News

Wheelhouse Weekly – January 31, 2011

January 31st 2011

 

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

Volume 15 . . . . . Number 5 . . . . January 31, 2011

STORIES COVERED

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


GERMANY CONSIDERS PUTTING MILITARY PERSONNEL ON SHIPS WHILE EU COMMANDER EXHORTS OUR INDUSTRY TO FIGHT HARDER AGAINST PIRATES

Last week’s media reports demonstrate that some governments are moving to reassess their anti-piracy policies in the face of evidence that they are broadly ineffective. Lloyd’s List reported that German shipowners and the German navy are moving closer to agreement about placing German military forces aboard German-flagged ships transiting pirate-infested areas. In contrast, a European Union Naval Forces commander, Col. Richard Spencer of the United Kingdom, was quoted by Fairplay as saying that merchant ships and their crews have to “fight harder” to hold off pirate attacks. 

“The message we have taken from Col. Spencer’s comments is that we–shipowners and crews–are on your own when it comes to fighting pirates and can’t depend on the naval forces for protection,” said MM&P International President Tim Brown. “This is being recognized by the industry and the attitude toward carrying weapons on board and armed guards is moving toward acceptance as a practical and necessary alternative in the face of the lack of effective naval suppression of piracy. The Best Management Practices touted as the solution are not working,” Brown said, “while the number of ships attacked and crew members being held hostage is continuing to increase.” MM&P has always put forth the position that it is the role of government to defend merchant ships against pirate attacks.
 
The situation in Germany, as reported by Lloyd’s List, has German shipowners and the German navy moving closer to agreement on placing German military armed force protection aboard German-flagged ships transiting pirate-infested areas, with four base ships stationed in theater to embark or disembark the armed military contingents. This is exactly the position advocated by MM&P and the other shipboard maritime unions in the United States. It was introduced in legislation in the House of Representatives but failed to pass in the face of stiff opposition from the Department of Defense.

Circulating in parallel to the developing story in Germany were comments by Col. Richard Spencer of the Royal Marines, who used an International Maritime Organization workshop in London as a platform to exhort the industry and mariners to “fight harder” to hold off pirates. He said naval vessels need time to get to the scene and that if pirates could be held off even for 45 minutes longer in many cases the authorities would be able to rout the attacks.

Spencer denounced what he called a culture of “complaisance, club-class flights and conferences” among some flag states and shipping companies, which he said in many cases are not taking adequate self-protection measures. “NATO has taken to phoning up ships within 50 miles of a mother ship sighting to warn them of the risk,” he was quoted in Fairplay as telling delegates, because some commercial ships are not heeding warnings, but instead are “sailing blind.”

“You’ve got to play the game [and] fight harder for your ships,” he was quoted by Fairplay as saying. “I recognize they [crews] are civilians, but if it were me in a choice between 45 minutes and eight months held hostage, I’m in for a fight.” He added that although some flag states are registering ships for passage, others are doing little or nothing. “There is a reason why some flags consistently have the highest number of ships taken,” Spencer said. “I’m speechless as to why some flag states are not doing more.”

In another developing story, there is increasing discussion in the international community over introducing a system of certification of private armed security guards onboard ships operating under flag state or international guidelines. Discussion is focused on acceptable rules of engagement, perhaps using USCG Port Security Advisory 3-09 as a starting point.

“Hopefully the discussions taking place will lead to a consensus on the issue followed by action,” said Brown. “As it is, our members and all professional mariners who transit pirate-infested waters are literally taking their lives in their hands. There is a growing impatience with the increasing threat of piracy and its impact on the world economy which is estimated to cost $7 billion per year,” he added.


GREAT NEWS FOR VETS: UP TO $17,500 FOR CM/MASTER AND AB-TO-MATE PROGRAMS UNDER POST 9 /11 GI BILL

The Post 9/11 GI Bill as approved by Congress will now pay up to $17,500 towards the Chief Mate/Master license upgrade courses and the AB-to-Mate original license program for all eligible veterans.  “This improvement to the Post 9/11 GI Bill’s education benefit is an extremely significant development for our veterans,” says Glen Paine, executive director of the Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies (MITAGS) and the Pacific Maritime Institute (PMI). “Veterans are now able to further their maritime career and training requirements without incurring the major expense,” Paine says. Veterans will be able to start using this benefit effective Oct. 1.

