News

Wheelhouse Weekly – June 12, 2003

June 12th 2003


THE MASTERS, MATES & PILOTS’
WHEELHOUSE WEEKLY

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

Volume 7 . . . . . Number 24. . . . . June 12, 2003

STORIES COVERED

ALSO

REMINDERS




 

MORE JOBS AND A NEW ADDITION TO THE MM&P FLEET

MM&P is pleased to welcome the sulphur-carrying tank ship BENNO C. SCHMIDT to the fleet. The ship is owned by MM&P-contracted Sulphur Carriers, Inc., part of the International Shipholding Corporation family. MM&P LDOs crewed up the vessel last week.

Aboard are:

  • Shawn Tucy, Break-out Master
  • John Humphreys, Chief Mate
    and
  • Nicole Farrell, Second Mate

Steve Schoepke will shortly be joining the vessel to take over as Master so that Shawn Tucy can return to his regular assignment as Master of the SULPHUR ENTERPRISE.

The SCHMIDT is Jones Act qualified and trades coastwise and on the Mississippi River.

Built in 1992, the 8,200 DWT vessel is 395 feet, has a beam of 72 feet and a 25 foot draft. Welcome Aboard!

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

WELCOME HOME, COMFORT

The MM&P CIVMAR-crewed hospital ship USNS COMFORT returned to its Baltimore home on Thursday, June 12, amidst clamoring news media and throngs of family members and friends anxiously waiting to be reunited with their loved ones deployed on the ship since January in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

As soon as the gangway was secured, VADM David Brewer, Commander, Military Sealift Command, went aboard accompanied by MM&P reps Mike Rodriguez and Richard Plant, SIU president Mike Sacco, MEBA rep Bill Van Loo, and several other union reps.

MM&P Member Capt. Richard Cicchetti, COMFORT’s Master, was on hand to welcome the visitors while the crew completed tying-up operations. All CIVMARS not standing watch assembled on the flight deck shortly after for a recognition ceremony by MSC where VADM Brewer awarded them Merchant Marine Expeditionary Medals.

VADM Brewer’s presentation was augmented by Capt. Cicchetti, who provided personal recollections about each CIVMAR and their contribution to the mission’ s success.

MSC’s civil service mariners who have provided support to the military during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom are eligible to receive MarAd’s Merchant Marine Expeditionary Medal. It is awarded to American merchant mariners who serve on U.S.-flagged ships in support of operations involving American and allied military forces. It was first authorized for service in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

Dean Bradford, COMFORT’s Chief Mate during its deployment, will shortly assume command from Capt. Cicchetti and serve as the vessel’s master while it is in Reduced Operating Status.

Welcome home and congratulations on a job well done.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

MM&P’S JOHN SINGLETON RATED MARYLAND’S TOP LAWYER

In a study by the Chambers Publishing Company regarding the best lawyers and law firms for “Employment-Plantiff in Maryland”, MM&P’s own attorney John Singleton is rated Number One in the state, in a class by himself. He is described as “tremendously talented”! The law firm in which he is a partner, Albertini, Singleton, Gendler and Darby is ranked overall as Number 2.

Congratulations, JOHN SINGLETON.

Visit Chambers Publishing’s website for more information.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

MAERSK FILES TO TAKE CONTROL OF USSM’S 15 MSP VESSELS

Maersk Line has filed an application with the Maritime Administration to formally begin the commercial process of assuming direct control of the 15 Maritime Security Program (MSP) vessels currently operated by MM&P-contracted US Ship Management (USSM), but owned by Maersk.

In late April, MARAD determined that Maersk “qualifies as an eligible transferee” of the MSP agreement between MARAD and USSM. However, the legal opinion does not address whether MARAD would grant approval for such a transfer if an application were filed.

USSM has filed suit to protect their fleet from the MARAD decision. USSM says it is confident that Maersk’s application will not withstand judicial scrutiny.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

MORE ON THE HORIZON HAWAII ASSISTANCE AT SEA INCIDENT

MM&P member Capt. John Nicoll, master of the Horizon HAWAII has received a “thank you in the extreme” Email from the captain of the ill-fated sailboat GINA that foundered off the coast of Cape Hatteras, NC several weeks ago.

Capt. Nicoll was thanked for his assistance during the GINA’s not-so-perfect storm. Apologizing for his delay in sending the crew of the HAWAII a thank you note, the sailboat’s skipper said that his time had been consumed with a new job, noting that, “If it wasn’t for you and your crew, I wouldn’t be worrying about a new job right now or ever.”

In his note, he revealed that he and one of his two other crewmembers met just five days before “the incident”, but felt they were kindred spirits; as they both loved the open ocean. “We decided to attempt this trip for two main reasons: 1) no bad weather was predicted and 2) we knew we could handle anything Mother Nature threw at us. What we were a bit shaky on was the true state of the vessel GINA and her owner.

