Wheelhouse Weekly – July 31, 2012

July 31st 2012


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

Volume 16 . . . Number 31. . . July 31, 2012


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


The 84th MM&P Convention ended on Tuesday, July 24, with a standing ovation for outgoing International President Tim Brown, who told the delegates he had decided not to run for a seventh term in office. “After 21 years as ‘Captain’ of the MM&P ship, I salute the membership and prepare to hand over the conn to a new administration at the start of 2013,” Brown said.

Brown gained office in 1991 as an insurgent candidate in a badly fractured organization. After six terms at the helm, he leaves a legacy of stability, integrity and dedication to the membership of the Masters, Mates & Pilots. 

Before becoming president of MM&P, he served in the American Merchant Marine during the Vietnam War and then as a ship’s master with Sealand Service Inc. Among his many awards for service to the industry are the Admiral of the Ocean Seas (AOTOS) Award in 2002, the Seafarers’ and International House “Outstanding Friend of Seafarers” Award in 2004 and the Father Lalonde “Spirit of the Seas” Award by the Council of American Master Mariners in 2012. In 2009, he was admitted to the Port of New York and New Jersey’s International Maritime Hall of Fame.

“Tim has brought stability and respect to our organization,” said the MM&P International Secretary-Treasurer. “His achievements have laid a foundation of integrity and unity on which the membership of our union can build going forward.”

The following nominations for elected office were made on the last day of the convention: International President–Donald J. Marcus; International Secretary-Treasurer–Steven E. Werse; Offshore Group Vice President Atlantic Ports–Donald F. Josberger; Offshore Group Vice President Gulf Ports–D. Wayne Farthing and Michael K. Welch; Offshore Group Vice President Pacific Ports David H. Boatner; Vice President United Inland Group–C. Michael Murray; Vice President Pilots Group–George A. Quick; Vice President Federal Employees Membership Group–Randall H. Rockwood.

A 90-day ballot will be mailed to members on or about Sept. 14. The International Ballot Committee has set a tentative ballot count date of Dec. 13. The new administration will take office on Jan. 1, 2013.


Representatives Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Jeff Landry (R-La.) have introduced bipartisan legislation that would restore the cuts in the cargo preference program contained in the recently enacted surface transportation bill. Language that was added to the surface transportation bill reduced the U.S.-flag shipping requirement to 50 percent. 

The new bill, HR 6170, would bring the U.S.-flag shipping cargo preference requirement back to the 75 percent level that had existed since 1985. It has already been cosponsored by Democrats Nick Rahall (W.Va.), Rick Larsen (Wash.), Bennie Thompson (Miss.), Colleen Hanabusa (Hawaii), Cedric Richmond (La.), Corrine Brown (Fla.) and Tim Bishop (N.Y.), and by Republicans Mike Grimm (N.Y.) and Candace Miller (Mich.). 

Significantly, seven of the first eleven Congressional sponsors of this legislation currently participate in the maritime grassroots program that includes MM&P and MEBA. The seven are: Reps. Cummings, Rahall, Larsen, Richmond, Bishop, Brown and Grimm.

Cummings delineated in stark terms the risks that the cargo preference cuts pose to America’s security and economy when he introduced his bill, the Saving Essential American Sailors (SEAS) Act. “If we allow a further decline in this fleet and the loss of additional mariner jobs, we risk leaving our economy and indeed our military dependent on foreign-flagged, foreign-owned vessels manned by non-U.S. citizens,” he warned.

Rep. Jeff Landry struck a similar note, saying “this is what happens when Washington rushes bills… We don’t fully debate them or understand their ramifications. Section 100124 will mean that American taxpayers will be paying foreign workers while American mariners sit on the beach.”

MM&P and MIRAID, along with MEBA and others in our industry, have expressed strong and enthusiastic support for the enactment of HR 6170. A resolution unanimously adopted by the MM&P Convention Delegates last week stated that: “The U.S.-flag merchant marine and America’s maritime workforce deserve better from Congress. . . the 75 percent U.S.-flag cargo preference shipping requirement must be restored to protect and enhance America’s economic, homeland and military security.” 

MM&P has expressed its deep appreciation to Congressmen Cummings and Landry and the other sponsors of HR 6170 for their quick action and unwavering commitment to the U.S.-flag fleet and to American maritime workers. We will continue to report on this issue and on the progress of the new legislation.


The president of the United Steelworkers Union is calling November’s presidential election the most important in 80 years to the future of labor unions in America. Leo Gerard, speaking at a labor rally in Pennsylvania earlier this month, said that corporate money in politics threatens to overwhelm the voice of organized labor and that only a strong showing at the polls from union members will force lawmakers to address the campaign financing issue. “In 10 years, without a change in campaign finance … we will lose the right to bargain collectively,” he said.

