Wheelhouse Weekly – July 24th, 2018

July 24th 2018

Volume 23… Number 30… July 24, 2018


In This Issue:


Panama Canal Update:

Job Opportunities:


Maritime Threat Advisory:


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A study released last week concludes that retail prices in Puerto Rico are not higher because of the Jones Act.

The Jones Act is the law that protects the jobs of everyone who works directly or indirectly for the U.S.-flag shipping industry, including all MM&P members and employees.

It requires that vessels moving shipments between points in the United States be U.S. owned, U.S. built and U.S. crewed.

The Jones Act does not prohibit foreign vessels from transporting supplies to Puerto Rico.

In fact, nearly two-thirds of the vessels calling on Puerto Rico are foreign flag and nearly all the fuel transported to Puerto Rico is delivered aboard foreign-flag vessels.

The new study, which was sponsored by the American Maritime Partnership, compared retail prices for a number of products in Puerto Rico with those charged in Jacksonville, Fla.

“The findings of our analysis show that reliable, efficient and regular Jones Act services benefit consumers and businesses on the island, and no evidence suggests that exempting Puerto Rico from the Jones Act would reduce consumer prices in Puerto Rico,” said John Reeve, the lead economist on the study.

“On the contrary, such an action may well increase prices.”

Reeve said researchers found that prices charged for a number of grocery items and durable goods in Walmart stores in San Juan were the same as those charged by Walmart stores in Jacksonville.

These results are in keeping with a 2012 study by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Both studies contradict claims made by anti-U.S.-flag groups such as the Heritage Foundation that are working to promote the interests of foreign-flag shipping interests in the domestic market.

The new report says freight rates for shipments from the United States to Puerto Rico are similar to those to other Caribbean destinations.

A chart in the report compares revenue per container in the Puerto Rico trade to other Caribbean locations.

Revenue is 11 percent lower on shipments to the Dominican Republic, 5 percent higher on shipments to Haiti, 16 percent higher on shipments to St. Thomas and 44 percent higher on shipments to St. Croix.

“Clearly, Puerto Rico is not suffering a significant disadvantage in terms of freight rates,” the authors write.

Additionally, they note that shippers have the option of having cargo transported on foreign-flag vessels from overseas locations directly to Puerto Rico.

The researchers say that if shippers believed the use of Jones Act carriers was negatively affecting their bottom line, they would not choose to use them.

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The House of Representatives has effectively endorsed a White House proposal to freeze the pay of all federal employees, including Civil Service mariners, for the coming year.

The largely party line vote in the House to move the legislation that would freeze federal employees’ pay was 217-199.

The Senate had backed a 1.9 percent pay raise for federal employees.

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the bill unanimously after defeating a Republican amendment which would have stripped out the pay raise.

As per legal statute and MM&P’s collective bargaining agreements with federal agencies, MM&P Vice President Randall Rockwood and Government Fleet Representative Randi Ciszewski had begun justifying a 1.67 pay boost–commensurate with the prevailing wages for comparable deep-sea maritime jobs–for the Federal Employees Membership Group bargaining unit.

But the pay freeze, if it goes forward, would also cover MM&P Civil Service mariners.

The differences in the House and Senate bill will be worked out in conference committee.

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Growing tensions between the United States and its trading partners could have a serious impact on the maritime industry.

“World (shipping) traffic could be reduced by almost 1 percent, or as many as 1.8 million 20-foot containers, due to the intensifying trade dispute,” according to Drewry Shipping Consultants.

On the heels of the 25 percent increase in import duties already levied by the Trump administration on aluminum, steel, industrial parts and some consumer goods, the United States has proposed new tariffs on an additional $200 billion of Chinese goods.

What’s more, President Trump threatened Friday in a television interview with CNBC to impose additional new import duties on all $505 billion of America’s imports from China.

“Christmas is looking a little less bright for container-shipping companies,” wrote journalist Kyunghee Park in a July 18 Bloomberg Business News article.

