Wheelhouse Weekly – January 26, 2007

January 26th 2007


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

Volume 11 . . . . . Number 4. . . . January 26, 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.


MM&P has received a notice from the post office advising that they will no longer deliver mail if it is addressed improperly. All mail must have:
1 – individual name (if going to person)
2 – business name
3 – street address and suite number
4 – city, state and zip+4 and this item must all be on the same line.

The example post office provided is:
700 Maritime Boulevard Suite B
Linthicum Heights, Maryland 21090-1941

The correct address for MM&P Plans is:
700 Maritime Boulevard Suite A
Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1996

The correct street address for MITAGS is:
692 Maritime Boulevard
Linthicum Heights, Maryland 21090-1996


Earlier this week, MM&P President Tim Brown joined with the presidents of the AMO, MEBA and SIU in urging that crew members and their representatives have reasonable access to and from merchant vessels in American ports. In a letter addressed to Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Chairman, Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation the maritime union leaders wrote that, “Our organizations have received numerous reports of instances in which terminals and port facilities have denied access to crew members and their representatives, as well as cases in which access is conditioned on a payment of a fee by the crew member.

The letter referenced the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS), to which the United States is signatory, which requires that a port facility’s security plan must include: “procedures for facilitating shore leave for ship’s personnel or personnel changes, as well as access of visitors to the ship including representatives of seafarers’ welfare and labor organizations.”
The letter stated that, “It is the clear intent of the ISPS Code that such procedures are to be included in a port security plan prior to its approval and the United States Coast Guard should, in our opinion, withhold approval of a facility’s security plan if it does not meet this provision of ISPS. Instead, the Coast Guard has ignored this provision and has been, at best, reluctant to insist on its enforcement. Simply put, many US port facilities and terminals have instituted cumbersome, inflexible access measures that have the practical effect of making it impossible for a crewmember to leave and return to his ship while in port. In so doing, the men and women we represent are essentially treated as hostages, confined to their vessel without any reasonable opportunity to go ashore.” 

Furthermore, the letter also stated that, “Our organizations have learned that some port facilities and terminals have turned their access security procedures into profit making operations, requiring individual mariners to pay a fee for escort services so they can be taken – individually – from the vessel to the area beyond the terminal gate, and then from the gate back to the vessel. This is a time-consuming as well as costly process for the mariner, which similarly has the practical effect of limiting if not preventing crew members from having the access they are entitled to have.”

The union presidents also called attention to the fact that the men and women the four unions represent have been subjected to rigorous background checks and have been licensed and certified by the United States Coast Guard. “It is unconscionable to impose severe restrictions on or to otherwise deny them shore leave under the guise of “security”. Our organizations strongly support all reasonable measures to enhance our nation’s security and to guard against, as best we can, terrorist attacks. At the same time, to confine a crew to a ship that itself has transported cargo, hazardous or otherwise, into an American port is illogical and does nothing to further advance the protection of our country.”

In calling for Congressional action to remedy the situation this year, the union presidents stated that, “In the last Congress, in an attempt to address this issue, language was added to the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2006 (HR 5681) that stated that each port facility security plan “shall provide a system for seamen assigned to a vessel at that facility and representatives of seamen’s welfare and labor organizations to board and depart the vessel through the facility in a timely manner at no cost to the individual.” Since the 109th Congress adjourned prior to the enactment of HR 5681 we are asking that you and your Committee consider including this language in this year’s Coast Guard authorizations legislation so that we can stop these and similar practices that prevent a crew member from leaving his ship, or which require the crew member or his representatives to pay to leave and return to the ship.”



US Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD) has been named Chairman of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. The subcommittee will hold a hearing on short sea shipping on February 15th.

“I am deeply honored to have been selected by my colleagues to chair this Subcommittee, which is responsible for overseeing the operations of the US Coast Guard and for setting policy priorities for all aspects of maritime transportation in the United States. The Coast Guard is an outstanding organization, one that rescued thousands of survivors of Hurricane Katrina when no other government entity could, and I truly look forward to working with their leadership and all of its service members,” Congressman Cummings said. “This position, together with my new assignment on the House Armed Services Committee, will give me the opportunity to represent the interests of my constituents and indeed of the entire nation regarding the whole range of critical threats that confront our homeland.”

