Wheelhouse Weekly – July 08, 2004



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

Volume 8 . . . . . Number 28 . . . . July 8, 2004


Convention Call: MM&P 80th Convention

In accordance with Article IV, Section 2, of the International Constitution, members are hereby notified that a regular convention of the MM&P will be convened at 1000 on Monday, August 2, at MITAGS, 692 Maritime Blvd, Linthicum Heights, MD. Nominations for elective office will take place at this Convention. Constitutional amendments may also be considered at this Convention.

Members are also hereby notified that in accordance with Article IV, Section 6., Subsection b), all proposed resolutions must be forwarded to the International Secretary-Treasurer at least 30 days prior to the opening day of the Convention for inclusion on the Agenda and determination by the Convention.


The period for receipt of resolutions at MM&P Headquarters for inclusion on the Convention Agenda closed on Friday, July 2, 2004 at 5:00 PM Eastern time.





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



The USCG reports that of 1,278 foreign-flag vessels making port calls in the US between July 1 and July 5, 42 were denied entry and another 38 detained in port under the new International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) code that went into effect on July 1.

Most of the problem vessels fly flags from the Caribbean basin with 16 from Panama, 5 from Honduras, and 4 from Antigua and Barbuda. Four Bolivian ships, three from the Netherlands and one each flying the UK, Norway, Romania, Denmark and the Isle of Man flags also were denied entry.

The USCG conducted 12 boardings at sea. Some 691 vessels entering US waters had been pre-cleared because they voluntarily submitted to inspection prior to the July 1 ISPS deadline and did not require re-inspection. Of the vessels “controlled” by the USCG, at least 13 were cargo ships under 500 tons, 13 were bulk carriers, 6 were RO-ROs, 4 were passenger vessels, 5 were container ships and 3 were tankers. A Coast Guard spokesperson said the percentage of non-compliant vessels is still very small and the USCG is pleased with the results.



The USCG will soon begin inspecting ports in 135 countries to evaluate their security. Ships that have docked in ports found to have weak security could be barred from the US or subject to increased USCG scrutiny that would delay their arrival and add costs.

The inspections are tied to an international maritime treaty proposed by the US shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks to create the first worldwide security standards for ships and ports. Each of the 147 countries that signed the treaty in 2002 must certify that its ports and the ships registered there comply with the International Ship and Port Facility Security codes.

The codes, which took effect on July 1, require such measures as fencing and security guards at ports to control access. Ships must restrict who gets on and enters areas such as the bridge and engine room, and must have a security officer.

The USCG will collate its inspection results to rate each country on the validity of its compliance certificate. Ships will face tougher scrutiny when they are registered in countries that give out certificates inappropriately. International Maritime Organization statistics showed that as of last June 30, 53 percent of nearly 8,000 worldwide ports had approved security plans.



Twenty terminals across the US and its Caribbean territories are undergoing strenuous USCG scrutiny as most remain closed and operators struggle to bring their facilities into ISPS compliance. Among the 20 are 13 deepwater terminals stretching from Long Beach, CA to St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands.

Faced with extensive modifications to become compliant, Bumble Bee International bulk petroleum terminal in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico chose to no longer accept SOLAS vessels and will now only accept ships under 200gt. In Florida, La Cruz Casino cruises terminal in Mayport remains closed as does Bernuth Marine Shipping in Miami. Petroleum Fuel and Terminal in Jacksonville has been reopened but is subject to strict rules, a USCG spokesman said.



On Wednesday (7-7), the USCG ordered the closure of two facilities in Louisiana that handle natural gas liquids and petroleum products for failure to comply with new maritime security codes.

An NGL fractionation plant operated by Enterprise Products Partners LP and a products terminal operated by El Paso Corp., both located in Geismar, Louisiana, were closed for their non-compliance with the new stringent port security laws, a USCG spokesman said.

Enterprise said it would send the 30,000 barrels per day of NGLs the plant typically handles through an alternative pipeline for fractionation elsewhere until the facility becomes compliant. The company estimated it would take about two weeks to bring the plant into compliance.



The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has announced that starting July 6, the agency will begin full enforcement of the automated manifest system (AMS). On March 4, inbound vessels were required to transmit electronically to CBP their cargo manifests.