“As the industry enters what’s typically its busiest quarter before the year-end holidays, an escalating trade row between China and the U.S. may lead to higher prices for China-made goods from Christmas lights to cooking stoves,” she writes.

“The U.S.-China tariff war will dampen trans-Pacific trade volume and freight rates, and global trade flows and supply chains will shift,” trade analyst Corrine Png told Bloomberg.

America’s ports, for their part, are concerned that a reduction in trade resulting from the Trump administration’s new tariffs will hit both revenues and funding for badly needed infrastructure projects.

“Ports are concerned about potential trade sanctions that could result in significant losses of good-paying, U.S. trade-related jobs, including those in the seaport industry,” Kurt Nagle, CEO of the American Association of Port Authorities, told members of Congress last week.

“Seaports are at the frontlines of the current uncertainties surrounding U.S. trade policy,” Nagle said in July 18 testimony before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs and Global Competitiveness.

“It is important to recognize that international trade, both exports and imports, is good for American workers and our national economy,”

He noted that the U.S. maritime industry as a whole supports millions of U.S. jobs.

The uncertain trade environment, he added, could also undercut investors’ willingness to finance badly needed investments in ports and related infrastructure.

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The Trump administration has quashed a measure known as the “persuader rule” that would have required employers to publicly disclose more information about the union-busting consultants they hire to block people’s efforts to form unions.

Anti-union consulting is a multi-million dollar industry.

The persuader rule, introduced in 2016 under former President Barack Obama, was officially scuttled on July 17 by the Labor Department now under President Trump.

The AFL-CIO criticized the administration for taking away the reform, which would have let people know how much money companies were spending to fight union organizing.

“The Department of Labor is siding with corporate CEOs against good government and transparency,” AFL-CIO spokesperson Josh Goldstein said in a statement.

“They have thrown a dark veil over the shady groups employers hire to take away the freedoms of working people.”

Federal law requires unions and employers to make certain disclosures to the government about the money they spend on labor-related activities.

Employers have to report whenever they hire an anti-union lawyer or consultant—“a persuader”–to speak to workers and urge them not to unionize.

Those disclosures are supposed to go into an online database for the public, but unions say the law has a big loophole because it doesn’t cover advice.

It doesn’t require employers to disclose transactions unless the persuaders themselves are in direct verbal contact with the employees.

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Our friends in Congress–Republicans, Democrats and Independents–have fought to protect the U.S. maritime fleet. They have stood with us, even when it was not popular within their own party.

It is up to all of us to do the same. Many of our allies are being challenged in the mid-term elections. They need our help just like we needed theirs when we were being challenged.
We need to help our friends in Congress win their elections.

But to do so, we need the support of every MM&P member, pensioner and employee!
Please help us re-elect pro-maritime legislators to Congress.
Stand with your union brothers and sisters!

Support the MM&P Political Contribution Fund by making a contribution to the PCF today.
Also, please visit the “Who We Support” page and find out if your representative stands with the American Merchant Marine.

Go to and click on the “Protect Your Job” button in the top right-hand corner of the page to contribute to the PCF.

The “Who We Support” page is posted in the Members’ Only section of the website.

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Tugboat captains protesting unsafe working conditions on the Panama Canal were joined last week at a press conference in Panama by officials of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).

The ITF is an international federation of transport workers, consisting of 650 unions in 145 countries representing 19 million workers, including almost a million mariners.

Tug captains working in the new PANAMAX locks have suffered from increased workloads, stress and job hazards as a result of the new lock system which does not include the use of locomotive mules to assist in positioning vessels.

The problems have been exacerbated by crew reductions unilaterally imposed by the Panama Canal Authority (ACP).

A deckhand was killed in the new locks last November. Another deckhand was seriously injured in a line-handling accident earlier this year.

ITF General Secretary Stephen Cotton told journalists who attended the press conference that the ITF and its affiliates are in complete support of the Panama Canal workers and have reached out to the ACP to open a dialogue.

