News

Wheelhouse Weekly – July 19, 2010

July 19th 2010

 

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

Volume 14 . . . . . Number 29. . . .July 19, 2010

STORIES COVERED

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


INTERNATIONAL MARITIME ORGANIZATION PROCLAIMS JUNE 25 AS ANNUAL DAY OF THE SEAFARER

International Maritime Organization (IMO) member states have unanimously proclaimed June 25 as “The Day of the Seafarer.” The proclamation was made in honor of “the unique contribution made by seafarers to international seaborne trade, the world economy and civil society as a whole…”

The vote was taken during the diplomatic conference in Manila which met to adopt revisions to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW). A companion resolution urged governments and companies to promote seafaring as a career choice and to encourage those already in the profession to continue to sail.

The resolution recognized “the enormous risks seafarers shoulder” in the execution of their duties in “an often hostile environment,” while spending long periods of their life at sea, away from family and friends. The proclamation also calls on governments to take action on a number of grave problems faced by mariners today: the risk of pirate attack; the criminalization of seafarers whose ships are involved in accidents; and the ongoing problem of shore access denial.


MM&P EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER USCG DECISION TO REMOVE MARINER EXAM QUESTIONS FROM WEBSITE

MM&P is expressing concern over the removal of actual examination questions from the National Maritime Center (NMC) website. In a cryptic statement, the Coast Guard said it had decided to remove the actual questions on July 12 because it “recently found a non-conformity during a routine internal audit of one of its core programs.” The Coast Guard has replaced the full set of deck and engineering questions and answers with “sample deck and engineering questions and answers for review…” MM&P has protested the Coast Guard’s action and is now in the process of assessing what it may mean for mariners taking the exam. “NMC made this decision on a unilateral basis, without soliciting comment from the affected mariner community,” said MM&P Special Projects Director Richard Plant. The union is preparing a report that details the implications of the Coast Guard’s move. We will publish updates on the situation in The Wheelhouse Weekly.


INTERNATIONAL TRANSPORT WORKERS FEDERATION CALLS ON WORLD GOVERNMENTS TO END PIRACY

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is in the process of collecting signatures on a petition that calls on the governments of the world to do everything in their power to bring an end to piracy. “Almost every day, seafarers are being kidnapped and exposed to an increasing risk of injury or even death,” the ITF says. “As you read this, seafarers transporting the world’s goods are going through areas where the risk of pirate attack is increasing and right now families are suffering worry and uncertainty for their loved ones.” The ITF is calling on governments to take a stand to end the scourge of piracy. The objective is to collect 500,000 signatures by World Maritime Day in September 2010. To sign the petition, go to: www.endpiracynow.org.


PIRATE ATTACKS DECLINE AND FOCUS SHIFTS TO RED SEA

Acts of piracy declined worldwide and in the waters off Somalia during the first half of 2010, according to the International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Center (IMB). The area in which attacks are taking place seems to be shifting away from the Gulf of Aden to areas that are relatively less prone to monsoons. Recent attacks have occurred up to 1,000 miles away from Somalia in the Indian Ocean, the IMB said. It warns that the southern Red Sea has become a new area of activity for pirates. So far this year, 27 ships have been hijacked and 100 have reported being attacked. The IMB said the decrease in attacks compared to the same period last year is a result of increased activity by international navies and heightened security precautions by vessel operators. Overall, in the first six months of 2010, there were 196 incidents of piracy around the world, compared to 240 during the first two quarters last year. From January to June of 2010, one crewmember was killed, 597 were taken hostage and 16 were injured in pirate attacks.


PATRIOT SEEKS RESUMES FOR JOBS ON GOVERNMENT CONTRACT VESSELS

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: john.howe@asmhq.com or fax to (866) 340-3072.

Michael Gillihan, Logistics Manager: michael.gillihan@asmhq.com 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 sbourcq@bridgedeck.org or fax to (504) 834-1815.


