Wheelhouse Weekly – January 28th, 2020

January 28th 2020

Volume 25… Number 4… Jan. 28, 2020


Maritime Alert:

Also in This Issue:

Mark Your Calendar:


Never miss an issue!
Click here to subscribe to the Wheelhouse Weekly mailing list.
Did you miss a week?
Back editions of the Wheelhouse Weekly are available in the archives section.


The US Maritime Administration is among the organizations advising members of the public to take measures to protect themselves from a new strain of the coronavirus that causes pneumonia-like symptoms and has been linked to a number of deaths.

The new virus strain, 2019-nCoV, surfaced in December in the city of Wuhan, China.

As of Tuesday morning, it had infected at least 4,500 people in China and caused more than 100 deaths.

The World Health Organization said on Tuesday that there are now almost 6,000 additional suspected cases in China, where 98 percent of the instances of infection have occurred.

A limited number of confirmed or suspected cases have been reported in more than a dozen other countries, including the US.

The new strain of coronavirus has particularly alarmed health officials because it mutated from a virus affecting animals to one that can be transmitted to and among humans.

Symptoms include fever, fatigue, sore throat and dry cough, followed in some cases by breathing difficulties.

Different coronavirus variants are responsible for the common cold as well as for far more serious illnesses including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

In an attempt to contain the current outbreak, the government of China has quarantined an area encompassing 35 million people, including Wuhan and nearby cities.

Health officials in the US on Monday urged travelers to avoid any nonessential travel to China.

The new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that there is “limited access to adequate medical care in affected areas.”

In a US Maritime Alert, MARAD noted that the situation is “rapidly changing,” adding “We are still learning about the new virus.”

“Globally, ports are taking actions including health screenings of seafarers for 2019-nCoV and restricting access to Wuhan port,” the agency said.

Media outlets have reported that vessels are being held back by China from entering Wuhan, which is a major regional trade hub located on the Yangtze River.

International and cross-border workers, including mariners, are urged to pay particular attention to their own health and that of people they come in contact with.

The International Transport Workers’ Federation advises those in China to avoid unprotected contact with live animals, ensure all animal products (including meat and eggs) are thoroughly cooked, practice good hygiene and avoid contact with anyone displaying symptoms.

WHO has issued the following standard recommendations to reduce the risk of exposure and transmission:

— Frequently clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water;

— When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue–throw tissue away immediately and wash hands;

— Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough;

— If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider;

— Avoid eating raw or undercooked animal products;

— Handle raw meat, milk or animal organs with care, and take measures to avoid cross-contamination with other uncooked foods.

The Coast Guard has also issued guidance for ship owners, operators and stakeholders that is posted at:

Back to Stories Covered


India has banned single-use plastics–including cutlery, plates and cups–on ships sailing in its waters.

The ban also includes plastic bottles, garbage and shopping bags, food packaging and dispensers for shampoo, beauty products and cleaning fluids.

The government says additional single-use plastics will continually be added to the list.

The move is part of the campaign announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to eliminate all single-use plastic in the country by 2022.

“The choices that we make today will define our collective future,” Modi said in announcing the plan.

“Let us all join together to beat plastic pollution and make this planet a better place to live.”

As far as the maritime industry is concerned, the government has tasked recognized organizations such as class societies to ensure that—with some limited storage exemptions for international vessels–single-use plastics are not found aboard ships in Indian waters.

India’s campaign is the most ambitious yet of the global actions to combat plastic pollution that are taking place in more than 60 nations.

China, the biggest producer of plastic in the world, is also set to introduce prohibitions on single-use items.

It will ban non-degradable plastic bags at shopping malls, supermarkets and restaurants by the end of this year, a prohibition that will be extended to the whole country by 2025.

The Chinese government is also prohibiting production of disposable foam, straws and plastic tableware.

According to a United Nations report, about 300 million tons of plastic waste is generated each year, and 60 per cent of that is dumped in either landfills or the natural environment, where resistance to degradation means it continues to exist for centuries.

