Wheelhouse Weekly – July 14, 2006

July 14th 2006


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

Volume 10 . . . . . Number 28. . . . July 14, 2006




T-AGS Oceanographic Survey Ships Info

Required Coursework

Security Clearances

MSC Physicals

MM&P Health & Benefit Plan News

Notice to Members who are taking Vioxx

NMHC Mail-Order Prescriptions Website Updated & Improved

WWII USCG Veterans Outreach

Company Gives Bucks Back for buying Safe Shoes

Website Offers Union-Made Goods and Services

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



Captain Charles “Chuck” Pillsbury was honored on July 11th at the Ship Operators Cooperative (SOCP) meeting with a moment of silence in his remembrance. “Chuck was a co- chairman of the SOCP and one its founding fathers and a key player in SOCP,” said Phil Shullo, the present co-chairman. Capt. Pillsbury was the first recipient of the “Chairman’s Award for Service to the Industry”.

“Chuck’s leadership, along with others, has helped make the SOCP meetings productive and beneficial to the industry,” said Richard Plant, MM&P’s Director of Special Projects. Over 70 members/guests were in attendance at the meeting, which was held at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy July 11-12. “Chuck Pillsbury was highly respected by people in all aspects of the maritime industry and will be missed,” said MM&P International President Capt. Tim Brown.



Effective July 1, 2006, participants will be able to access discounted optical services through VSP, a major provider of optical services. You can sign on to the VSP site through and get a listing of optical providers in your area.

VSP provides a 20% discount off the price of an exam. In addition, you’ll receive a 20% discount off the price of unlimited pairs of prescription glasses (lenses and frame) and a 15% discount on contact lens exams (fitting and evaluation) when eyewear is purchased within 12 months from the VSP doctor who performed your original exam.

Your eye exam includes the necessary tests to evaluate and monitor visual wellness. The contact lens exam is a special exam for ensuring proper fit of your contacts and evaluating your vision with the contacts.

Please remember that these discounted services are available even if you have exhausted your $360 every two- year benefit. You will still save money! You should also bear in mind that many practitioners will expect payment up front and you will have to send your receipts to the Plan office for any allowable reimbursement remaining for your benefit.


MM&P-contracted Matson Navigation Co., said earlier this week that Aker Philadelphia Shipyard has delivered the MAUNALEI, the company’s newest containership, The delivery represents the completion of a four-ship modernization and replacement strategy, following the delivery of the MANUKAI in 2003, the MAUNAWILI in 2004, and the MANULANI in 2005, the company said.

“Having added only one new ship to the Matson fleet between 1983 and 2002, the four new vessels with a capital cost of over $500 million are essential to the current and future success of Matson,” said W. Allen Doane, Matson chairman and chairman and chief executive officer of its parent company, Alexander & Baldwin, in a statement. “The average age of Matson’s ships was 25 years before the first ship was delivered in 2003. Today the age is a more youthful 14 years.”

Matson President and CEO Jim Andrasick said adding the four ships has helped Matson become more fuel efficient (they use 25 percent less fuel than the vessels they replaced in a time when oil prices have tripled) and helped give the US-flagged carrier confidence to enter the China trade, which they did in February.

The purchase of the MAUNALEI will be financed through a combination of cash balances in Matson’s capital construction fund, which allows Matson to significantly accelerate the tax depreciation of the vessel, and committed long-term financing. The MAUNALEI will be christened July 22 by Mary Mildred “Millie” Akaka, wife of Sen. Daniel Akaka, (D-HI), at a ceremony at the shipyard.


President George Bush signed the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2006 into law on July 12th. The new law, Public Law 109-241, contains the following provisions of interest to the MM&P:


In response to the repeated delays by the Coast Guard to publish pilotage rates for the Great Lakes in a timely manner, the Coast Guard authorizations legislation imposes strict time constraints on the Agency. Specifically, this section requires that the Secretary of Transportation adjust Great Lakes pilotage rates annually based on an annual review of base pilotage rates that are required to be established not less than every 5 years following a full rulemaking process. This provision makes clear that the adjustment of annual rates is not required to be made through a full rulemaking process. The provision reads as
“The Secretary shall establish new pilotage rates by March 1 of each year. The Secretary shall establish base pilotage rates by a full ratemaking at least once every five years and shall conduct annual reviews of such base pilotage rates, and make adjustments to such base rates, in each intervening year.