“The ACP has not responded to us, other than deliberately trying to use the media to provide a version of the situation that is not a true reflection of what it is happening right now on the Canal,” Cotton said.

Rather than responding to complaints of unsafe conditions, he said, the ACP has sought to confuse the issue and muddy the waters.

He called for a research study on workloads and fatigue “to obtain an independent and thorough investigation for a true account on the conditions of the workers engaged in the Canal operations.”

Cotton was joined at the press conference by ITF Regional Secretary in Mexico Antonio Rodriguez Fritz.

Fritz slammed the ACP for the “unilateral implementation of crewing cuts without taking into account international research on workloads in the maritime sector and without having meaningful discussions with the union.”

The tugboat captains and associated vessel personnel are members of the MM&P affiliate Unión de Capitanes y Oficiales de Cubierta (UCOC).

MM&P and the ITF are working with UCOC to defend working conditions on the canal.

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The Southeast Alaska Pilots’ Association (SEAPA) will hold an exam the week of March 4, 2019, to select pilot trainees.

SEAPA has approximately 50 members with backgrounds from across the maritime industry.

The association’s mission is to protect life, property and the marine environment by providing safe navigation of vessels from the Canadian border though the Alaska Panhandle plus Yakutat Bay.

Interested mariners are encouraged to make an optional three-day visit to the Association’s headquarters in Ketchikan in mid-September 2018 to learn more about piloting in Southeast Alaska.

For more information, go to:

All questions should be addressed to

Please do not call the SEAPA business office about this announcement under any circumstances.

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The Washington State Department of Ecology is seeking a Marine Transportation Safety Specialist.

The job is located in Clark County, Vancouver. The annual salary range is $67,236.00 to $88,236.00.

To find out more, go to and click on “Jobs” and then “Find Current Job Openings.”

The job number is: 2018-SPPR3542-07005.

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STOThe MM&P union halls in Seattle, San Francisco/Oakland and Los Angeles/Long Beach will be closed on Monday, July 30, in observance of the birthday of International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) founder Harry Bridges.

Last week’s Weekly incorrectly listed the closing date as Friday, July 27.

Please note that the MM&P Honolulu Hall will not be closed for Harry Bridges Day.

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The U.S. maritime authorities have issued a new warning regarding the threat of piracy, armed robbery and terrorism in the Sulu and Celebes seas.

“U.S.-flagged vessels are advised to remain vigilant and adhere to the counter-piracy annex of their approved Vessel Security Plan when transiting the Sulu and Celebes Seas, in light of recent boardings and kidnappings for ransom that have taken place in those areas.”

“To date in 2018, there have been at least 15 reported boardings, attempted boardings, attacks, hijackings, and kidnappings in the Sulu and Celebes Seas.”

“All recent kidnapping incidents in this area were reportedly linked to the Abu Sayyaf Group, a violent Islamic separatist group operating in the southern Philippines.”

The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia’s (ReCAAP) Information Sharing Center advises all ships to avoid anchoring outside port limit areas and to exercise enhanced vigilance, maintain strict look-outs (particularly during hours of darkness) and report all incidents to the relevant authorities immediately.

Additional information on threats in this region, including specific recommendations for vessels transiting the area, is available on the ReCAAP website at

Mariners operating in or near these areas are also advised to consult the Department of State Travel Warnings at

For any questions, contact

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MITAGS-PMI is interested in receiving photo submissions from MM&P members for use on the official MITAGS-PMI social media platform.

The goal is to document members’ voyages. As suggestions, photos can be of events and sights onboard, crewmembers at work or scenic locations.

If you are interested in sharing photos, please send them with caption information to or

Be sure to tell us whether you would like to be credited for the photo.

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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 Amanda Meadows, Admissions Coordinator, toll-free at 866-656-5568 or by e-mail:

Why not try our on-line calendar to register for class:

For Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) processing, MMC problem resolution advice, STCW compliance and VA GI-Bill questions, contact MITAGS-PMI Student/Instructional Services Manager Jennifer Pitzen at 206-739-0720 (direct line); (888) 893-7829 (toll free); or by e-mail:

Please include your Mariner Reference Number, date of birth and the last four digits of your social security number in all emails.