$2,000 PRIZE FOR BEST UNION PRIDE SONG

“Union Plus” has launched a new contest: the union member who submits the best song about their own union or about “Union Plus” benefits will win $2,000. Here’s your chance to support the labor movement and impress your fellow union members with your musical talent. To submit your song, go to www.unionsongcontest.org. You can also submit a union-themed ringtone here. There will be no prizes for ringtones, but “Union Plus” staff will select their favorites and encourage union members to download them. So go to www.unionsongcontest.org now and submit your winning song. You could win $2,000.


APPLICATIONS NOW BEING ACCEPTED FOR UNION PLUS 2011 SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM

Since 1992, the “Union Plus” Scholarship Program has awarded more than $3 million to students of working families who want to begin or continue their post-secondary education. For 2010, some 121 union members and union family members have been awarded $150,000 in scholarships. The students selected for university, college, trade school or technical scholarships represent a wide sampling of backgrounds, union affiliations, goals and accomplishments. The selection process is very competitive: “Union Plus” says it receives 5,000 scholarship applications each year.

The program is open to students attending or planning to attend a college or university, a community college, or a technical college or trade school. Applicants are evaluated on the basis of academic ability, social awareness, financial need and appreciation of labor. The amount of the award ranges from $500 to $4,000. This is a one-time cash award sent to individual winners for study beginning in the fall of the same year.

To download an application form, go to www.unionplus.org, click on “Legal and Education” at the top of the page, then click on “College Planning Center” and then “Scholarships.”


APU GRADUATE DEGREE ORIENTATION AT MITAGS ON AUG. 11

The American Public University (APU) system will conduct a graduate degree orientation seminar at MITAGS on Wednesday, Aug. 11, at 7:00 p.m. All previous and current MITAGS Chief Mate/Master (CMM) program students are invited to attend. APU allows transfer of academic credit earned from completing the MITAGS CMM License Advancement Program courses into its own graduate degree and certificate programs. All APU courses are delivered on-line so mariners can pursue their educational goals from wherever they are. “This ground-breaking agreement affords merchant mariners the opportunity to complete their graduate degrees from anywhere they have access to the Internet, no matter where and when they travel throughout their maritime career,” said Victor Tufts, program manager at MITAGS. For additional information, contact him at 443-989-3531 or e-mail vtufts@mitags.org. You can also visit the MITAGS website: www.mitags.org.


D-BOOK MEMBERSHIP CLASS AT MM&P HEADQUARTERS AUG. 13-14

The D-Book Membership class will be held at MM&P headquarters on the evening of Aug. 13 and all day Saturday, Aug. 14. All applicants should complete the D-Book Membership Class as soon as possible to avoid delays in becoming members. Applicants should take the course before completing 360 days of covered employment. For more information and to sign up for the Aug. 13-14 course, please contact MM&P Contracts Officer Lars Turner: lturner@bridgedeck.org or 410-850-8700 ext. 28.


SPECIAL FROM MAREX NEWSLETTER: A CRUDE AWAKENING IN THE GULF

MM&P thanks Tony Munoz, editor-in-chief of Maritime Executive Magazine and MarEx Newsletter, for giving us permission to reprint this editorial, which was originally published in the July 15 issue of MarEx. 

The BP oil spill has exposed the United States’ inability to cease oil production in the Gulf of Mexico even in the face of an unprecedented ecological disaster. Even as the crude soils the coastwise beaches, sensitive wetlands and destroys businesses, the offshore industries are demanding the Administration end its six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling. On the human level it’s about jobs, but the loss of production is estimated to be 26,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the fourth quarter and 70,000 bpd in 2011, which will have a profound effect on the nation’s economic engine and its ability to emerge from the global economic crisis.

