrupulous operators are also trying to “rebrand” ABs as “catering boys” as a way to further reduce wages, Nautilus says.

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All MM&P union halls, the MM&P Federal Credit Union, the MM&P Plan Office and MM&P headquarters will be closed on Monday, Jan. 20, for the birthday of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Nobel Prize laureate and civil rights activist was assassinated in 1968 on a trip to Memphis to support a strike by the city’s sanitation workers.

“The labor movement did not diminish the strength of the nation but enlarged it,” King once said.

“Those who attack labor forget these simple truths, but history remembers.”

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MITAGS is interested in receiving photo submissions from MM&P members for use on the official MITAGS social media platforms.

The goal is to document members’ voyages and promote the maritime industry. As suggestions, photos can be of events and sights onboard, crewmembers at work or scenic locations.

If you are interested in sharing photos, please send them with caption information to MITAGS Marketing Manager Lindsay Moran, at

Be sure to tell us whether you would like to be credited for the photo.

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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 Amanda Meadows, Admissions Coordinator, toll-free at 866-656-5568 or by e-mail:

Why not try our on-line calendar to register for class:

For Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) processing, MMC problem resolution advice, STCW compliance and VA GI-Bill questions, contact MITAGS-PMI Student/Instructional Services Manager Jennifer Pitzen at 206-739-0720 (direct line); (888) 893-7829 (toll free); or by e-mail:

Please include your Mariner Reference Number, date of birth and the last four digits of your social security number in all emails.

Classes are 5-day unless otherwise noted

Class dates followed by an * are full

AB – Able Seaman – 4/13/20, 8/17/20, 10/5/20

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation (1-Day): 9/4/20

ARPA-OIC (4-Day) – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 1/14/20, 3/31/20

AZIPOD (2-Day) – 3/9/20, 4/30/20

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 2/24/20, 5/11/20, 8/3/20, 9/28/20

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots (2-Day): 1/15/20, 3/9/20, 3/31/20, 4/30/20, 5/18/20, 7/13/20, 9/15/20

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling – (Now also included in BRMP-Refresher) (3-Day): 3/11/20, 4/27/20, 7/15/20, 10/7/20

BRMP-Refresher (Now including Emergency Shiphandling for Pilots) (3-Day) – Not currently scheduled

BT – Basic Safety Training: 2/24/20, 4/20/20, 8/10/20, 10/12/20

BT-Revalidation (2-day) (Must have 1 year of sea service in last 5 years) – 2/4/20, 3/4/20, 4/2/20, 4/28/20, 6/15/20, 7/28/20, 8/31/20, 9/23/20, 10/28/20, 12/15/20

BT-Refresher (3-day) – 3/4/20, 4/27/20, 7/27/20, 9/23/20, 12/14/20

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 4/6/20

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 2/3/20, 4/13/20, 6/8/20, 7/27/20, 10/5/20, 11/30/20

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 1/27/20, 4/6/20, 6/15/20, 8/3/20

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (10 Days): 2/10/20

CM-OPS 1 – Chief Mate Operations – Week 1: 3/16/20*, 6/1/20, 8/24/20

CM-OPS 2 Maersk – Chief Mate Operations II Maersk Specific: 3/23/20, 6/8/20, 8/31/20

CM-OPS 2 APL – Chief Mate Operations II APL Specific – 3/9/20*

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information Systems: 3/9/20, 6/1/20, 8/17/20, 11/9/20

LMS – Leadership and Managerial Skills (Management Level – Formerly MCL-CMM): 3/2/20, 4/20/20, 6/22/20, 8/10/20, 11/16/20, 12/14/20

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants: 1/13/20, 9/14/20 (DCS-1 available on request – contact Admissions)

SEC-APPS – Practical Defense Tactics: Not Currently Scheduled

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management: 9/21/20

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 1/13/20*, 2/10/20*, 3/2/20*, 3/16/20, 4/13/20, 4/27/20, 6/1/20, 6/15/20, 7/20/20, 8/10/20, 9/14/20, 9/28/20, 10/12/20, 11/2/20, 1/30/20

SHS-ADV-II-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 1/20/20*, 2/17/20*, 3/9/20, 3/23/20, 4/20/20, 5/4/20, 6/8/20, 6/22/20, 7/27/20, 8/17/20, 9/21/20, 10/5/20, 10/19/20, 11/9/20, 12/7/20

**SHS-ADV-I & II are now approved to include SAR-CMM assessments at MITAGS**

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 2/24/20

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 1/20/20

WX-HW-ATL – Heavy Weather Avoidance Routing: Atlantic Ocean (2-day) – 5/18/20

WX-HW-IND – Heavy Weather Avoidance Routing: Indian Ocean (2-day) – 5/22/20

WX-HW-PAC – Heavy Weather Avoidance Routing: Pacific Ocean (2-day) – 5/20/20

CIW-DPA/IA – Continual Improvement Workshop: Designated Person Ashore & Internal Auditor (3-Day) ** This course is NOT covered by the MATES Program ** – 6/24/20, 10/14/20

CIW-SMS – Continual Improvement Workshop: Successful Safety Management (2-Day) – Not currently scheduled

CNAV-OIC (15-Day) – Celestial Navigation: 4/27/20

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications (1-Day): 2/21/20

CRSMGT – Crisis Management and Human Behavior (1-Day) – 2/14/20, 7/24/20

CDMGT – Crowd Management (1-Day) – 2/13/20, 7/23/20

CSE – Confined Space Entry (3-Day): 7/20/20

CSE-AWR – Confined Space Entry Awareness (2-Day): Not currently scheduled

CY-MAR – Cyber-Skilled Mariner ** This course is NOT covered by the MATES Program ** – Not currently scheduled