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 – 8/27/18, 10/15/18

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: 8/29/18

ARPA-OIC – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 9/25/18

AZIPOD 2-Day – 10/15/18

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 9/24/18, 10/29/18

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 12/19/18

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling: **Now also included in BRMP-Refresher** 10/17/18

BRMP-Refresher – 9/11/18

BT – Basic Safety Training: 8/13/18 (PST, PSSR, AID-CPR portions only), 10/22/18

BT-Revalidation (2-day) (Must have 1 year of sea service in last 5 years) – 7/31/18, 8/27/18, 9/26/18, 10/31/18, 12/18/18

BT-Refresher (3-day) – 7/30/18, 9/26/18, 12/17/18

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: Contact Admissions

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 7/30/18, 9/24/18, 12/10/18

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 8/6/18, 9/17/18, 12/3/18

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 10/1/18

CM-OPS 1 – Chief Mate Operations – Week 1: 8/6/18, 10/1/18

CM-OPS 2 Maersk – Chief Mate Operations II Maersk Specific: 8/13/18, 10/8/18

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information Systems: 8/13/18, 11/12/18

LMS – Leadership and Managerial Skills (Management Level – Formerly MCL-CMM): 8/20/18, 11/26/18

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants: 10/15/18

SEC-APPS – Practical Defense Tactics: 10/1/18

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management (2 weeks): 10/29/18

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 7/30/18, 8/13/18, 9/10/18, 10/1/18, 11/5/18, 11/26/18

SHS-ADV-II-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 8/6/18, 8/20/18, 9/17/18, 10/8/18, 11/12/18, 12/3/18

**SHS-ADV-I & II now approved to include SAR-CMM assessments at MITAGS effective immediately**

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 10/22/18

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 9/10/18

CNAV-OIC – Celestial Navigation: Contact Admissions

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: Not currently scheduled

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications: Not currently scheduled

CRSMGT – Crisis Management and Human Behavior – Not currently scheduled

CDMGT – Crowd Management – Not currently scheduled

CSE – Confined Space Entry: Contact Admissions

CSE-AWR – Confined Space Entry Awareness: Contact Admissions

DDE – Great Lakes: Contact Admissions

DPA – Contact Admissions

ECDIS for Pilots – 8/27/18, 12/17/18

ERM – Engine Resource Management: 11/26/18

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 8/13/18, 10/22/18

FF-ADV-Rev (1-day) (Must have 1 year of sea service in last 5 years) – Advanced Fire Fighting Revalidation: 8/2/18, 8/29/18, 9/25/18, 10/30/18

FF-ADV-REF (2-day) – Advanced Fire Fighting Refresher: 7/28/18, 9/29/18, 12/15/18

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications: 9/11/18

GL-Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization: Contact Admissions

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 8/20/2018

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 8/20/18, 12/10/18

IEN – Integrated Electronic Navigation – Not currently scheduled

LAP – 9/17/18

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes: Contact Admissions

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross
Ton License: Contact Admissions

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 9/12/18

LNG-TPIC – 12/3/18

LTS –Leadership and Teamworking Skills (Formerly MCL-OIC): Contact Admissions

MEECE – Management of Electrical and Electronic Control Equipment (Assessments not included): 12/3/18

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 10/8/18, 11/26/18

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 8/20/18, 9/17/18

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 10/8/18, 11/26/18

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 8/30/18, 9/24/18, 10/13/18, 10/29/18, 12/1/18, 12/21/18

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: Not currently scheduled

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 8/8/18, 9/12/18, 11/14/18

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control: 8/6/18, 9/13/18, 11/12/18

*MSC-ENVPRO – 8/5/18, 11/4/18

*MSC-FF-HELO – 8/13/18, 10/31/18

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualifications: 8/12/18, 9/17/18, 11/5/18