“Well, Mother Nature decided to throw us junk the whole trip, curve balls and sliders and knucklers and even a spitter or two, but we were hanging in there until we lost that shroud. Then we knew the game was over. But she wouldn’t let up and in fact started aiming for the head, trying to bean us.

“Fortunately, after hours of futile radio calls, you came along and let us know the true level of malevolence the Mother was operating at. Thank you for helping get us out before we were seriously injured, or worse. My deep gratitude goes out to you and all your crew for a job well done. May we someday meet in much happier circumstances.”

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

MM&P REPRESENTED AT IMO SAFETY AND SECURITY MEETINGS

The International Maritime Organization’s Maritime Safety Committee and Maritime Security Working Group met from May 28 to June 6 at the IMO’s HQ in London.

The following reports were prepared by MM&P Pilot Group VP Capt. George Quick who is a member of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) delegation. Capt. Joe Stone, MM&P Special Representative, who is a member of the US delegation, also represented the Union.

Timely info on the important agenda items of interest to MM&P members can be found in the following articles.

Training for Ship Security Officers (SSO): On May 29, the IMO circulated draft Model Training Courses for Company Security Officers and Port Facility Security Officers and SSOs. These courses will be finalized and available for distribution by September 8, 2003.

Copies in Acrobat Reader (PDF) format are available from Capt. Quick at Email: gquick@bridgedeck.org and will be sent to anyone interested in reviewing them.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

ICS SAYS THAT ISPS CODE WILL COVER 50,000 SHIPS

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) reports that approx. 50,000 ships will be covered by the International Ship & Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code requiring the training of 100,000 Ship Security Officers by the implementation date of July 2004. This will be an impossible task if formal training and certification is to be required. After much discussion the MSWG adopted the following paragraphs in their report:

As an interim measure, the Maritime Security Working Group (MSWG) recommended that the International Ship Security Certificate (ISSC) be accepted as prima facie evidence that training has been conducted in accordance with the ISPS Code. The Flag State was responsible for deciding how that training was to be conducted, and if more certification was required.

If Port State control detected a lack of training, it could take further action. It was anticipated that States will develop and introduce further measures after July 2004, which may include the introduction of individual certificates or other documentary evidence of training.

The MSWG agreed that in the long-term certification is required and recommended that the Committee instruct STW-35 to develop with high priority, training and certification requirements for SSOs. The MSWG further agreed that there should be a high priority item included in the Sub-Committees’ work program and the agenda for STW-35 on the development of training requirements for Certified Ship Security Officers (CSOs) and Port Facility Security Officers (PFSOs) and for certification, if appropriate.

The Committee is therefore invited to instruct the STW Sub-Committee to develop the training and certification requirements for SSOs in the longer term.

Paragraph 33 means that if a Flag State issues a ship an International Ship Security Certificate (ISSC) it will be accepted that the CSO and SSO have received appropriate training without further documentation being required.

In effect, the Flag State and Company will determine the qualifications and Port States must accept it unless there is an obvious lack of ability demonstrated by ship’s personnel. The above info means that the highest priority will be given to developing training and certification requirements for PFSOs and CSOs before SSOs.

Although not stated in the report, the STW sub-committee has been tasked with completing this in two sessions, meaning the target date is 2005. The target date for SSOs will be after 2005.

The final result for the future, is that each Flag State and company will have a lot of latitude in interpreting and meeting the training requirements and it remains to be seen what the USCG will impose on US ships and crews.

There was also some discussion about having the CSOs responsible for training and certifying the SSOs. Some language was included in the final version of the report that security training should eventually be incorporated in the third or second mate’s basic competencies for original licensing requirements and not remain the subject of separate training or certification.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

NEW SHIP STANDARDS AMONG MANY SAFETY SUBJECTS DISCUSSED

Numerous maritime safety initiatives came under discussion at the recent IMO meetings in London. One of the most important called for the development of “goal-based new ship construction standards” that may be applicable to the classification societies. The call for safer standards will be a subject for further discussion at the next Maritime Safety Committee meeting in May 2004.

There is general agreement within IMO that it should have a role in setting ship construction and design standards for new ships that would be applicable to the present class societies.

Among other safety subjects discussed in detail were:
Places of Refuge, for ships in difficulties off coastal states; Treatment of Persons Rescued at Sea; Ship/Port Interface and Availability of Adequate Tug Assistance; Bulk Carrier Safety; and Large Passenger Ship safety.

Also discussed were Model Audit Schemes for Flag States; Port State and Coastal State compliance with IMO Conventions (a major subject for the future); IMO ID numbers for companies and owners; Formal Safety Assessment methodology and IACS Standards for Bridge Design.

