Wheelhouse Weekly – June 03, 2014


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

Volume 18 . . . Number 22 . . . June 3, 2014


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


All MM&P Pacific Ports will be closed on June 11 for King Kamehameha Day. The Houston Hall will be closed on June 19 for Emancipation Day.


Members of International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) Local 333 and MM&P officials met on May 28 in Staten Island to discuss the details of a proposed affiliation. The two unions, which are both affiliates of the ILA, have entered into talks on a plan under which Local 333—currently the United Marine Division of the ILA–would transfer within the ILA and become the new MM&P Atlantic Maritime Region.

“We are excited by the prospect of Local 333 joining with our organization, pending the vote of the members of both unions,” said MM&P President Don Marcus. “Our two unions share a rich maritime history, as well as a proud tradition of member representation. We look forward to beginning a new era of cooperation and solidarity on the New York waterfront. We thank ILA President Harold Daggett and the leadership and members of Local 333 for facilitating this reorganization vote.”

“This is a win-win for members of both unions for a number of reasons,” said Local 333 Acting Secretary/Treasurer Ron Tucker. “MM&P got its start in New York Harbor: it is fitting that they are returning to their roots by joining together with Local 333.” More details on the proposal and membership referenda will follow.


The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and employers represented by the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) continue to negotiate a new six-year master contract. The current bargaining agreement is set to expire at midnight on June 30. “Dockworkers are looking forward to negotiating a fair agreement that protects the good jobs and benefits that support thousands of families and dozens of communities around west coast ports,” says ILWU International President Bob McEllrath. “As we always have in the past, MM&P stands in solidarity with members of the ILWU in their 2014 contract campaign,” said MM&P International President Don Marcus.


The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says it is grappling with delays in TWIC card production because it is updating its technology to more effectively support its mission.  The agency says it has experienced a temporary delay in the production and delivery of some TWIC cards. “This delay is impacting some new enrollments, card replacements and Extended Expiration Date (EED) cards,” TSA reports. If you are experiencing a longer than usual processing time, you may continue to check your application status online or via the UES Call Center at 1-855-DHS-UES1 (855-347-8371).

The agency says that TWIC enrollment centers are also beginning to receive and issue cards produced by the Government Printing Office (GPO) through the Technology Infrastructure Modernization (TIM) system. The general appearance and security features of the new cards are different from previous versions. The format used to print the expiration date has been changed, among other things.

The agency also reports that the TWIC “OneVisit” program has been pilot-tested. The TWIC Program Office has completed the pilot test phase of mailing TWIC cards to applicants in Alaska and parts of Michigan and will offer the choice to receive cards by mail as this capability is added to enrollment centers throughout the summer.

Applicants who choose to receive their card by mail will only be required to make one visit to an enrollment center. The card will be mailed to the applicant’s home or other address of choice. The card will be activated and ready to be used. A mailer with the card’s PIN will be sent separately. Finally, applicants for a TWIC may now begin the enrollment/application process by entering biographic information online before visiting an enrollment center.


Adm. Paul F. Zukunft is now the 25th commandant of the Coast Guard. He relieved Adm. Bob Papp during a military ceremony at Coast Guard Headquarters last week. “To the men and women of the Coast Guard, I’m humbled to stand before you as your 25th Commandant,” Zukunft said. He reports to Coast Guard Headquarters from Alameda, Calif., where he had served as Coast Guard Pacific Area Commander since 2012. In this capacity, he was the operational commander for all Coast Guard missions from the Rocky Mountains west to the east coast of Africa.

At the change of command ceremony, Papp received the Homeland Security Distinguished Service Medal and the Defense Distinguished Medal. During his tenure, he worked to secure funding for completion of the national security cutter program, the acquisition of new fast response cutters and the offshore patrol cutter. He also oversaw the restoration of the nation’s only heavy icebreaker. “Adm. Papp’s leadership and resolve have left an indelible mark on the service,” said Zukunft. “The Coast Guard is more proficient, more capable and more resilient due to his contributions and I wish him fair winds and following seas.”


National Public Radio (NPR) spent time in the MITAGS ship simulator at the end of May with MITAGS Director of Business Development Bob Becker and MM&P President Don Marcus. In the radio program that resulted, “The Closest You Can Get to Piloting a Container Ship,” NPR’s Wade Goodwyn sought to educate listeners about the life of a merchant mariner. The interview aired on 792 NPR stations on May 25.

Marcus talked in general terms about what work is like for merchant mariners, who must spend long periods of time away from home. “It’s a difficult life,” he said.” It’s also a very austere and can be an isolating life.” “You’re spending time at sea away from your family. When you do get to port, often you don’t go ashore.”   

Goodwyn took his cue from recent high-profile events involving the maritime industry. “Care to learn how to dock a gigantic freighter in a tight harbor?” he asks his listeners. “Or how to fend off pirates? There’s a merchant marine simulator in Maryland where you can train for those scenarios, and more.”