“The Secretary shall ensure that a sufficient number of individuals are assigned to carry out [the above].”


Seeking to encourage the operation of LNG vessels under the US-flag, the final version of the USCG authorizations legislation states that:

“The Secretary of Transportation shall develop and implement a program to promote the transportation of liquefied natural gas to the United States on US-flag vessels.”

The legislation further amends the Deepwater Port Act to provide that in order to promote the security of the United

“The Secretary shall give top priority to the processing of a license under this Act for liquefied natural gas facilities that will be supplied with liquefied natural gas by US-flag vessels.”


The new law includes a provision relating to the training of Kings Point cadets. It allows Kings Point cadets to be eligible for training on any vessel, regardless of flag, that is “considered by the Secretary to be necessary or appropriate or in the national interest.”


The new law attempts to close a loophole that allows foreign shipping interests to effectively operate vessels in the Jones Act trade through various mortgage-financing mechanisms. The new statute now authorizes the US government to obtain reports from mortgages in addition to those required of owners, masters and charterers. Section 12120 of Title 46, United States Code, authorizes the Secretary of the Department in which the USCG is operating to require owners, masters and charterers (and now, mortgagees) of vessels engaged in the coastwise trade and the fisheries to submit reports to ensure compliance with vessel documentation laws (i.e., the US ownership requirements of the Jones Act).


The new law stipulates that only US-flag vessels are allows to engage in any activity related to the mooring, relocation and removal of a mobile offshore drilling unit
(MODU) on the US Outer Continental Shelf, and that only a US-flag vessel may engage in the transportation of personnel and equipment between the US and a MODU:

“Section 12105 of title 46, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
(c)(1) Only a vessel for which a certificate of documentation with a registry endorsement is issued may engage in–

(A) the setting, relocation, or recovery of the anchors or other mooring equipment of a mobile offshore drilling unit that is located over the outer Continental Shelf (as defined in section 2(a) of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (43 U.S.C. 1331(a))); or

(B) the transportation of merchandise or personnel to or from a point in the United States from or to a mobile offshore drilling unit located over the outer Continental Shelf that is not attached to the seabed.”


The version of the USCG authorizations legislation passed by the House of Representatives included a provision that would allow for the employment of foreign riding gangs aboard US-flag vessels. In response, MM&P urged the Senate to reject such a provision unless it was modified to require the foreign riding gangs to be subjected to the same type of background checks as are applicable to the US citizen crew and to ensure that the employment of foreign riding gangs did not adversely affect the employment of American seafaring personnel. The conferees addressed MM&P concerns and included a riding gang proposal in the final version of the USCG legislation that was acceptable to maritime labor.

For purposes of this legislation, a riding gang member is an individual who has not been issued a merchant mariner document and who does not perform watchstanding, automated engine room duty, or personnel safety functions; cargo handling functions, including any activity relating to the loading or unloading of cargo; is not a member of the crew complement or the steward’s department; and is not a citizen or resident of a country designated by the US as a security threat to the US. In addition, the final riding gang provision states that the US-flag vessel owner or operator:

“must ensure that each riding gang member who is not a US citizen has a US nonimmigrant visa for individuals seeking to enter the US temporarily for employment related purposes;

“must attest in a certificate that each riding gang member’s background has been examined and found free of any credible information indicating a risk to security;

“must ensure that each riding gang member is subject to the same on-board random chemical testing as the crew, and receives basic safety training as approved by the USCG;

“must ensure and certify to the USCG that the total number of riding gang members and other individuals in addition to the crew does not exceed twelve;

“must ensure that each riding gang member is supervised by a US licensed officer and only performs work necessary in preparation of the vessel entering a foreign shipyard; necessary to complete residual repairs after the vessel has left a foreign shipyard; or technical in-voyage repairs that cannot be performed by the crew but which are necessary to advance the vessel’s useful life without actually having to enter a shipyard;

“must ensure that riding gang members are not employed aboard the vessel for more than 60 days in a calendar year.
For purposes of calculating the 60-day limit, each day worked by a riding gang member shall be counted against the limitation. This limitation does not apply to work customarily performed by the original equipment manufacturer’s technical representatives; to work required by a manufacturer’s warranty on specific equipment; or to work required by a contractual guarantee on repairs performed in a foreign shipyard;

“must determine, pursuant to procedures to be promulgated by the Secretary, that there are not a sufficient number of US citizens available for the work to be performed by the foreign riding gang. If such a determination is not properly made, the owner or operator is subject to a fine.


