Wheelhouse Weekly – June 14, 2016

June 14th 2016

Volume 21 . . . Number 24. . . June 14, 2016


In This Issue:



News for MM&P Members:

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MM&P and the Inland Boatmen’s Union are doubling down in their battle to defend the jobs of union members on Prince William Sound.

Through the unions’ efforts, a spotlight has been levelled on the controversial plan by big oil companies to drop long-time tanker escort service provider Crowley in favor of a Louisiana contractor whose last foray into Alaskan waters ended in the grounding of an oil rig.

Media coverage of the unions’ campaign has been extensive, with major network TV interviews, articles in the local press, The New York Times and the syndicated news service AP.

The MM&P-IBU campaign has yielded nearly 500 media “hits” across Alaska and the rest of the United States. Last week, the Alaska News Dispatch, the state’s leading newspaper, ran two front-page stories about the campaign. Every television station in Anchorage has covered the story multiple times.

On June 7, MM&P Regional Representative Tim Saffle and IBU President Alan Cote held a press conference in Anchorage in which they urged Alyeska, the company that operates the pipeline, to retain Crowley.

“Crowley has decades of experience operating in harsh Alaska conditions,” Cote said.

“Alyeska is trading safety and Alaska jobs for questionable cost savings… One spill, one major incident, all that cost savings means nothing.”

Prince William Sound is the site of the catastrophic 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, the effects of which are still being felt in the region. Cote spent two years on the Exxon Valdez cleanup and said he never wants to see that sort of damage to the environment again.

MM&P’s Saffle told journalists that some MM&P members aboard the Crowley vessels have 30 years’ experience operating on the waters of the sound.

“They’ve seen it all,” Saffle said. “They’ve seen the extreme weather, extreme conditions that happen here constantly. We don’t want to lose that.”

Edison Chouest, the company the oil companies are seeking to replace Crowley with, has had a presence in Alaska before. It built and operated the AIVIQ, a 360-foot vessel constructed to tow a Royal Dutch Shell PLC drilling barge, the KULLUK, for Arctic offshore drilling in the Beaufort Sea.

In December 2012, as the Edison Chouest vessels attempted to cross the Gulf of Alaska, they lost the KULLUK. A day later, all four engines on the AIVIQ failed. Shortly thereafter, the KULLUK grounded near Kodiak Island.

MM&P President Don Marcus says the switch would cost Alaskans hundreds of jobs and put the pristine water of the sound at grave risk, calling Alyeska’s proposal “reckless” and describing Edison Chouest as notorious for cutting corners in the name of expediency and going to any length to quash employees’ attempts to achieve better working conditions through unionization.

In the meantime, the controversy has moved front and center in the political arena where Steve Lindbeck, a Democrat, has mounted a vigorous challenge to Republican congressional incumbent Don Young. Lindbeck has accused Young of promoting the switch to Edison Chouest in a quid pro quo linked to campaign contributions by the Louisiana oil patch operator, its employees and owners.

“We’re reaching out to all politicians [in this effort] but we’re very pleased with Steve Lindbeck’s response and his passion to save jobs in Alaska and protect the environment,” says the IBU’s Cote.

Lindbeck was the chief author of the Alaska Oil Spill Commission report that addressed the causes and consequences of the Exxon Valdez spill.

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Language that would have permanently exempted Puerto Rico from the Jones Act has been dropped from the relief package passed by the House of Representatives to help the Commonwealth avert financial collapse.

The anti-Jones Act amendment, which was vigorously contested by MM&P, MIRAID and the rest of the U.S.-flag fleet, had been introduced by anti-U.S.-flag shipping forces.

The Jones Act, the body of law that protects the jobs of all American mariners and every MM&P member, is a constant target of flag-of-convenience shipping interests and anti-labor politicians.

Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Ala.) introduced the amendment to permanently exempt the island from the Jones Act as members of the House were preparing to send the Puerto Rico oversight bill (HR 5278) to the Floor.

MM&P and the other maritime unions were supported in their efforts to derail the attack by advocates of the U.S.-flag fleet in Congress and by the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD).

“The Jones Act has served an indispensable role in promoting American economic and national security since 1920,” said TTD President Edward Wytkind.

“Exempting Puerto Rico from the Jones Act would not only threaten our military sealift capabilities and thousands of domestic seafaring and shipbuilding jobs, but potentially further damage Puerto Rico’s already fragile economy.”

