Wheelhouse Weekly – January 28, 2014

January 28th 2014


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

Volume 18 . . . Number 4 . . . Jan. 28, 2014


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


On Jan. 17, President Barack Obama signed into law HR 3547, the Consolidated Appropriations legislation for Fiscal Year 2014. The legislation includes the $186 million needed to ensure that the Maritime Security Program (MSP) is fully funded throughout fiscal year 2014. This means that the 60-ship U.S.-flag maritime security fleet will continue to operate through Sept. 30, 2014. The new appropriations law also reflects the growing concern in Congress that reductions in defense and non-defense government cargoes for U.S.-flag ships are having a significant adverse impact on our fleet.

The law directs the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) to report to Congress on the impact that reductions in government-impelled cargo are having and will have on the viability of the U.S.-flag fleet so that Congress can determine what actions are necessary to guard against any further negative impacts. Finally, the new law calls on the Maritime Administration, in collaboration with the Department of Defense, “to develop a national sealift strategy that ensures the long-term viability of the U.S. merchant marine.”

MM&P is extremely grateful to our friends and supporters in Congress for guaranteeing that the Maritime Security Program receives the funding needed to continue the uninterrupted operation of the maritime security fleet. We are especially pleased that in these difficult economic times, Congress has recognized that the Maritime Security Program is the most cost-effective means to ensure that the Department of Defense and the American people have the commercial sealift capability necessary to support American troops and to enhance and protect America’s interests around the world.


Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea is a growing problem, MM&P President Don Marcus told journalist Andrew Stevens in a CNN interview broadcast Jan. 16. Armed guards on vessels, increased naval presence and international cooperation have driven Somali and world-wide piracy to a six-year low, Marcus said, but the battle against piracy has not been won. Incidents in the Gulf of Guinea and the straits of Malacca/Indonesia are on the rise, particularly those targeting the oil and gas sector. “We’re certainly not winning the war against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, with attacks getting much more serious and violent in recent years,” he said. “The Gulf of Guinea is a very dangerous place to be right now.” Marcus said that the model for piracy is different in Western Africa, where “highly organized syndicates” steal cargo and equipment, and kidnap crews for ransom.


Rear Adm. Thomas K. Shannon told a packed audience at a Washington Propeller Club meeting on Jan. 28 that he is working side by side with key members of his staff to identify innovative uses for Military Sealift Command (MSC) ships in support of a U.S. Navy fleet that is winding down operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In his eight months as MSC commander, Shannon said he has dealt with sequestration, furloughs and the constant pressure to reduce costs that have affected all branches of the federal government. “Every week is another battle” to preserve MSC ships and jobs, he said. “I feel like we’re in the batter’s box with balls coming at us at 100 mph.”

Shannon said the winding down of the wars, our country’s inclination to minimize involvement in foreign conflicts and tight budgets are all pointing towards a near-term future marked by significant downsizing of the Navy’s deployed fleet. He urged members of the maritime industry to work with MSC and the Navy to “build a strong constituency in Congress” and among members of the public so that MSC ships can fill niches and assume market share left open by changes in the deployment of “gray hulls.”

Shannon said he and his staff are conducting a global review of all aspects of MSC operations. One focus: finding innovative uses for the ships under his command. “The gray hulls can’t do it all alone,” he said. “We need to do it with black hulls and union mariners.”

Shannon cited Joint High-Speed Vessel (JHSV) USNS SPEARHEAD, which is crewed by officers who belong to the MM&P Federal Employees Membership Group (FEMG), as an example of the innovation and flexibility that MSC vessels can bring to bear in today’s world. It completed acceptance trials in September 2012, was consigned to the Navy in December 2012 and deployed last week. “We need ideas on how we can put this hardware to work and keep these jobs,” he said.

MM&P officials who attended Shannon’s speech included Secretary-Treasurer Steven Werse, Atlantic Ports Vice President Don Josberger and Chief of Staff Klaus Luhta.  


The West Virginia Gazette reports that U.S. Rep. Nick J. Rahall (D-W. Va.) told local union leaders on Jan. 21 that people who believe cheaper, non-union labor is good for American business are “short-sighted.”

Paul Nyden, a reporter for the Gazette, quoted Rahall as saying that union labor “also helps increase corporate America’s bottom line thanks to high safety standards and high quality work.” Rahall made the remarks at an event hosted by the West Virginia State Building Trades Council.

