News

Wheelhouse Weekly – January 17, 2011

January 17th 2011

 

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

Volume 15 . . . . . Number 3 . . . . January 17, 2011

STORIES COVERED

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


MM&P CLOSED JAN. 17 FOR MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY

All MM&P port offices, the MM&P Health & Benefit Plans, the MM&P Federal Credit Union and MM&P headquarters are closed on Monday, Jan. 17, for Martin Luther King’s birthday.


PRESIDENT OBAMA SIGNS MARITIME SECURITY PROGRAM EXTENSION

President Barack Obama has signed into law the Ike Skelton National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2011.

Public Law 111-383, as the measure is now identified, contains a provision that extends the authorization of the Maritime Security Program (MSP) from Fiscal Year 2015 to Fiscal Year 2025. The statute ensures that the maritime security fleet will continue to provide the commercial sealift capability and American maritime manpower that the Department of Defense relies on. MM&P, for its part, will continue its efforts to ensure that the MSP is fully funded each year.


MM&P CLOSELY MONITORING FERRY SERVICE REORGANIZATION PROPOSALS IN WASHINGTON STATE

MM&P is keeping a watchful eye on the evolving situation in Washington State, where state legislators and Gov. Christine Gregoire are debating proposals to reorganize the state ferry system. “We are closely monitoring each proposal that has the potential to affect the jobs of our members,” said MM&P United Inland Group Vice President Mike Murray. “The union will do what is necessary to defend on any and all issues.”

Washington State Ferries has lost more than $1.2 billion in funding since 1999, when voters repealed the motor vehicle excise tax, or MVET, with Initiative 695. The lack of stable funding is considered a critical challenge to the ferry system’s sustainability and level of service. It faces a $900 million shortfall over the next ten years.

The governor has proposed transferring responsibility for the state ferries to a regional district and creating a new “charter” agency, Consolidated Technology Services, as a step towards privatizing the state’s basic technology operations and services. “These difficult times require bold action to not only save taxpayer money but to improve the way the state does business and serves the public,” Gregoire was quoted as saying in an official statement. “Rather than patch together funding for the ferries for another two years and subject ferry riders and communities to more uncertainty, I believe it is time to take bold action so the system is sustainable, safe and accessible. A regional district will give the communities and families who depend on the ferries the stability and control they deserve.”

The governor’s plan would create a Puget Sound Regional Ferry District to operate the ferry system. The district would consist of all or a portion of the following counties: Clallam, Jefferson, Kitsap, Island, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, King and Pierce. The district’s funds would come from fares, a state subsidy to fund a core level of service, and regional taxing authority to keep service levels consistent with local and regional needs.

If the Washington State Legislature passes a law to create the district envisioned by the governor, an interim board would be formed to negotiate with the state about the level of funding. At the conclusion of those discussions, legislators would have to approve the state subsidy proposed.
“MM&P is monitoring the status of this and other proposals to revise Washington State Ferries,” said MM&P International President Tim Brown. “All available resources will be used to protect the jobs of our membership.”


WORLD WAR II MERCHANT MARINER LEGISLATION INTRODUCED

Congressman Bob Filner (D-Calif.), ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, has reintroduced legislation to provide a $1,000 monthly benefit to individuals who served in the U.S.-flag merchant marine during World War II.

HR 23, the Belated Thank You to the Merchant Mariners of World War II Act of 2011, would direct the Department of Veterans Affairs to establish a Merchant Mariner Equity Compensation Fund to provide a $1,000 monthly payment to people who, between Dec. 7, 1941, and Dec. 31, 1946, were documented members of the U.S. merchant marine (including the Army Transport Service and the Naval Transport Service) serving as a crewmember aboard a vessel that was operated by the War Shipping Administration or the Office of Defense Transportation and under contract to, or the property of, the United States. People who received benefits under the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 would not be eligible.

To receive the benefit, a person would have to apply within a year of the law’s eventual enactment.

The legislation is similar to a bill introduced by Filner in the last Congress and passed by the House of Representatives. That bill was opposed by Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), then Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs. As a consequence, it was never considered by the Senate.

MM&P remains totally committed to this legislation and will work tirelessly for its enactment in this Congress. “We deeply appreciate the efforts of Congressman Filner on behalf of World War II merchant mariners and his unwavering commitment to legislation providing them with the recognition and benefit they have earned and deserve,” said MM&P International President Tim Brown.


INTERNATIONAL SHIPHOLDING CORP. ACCEPTS DELIVERY OF HANDY-SIZE BULK CARRIERS

International Shipholding Corp. (ISC) has announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, East Gulf Shipholding, has taken delivery of the first two of three new-build, double-hull, handy-size bulk carriers built at Hyundai Mipo Dockyard in Ulsan. The third vessel is scheduled for delivery by the end of January. “These vessels were conceived to service diversified, specialized world niche markets,” said ISC Chairman and CEO Niels M. Johnsen. “We decided to construct them on the basis of their flexibility and diverse cargo-handling capabilities.”  


