News

Wheelhouse Weekly – June 16, 2006

June 16th 2006

 

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

Volume 10 . . . . . Number 24. . . . June 16, 2006

STORIES COVERED

Also

REMINDERS

T-AGS Oceanographic Survey Ships Info

Required Coursework

Security Clearances

MSC Physicals

MM&P Health & Benefit Plan News

Notice to Members who are taking Vioxx

NMHC Mail-Order Prescriptions Website Updated & Improved

WWII USCG Veterans Outreach

Company Gives Bucks Back for buying Safe Shoes

Website Offers Union-Made Goods and Services




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





 

PRESIDENT BUSH TO DELIVER KEYNOTE ADDRESS TO USMMA GRADS

President George W. Bush will deliver the keynote address at commencement exercises on June 19th for the 202 members of the US Merchant Marine Academy’s class of 2006. He will be the first sitting President ever to visit the Academy’s campus, located in Kings Point, Long Island, NY.

The members of the class of 2006, who have been trained as Merchant Marine and Naval Reserve officers, represent 34 states and the US Virgin Islands. The class also includes six students from the Republic of Panama. During the graduation ceremony, the academy superintendent, Vice Admiral Joseph D. Stewart, will present Third Mate licenses to 116 members of the class. Third Assistant Engineer licenses will go to 86 midshipmen. All graduates receive Bachelor of Science degrees.

Thirty-nine members of the 2006 class are expected to be commissioned for active duty in the Armed Services: 18 in the US Navy: 9 in the Marine Corps; 7 in the Coast Guard; 3 in the Air Force; and 2 in the Army. Twenty-eight women are part of this year’s class, bringing the total number of academy female graduates to 552. More than 20,000 academy graduates have served the maritime industry and the Armed Forces both at sea and ashore.




 

USMMA COMMENCEMENT ACTIVITIES AVAILABLE OVER THE INTERNET

USMMA commencement activities will be Webcast and are available from two different locations over the Internet. Go to http://www.usmma.edu/commencement2006 for compete details on the USMMA coverage. President Bush is scheduled to deliver his keynote address at 1000 hrs. The commencement address is also on www.maritimetv.com which will begin coverage at 0930 and include video segments containing information on today’s US Merchant Marine.

MIRAID’s Jim Patti has been interviewed by MaritimeTV and will speak on the importance of having US-crewed, US-flagged ships to meet America’s military’s sealift needs. He will also address the growing importance of LNG to the US energy market and how vital it is to have these highly sophisticated tank vessels crewed by members of the US Merchant Marine, who are the world’s best-qualified and trained mariners.


MARITIME LABOR CONCERNED THAT TWIC WILL CAUSE DELAYS

As previously reported in the Wheelhouse Weekly, the MM&P, along with a growing number of US maritime organizations, is concerned that the government’s plans to issue Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) cards by the end of the year will cause delays in operations at US terminals.

At major ports like NY/NJ and LA/LB, which handle thousands of trucks per day and literally millions of TEU’s in a year, the potential delays could be staggering. The TWIC card is a biometric identification card that will be required of transportation workers who need unescorted access to facilities such as marine terminals and commercial vessels.

Maritime labor has also pointed out that the background checks that US workers will undergo to qualify for TWIC cards are far more stringent than their foreign counterparts will endure. The government has almost unlimited ability to check into the criminal history of the US-born Merchant Mariners and Longshoremen, but little or no access to background info on the foreign-born merchant mariners that work on 95 percent of the vessels that call on US ports. In addition, the background info on many immigrant truck drivers who work at the ports are usually not made available to US authorities.

Industry executives have also expressed concern that the prototype TWIC cards produced by the US government may not stand up well against severe marine conditions; ashore and at sea. The US marine industry is urging the government to review and, if necessary, change the process of background checks that will be necessary before issuing ID cards to as many as 750,000 Merchant Mariners, Longshoremen and other transportation workers at the nation’s ports. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has estimated that TWIC implementation will cost between $299 million and $325 million.


TELECONFERENCE MEETINGS SET FOR COMMENTS ON TWIC/MMC

Want to comment on the proposed rules on the Transportation Worker’s Identification Credential and the Merchant Marine Credential? Here’s your opportunity. The USCG has announced teleconferences of the Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee (MERPAC) to discuss and prepare comments to the docket on both the TWIC and MMC proposed rules.

MERPAC provides advice and makes recommendations to the USCG on matters related to the training, qualification, licensing, certification, and fitness of seamen serving in the US merchant marine. The teleconference calls will take place on Tuesday, June 20th from 1200 until 1500 hrs, and on Thursday, June 29th from 1200 until 1500 hrs. These meetings may adjourn early if all business is finished.

Members of the public may participate by dialing 202-366-3920, pass code 6934 on June 20th, and by dialing
202-366-3920, pass code 7124 on June 29th. Public participation is welcomed; however, the number of teleconference lines is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. For questions on this notice, contact Mark Gould at phone: 202-372-1409; fax: 202-372-1926, or e-mail: mgould@comdt.uscg.mil.