Back to Stories Covered


The Department of Transportation’s National Maritime Strategy will be released next month, according to the Government Accountability Office.

MARAD, which is part of DOT, is the primary federal agency responsible for policy in support of the industry.

In its report to Congress, GAO said the strategy, which is intended to provide a roadmap to boosting the competitiveness of the U.S.-flag fleet, would be issued in February, in time to meet a federally mandated deadline.

GAO told Congress in a Jan. 15 letter that despite their importance to America’s defense and national security, “The U.S.-flag fleet, shipyards, and workforce have been in decline, and the industry as a whole faces significant economic sustainability challenges.”

As evidence, it noted that “The U.S.-flag oceangoing fleet had over a thousand ships after World War II, but today has approximately 180 total, with less than half engaged in international trade.”

The agency cited two broad challenges facing the industry: maintaining the financial viability of the fleet in the face of increasing operating costs and declining government cargo; and “a potential shortage of U.S.-citizen mariners to crew the government-owned ships.”

Congress had originally requested the plan from DOT in two parts, with deadlines in 2014 and 2015.

DOT now says it will submit a single plan to Congress next month to meet both mandates.

The GAO report is posted at

Back to Stories Covered


A new ranking developed by Georgetown University puts America’s maritime academies in the top tiers of “best college” lists in terms of return on investment.

According to a “future income” metric developed by Georgetown University’s Center for Education and the Workforce, the maritime academies, along with pharmacy schools and top-rung institutions specializing in science and technology, are among the places students get the best return on higher education spending.

Since several of the maritime academies figure in Georgetown’s “Top 20,” it might be a good idea to “get your sea legs on” when seeking the best schools in terms of return on investment, reports Kathleen Struck, editor of Voice of America-Student Union.

She covered the findings in an article posted at

Her article includes a link to the complete list of 4,500 institutions ranked in the study.

Back to Stories Covered


The same NOAA satellites that help forecasters track weather and wildfires were also critical in rescuing a record 421 people from potentially life-threatening situations throughout the United States and its surrounding waters in 2019.

NOAA’s polar-orbiting and geostationary satellites are part of the global Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking System, which uses a network of US and international spacecraft to detect and locate distress signals anywhere in the world from emergency beacons aboard aircraft and boats, and from handheld personal locator beacons.

Of the 421 rescues conducted in and around the US last year, 306 were water rescues, 38 were from aviation incidents and 77 were from events on land, when personal locator beacons were used.

Florida had the most satellite-aided rescues with more than 100, followed by Alaska with more than 50.

The previous rescue record of 353 for the United States was set in 2007.

When a NOAA satellite pinpoints the location of a distress signal, the information is relayed to the Mission Control Center at NOAA’s Satellite Operations Facility in Suitland, Md.

From there, the information is sent quickly to rescue coordination centers operated either by the US Air Force for land rescues or the US Coast Guard for water rescues.

NOAA also supports rescues globally by relaying distress signal information to international SARSAT partners.

“Each person rescued underscores the success of nearly 40 years of teamwork with the Coast Guard, the Air Force, NASA and our international partners,” says Steve Volz, assistant NOAA administrator for the agency’s Satellite and Information Service.

In one case last year, the impact of the crash of a small aircraft near Skwentna, Alaska, activated the emergency beacon onboard.

The Alaska Rescue Coordination Center relayed the location of the accident to Alaska Air National Guard responders, who pulled the two passengers from the wreckage and transported them to hospital for emergency treatment.

In another rescue, six people were saved from a sinking boat 20 miles east of Sunny Isles, Fla.

In this case, the Coast Guard received the emergency beacon alert and directed an emergency response boat to the scene.

Back to Stories Covered


A lawsuit has been filed by the family of another of the 34 people killed in a fire aboard a California dive boat, the CONCEPTION, in the early morning hours of Sept. 2, 2019.

