Wheelhouse Weekly – July 12, 2010

July 12th 2010


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

Volume 14 . . . . . Number 28. . . .July 12, 2010


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


Major revisions to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (the STCW Convention), and its associated code were adopted at the end of last month at an International Maritime Organization diplomatic conference in Manila. Although a number of labor-backed improvements were included in the final version of the convention and code, the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) has expressed strong disapproval of a last-minute decision by participants in the conference to concede to ship owners’ demands for flexibility in applying rules on rest hours. Maritime unions have also expressed concern about a reduction in training requirements for watchkeeping engineers.
MM&P participated in the ITF-led union delegation that worked to lay the groundwork for the diplomatic conference. The unions supported an increase in the minimum number of rest hours to 77 a week, with a minimum of 10 hours of rest each day and with no more than 14 hours between rest periods. Labor wanted that limit to be strictly imposed. But ship owners’ organizations persuaded delegates to allow exceptions on a daily and weekly basis to meet “short-term operational requirements.” Unions are concerned that by permitting such exceptions, the new convention and code will give owners the opportunity to in some cases impose exhausting work schedules that jeopardize safety.
“We are and will continue to be against flexibilities in hours of rest above those agreed,” said ITF Seafarers’ Section Assistant Secretary John Bainbridge. “Frankly,” he added, “any agreement for seafarers to work 98 hours per week in the Year of the Seafarer is not sending a message seafarers will be comforted by.”
The ITF also expressed its dissatisfaction that other issues, such as skill enhancement, were not effectively addressed during the course of the revisions. But unions are relieved that the conference did not agree to a wholesale reduction of training requirements in an effort to compensate for the current shortage of officers. “We are disappointed the revisions did not successfully address fatigue or enhance skill standards,” Bainbridge said. “But with one exception, we were successful in blocking attempts to lower the standards of skill and education for seagoing certification…”

The one exception involves a reduction in requirements for engineers. Through a procedural move, ship owners’ organizations were able to reduce the minimum training requirements for watchkeeping engineers from 30 months to 12 months by arguing that the issue is competency, not service time.

The amendments, to be known as “The Manila amendments to the STCW Convention and Code,” are set to enter into force on Jan. 1, 2012. Amongst the amendments adopted, there are a number of important changes to each chapter of the convention and code, including: improved measures to prevent fraudulent practices associated with certificates of competency and strengthen the evaluation process (monitoring of parties’ compliance with the convention); updated standards relating to medical fitness standards for seafarers; new requirements relating to training in modern technology such as ECDIS; and new requirements for security training. The next phase in the process is adoption by governments of national regulations that conform to the new convention and code.

The conference was attended by more than 500 delegates from 85 IMO member states, as well as by observers from three associate members; the International Labor Organization (ILO); the European Commission (EC); and 17 non-governmental organizations.


The AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department (TTD) has released a statement criticizing attempts by Sen. John McCain and other opponents of the U.S.-flag shipping industry to spread misinformation about the Jones Act in the wake of the Gulf oil spill.

The Jones Act is the name commonly given to the body of U.S. maritime law that guarantees that America’s domestic waterborne commerce will be controlled by American companies operating U.S.-flag vessels built in American shipyards and crewed by American merchant mariners.

McCain has been using the Gulf of Mexico oil spill as an opportunity to spread misinformation about the Jones Act, saying it has hindered the emergency mobilization of maritime assets. Numerous government officials have repeatedly refuted these claims.

TTD President Edward Wytkind said the legislation McCain is pushing “would open our waterways to foreign entities that don’t employ U.S. workers, don’t pay taxes to our treasury and do not operate under our safety and security regime.” He added that, “in addition to threatening at least a half million jobs, repealing the Jones Act would siphon up to $100 billion in total economic output from our already reeling national economy.”

“Americans have grown weary of proposals in Washington that place political agendas over national interests,” he added. 

The maritime unions have issued a joint statement opposing McCain’s legislative push to repeal the Jones Act. To read the unions’ statement, go to and click on “What’s New.”


NOAA ship DELAWARE II has departed Key West to collect tunas, swordfish and sharks, to gather data about the conditions these highly migratory species are experiencing in waters around the Gulf of Mexico spill site. MM&P members sail as officers on NOAA vessels including DELAWARE II.
During the two-week mission, the research vessel will use long-line fishing gear to capture fish and assess their environment using sophisticated water chemistry monitoring instruments. NOAA said the researchers will only retain the fish needed for sampling. Some of the animals are being fitted with satellite tags and released to help determine how much time they are spending in oiled and un-oiled waters.