MITAGS and PMI campuses offer all required training for original licenses and upgrade to Chief Mate and Master. “Our courses are scheduled to benefit the mariner with most classes offered at least four times a year,” Paine says. “Courses can be taken in a demanding compact schedule or scheduled over a longer time to allow mariners to upgrade their licenses without missing any work.”

MITAGS and PMI are open campuses dedicated to the education and training of all mariners. For additional information, please contact Victor Tufts, student services coordinator, at 443-989-3531 or via e-mail at vtufts@mitags.org.  You can also obtain information online at www.mitags.org.


U.S.-FLAG INDUSTRY REITERATES IMPORTANCE OF APPLYING CARGO PREFERENCE LAWS TO EXPORT-IMPORT BANK CARGOES

MM&P, MIRAID and other members of an industry-wide coalition of U.S. shipping companies and unions have written to Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood urging the Department of Transportation (DOT) to oppose any weakening of U.S.-flag shipping requirements for Export Import Bank cargoes.

“Cargo preference laws are essential to the continued existence of a fleet of privately owned U.S.-flag vessels,” said the coalition, which represents virtually every privately owned U.S.-flag vessel regularly engaged in the U.S. foreign trade. “This fleet is instrumental to the supply of our troops abroad and the maintenance of a pool of trained mariners essential to support the U.S. government’s sealift objectives,” they wrote.

The coalition pointed out that privately owned U.S.-flag merchant marine vessels have transported over 90 percent of the equipment and supplies used in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan at a fraction of the cost of other alternatives.

One of the longest-standing of the cargo preference requirements is contained in Public Resolution 17, which was enacted in 1934. PR 17 requires that all export cargoes financed by the U.S. government, including many Export Import Bank programs, must be carried in U.S.-flag vessels unless a specific waiver applies. The letter urges DOT to oppose any weakening or repeal of the U.S.-flag shipping requirements. Members of the coalition requested an opportunity to meet with LaHood and his staff to brief them on the importance of cargo preference requirements.


WORK STOPPAGES CONTINUE AT FRENCH PORTS

The largest French dockworkers union, which belongs to the Confederation Generale du Travail (CGT), has announced that work stoppages and strikes at ports and docks in France would continue through Monday. The union says more strikes and work stoppages will be scheduled over the course of the next two weeks and that protests will continue until an agreement is reached.

The latest announcement reflects a major escalation of the fight over pensions. This is the third successive weekend work stoppage organized by the union. It hits Marseille and Le Havre as they struggle to manage the backlog that accumulated during the previous strikes. The new round of protests was expected to completely or partially close down France’s major ports, including Marseille and Le Havre.  

A spokesman for the CGT said the union plans an indefinite work stoppage if there is no progress in negotiations over its demand for early retirement for several thousand dock workers. The union said the strike, like previous stoppages, would not affect oil traffic and passenger ships, but would halt mainly container traffic and bulk shipments.

The dispute centers on the CGT’s demand that between 5,000 and 6,000 port workers with physically taxing jobs be allowed to retire four to five years before the legal minimum retirement age. The government is under pressure to make concessions because port employers are now backing the CGT’s demand that people with arduous port jobs be allowed to retire at 58.  

Employers and the union had reached a basic accord last spring as part of negotiations over the government’s port reform program. But their agreement was superseded by the French government’s decision in November to raise the minimum retirement age for all workers from 60 to 62 and the threshold for full benefits from 65 to 67. The government is insisting that any deal with the dockworkers must comply with the new rules. Port employers have offered to partially finance early retirement at 58 for certain dockworkers; this plan would, however, require some public funds. It should be noted that some large companies in other sectors, like the car manufacturer Renault, are fully funding their own early retirement schemes.