Host Rachel Martin led off with a description of the March 22 Houston Ship Channel collision between the bulk carrier MV SUMMER WIND and the oil tank-barge KIRBY 27706. “The two captains had been on the radio warning each other to get out of the way from almost a mile out. So how did they end up colliding?” Martin wondered. To find out, NPR dispatched Goodwyn to MITAGS “to see what it would be like at the helm of a boat that’s four football fields long.”

Bob Becker, himself a seasoned ship captain, explained to the journalist that clients use the simulator to recreate maritime scenarios that feature in their work. “When you purchase time in the simulator, you build the scenery within the channel,” he says. “You’re in a theater area similar to what you might see at Epcot Center where you have a 360-degree screen which is 100 feet in diameter and about 45 feet high.”

“Becker spent 30 years at sea, 20 as a captain,” Goodwyn reports. “Now he trains other captains. This is the world’s largest and best marine simulator, $30 million. When you step into it–and it’s big enough to hold a dozen people—it’s exactly like stepping onto the bridge of a ship. You’re surrounded by windows and you’re several stories high off the water.”

The two explore scenarios such as what happens when a containership meets a sailboat in a relatively tight space. “I know enough to know that vessels under power must give way to vessels under sail,” Goodwyn says. “I can’t believe that they tell people that because it all is based on the situation,” Becker explains. “If the big vessel is in a narrow channel and there’s nowhere for him to maneuver, then the rules change.”

“Then that sailboat has to get out of the way…” Goodwyn says. “I can’t say for sure that he has to get out of the way, but the rules change,” Becker answers. The interview concludes with a short trip in the North Atlantic, where the reporter gets dizzy. “It’s just that when you look out every window and see the waves coming at you, your brain translates it into motion,” he reports. “It’s so realistic that even veteran seamen can be made to vomit. It’s hard to believe it’s not real. You’re telling me it’s not happening?”

“It’s not happening,” Becker reassures him. “Close your eyes.”

“The captains who train here are the men and women you’d want on your bridge if something goes wrong,” Goodwyn concludes. The complete recording and transcript of the interview are posted at The roughly 800 public radio stations in the NPR system of member stations air NPR programs like “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is seeking a Master Tender, XH-5784-07, to serve aboard DREDGE POTTER in St Louis. This job is open to U.S. citizens. This is a full-time, permanent position. To find out more, go to To apply, you must create an account on Follow the directions in the “How to Apply” section of the announcement for complete instructions. Applicants must upload a current USCG license to operate as a master of towing upon the Western Rivers of the United States. The announcement (SWGI140051271134319DR) is open from June 3 to June 10. For questions, contact Chiane K. Creamer, Human Resources Specialist, St. Louis District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, phone:  314-331-8549; fax:  314-331-8331;


The U.S. Coast Guard, along with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, will hold nationwide public discussions on navigational aid technology and how it will affect the future of America’s waterways.

The meetings will be held in several locations across the country and are intended to provide venues for open communications between various federal agencies and maritime transportation system stakeholders to discuss the joint federal agency initiative to use modern technology to support a safer, more efficient, more secure and environmentally sound marine transportation system.

The sessions are aimed at providing the maritime community–both professional and recreational–and waterways stakeholders an opportunity beyond traditional venues to express their emerging needs for navigational information and service delivery systems necessary to improve the safety and efficiency of transits on the nation’s waterways.

The location and date/time for the Long Beach session is: Hyatt Regency Long Beach, 200 South Pine Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90802, Shoreline Ballroom, on June 17 from 1800 to 2000. For more information, go to or contact Mike Van Houten at 510-437-2968,


The Offshore Familiarization Course will be held in MM&P’s New York/New Jersey Hall on Tuesday, June 10, at 0900. If you plan to attend the course, you must register first by calling the hall at 201-963-1900. As a reminder, the hall is located at 35 Journal Square, Suite 912, Jersey City, NJ 07306-4103.


A membership meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday, June 11, at 1100 in the New York/New Jersey Hall. All members in the area are encouraged to attend the meeting.


If you are interested in attending the Offshore Familiarization Course, please contact your MM&P Vice President to request that one be scheduled in your area. An Offshore Orientation Course is now scheduled for New York/New Jersey on June 10 and for Los Angeles/Long Beach on Oct. 8-9. If you are interested in participating in the course, please contact the Los Angeles/Long Beach Hall: 310-834-7201 or 310-834-6667 (fax). 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 encouraged to take the course as soon as possible.


The Japanese product tanker SHOKO MARU exploded and caught fire May 29 while anchored about five kilometers off the port of Himeji in western Japan. The crew had recently finished discharging a cargo of heating oil. Seven of those on board at the time of the accident were rescued, four with serious burns. The captain of the ship is missing and presumed dead. Experts say that the oil vapors left in the tanks after a load of fuel has been discharged can mix with oxygen to form an explosive mixture. There were unconfirmed reports that a sailor was using a grinder to remove paint on the deck just before the explosion. The vessel sank as a result of the combined effects of the explosion, the fire and the inflow of water used to extinguish it.


