Wheelhouse Weekly – January 17, 2002

January 17th 2002


Bridging the Information Gap With E-News You Can Use

Volume 6. . . . . Number 3. . . January 17, 2002





Beginning this week, the MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly will be distributed to our Email subscribers on Thursdays instead of Fridays to facilitate a more timely flow of information. The marine telex edition will still be broadcast at its regular time over WLO Marine Radio. The deadline for articles will now be 1200 hrs Wednesdays.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



The USCG will begin issuing new merchant mariner license certificates with anti-counterfeiting technology today using a computerized system for better security and centralized record keeping. Mariners who haven’t already begun the process of requesting new or upgraded licenses or other credentials, however, face delays in processing at the service’s licensing centers because of a looming deadline for new training and qualifications.


New License Certificates

The new licenses will be issued to all licensed merchant mariners, including Masters, Chief Engineers and Radio Officers. This license retains the traditional border design, title and vessel graphic design of the old version but will not have pre-printed text and fill-in-the-blank endorsement lines.

On new licenses the text, title, endorsements and issue/signature information will now be completely printed from the Coast Guard’s computerized Merchant Marine Licensing and Documentation System. The new license forms, produced by the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing, employ the latest technology in counterfeiting deterrence. The old-style licenses remain valid and mariners do not have to obtain a new one until their regular renewal date or when an endorsement or some other change is required.


STCW Training Deadline

February 1, 2002 is the deadline for compliance with the requirements of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) for seafarers, 1978, as amended. The STCW requires additional training for most seafarers as well as new methods for demonstrating the ability to perform duties. When a mariner complies with the STCW, the Coast Guard issues them a STCW certificate attesting to their qualifications.

The STCW standards were adopted five years ago and many mariners have long since completed the necessary training and obtained their certification ­ but many have not. Mariners who have yet to complete the necessary training will therefore be unable to sail on international voyages on vessels over 200 gross registered tons after the deadline. Coast Guard licensing officials report that the service’s Regional Exam Centers already have backlogs in processing license and merchant mariner document requests because of an increase in STCW certification requests.

In October the USCG warned mariners that some STCW commercial training courses were filled to capacity and asked mariners to review the STCW requirements, arrange for training, and start their license applications early to avoid delays. With the STCW compliance deadline now just two weeks away, mariners who are just now submitting their applications are not likely to receive their STCW certificate until well after the compliance deadline.

USCG licensing officials are closely monitoring the situation and have taken numerous steps to minimize the impact on mariners who are still in the application process. For the latest information on STCW compliance and other merchant mariner related topics, visit the USCG National Maritime Center on-line at

For further details on the new license certificates or the licensing and documentation backlog, contact Lt. Mike Washburn at USCG HQ at 202 493-1031.


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



The San Francisco Board of Pilot Commissioners is reopening its pilot training program and is now soliciting applications. The San Francisco commissioners cover everything from the Farallon Islands to Sacramento, Stockton and Redwood City and Monterey Bay.

The program will require a minimum of one year and a maximum of three years to complete. A late July start is anticipated. Basic qualifications for consideration include a 1,600-ton master’s license or higher, plus command experience. A written test will be given in late April, followed by bridge-simulator exercises. The cut-off for applications is Feb.8.

Competition for the pilot slots is expected to be intense as income potential is in the $200,000 range. Interested mariners should write:

Board of Pilot Commissioners Pier 23 San Francisco, CA 94111-1136


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



MITAGS advises that fuel quality issues appear to be a growing problem throughout the marine industry. A number of vessels, regardless of vessel type and location throughout the world, continue to experience problems with contaminated fuel. While some companies have established fuel testing and analysis programs, there are many who have yet to implement quality controls to detect off-spec fuel prior to use.

According to Jon Rysst, head of marine technology at DNV, “currently less than 30 per cent of all fuel supplies are subjected to testing, but the results from samples tested suggest that as much as five per cent of all fuel could be critically off-spec and liable to damage engines”.

More importantly, such a loss of engine performance could have a dramatic effect on operational safety. As an example, a tanker recently suffered a complete blackout less than 12 hours after sailing. The ship’s filters were completely clogged with chemical waste, which was the result of contaminants in the fuel.

In addition to engine performance issues, opacity regulations should also be taken into consideration. Some ports, such as Los Angeles and Valdez, Alaska, have implemented strict regulations, including heavy fines, regarding stack emissions. Other nation’s, port’s and localities are considering similar air pollution (ship stack emission) standards.

