Wheelhouse Weekly – July 14, 2015

July 14th 2015

Volume 20 . . . Number 28. . . July 14, 2015


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Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez has weighed in on the efforts of some members of Congress to pass port-specific changes to labor law that would make it more difficult to reach negotiated settlements in labor disputes.

“The collective bargaining process worked” in securing a contract for West Coast longshore workers earlier this year, Perez said at a press conference with port officials in Los Angeles last week. “The most important thing we can do, not only here at the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach, is to help with investments and infrastructure so that we can compete with the rest of the world.”

The Secretary of Labor, who was sent by President Obama to facilitate the West Coast longshore negotiations, said that legislation introduced by Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and others to change the legal framework in which port contract negotiations take place would distract from the real challenges facing the nation’s maritime industry.

Gardner has said his bill, “The Ports Act,” is needed to prevent labor-management disputes from interfering with port operations. The bill would authorize state governors to trigger federal “back-to-work” injunctions in port labor disputes and give the president power to intervene to halt work slowdowns. The bill would expand the Taft-Hartley Act to cover slowdowns and also allow a governor to direct the state attorney general to seek a federal court injunction against slowdowns, strikes or lockouts.

International Longshore and Warehouse Union spokesperson Craig Merrilees has called the bill “an extreme piece of anti-worker legislation.”

Another pending bill would task the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) with compiling metrics on “port performance” before and during maritime labor negotiations. The AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department (TTD) has called this bill “part of an ongoing effort to diminish or eliminate the bargaining rights of maritime labor.”

Democrats on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation fought to remove the anti-labor provisions from the bill. Although the effort failed, all Democrats on the committee voted against the bill.

“The goal of this provision is clear,” said TTD President Ed Wytkind. It would “set the stage for early and improper federal intervention into the bargaining process and to blame any reduction in port productivity on employees.” He said the bill “ignores the innumerable variables that affect port productivity that have nothing to do with unions or collective bargaining, including the rapid increase in larger ships, outmoded landside infrastructure, the state of the economy, the availability of chassis, and the inability of the owner-operator trucking model to meet cargo demand.”

“Under this bill,” he added, “the collective bargaining process would bear responsibility for all problems related to productivity absent any justification or consideration of the complicated nature of port logistics networks.”

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Labor unions representing more than 300,000 federal employees are calling on the government to offer lifetime credit monitoring and other protections to the millions of workers whose information has been compromised in recent cyberattacks. In a letter to President Obama, the Federal Workers Alliance (FWA), which includes MM&P and 18 other unions, urged the government to provide additional identity theft protection to U.S. workers and retirees, their spouses and children.

In April, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced that a large-scale server hack had resulted in the loss of the personally identifiable information of millions of current and former federal employees, as well as others who had completed or were referenced on SF-86 forms for government clearances. Last week, the agency’s director resigned on news that the personal data of millions more, including fingerprints, had also been compromised.

“Federal employees trust their employer with their personal information, and, in turn, expect that their employer will faithfully protect the personal information they are required to disclose,” the FWA wrote. “OPM’s response to this cyberattack has been lackluster at best. We believe that far more aggressive measures should be taken and that the federal government has an obligation to go above and beyond to assist federal employees as they are forced to navigate the countless actions they need to take as a result of OPM’s negligence.”

The unions urged the government to: offer lifetime credit monitoring to all federal employees, their spouses and children; provide retroactive loss coverage dating to Jan. 1, 2013 for losses incurred as a result of the hack; obtain emergency appropriations to improve cybersecurity; end the practice of using credit scores for security clearance decisions; appoint a task force comprised of agency leadership, defense/intelligence experts, leading private sector information technology specialists and labor leaders with broad authority to compile a list of further recommendations and to develop a communications system to keep the federal workforce and the general public informed.

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MM&P members who sail on the Watson-class LMSRs for Patriot Contract Services are engaged in rewarding, challenging work that supports U.S. interests worldwide. The Watson-class ships are the WATSON, the SISLER, the DAHL, the RED CLOUD, the CHARLTON, the WATKINS, the POMEROY and the SODERMAN. Below, Patriot provides updates on some of the missions that these vessels have been engaged in so far this year.