NATIONAL COMMISSION ON GULF OIL SPILL FINDS JONES ACT DID NOT HINDER FOREIGN VESSEL PARTICIPATION IN CLEAN-UP

A Jan. 11 report by the non-partisan National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill has confirmed that the Jones Act did not prevent foreign vessels from assisting with clean-up efforts. The study was commissioned by President Obama.

“While decision makers did decline to purchase some foreign equipment for operational reasons–for example, Dutch vessels that would have taken weeks to outfit and sail to the region, and a Taiwanese super-skimmer that was expensive and highly inefficient in the Gulf –they did not reject foreign ships because of Jones Act restrictions,” the report concluded. “When the Act did apply, the National Incident Commander appears to have granted waivers and exemptions when requested.”
 
“The report confirms what Adm. Thad Allen and so many others have been saying all along: The Jones Act in no way, shape or form hindered the BP clean-up effort,” said James Henry, chairman of the Maritime Cabotage Task Force. “Thousands of American vessels were already at work cleaning up oil in the Gulf and, when necessary, qualified foreign vessels identified as suitable by unified command participated in the effort.”

During the spill, National Incident Commander Adm. Thad Allen said that the Jones Act had never inhibited the clean up. On July 6, the National Incident Command released a statement saying that “in no case has any offer of assistance been declined because of the Jones Act or similar laws.”         
 
The Jones Act is a longstanding U.S. maritime law that mandates the use of American vessels and American workers in U.S. domestic maritime trade, such as the delivery of goods from one U.S. port to another. The Jones Act does not apply to, and does not constrain, skimming outside of three miles from shore, including near the well 50 miles from the U.S. coastline. The commission concluded that, when skimming near the shore was necessary, an expedited waiver process enabled foreign vessels to participate in the cleanup effort when needed.
 
The findings of the independent commission were widely circulated by the Maritime Cabotage Task Force (MCTF), a body in which MM&P and MIRAID participate. MCTF was founded in 1995 to promote the U.S.-flag fleet engaged in domestic waterborne commerce. With more than 400 members, it is the largest coalition ever assembled to represent the domestic segment of the U.S. Merchant Marine.

The Jones Act has been broadly supported by every Congress and Administration since its passage in 1920 and is considered a key element in the nation’s defense capabilities.


MILITARY SEALIFT COMMAND NAMES NEW HEAD OF MIDEAST OPERATIONS

Military Sealift Command (MSC) has named Capt. David A. Geisler to head its Middle East operations. Geisler will be responsible for coordinating the air and sea delivery of personnel, mail, cargo, fuel, ammunition and provisions to a fleet of more than 40 U.S. and coalition ships operating in the U.S. Central Command area. MSC operates about 110 non-combatant, civilian-crewed ships that replenish Navy ships, preposition combat cargo at sea around the world and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces.


ENGINEERS IN BRITAIN DEVELOPING ANTI-PIRACY LASER CANNON

Engineers at BAE Systems are working on a new system that uses lasers to incapacitate pirates by disorienting them as they approach a ship. The non-lethal weapon is effective against moving targets more than a mile away. A spokesman for the company said it started developing the laser in response to the growing threat from pirates. The device “hides” the targeted vessel in a bright green glare, forcing the pirates off course and leaving them unable to aim their weapons.

“We are using the laser as a kind of dummy sun that we can hide the vessel behind,” said a spokesman for BAE. The laser can work in daylight as well as night. It directs a concentrated, three-foot-wide beam of bright green light which can temporarily dazzle anyone who looks at it. The system can also rapidly fire beams at multiple targets to produce an intense flickering that enhances the dazzle effect.

The company says the laser operates within limits that do not cause blindness. Before it can be deployed on ships, however, it must be approved for use under the United Nations’ protocol on blinding laser weapons.


IT’S OFFICIAL: MSC MEDICAL SERVICES OFFICERS VOTE FOR MM&P REPRESENTATION!

By a wide margin, Medical Services Officers (MSOs) employed by Military Sealift Command have voted to be represented by the Masters, Mates & Pilots (MM&P). The union was formally notified of the results in a Jan. 10 letter from the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA), which oversaw the secret ballot election.

“The FLRA has informed the Union that, out of 26 valid votes cast in the election, 25 were in favor of MM&P representation,” said MM&P International President Tim Brown. “It is with great pleasure that I welcome this highly trained group of professionals into the newly formed Masters, Mates & Pilots (MM&P) Medical Services Officer (MSO) bargaining unit!”