The conferees agreed to include language in the final version of the USCG legislation that would allow certain US tuna vessels to operate with foreign citizens. The provision does not, however, allow the vessel to operate with a foreign citizen master.

This provision only applies to US tuna vessels operating under a fishing license issued pursuant to the 1987 Treaty on Fisheries Between the Governments of Certain Pacific Islands States and the Government of the US. Prior to employing a foreign citizen, the vessel owner must provide timely notice of the vacancy to determine if there are US citizens available to ill the vacancy. The citizenship waiver authority expires after 48 months.

This provision was adopted in order to address the concerns of the USCG and Gulf merchant mariners affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The extension will allow merchant mariners to continue working in the region while the USCG continues its efforts to recover documents that were held in the Regional Examination Center in New Orleans.

The new law also directs the USCG to expedite the processing of merchant mariner documents for new applicants from the Gulf Coast region. The dislocation of the local population due to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita left many Gulf Coast vessel operators without enough employees to meet the offshore repair workload. As the speed with which these repairs are made have a significant impact on US energy supplies, the USCG should make every effort to expedite the processing of merchant mariner documents for new applicants required to do this work.

(a) Licenses and Certificates of Registry- Notwithstanding section 7106 and 7107 of title 46, United States Code, the Secretary of the department in which the USCG is operating may temporarily extend the duration of a license or certificate of registry issued for an individual under chapter 71 of that title for up to one year if–

(1) the records of the individual are located at the USCG facility in New Orleans that was damaged by Hurricane Katrina;
(2) the individual is a resident of Alabama, Mississippi, or Louisiana; or
(3) the records of an individual were damaged or lost as a result of Hurricane Katrina.
(b) Merchant Mariners’ Documents – Notwithstanding section
7302(g) of title 46, United States Code, the Secretary of the department in which the USCG is operating may temporarily extend the duration of a merchant mariners’
document issued for an individual under chapter 73 of that title for up to one year, if —

(1) the records of the individual are located at the USCG facility in New Orleans that was damaged by Hurricane Katrina;
(2) the individual is a resident of Alabama, Mississippi, or Louisiana; or
(3) the records of an individual were damaged or lost as a result of Hurricane Katrina.
(c) Manner of Extension – Any extensions granted under this section may be granted to individual seamen or a specifically identified group of seamen.
(d) Expiration of Authority – The authorities provided under this section expire on April 1, 2007.

(a) Authority to Extend- Notwithstanding section 3307 and 3711(b) of title 46, United States Code, the Secretary of the department in which the USCG is operating may temporarily extend the duration or the validity of a certificate of inspection or a certificate of compliance issued under chapter 33 or 37, respectively, of that title for up to 6 months for a vessel inspected by a USCG Marine Safety Office located in Alabama, Mississippi, or Louisiana.
(b) Expiration of Authority – The authority provided under this section expires on April 1, 2007.


Earlier this week, the Senate approved nearly $1 billion in additional funds to help secure America’s borders and ports. In an attempt to strengthen US borders against smuggling of weapons of mass destruction and other illegal activities, the Senate approved an additional $648 million for port security. The money would pay for more inspectors and more advanced equipment to scan shipping containers. Sen. Robert Byrd, (D-WV), won the added port security money as part of a $32.8 billion domestic security spending bill (HR 5441 – Department of Homeland Security Appropriations for FY ending Sept 30, 2007).

The Senate also approved another Byrd amendment adding $350 million for border security. The money would buy aircraft, buses and other vehicles to help border patrol agents and to improve fences and other border infrastructure. The additional border spending would be paid for by increasing fees for non-Americans who use the services of US immigration and customs agencies.


Representative Mark Foley (R-FL) and others have introduced a bill (HR 5758) to amend title 38, United States Code, to provide that World War II merchant mariners who were awarded the Mariners Medal shall be provided eligibility for Department of Veterans Affairs health care on the same basis as veterans who have been awarded the Purple Heart. The bill was referred to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.


