Wheelhouse Weekly – July 28, 2006

July 28th 2006


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

Volume 10 . . . . . Number 30. . . . July 28, 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.



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 Harry Bridges. Bridges was an influential labor leader in the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which he helped form and led for over 40 years. He was especially known for his sense of fair play, advocacy of rank-and-file voting and international outlook.

The Harry Bridges Institute (HBI) was founded in 1993 to meet a pressing need to educate a new generation of workers about the rich history of the labor movement and to demonstrate the benefit of union membership to the working community. HBI is also designed to showcase and celebrate the contributions of labor leaders as well as rank-and-file trade unionists, not only in the founding of unions, but in the continued struggle for worker’s rights. More info can be found on the HBI Web site at .



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


Members are also reminded that Matson Navigation’s Government Services group is looking for qualified Masters and Chief Mates. Matson is actively pursuing new opportunities aboard government contract vessels. The Company needs to identify a qualified pool of MM&P senior Licensed Deck Officers. MM&P members and applicants who have Master and/or Chief Mate experience, particularly aboard LMSR or other government-contract vessels, are urged to send their resumes to Teri Sullivan at the address listed below. Please note that resumes should be in the format recommended by Matson and the Military Sealift Command. The appropriate resume template may be obtained from Pacific Ports offices, or from Richard Plant or Mike Rodriguez at MM&P HQ.

Address resumes to:
Teri Sullivan, Office Manager,
Matson Navigation Government Services
1521 Pier “C” Street, 4th Floor
Long Beach, CA 90813


Mike Rodriguez, Executive Assistant to MM&P International President Tim Brown, returned to the United States from active duty service in the Navy on July 14th. After processing back into the reserve at the Washington Navy Yard and a couple of days off, he returned to his office at International Headquarters full time on July 25th. Mike would like to thank all those who sent him their best wishes and supported his active service. You can reach Mike at 410-850-8700 ext. 23 or by e-mail:


The July-August 2006 issue of The Master, Mate & Pilot will arrive in members’ mailboxes soon. In the meantime, look for it online on MM&P’s Web site, Covered in this issue of The Master, Mate & Pilot:

  • MM&P speaks out on the government’s proposed transportation workers identity card (TWIC) and on USCG’s plan to consolidate all merchant mariner documents and licenses into a single credential;
  • MM&P’s position on port access incorporated by House into USCG authorization bill;
  • MM&P members receive medals for hurricane relief work;
  • MM&P contract and company news; PLUS
  • a seafarer’s perspective on ship and port security.
    To access a copy of the July-August 2006 issue of The Master, Mate & Pilot in PDF format, just go to the home page, click on “MM&P Magazine,” then click on “Download current issue.”


    The new MM&P-contracted Matson Navigation Co. containership MV MAUNALEI was christened last weekend at the Aker Philadelphia Shipyard. The christening, the traditional kind involving breaking a bottle of champagne, was undertaken by Millie Akaka, wife of Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI). Also on hand were Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI) and Rep. Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam). MM&P Atlantic Ports VP Rich May and Pacific Ports Agent Dave Boatner represented the MM&P at the ceremony.

    “What needs to be understood,” said Abercrombie, “is the firm connection between a vibrant and healthy US maritime industry and the prosperity of our nation.” He also remarked that federal laws that bar non-US vessels from conducting commerce on all-US trips are vital to US security. The MV MAUNALEI is the fourth new containership built by the shipyard for Matson in the past four years, representing an investment of more than $500 million by Matson’s parent company, Alexander & Baldwin.

    “In only four years, Matson has introduced four new ships to its fleet,” said A&B Chairman Allen Doane. “In 2002, the average age of the Matson fleet was 25 years. Today the age is a more youthful 14 years.” The 2,500-teu MAUNALEI will enter service in September and be deployed in the Hawaii, Guam and China service.


    MM&P International President Capt. Tim Brown was informed last week that MAERSK Lines was willing to match dollar-for-dollar any contributions made by MM&P officers employed aboard a MAERSK Lines vessel to the United Seamen’s Service (USS). This matching offer will remain in effect until the end of August at which time MAERSK will review its commitment.

    “As most of your know, the United Seamen’s Service is facing financial problems caused by the diminished size of the American Merchant Marine, the withdrawal of American Service personnel from both the Far East and Europe and, over the last 20 years, vessels have been docking in new locations often miles from the local USS Club. These three factors have resulted in diminished business at all USS service clubs,” Capt. Brown said.