And without strong unions, Gerard said, the gap between the rich and everyone else will continue to widen. To combat the trend, union members need to come out in force to support pro-labor candidates, and more importantly, to demand they implement policies important to labor unions.

America and unions experienced rising prosperity in the years from the end of World War II until the early 1980s, Gerard said. But since then, union membership has declined and more of the wealth generated from American industry has flowed to the top of the economic ladder. “At this point in our economic history, at this point in the evolution of America, and at this point in global economic history, the gap between the rich and the rest of us is the greatest it’s ever been,” he said.

Union membership in the United States has dropped from 20.1 percent of workers in 1983 to 11.8 percent in 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Meanwhile, income growth has been faster among top earners, according to the Census Bureau. The top 5 percent saw their inflation-adjusted median income grow by 45 percent between 1985 and 2010 to $287,000. During the same period, people in the bottom two-fifths of earners saw median income rise just 3 percent to $19,835.

“I can’t guarantee that we’ll win every fight,” Gerard said. “But I’ll guarantee that if we don’t fight, we’ll lose.”


Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS HENRY J. KAISER, which is providing logistical support for the biennial Rim of the Pacific exercise off Hawaii, delivered 900,000 gallons of a 50-50 blend of advanced biofuels and traditional petroleum-based fuel on July 17 to the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS NIMITZ. 

The delivery is part of the Navy’s Great Green Fleet demonstration, which allows it to test advanced biofuels in an operational setting. KAISER, along with MSC dry cargo/ ammunition ship USNS MATTHEW PERRY and MSC fleet replenishment oiler USNS YUKON, has supported RIMPAC throughout the nearly five weeks of the exercise. 

“This is a great opportunity,” said Kaiser’s civil service master Joseph Trogdlen. “MSC’s mission is service to the fleet and that is what RIMPAC is all about. Being able to bring a cutting edge technology like biofuel to the fleet is an exciting part of a very busy schedule of [underway replenishments] that we are conducting in support of this exercise.”


Are you on board? Are you supporting the team that is fighting to protect MM&P jobs and the MM&P pension plan by contributing to the MM&P PCF? It doesn’t matter if you are a Democrat or a Republican; if you consider yourself a liberal or a conservative or an independent or a member of the Tea Party. When Congress acts to weaken or repeal one of our core maritime policy programs and our fleet loses cargo and vessels, every mariner’s job is at risk and every mariner’s pension is jeopardized. 

The recent Congressional action to cut U.S.-flag shipping cargo preference requirements, if allowed to stand, could cost our industry up to 16 U.S.-flag vessels and more than 600 mariner jobs.

We need every member’s help and support. We need every member from every membership group to heed the call made last week by the 84th Convention Delegates. Please make a contribution to the MM&P PCF. Your support allows the PCF to work for the election of legislators who will fight to protect your job and your pension by fighting to preserve the programs and policies essential to the survival of the U.S.-flag merchant marine. 

Understand: we have no other political agenda. We support those who support us and nothing else matters. Check out the “Who We Support” page in the members’ only section of to see for yourself or contact Headquarters if you need or want more information.

The stakes are high. The future of our industry is on the line, and with it, the future of American maritime jobs and their related health and benefit plans. Act now: make a contribution to the MM&P PCF so we can fight to elect those who will fight for us.


The July-August issue of The Master, Mate & Pilot will be arriving in your mailbox soon. In the meantime, look for it online on In this issue: MM&P gains APL ship—MM&P licensed deck officers now in the wheelhouse of MV CYPRINE; cargo preference requirements slashed—how it happened and how we can respond; Washington State Ferry WENATCHEE rescues passenger from waters of Puget Sound; HORIZON RELIANCE saves yachtsman; permanent promotions for all MSOs represented by MM&P. 

To access The Master, Mate & Pilot online, go to and click on “MM&P Magazine” at the top of the home page.


The Washington Nationals and the Norfolk Tides will honor merchant mariners and support staff at their respective ball parks in August. Military Sealift Command has arranged with the teams to provide those interested the opportunity to purchase tickets for one or both of these events in an area that will be reserved for mariners, support staffs, their family and friends. The Nationals celebrate Mariner Appreciation Day tomorrow–Wednesday, Aug. 1–when they host the Philadelphia Phillies in a 7:05 PM game. 

Today is the last day to purchase tickets for $20 each in the special section reserved for mariners. Contact Tucker Stobbe by phone at 202-640-7699 to purchase your Nationals tickets!

The Norfolk Tides will honor mariners on Wednesday night, Aug. 15, when they host the Gwinnett Braves in a 7:15 PM contest with tickets at $11. Contact Lieut. Frank Lemene at 757-443-2743 or e-mail


There will be a meeting for MM&P members in the Los Angeles/Long Beach Hall on Aug. 8. All MM&P members in the area are encouraged to attend the meeting. 