According to a published report in the MarEx e-newsletter, when and if the state of Connecticut decides to step up and change how it controls commerce in its ports and on its waterways, one thing and only one thing is certain: Someone is going to be unhappy. On the other hand, state’s department of transportation (Bureau of Aviation and Ports) might do nothing at all. To their way of thinking, the current situation is working just fine and absent a compelling argument for change, most likely none will be forthcoming.

Pilot associations in neighboring New York (Sandy Hook) and Rhode Island (Northeast Pilots), who all participate in Connecticut marine pilot responsibilities under the umbrella of a rotation agreement known simply as the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), are also content with the current arrangement. It’s also not hard to see why. The rotation system in Long Island Sound, as stipulated by the MOA, could eventually leave out-of-state pilots as the only purveyors of marine expertise in Connecticut waters.

By some accounts, the MOA in place today in Long Island Sound is working well. It holds together a fragile peace between rival pilots and their professional associations. In lieu of a cohesive professional association to join the 17 pilots who take turns piloting vessels in the Sound, it’s the only thing that does.

Vince Cashin is the President of the Connecticut State Marine Pilots Association (CSMPA), representing 5 of the 8 “Connecticut only” sound pilots is concerned about what comes next in Long Island Sound. His desire is to see wholesale changes in how Connecticut structures, licenses and supervises marine pilots. According to Cashin, Connecticut, absent significant and far-reaching changes in how they operate, is poised to abdicate its ability to control waterborne commerce in its own waters to neighboring Rhode Island and New York.

Another player on the Connecticut side of the equation is Captain Tom Walker. His Long Island Sound State Pilot Association consists of just one pilot, but he claims to be the founder of the first Connecticut state pilot association and is adamant that the current system in place is not only illegal, but also contributes to danger in Long Island Sound. Industry sources close to the matter believe that case is indirectly tied to how “The state of New York forced Connecticut’s agreement to the terms of the MOA.” A ruling in the case is expected shortly.


The MarEx newsletter also reports that the contentious dispute between docking masters and Marine Pilots in Boston Harbor may be finally coming to a head. Industry observers report that a series of three meetings organized by the Boston Marine Society has produced some progress and basic agreement on certain principals. The meetings have not been open to the public, but included representatives from all interested parties to the dispute, including tug operators, the Boston Marine Society, the Marine Pilots, docking masters, some state legislators and other shipping industry officials. The Boston Marine Society is the primary oversight organization for marine pilotage laws in Massachusetts.


A new set of IMO regulations that took effect on July 1st are intended to help prevent accidents with lifeboats during drills. They grew out of research performed by IMO’s Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Equipment intended to address the unacceptably high number of accidents with lifeboats in which crew have been injured, sometimes fatally, while participating in lifeboat drills and/or inspections. The amendments to SOLAS regulations III/19 concern the conditions in which lifeboat emergency training and drills should be conducted and introduce changes to the operational requirements for maintenance, weekly and monthly inspections so as not to require any persons to be onboard, and servicing of launching appliances and on-load release gear.


Members are reminded that a regular convention of the MM&P will be convened at 1000 hrs on Tuesday, August 22, 2006, at MITAGS, 692 Maritime Boulevard, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090. 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. For further info, contact Diane Chatham at


MM&P Union Halls in the ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach, San Francisco and Seattle will be closed for a Longshore holiday on Friday, July 28th in observance of the birthday of legendary West Coast labor leader Harry Bridges.



CLASS OPENINGS: Between now and the end of September 2006, seats are available in the following courses:


ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 7/25, 9/12, 9/26
AZIPOD-KAM-2 – Two-Day Azipod and Kamewa Steering and Propulsion Systems: 9/19, 9/23

BRMP – Bridge Resource Mangement for Pilots: 8/7, 9/27
BST – Basic Safety Training: 8/28, 9/25

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 9/11
CMM-ADVSTB – 8/21, 9/11
CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 1): 9/25
CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 9/18
CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart and Display Information System: 7/31, 9/18
CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 8/7
CMM-SHMGT-I – Ship Management I (week 1): 8/21
CMM-SHMGT-II – Ship Management II (week 2): 8/14
CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 8/21
CMM-VPEN – Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 7/24
CMM-WKP – Watchkeeping: 8/28

CSE-AASE – Confined Space Entry: 8/28

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 8/28, 9/25

HAZ-Hazardous Materials (5-day): 7/31, 9/11

LAP-License Advancement Program (5 weeks including USCG Exam): 7/24

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 7/29, 8/12, 9/24
MED-PIC – Medical Person-In-Charge: 7/24, 8/14, 9/11
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 7/24, 8/14, 9/11