A full report on all of the subjects covered is beyond the scope of the Wheelhouse Weekly. Capt. Quick has a full set of documents and is knowledgeable of the status of these subjects. Any members with specific questions may contact him at MM&P HQ at 410-850-8700 ext.20.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

MATSON ACHIEVES ABS CERTIFICATION OF OPERATIONAL SYSTEMS

The American Bureau of Shipping reports that MM&P-contracted Matson Navigation has become the first US-flag carrier to achieve ABS certification of its safety, quality and environmental management systems.

The ABS, an international classification system founded in 1862, develops and verifies standards for the design, construction and operational maintenance of vessels and related facilities. ABS said that Matson has now refined its management system to include full compliance with the society’s safety, quality and environmental standards.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

MATES REUNION BEING PLANNED FOR SEPTEMBER

The MM&P is in the process of preparing a schedule of activities for the upcoming MATES PROGRAM graduate reunion to be held at MITAGS from September 19-21. The names of those individuals who have responded positively are now posted on the Union’s website at www.bridgedeck.org. Additional info and updates will be posted as they become known.

The finalized calendar of events will be sent to all hands that indicated a desire to attend this Reunion. This notice will be provided in about a month to allow time for more individuals to indicate their desire to attend.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

PMI OFFERS OPERATIONAL USE OF MAXIMO FOR HORIZON OFFICERS

The Pacific Maritime Institute (MITAGS West) will be offering a two-day program in the Operational Use of Maximo presented by Bruce Sherman on August 11 & 12, 2003.

The Maximo Training course will be a two-day intro to the Maximo program as used by the former CSX, now Horizon Lines. This course will be appropriate for any Master, Mate or Engineer who sails on Horizon Vessels. It will be particularly relevant for those sailing as permanent Master, Chief Mate, Chief Engineer and First Engineer.

MEBA members who wish to attend must fill out the Calhoon School Application and send it to the Calhoon School. Applications are available at the MEBA Union hall or at the www.mebaschool.com web site.

If you have found yourself in a position of using AmosD on a Horizon vessel, you will now be using Maximo and could benefit from this course.

The Maximo training course will consist of a general introduction to Maximo followed by a specific description of how Horizon uses the program. Each area of use will be covered such as, Consumables and Spares ordering, Work Order Generation (used by the Deck Department to request Deck repairs), Maintenance tracking, Preventive Maintenance, and Spares tracking.

There will be time for each student to practice on a computer using the areas of the program most likely to be relevant to you. Sample exercises will be provided that will be appropriate for your area on interest.

If you have already seen the program or had some contact with it on board a vessel, this course will help you gain a better understanding for the overall program as well as give you valuable practice time on a test database resembling the one used by Horizon.

Please contact Ms. DeeDee Lazik at 206-441-2880 or 888-893-7829 (toll free) to schedule. PMI will require a six-student minimum to run this course, so please schedule as far in advance as possible. Horizon Lines will be covering transportation to and from Seattle for all eligible MM&P and MEBA Members. Please contact us if you have questions regarding eligibility.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

Class Openings

Between now and the end of July, seats are available in the following courses:

  • 6/19-20: MSC-DC
  • 6/23-27: SHS-EMR5, CMM-MPP
  • 6/27: CBRD-1
  • 7/14-18:CMM-SHS-ADV II
  • 7/21-25:BST Week, CMM-VPEN,MED-PRO
  • 7/21-23: SEC-ShpOff
  • 7/24: MEDIA RSP
  • 7/26: MED-DOT-DA, LIC-EXAM-PREP
  • 7/21-8/1: MED-PIC
  • 7/28-8/1: FF-ADV, SHS-BAS, CMM-ECDIS
  • 8/1:FL

 

Check the MITAGS website for descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations.

 

Small Arms Training Off-Site

Requests for Small Arms training off-site are still being accepted, but, based on the current demand, the temporary option to arrange a 3-day small arms course at San Diego, Freehold, or Virginia Beach is scheduled to end as of July 31. In order to be eligible for off-site training, members in good standing of the Offshore Membership Group must have 360 days of covered employment with a company or companies contributing to the MATES program.

Even after the temporary option for the 3-day MSC course off-site ceases, qualified members will still be able to attend a 1-day renewal at Virginia Beach.

In addition to MITAGS eligibility requirements, MSC requires that all 1-day renewal applicants have qualified on all three weapons within the last two years. All training must be arranged through MITAGS.

For further information, contact either Mike Wein 443-989-3238 or Debbie Walton 443-989-3224.

 

Confined Space Training

Check with admissions on our new Confined Space courses. A 1-day awareness course and a more extensive 5-day program have been developed.

In the 5-day version, attendees gain invaluable knowledge in “competent person” regs and standards as well as hands-on training with test equipment and practical exercises. It’s highly recommended that all licensed deck officers take the 5-day course at least once. The shorter awareness course is an excellent refresher. The 5-day course (CSE-AAES) is scheduled for week of August 4.