Until now, vessels submitting their manifests by other means were provided with letters of warning, but were otherwise allowed to proceed with offloading. Now, offloading will not be allowed until the manifest has been presented via the AMS. There are no exceptions or waivers.

CBP uses the cargo information to identify and eliminate potential terrorist threats before a vessel sails from a foreign port to US seaports, rather than after a vessel and its cargo arrives in the US.

With almost 9 million sea containers arriving in the US each year, automation and the use of state-of-the-art technology allows CBP to quickly and efficiently risk-target cargo for potential terrorist threats.

Even with the new system in place, a problem with manifests is that the information on them is only as good as what is provided by the shipper, and as such, may not indicate what is really in the container. That was the case in a well-reported incident where a container exploded and caught fire in a Port of Los Angeles terminal on April 28.

The container, loaded and sealed by a private party, was bound for Micronesia on the MICRONESIAN HERITAGE. But the terminal operator, Tra-Pac, didn’t get any info on where it came from or get a list of its contents. Instead, it was simply listed as “FAK,” that is, freight of all kinds. The company that leased the container to the private party had paperwork on its contents, but did not forward that to the terminal. That document showed that the container had in it a pickup truck carrying enough flammable goods that it should have been placarded as hazardous material and treated as such.

The Trade Act of 2002 regulations which became effective on Jan.5, 2004 made automation mandatory for all modes of transportation, both inbound and outbound. The inbound vessel mode is the first to be affected.

On March 4, 2004, inbound vessel cargo info was required to be transmitted electronically. CBP adopted a progressive enforcement strategy to address violations of the Trade Act Regulations. Enforcement for bulk carriers and break-bulk carriers including passenger vessels started on April 2.

Effective July 6, 2004, all inbound vessel carriers must comply with the Trade Act Regulations’ mandate to automate. For more info on the Trade Act Regs for all modes of transport, log on to CBP’s website at



The President of the International Longshoremen’s Association, AFL-CIO (ILA), John Bowers, and the Chairman/CEO of the United States Maritime Alliance, Ltd. (USMX), James A. Capo, are pleased to announce that they have executed the Memorandum of Settlement for the new six year Master Contract, which was ratified by the ILA membership on June 8. The new contract, which had been previously ratified by the membership of USMX, becomes effective on Oct.1 and expires on Sept.30, 2010.

Mr. Bowers and Mr. Capo both praised the efforts of the labor and management negotiating committees that engaged in bargaining for more than one year before the contract was finally settled in March of 2004.

Both leaders cited the six year term of the agreement and the resultant labor stability as a strong indication of the continuing commitment of the ILA and USMX to the uninterrupted flow of commerce through the ports on the East and Gulf coasts.

While considered by some to be the costliest contract in the history of coastwide bargaining between the parties, the main provisions of the new agreement will help the ILA in dealing with both non-ILA and non-union competition up and down the coast.

The new agreement also provides for increased funding of ILA’s national health care program, MILA, without which longshore workers and their families in some ports could have been facing a loss of healthcare benefits.

Mr. Bowers and Mr. Capo both expressed optimism that individual port negotiations on local conditions will be successfully concluded prior to the effective date of the new Master Agreement.



The National Cargo Security Council (NCSC) will conduct a seminar at MITAGS from July 18-20. NCSC will focus on the new technologies available to better secure the logistic supply chain. This first-of-a-kind maritime high-tech seminar will discuss smart containers, intelligence systems, tracking devices, electronic seals and other new security technologies.

For more info, contact Capt. Lee Kincaid, Deputy Executive Director for the National Cargo Security Council, at 410-571-7913 or Email at



MM&P members are reminded that provisions of the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 and the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code went into effect on July 1. These provisions impact LDOs aboard all oceangoing vessels sailing in the international and coastwise trade.

MM&P HQ has sent a letter to all Offshore Membership Group contracted ships and to the home address of every active member of the Offshore Membership Group addressing in more detail this issue and how it may affect our contracts.