“Each day you go to work, the safety of America’s workforce increases and the quality of America’s craftsmanship rises,” Rahall said. “The source of all those benefits that accrue to our country, the expanding and rebuilding of our national infrastructure and our structurally safe and sound inventory of plants, buildings and homes can be summed up in one word: union.” Rahall is the senior Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Rahall noted that he is being pummeled by negative television ads attacking his re-election campaign. Groups such as Americans for Prosperity and the American Energy Alliance have already spent millions on political ads criticizing Rahall and other congressional candidates, primarily Democrats. Those ads, Rahall was quoted in the West Virginia Gazette as saying, are part of the “tidal wave of obscene spending going on in campaigns in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.”

That 5-4 ruling against the Federal Election Commission, released in 2010, allows groups not directly tied to any political candidate to keep the identity of many of their donors secret. Conservative brothers David and Charles Koch “spent a reported whopping $122 million dollars in the last election cycle” through Americans for Prosperity, Rahall said. “If you watch TV, even if you only watch NFL football, you probably know what I mean already.” He said that although he will definitely be outspent by the opposition during his campaign for reelection, which is still 10 months away, he believes that West Virginia voters, including labor union members, their families and retirees, will give him the margin he needs to win.


The U.S. Coast Guard has issued a series of NVICS, all of which can be found on the National Maritime Center website: Topics include: guidelines for qualification for STCW endorsements for advanced firefighting; medical certificates; guidelines for qualification for STCW endorsements as rating forming part of a navigational watch; guidelines for qualification for STCW endorsements as rating forming part of an engineering watch; guidelines for qualification for STCW endorsements for proficiency in fast rescue boats; grandfathering and transitional information for merchant mariner credential (MMC) endorsements and training; guidelines for approval of courses and programs for training; and guidelines for qualification for STCW endorsements in Basic Training, or BT (formerly called Basic Safety Training).


The MM&P Union Hall in Norfolk will be closed tomorrow (Wednesday) because of snow.


On Dec. 24, 2013, the regulation which implements amendments to the Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW) Convention was published. The new rules require mariners to obtain a medical certificate every two years. To accommodate the change, the U.S Coast Guard National Maritime Center is issuing two-year medical certificates to everyone who holds a current STCW credential without requiring a new physical.
Please visit this USCG link to update your contact information to ensure you receive your medical certificate: 

If you do not receive your medical certificate by April, contact the NMC.


Two-day to two-week opening, with option for repeat assignments, for a professional to conduct: ship audits, general ship IMO-related assistance, vessel documentation and baseline configurations. Excellent day rate, reimbursement for travel and per diem expenses. The organization will be involved with auditing several different classes of vessels, including brand-name cruise ships. Current opportunity will last from two days to two weeks, depending on the volume. This will be repeat business. For more information, e-mail MM&P retiree Dan Marsh, Engineering Supervisor at


Show your solidarity with the labor movement by buying union-made-in-America food and drinks for your Super Bowl festivities. Check out these union-made Super Bowl party products. Food and drinks are brought to you by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM), the United Auto Workers (UAW), Machinists (IAM), the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) and the Teamsters (IBT).

Food: Ball Park hot dogs; DeliMex taquitos; Farmer John meats; Hebrew National hot dogs; Hormel chili; Oroweat buns.

Sides: Heinz baked beans; Rosarita refried beans.

Snacks: Better Cheddars; Bugles; Chex Mix; Chips Ahoy; Cornuts; Doritos; Frito-Lay chips and snacks.

Condiments: French’s mustard; Heinz ketchup.

Sodas and Drinks: Barq’s Root Beer; Coca-Cola; Minute Maid; Pepsi; Sprite.

Beer: Miller High Life; Miller Lite; Milwaukee’s Best; Budweiser; Bud Light; Michelob; Shock Top; Busch; Rolling Rock.


Please join the online protest demanding an end to the violence against trade unionists in Colombia. Oscar Arturo Orozco, a trade unionist in Colombia who is president of the Caldas branch of the Confederacion Unitaria de Trabajadores (CUT), was recently hospitalized after being attacked while attending a peaceful demonstration. On Jan. 4, Ever Luis Marin Rolong, a regional leader of the SINALTRACEBA brewery workers union, was murdered by an unknown gunman while waiting for a bus in Soledad.

Over 12,000 union members have been murdered in Colombia since 1986. According to a 2013 study, in 83 percent of the cases, the perpetrators have gone unpunished.