 

Schedules, Course Info & Registration

Courses are subject to change. Always check the MITAGS website for updated course availability. You can also check future schedules, review detailed course descriptions and register on-line or contact Admissions at admissions@mitags.org or by calling toll-free, 1-866-656-5568.

 

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 6-11 CLOSE

 D O W

 N A S D A Q

 9,183.20

+144.20 for the week

 1,646.02

 +11.37 for the week
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)

 92.39

 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)

22.20

 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)

 13.56

 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)

 12.99

 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)

 24.16

 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)

10.75

 Vanguard High Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX):

 6.24

 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)

 10.65

 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)

13.88

 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)

15.13

 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)

 33.20

Fidelity Magellan Fund (FAGX)

 89.54

 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)

  35.33

 

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



~ Reminders ~


 

 

MEMBERS AND FAMILIES GET SPECIAL SUMMER RATES AT MITAGS

By popular demand, and for a limited time only, MITAGS is opening up its renowned conference center hotel to MM&P members and their families at a very affordable rate. This is the first time MITAGS has made their facilities available as a vacation destination for MM&P members.

Centrally located just south of Baltimore, MITAGS is within easy reach of the many top tourist attractions found in the Washington DC, Baltimore, Annapolis, southern Pennsylvania and northern Virginia area. MITAGS is just five minutes from BWI Airport, a leading hub for low-cost airlines such as Southwest and Air Tran. The BWI Amtrak Station is also just minutes away.

MM&P member summer rates are just $85 per night, per room. Occupancy is limited to member, spouse and two children. Complimentary full breakfast buffet and free shuttle service to BWI Airport or Amtrak are included.

For more info or reservations contact the MITAGS reservation department at 410-859-5700 extension 0, or Email: reservations@ccmit.org.

Be sure to mention this special when making your reservation. Offer is based on availability and only valid June 1 through September 10.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

SPECIAL RATES FOR UNION MEMBERS AT ORLANDO DISNEY HOTEL

As a special summer promotion for union members at the Hotel Royal Plaza, a unionized hotel located in the heart of Downtown Disney, the rate for a standard room has been reduced to just $69.

Rates are in effect from June 1 to September 30 and do not include a resort fee of $7 per room, per night. Kids 12 and under eat free breakfast, lunch and dinner when accompanied by a paying adult.

For more info, call 1-800-248-7890 or go to their website at www.royalplaza.com. Call early for reservations as rooms are subject to availability and make sure to ask for the Union Leisure Rate.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

MM&P MEMBERS AT SEA CAN NOW SAVE ON SHIP-TO-SHORE CALLS

Through a special arrangement with ShipCom, MM&P members at sea will now receive a significant discount on personal ship-to-shore radiotelephone calls. The rate is $2.50 per minute to any phone number in the US. This is a significant discount from the usual rate of $3.99 per minute. Calls may be placed collect, or billed to any major credit card.

To take advantage of this offer or for more info contact Station WLO on HF SSB channels 405, 607, 824, 1212, 16401, 1807, or 2237 or on HF radio telex channels (selcall 1090) 406, 606, 806, 810, 815, 1205, 1211, 1605, 1615, 1810 or 2215.

MM&P members must identify themselves as an MM&P member and provide the operator with the last 4 digits of their MM&P book number in order to get the discounted rate.

Any vessel equipped with HF radio telex may send and receive Internet email via the telex terminal. For more info contact WLO radio via telex or HF SSB voice.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

 


 

MM&P HQ MEMO TO ALL OFFSHORE MEMBERS AND APPLICANTS

Effective for employment commencing on or after April 10, 2003 and until further notice, any Member or Applicant who is known to have shipped as a Licensed Deck Officer aboard a vessel under contract with another labor organization shall lose his/her shipping card and be required to re-register prior to seeking employment with MM&P.

Members and Applicants are advised that such action jeopardizes their standing in Masters, Mates & Pilots. Members and Applicants are urged to contact MM&P if they are solicited for offshore employment by other labor organizations. Any Licensed Deck Officer employment with other labor organizations must be dispatched through Masters, Mates & Pilots.

 

See below for additional information about shipping out on RRF and surge sealift vessels.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

IMMINENT DANGER PAY FOR IRAQ WAR CIVMARS APPROVED

Vice Adm. David Brewer III, US Navy, Commander of the Military Sealift Command called MM&P International President Capt. Tim Brown on Wednesday evening, May 7, to notify him that imminent danger pay (IDP) has been approved for CIVMARS serving on MSC vessels in sail into danger zones in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Further details will be provided as they become known.