    “The MM&P International will contribute $2500 to the USS as its part to help shore up its base. Clearly anyone, whether a Maersk employee or not, is encouraged to contribute to the USS,” stated Capt. Brown.


    On July 27th, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation conducted a confirmation hearing to consider the nomination of Sean Connaughton to be the Maritime Administrator. A favorable recommendation from the Committee will send his nomination to the full Senate for a floor vote. Connaughton graduated from Kings Point in 1983 with a Third Mate’s (Unlimited Tonnage) license. He was on active USCG duty from 1983 to 1986. He is currently serving a second term as Chairman At-Large of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors in Virginia.

    According to the Congressional Information Bureau e-newsletter, Connaughton that if he is confirmed as the next Maritime Administrator, he would focus the agency’s efforts on “the strategic areas of commercial mobility and congestion relief, maritime and port development, national security, and environmental stewardship.” He also said that he “strongly supports” the Jones Act and noted that the Maritime Administration must support the strategic objectives of the Department of Transportation.

    “One of our greatest challenges is to increase our national transportation options in order to support our nation’s economic growth,” Connaughton said. “Greater use of the maritime transportation system, through elements such as short sea shipping and multi-modal port development, offer the potential to reduce congestion while increasing efficiency of our ports and waterways. We expect that the US military will increase its reliance on commercial transportation systems.”


    The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a synopsis of its investigation of the capsizing of the New York State-certified passenger vessel ETHAN ALLEN at Lake George on October 2, 2005. The vessel was carrying 47 passengers and an operator. Three passengers were seriously injured; six received minor injuries; and 20 passengers died in the incident. The NTSB determined that the probable cause of the capsizing was insufficient stability, resulting in part from undue reliance on the manufacturer’s capacity plate data and failure to assess the vessel’s characteristics following modifications.


    The cruise ship CROWN PRINCESS sailed from Port Canaveral, FL to her homeport of Brooklyn, NY, just days after an incident injured 260 passengers. Federal investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and the US Coast Guard were onboard to continue their investigation of the accident and to conduct equipment tests along the way. The ship was sailing off the Florida coast last week when she suddenly rolled 15 degrees to her right, throwing passengers and other unsecured objects against the deck and bulkheads. Two passengers remain hospitalized.

    Christened just last month, the crew reported a steering problem aboard the vessel. At the time of the incident, the ship was sailing in calm seas, on autopilot and the Master was not on the bridge. According to published reports, a preliminary investigation has indicated that a computer glitch in the ship’s autopilot may have been to blame.

    A similar incident occurred in February aboard the cruise ship GRAND PRINCESS, also owned by Princess Cruises, off the US Gulf coast. During that incident, crewmembers and passengers were also injured. As previously reported in the Wheelhouse Weekly, investigators decided that the cause of that event was human error.


    Fifty years ago this week, Italian luxury liner ANDREA DORIA sank after being rammed by the Swedish ship STOCKHOLM off Nantucket, MA. Out of 1,706 passengers and crew on the ANDREA DORIA, 46 people perished but 1660 lives were saved by lifeboats in what became the largest at sea rescue in American history. Five crewmembers were killed on the STOCKHOLM. The ANDRIA DORIA, was just hours from completing her 9-day voyage from Italy to New York, while the Swedish liner had just departed the outer approach to New York Harbor en route to Gothenburg. With heavy fog in the area, both ships observed the other on radar, but neither vessel attempted to contact the other. The sleek Italian liner sank 11 hours after the collision while the STOCKHOLM was able to return to New York under its own power with more than 400 ANDRIA DORIA survivors on board.


    The US Coast Guard is seeking applications for membership on the Navigation Safety Advisory Committee (NAVSAC). NAVSAC provides advice and makes recommendations to the agency on issues related to the prevention of collisions, rammings, and groundings and related navigational matters. Applications should be submitted by September 30.


    The federal government announced this week that a Superceding Indictment had been returned by a federal grand jury charging the owner and operator of the M/T PACIFIC RUBY in a pending case against the ship’s Chief Engineer. In the new indictment, Overseas Shipholding Group, Inc., a company that owned and operated the M/T PACIFIC RUBY through its subsidiaries, was charged as a co-defendant with Chief Engineer Kun Yun Jho, a Korean-national, who was first charged on May 17, 2006.