MM&P advises members to note and follow these procedures:

  1. Maintain and keep detailed time and duty records for any hours of work performed doing anything that might be considered security duties.
  2. Maintain and keep detailed time and duty records for any hours of work performed doing anything outside the usual and normal duties of an LDO.
  3. All LDOs should submit penalty rate for payment for any time spent as outlined in items 1 and 2 if these duties are done during normal watch or duty hours.
  4. All LDOs should submit overtime for payment for any time spent as outlined in items 1 and 2 if these duties are done outside normal watch or duty hours.

Members having any questions or comments are asked to contact your area Vice President or Port Representative.



The USCG is seeking applications for appointment to membership on the Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee (MERPAC). MERPAC provides advice and makes recommendations to the USCG on matters related to the training, qualification, licensing, certification, and fitness of seamen serving in the US merchant marine. Applications should reach the USCG by August 30.

Application forms may be obtained via the Internet by logging on to or by writing to:

Commandant (G-MSO-1) United States Coast Guard 2100 Second Street SW Washington, DC 20593-0001


Send completed applications to:

Mark Gould, Assistant Executive Director MERPAC Room 1210, U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters 2100 Second Street SW Washington, DC 20593-0001


For further info, call MERPAC at 202-267-6890, fax 202-267-4570 or contact Capt. Joe Stone at MM&P HQ at 410-850-8700 x24, Email: .



The Convention will start at 1000 hours on the 2nd of August. This is a nominating Convention for all officers and Convention Delegates.

To be nominated for any Office (including Convention Delegate) in the Organization, you must have been a member for at least four years and be in continuous good standing for the 24 months preceding the nomination. In addition, you must meet the eligibility requirements for your specific membership group as listed in the International Constitution.

To run for International Office as Int. President or Int. Secretary-Treasurer, you must be nominated in Convention or, in lieu thereof, you may be nominated by a petition signed by 50 members of the Organization.

To run for Vice President of any membership group, you must be nominated in Convention or, in lieu thereof, you may be nominated by a petition signed by at least five members of that particular membership group.

Nominations will be accepted up until the close of nominations which will take place on August 4th.

Nominating petitions shall be sent to the International Office to the attention of the International Secretary-Treasurer.

Any proposed resolutions to be acted on by the International Convention shall be received by the International Secretary-Treasurer at least 30 days prior to the opening of the Convention. The cut off date for resolutions will be Friday, July 2, at 1700 EST. This is due to the July 4th holiday being on Monday, July 5.




Please plan your travel in accordance with the following class times.

Classes start daily at 0830 and conclude at 1630 hrs. The exception is Shiphandling, which may be scheduled for a morning or late afternoon starting time.

Shiphandling attendees will be assigned a starting time at the 0825 briefing for all students on Monday. If you are attending a Shiphandling course, do not make plans to depart MITAGS prior to the morning following course completion.


Between now and the end of September 2004, seats are available in the following courses:

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

  • AIS-1 – Automatic Identification System: 8/23
  • AIS-1/PPU – Auto ID System/Portable Pilot Unit: 8/30, 9/4
  • ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 7/12, 8/9, 8/30, 9/20
  • AZIPOD-KAM – Azipod and Kamewa Steering and Propulsion: 8/30


  • BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 7/26
  • BST – Basic Safety Training: 8/16, 9/13


CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses

  • CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 9/20
  • CMM-CHS I – Cargo Handling & Stowage (week 1): 8/16
  • CMM-CHS II – Cargo Handling & Stowage (week 2): 8/9
  • CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display and Infor Systems: 8/16, 9/13
  • CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 8/2
  • CMM-SHS-ADV I – Advanced Shiphandling (week1): 8/2, 8/9, 9/20
  • CMM-SHS-ADV II – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 8/9, 8/16
  • CMM-SHMGT-I – Ship Management: 8/23
  • CMM-SHMGT-II – Ship Management (week 2): 8/30
  • CMM-WKP – Watchkeeping: 9/13


  • CONT-PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: 7/15, 7/29, 9/2
  • CSE-AWR – Confined Space Awareness Seminar: 9/24


  • FF-BADV – (Combined) Basic and Advanced Firefighting: 9/20
  • FL – Flashing Light: 7/30
  • FSM – Fatigue, Sleep and Medications: 9/1


  • GMDSS – Global Marine Distress and Safety System: 8/9


  • HAZ – Hazardous Materials [5-day]: 7/12, 8/23


  • LAP – License Advancement Program: 7/26
  • LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 7/14, 9/1


  • MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans. Drug & Alcohol Testing: 8/14, 9/18
  • MED-PIC – Medical Person In Charge: 7/19, 8/9
  • MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 7/19, 8/9
  • MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 7/16, 7/30, 9/3
  • MED-SMC – Shipboard Medical Care (4 weeks): 8/30


MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses

  • MSC-COMMS – Strategic Sealift Communications: 8/9
  • MSC-CBRD-1 – Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Training Orientation: 8/23
  • MSC-DC – Damage Control: 8/6, 8/24, 8/26, 9/16
  • MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Renewal (2-day): 8/24, 8/26
    must have passed all 3 weapons within 2 years


  • ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original & Renewal: 8/23
  • ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 7/12, 8/2, 8/14, 8/30, 9/13, 9/18, 9/20


  • SEC-OFF-PCS – Security Officer: Port, Company, Ship: 7/12, 7/26, 8/30
  • SEC-PLT – Security Training for Pilots: 8/31
  • SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 9/13
  • SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling (5-day): 8/4, 8/23


  • TPIC – Tankerman Person-In-Charge: 9/20
  • TRAC-TUG – Water Tractor and Azimuth Stern Drive Tugs: 9/2

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

Check the MITAGS website for up-to-date course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations, and for schedule revisions.


Attendance Verification & Cancellation is Vital

If you are scheduled for a course, call, write, or Email admissions to advise whether or not you will attend. Many classes are in demand and maintain a Standby List. “No Shows” are missed training opportunities for other members.


Schedules, Course Info & Registration

Courses are subject to change. Always check the MITAGS website for updated course availability. You can also check future schedules, review detailed course descriptions and register on-line or contact Admissions at or by calling toll-free, 1-866-656-5568.




All the courses below will be conducted at the new Pacific Maritime Institute facility located in Seattle at 1727 Alaskan Way South, Pier 34. The new facility features a state-of-the art Ship Simulator that has to be experienced. PMI phone numbers remain the same. Come see the new facility at PMI’s “Maritime Technology and Career Center”.


July 2004 Courses

  • 7/12-16: Electronic Navigation
  • 7/12-14: Ship Security Officer
  • 7/19-23: Basic Safety Training
  • 7/19-23: Medical Care Provider
  • 7/19-30: Medical Person-In-Charge
  • 7/19-30: Celestial Navigation

August 2004 Courses

  • 8/02: Radar Renwal
  • 8/02-04: Ship Security Officer
  • 8/02-06: Basic Meteorology
  • 8/02-06: Basic and Advanced Firefighting
  • 8/02-06: ARPA
  • 8/09-13: Ship Construction and Basic Stability
  • 8/09-13: ECDIS
  • 8/09-13: Tankerman Person-In-Charge
  • 8/16-20: Basic Safety Training
  • 8/16-20: Basic Cargo Operations
  • 8/16-27: Advanced Shiphandling
  • 8/16-27: GMDSS
  • 8/23-27: Basic and Advanced Firefighting

Contact DeeDee Lazik at 206-441-2880 or 888-893-7829 (toll free) for registration or visit the PMI website at




 D O W    N A S D A Q
 10,240.29 -195.19 for the week  1,966.08  -81.71 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)

 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)


~ Reminders ~



Under a new Military Sealift Command contract, MM&P-contracted Horizon Lines will soon take over the operation and maintenance of seven oceanographic ships (T-AGS) to support the Naval Oceanography Program. MM&P will represent the deck officers.

For those members and applicants interested in employment possibilities on these vessels, contact MM&P HQ by calling 410-850-8700 x23 or by Email at:



Attention all Members in good standing with dependent children who will be college freshman in September: A local Baltimore law firm is awarding two $2,500 one-time only scholarships to children of Union members. Since the MM&P is headquartered in the Baltimore area, Union members’ children would be eligible to apply for these scholarships.

One scholarship is for Undergraduate and the other is for Graduate School. Students must already be accepted to a college prior to applying. The deadline for application is August 20. The scholarships will be awarded September 24.