JOHN THACKRAH NAMED NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF MSC

John Thackrah, a member of the federal government’s Senior Executive Service, is the new executive director of Military Sealift Command (MSC). In this post, Thackrah will oversee MSC business operations. The new MSC executive director has held top management positions in the Navy’s Strategic Systems Program. He entered the Navy in 2005 as deputy assistant secretary for management and budget. He also served as assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition and as chief of staff to the assistant secretary of the Navy. Before joining the federal government, he was a senior executive at United Technologies Corp. 


SOME CREWMEMBERS ESCAPE IN LIFEBOAT FROM HIJACKED GERMAN SHIP

Two crewmembers of the Antigua-Barbuda-flagged BELUGA NOMINATION were rescued over the weekend by sailors aboard the Danish warship ESBERN SNARE. The two had escaped from the German ship in a lifeboat after it was seized by pirates last week. There are said to be an additional 10 members of the crew still on board the hijacked ship. The vessel was seized approximately 390 nautical miles north of the Seychelles while en route to Port Victoria.

BELUGA FORTUNE, another ship belonging to the Bremen, Germany-based shipping company, made the news in October of last year when it came under pirate attack: that vessel and its 16-member crew were freed by German military and European Union naval forces.


TWO MORE SHIPS TAKEN BY PIRATES

The authorities have reported that the Togo-flagged MV KHALED MUHIEDDINE K was hijacked in the Arabian Sea approximately 330 nautical miles south east of the Omani coastal port of Salalah. The Syrian-owned vessel has a crew of 25. European naval forces also reported that the HOANG SUN, a bulk carrier, was attacked and probably hijacked approximately 520 nautical miles south east of the port of Muscat, Oman. The Mongolian-flagged ship is Vietnamese-owned and has 24 Vietnamese seafarers onboard. Pirates are currently holding 30 vessels and 723 hostages, the International Maritime Bureau says.


SOCP RELEASES ANTI-PIRACY DVD

The Ship Operations Cooperative Program (SOCP) has released a new DVD that it says it developed to assist seafarers, vessel owners/operators, maritime unions, underwriters and government agencies in preparing vessel crews for piracy attacks. The DVD is available at no cost to all U.S.-flag ocean-going vessels, their operators/owners, U.S. maritime unions, maritime academies and other U.S.-based institutions engaged in preparing American seafarers. It is also available to the entire international maritime community and related industry stakeholders at a price of US $125 per DVD. You can order the SOCP anti-piracy DVD at http://www.socp.us. Just click on “Products.”


YOUR 2010 DUES STATEMENT NOW AVAILABLE ON-LINE

Starting immediately, all active members and applicants can view and print their 2010 dues statement in the Members’ Only section of www.bridgedeck.org. Just enter the Members’ Only section and click on “2010 Dues Statement” at the top of the page. Please note that the statement only reflects payments made in the course of 2010.


NEW SUITE NUMBER FOR UNITED INLAND GROUP IN EDMONDS, WASH.

Last week, the United Inland Group in Edmonds moved to another office in the same building. The address is now: 144 Railroad Ave., Suite 222, Edmonds, WA 98020.


MM&P INTERNATIONAL SECRETARY-TREASURER AT FEB. 9 MEETING IN NY/NJ HALL

A membership meeting will be held at MM&P’s NY/NJ Hall on Wednesday, Feb. 9, after the 1300 job call. MM&P Atlantic Ports Vice President Steve Werse and MM&P International Secretary-Treasurer will both present reports at the meeting. The NY/NJ Hiring Hall is located at 35 Journal Square, Suite 912, Jersey City, NJ 07306.  All members and applicants are urged to attend.


UPCOMING UNITED INLAND GROUP-PACIFIC MARITIME REGION MEETINGS

The following dates, times and locations have been selected for UIG-PMR meetings in the Puget Sound region for the first half of 2011.

Wednesday, Feb. 9: Edmonds Office, 1000-1200

Tuesday, March 15: Poulsbo (site TBD), 1000-1200 and 1800-2000

Monday, April 11: Edmonds Office, 1400-1600

Tuesday, May 10: Anacortes (site TBD), 1000-1200 and 1500-1700

Thursday, June 9: Edmonds Office, 1000-1200


PACIFIC PORTS CLOSED FEB. 14 AND 21 FOR CONTRACTED HOLIDAYS

The MM&P Pacific Ports union halls will be closed in February for two contracted holidays: Lincoln’s Birthday, Monday, Feb. 14 and Presidents’ Day Monday, Feb. 21. On Feb. 21, all MM&P union halls, MM&P Plans, the MM&P Federal Credit Union and MM&P headquarters will also be closed. 