Congressman James L. Oberstar (D-MN), Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure said, “I congratulate Representative Cummings on his election as Chairman of the Coast Guard Subcommittee, and I look forward to working with him on Coast Guard matters, as well as issues of importance to the nation’s other transportation and infrastructure systems. Because the Port of Baltimore has a direct impact on his district, Representative Cummings brings vast experience in and knowledge of seaport and transportation issues. As subcommittee Chairman, he will be even more influential as a national leader on matters of concern to those industries.”

The Baltimore Port District is the thirteenth largest district in the nation in the tonnage of foreign cargo handled, and ranks first in importing trucks and wood products and second in sugar, aluminum, and liquefied natural gas. The Port of Baltimore is also the home of the US Coast Guard’s only shipyard for new vessel construction. “Importantly, my appointment as Chairman of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee will enable me to bring a new focus to the issues that confront the Port of Baltimore as well as the Chesapeake Bay,” Congressman Cummings added. “The Port of Baltimore is an economic engine for Maryland, generating more than 40,000 jobs that paid $2.4 billion in personal wage and salary income in 2005. I look forward to working with State officials to support the continued growth of the Port,” said Congressman Cummings.

As Chairman, Congressman Cummings will vigorously pursue each of the three policy objectives that have been laid out for the Transportation Committee by Chairman Oberstar, which include ensuring the safety and security of our transportation infrastructure; supporting expanded investment in transportation infrastructure to relieve congestion and enhance mobility; and ensuring environmental stewardship, including combating global warming. In the area of safety and security, the Subcommittee will diligently oversee the implementation of the Coast Guard’s $8.3 billion fiscal year 2007 budget, including the more than $1.1 billion appropriated to fund the rehabilitation and modernization of the Coast Guard’s fleet through the Deepwater procurement program.

“The US Coast Guard is a critical part of our homeland security system – and is the lead agency responsible for ensuring the security of all ports in our nation, including the more than 150 ports that handle the bulk of our nation’s foreign commerce,” said Congressman Cummings. He added, “While the Subcommittee will ensure that the Coast Guard spends every federal dollar effectively and efficiently, the Subcommittee will also examine whether the Coast Guard has adequate resources to enable it to fulfill the significant new homeland security responsibilities it was given after September 11, 2001. Further, the Subcommittee will ensure that the Coast Guard can continue to perform its other crucial missions with the same level of efficiency as it did before assuming its homeland security functions. Of particular importance is ensuring that the Coast Guard can continue to effectively interdict illegal drugs before they reach America’s shores, conduct search and rescue missions to aid those in distress at sea, and ensure safety in the maritime environment.”

Congressman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security said, “I applaud Chairman Oberstar’s choice in naming Rep. Cummings as Chairman of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee. He will be instrumental in keeping our nation’s ships, bridges, and waterways safe and secure. I look forward to working with him on these critical issues in the future.” The Subcommittee will also pursue an aggressive agenda to support the growth of maritime transportation. US ports received nearly 62,000 port calls in 2005 and currently move more than $1.3 billion in goods on a daily basis. The US Maritime Administration estimates that the total volume of trade handled by US ports will double in the next 15 years.

“To prepare our nation to meet the challenges such cargo growth will bring, our Subcommittee will examine the steps that must be taken to fully integrate US ports into a multi-modal transportation network. Further, we will closely examine the untapped potential that our ports and waterways offer for moving cargo within the United States and getting trucks off our increasingly congested highways,” Congressman Cummings added. The security of U.S. ports and the cargo transported through them will be a major priority for the Subcommittee. The House of Representatives has already passed H.R. 1, which not only implemented the recommendations of the 9-11 Commission but exceeded these recommendations by phasing in requirements that will lead to the scanning of all cargo bound for US ports. “Working closely with our Ranking Member, Congressman Steven C. LaTourette (R-Ohio), the Subcommittee will begin an ambitious agenda with legislative and oversight hearings in January and February. My door will always be open and I look forward to learning the concerns of all involved in maritime transportation.”


MIRAID’s President Jim Patti reports that Congressman Rob Andrews (D-NJ) is the new Chairman of the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions of the Committee on Education and Labor. This Subcommittee will have jurisdiction over the Employee Free Choice Act, one of the AFL-CIO’s top legislative priorities, as well as legislation to address the issue of which employees should be designated as “supervisors” for purposes of the National Labor Relations Act and what their rights under the Act should be.

On the Senate side, the Senate Commerce Committee has expanded the scope of its Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Subcommittee to include Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security. The Subcommittee will be chaired by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR) will serve as Ranking Republican. The other Members of the Subcommittee have not yet been named.