MM&P is one of 32 transportation sector unions that belong to TTD.

“This amendment, which has nothing to do with Puerto Rico, is part of a long-term plan by bad faith actors to demonize the Jones Act and harm the American businesses and workers that rely on a strong U.S. maritime industry,” Wytkind said.

The U.S.-flag industry was supported in its efforts to defend the Jones Act by advocates of the American Merchant Marine in the House, who moved to have the amendment dropped from the legislation as “not germane.”

Wytkind observed that if it had passed, it could have increased shipping rates for Puerto Rico, eroded an important, dedicated Northbound route for exports and undermined ‘just in time’ delivery methods for goods traveling in both directions.

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This year’s annual Day of the Seafarer campaign celebrates seafarers and aims to show the world why their work is indispensable to all of us. The campaign tagline is: “At Sea for All.”

The official photo wall is now ready to accept images for the commemoration on June 25.

The tagline has a clear link with the 2016 World Maritime Day theme, “Shipping: Indispensable to the World,” emphasizing that seafarers serve at sea not just for the shipping industry or for their own career purposes but for all of us.

To post your photos, go to:

If you are on social media, you can spread the word using the campaign hashtag #AtSeaForAll.

The initiative is sponsored by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

In 2010, the Diplomatic Conference which met in Manila to adopt milestone revisions to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (the STCW Convention) and its associated Code, also agreed that the unique contribution made by seafarers from all over the world to international seaborne trade, the world economy and civil society as a whole, should be marked annually with a Day of the Seafarer. The date chosen was25 June, the day on which the amendments were formally adopted.

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Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has introduced S 2989, the Merchant Mariners of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act, in honor and appreciation of the merchant mariners who served during World War II. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) is a co-sponsor of the legislation.

“Merchant mariners were instrumental during World War II—providing valuable support transporting troops and vast quantities of war material needed to fight and win that war,” Murkowski says.

“Their dedication and vital service to our nation cannot be overstated, and recognizing them through this bill is the least we can do to honor the efforts and service of merchant mariners.”

During World War II, merchant mariners were vital in providing transoceanic transport of military and civilian personnel as well as combat equipment, fuel, food, commodities and raw materials pivotal in the Allied victory.

The Merchant Marine bore a higher per-capita casualty rate than any other branch of the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II. Thousands were killed, wounded or went missing, and hundreds were held as prisoners of war. Despite their honorable service in wartime, the men of the Merchant Marine were not accorded veteran status until decades following the end of World War II, in 1988.

Murkowski said her legislation will honor merchant mariners’ service and sacrifice.

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The U.S. Navy Seventh Fleet and the Commander of U.S. Naval Forces, Japan, have banned sailors from most off-base liberty and from consuming alcohol ashore following a series of high-profile incidents of alleged misconduct on the island of Okinawa.

Civil service mariners will not be restricted or forced to comply with the new rules, which were issued by Commander, Seventh Fleet, in response to an incident that took place in Okinawa when a Navy petty officer suspected of drunk driving injured several Okinawans in other cars.

This follows a May report of a retired U.S. marine being implicated in the death of an Okinawan woman.

“Inasmuch as all the policies distinguish between military personnel and civilian personnel, MM&P is not going to take any action at this time,” said MM&P Government Fleet Representative Randi Ciszewski.

“The Union has reminded Military Sealift Command (MSC) that the infractions that resulted in the restrictions were not committed by CIVMARs.”

She said for this reason MM&P “would continue to strongly and swiftly oppose any and all attempts… to implement any liberty or alcohol restrictions governing MILDET for civilians.”

The liberty restrictions were placed on military personnel in Okinawa during “a period of mourning” that lasts until June 24. Military personnel are required to comply; civilian mariners have been “strongly encouraged” to comply.

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As previously reported, until Dec. 31, 2016, mariners who have one year of sea service in the past five years and have regularly participated in safety drills may renew their STCW Certificates without “revalidation” training.

After this date, the STCW Code will require revalidation training.

Additionally, the Coast Guard announced last week that it is aware that as a result of the limited number of approved Qualified Assessors (QAs), there may be a hardship on mariners trying to complete STCW assessments after December 31, 2106.