In May, the DAHL participated in the Culebra Koa exercise, which involved testing the interface between LMSRs, Maritime Landing Platform (MLP) and Joint High-Speed (JHSV) vessels as part of the sea-basing initiative which allows the Marine Corps to respond to events without the need to establish bases ashore.

During June and July, the RED CLOUD provided logistical support to the Combined/Joint Logistics Over the Shore (CJLOTS) military exercise on the Korean Peninsula. This naval exercise aims to improve logistics interoperability, communication and cooperation between the United States and South Korea.

Crewmembers aboard the WATKINS and the POMEROY represented their unions and the company in organized events on Diego Garcia, including participating in 5K runs and 37 mile bike rides, the Bataan Memorial Death March, National Maritime Day, golf outings and other community events.

MM&P members interested in sailing on Patriot’s Watson Class LMSRs and other government-contract vessels should contact MM&P Government Crewing Coordinator Robert P. Chiesa at 443-784-8788 or by e-mail,

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The hospital ship USNS COMFORT and its crew are on a humanitarian mission providing assistance to people in countries across Central America, South America and the Caribbean. Civil service mariners represented by the MM&P Federal Employees Membership Group (FEMG) operate the massive ship for Military Sealift Command (MSC). COMFORT and its sister ship MERCY are the world’s biggest hospital ships.

The two vessels are former oil tankers. Each is as tall as a 10-story building and as long as three football fields.

CNN reporters chronicled COMFORT’s port call in Jamaica, the third of 11 stops that will take place over the next five months, when medical staff aboard the ship will care for more than 100,000 patients. Professionals aboard COMFORT also offer veterinary and engineering support to people in partner nations.

During the Jamaica stop, medical personnel performed surgeries on board and set up temporary medical sites on shore in existing clinics and gymnasiums. “Services include pediatric care, women’s health, cardiology, eye exams, general surgery, dentistry and everything in between,” CNN reported.

COMFORT carries all the medical supplies needed for the work. Each country receives roughly 30-40 pallets of supplies. Whatever is left over is donated to the host nation. The massive undertaking is funded by the U.S. government at a projected cost of $40 million, while NGOs also donate money, supplies and volunteer time.

The CNN report, “Saving lives on the world’s biggest hospital ship,” can be viewed at

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The U.K. Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has issued a safety bulletin regarding a March 2 accident in which a deck officer aboard the Marshall Islands-flagged LNG carrier ZARGA was seriously injured. The accident took place when the vessel was moored alongside South Hook LNG terminal in Milford Haven, Wales. “A 22-meter tail with high elasticity had been fitted to reduce the risk of failure under peak dynamic load, but no risk analysis had been performed,” the MAIB reported.

“When the mooring line failed under load, the high elasticity tail caused the entire mooring line to snap back, striking and injuring the deck officer, who was struck in the head and had to be airlifted to a hospital for emergency surgery… Snapback danger had been identified in the ship’s risk assessments procedures,” according to the report, “but critical zones had not been marked on the tanker’s deck.”

The MAIB has issued a safety bulletin, which says, in part: when connecting synthetic tails to UHMPE, HMPE and wire mooring lines, the energy introduced due to the elasticity of the tails can significantly increase snap-back hazard; elongation is proportional to the length of tail–increasing the length of the tail will increase the amount of elongation and hence the amount of energy that can be stored in the line when under load; ship owners/operators should ensure that the type of lines and tails used for mooring lines are suitable for the task and that the dangers of snap-back are fully considered.

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One year after their original sentences were overturned, the crewmembers of the SEAMAN GUARD OHIO have been informed they will be tried again. The men have been held on charges that MM&P and others in the international maritime community say are baseless. The new trial may take up to six months to begin. MM&P has protested the Indian government’s treatment of the men, who were initially held in a prison where they were deprived of medical treatment, bathing facilities and adequate food. The crew was arrested because their ship, which had been operated as an anti-piracy outpost for an international security firm, was carrying weapons when it strayed into the domestic waters of India.

“The decision that there were no charges to answer came from the High Court in Madurai on 10 July 2014,” says Paul Towers, a British citizen who is among those being held, “but we were unable to leave India because our passports and belongings were retained by the court, and to that end we could not return home to our distraught families.” He said the case has now been referred back to the original court that found them guilty.