An investigation into the tragedy, which took place while the boat was anchored off the coast of Santa Barbara, Calif., found that divers and crew would charge lithium-ion batteries for cell phones, tablets, cameras and other equipment in the galley, where the fire is believed to have started.

Since the fire, the Coast Guard has recommended limiting unsupervised charging of lithium-ion batteries aboard watercraft.

The surviving members of the dive boat crew, who were berthed on the pilothouse level, were reportedly awakened by the fire, not by an alarm, and were unable to rescue the 34 people sleeping below deck.

The newest suit is the sixth to be filed against the dive boat’s owner, Truth Aquatics.

An attorney representing the most recent family to file suit alleges that a year before the tragedy, a sister ship owned by the same company experienced a fire caused by a lithium battery.

The NTSB and the Coast Guard are among the agencies conducting investigations into the disaster.

A preliminary report by the NTSB found that no crewmember had been designated as a roving watch at the time of the fire and that the fire detectors on board were not connected in a single, unified system.

The dive boat was exempt from some Coast Guard safety rules intended to help passengers escape in an emergency, according to an article by Mark Puente and Richard Winton that was published in The Los Angeles Times.

Investigative reporting by The Times found that the CONCEPTION was one of several hundred passenger vessels built before 1996 that are eligible for special exemptions from some safety standards imposed on more recently built vessels.

The newer rules require vessels to have an escape hatch at least 32 inches wide as well as illuminated exit signs.

The CONCEPTION, which was built in 1981, had 26-inch escape hatches. The exit signs on board were not illuminated.

Four survivors—the captain of the boat, the second captain, the second galley and a deckhand–told NTSB investigators that they had tried several times to rescue the 33 passengers and one crewmember who were sleeping below deck and unable to escape.

The NTSB has said the final report on the accident will be released some time this year.

Back to Stories Covered


MM&P UIG-Great Lakes & Gulf Vice President Tom Bell will hold a Union meeting in Cleveland on Wednesday, Jan. 29, at the Sachsenheim Hall.

MM&P President Don Marcus will attend the meeting.

The Sachsenheim Hall is located at 7001 Denison Ave., Cleveland.

The meeting will begin at 1800.

All MM&P members are encouraged to attend.

Back to Stories Covered


The Offshore Familiarization Course will be held at the MM&P Charleston Hall on Monday, Feb. 10 and Tuesday, Feb. 11.

The class will begin both days at 0930.

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.

If you would like to participate or if you want additional information, please contact the Charleston Hall at 843-766-3565 or

As a reminder, the Charleston Hall is located at 1481 Tobias Gadson Blvd., Suite 2C, Charleston, SC 29407.

Back to Stories Covered


There will be an Offshore Membership Meeting in the MM&P Charleston Hall on Tuesday, Feb. 11, at 1100.

As a reminder, the Charleston Hall is located at 1481 Tobias Gadson Blvd., Suite 2C, Charleston, SC 29407.

The phone number is: 843-766-3565.

Back to Stories Covered


All MM&P union halls, the MM&P Federal Credit Union and MM&P headquarters will be closed on Wednesday, Feb. 12, for Lincoln’s Birthday.

Back to Stories Covered


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.

Back to Stories Covered


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: 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): 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: 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: 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): 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): 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, 11/2/20

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 10/26/20

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, 11/2/20

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) – 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) – Not currently scheduled

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): 3/12/20, 4/8/20, 5/18/20, 9/16/20

LNG-TPIC (10-Day) – 11/30/20

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): 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: 3/16/20, 4/13/20, 5/4/20

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing (1-Day): 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) – 7/22/20, 11/30/20

NSAP-MMP – Navigational Skills Assessment Program-MM&P (2-Day) – 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) – 9/30/20

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal (1-Day): 9/21/20

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: 5/18/20, 8/24/20, 10/19/20

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling (5 Day) – 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: 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): Not Currently Scheduled

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, 10/5/20

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): 3/2/20, 9/14/20

Back to Stories Covered

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