Wheelhouse Weekly – January 29, 2013

January 29th 2013


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

Volume 17 . . . Number 5. . . Jan. 29, 2013


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


The MM&P Houston Hall will be closed on Feb. 12 for Lincoln’s Birthday. The New Orleans Hall will be closed on Feb. 12 for Mardi Gras.


The members of the House of Representatives who will be in charge of the Congressional panels with primary responsibility for maritime programs and policies have been named.

The Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over funding for the Maritime Security Program (MSP), will once again be led by Congressman Tom Latham of Iowa. In the past, Latham’s efforts have helped achieve full funding for MSP. The ranking Democrat on this important subcommittee will be Rep. Ed Pastor of Arizona. It will be the first time that Pastor, a long-time supporter of MSP and the U.S.-flag fleet, will be serving in this position.

The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee will have new leadership because Congressman Frank LoBiondo and Congressman Rick Larsen have assumed leadership positions on the Aviation Subcommittee. Replacing LoBiondo as chairman of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee will be Congressman Duncan Hunter (Calif.). Replacing Larsen as ranking Democrat on this subcommittee is Congressman John Garamendi (Calif.). The Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee has primary responsibility over the Coast Guard, including policies that affect merchant mariners, as well as non-defense-related aspects of maritime programs such as the Jones Act.

The third key panel that has named its leadership for the 113th Congress is the Armed Services Committee’s Seapower Subcommittee. This subcommittee has jurisdiction over the defense-related aspects of commercial maritime policies and programs, including MSP and the Jones Act. The newly appointed chairman of this subcommittee is Congressman Randy Forbes (Va.) and the lead Democrat will once again be Congressman Mike McIntyre (N.C.).


Hundreds of National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decisions may be invalidated if a decision issued last week by a federal appeals court is ultimately upheld. The controversial ruling would overturn three “recess appointments” President Obama made to the NLRB after Senate Republicans spent months blocking his nominees. Obama claims he acted properly in the case of the NLRB appointments because the Senate was away for the holidays. GOP lawmakers used the tactic of gaveling in the Senate for pro-forma sessions specifically to prevent the president from using his recess power to make appointments.

The Obama administration is expected to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. If it stands, hundreds of decisions issued by the NLRB over more than a year would be invalidated. And because the board is allowed to issue decisions only when it has at least three sitting members, it would be unable to act going forward.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka called the ruling “shocking, radical and unprecedented.” He said the court’s decision, if allowed to stand, would deprive both Republican and Democratic presidents of a critical tool they have used hundreds of times over the years—including 179 appointments by former President George W. Bush and 139 appointments by former President Clinton—to keep agencies functioning and make the government work.

“We fully expect this radical decision to be reversed, and that other courts addressing this issue will uphold the president’s recess appointment authority,” Trumka said. “In the meantime, the appointees to the National Labor Relations Board remain in their jobs and the NLRB remains open for business.”


The union membership rate was 11.3 percent in 2012, down from 11.8 percent in 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which released updated figures last week. One area that saw a significant loss of union employment was the public sector. There were nearly 400,000 fewer union members working in public sector jobs in 2012 compared to the previous year. In the manufacturing sector, meanwhile, the jobs that have returned as the economy picks up are largely low-wage and nonunion.

“The union density numbers released last week reflect the effects of the political and ideological assaults on workers’ rights that peaked over the past two years,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in an official statement. “Collective action through unions remains the single best way for working people to effect change,” he added. “What will define the labor movement of the future is not assaults or the changing economy, but how working people come together to respond to them.”


A federal appeals court on Friday upheld Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s law stripping most public sector workers of nearly all their collective bargaining rights. But the recent decision does not undo a state court ruling keeping much of the law from taking effect.

The Jan 25 decision marks the latest twist in a two-year battle over the law that Walker pushed through despite massive protests and Senate Democrats leaving for Illinois in a failed attempt to block a vote on the measure.

The most positive ruling for unions came in September when a state circuit court judge said the law was unconstitutional as applied to school and local government workers. That ruling is under appeal to the state appeals court.

Mary Bell, president of the Wisconsin Education Association Council, the teachers’ union that led the most recent unsuccessful lawsuit, said the teachers are reviewing their options. “What is so abundantly clear is that this law was never about addressing the fiscal needs of the state but instead a ploy to eliminate workers’ rights to have a voice through their union,” Bell said.