[MSC – Military Sealift Command]
MSC-CBRD-1 (Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Orientation): 8/23
MSC-DC (Damage Control): 8/24
MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 9/1 (must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years)

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal (5-day): 8/28
ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 7/15, 7/24, 9/25

SHS-EMR – Emergency Shiphandling: 7/31, 8/28, 9/5

TPIC – Tankerman Person-In-Charge: 9/25

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 Email:


Summer – Fall 2006


7/17-19 Ship Security Officer
7/17-21 Electronic Navigation
7/17-21 Emergency Shiphandling 5-day
7/17-21 Able Bodied Seaman
7/24-28 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
7/24-8/4 Celestial Navigation

August 2006
31 Jul-4 Aug Basic Shiphandling
7-11 ECDIS
7-11 Basic Safety Training
7-11 Meteorology – Basic
8-11 Survival Craft / Lifeboatman
14-18 Able Bodied Seaman
14-18 Basic and Advanced Firefighting
14-25 GMDSS
14-25 Shiphandling – Advanced
21-25 Ship Construction & Basic Stability
21-25 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
28-1 Sep Cargo Handling & Stowage – Basic

September 2006
5-9 (tu-sa) Medical Care Provider
5-9 (tu-sa) Emergency Shiphandling 5-day
5-15 Medical Person-In-Charge
11-12 Search and Rescue
11-15 Basic Safety Training
11-23 100 Ton OUPV
12-15 Survival Craft / Lifeboatman
13-15 Emergency Procedures
18-22 Radar Observer Unlimited
18-22 Shiphandling – Basic
18-22 Able Bodied Seaman
18-6 Oct Terrestrial & Coastal Navigation with Compasses
25th Radar Recertification
25-29 ARPA
25-2 Oct Watchkeeping & BRM

October 2006
10/2-4 Ship Security Officer
10/2-4 Basic Safety Training
10/2-13 Shiphandling – Advanced
10/9-13 ECDIS
10/9-13 Radar Observer Unlimited
10/9-20 GMDSS
10/10-13 Survival Craft / Lifeboatman
10/16-20 Basic & Advanced Firefighting
10/23 Flashing Light
10/23-27 ARPA
10/23-27 Cargo Handling & Stowage – Basic
10/24-25 Simulation Assessment

For registration call Jennifer Fowler 888-893-7829


High quality with embroidered PMI logo.
Navy or Khaki Hats : $16 / includes tax
Button Down Long Sleeve Dress Shirts
Blue or Khaki: $38 / includes tax
Pocket t-shirts with Logo: $12 / includes tax
15oz. Cobalt Blue Ceramic Mug: $8 / includes tax

Call DeeDee Lazik 206-838-8328 or e-mail



 D O W  N A S D A Q  S & P 500
10,739.35 -515.95 for the week 2,037.09 -118.00 for the week 1,236.19 -38.99 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)
 Fidelity Small Company Instl (FMACX)
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX) 33.65
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)


~ Reminders ~




All MM&P members are reminded that to sail aboard the T-AGS ships that MM&P-contracted Horizon Lines will be operating, you must have the required training certification and your certificates must be current in accordance with Military Sealift Command requirements. Members are also required to have had a MSC pre-employment physical and to possess Ship Security Clearance (see below).

The MSC Contract calls for all training certificates required for manning of these vessels to be no older than 5 years and that all STCW-95 courses be renewed every 5 years, or annually, as applicable.

Five-year renewable courses include, but are not limited to:

  • Advanced Fire Fighting
  • Basic Safety Training, and
  • Damage Control

Small Arms certificates must be less than 1 year old and MUST NOT expire during your tour of duty.

Members interested in applying for one of the positions onboard the T-AGS vessels are advised to make sure your certificates are up to date. If not, contact Mary Matlock or Diane Ford at MITAGS Admissions, email:, and schedule to take the course(s) needed.

Those MM&P members interested in obtaining more information and facts about the T-AGS Oceanographic Vessels are asked to email the Director of Special Projects requesting the “facts sheet”. It will be provided by return email in an Adobe Acrobat PDF format.