The United States can ill-afford to fall behind in the global economy, especially while the country’s debt is off the charts and unemployment is at 9.5 percent, a level at which it is expected to remain throughout 2010. The Gulf of Mexico produces 8 percent of the entire U.S. domestic production, accounting for 28 percent of liquid consumption. The United States maintains 2 percent of world oil reserves and the Gulf of Mexico accounts for 19 percent of the reserves. Meanwhile, U.S demand for oil and gas is expected to increase by 5 percent this year, even with tepid economic growth.

The Administration’s moratorium has now unemployed thousands of workers on the 33 rigs affected by the ban and related operations; their lost wages are estimated to be about $330 million per month. Meanwhile, if the drilling ban lingers for any length of time, the economic consequences could be dire. Gulf communities and cities could die like the Midwest towns that died due to the demise of the auto industry and steel mills. In fact, the entire Gulf coast–where deepwater drilling is crucial to the economy–could just simply fade away.

The Changing Global Economy

The United States is no longer the world’s largest economy, and it will continue to fall behind for more reasons than just oil production. In 2009, the European Union posted a gross domestic product of $14.5 trillion; the United States came in second at $14.2 trillion, followed up by China at $4.9 trillion. The United States has a massive trade deficit on many fronts, but imported oil is the lion’s share of the imbalance of trade. In 2009, the United States imported over $265 billion in petroleum-related products while only exporting $49 billion. Petroleum-related products include crude oil, natural gas, fuel oil and other petroleum-based distillates such as kerosene. This oil-related deficit of $204 billion was over half of the total 2009 trade deficit of $380.7 billion.

Each year, the United States imports over 60 percent of its hydrocarbon consumption, and beyond Canada, which provides one out of every six barrels of oil consumed daily, US friends with oil are few and far between. Venezuela recently nationalized 11 oil rigs owned by an American company. OPEC contains countries militant towards the United States. Russia might look like a friend now, but it is also known to twist the political dagger when it comes to oil.

Meanwhile, the U.S. federal debt is over $13 trillion, two-thirds of which is public debt, owed to the people, businesses and foreign countries that bought Treasury bills, notes and bonds. The fastest growing economy on the planet is China, which owns $755.4 billion of the Treasury indebtedness, or 20 percent of the $3.5 trillion owned by foreigners. China also sends 18 percent of its exports to the United States, which creates a $226 billion trade deficit. And, while many believe the Chinese flood the markets with exports, they only account for 4 percent of its GDP.

In June 2010, the United States posted its largest trade deficit since November 2008–$42.3 billion–which provides additional evidence that the U.S recession is far from over. More importantly, as the global economy begins to recover, China’s economy expanded by 8.7 percent. While the U.S. economy did improve–to 5.7 percent–in 2009, last year, the United States also imported 4.35 billion barrels of foreign oil at a cost of $265 billion.

C’mon Man�

While Washington debates whether to add a new tax on oil production to pay for the Gulf cleanup, this and other attempts to curb oil industry tax breaks are likely to create fierce opposition in Congress. With that being said, oil producers are packing their collective bags and leaving the Gulf for greener pastures due to the moratorium. If Washington continues to spit into the gale winds of the economic climate, then the limping U.S economy is heading for big trouble.

At the recent House Energy and Commerce Committee hearings, oil executives lined up to criticize BP and repudiate it for the Macondo well design and its series of bad decisions. The CEOs of ExxonMobil, Chevron and Shell had extraordinary criticism for fraternity member BP and they did not hesitate to throw BP under the bus.

Rex Tillerson, chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, said he saw a number of design implementations that did not follow normal industry standards. “We would have not drilled the way they did,” he said. Chevron’s John S. Watson said not all the standards it would have employed were in place. And Shell President Marvin Odum said, “It is not a well we would have drilled with that mechanical set-up, and there were operational concerns as well.”

Anadarko Petroleum, BP’s 25 percent partner on the Macondo project, also did not hesitate to blame BP. Anadarko CEO Jim Hackett said the tragedy was “preventable and a direct result of BP’s reckless decisions and actions… which likely represent gross negligence and willful misconduct.”