The maritime newsletter MarEx reports that the captain of a pilot boat, which was carrying a pilot back from an assignment in the Gulf, drowned when the craft capsized south of Galveston. Following a Mayday call from another pilot boat in the area, the US Coast Guard responded and was able to rescue one ship pilot in rough waters just south of the Galveston jetties. The body of the captain of the pilot boat was later located and recovered by a commercial dive team, about three miles south of the Galveston Jetties. Both men are affiliated with the Texas City-Galveston Pilots Association. There was no immediate reason given for the capsizing of the 1983-built, 57-foot pilot boat, but a small craft advisory had been issued earlier during the day and the USCG said that the weather conditions had been rough in the period leading up to the incident. This latest incident marks the fourth such event to result in the death of a US-based ship pilot in the last 13 months.


Also in the current issue of the MarEx newsletter is a report on a case that has disheartened professional mariners. The Master of a container ship has been found to be criminally negligent of causing the death of Mobile, AL dock worker. The October verdict issued by a Mobile federal jury says that Captain Wolfgang Schroder, a German national, should be held liable for the errors in judgment that led to the March 2nd allision between the ZIM MEXICO III and the Alabama state docks last year.

In the wake of the verdict, MarEx reports that mariners from around the world are worried that the case may set a precedent and thereby widen the scope of what can be considered to be not just an error in judgment, but a criminal offense. Schroder, who was in command of the 534-foot ZIM MEXICO III when it departed the port of Mobile last March, is scheduled to be sentenced on February 7. The sentencing hearing is being watched closely around the world, as it has been speculated that a stiff penalty here may influence the treatment of American mariners overseas in the future. Support for Schroder from other mariners has been slowly building here and overseas, led in the United States by the Council of American Master Mariners (CAMM). Captain Tom Bradley, National President of CAMM, said that his organization was, partially in response to the issue, changing the focus of their annual general meeting to “Criminalization of Masters.” CAMM’s annual general meeting will take place in Ponce, PR in April.
The 59-year-old Schroder remains in prison in Alabama. When his vessel made contact with a gantry crane while maneuvering in the Port of Mobile, the crane collapsed, causing the death of an electrician in the port. The details of the case are many, but prosecutors reportedly centered on the condition of a bow thruster, which failed during the vessel’s turning evolution. Evidence given to the jury indicated that the thruster had also failed on other occasions and that the Master was fully aware of these circumstances. He now faces a possible sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

 Before the incident, Schroder was widely considered a more-than-competent seaman, with letters of commendation for acts of heroism in a 1987 incident, where he assisted and helped save numerous survivors from a capsized ferry. A German maritime company has since paid a $375,000 fine to US authorities under the terms of a plea agreement in the case.


As previously reported in the Wheelhouse Weekly, 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


The US Coast Guard has posted on the Internet draft copies of sample merchant mariner credentials (MMCs). The MMC-STCW would be for US mariners who may sail foreign or otherwise need evidence of their STCW qualifications. The MMC-domestic would be for US mariners who don’t need evidence of their STCW qualifications. The MMC-continuity would be for US mariners who want evidence of their continuity of capability, but it is not valid for service. The MMC passport style would be for US mariners desiring a document compatible with a standard passport. The Coast Guard is proposing that the current merchant mariner documents (MMDs), licenses, and certificates of registry (COR) be replaced by MMCs and used in conjunction with the TWIC. For more info go to the USCG Web site at


The Ship Operations Cooperative Program (SOCP), sponsored by the US Maritime Administration (MARAD), issued a notice stating that its next meeting will be in San Diego on March 6-7. The main topic of the meeting will be air emissions from ships.


The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report stating that progress has been made by the Department of Homeland Security to address the vulnerabilities exposed by the 2001 terrorist attacks, but that continued action is needed to further mitigate security risks.  The report notes that efforts are underway by the Coast Guard, Customs, and TSA to enhance maritime security. 


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: 2/6, 3/6, 4/3

BRM Bridge Resource Management: 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: 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, 4/9
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

CSE-AASE – Confined Space Entry: 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: 3/22

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 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): 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): 3/26
ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 2/5, 3/5, 4/2, 4/30

SEC-OFF-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 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
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

June 2007
11-12         SHS ASSESS
11-15         ECDIS
11-13         SEC VCF
18-22         ARPA
18-22         SHS BAS
25-29         FF BADV
25-29         ROP

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
12,502.56 -12.42 for the week 2,420.90 -63.95 for the week 1,423.90 +.08 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.

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