The recent mission is intended to lay the groundwork for measuring the long-term effects of the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill on commercially important fish and shellfish. Two other NOAA ships, PISCES, one of NOAA’s newest research vessels, and OREGON II, are in the midst of surveys of reef fish, bottom-dwelling fish and shrimp in the eastern and western Gulf of Mexico. “These vessels are providing a variety of seafood and water samples from locations throughout the Gulf—near shore and offshore, shallow water and deep, oiled and un-oiled,” said scientist Steven Murawski, who is leading NOAA’s science response to the spill. “This is baseline information we need to measure effects on seafood attributable to the spilled oil and to make sure our fishery closures are effective and in place for as long as they need to be, but no longer.”

The seafood samples will be analyzed by scientists in NOAA labs in Pascagoula, Miss., and Seattle for levels of oil and dispersants and to provide baseline information so that changes in the ecosystem owing to spilled oil can be measured.

A fourth NOAA ship, the GORDON GUNTER, is also in the Gulf, surveying marine mammals through Aug. 5. The ship is placing underwater listening devices on the ocean floor in the survey area. These will be left for up to four months to record the vocalizations of marine mammals so researchers can better understand which species are present.

These missions build upon research conducted in the vicinity of the spill by NOAA ship THOMAS JEFFERSON, and a previous mission by NOAA ship GORDON GUNTER from May 27 through June 4. A sixth NOAA survey vessel, NANCY FOSTER, departs Miami next week for a mission to better understand the loop current and how it may change over time, as well as to sample planktonic animals potentially affected by the spill.


Pirates have seized MT MOTIVATOR, a Marshall Islands-flagged chemical products tanker carrying a shipment of lube oil. As this issue of the Wheelhouse Weekly was being distributed, there had been no word from the ship, its 18-man crew or the pirates since the attack took place in the early hours of July 4. In its last communication to the authorities, MT MOTIVATOR reported it was under small arms fire from a pirate attack in the northern Bab Al Mandeb area in the southern Red Sea. Attempts were made to re-contact MT MOTIVATOR but to no avail. The hijacking was confirmed early on Monday, July 5.

In related news, pirates in Nigeria have reportedly kidnapped 12 mariners working aboard an Antigua-Barbuda-flagged cargo ship in the vicinity of the Niger Delta. There has been no word on the men since they were kidnapped last week. Another crewmember who was injured in the attack is now being treated in a hospital.


Lars Turner, who has sailed in the MM&P Offshore Division since 2003 and holds an unlimited chief mate’s license, has joined the union’s headquarters staff as Contracts Officer, a job that centers on supporting all MM&P membership groups in collective bargaining, contract drafting and contract administration. Lars has shipped “off-the-board” on many of our ships, including the LMSRs, the DREDGE COLUMBIA and USNS WATSON. He recently completed an assignment aboard MAERSK UTAH. In addition to his sea-going experience, Lars is a third-generation trade unionist who earned a master’s degree in labor studies from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He served as a rank-and-file volunteer during the 2009 Matson container vessel negotiations and the 2006 negotiations for the ITB MOKU PAHU. “With his maritime experience and deep-seated ties to the labor movement, Lars is uniquely suited to serve our membership,” said MM&P International Secretary-Treasurer Don Marcus. “It gives me great satisfaction to welcome him to our staff.”


Patriot Contract Services is accepting resumes for deck officer positions on the pre-positioning vessel USNS MARTIN as well as on four LMSRs currently in ROS status. Members are urged to keep up their government training in order to remain eligible for employment aboard these vessels and others in the MM&P government contract fleet. Of particular importance are small arms training, damage control, helo fire-fighting, helo control officer, CBRD-level 1 and Shipboard Security Team training. Early identification of all officer crewing is vital because a SECRET security clearance is required for senior officers and training certification is required prior to assignment to the ships. Please send your resume, including most recent training, to Patriot Contract Services by e-mail to the following contacts:

John Howe, Program Manager: or fax to (866) 340-3072.

Michael Gillihan, Logistics Manager: or fax to (866) 340-3072.

Please also send your most recent resume and contact information to MM&P New Orleans representative Sue Bourcq at or fax to
(504) 834-1815.


With the release in June of the new iPhone 4, the Union Plus AT&T wireless service discount for union members has increased from 10 percent to 15 percent. This means that thanks to the Union Plus AT&T discount, over the life of a two-year contract, union members who purchase a new iPhone 4 can save $198 on the cost of a basic monthly service and data plan (450 minutes and 200MB of data). Union members who buy higher rate plans can save even more.

Even if you choose one of AT&T’s many other phones, as a union member you’ll still save 15 percent off the regular monthly rate on individual and family plans. AT&T is the nation’s only completely unionized provider of wireless services.