    The defendants are charged with conspiracy, making false statements and violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships for their alleged role in maintaining false Oil Record Books that concealed deliberate discharges of oil-contaminated bilge waste. The investigation has been conducted by the Gulf Region of the USCG Investigative Service with assistance from the USCG Marine Safety Office in Port Arthur and Houston. The case is being prosecuted jointly by the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas and the Environmental Crimes Section of the US Dept. of Justice. The investigation is continuing.


    Foss Maritime Company, a Seattle-based marine services company with the largest fleets of tugs and barges on the West Coast, has announced its expansion to the East Coast with the acquisition of Constellation Tug Company of Charlestown, MA. With the planned introduction of two new tractor tugs to the Constellation fleet later this year, Foss will increase its capacity and capabilities. Foss will operate the company as a subsidiary under the name Constellation Maritime Company. Constellation currently operates four tugboats and three barges in the ports of Boston, Quincy, and Salem.


    In raising concerns that to some extent mirror those that MM&P has already submitted to the public docket regarding the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC), the National Maritime Security Advisory Committee (NMSAC) has cautioned the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to exercise extreme care with the program’s implementation. The committee also wants DHS to consider possible complications that could jeopardize TWIC’s success.

    NMSAC is chartered to advise, consult with, report to, and make recommendations to the Secretary of DHS on matters relating to maritime security. NMSAC members, both collectively and individually, have been deeply engaged in the development of the USCG and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulations pertaining to the implementation of the TWIC program.

    NMSAC noted three important issues of general applicability that NMSAC believes should be addressed to ensure the viability of the TWIC program.
    Those issues concern:
    o The technology utilized in the program;
    o The lack of effective notice to the public concerning the obligation for individuals who regularly work in secure areas to obtain and maintain a TWIC, or clearly deny access to individuals who have failed to obtain a TWIC, been denied a TWIC, or had their TWIC revoked;
    o Significant implementation issues.

    NMSAC said it supports the TWIC concept and commends the USCG and the TSA for their efforts in seeking solutions to the challenges confronting a program of this magnitude. The committee also said it shares DHS’s desire to implement programs which will improve maritime security; yet it believes that the proposed TWIC implementation is encumbered with complications that may jeopardize the success of the program and disrupt commerce. NMSAC is concerned by the short amount of time provided to analyze the contents of the proposed regulations and assess their impact on operations and by the limited number of public meetings held on the program and the short time frame between them.

    Specifically, NMSAC had been informed that the TSA and USCG would allow for a 60-90 day comment period. Yet the proposal only provided 45 days for public comment. As such, the public lacked adequate time to understand the full implications of the proposal and provide feedback at the public meetings and to the docket. In addition, the public meetings were held in a limited number of locations, which therefore excluded some major maritime areas of the country. NMSAC believes that many of the industry’s concerns can be addressed with additional time, communication and planning. NMSAC urges the agencies to extend the comment period on the regulations and hold additional public meetings.

    The large volume of comments to the TWIC docket raises a number of significant questions about various aspects of the TWIC rulemaking proposal, and NMSAC encourages DHS to consider carefully all of these comments in its review of the proposed regulations.

    There are three important issues of general applicability that NMSAC believes should be addressed to ensure the viability of the TWIC program.

    Issue: The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) proposes that the technology supporting the TWIC will be based on the FIPS 201 standard, which differs from the technology used the TWIC pilot program, and which has not been adequately tested in the marine operating environment. Common industry experience indicates that there are serious operational concerns regarding the use of contact readers, and with the requirement for the input of a Personal
    Identification Number (PIN).

    Recommendation: NMSAC recommends that the agencies test contactless TWIC readers that can verify the biometric info stored within the TWIC without the additional input of a PIN or requirement for owner/operators to individually capture and store redundant biometric information. This test should be completed before final regulations are published mandating the verification of the stored biometric info within a TWIC as an access control tool. In addition, NMSAC urges the agencies to defer requiring verification of the stored biometric or an electronic read of the TWIC at access control points until the technology solution and attendant procedures are tested and proved effective under operational conditions at facilities and onboard vessels. Whether TWICs should be required and issued on a national basis before these tests are completed presents a difficult choice. However, NMSAC wishes to note that if the industry’s concerns about the present technology standard are realized after TWICs have been issued, it is likely TSA may be compelled to reissue new credentials using a modified technology standard to all those who had been issued TWICs under the current proposed standard.