To voice your support for unionists in Colombia, please sign the online petition at:


There will be Offshore Membership Division meetings in the following ports on the indicated dates: San Francisco/Oakland, Thursday, Feb. 20, directly after 11:00 job call; Seattle, Thursday, Feb. 27, directly after 11:00 job call; Honolulu, Wednesday, March 5, directly after 10:00 job call. All members in the area are urged to attend.


Applications for the 2014 Union Plus Scholarship Program are due by Jan. 31. The program provides $150,000 in scholarships to union members, their spouses and dependents. Since 1991, Union Plus has distributed more than $3.2 million in scholarships to working families. Union Plus also offers scholarships to help union members and leaders finish their degrees with an affordable, flexible and convenient online program at the National Labor College, as well as discounts of up to 60 percent on college and graduate school test preparation courses from The Princeton Review. This includes classroom, online and private tutoring for the SAT, ACT, GMAT, LSAT, GRE and MCAT, as well as college affordability and admissions online courses. To find out more, visit


The Council of American Master Mariners (CAMM) New York Metro Chapter will meet at 1200 hours on Jan. 29 in the Special Events Room at SUNY Maritime College. The Special Events Room is adjacent to Messdeck. The cost of the buffet lunch to be served at the meeting is $11, payable at the door. Guests are welcome. If you plan to attend the meeting, please RSVP to: or 631-375 5830 or Capt. Sandberg, Box 581, Center Moriches, NY, 11934.


If you are interested in attending the Offshore Familiarization Course, please contact your MM&P Vice President to request that one be scheduled in your area. An Offshore Orientation Course is now scheduled for Los Angeles/Long Beach on March 12-13 and Oct. 8-9. If you are interested in participating in the course, please contact the Los Angeles/Long Beach Hall: 310-834-7201 or 310-834-6667 (fax). 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 encouraged to take the course as soon as possible.


The 2006 Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) entered into force on Aug. 20. It has been described as the fourth pillar of international shipping regulations along with SOLAS, MARPOL and STCW.  The International Labor Organization consolidated a number of previous conventions in MLC 2006. It establishes minimum standards on conditions of employment, accommodations, health and safety, medical care, crew welfare, recruitment, working conditions and social security protection. MLC will be strictly enforced during port state control inspections, including the potential for more detailed inspections and possible detention where hazardous conditions may exist if ships are not to be in compliance. Visit for more information or to register for the MLC course.


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 Kelly Michielli, Admissions Coordinator, toll-free at 866-656-5568 or by e-mail: Why not try our on-line calendar to register for class:

Please note the special addition to our on-campus schedule of MSC classes marked with an asterisk (*), which are not normally scheduled to be held at MITAGS.

AB – 4/14/14, 8/11/14, 10/13/14

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: 5/6/14, 7/9/14

ARPA-OIC – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 4/1/14, 8/5/14, 9/23/14, 11/18/14

AZIPOD 2-Day – 2/6/14, 5/7/14, 5/19/14, 7/10/14, 10/9/14

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 3/24/14, 6/2/14, 8/25/14, 10/13/14

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 2/4/14, 3/3/14, 4/14/14, 5/22/14, 8/20/14, 9/22/14, 11/20/14

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling: 3/5/14, 4/29/14, 7/7/14, 10/6/14

BST – Basic Safety Training: 2/10/14, 4/7/14, 6/9/14, 8/11/14, 10/6/14

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 4/14/14, 10/27/14

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVNAV-CMM – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): 2/24/14, 6/2/14, 8/4/14, 11/10/14

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 2/3/14, 4/28/14, 6/23/14, 9/22/14

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 3/10/14, 6/16/14, 9/8/14

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 2/10/14, 5/5/14, 7/7/14, 9/29/14

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 2/24/14, 5/5/14, 6/2/14, 7/14/14, 8/4/14, 10/20/14, 11/10/14

MCL-CMM – Management, Communication, & Leadership (Management Level): 3/17/14, 5/19/14, 9/15/14

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants:  3/31/14, 7/21/14, 10/27/14

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management (2 weeks): 4/7/14, 8/18/14, 10/13/14

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 2/17/14, 3/10/14, 4/7/14, 4/28/14, 6/9/14, 8/4/14, 9/8/14, 9/22/14, 10/20/14, 11/3/14, 12/1/14