The MM&P Federal Employees Membership Group (FEMG) represents Licensed Deck Officers employed by MSC, the Army Corps and NOAA, as well as the CNO Pilots. MSOs are urged to contact MM&P Government Fleet Representative Randi Ciszewski (rciszewski@bridgedeck.org) or MM&P Membership Secretary Mary Seidman (mseidman@bridgedeck.org or 410-850-8700 ext. 14) to sign up for union membership.

MSC and MM&P will soon enter into negotiations which will result in a collective bargaining agreement that recognizes MM&P as the exclusive representative of MSC MSOs. Going forward, MM&P will represent the interests of all MSC MSOs with respect to grievances, personnel policies, practices and procedures, as well as other matters affecting general working conditions, in accordance with the Labor Management Statute.

“I look forward to working with the members of this new bargaining unit as we move to ensure a secure and comfortable future for all Government Fleet Medical Services Officers,” Ciszewski said.


DISCOUNTS FOR MM&P MEMBERS ON WIRELESS SERVICE, HOME HEATING OIL, RENTAL CARS, COLLEGE PREP COURSES AND MORE

Many MM&P members are not aware that they can save significant amounts of money on a wide range of goods and services through the AFL-CIO program Union Plus. All members of all AFL-CIO unions, including of course MM&P, are eligible for benefits that include: discounts of up to 25 percent on rental cars and trucks; hefty discounts on prep courses for college testing such as the SAT; a $500 grant when you open a 529 savings account for a son or daughter under the age of 12; discounts on wireless phone service for families and on telecommunications equipment for local union offices; discounts on home heating oil; and a roadside assistance plan that costs significantly less than AAA and also gives you rebates on gasoline.

All MM&P members are eligible to save through these programs! You do not need a Union Plus credit card to take advantage of these discounts. To find out more, go to http://www.unionplus.org/.


SCHEDULE FOR 2011 D-BOOK MEMBERSHIP COURSES

The Offshore Division Orientation Course, formerly called the D-Book Membership Course, will be held at regular intervals throughout 2011.

The schedule is as follows (but please note that course dates may change depending on the number of participants who sign up): Feb. 8-9 in New York/New Jersey; Feb. 9-10 in Honolulu; March 8-9 in Los Angeles/Long Beach; April 1-2, June 10-11 and Oct. 21-22 at MM&P headquarters in Linthicum Heights; Oct. 13-14 in Los Angeles/Long Beach; and Nov. 8-9 in New Orleans.

There is no sea-time requirement to take the course. All Offshore applicants, potential transferees from other membership groups and other interested Offshore members are urged to attend.

If you want to attend the course, please RSVP to the local hiring hall where the class is offered or, in the case of a course planned for headquarters, to Lars Turner at lturner@bridgedeck.org.


COAST GUARD RANDOM DRUG TESTING RATE REMAINS AT 50 PERCENT

The Coast Guard has set its minimum random drug testing rate at 50 percent of covered crewmembers for calendar year 2011. The minimum random drug testing rate became effective on Jan. 1 and will continue through the end of the year. The Coast Guard requires employers to establish random drug testing programs for covered crewmembers on inspected and uninspected vessels. Every marine employer is required to collect and maintain a record of drug testing program data for each calendar year and submit the data by March 15 of the following year to the Coast Guard in an annual MIS report. The testing rate last year was also 50 percent. The Coast Guard says it may lower the rate if, for two consecutive years, the positive drug test rate is less than 1 percent.


COCAINE AND HEROIN FOUND ABOARD ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISE SHIP

Law enforcement authorities in Baltimore say drug-sniffing dogs have found cocaine and heroin with a street value of nearly $100,000 aboard Royal Caribbean’s ENCHANTMENT OF THE SEAS. Police say this is the second time in less than a month that drugs have been found onboard the ship. In the most recent case, authorities found about a pound each of heroin and cocaine in an area of the cruise ship reserved for employees. The vessel was searched after it docked in Baltimore, following a 12-day cruise. Last month, three employees of the ship were arrested and charged with conspiracy to import drugs. Authorities believe the drugs found last week may have been hidden on board by the three employees who had already been arrested.


22 MISSING AFTER WOODEN BOAT SINKS OFF CORFU

The Associated Press says 241 people believed to be refugees from Afghanistan were rescued Sunday from a sinking wooden boat about 30 miles off the Greek island of Corfu. The Greek Coast Guard is searching for 22 others. Greece has become the main conduit to the European Union for undocumented workers and political refugees. The Greek authorities say that about half a million illegal immigrants and asylum seekers now live in the small island nation.


FOUR DIE IN FIRE ABOARD CAMBODIAN CARGO SHIP

Four seafarers died on Friday, Jan. 7, when a fire broke out aboard the Cambodian-flagged cargo ship YUN XING. Another five were rescued from the burning ship. The fire, which investigators believe was caused by a short circuit, was extinguished in about two hours, but heavy smoke continued to cause problems for rescuers for some time after that. The vessel was about two nautical miles off Busan when the fire was discovered in the first floor kitchen.


MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

Between now and the end of March 2011, the following courses are scheduled at MITAGS.  For class availability or information on MITAGS courses and programs, contact Kelly Michielli, Admissions Coordinator, toll free at 866-656-5568 or e-mail: admissions@mitags.org.

ARPA � Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 1/25
AZIPOD-3 day – Azipod Propulsion System: 3/15

BRM- Bridge Resource Management: 2/21
BRMP � Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 1/24, 3/3
BST � Basic Safety Training: 1/24

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
CMM-ADVWX � Advanced Meteorology: 3/21
CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Operations (week 1): 1/31
CMM-CHS II � Advanced Cargo Operations (week 2): 2/7
CMM-ECDIS � Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems: 1/24, 3/7
CMM-MPP � Marine Propulsion Plants: 1/24, 3/28
CMM-SHMGT I – Ship Management (week 1): 2/21
CMM-SHMGT II – Ship Management (week 2): 2/28
CMM-SHS-ADV-I � Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 1/31, 2/28, 3/14, 3/28
CMM-SHS-ADV-I I � Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 2/7, 3/7, 3/21
CMM-VPEN � Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 3/14
CMM-WKP � Advanced Watchkeeping: 2/14

CONT PLNG � Contingency Planning: 3/17

ECDIS-ENAV – Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems and Electronic Navigation for Pilots: 3/3
ENAV � Electronic Navigation: 3/21
ENVIRO-Regs Permit � Environmental Regulations Permit: 3/15

FF-BADV � Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 1/24
FSM � Fatique, Sleep and Medications for Pilots: 3/18

GMDSS � Global Maritime Distress Safety Signal: 2/21
Great Lakes: LAP � License Advancement Program: 1/31

HAZ � Hazardous Materials (5 day): 3/7

LAP CMM � License Advancement Program of Upgrade to Chief Mate/Master: 3/28

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 1/24, 3/2

MCL – Management, Communications and Leadership: 3/21
MED-PIC – Medical Person In Charge: 2/14, 3/21
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 2/14, 3/21
MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 3/26

MSC -SMA � Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 3/14

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 1/25, 2/9, 2/23, 3/9, 3/30
ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal Day Class: 1/24, 3/14

SEC-VCF � Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 3/14
SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 2/14
SHS-EMR3 – Emergency Shiphandling for Pilots: 1/26
SHS-ESH-BRMP3 � Emergency Shiphandling and Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 2/28
SHS-EMR5 � Emergency Shiphandling: 3/7

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial and Coastal Navigation and Compasses: 1/31
TPIC � Tankerman Person In Charge: 3/7

WKP BAS – Watchkeeping Basic � 3/7
WX BAS � Basic Meteorology: 3/28

…remember: If you can’t make the class, make the call.  Be courteous, don’t be a “no show.”

Check the MITAGS website at www.mitags.org 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 e-mail: admissions@mitags.org


PMI ACADEMIC NOTES

Schedule of Courses – Please also see our schedule online at www.mates.org

For registration, call our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen, at (206) 838-1126

January 2011

24th    Radar Renewal
24-28 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
25-28  ARPA
31-4    Medical Care Provider
31-11   Medical Person-In-Charge

February 2011

5th      Med DOT
7th      Radar Renewal
7-8      Tractor Tug for Pilots
14th    Fatigue, Sleep, and Medications (Pilot Training Course)
15-16   Bridge Resource Management for Pilots
17-18   Azipod (Pilot Training Course)


MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 1-14-11

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
11,731.90 2,735.29 1,283.76
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Closing
Price
 Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund (VAARX)
56.05
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
119.18
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
42.58
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
19.61
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
18.70
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
26.55
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
10.75
 Vanguard Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
32.48
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
5.75
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
16.55
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
22.53
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
14.15
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
19.89
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
11.85
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
12.61
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
12.86
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
13.39
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
13.82
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
10.59
 Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
32.50
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
17.85
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
15.68
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
18.97
 Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
10.57
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
73.82
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
70.98
 Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
18.92
 Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX)
47.23
 Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
30.60
 Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
29.39
 Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
11.38
 Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
12.05
 Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
13.81
 Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
14.05
 Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
14.08
 Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
8.22
 Fidelity Freedom 2050 (FFFHX)
9.63
 Fidelity Total Bond Fund (FTBFX)
10.75
 Spartan Extended market Index Fund (FSEMX)
39.35
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
45.77
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
30.43



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. Suite B, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1953. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973; Email: iommp@bridgedeck.org. For further info or to subscribe contact Lisa Rosenthal at lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org. The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea and is posted on our web page.

© 2011, 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: lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org. For changes of address, contact Lisa Rosenthal at lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org.