If your son or daughter would like to make application for this scholarship, please have them contact the MM&P Plan Office at 410-850-8600 for an application. The member’s name is required so that the Union can sign the application to certify that he/she is a member in good standing prior to sending the application to your child.

Members can also Email Plans Administrator Valerie Verrecchio at with the member info including address where the application can be mailed.



Rates Drop, Limits Increase On Auto Loans

MM&P FCU vehicle loan rates have dropped across-the-board. Effective May 5, borrowers may finance up to $30,000 on vehicle loans for terms up to 72 months. This is an increase of $5,000 and 12 months over past maximum financing amounts and terms.

Rates on 6 year auto financing range between 5.50% and 6.25%. Vehicle loan rates are as low as 4.00%. Rates apply to new and used cars, and to loans refinancing higher rate vehicle loans from other institutions. Contact the Credit Union office to find out how these rates may cost less than dealers incentives and how you qualify for new, low rate vehicle financing.


Signature Loan Rates Dip

As an added bonus, Signature Loan rates have also been lowered. Now is the time to start thinking about those summer vacation plans or home improvement projects. Signature loan rates range from 9.00% to 9.75%. Hurry and take advantage of these new lower rates and start saving money today.

Need More Info? Contact Kathy Klisavage, MM&P FCU Manager, to learn more about loan rates and products, direct deposit, share savings accounts and certificates of deposit, benefits of membership and membership eligibility. Kathy Klisavage can be reached by email to, or by calling 410-850-8700 x43 or toll-free 1-800-382-7777.

All MM&P FCU loan rate percentages are APR or Annual Percentage Rate. All MM&P FCU savings and certificate rates are APY or Annual Percentage Yield. Loan terms and conditions are subject to change. Contact the MM&P FCU for eligibility info and for full terms and conditions.


Protect Your Personal Information – Beware of Email Scams

“It’s the curse of technology,” was overheard recently as someone talked about Email scams. Email scams are rampant these days, just like telephone scams were not so long ago. In the most-common current scenario, an Email is received from what looks like a legitimate entity that asks you to provide sensitive, private information to “verify” your identity or account. Scam artists are now even posing as the Internal Revenue Service to try and get your info.

The IRS recently issued a warning that fraudulent emails disguised as being from them are aimed at tricking taxpayers into providing their Social Security numbers, driver’s license information and bank and credit card numbers through a web site that’s set up to look like it belongs to a federal agency. If this information is obtained it can be used by identity thieves to take over a person’s financial accounts, run up charge cards, apply for loans and file fraudulent tax returns.

Protect yourself. No financial institution, federal agency or legitimate business will initiate contact by Email or phone and ask for any such personal information. Legitimate entities with which you are already established should have that info. If you receive such a request, contact the sender to verify if it is legitimate. The MM&P Federal Credit Union has never been the target of such a scam and will never initiate an Email to you that asks for this type of private information.



MM&P-contracted LMS Ship Management recently reviewed the causes of injuries on board their vessels and found that accidental falls tend to be the cause of many of the crew’s injuries. In an effort to reduce the number of injuries caused by these falls, LMS is offering crewmembers that sail with them an incentive to purchase and wear proper shoe attire. The goal is for every crewmember to wear slip resistant footwear during their working hours aboard their vessels.

LMS will offer a reimbursement of up to $75 for the cost of the shoes to each crewmember who provides them 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.

LMS requests that crewmembers purchase one of the following recommended brands in order to be reimbursed:

  • 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 (with steel toe & slip resistant sole)

* Of the above, Red Wing and Caterpillar boots are produced by US union labor.

Red Wing has contracts with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) while Wolverine World Wide has contracts with UNITE!, the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees, for production of its Caterpillar brand (as well as its Hy-Test, Durashock and Bates Military labels). Some other Wolverine branded products including combat boots are manufactured under UFCW contract. 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.



On the MITAGS website downloadable files are now updated on a regular basis in response to info received from the various government agencies and mariners. As always, these checklists are for guidance only. The final arbiter of training requirements is your local USCG Regional Examination Center. For more info, visit the Career Guidance section on the MITAGS website by CLICKING HERE, or go to and select “Career Guidance” from the top menu.

Also, given the number of courses offered at MITAGS, the website now has new links to the various industry segment pages. These pages make it easier for mariners and companies to find the training designed specifically for them.