*MSC-Security Watch Basic – 8/9/18, 9/15/18, 11/2/18

*MSC-Security Watch Advanced – 8/10/18, 9/16/18, 11/3/18

*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force – 8/17/18, 9/21/18, 11/9/18

NSAP-MMP – Navigational Skills Assessment Program-MM&P – 7/31/18, 8/2/18, 8/28/18, 8/30/18, 11/12/18, 11/14/18, 12/17/18, 12/19/18

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 9/24/18

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 8/8/18, 8/22/18, 10/3/18, 10/17/18, 10/31/18, 11/7/18, 11/14/18, 11/28/18, 12/5/18, 12/12/18, 12/19/18

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 9/17/18

SAR – Search & Rescue – (Now with OIC and CMM assessments): 12/17/18

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling: 8/27/18, 10/22/18

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day – 9/24/18, 10/29/18, 12/10/18

SMS – Not currently scheduled

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: Contact Admissions

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: Contact Admissions

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: Contact Admissions

TRAC-TUG-2: Contact Admissions

TTT – Not currently scheduled

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: Contact Admissions

VSO – Vessel Security Officer: Contact Admissions

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level): Contact Admissions

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): Contact Admissions

Back to Stories Covered


Summer-Fall 2018

For registration, contact our admissions department: 206.441.2880 or

You can also view our schedule and enroll online at

July 2018
26th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
27th Medical DOT
27-28 Basic Training Revalidation
30-10 Celestial Navigation

August 2018
6-10 MEECE
6-10 Basic Training
10th Radar Renewal
10-13 Basic Training Refresher
11-13 Basic Training Revalidation
13-17 Leadership & Managerial Skills
13-24 GMDSS
14th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
14-17 Advanced Firefighting
20-24 Engine Resource Management (ERM)
23rd Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
24-25 Basic Training Revalidation
27th Medical DOT
27-31 Medical Care Provider

September 2018
4th Flashing Light
5-7 Security Officer – Vessel, Company, and Facility
6th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
7-8 Basic Training Revalidation
7-10 Basic Training Refresher
10th Radar Renewal
10-14 Basic Training
10-21 License Preparation (OICNW)
17-20 Advanced Firefighting
17-21 ECDIS
20-21 Basic Training Revalidation
21st Vessel Personnel w/ Designated Security Duties (VPDSD)
24th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
24-28 Medical Care Provider
24-5 Medical Person-In-Charge

October 2018
4-5 Basic Training Revalidation
4-8 Basic Training Refresher
8th Radar Renewal
8-12 Leadership & Managerial Skills
8-12 Basic Training
9th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
8-12 Pilot Exam Preparation
15-18 Advanced Firefighting
15-19 ECDIS
15-19 Engine Resource Management (ERM)
18-19 Basic Training Revalidation
19th Medical DOT
22nd Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
22-26 MEECE
22-2 Celestial Navigation
31-1 Basic Training Revalidation
31-5 Basic Training Refresher

November 2018
2nd Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
5th Radar Renewal
5-8 Advanced Firefighting
5-9 Basic Training
12-14 Security Officer – Vessel, Company, and Facility
13-16 Advanced Firefighting
16th Medical DOT
16th Vessel Personnel w/ Designated Security Duties (VPDSD)
19-20 Basic Training Revalidation
21st Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
26-30 Radar Observer Unlimited
29-30 Basic Training Revalidation

December 2018
3rd Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
3-7 Leadership & Managerial Skills
3-7 Medical Care Provider
3-14 Medical Person-In-Charge
10-13 ARPA
10-14 Basic Training
14th Radar Renewal
14th Medical DOT
14-18 Basic Training Refresher
17-18 Basic Training Revalidation
17-20 Search & Rescue
18-21 Advanced Firefighting
19th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation

Back to Stories Covered

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 © 2018. Articles can be reprinted without prior permission if credit is given to The MM&P WheelhouseWeekly. For subscriptions, address changes or messages to the editor or to MM&P headquarters, e-mail Back issues of The Weekly are posted on