Wheelhouse Weekly – June 15, 2001

June 15th 2001


Bridging the Information Gap With E-News You Can Use

Volume 5. . . . . Number 24. . . June 15, 2001





MM&P President Capt. Tim Brown and Secretary-Treasurer Glen Banks led a contingent of MM&P members who with more than 4,000 union members and activists rallied at South Carolina’s statehouse last Saturday to protest the prosecution of five longshoremen arrested in last year’s waterfront riot in Charleston.

As reported in the Journal of Commerce, labor leaders from across the country urged the South Carolina Attorney Charlie Condon to dismiss the charges against the ‘Charleston 5,’ and pledged an “international day of solidarity” when the five are put on trial.

“If the Charleston Five go to court, I’m marching in with them,” said John Bowers, president of MM&P’s parent union, the International Longshoremen’s Association. Said Bjorn Borg of the International Dockworkers Council, “If the charges are not dropped, and the Charleston Five are not set free, that day will not go unnoticed in ports around the world.”

James Spinosa, president of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union, said his union “stands at the ready to do whatever we have to do.” At one point, the crowd began chanting “Shut the port down! Shut the port down!” At least 10 persons were injured when police used batons, tear gas and guns that fired beanbag projectiles on the protesters.

Condon said he wasn’t impressed with Saturday’s rally. “I’m not going to drop charges because of a rally by some labor union.” If the charges were dropped, he added, “What kind of message does that send? This is about the rule of law and not men.” The five are scheduled to go to trial in September, he said.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



On August 2-3, MITAGS will host a special meeting on STCW-95. Top officials from the USCG/National Maritime Center, US Maritime Administration, the Military Sealift Command and industry will be present to discuss STCW-95 implementation which goes into full effect February 1, 2002.

This STCW meeting is a follow-up to the recent meeting on Mariner Recruiting and Retention held at the US Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point on May 23-24 and well attended by all sectors of the maritime industry.

All those affected by STCW-95 should be aware so they will know what will be required to achieve compliance, and what will be needed to remain in compliance. Of major concern to blue-water mariners and shipping companies is foreign port state authorities. The aim is to assure equal treatment for the efforts of US companies, unions, schools and mariners who have put forth the effort to achieve STCW-95 compliance.

The two-day MITAGS meeting will allow 20 pre-selected maritime spokespersons to interact with the USCG, MARAD and MSC on STCW-95 implementation. Additional industry representatives are welcomed and encouraged to attend.

The spokespersons will be divided as follows and will be coordinated through the coordinator listed below:

Contact your respective industry coordinator to see who your selected representative is, or if you wish to be selected as a spokesperson. Please forward this info to as many industry representatives as possible. The aim is to see a large number of industry leaders and representatives attend the meeting.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Recently Congress approved a $1.35 trillion tax cut package that includes relief for retirees in multiemployer pension plans under Section 415 of the IRS Code.

MM&P members should be aware that under the bill, the Section 415 limits are raised from $140,000 to $160,000 at age 62. This translates roughly to $127,000 at age 59, $95,000 at age 55, and $68,000 at age 50. The new limits will mainly take effect on January 1, 2002.

The higher limits will apply to people whose retirement dates are on or after January 1, 2002 and to those who retired before that date and are receiving annuities. The higher benefit will be payable beginning January 1, 2002 (not retroactively). For further info, contact Plans Administrator Valerie Verrecchio at:

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Each year, the MM&P Plan allows for the award of six scholarships to the dependent children of MM&P Offshore members and co-pay pensioners in good standing who are participants in the Health & Benefit Plan. This year’s scholarships for the 2001-2002 school year were approved at the Board of Trustee meetings held June 5-6, 2001, and the winners will be featured shortly in the MM&P newspaper.

Now is the time to begin thinking about scholarship applications for the 2002-2003 academic years. The deadline for filing an application with the Plan Office is November 30.

All interested students who will be high school seniors during the 2001-2002 school year should contact the Plan Office as soon as possible to request an application packet. The applications will be reviewed and the winners will be selected by the Scholarship Recognition Award Program in Princeton, NJ, who reviews all of the qualifications of the applicants including test scores, grades, extracurricular activities, community service, etc.

In the spring, a list of approved candidates will be sent to the Plan Office to verify eligibility. The final list will be presented to the Trustees at the June 2002 meetings and winners will be notified immediately.