Finding ways to address the dredging crisis on the Great Lakes will once again dominate the Lake Carriers’ Association (LCA) agenda this year, according to a statement released last week.

“The drought has pushed water levels on Lake Michigan and Lake Huron to record lows,” the association wrote in its 2012 Annual Report. “The water level in the St. Mary’s River also declined: by the end of the year, ships were loading to less than 26 feet. That loss of draft cost some ships more than 10,000 tons of cargo on their final voyages of 2012,” the association says.

LCA hailed the transportation bill passed by Congress last June because it contained language urging the Obama Administration to use the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) for operating and maintaining navigation channels and ports. The HMTF has a surplus of $7 billion. It typically spends only about half of what it collects on dredging. LCA estimates that the 17 million cubic yards of sediment that clog the Great Lakes navigation system could be removed for approximately $200 million, or just 2 percent of the HMTF surplus.

Legislation requiring the HMTF to spend what it takes in on dredging received broad support in the 112th Congress and LCA noted that most of the legislators who co-sponsored the House and Senate bills have returned to Washington in 2013. “For this reason, we begin the 113th Congress in our strongest position ever,” the group said in an official statement. In particular, it cited the efforts of Sen. Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat, to end the dredging crisis.

LCA said another focus of its activities this year will be pushing for a second Poe-sized lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. Congress authorized twinning the Poe Lock in 2007, but a flawed benefit/cost analysis has stalled the project. At the behest of Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), a new assessment is underway.

The association added that it remains “firmly committed to the Jones Act and its requirement that cargo moving between U.S. ports be carried in vessels that are U.S.-crewed, U.S.-built, and U.S.-owned.”

LCA represents 17 American companies that operate 57 U.S.-flag vessels on the Great Lakes which together support more than 103,000 American jobs.


Secretary Ray LaHood has announced that he will not be staying on for a second term as head of the Transportation Department. He made the announcement in an e-mail to DOT employees. “It has been an honor and a privilege to lead the Department, and I am grateful to President Obama for giving me such an extraordinary opportunity,” he wrote. “I plan to stay on until my successor is confirmed to ensure a smooth transition for the department and all the important work we still have to do.”


Attention all members of the Offshore Group: Feb. 12 is the deadline for receipt of the 75-day contract ratification ballot that was mailed to all members of the Offshore Group on Nov. 30. Your ballot must be received no later than 9:00 a.m. on Feb. 12 to be counted on Feb. 13. Please vote your ballot and send it in as soon as possible if you have not already done so. If you have questions, please contact MM&P International Comptroller Beverly Gutmann,, 410-850-8700 ext. 112 or Juli Rodriguez,, 410-850-8700, ext. 129.


What’s a Super Bowl party without chips, snacks, soda and beer? Luckily, a wide assortment of quality union-made products is available to meet your Super Bowl party needs.

Here are just a few ideas: Ball Park or Hebrew National hot dogs, Hormel Chili, Johnsonville Brats and Tyson Chicken. As sides, may we suggest Heinz Baked Beans or Rosarita Refried Beans? As snacks, why not try Better Cheddar, Cheese Nips, Chex Mix, Doritos, Frito-Lay or Lay’s chips and Snyder’s pretzels?

Wash it down with Barq’s Rootbeer, Coca-Cola, Pepsi or Sprite. And don’t forget the beer: Henry Weinhard’s, Michelob, Leinenkugel or Rolling Rock, to name just a few. And remember: Bacardi Rum, El Jimador Tequila, Jim Beam and Seagram’s products are all made by union workers.

Your decisions matter. Please keep your eyes open when you shop and choose union-made for you and your family. For more ideas, including “the ultimate union beer list,” go to


The Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) has launched a new mobile app aimed at providing seafarers with a way to brief themselves on U.S. environmental laws. The app, which can be downloaded at, was developed by SCI in conjunction with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. The app can be used on mobile phones, tablets or computers.

“In the last few years, seafarers entering U.S. waters have encountered vigorous and frequent investigations and prosecutions of environmental crimes and related offenses,” an SCI spokesperson said in announcing the release of the app. “To help navigate the ‘sea’ of statutes, last year SCI whittled down volumes of U.S. environmental regulations on discharge and pollution into practical guides. This app makes the guides more accessible.”