SCHEDULE FOR 2011 D-BOOK MEMBERSHIP COURSES

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

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

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

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


GREEK SHIP AND CREW ATTACKED OFF NIGERIA

Officers aboard a cargo ship were attacked off the coast of Nigeria on Jan. 26. Two officers were kidnapped and two members of the crew were injured. The Greek authorities say the St. Vincent and Grenadines-flagged PERSEAS was moored off the port of Onne when gunmen boarded the ship, abducting the Ukrainian captain and the Greek first engineer, and injuring two Egyptian crewmembers. Details of the crewmembers’ injuries were not released.


CRUISE SHIP RESCUES THREE AMATEUR SAILORS

The crew of CARNIVAL VALOR rescued three men travelling with their cat to Mexico on Jan. 22. The three were rescued from their boat approximately 12 miles off the coast of Cuba after signaling to the cruise ship using mirrors. Apparently the boat was disabled because a small dinghy had been improperly attached to the rear, and was colliding with the pleasure craft after the water became rough. The rope pulling the dinghy was also tangled in the pleasure boat’s rudder. 


MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

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

AZIPOD-3 day – Azipod Propulsion System: 3/15

BRM- Bridge Resource Management: 2/21
BRMP � Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 3/3

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

CONT PLNG � Contingency Planning: 3/17

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

FSM � Fatique, Sleep and Medications for Pilots: 3/18

GMDSS � Global Maritime Distress Safety Signal: 2/21

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

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

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 3/2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check the MITAGS website at www.mitags.org for course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations, and schedule revisions. For class availability or info on MITAGS courses and programs, contact admissions toll-free at 866-656-5568 or e-mail: admissions@mitags.org


PMI ACADEMIC NOTES

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

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

February 2011

5th      Med DOT
7th      Radar Renewal
7-11   ECDIS
8-10    Security VCF
14-18  Electronic Navigation
21-23  Fast Rescue Boat
28-4    Tankerman Person-in-Charge

March 2011

7th      Flashing Light
7-11   Basic Meteorology
7-11   Able Seaman
8-11    ARPA
14-18  ECDIS
21-1   Celestial Navigation
21-23  Fast Rescue Boat
28th   Radar Renewal

April 2011

4-15     GMDSS
11-13   Security VCF
11-15   Basic Stability
18-22  Medical Care Provider
23rd    Medical DOT
18-29  Medical Person-in-Charge
25th    Radar Renewal
25-29  Basic Meteorology


MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 1-28-11

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
11,989.83 2,686.89 1,299.54
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Closing
Price
 Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund (VAARX)
55.48
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
117.65
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
41.51
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
19.18
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
18.27
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
26.28
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
10.74
 Vanguard Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
31.92
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
5.78
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
16.47
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
22.26
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
14.12
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
19.72
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
11.79
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
12.51
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
12.73
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
13.22
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
13.64
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
10.60
 Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
32.01
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
17.54
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
15.55
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
18.60
 Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
10.59
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
72.46
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
70.24
 Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
18.68
 Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX)
45.87
 Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
30.29
 Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
28.84
 Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
11.35
 Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
12.02
 Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
13.70
 Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
13.92
 Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
13.91
 Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
8.10
 Fidelity Freedom 2050 (FFFHX)
9.49
 Fidelity Total Bond Fund (FTBFX)
10.76
 Spartan Extended market Index Fund (FSEMX)
38.33
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
45.19
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
29.92



The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates, and Pilots, ILA, AFL-CIO, 700 Maritime Blvd. Suite B, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1953. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973; Email: iommp@bridgedeck.org. For further info or to subscribe contact Lisa Rosenthal at lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org. The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea and is posted on our web page.

© 2011, International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots. All the material contained in this publication is protected by copyright. For permission to reprint text from the Weekly, contact the MM&P Communications Department: lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org. For changes of address, contact Lisa Rosenthal at lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org.