The new iPhone 4, which went on sale in June, has a thinner design, an improved display, a 5-megapixel camera with HD video recording and a new operating system that features multitasking, folders, enhanced mail and iBooks. The suggested retail prices for iPhone 4 are $199 (16GB) and $299 (32GB). A new 8GB iPhone 3GS will be available for $99.

Now is a good time to consider switching your wireless service to AT&T to get 15 percent savings and to support the 40,000 union members who work at AT&T. To start saving, go to a local AT&T store (not mall kiosks or authorized dealers) and use discount FAN number 3508840 or shop online at


An amphibious sightseeing boat was struck by a barge, flipped over and sank on July 8 in the Delaware River in Philadelphia. The 37 people aboard the six-wheeled duck boat were tossed overboard when the tugboat-pushed barge hit it after it had been adrift for a few minutes with its engine stalled. Most were rescued from the river by other vessels in the area. Two bodies were recovered by the Coast Guard. The duck boat, which can travel seamlessly on land and water, had driven into the river Wednesday afternoon and suffered a mechanical problem and a small fire. It was struck about 10 minutes later by a barge used to transport sludge and sank to the bottom of the river.


CLASS OPENINGS: Between now and the end of September 2010, as of the Friday before this publication, seats are available in the following courses:

AIS – Automatic Identification Systems: 7/21
ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 8/9

BRM- Bridge Resource Management: 9/27
BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 7/28, 8/5
BST – Basic Safety Training: 8/16

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 9/13
CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 9/20
CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Operations (week 1): 9/27
CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Operations (week 2): 7/19
CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 8/30
CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 8/16, 9/13, 9/27
CMM-SHS-ADV-I I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 7/19, 8/9, 9/20
CMM-SHPMGT I – Ship Management (week 1) 7/26
CMM-SHPMGT II – Ship Management (week 2) 8/2
CMM-VPEN – Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 8/9
CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 8/23

CONSTB – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 8/9
CNAV – Celestial Navigation: 8/23
CSE-AAES – Confined Space Entry-Atmospheric Analysis of Enclosed Spaces: 7/21

ECDIS/ENAV for PILOTS (2-day): 7/27
ENVIRO-Regs Permit – Environmental Regulations Permit: 9/1

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 8/16
FSM for Pilots – Fatigue, Sleep & Medications: 7/22, 7/29

HAZ- Hazardous Materials (5 Day): 8/23

[LAP – Must be USCG Approved for the Licensing Test to attend]
LAP – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, 500/1600T: 8/16
LAP – License Advancement Program for Chief Mate & Master: 9/20

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 8/4, 9/14, 9/20

MED-PIC – Medical Person In Charge: 8/23, 9/27
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 8/23, 9/13, 9/27
MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 8/28, 10/2

[Military Sealift Command Courses]
MSC-CBRD1 – Basic CBR Defense: 8/13
MSC-DC – Damage Control: 8/9
MSC-SMA – Small Arms: 8/9

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original or Renewal: 8/2
ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 8/9

SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 8/30
SHS-EMR- Emergency Shiphandling: 8/23
SHS-ESH-BRMP3 – Emergency Shiphandling/Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 8/2

TPIC – Tankerman Person In Charge: 9/27

WKP-BAS – Basic Watchkeeping: 9/27
WX-BAS – Basic Meteorology: 9/20

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

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


Schedule of Courses – Please also see our schedule online at

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

July 2010

19-23  Electron Navigation
27-29  Security VCF

August 2010

2          Flashing Light
2-6      Medical Care Provider
2-13    Medical Person-In-Charge
3-5      ARPA
16-20  ECDIS
16-20  Tankerman Person-In-Charge
23        Radar Renewal

September 2010

7-17   Celestial Navigation
13       Security Refresher
13-24  GMDSS
14-16  Security VCF
20-24  Basic Construction & Stability
20-22  Fast Rescue Boat
27       Radar Renewal
27-1   Basic Shiphandling
27-1   ECDIS

October 2010

4-8    Tankerman Person-In-Charge
4-15  Basic Watchkeeping with BRM
18-29 Celestial Navigation
18-22 Medical Care Provider
18-29 Medical Person-In-Charge
23     Med DOT
25-27 Fast Rescue Boat
27     Radar Renewal


D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
10,138.99 2,196.45 1,077.96
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund (VAARX)
 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 Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
 Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
 Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
 Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
 Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX)
 Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
 Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
 Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
 Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
 Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
 Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
 Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
 Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
 Fidelity Freedom 2050 (FFFHX)
 Fidelity Total Bond Fund (FTBFX)
 Spartan Extended market Index Fund (FSEMX)
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)

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

© 2010, International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots. All the material contained in this publication is protected by copyright. For permission to reprint text from the Weekly, contact the MM&P Communications Department: For changes of address, contact Lisa Rosenthal at