Members interested in employment on the T-AGS ships are asked to provide a 1-2 page resume. Please list the desired position you are seeking along with the certificates of training you possess and their dates. Upon receipt it will be forwarded to Horizon Lines and a confirmation sent back to the member. Vessel turnover commenced Oct.17, 2004. Positions for all ratings remain open.

The point of contact for sending a resume for employment on the Horizon Lines T-AGS Oceanographic Vessels is Richard Plant, MM&P’s Director of Special Projects. Send resumes in an email or as a Word file attachment to him at:, by fax to 410-850-0973 or by mail to:

Richard Plant, Director of Special Projects

700 Maritime Blvd.
Linthicum Heights, MD 21090


Members who want to sail for Horizon Lines on the T-AGS Oceanographic Survey vessels the company is set to begin operating for MSC must have Ship Security Clearance before going aboard.

Special software must be downloaded from the US Government’s Defense Security Service to complete the Security Clearance application. You must have an Internet connection and a Windows-based computer to retrieve the application and run the program.

Go to to download the software titled “EPSQ SUBJECT2_2”.

After the software is installed and the program is launched, select “Create” from the menu bar at the top of the screen. You will be required to enter your Social Security Number and a case-sensitive password. A window titled “Type of Form” will appear.

All Deck Officers should select the first button titled “Request for Security Clearance (SF86)” and then click “OK” to go to the next screen, “Type of Investigation”.

From the “Type of Investigation” screen:

  • Masters and Radio Officers should select the first button, “Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI)”.
  • All other Deck Officers (C/M, 2/M, 3/M) should click on the second button, “National Agency Check (NAC or NACLC)”.

After selecting the appropriate investigation type, click on “OK” to begin filling in the forms.



Horizon Lines requests all mariners seeking employment aboard the T-AGS Oceanographic vessels to take their MSC Physical at specially-designated facilities only after being advised to do so by the Company. This is to assure that all requirements of the MSC Physical are properly met.




Is it time to replace that car you’re driving? Vehicle loan rates are looking great at MM&P FCU.

Drive away in a new or used vehicle for a standard loan rate of:

4.75 percent for terms up to 24 months.
Standard loan rates for longer-term loans are:

5.00 percent for 25-48 months;
5.75 percent for 49-60 months ($20,000 minimum); and
6.25 percent for terms extending from 61-72 months ($25,000 minimum).
You can lower your loan rate even more — by 0.75 percent — by becoming a Preferred Borrower.

Are you paying a higher rate on your current vehicle loan at another institution? Consider refinancing your outside loan at the MM&P FCU and taking advantage of our lower loan rates.

MM&P FCU will finance up to 100 percent of your new vehicle loan, and up to 90 percent of NADA Book Value on a used vehicle. Maximum vehicle loan amount is $30,000.

MM&P FCU members can reduce the interest rate they pay on any new loan even further by becoming a preferred borrower. What is a preferred borrower? That’s a member who deposits at least 10 percent of the original loan amount into their MM&P FCU savings account and keeps those funds on deposit until the loan is paid in full. By doing this you save twice – first, your deposit works for you by earning our regular dividend savings rate, and second, you save money by reducing the interest rate on your loan by 0.75 percent.

Contact the MM&P FCU for full details on all loan programs by email to or call 1-800-382-7777 toll-free.




On Sept.30, Merck & Co. voluntarily withdrew Vioxx, a popular anti-inflammatory medication, from the market. As a result, individuals who are currently taking the drug have been asked to contact their health care professionals to discuss discontinuing use of Vioxx and possible alternative treatments.

MM&P Plans Administrator Valerie Verrecchio reports that, “We have gotten a number of calls from members who want to know what to do with their remaining supply of Vioxx and whether the Plan or NMHC will refund their co-pay for the unused portion.

“Unfortunately, neither NMHC nor the Plan was aware of the Merck decision prior to the public announcement on Sept.30. As of that date, all deliveries of Vioxx to our members was suspended in accordance with Merck’s announcement. Orders that had already been processed and were in transit could not be stopped.

“In regard to refunds, Merck has set up a website at where members can obtain information on how to recover refunds from Merck for the unused portion of medication. Members can also call following toll free number for information: 1-888-368-4699.

“We are sorry for any inc onvenience this may have caused to members currently taking this medication, however, the matter is out of the control of the Plans.”