Earlier this month, Adm. Brewer said he has been most impressed with the expertise, professionalism and assistance that merchant mariners have provided during this time of conflict. “Civilian mariners are constantly demonstrating their unequivocal willingness to put themselves in possible harm’s way to deliver vital military cargo to our war fighters in support of our nation’s defense,” he said.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

MSC OPENS TOLL-FREE SHIP STATUS AND LOCATION SERVICE

Concerned family members of mariners serving aboard any Military Sealift Command and government-owned or chartered ship can now check on a ship’s status and general location, toll free. “Our mariners’ families are part of the MSC family too,” said Vice Admiral David Brewer III, commander of MSC. “We are proud to offer this information during these uncertain times.”

Family members of mariners who dial 1-888-SEA-LIFT (732-5438) and press 2 will be put in contact with a MSC employee who can tell them in general terms where the ship is operating and its general status.

This hotline was available during the first Persian Gulf War. Vice Adm. Brewer said he hopes that it can be used along with other forms of communication to keep family members informed.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

TAX RELIEF FOR OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM CIVILIAN MARINERS

Qualified merchant mariners serving on vessels under Department of Defense operational control in direct support of US Armed Forces have been determined by the IRS to be eligible for the benefits of section 7508 of the Internal Revenue Code. 26 U.S.C. §7508.

This includes individuals, (including the spouse of such individuals) serving in the combat zone as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom aboard Maritime Administration and Military Sealift Command owned or controlled vessels.

Mariners are advised to consult their tax professionals with respect to the impact of this relief with respect to their individual situations.

Only mariners serving in the combat zone are covered. At present, the combat zone for Operation Iraqi Freedom is defined as follows:

  • Persian Gulf;
  • Red Sea;
  • Gulf of Aden; and
  • Gulf of Oman;
  • That portion of the Arabian Sea that lies north of 10 degrees north latitude and west of 68 degrees east longitude; and
  • The total land area of Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

Section 7508(a)(1) permits the postponement of certain time-sensitive acts for individuals serving in support of the Armed Forces in a designated combat zone. Activities specifically mentioned include the filing of tax returns, the payment of income, estate, or gift taxes (except employment and withholding taxes), tax claims filings or bringing suits for credits or refunds, filing any petition with the US Tax Court, making a qualified retirement contribution to an IRA, or performing any other act listed in Revenue Procedure 2002-71.

Detailed information can be obtained by consulting Publication 3 Armed Forces’ Tax Guide (2002 Returns). The Guide can be obtained by contacting the IRS or from the IRS website, www.irs.gov.

These benefits are afforded to the spouse of a qualified individual without any requirement that the individual and spouse file a joint return. Taxpayers within the US may seek assistance by calling the IRS toll-free at 1-800-829-1040. Taxpayers outside the US may call the IRS in Philadelphia, PA., at 215-516-2000 or via fax at 215-516-2555 (these are not toll free numbers).

More detailed info can be found on the MARAD website at: marad.dot.gov/Publications/employment/marinertaxes.html.

For MM&P members at sea who might have difficulty accessing the MARAD website, the MM&P Communications Department will Email this info to you upon request. Email requests to: communications@bridgedeck.org.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

CLARIFICATION OF DRUG FREE CERTIFICATE FOR MMD RENEWAL

Mariners renewing their licenses, Z-cards, other Merchant Marine Documents or Coast Guard credentials are advised that under the USCG’s national credentialing requirements, Coast Guard offices and Regional Exam Centers require “Drug Free Certificates” on stationery from a drug testing service agent. Drug testing service agents are defined in 49 CFR Part 40 (available for download at: www.dot.gov/ost/dapc/main/CFRintro.htm). Drug test certifications issued by other parties, such as health plans, will no longer be accepted.

Upon request, drug testing service agents will send “Drug Free Certificates” on their own stationary to merchant marine personnel so that they can satisfy the USCG drug test requirement for credential transactions.

MM&P members and applicants are advised that request forms for this purpose are available at MM&P port offices along with info on drug testing facilities. This is a nationwide USCG credentialing requirement and this notice is a clarification of info originally provided in the February 27, 2003 Wheelhouse Weekly, Volume 7 Number 9.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

LATEST USCG INFO ON PRIORITY SYSTEM FOR MMD CARDS

Applications for Merchant Mariner Documents can no longer be completed entirely through the mail. Applicants must now appear in person at a USCG Regional Exam Center to prove their identity and provide fingerprints. The following priority system has been implemented:

  • Priority One is assigned to mariners who are, or are about to be, employed on a vessel directly involved in a military operation. A letter from a shipping company, labor union, ship management company, or government agency attesting to the ship’s military purpose and the mariner’s position is needed for this priority.
  • Priority Two is given to mariners who are actively sailing. Evidence of current or scheduled employment on board a vessel, such as a letter or recent certificate of discharge is needed for this priority.
  • Priority Three is for all other transactions based on date of receipt.