    Adequate Notice
    Issue: Port workers, vessel and facility employees, motor carriers and those who need to freely move about
    secure areas of vessels or facilities regulated by the MTSA need to obtain and maintain TWICs if this program is to work as intended, but the proposed rules fail to provide the public such notice. The NPRM only discusses individuals needing “unescorted” and “escorted” access to secure areas rather than directly stating who must have a TWIC. This will lead to significant confusion and delays at access control points if individuals (for example, port draymen) without TWICs present themselves for entry.

    Recommendation: To solve this problem, the final TWIC regulations must indicate that if an individual who
    regularly works in a secure area has not obtained a TWIC, has been denied a TWIC, or has had his or her TWIC revoked,
    that person cannot have access to secured areas.

    Significant Implementation Issues
    Issue: TWIC will be a major undertaking for the TSA, USCG and the maritime industry, as well as those that support this mode of transport. Further complicating TWIC implementation is the fact that there are sectors of the maritime industry that are highly dependent on a variable or seasonal workforce. Many maritime sector stakeholders have noted situations in which it would not be practical for a worker to wait the estimated 60 days it will take to obtain a TWIC to gain unescorted access. For example, a predictable problem would be an employer’s need to have an immediate replacement for a TWIC holding employee who is unexpectedly no longer able to perform. There are similar
    issues related to the selection of secured/restricted areas, impact on other modes of transport, and the ability to get personnel into the facility on a routine basis.

    Recommendation: NMSAC recommends that the TSA and USCG further review the implementation issues, many of which have been described through the public meetings that were held and submissions to the docket, and work with the industry to resolve these many issues. Given TSA’s estimated time to issue a TWIC, the final regulation should include a provision for an interim or temporary TWIC that could be utilized by new employees, seasonal hires, or temporary workers during the period in which they are waiting for their TWIC applications to be processed and their credentials to be issued. NMSAC recommends that the agencies may wish to consult with NMSAC and others prior to finalizing the details of such a provision.

    The maritime industry fully supports the need for enhanced security, but we have grave concerns that if TWIC is implemented as proposed, it may add only limited security value while significantly impairing trade and shipping.
    TWIC must be implemented right the first time. The TSA and USCG must work to achieve buy-in from the maritime industry and others affected by TWIC. The only way to do this is through working closely together to find a way to effectively integrate TWIC into our daily activities.

    There are a number of steps that could be taken to reach this goal:
    o Work with the maritime industry to resolve the issues that have been raised by the many responders to the
    docket and public meetings;
    o Test the equipment to be used in real-life situations
    o Model the program at multiple locations, not only testing technology, but testing the integration of the system
    into the daily workings of the industry
    o Utilize these tests to help build industry support for the program.

    NMSAC members fully understand the amount of effort that the TSA and USCG have put into the development of this proposal, and stand ready to assist the DHS in resolving the many questions surrounding this important program.



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

    ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 9/12, 9/26, 10/10, 10/24
    AZIPOD-KAM-2 – Two-Day Azipod and Kamewa Steering and Propulsion Systems: 9/19, 9/23, 10/2

    BRMP – Bridge Resource Mangement for Pilots: 8/7, 9/27, 10/10
    BST – Basic Safety Training: 8/28, 9/25, 10/20

    [CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
    *WX-BASREF-2 – Two day Basic weather refresher, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED PREP for Advanced Meteorology: 10/26
    *CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 9/11, 10/30
    CMM-ADVSTB – 8/21, 9/11, 10/2
    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: 9/18, 10/16
    CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 8/7, 10/30
    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: 10/9
    CMM-WKP – Watchkeeping: 8/28

    CONT-PLNG – Contingency Planning: 10/13

    CSE-AASE – Confined Space Entry: 8/28

    FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 8/28, 9/25, 10/30

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

    MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 10/12

    MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 8/12, 9/24, 10/22
    MED-PIC – Medical Person-In-Charge: 8/14, 9/11, 10/16
    MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 8/14, 9/11, 10/16

    [MSC – Military Sealift Command]
    MSC-CBRD-1 (Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Orientation): 8/23, 10/25
    MSC-DC (Damage Control): 8/24, 10/26
    MSC-SMA – Small Arms Training: 10/30
    MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 9/1, 11/3 (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: 9/25, 10/2, 10/9, 10/23

    SEC-OFF-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 10/9
    SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 10/23
    SHS-EMR – Emergency Shiphandling: 7/31, 8/28, 10/30

    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

    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
    11,100.43 +172.33 for the week 2,054.47 +15.04 for the week 1,263.19 +23.10 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) 44.74
     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.