The links include:

  • Ship and Port Modeling Simulation Training;
  • Security Training;
  • State Pilot Training;
  • US Navy and Military Sealift Command Training;
  • High Speed Craft Training;
  • Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels (OUPV);
  • Limited Master Training; and
  • Custom Training.



All members shipping off-the-board and all company employees are reminded that they are responsible to insure that all of the company required courses they have completed are listed in the Union computer system.

In order to be dispatched/cleared, members must have certificates for any courses not listed in the computer in their possession and available for inspection by the dispatcher. Please double check that your documentation is in order prior to leaving your home to ship out of our Union halls. This can be done by checking your course history on the “Members Only” section of the MM&P website.



All Licensed Deck Officers who possess STCW-95 certificates containing Basic Safety Training (BST) completion dates close to or more than five years old need to carry copies of their USCG discharges with them so they can prove that they have the required sea service necessary to extend their BST qualification. For questions or further info, call 410-850-8700 ext.23 or Email:



The National WWII Memorial has a site on its webpage for individuals who served in any capacity during WWII to register to be included in the Memorial’s Registry. The main site is

If the individual clicks on WWII Registry, he/she can find out if he/she is already included as a result of one of the WWII databases and, if not, can follow the directions to register. Any American who contributed to the war effort is eligible for the Registry.



The April 15 deadline for filing US federal tax returns has passed, but for merchant mariners sailing in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom “on vessels under Department of Defense operational control in direct support of the United States Armed Forces” (and for their spouses ­ even if separate returns are filed), missing the dreaded deadline may be OK.

For merchant mariners and several other groups, the Internal Revenue Service is allowing an extension of time for tax filing. The extension, authorized in section 7508(a)(1) of the Internal Revenue Service Code, 26 United States Code, gives an additional 180 days PLUS the number of days served in a combat zone between January 1, 2004 and April 15, 2004. IRS reports that merchant mariners qualified for the extension are those “serving in the combat zone as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom aboard Maritime Administration and Military Sealift Command owned or controlled vessels.”

In addition to the tax filing extension, section 7508 also allows to be postponed the “payment of income, estate, or gift taxes (except employment and withholding taxes), tax claims filings or bringing suits for credits or refunds, filing any petition with the US Tax Court, making a qualified retirement contribution to an IRA, or performing any other act listed in Revenue Procedure 2002-71.” According to the notice, “no penalties or interest will be imposed for failure to file a return or pay taxes during the extension period.”

IRS Tax Tip 2004-40 published Feb.27, 2004 says, “the various extensions granted to combat zone participants to file returns or pay taxes will also apply to those serving in Contingency Operations, as designated by the Secretary of Defense. This is effective for any acts whose deadline has not expired before November 11, 2003.”

Paper returns must be filed if claiming an extension under section 7508. When the return is sent, print the words “COMBAT ZONE” in bold red ink at the top of the return and in large red letters on the mailing envelope. For mariners, the IRS says to attach a brief statement listing the date(s) of service within the combat zone in order to provide them with the total number of days of extension to which you are entitled.

Mariners and others who qualify for combat zone tax filing relief may notify the IRS of their status in advance through a special e-mail address: Include in the email the following:

  • name
  • stateside address
  • date-of-birth and
  • date of deployment to the combat zone.

Do not include any social security numbers in an email. Notification may be made by the taxpayer, or by the taxpayer’s spouse, authorized agent or representative.

At present, the combat zone for Operation Iraqi Freedom is defined as follows:

  • Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, and the Gulf of Oman;
  • That portion of the Arabian Sea that lies north of 10 degrees north latitude and west of 68 degrees east longitude; and
  • The total land area of Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

More detailed information can be found on the IRS website at From the main page, click on “The Newsroom” link and go to “Armed Forces” under the “Related Topics” headline. You’ll find useful info in the following titles:

Taxpayers in the US may seek assistance by calling the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. Taxpayers outside the US may call the IRS in Philadelphia at 215-516-2000. The information presented here is to serve as a guideline only. As always, readers are urged to seek the advice of a tax professional to discuss their own circumstances.

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, broadcast worldwide via FEC marine telex and is posted on our web page.