Now, for the record, BP is not a British-owned company. In 1998, British Petroleum merged with Amoco (formerly the United States’ fourth largest oil company). Today, the British own 40 percent, slightly more than American shareholders (39 percent). Of BP’s 13-member board of directors, five are from the United Kingdom, four are from the United States, two have dual citizenship (UK/US), the chairman is a Swede (Carl-Henric Svanberg) and, the thirteenth, is from the Netherlands.

In the end, BP should pay for its bad decisions with all its assets, if need be. But, should we take the entire industry to the gallows for the misdeeds of one? If Obama and Salazar think the moratorium won’t devastate an already shaky economy, then the rest of us in the “lifeboat” are in big trouble.

To respond or comment, Tony Munoz can be reached at tonymunoz@maritime-executive.com


OIL RECUPERATION UNDERWAY IN FIRST-EVER ST. LAWRENCE SEAWAY SPILL

The MV RICHELIEU, a Canada Steamship Lines vessel, ran aground in a storm on Monday, July 12, rupturing a fuel tank and leaking oil into the seaway near Ste. Catherine. Canadian authorities said that the oil was mostly contained in the Ste. Catherine lock. It was the first oil spill in the 51-year history of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Between 50 and 200 tons of oil were spilled. The vessel was carrying a load of wheat into Montreal when it lost power during the storm, veered off course and ran aground. The leak was contained on Tuesday, according to a spokesman for the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. Boats equipped with special filters are pushing the fuel onto the shore, where it is being collected manually and disposed of. Nearly all the fuel has been confined to parts of the north side of the canal, and behind floating boom on the south side due to winds. 


AUSTRALIAN DOCKERS STOP WORK IN PROTEST AFTER PORT FATALITY

Australian dockworkers walked off the job for 24 hours last week following the death of a 41-year-old docker at Melbourne’s Appleton Dock. The man was struck by a 3-ton steel beam when a gantry crane collapsed. Maritime Union of Australia members stopped work at all P&O Automotive and Patrick General Stevedoring (POAGS) wharves in 15 ports nationwide to mark the third fatal accident this year. It was the second at POAGS operations and the third fatality at Appleton Dock in seven years.


TYPHOON SINKS BARGES AND FISHING BOATS OFF WEST COAST OF MANILA

The tropical storms that hit Manila last Monday sank a dozen barges and small fishing boats. As typhoon Basyang hit the waters of Luzon off the west coast of Manila, at least 12 barges and fishing boats were sunk or ran aground.


MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

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

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-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): 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

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: 7/29

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, 9/27
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 www.mitags.org for course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations, and schedule revisions. For class availability or info on MITAGS courses and programs, contact admissions toll-free at 866-656-5568 or e-mail: admissions@mitags.org.


PMI ACADEMIC NOTES

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

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

July 2010

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
11-22GMDSS
12-15ARPA
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


MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 7-16-10

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
10,359.31 2,179.05 1,064.88
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Closing
Price
 Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund (VAARX)
48.39
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
98.13
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
32.56
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
16.15
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
14.79
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
22.21
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
11.04
 Vanguard Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
26.02
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
5.53
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
15.26
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
19.12
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
13.62
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
17.62
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
11.19
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
11.33
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
11.17
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
11.30
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
11.69
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
10.74
 Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
26.38
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
14.90
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
13.79
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
15.17
 Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
10.57
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
60.01
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
55.99
 Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
15.49
 Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX)
36.36
 Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
25.70
 Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
22.73
 Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
10.84
 Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
11.48
 Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
12.40
 Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
12.31
 Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
12.02
 Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
6.89
 Fidelity Freedom 2050 (FFFHX)
7.97
 Fidelity Total Bond Fund (FTBFX)
10.89
 Spartan Extended market Index Fund (FSEMX)
30.22
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
37.71
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
25.18



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

© 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: lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org. For changes of address, contact Lisa Rosenthal at lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org.