In consideration of this, the Coast Guard will continue to allow STCW assessments to be signed by an assessor who meets the requirements specified in NVIC 02-14 until December 31, 2017. These assessments must be submitted to the Coast Guard as part of a complete application no later than June 30, 2018.

Particularly in view of the tight deadlines, MM&P members should consider renewing their MMC this year if at all possible.

For a more detailed description of the new STCW training requirements going into force on Jan. 1, 2017, please visit the MITAGS-PMI website at

You can download the STCW Guide from the home page marquee. If you have specific questions, please contact Vic Tufts, Student Services Coordinator, at

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The MM&P Houston Hall will be closed on Monday, June 20, for Emancipation Day.

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Teaching personnel at Northwestern University in Chicago are the most recent group of academics to seek union representation to address issues that include low pay and lack of job security.

Last week, a group of adjunct faculty members at Northwestern filed a union election petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). They seek to join the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which has recently won campaigns to represent faculty at Loyola University and the University of Chicago.

The proposed bargaining unit at Northwestern could include more than 500 adjuncts. In tandem with the university and the union, the NLRB is now seeking agreement on the make-up of the bargaining unit and a timeline for a secret-ballot election.

Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz, a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, has been following faculty unionization votes nationwide. She says that since 2013, the SEIU has been involved in 53 faculty union votes, 51 of which have been successful.

Working conditions for most American academics have dramatically deteriorated over the past several decades. Today most university-level teaching is in fact done on a contract basis by low-paid instructors with no job security and few benefits. They struggle to make a living despite years of study and significant investments in advanced degrees. Many travel long distances and even across state boundaries to teach classes at numerous schools as they grapple with massive loads of their own student debt.

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Members of the United Steelworkers (USW) employed at the Carrier Corp.’s manufacturing facility in Indianapolis are fighting to save their jobs from being outsourced to a plant in Mexico.

Many of them have worked at the Indianapolis plant for years, and their work has made Carrier a hugely profitable company. Last year, Carrier made $7 billion in profits and paid the chief executive officer of its parent company more than $10 million.

Now corporate executives are planning to close the Indianapolis plant and ship those jobs overseas.

And because of bad trade deals like NAFTA and CAFTA (and, if it passes, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP), corporations like Carrier are free to continue to put profits before working people here in the United States and in other countries.

To lend your voice to this effort, sign the petition at today:

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MITAGS needs your current address! Have you moved recently? Did you remember to send MITAGS your new address for communications regarding courses? Please send your current contact information to or to the fax number below. New dedicated fax line for Admissions only: 1-443-568-1928. For all other MITAGS business, please continue to use: 410-859-5181.

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

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 – 8/22/16, 10/17/16

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: 7/22/16

ARPA-OIC – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 8/9/16, 9/27/16

AZIPOD 2-Day – 11/14/16

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 8/8/16, 10/31/16

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 7/18/16, 11/14/16

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling: 04/19/16

BT – Basic Safety Training: 06/27/16, 8/15/16, 10/10/16

BT-Revalidation (2-day) – 8/22/16, 10/31/16

BT-Refresher (3-day) – 10/30/16

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 11/14/16

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVNAV-CMM – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): Contact Admissions

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 06/20/16, 8/1/16, 10/17/16

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 8/8/16, 11/7/16

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 10/24/16

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 7/25/16, 8/15/16, 9/12/16, 10/10/16,11/28/16, 12/19/16

LMS – Leadership and Managerial Skills (Management Level – Formerly MCL-CMM – 6/27/16,7/11/16, 7/25/16, 8/1/16, 8/8/16, 8/15/16,8/22/16, 9/12/16, 10/3/16, 10/31/16, 11/14/16,11/28/16,12/5/16, 12/12/16, 12/19/16

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants: 9/19/16

SEC-APPS – Practical Defense Tactics: 8/1/16, 10/31/16

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management (2 weeks): 10/3/16

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 7/18/16, 8/15/16, 9/12/16, 10/24/16,11/7/16, 12/5/16

SHS-ADV-II-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 06/20/16, 7/25/16, 8/22/16, 9/19/16,10/31/16, 11/14/16, 12/12/16

**SHS-ADV-I & II now approved to include SAR-CMM assessments at MITAGS effective immediately. Both weeks must be taken together in order to complete SAR-CMM**