“We were devastated to hear that the Supreme Court has upheld the prosecution appeal,” he says. “Our families are beyond broken, both financially and mentally; to see my wife in tears is heart-breaking.” He said the crew has subsisted as charity cases in India while awaiting trial. They are being supported by The Mission to Seafarers, the British Legion and Veterans Aid UK. “Without their efforts to feed and accommodate us,” Towers says, “we would be sleeping in the streets.”

In court documents, the captain of the MV SEAMAN GUARD OHIO said he was duped into leaving international waters by Indian Coast Guard officials who warned that the ship was in danger due to an impending cyclone. Once inside India’s territory, the ship was no longer protected by international law. The 10 crew members and 25 armed security guards on board–from Britain, Estonia, India and Ukraine—were then charged with illegally carrying weapons.

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Members of the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA)-CWA have been fighting for two years to secure a contract with United Airlines. “Profits at United have soared and the share price has grown 162 percent since we started negotiating,” says AFA-CWA International President Sara Nelson. United’s 2015 income will be more than five times higher than it was in 2013. Operating profit in 2015-17 is expected to be $5 billion or more annually. The company reports $7 billion in cash on its balance sheets. But despite giving huge raises to its executives, “United refuses to put the required economic resources into a Flight Attendant Contract,” Nelson says.

United flight attendants have set July 23 as the date to reach an agreement with the company, “but it will take a very serious turnaround at the bargaining table to get there,” Nelson says. For this reason, flight attendants are asking everyone traveling near or through United’s 16 base locations on Thursday, July 16, to participate in a Day of Action by stopping to talk with and encourage the men and women on the picket lines. The demonstrations will be held at Washington Dulles and airports in London, Frankfurt, Boston, New York, Newark, Chicago, San Francisco, Denver, Seattle, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Honolulu, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Guam.

More details are posted at “I urge you to lend your support to this important bargaining battle,” says Ed Wytkind, president of the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department. MM&P is one of the 32 transportation sector unions that belong to TTD.

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The next Offshore Membership Meeting at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Hall will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 5 after the 1100 job call.

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Eight additional sessions of Leadership and Managerial Skills (Management Level – Formerly MCL-CMM) have been added to the MITAGS Course Schedule for the period August – December. The new sessions will be held: 8/17/15, 8/31/15, 9/7/15, 9/21/15, 11/2/15, 11/9/15, 12/7/15 and 12/14/15. For class availability or information on MITAGS courses and programs, contact Elisabeth Cruz, Admissions Coordinator, toll-free at 866-656-5568 or by e-mail:

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MITAGS needs your current address! Have you moved recently? Did you remember to send MITAGS your new address for communications regarding courses? Please send your current contact information to or to the fax number below.

New dedicated fax line for Admissions only: 1-443-568-1928. For all other MITAGS business, please continue to use: 410-859-5181.

For class availability or information on MITAGS courses and programs, contact Kelly Michielli, Admissions Coordinator, toll-free at 866-656-5568 or by e-mail: . Why not try our on-line calendar to register for class:

Please note the special addition to our on-campus schedule of MSC classes marked with an asterisk (*), which are not normally scheduled to be held at MITAGS.

AB – 8/17/15, 10/12/15

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: Contact Admissions

ARPA-OIC – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 8/4/15, 9/22/15, 1/26/16

AZIPOD 2-Day – 10/1/15

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 8/3/15, 10/19/15, 2/1/16

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 7/16/15, 11/9/15

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling: 9/28/15

BT – Basic Safety Training: 8/10/15, 10/5/15, 1/25/16

BT-Revalidation – 8/4/15, 11/3/15

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 10/26/15

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVNAV-CMM – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): Contact Admissions

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 7/27/15, 9/28/15, 1/25/16, 3/28/16

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 8/3/15, 10/19/15, 1/4/16, 3/7/16

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 10/5/15

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 8/17/15, 9/21/15, 10/5/15, 11/2/15, 12/7/15, 1/11/16, 2/22/16, 3/21/16

LMS – Leadership and Managerial Skills (Management Level – Formerly MCL-CMM): 8/10/15, 8/17/15, 8/31/15, 9/7/15, 9/21/15, 9/28/15, 10/26/15, 11/2/15, 11/9/15, 11/16/15, 11/30/15, 12/7/15, 12/14/15, 1/18/16, 2/15/16, 3/14/16