MARAD THANKS MM&P AND MITAGS FOR HELP IN TESTING NEW MOS

The US Maritime Administration (MARAD) has thanked the MM&P and MITAGS for assistance in testing the new web-based Mariner Outreach System (MOS). In a letter from Taylor Jones II, MARAD’s Director of Sealift Support, Jones wrote that, “The enthusiasm and support provided by Mr. Glen Paine and the MITAGS staff, specifically Col. Walt Megonigal and Capt. Robert Becker, were directly responsible for the success of the testing. The input provided by MM&P mariners was invaluable in helping us to create an accurate, user friendly system that will be valuable to US mariners worldwide.”

According to MARAD, “The new system is designed to improve MARAD’s ability to contact mariners during a national sealift emergency. Merchant mariners provide crucial sealift to US Armed Forces for overseas missions, and recently provided vital support for hurricane recovery efforts. The MOS, which will be operated by MARAD as a service to mariners, will also improve MARAD’s ability to communicate with US seafarers and to solicit feedback through questionnaires and surveys. The MOS also allows mariners to review their US Coast Guard qualifications/sea service and provide up-to-date changes to their contact information.”

By participating in MOS, mariners will be able to view the following information from the USCG Merchant Marine Licensing and Documentation (MMLD) system:

  • MMD, License and STCW info to include qualifications and expiration date.
  • Sea service on record in the official USCG MMLD database that includes vessel name, type and sailing/departure dates.
  • Re-employment rights information and links to mariner-related Web sites.

Mariners can access the system from anywhere in the world through a secure website at https://mos.marad.dot.gov . Personal info contained in the MOS will not be disseminated. For further information on the MOS contact the Office of Sealift Support at 202-366-5821 or e-mail Anne Dougherty at Anne.Dougherty@dot.gov.


MATSON HONORED WITH USCG ENVIRONMENTAL AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE

MM&P-contracted Matson Navigation Company has been honored with the US Coast Guard’s 2006 Rear Admiral William Benkert Marine Environmental Award for Excellence. The Benkert Award was created to recognize outstanding achievements in marine environmental protection that go beyond mere compliance with industrial and regulatory standards. Matson was the only containership operator recognized in the 2006 award process, which is conducted every two years. Other recipients of the 2006 award include Dow Chemical, British Petroleum, Marathon Petroleum and Todd Shipyard. The formal awards presentation will take place on June 26 in San Diego.

“The William M. Benkert Award is the premier national award that recognizes excellence in marine environmental protection,” said Captain Michael B. Karr, US Coast Guard, Chief, Office of Vessel Activities. “The evaluation process is competitive; standards are rigorous and demanding. This award was created to recognize vessel and facilities operators who have implemented outstanding marine environmental protection programs — programs that far exceed mere compliance with industrial and regulatory standards.”

Matson President and CEO James Andrasick commended the company’s safety, quality and environmental affairs (SQE) and vessel operations departments for this distinguished achievement: “The criteria for receiving the Benkert Award require operators to demonstrate comprehensive and industry leading environmental initiatives. Matson’s efforts here have clearly gone far beyond today’s stringent requirements. In many instances, Matson has demonstrated leadership in areas pertaining to offshore environmental protection by partnering with various regulatory agencies and equipment manufacturers on environmental studies and projects. In every example, Matson’s SQE and vessel operations departments received the full support and cooperation of all Matson personnel. The collaborative work has been exceptional.”

Matson has had a zero discharge policy since 1993 and is still the only container vessel company that has such a program. In 2003, Matson’s SS CHIEF GADAO became the first US-flag container vessel certified to the American Bureau of Shipping’s Safety, Quality and Environmental Management (SQE) program. All of Matson’s vessels now have the SQE certification which requires a documented environmental management system focused on continuous improvement.

“Matson has also established a Matson Environmental Protection Zone which voluntarily limits discharges from the onboard oil water separators in coastal areas even when it is permissible legally to do so,” said Paul Londynsky, vice president, SQE. “Last year, we installed additional filters on the discharge side of the oil water separators to further reduce the oil content below the 15 ppm limit.”

Environmental Affairs Manager Lisa Swanson added: “Recent projects to reduce air emissions include a new generator and turbocharger retrofits on our C9-class vessels, a slide valve retrofit on the MV R. J. PFEIFFER, and installation of boiler combustion hardware on two steamships. In order to minimize the potential introduction of invasive species from ballast water, Matson has maintained a long and successful partnership with the California State Lands Commission to demonstrate innovative technologies. An OptimarTM system was installed and tested on a Matson vessel in 2003, and we are now in the process of testing an EcochlorTM system on the ITB MOKU PAHU.”