Contact the National Maritime Center for additional info or questions at 202-493-6798.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

SHIPPING-OUT ON SURGE AND RRF VESSELS

Members and Applicants are reminded that in order to receive pension credit, vacation and other benefits for sailing aboard a surge sealift or Ready Reserve Fleet vessel in support of U.S. operations in Iraq and neighboring areas, you must ship through a MM&P hall in accordance with instructions provided to each Union Hall.

Members and applicants are asked to protect their benefit status and, for applicants, their applicant status. Shipping aboard these vessels in any other way will not ensure that benefits will be passed through to MM&P Plans.

Applicant points will be awarded only for assignments shipped through MM&P offices.

You may direct any questions regarding this issue to:

  • Capt. Banks: gbanks@bridgedeck.org; phone: 410-850-8700 ext. 21
  • Capt. Boatner: dboatner@bridgedeck.org; phone: 310-834-7201
  • Mike Rodriguez: mrodriguez@bridgedeck.org; 410-850-8700 ext. 23
  • or to the Vice President in your area.

     

    MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


     

    LIST BEING DEVELOPED OF ORIGINAL MATES PROGRAM GRADUATES

    International President Capt. Tim Brown reports that,

    “For almost a year the staffs at MITAGS and the MM&P HQ have been working to collect the names of the graduates of the original MATES program. Inasmuch as record keeping in the late 1960s was not as streamlined or efficient as it is now, this was a large task that was done as time permitted.

    “We are now close to finalizing the list of names that we generated from several sources.

    “So, you might ask, why are we doing this? There is an old saying that goes along the lines of, ‘You don’t know who you are unless you know where you have been.’ This brings us to the point:

    “MM&P is considering having an Original MATES Program Graduates’ Reunion sometime in the early fall of this year.

    “We will be printing a list in the MM&P paper of all those that we have so far determined were graduates of the original MATES Program. We encourage all graduates to verify that their names are listed and to also let us know if we’ve missed anyone who is a graduate but whose name is not on the list.”

    MM&P Headquarters will also be sending out a letter to the graduates to assess the level of interest in having a Reunion weekend at MITAGS. MM&P would be able to provide for a discount for rooms at MITAGS, with the International subsidizing the cost to some degree. Again, this would probably depend on the level of interest in this project.

    Please watch the MM&P paper closely in the future if you are an original MATES program graduate.

    MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


     

    GENERAL EXECUTIVE BOARD CLARIFIES OFFSHORE QUOTA SYSTEM

    During MM&P General Executive Board meetings held at MM&P HQ on January 15-16, 2003, the quota system established for admittance to the Offshore Membership Group was clarified to make it clear that this quota system does not apply to MM&P Offshore Unlicensed members.

    On October 3-4, 2002, the GEB established quotas effective October 4, 2002, stating that “No member of any membership group, including the Offshore Unlicensed Membership Group, may transfer into the Offshore Licensed Membership Group without having been a member of the organization for at least as long as the length of time that the lowest applicant admitted into membership has in the organization.” The wording of this statement was subsequently determined to be incorrect.

    On January 16, 2003, the GEB corrected the quota guidelines to read:

    “No member of any MM&P membership group, except for members of the MM&P Offshore Unlicensed Membership Group, may transfer into the Offshore Licensed Membership Group without having been a member of the organization for at least as long as the length of time that the lowest applicant admitted into membership has in the organization.”

    MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


     

    HEALTH & BENEFIT PLAN CHANGES EFFECTIVE APRIL 1, 2003

    The following Health and Benefit Plan changes went into effect on April 1, 2003.

     

    INPATIENT HOSPITAL DEDUCTIBLE

    All inpatient hospitalizations (both PPO and non-PPO) will be subject to the Annual Major Medical Deductible ($250 individual/$500 family) and an additional inpatient deductible of $150 per admission. Both the Annual Deductible and the $150 inpatient deductible count towards the individual out of pocket maximum of $3,000.

     
    REIMBURSEMENT FOR INPATIENT HOSPITAL EXPENSE

    The Plan will pay 90% for all PPO hospitals after satisfying Major Medical deductible and $150 per admission inpatient deductible. The Plan will pay 70% for all non-PPO hospitals after satisfying the Annual Major Medical deductible and $150 per admission deductible.

     

    IN-NETWORK (PPO) PHYSICIAN VISITS

    For Primary Care Physician visits, after satisfying the annual Major Medical deductible, the participant pays a $15 co-pay per visit and the Plan pays the balance of the contracted amount. For specialty visits, after satisfying the annual Major Medical deductible, the participant pays a $25 co-pay and the Plan pays the balance of the contracted amount. The co-pay amount does not count towards the $3,000 annual out of pocket maximum.