Given the potential for operational problems and increasing regulatory oversight, the need for bunker and fuel quality control has never been greater. The old saying used to be, “nothing can ruin your day like a collision at sea”. Given the advancements in training, ship’s equipment and quality of personnel such collisions are, thankfully, a rarity. However, a new version of this adage, with a higher potential for occurrence, might be “nothing can ruin your day like losing the main engine/power plant”.

Companies and/or vessels should consider (a) implementing or enhancing their bunker/fuel quality control process and/or (b) developing contingencies/drills in which fuel has directly impeded a vessel’s ability to maneuver.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



The USCG’s Office of Great Lakes Pilotage is holding a public meeting to discuss ways of improving the safety, reliability, and efficiency of pilotage on the Great Lakes. Interested parties are encouraged to attend the meeting and submit comments for discussion during it. Comments are also sought from any party unable to attend the meeting.

The public meeting will be held on Jan. 31 from 1200 to 1700 at:

Room B1 Federal Building 1240 East 9th Street Cleveland, Ohio 44199

For info concerning this notice or the public meeting, contact Tom Lawler, Chief Economist, Office of Great Lakes Pilotage (G-MW), USCG HQ, 2100 Second Street, SW, Washington, DC 20590; phone: 202-267-1241.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Telenor, a worldwide provider of telecommunications and data communications services, has completed the acquisition of COMSAT Mobile Communications (CMC), and are combining it with Telenor Satellite Mobile to form Telenor Satellite Services. TSS now becomes one of the world’s leading providers of mobile communications via satellite for maritime, land mobile and aeronautical customers.

Telenor’s purchase of COMSAT Mobile operations includes two earth station facilities, in Southbury, CT, and Santa Paula, CA. These two US stations, combined with Telenor’s existing earth station Eik in Norway, enable Telenor Satellite Services to offer true global coverage for mobile satellite communication services. Headquartered in London, Telenor is now the leading INMARSAT global operator.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Openings in Classes Through the End of March 2002

  • 1/26: CBRD-1, ROR
  • 1/28-2/1: FF-ADV, BRM, ARPA, COMP-NET
  • 2/2: ROR
  • 2/4-7: SMA
  • 2/4-8: HAZ, SHS-BAS, BRM, WX-HWA
  • 2/8: ENVPRO
  • 2/11-15: ARPA
  • 2/16: CBRD-1, ROR
  • 2/18-22: FF-ADV, COMP-MAR
  • 2/18-19: BRMP
  • 2/18: ROR
  • 2/19: HAZMAT & EAP
  • 2/20-22: DOT-DA
  • 2/25-3/1: BST, BRM
  • 2/25-27: SHS-EMR
  • 3/2: CBRD-1, ROR
  • 3-8: BRM, VPM
  • 3-15: GMDSS
  • 3/11-15: FF-ADV, ARPA, COMP-APS
  • 3/11-14: SMA
  • 3/15: ENVPRO
  • 3/18-22: BST, ECDIS
  • 3/23: CBRD-1, ROR
  • 3/25-29: HAZ, BRM, COMP-NET, WX-HWA
  • 3/25-27: SHS-EMR



Beginning with the week of Feb 4, MITAGS plans to introduce the 1-day MSC Environmental Protection (ENVPRO) course on Fridays following the 4-day Small Arms class. This will afford members the opportunity to earn Small Arms, Anti-Terrorism Threat Awareness (Level I), and Environmental Protection certificates in one week.



Schedule through June 2002 is being maintained on the website. Hard copies of the January-June 2002 schedule have been mailed to the halls. Check the MITAGS website at: for up-to-date info. For additional course info, contact Mary Matlock at voice: 443-989-3226 or Email:


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Openings in Classes Through the End of March 2002

  • 2/4-8: ARPA, BRM, GMDSS, BAFF
  • 2/11-15: TPIC, Radar, BST
  • 2/18-22: ARPA, Med 1st, Med PIC
  • 2/25-3/1: ECDIS
  • 3/4-8: Radar, BRM, GMDSS, BST
  • 3/11-15: Comp. Basics, BAFF
  • 3/18-22: ARPA, Med 1st, Med PIC
  • 3/25-29: ECDIS



Register online at



PMI is now offering two week “Medical Person in Charge” and one week “Medical First Aid Provider” course. To learn more about the STCW Requirements for Medical First Aid Provider and Medical Person in Charge, refer to PMI’s webpage at which will link you to the relevant policy letter.


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 D O W

 N A S D A Q


-355.60 for the week


 -102.80 for the week
 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)


 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)


 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)


 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)


Fidelity Magellan Fund (FAGX)


 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)



MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly

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 andis posted on our web page under “News” at:

Return to Top