The Offshore Familiarization Course, formerly called the D-Book Membership Course, will be held at regular intervals throughout 2012. 

The schedule is as follows (but please note that course dates may change depending on the number of participants who sign up): Sept. 7-8 at MM&P Headquarters; Oct. 9-10 in New Jersey; Oct. 17-18 in Los Angeles; Nov. 7-8 in Houston. 

There is no sea-time requirement to take the course. All Offshore applicants, potential transferees from other membership groups and other interested Offshore members are urged to attend. 

If you want to attend the course, please RSVP to the local hiring hall where the class is offered or, in the case of a course planned for headquarters, to MM&P Membership Secretary Mary Seidman:


Five bodies have been recovered by firefighters battling a blaze aboard the Malaysian tanker BUNGA ALPINIA, which exploded last Thursday off the South China Sea island of Labuan. The accident occurred while the ship was being loaded with methanol during a thunderstorm. The authorities say they believe the ship was struck by lightning, which triggered the blasts. Some diesel oil was leaking but the owners said in a statement the spill was small and being contained by booms. The chemical and palm oil tanker had 29 people on board. Twenty-four of them were brought ashore safely, three with minor injuries.


An iceberg larger than Manhattan has broken away from the floating end of a Greenland glacier. Scientists predicted the event last autumn, after the Petermann Glacier birthed another, even larger, ice island. The iceberg that broke free on July 16 measures 46 square miles. Although the new iceberg is not as large as its predecessor, the most recent split has shifted the front end of the massive glacier farther inland than it has been in 150 years, scientists say. When the floating ends of glaciers splinter and weaken, the glaciers that feed them speed up, dumping more ice into the ocean and raising global sea levels. “At this time of year, we’re always watching the Petermann Glacier,” said a Canadian “ice forecaster” interviewed by NBC, “because it can spawn big icebergs that invade North Atlantic shipping lanes or imperil oil platforms in the Grand Banks off Newfoundland.


Try our on-line calendar to register for class: 

For class availability or information on courses and programs, contact MITAGS Admissions Coordinator Kelly Michielli toll free at 866-656-5568 or e-mail her at

Between now and the end of September, the following courses are scheduled at MITAGS.

AB – Able Bodied Seaman: 8/20

ARPA – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 8/7, 9/25

BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 8/27

BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 8/23

BST – Basic Safety Training: 8/13

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 9/10

CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 8/20

CMM-SHMGT – Ship Management (2 weeks): 8/6, 9/17

CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 9/10, 9/4 

CMM-SHS-ADV-I I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 8/6, 9/17 

CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 8/27

CONSTAB – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 8/6

ECDIS-ENAV (2 DAY) for Pilots: 8/13

ENVIRO-Regs Permit – Environmental Regulations Permit: 8/28

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 8/13

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress Safety Signal: 8/20

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 8/20

LAP – License Advancement Program for Chief Mate & Master: 9/17

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 8/16

MCL – Management, Communication & Leadership: 8/20

MED-PIC – Medical Person In Charge: 9/17

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 9/17

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 9/22

MSC -SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 8/6

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 8/6

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

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 8/1, 8/15, 8/29, 9/14

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 8/6, 9/24

SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 8/13

SHS-ESH-BRMP3 – Emergency Shiphandling and Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 8/15

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling: 8/20

TC/NAV – Terrestrial & Costal Navigation and Compasses: 9/19

TPIC-DL – Tankerman Person In Charge Dangerous Liquids: 8/27

WX-BAS – Basic Meteorology: 9/17

… Remember: If you can’t make the class, make the call. Be courteous, don’t be a “no show.”

Check the MITAGS website at for course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations, and schedule revisions. 


Schedule of Courses – Please also see our schedule online at For registration, call our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen, at (206) 838-1126.

August 2012

6-17 Celestial Navigation
13-17 Marine Pilot Exam Prep Course
20-24 Radar Observer Unlimited
20-24 Medical Care Provider
20-31 Medical Person-In-Charge
27th Radar Renewal
27th Flashing Light
28-31 ARPA

September 2012

4-7 Basic Cargo Handling and Stowage
5-6 Vessel Security Officer
10-14 Radar Observer Unlimited
10-14 Bridge Resource Management w/ Simulation
10-21 Celestial Navigation
17-21 Basic Construction and Stability
17-28 GMDSS
24-27 ARPA
24-28 Able Bodied Seaman
24-28 Medical Care Provider

MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 7-24-2012 at 1:30 p.m. (EST)

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
13,031.38 2,884.24 1,380.97

Mutual Funds (Live)

Click a mutual fund for more information.
Click the right or left arrow on the right side of the ticker to browse the mutual funds.

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: For further info or to subscribe contact Lisa Rosenthal at The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea and is posted on our web page.

© 2012, 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: For changes of address, contact Lisa Rosenthal at