     

    OUT-OF-NETWORK PHYSICIANS

    Once the participant satisfies the annual Major Medical deductible and an additional $150 annual out of network physician deductible, the Plan will pay 90% of the UCR. For specialists, once the participant satisfies the Major Medical deductible, the Plan will pay 70% of the UCR.

     

    OUTPATIENT FACILITY – IN NETWORK (PPO)

    After the participant satisfies the annual Major Medical deductible, the Plan pays 90% of the contracted charges.

     

    OUTPATIENT FACILITY – OUT-OF-NETWORK

    After the participants satisfies the annual Major Medical deductible, the Plan will pay 70% of the UCR charges.

     

    As always, please feel free to contact the Plan Benefit Advisors with any questions at 877-667-5522.

    MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


     

    MM&P HEALTH PLAN PARTICIPANTS: Delta Dental Payment Errors

    Effective January 1, 2003, the reimbursement under the dental portion of the Plan was changed from 90 percent in-network to 80 percent in-network and from 80 percent out-of-network to 70 percent out-of-network.

    DUE TO AN ERROR at Delta Dental, the claims for MM&P members for services rendered after 1/1/2003, in some cases, have been paid at the old reimbursement rate. The error has been corrected, however, and Delta will be asking for refunds from providers for the 10 percent overpayments. That means that members who were affected by this error will most likely receive a bill from dentists for the additional 10 percent.

    MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


     

    IMPORTANT UPDATE FROM THE MM&P PLANS OFFICE

     

    HEALTH & BENEFIT PLAN CHANGES

    The Board of Trustees, based on recommendations by the Cost Containment Committee, adopted changes to the Health & Benefit Plan. The following changes will become effective January 1, 2003:

    Annual Deductible

    The current annual deductible of $150/$300 will be raised to $250/$500.

    Out-of-Pocket Maximum

    The current out of pocket maximum of $2,000 will be raised to $3,000.

    Dental Reimbursement Levels

    • The Plan payment to in-network dental providers will go from 90% to 80%.
    • The Plan payment for out-of-network providers will go from 80% of UCR to 70% of UCR.
    • New contract with Delta Dental replaces Aetna/US Healthcare (Prudential Dental) agreement. See below for additional information.

    Prescription Drug Program

    Mail order drugs will be subject to a 20% co-pay for all single source brand name and generic drugs with a maximum out of pocket, per prescription, of $75.

    For brand name drugs where the generic equivalent is available, the member will be responsible for paying the total cost of the difference between the brand name and the generic drug. The Plan will then pay 80% of the cost of the generic and the member will be responsible for the 20% up to a per prescription maximum of $75.

    The Plan has also removed the mandatory mail order provision. This means that any prescription, regardless of the number of refills, can be obtained at a retail level but will be limited to a 30-day supply. However, obtaining maintenance medications through the mail order program may still be less expensive to you.

    A synopsis of these changes and additional changes effective April 1, 2003 appears in the November-December 2002 issue of the MM&P’s Master, Mate & Pilot newspaper. The Plan Office has also mailed a summary of all changes, with examples, to Health & Benefit Plan participants.




    ADDRESS CHANGES

    Remember to notify the Plan office whenever you move or have a change of address. There are a number of important mailings scheduled for the next few months and we would like to keep all members well informed. You can fax your address changes to the Plan Office at 410-850-8655 or you can email them to the Plan Office at mmpplans@aol.com.

     




     

    NEW DENTAL PROGRAM WITH DELTA DENTAL

    This is a reminder that effective October 1, 2002, the MM&P Plan’s contract with Prudential Dental expired. Prudential was purchased by Aetna/US HealthCare in 2001 and could no longer offer the Plan the same type of fee-for-service arrangement as before.

    In order to continue to offer Plan Participants an in-network dental benefit option, the Plan reviewed proposals from organizations that provide network dental services. After review, the Trustees approved a contract with Delta Dental, the largest provider of dental services in the US.

    The Delta Dental Claims Processing Center in Mechanicsburg, PA, will handle claims administration for all MM&P eligible participants and dependents. This includes claims submitted by out of network dentists as well as those who are Delta Dental providers.

    Plan participants who choose to go to a contracted provider will pay 10 percent of the contracted amount and the Plan will pay 90 percent. Participants will have access to all Delta providers in the Delta Premier Network option that includes over 133,000 dentists nationwide.

     

    FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

    ~ Where Does My Dentist Submit My Claims?

    Effective October 1, 2002, all dental claims with dates of service on or after October 1, 2002, from both in and out-of-network providers, should be sent directly to: Delta Dental, One Delta Drive, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055-6999. Participants will receive a claim form in the mailing sent out by the Plan Office on August 11. Your dentist can copy this form and use it to submit all dental claims incurred on or after October 1, 2002.

    ~ How Do I Find A Delta Dentist?