Please call Mary Ellen Beach at the Plan Office, 410-850-8624, to request an application.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



In Oregon recently, a maritime first occurred a female Columbia River pilot handed off the wheel of the 525-ft. GLORY FORWAREDER to a female Columbia Bar pilot. Of the approx. 1,000 pilots who navigate large vessels through America’s waterways, maybe 1 percent of them are women.

So it was something of a milestone in early April when new Columbia River pilot Anne McIntyre transferred “the conn” of the vessel to bar pilot Deborah Dempsey.

The Daily Astorian newspaper chronicled the event since it is believed to be the first transfer between one woman pilot and another. “It was one of the happier days of my life to be able to transfer from another woman pilot,” Dempsey said. “It was wonderful and unusual.”

Dempsey, who’s guided vessels back and forth over the treacherous Columbia River Bar for more than six years, has until recently been the lone woman among the 20 bar pilots and 47 river pilots who work the river.

Now she’ll be joined by McIntyre, who is just beginning a two-year training regimen with the Portland-based river pilots’ association after four years as an apprentice. “There are maybe a dozen of us around the country,” Dempsey said. “We’re few and far between.”

River pilots guide the freighters, tankers and other vessels between Astoria and their berths at Portland, Longview and other stops on the Columbia. Bar pilots take the ships through the mouth of the river.

Piloting is “kind of the best job in the industry,” said McIntyre, who served for almost nine years aboard deep-sea vessels prior to joining the river pilots. For her, the career offers a different job with every 75-mile trip from Portland to Astoria, thanks not only to the variety of ships she guides, but also the many docks the ships use and the changing conditions on the river itself.

“It’s challenging, and different every day,” she said. “I’m meeting new people from around the world – there’s a lot of job satisfaction. You can’t get bored with a job like this.”

After four years and an estimated 1,000 transfers, she’s become familiar to many of the vessels, a large number of which make regular stops at Columbia River ports. McIntyre said she’s happy for what April’s event, in its own little way, represents for the women in the shipping industry. During her apprenticeship she got to know and admire Dempsey, she said. “She’s a trend-setter and leader for women in the industry.”

Dempsey is a long-time MM&P member who sailed for 18 years with the Lykes Steamship Company, the last five as a master, before joining the Columbia River Bar Pilots Association in 1994 as its first female pilot.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



The USCG has once again placed the Russian Maritime Registry on its list of worst classification societies. For a second year in a row, this distinction means Russian-flagged ships in US ports are almost sure to undergo a port inspection for violation of safety and environmental standards. Ship registries based in Honduras and Panama also made the USCG’s worst classification list.


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



The Panama Maritime Authority has announced that MITAGS has met the requirements for a STCW-95 training center for the Panamanian Seafarers Maritime Training Department (PSMTD). Representatives of the PSMTD will soon visit MITAGS to complete their audit for site approval, in accordance with Panama’s national regulations and STCW standards.


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Openings in classes through the end of September follow
  • 7/30: ROR-1
  • 7/30-8/3: COMP-OPSYS
  • 8/6-31: SMC
  • 8/13-17: BST, GMDSS
  • 8/13-16: SMA
  • 8/20-24: ARPA, VPM
  • 8/27-31: FF-ADV, ROP
  • 9/17-20: SMA
  • 9/24-28: FF-ADV, BRM, COMP-MAR
STCW-95 Courses

Classes are filling up fast this fall, especially Basic Safety Training (BST). Only two BST classes have openings between now and the end of September. Don’t get caught short!

New FCC Procedures

Effective May 21, 2001 persons applying for or renewing a license with Form 756 will need to make an entry in Block #1. An FCC Registration Number (FRN) or, in those cases where applicant does not have an FRN, a social security number must be entered in the block. Applications without an entry could be delayed 30-45 days. FRNs can be obtained on-line at For questions regarding FCC renewals, contact MITAGS GMDSS staff at or (443) 989-3257.

Schedule through Dec. 2001 is being maintained on the website. Hard copy schedule updates are also provided to the halls. Check the MITAGS website at: for up-to-date info. For additional course info, contact Mary Matlock at voice: 443-989-3226 or Email:

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



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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: For further info contact John Peige at 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 under “News” at:

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