The 2006 Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) entered into force on Aug. 20. It has been described as the fourth pillar of international shipping regulations along with SOLAS, MARPOL and STCW.  The International Labor Organization consolidated a number of previous conventions in MLC 2006. It establishes minimum standards on conditions of employment, accommodations, health and safety, medical care, crew welfare, recruitment, working conditions and social security protection. MLC will be strictly enforced during port state control inspections, including the potential for more detailed inspections and possible detention where hazardous conditions may exist if ships are not to be in compliance. Visit for more information or to register for the MLC course.


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

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

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

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

AB –8/11/14, 10/13/14

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: Contact Admissions

ARPA-OIC – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 8/5/14, 9/23/14, 11/18/14

AZIPOD 2-Day –7/10/14, 10/9/14

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 8/25/14, 10/13/14

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 7/24/14, 8/20/14, 9/22/14, 11/20/14

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling:  7/7/14, 10/6/14

BST – Basic Safety Training: 6/9/14, 8/11/14, 10/6/14

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 10/27/14

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVNAV-CMM – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): 6/2/14, 8/4/14, 11/10/14

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 6/23/14, 9/22/14

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 6/16/14, 9/8/14

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 7/7/14, 9/29/14

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 6/2/14, 7/14/14, 8/4/14, 10/20/14, 11/10/14

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications: 7/23/14, 11/19/14

MCL-CMM – Management, Communication, & Leadership (Management Level): 9/15/14

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants:  7/21/14, 10/27/14

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management (2 weeks): 8/18/14, 10/13/14

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 6/9/14, 8/4/14, 9/8/14, 9/22/14, 10/20/14, 11/3/14, 12/1/14

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 6/16/14, 8/11/14, 9/15/14, 9/29/14, 10/27/14, 11/10/14, 12/8/14

TRAC-TUG-2: 7/21/14

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 6/9/14, 8/11/14, 11/17/14

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 7/28/14, 11/3/14

CNAV-OIC – Celestial Navigation: 11/3/14

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: Contact Admissions

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications:  10/7/14

DDE – Great Lakes: Contact Admissions

DPA – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-OIC –9/8/14

ECDIS-Pilots – Contact Admissions

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 6/9/14, 8/11/14, 10/6/14

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep & Medications:  11/19/14

GL Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization: Contact Admissions

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 8/18/14

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 6/23/14, 9/15/14, 11/17/14

LAP- 9/8/14

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross Ton License: 6/2/14

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 7/8/14, 10/7/14, 11/20/14

LNG-TPIC – Contact Admissions

MCL-OIC –Management, Communications, and Leadership OICNW level: 9/5/14, 10/7/14

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 6/16/14, 9/8/14, 11/3/14, 12/1/14

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 8/4/14, 10/13/14

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 6/16/14, 9/8/14, 10/20/14, 11/3/14, 12/1/14

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 6/21/14, 8/3/14, 9/13/14, 10/12/14, 11/8/14, 12/6/14

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: 8/4/14 (PM), 10/6/14 (PM)

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 6/6/14, 8/22/14, 10/3/14

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 6/2/14, 8/18/14, 9/29/14

MSC-ENV – 6/7/14, 8/23/14

MSC-FF-HELO – 6/11/14

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification:  6/2/14, 8/18/14, 9/29/14, 11/10/14

*MSC-Security Watch Basic –8/25/14, 11/14/14

*MSC-Security Watch Advanced – 6/2/14, 8/27/14, 11/17/14

*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force – 6/3/14, 8/28/14, 11/18/14

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 8/4/14, 9/22/14, 11/17/14

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 6/2/14, 6/5/14, 6/11/14, 6/18/14, 7/9/14, 7/24/14, 8/6/14, 8/20/14, 9/10/14, 9/17/14, 10/1/14, 10/15/14, 10/29/14, 11/12/14, 12/3/14, 12/10/14

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 7/28/14, 11/10/14

SAR-OIC – Search & Rescue –10/13/14

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling:  6/16/14, 8/18/14, 11/17/14

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day: 7/14/14, 10/6/14

SMS – Contact Admissions

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 8/4/14

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 7/7/14

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge:  8/25/14

TTT – Train the Trainer: Contact Admissions

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: 8/5/14, 10/7/14

VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 8/6/14, 9/2/14, 10/8/14, 10/22/14

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level) : 9/29/14

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): 9/15/14

…And 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.


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

June 2014

9th         Radar Renewal
9-20       GMDSS
9-27       Terrestrial and Coastal Navigation
11-13     Vessel Security Officer
16-20     ECDIS

July 2014

7-11       Radar Observer Unlimited
7-18       GMDSS
14th       Radar Renewal
14th       Flashing Light
15-18     ARPA
21-25     Bridge Resource Management
28-1       ECDIS
28-1       Medical Care Provider

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.

© 2014, 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