    You can locate participating dentists in your area in two ways. You can call 1-800-932-0783 from 8 AM to 8 PM Eastern Time, Monday-Friday, or you can sign on to the Delta website at www.MidAtlanticDeltaDental.com. Once you have signed on to the website, key on the bar marked “Pennsylvania”. (MM&P Plan members are enrolled in the Delta Premier Option through Delta Dental of Penn.) Next enter the search criteria to find participating Delta dentists in your area or enter your own dentist’s name to find out if he/she participates with the Premier network.

     

    WORK IN PROCESS

    Delta Dental will coordinate with the Plan Office to transition all billing for “work in process”. This means that all root canals, orthodontia work and other staged procedures that are not completed under the old arrangement will be carried over and the remaining balance billing, for work performed on or after October 1, 2002 will be processed by Delta Dental.

    It is important to remember that all work that has been pre-determined by Prudential/Aetna must be completed and billed with a billing date on or prior to September 30, 2002, in order to assure that your co-pay will remain the same as quoted in the initial pre-determination.

    Any work started under the old Plan but billed for date of service on or after October 1, 2002 will be reimbursed according to whether the dentist is participating in the Delta Dental network. If your dentist is not a participating dentist, the balance billing will be paid at the out-of-network rate of 80 percent of the Plan’s UCR schedules.

     

    CLAIMS QUESTIONS

    All questions about any dental claims incurred on or after October 1, 2002, including claims submitted by out-of-network providers, should be directed to Delta Dental at 1-800-932-0783. You have been provided with a Delta claim form to forward to your dentist, however, your dentist may submit any standard dental billing form as long as the bill is sent directly to Delta at the above listed address.

     

    IDENTIFICATION CARDS

    Participants have been sent a brochure that includes a perforated generic identification card. This card lists the telephone number and the billing address for Delta. You are not required to carry an identification card because your social security number and birth date will identify you as an eligible participant in the Delta Dental Network.

    It is important to remember that MM&P claims will be processed by Delta Dental of Pennsylvania. You or your dentist can access your eligibility by calling either the Plan Office or Delta Dental at 1-800-932-0783.

    If you or your dentist have any questions, you can contact Delta Dental at 1-800-932-0783 from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

    Plan members are identified by social security number and the Group Plan number for MM&P which is 7117.

    Billing for both in and out of network claims should be submitted on standard dental billing forms and sent directly to Delta at

    Delta Dental of Pennsylvania One Delta Drive Mechanicsburg, PA 17055

    You can locate participating providers on-line at www.MidAtlanticDeltaDental.com. Masters, Mates and Pilots members have access to providers in all of the Delta networks.

     

    MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


     

    CREDIT UNION MEMBERS: PAY YOURSELF FIRST WITH DIRECT DEPOSIT

    • Do you want an easy way to grow your savings?
    • Do you want an easier way to make deposits to your Masters, Mates & Pilots Federal Credit Union account?

    Consider establishing payroll or pension direct deposit.

    Many employers allow you to directly deposit your pay into several different financial institutions. Trinity Management, Strong America, Moran Towing of Florida, and McAllister Brothers are among the MM&P-contracted companies that already provide for employees to deposit funds directly into the MM&P Federal Credit Union.

    MM&P Health & Benefit Plans Pensioners and A&G Region Pensioners may have deductions made directly from their pension check to their Credit Union account. In addition, employees of MM&P, Plans, MITAGS and MIRAID are also eligible for payroll deduction directly into their Credit Union account.

    Add to your savings by paying yourself first! Contact your payroll office to establish Credit Union direct deposit or to find out if this is available for you. For additional details or to get answers to your questions on this or other MM&P Federal Credit Union programs, contact Kathy Klisavage, Credit Union Manager, toll-free at 1-800-382-7777 or by Email at mmpfcu@bridgedeck.org.

     

     

    NEW, USED OR REFI: LOW VEHICLE LOAN RATES AT MM&P FCU

    Members are reminded that the Masters, Mates & Pilots Federal Credit Union is offering vehicle loans as low as 5.25 percent. Rates range from 5.25 to 6.99 percent for terms of 24 to 60 months. It doesn’t matter if it’s for a new, used or a refinanced vehicle.

    These rates are also in effect for new or used recreational vehicles, motorcycles or boats. Limited funds available at this rate, certain terms and conditions apply.

    MM&P Federal Credit Union membership is open to all MM&P members, to all MM&P, MITAGS, MIRAID and Plans staff, and to their immediate families.

    Rates and terms of offer are subject to change. Call Kathy Klisavage, Credit Union Manager, toll free 1-800-382-7777 or Email mmpfcu@bridgedeck.org for all the details.

     

    MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


    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: iommp@bridgedeck.org. For further info or to subscribe contact John Peige at jpeige@bridgedeck.org. The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea, broadcast worldwide via FEC marine telex andis posted on our web page.

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