MM&P Plans Administrator Valerie Verrecchio reports, “Good news! NMHC mail has finally gotten their website upgraded and functioning properly. I went in and tested it myself and found it to be quite user friendly.”

To use NMHC’s upgraded service, go to the NMHC Mail website at and click on “MEMBER LOGIN” at the bottom of the screen.

First-time and Registered users may bypass the welcome screen and go directly to the log-in page at

  • First-time users should then click on the link marked “NEW USER: REGISTER HERE”.
    This will take you to a page titled “MEMBER REGISTRATION” where you will need to enter demographic information and submit it by clicking on the
  • “CREATE ACCOUNT” button.

After creating your account, NMHC will email you a password to gain entry into your records. With your first sign-in, the NMHC system will prompt you to change the NMHC password to one of your own choosing.

Once you are registered at NMHC, you can check the status of open orders by logging-in to the system through the “MEMBER LOGIN” page and going into the “MAIL ORDER” menu. You can look up all prescriptions and get the price our members will pay for any medication. You can also view an order history of all of your medication transactions (both retail and mail) for the last 24 months, locate 24-hour pharmacies in your zip code region as well as access other helpful member education information.

“We hope this welcome improvement will assist our members. Although you cannot order refills on line if you don’t provide a credit or debit card number, you can phone in your refill. Once you register on the website, you will still have access to all of the other information including checking the status of your order once it is phoned in,” said Ms. Verrecchio.


The U.S. Coast Guard has announced an initiative to identify and collect the oral histories of its World War II veterans. Coast Guard WWII veterans, including SPARS and merchant mariners, are encouraged to record their histories online with the Library of Congress Veterans History Project at

Those veterans needing assistance in recording their stories can receive help from their local Coast Guard Auxiliary public affairs contact by leaving a message at 1-877-875-6296, a toll-free call.



LMS Ship Management, the company that manages vessels for Central Gulf, Sulphur Carriers and Waterman Steamship, wants to remind MM&P members that they offer their crewmembers a $75 reimbursement on the cost of purchasing certain slip-resistant shoes and boots for use aboard ship.

This offer has been in place for some time and LMS reports that “we have been pleased with the participation to date, but feel a reminder may be in order.” Their goal is for every crewmember to wear slip resistant footwear during working hours aboard their vessels.

The $75 reimbursement is available to each crewmember who provides LMS 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.

Vessels in the LMS footwear reimbursement program are:

  • Green Cove
  • Green Dale
  • Green Lake
  • Green Point
  • Atlantic Forest
  • Sulphur Enterprise
  • Energy Enterprise
  • SGT Matej C. Kocak
  • MAJ Stephen W. Pless, and
  • PFC Eugene A. Obregon

LMS notes that in order to receive reimbursement, crewmembers must purchase one of the following recommended brands:

  • 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 (must have steel toe & slip resistant sole)


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

Redwing’s Union-made products are: Red Wing shoes and boots, Red Wing motorcycle boots and Craftsman (Sears).

Wolverine World Wide manufactures boots under the Caterpillar brand using US union labor. (Other union made safety-shoe brands by Wolverine are the company’s Hy-Test, Durashock and Bates Military labels. The company’s Wolverine brand combat boots are also produced using US union labor.)

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”. To shop for union-made products online, go to



The Union Label recently went digital with a new website offering shoppers an array of union-made gifts, from clothing and chocolates to computers, games and greeting cards.

The website,, launches on the eve of the fall and winter holidays, when shoppers will spend an estimated $1 trillion on gifts, food, drinks and other seasonal items, explained Matt Bates, Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO Union Label & Service Trades Department. The all-union shopping site, however, will be a year-round operation because that is what consumers demand, he added.

“Shoppers spent $56 billion in Internet sales last year, and on-line spending is doubling every two to three years. Everyday we receive Email and calls from people who want to support good jobs by buying union-made goods and services. The website will reach millions of people, 24 hours a day, with a quick convenient way to shop union,” Bates said.

“The public is ready for this. People have seen millions of good jobs disappear and they are looking for ways to take a stand and make a difference,” he added.

The AFL-CIO will target the peak of the holiday shopping season by promoting “Buy Union Week” Nov. 26 through Dec. 5. The newly-launched, all-union shopping site will be a cornerstone of that campaign. MM&P has a link to the Shop Union Site on this website under “Links and Other Sources”.

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.