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants: 11/16/15

SEC-APPS – Practical Security Applications: 8/24/15, 10/12/15, 3/28/16

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management (2 weeks): 9/14/15

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 8/10/15, 8/24/15, 10/5/15, 11/9/15, 11/30/15, 1/11/16, 2/8/16, 3/14/16

SHS-ADV-II-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 7/20/15, 8/17/15, 8/31/15, 10/12/15, 11/16/15, 12/7/15, 1/18/16, 2/15/16, 3/21/16

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 11/30/15, 2/29/16

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 11/9/15

CNAV-OIC – Celestial Navigation: 11/9/15

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: Contact Admissions

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications: 7/9/15

DDE – Great Lakes: 2/1/16

DPA – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-OIC – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-Pilots – 11/12/15

ERM – Engine Resource Management: 7/20/15, 8/24/15, 9/21/15, 10/19/15, 11/9/15, 12/14/15, 1/4/16, 2/8/16, 3/21/16

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 8/10/15, 10/5/15, 1/25/16, 2/22/16

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications: 9/15/15, 11/11/15

GL Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization: 1/22/16

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 8/24/15, 3/7/16

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 8/31/15, 11/16/15

LAP- 9/14/15

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes: 1/25/16

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross
Ton License: 8/3/15, 11/30/15, 3/7/16

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 7/16/15, 9/16/15, 11/10/15

LNG-TPIC – 12/7/15

LTS –Leadership and Teamworking Skills (Formerly MCL-OIC): 9/21/15

MEECE – Management of Electrical and Electronic Control: 8/17/15, 9/14/15, 10/12/15, 11/2/15, 12/7/15, 1/11/16, 2/22/16, 3/28/16

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 8/24/15, 12/7/15, 1/4/16

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 7/27/15, 9/28/15, 2/1/15, 3/14/16

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 8/24/15, 10/12/15, 12/7/15, 1/4/15, 2/15/16

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 7/25/15, 8/28/15, 11/5/15, 12/12/15, 1/9/15, 1/31/16

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: Contact Admissions

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 8/19/15, 10/29/15, 3/8/16

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 8/17/15, 10/27/15, 3/5/16

*MSC-ENVPRO –8/16/15, 10/31/15, 2/28/16

*MSC-FF-HELO –8/3/15, 11/2/15, 2/22/16

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 8/8/15, 10/19/15, 1/4/16, 2/29/16

*MSC-Security Watch Basic – 8/6/15, 10/17/15, 2/26/16

*MSC-Security Watch Advanced –8/12/15, 10/23/15, 1/8/16, 3/4/16

*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force –8/13/15, 10/24/15, 1/10/16, 3/5/16

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 8/3/15, 9/21/15, 1/25/16

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 7/22/15, 8/5/15, 8/19/15, 9/2/15, 9/16/15, 9/30/15, 10/14/15, 10/28/15, 11/3/15, 11/11/15, 11/18/15, 12/2/15, 12/10/15, 1/6/16, 1/13/16, 2/3/16

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 7/27/15, 1/18/16, 2/1/16

SAR-OIC – Search & Rescue – 10/19/15

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling: 11/2/15, 2/15/16

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day: 7/27/15, 9/28/15, 1/25/16

SMS – Contact Admissions

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 8/3/15, 2/8/16

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 1/4/16

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: 8/3/15

TRAC-TUG-2: Contact Admissions

TTT – Contact Admissions

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: Contact Admissions

VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 7/22/15, 9/9/15, 10/7/15, 10/17/15, 2/15/16

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level): 9/28/15, 3/21/16

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): 9/14/15, 2/29/16

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Please also see our schedule and enroll online at For registration contact our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen: 206.838.1126 or

July 2015

20-23 ARPA
27-31 Radar Observer Unlimited

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The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates, & Pilots, ILA, AFL-CIO, 700 Maritime Blvd. Suite B, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1953. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973. All rights reserved. The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly © 2015. Articles can be reprinted without prior permission if credit is given to The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly. For address changes, send an e-mail to Back issues of The Weekly are posted on