With the new app, SCI said it can equip seafarers with facts on applicable practices and reporting information so they can make informed decisions. The spokesperson added, however, that “reliance on the phone app should never be a substitute for understanding the appropriate regulations for the region in which your vessel is operating.”


Hijackers have freed a fuel tanker and its 16-man crew, according to the owner of the ship, Brila Energy. Before releasing the ship, the pirates siphoned off its cargo of fuel, estimated to be worth approximately $5 million. All the mariners aboard the Panamanian-flagged vessel are unharmed. A spokesman for the shipowner said that the pirates locked the crewmembers in the dining room while they siphoned off the fuel. The ship, the ITRI, had been seized near the port in Ivory Coast’s main city, Abidjan, on Jan. 16, as it was trying to dock.


Between now and the end of June, the following courses are scheduled at MITAGS. (Please keep in mind, however, that the schedule may be subject to change.)

For class availability or information on courses and programs, contact MITAGS Admissions Coordinator Kelly Michielli toll free at 866-656-5568 or e-mail her at

Or, try our on-line calendar to register for class:

ARPA – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 3/26/2013, 4/2/2013

AZIPOD (2-DAY) for Pilots: 3/20/2013

BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 3/18/13, 5/12/13

BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 2/7/13, 3/7/13, 5/23/13

BST – Basic Safety Training: 4/8/13, 6/24/13

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 4/1/13, 6/17/13

CMM-ADVNAV – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): 3/18/13, 6/3/13

CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 2/18/13, 4/28/13

CMM-CHS – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 2/25/13, 5/6/13

CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 3/11/13, 5/20/13

CMM-SHMGT – Ship Management (2 weeks): 2/4/13, 4/15/13

CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 2/18/13, 3/4/13, 4/1/13, 4/15/13, 5/6/13, 6/24/13

CMM-SHS-ADV-I I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 2/4/13, 2/25/13, 3/11/13, 4/8/13, 4/22/13, 5/13/13, 6/17/13

CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 4/8/13, 6/24/13

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning: 5/9/13

ENVIRO-Regs Permit – Environmental Regulations Permit: 3/5/2013, 5/23/13

ECDIS-ENAV for Pilots (2 day): 6/13/13

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep and Medications: 3/7/13, 5/23/13

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 4/8/13, 6/24/13

FL – Flashing Light: 4/1/13, 4/10/13

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 2/11/13, 6/24/13

LAP – License Advancement Program for C/Mate & Master: 4/1/13

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 3/6/13, 5/23/13

MCL – Management, Communications and Leadership, 3/25/13

MEDIA RSP – Media Response Workshop: 3/8/2013

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 2/18/13, 3/18/13, 4/22/13, 6/10/13

MED-PIC -R– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 5/13/13

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 2/18/13, 3/18/13, 4/22/13, 6/10/13

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 2/23/13, 3/23/13, 4/13/13, 4/27/13, 6/15/13, 6/29/13

MSC -SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 3/11/13,

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 3/11/13, 6/3/13

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 3/15/13, 6/7/13

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 2/6/2013, 2/20/2013, 3/6/2013, 3/20/2013, 4/3/13, 4/10/134/17/13, 5/1/13, 5/15/13, 5/22/13, 6/5/13, 6/19/13, 6/26/13

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 3/25/13, 4/1/13

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal: 4/8/13

SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 3/25/13, 4/29/13, 6/24/13 SEC-VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 3/4/13, 5/6/13

SHS-ESH-BRMP3 – Emergency Shiphandling and Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 3/4/13, 5/20/13

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling: 2/11/13

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: 2/25/13

… 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.


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

February 2013

4th Flashing Light Exam
11th Radar Renewal
11-15Tankerman Person-In-Charge
11-15Bridge Resource Management
18-22 ECDIS
20-21 Environmental Regulations / Vessel General Permit
25-1 Medical Care Provider
25-8Medical Person-In-Charge

March 2013

4-15 Celestial Navigation
11th Radar Renewal
18-19 ECDIS for Pilots
18-22 Able Bodied Seaman
20th Fatigue, Sleep, and Medications
21-22 Azipod for Pilots
25-29 ECDIS
27-29 Vessel Security Officer

MM&P MARKET WATCH (1-29-13 at 2:00 p.m.)

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
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