DDE – Great Lakes (20-Day): 2/3/20

ECDIS for Pilots (2-Day) – 1/20/20, 4/30/20, 7/20/20

ERM – Engine Resource Management: 3/9/20, 6/8/20, 8/17/20, 12/7/20

FF-ADV – Advanced Fire-Fighting (4-day) – 1/13/20

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 2/24/20, 4/20/20, 8/10/20, 10/12/20

FF-ADV-Rev (1-day) (Must have 1 year of sea service in last 5 years) – Advanced Fire Fighting Revalidation: 2/6/20, 3/2/20, 4/1/20, 4/30/20, 6/17/20, 7/30/20, 9/2/20, 9/22/20, 10/27/20, 12/17/20

FF-ADV-REF (2-day) – Advanced Fire Fighting Refresher: 3/7/20, 4/25/20, 7/25/20, 9/26/20, 12/12/20

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications (1-Day): 4/7/20, 9/15/20

GL-Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization (2-Day): 3/14/20

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (10-Day): 3/16/20, 8/24/20

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 4/13/20, 8/24/20, 11/16/20

IEN – Integrated Electronic Navigation (3-Day) – Not currently scheduled

LAP – License Advancement Program for Mate to Master (20-Day): 7/27/20, 9/28/20

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes (15-Day): 3/9/20

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross
Ton License (15-Day): 6/1/20

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage (1-Day): 1/8/20, 3/12/20, 4/8/20, 5/18/20, 9/16/20

LNG-TPIC (10-Day) – Not currently scheduled

LTS –Leadership and Teamworking Skills (Formerly MCL-OIC) (1-Day): 5/26/20

MEECE – Management of Electrical and Electronic Control Equipment (Assessments not included): 3/16/20, 6/15/20, 8/24/20, 11/30/20

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge (10-Day): 1/20/20, 3/16/20, 5/4/20, 7/6/20, 9/28/20, 11/30/20

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 3/9/20, 6/22/20, 8/17/20, 10/19/20

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 1/20/20, 3/16/20, 4/13/20, 5/4/20

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing (1-Day): 1/11/20, 1/25/20, 2/7/20, 3/21/20, 3/31/20, 5/1/20, 5/9/20, 6/18/20, 7/11/20, 9/3/20, 9/21/20, 10/3/20, 10/26/20, 12/5/20, 12/18/20

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic) (1-Day): 2/20/20, 5/21/20, 6/3/20, 8/5/20, 9/11/20, 11/10/20

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (2-day): 2/18/20, 5/19/20, 6/1/20, 8/3/20, 9/9/20, 10/30/20

MSC-ENVPRO (1-Day) – 2/23/20, 5/31/20, 8/2/20, 11/1/20

MSC-FF-HELO (2-Day) – Not currently scheduled

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualifications (4-Day): 2/24/20, 5/11/20, 6/7/20, 7/6/20, 8/9/20, 9/14/20, 11/2/20

MSC-Security Watch Basic (1-Day) – 2/21/20, 5/10/20, 6/4/20, 8/6/20, 9/12/20, 11/2/20

MSC-Security Watch Advanced (1-Day) – 2/22/20, 5/15/20, 6/5/20, 7/10/20, 8/8/20, 9/13/20, 11/6/20

MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force (3-Day) – 2/28/20, 5/16/20, 6/11/20, 7/11/20, 8/14/20, 9/18/20, 11/7/20

NDMS-ENAV – Navigational Decision Making Series – Best Practice in eNav (3-Day) – 1/22/20

NSAP-MMP – Navigational Skills Assessment Program-MM&P (2-Day) – 1/13/20*, 3/16/20*, 4/9/20, 6/22/20, 6/24/20, 7/13/20, 8/31/20, 9/2/20, 10/26/20, 10/28/20, 12/14/20, 12/16/20

RFPNW – Ratings Forming Part of a Navigational Watch (3-day) – Not currently scheduled

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal (1-Day): 1/13/20

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes (1-Night): 3/6/20, 3/7/20, 4/27/20, 4/28/20, 7/27/20, 9/15/20, 12/14/20

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 7/27/20

SAR – Search & Rescue – (Now with OIC and CMM assessments) (3-Day): 3/28/20, 10/14/20, 11/30/20

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling: 2/3/20, 5/18/20, 8/24/20, 10/19/20

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling (5 Day) – 1/27/20*, 3/30/20*, 5/4/20, 7/13/20, 8/31/20, 11/16/20, 12/14/20

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 1/20/20, 8/3/20

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses (15-Day): 7/6/20

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: 5/11/20, 7/6/20

TRAC-TUG-2 (2-Day): 2/17/20

TTT – ** This course is NOT covered by the MATES Program ** Not currently scheduled

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties (1-Day): 2/9/20

VSO – Vessel Security Officer (3-Day): 2/10/20, 4/6/20, 5/27/20, 9/9/20

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level) (10-Day): 2/17/20

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): 3/2/20

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The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots, 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 © 2020. Articles can be reprinted without prior permission if credit is given to The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly. For subscriptions, address changes or messages to the editor or to MM&P headquarters, e-mail Back issues of The Weekly are posted on