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 9/12/16

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 9/26/16

CNAV-OIC – Celestial Navigation: 10/24/16

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: Contact Admissions

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications: 7/19/16

DDE – Great Lakes: Contact Admissions

DPA – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-OIC – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-Pilots – 7/20/16, 11/14/16

ERM – Engine Resource Management: 7/18/16, 8/22/16, 9/26/16, 10/24/16, 11/14/16, 11/28/16,12/5/16, 12/12/16, 12/19/16

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 06/27/16, 8/15/16, 10/10/16

FF-ADV-REV – Advanced Fire Fighting Revalidation & Refresher: 11/2/16

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications: 9/20/16

GL Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization: Contact Admissions

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 8/22/16

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 8/29/16, 12/5/16

LAP- 9/19/16

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

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross
Ton License: 8/8/16, 12/5/16

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 7/19/16, 9/21/16, 11/15/16

LNG-TPIC – 12/5/16

LTS –Leadership and Teamworking Skills (Formerly MCL-OIC): 7/12/16, 9/26/16, 10/26/16*, 11/14/16*, 12/19/16* (*Evening Session)

MEECE – Management of Electrical and Electronic Control: 7/11/16, 8/29/16, 9/19/16, 10/17/16, 11/7/16, 11/28/16, 12/5/16, 12/12/16, 12/19/16

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 7/11/16, 11/7/16, 12/12/16

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 8/29/16, 10/3/16

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 11/7/16, 11/28/16, 12/12/16

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 8/28/16, 11/12/16, 12/17/16

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: Contact Admissions

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 8/10/16, 10/17/16

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control: 8/8/16, 10/18/16

*MSC-ENVPRO – 8/7/16, 10/16/16

*MSC-FF-HELO – 8/22/16, 10/31/16

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 7/18/16, 8/14/16, 10/23/16

*MSC-Security Watch Basic – 8/11/16, 10/20/16

*MSC-Security Watch Advanced – 7/22/16, 8/13/16, 10/22/16

*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force – 7/25/16, 8/18/16, 10/27/16

NSAP-MMP – Navigational Skills Assessment Program-MM&P – 7/26/16, 10/25/16

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 8/8/16, 9/26/16

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 6/15/2016, 06/22/16, 7/13/16, 7/27/16, 8/10/16, 8/24/16, 9/21/16, 10/5/16, 10/19/16, 11/2/16, 11/9/16, 11/16/16, 11/30/16, 12/7/16, 12/14/16

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 8/1/16

SAR-OIC – Search & Rescue – 11/7/16

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling: 06/27/16, 8/29/16, 10/17/16

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day: 8/1/16, 10/3/16, 11/28/16

SMS – Contact Admissions

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 8/8/16

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 7/11/16

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: 8/8/16

TRAC-TUG-2: Contact Admissions

TTT – Contact Admissions

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: Contact Admissions

VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 7/13/16, 9/7/16, 10/22/16

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level): 10/3/16

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): 9/19/16

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Please also see our schedule and enroll online at For registration contact our registrar, Mary McGhee: 206.838.1126 or

June 2016

15-17 Bridge Resource Management and Emergency Shiphandling for Pilots
20-24 MEECE
20-24 Train the Trainer
27-1 Leadership & Managerial Skills

July 2016

5th Flashing Light
6-8 Security Officer – Vessel, Company & Facility
11-15 Radar Observer Unlimited
11-15 Leadership & Managerial Skills
11-15 Engine Resource Management
11-22 GMDSS
18th Leadership & Teamworking Skills
18-22 ECDIS
25th Radar Renewal
25-29 Leadership & Managerial Skills
25-29 Engine Resource Management
25-29 MEECE
26-29 ARPA

August 2016

1-5 Leadership & Managerial Skills
1-5 Bridge Resource Management
8-12 Basic Meteorology
8-12 Engine Resource Management
15th Radar Renewal
15-19 Leadership & Managerial Skills
22-26 ECDIS
22-26 MEECE
22-2 GMDSS
29-2 Leadership & Managerial Skills

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The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates, & Pilots, ILA, AFL-CIO, 700 Maritime Blvd. Suite B, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1953. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973. All rights reserved. The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly © 2016. Articles can be reprinted without prior permission if credit is given to The MM&P WheelhouseWeekly. For subscriptions, address changes or messages to the editor or to MM&P headquarters, e-mail Back issues of The Weekly are posted on