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 2/24/14, 3/17/14, 4/14/14, 5/5/14, 6/16/14, 8/11/14, 9/15/14, 9/29/14, 10/27/14, 11/10/14, 12/8/14

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 3/3/14, 6/9/14, 8/11/14, 11/17/14

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 4/21/14, 7/28/14, 11/3/14

CNAV-OIC – Celestial Navigation: 4/28/14, 11/3/14

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop:

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications:  2/7/14, 10/7/14

DDE – Great Lakes:


ECDIS-OIC – 2/17/14, 9/8/14

ECDIS-Pilots – 3/5/14, 5/19/14, 7/10/14

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 2/10/14, 4/7/14, 6/9/14, 8/11/14, 10/6/14

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep & Medications:  2/3/14, 5/21/14, 11/19/14

GL Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization:

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 3/17/14, 8/18/14

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 6/23/14, 9/15/14, 11/17/14

LAP- 3/10/14, 9/8/14

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross Ton License: 6/2/14

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 3/5/14, 5/21/14, 7/8/14, 10/7/14, 11/20/14

LNG-TPIC – 4/7/14

MCL-OIC –Management, Communications, and Leadership OICNW level: 9/5/14, 10/7/14

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 2/17/14, 4/21/14, 6/16/14, 9/8/14, 11/3/14, 12/1/14

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 5/12/14, 8/4/14, 10/13/14

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 2/17/14, 3/17/14, 4/21/14, 6/16/14, 9/8/14, 10/20/14, 11/3/14, 12/1/14

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 2/22/14, 3/22/14, 4/26/14, 6/21/14, 8/3/14, 9/13/14, 10/12/14, 11/8/14, 12/6/14

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: 5/5/14 (PM), 8/4/14 (PM), 10/6/14 (PM)

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 3/14/14, 6/6/14, 8/22/14, 10/3/14

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 3/10/14, 6/2/14, 8/18/14, 9/29/14

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification:  3/10/14, 6/2/14, 8/18/14, 9/29/14, 11/10/14

*MSC-SECURITY WATCH BASIC – Contact Admissions


*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force – Contact Admissions

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 3/31/14, 8/4/14, 9/22/14, 11/17/14

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 2/5/14, 2/19/14, 3/6/14, 3/20/14, 4/2/14, 4/16/14, 4/30/14, 5/7/14, 5/14/14, 6/5/14, 6/18/14, 7/9/14, 7/24/14, 8/6/14, 8/20/14, 9/10/14, 9/17/14, 10/1/14, 10/15/14, 10/29/14, 11/12/14, 12/3/14, 12/10/14

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 2/3/14, 4/7/14, 7/28/14, 11/10/14

SAR-OIC – Search & Rescue – 4/7/14, 10/13/14

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling:  2/10/14, 5/12/14, 6/16/14, 8/18/14, 11/17/14

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day: 3/3/14, 7/14/14, 10/6/14

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 8/4/14

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 7/7/14

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge:  2/24/14, 8/25/14

TTT – Train the Trainer: 4/7/14

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: 5/6/14, 8/5/14, 10/7/14

VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 2/4/14, 5/7/14, 8/6/14, 9/2/14, 10/8/14

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level): 3/3/14, 9/29/14

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): 2/24/13, 9/15/14

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

Check the MITAGS website at for course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations, and schedule revisions.


Please also see our schedule online at For registration, call our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen, at (206) 838-1126.

February 2014

3rd         Radar Renewal
3rd         Flashing Light
3-7          Basic Watchkeeping (Rules of the Road)
4-7          ARPA
10-14     ECDIS
10-14     Bridge Resource Management w/ Simulation
10-21     GMDSS
17-21     ECDIS
17-21     Bridge Resource Management w/ Simulation
24-28     Medical Care Provider
26-28     Vessel Security Officer

March 2014

3-14       Celestial Navigation
10-21     GMDSS
17th       Radar Renewal
24-28     ECDIS
24-28     Able Seaman
24-4       License Preparation (Mate Level)

April 2014

7-11       ECDIS
14th       Radar Renewal
14-18     Medical Care Provider
14-25     Medical Person-In-Charge
15-18     ARPA
28-2       ECDIS

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: For further info or to subscribe contact Lisa Rosenthal at The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea and is posted on our web page.

© 2014, 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: For changes of address, contact Lisa Rosenthal at