Matson and SSA Marine also recently signed a new “green port” lease with the Port of Long Beach, setting a new environmental standard for terminal leases. As part of the new agreement, Matson will retrofit five vessels in its current fleet to use shoreside electricity, known as cold-ironing, or technology that is at least 90 percent as clean as cold-ironing. In addition, a class of older vessels will be retrofitted with technology that is at least 80 percent as clean as cold-ironing. The Benkert Award is named in honor of Rear Admiral William M. Benkert (1923-1989), a distinguished Coast Guard officer widely known for his leadership and vision in marine environmental protection.


MARAD FUNDING BILL FOR FY ’07 GETS HOUSE APPROVAL

Earlier this week by a 406-22, the US House of Representatives passed HR 5576, the Transportation, Treasury, Housing and Urban Development, the Judiciary, the District of Columbia and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act, 2007. The bill encompasses funding the Maritime Administration (MARAD) including $154,400,000 for the Maritime Security Program (MSP), operations and training, $116,442,000, obsolete ship disposal, $25,740,000 and $3,317,000 for administrative expenses to carry out the Title XI Maritime Guaranteed Loan Program.


HOUSE VOTES TO INCREASE PORT SECURITY FUNDING

Late last week, the US House of Representatives voted to increase the funding for the Port Security Grant program in fiscal year 2007. The House version of the FY’07 Appropriations Bill for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will increase port funding by about 14% and would provide $200 million in Port Security Grant program funds, compared to the $150 million recommended by the House for FY’06.


ALASKA LAWMAKERS FAIL TO AGREE ON NEW OIL TAX BILL

After a lengthy debate, Alaska lawmakers have failed to agree on terms for an oil-tax bill that is key to bringing a proposed 3,600 mile natural gas pipeline closer to reality. If passed, the oil-tax bill would replace the state’s current production tax, which state leaders say is outdated and allows major oil fields to escape payment.

Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski has been pushing the gas pipeline project, which insiders say is dead without the passage of the new oil tax. The gas pipeline is widely regarded as Alaska’s next Prudhoe Bay, which is providing almost 10 percent of the nation’s crude oil supply. The gas pipeline would likely extend by decades the life of Alaska’s declining oil and gas production. It would also decrease America’s dependence on foreign oil and gas as it would bring to market the 35 trillion cubic feet of proven natural-gas reserves in Alaska’s North Slope. If the pipeline is built, it would reportedly be North America’s largest ever construction project.


HORIZON LINES ANNOUNCES PRICING OF SECONDARY OFFERING

MM&P-contracted Horizon Lines announced this week the public offering of 5,750,000 shares of its common stock, all of which are being sold by stockholders of the company, at a price to the public of $14.00 per share. The selling stockholders have also granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to 862,500 additional shares from them. The Company will not be issuing any primary shares in the offering or upon the exercise of the underwriters’ option. The offering is being made through an underwriting syndicate led by Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., J.P. Morgan Securities Inc. and Goldman, Sachs & Company.


MM&P FEDERAL CREDIT UNION ON VACATION SCHEDULE JUNE 14-21

MM&P’s Federal Credit Union is operating on a vacation schedule from June 14th until June 21st. In the event of an emergency, FCU members can contact Patrick McCullough at 410-850-8500.

 


MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

 

CLASS OPENINGS: Between January and the end of August 2006, seats are available in the following courses:


ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 7/24
AZIPOD-KAM-2 – Two-Day Azipod and Kamewa Steering and Propulsion Systems: 8/5

BRMP – Bridge Resource Mangement for Pilots: 6/20, 8/7
BST – Basic Safety Training: 6/26, 8/28

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 6/26
CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 6/19
*WX-BASREF-2 – Two day Basic weather refresher, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED PREP for Advanced Meteorology: 6/22
CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 6/26, 8/7
CMM-SHMGT-I – Ship Management I (week 1): 6/19, 7/10, 8/21
CMM-SHMGT-II – Ship Management II (week 2): 8/14
CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 7/19, 7/24, 8/7, 8/21
CMM-SHS-ADV-II – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 7/26, 7/31, 8/14
CMM-VPEN – Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 7/24
CMM-WKP – Watchkeeping: 8/28

COMP-OPSYS – Basic Computer Operating Systems: 6/26
CONT-PLNG – Contingency Planning: 7/14
CSE-AASE – Confined Space Entry: 8/28

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 6/26, 8/28

HAZ-Hazardous Materials (5-day): 7/31

LAP-License Advancement Program (5 weeks including USCG Exam): 7/24

MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 7/13
MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 6/24, 7/14, 7/29, 8/12
MED-PIC – Medical Person-In-Charge: 7/24, 8/14
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 7/24, 8/14


[MSC – Military Sealift Command]
MSC-CBRD-1 (Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Orientation): 6/19, 8/23
MSC-DC (Damage Control): 6/20, 8/24
MSC-SMA – Small Arms: 8/28
MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 9/1 (must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years)

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal (5-day): 8/28
ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 6/21-evening, 7/15, 7/24

SEC-OFF-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 7/10
SHS-BAS -Basic Shiphandling: 7/10
SHS-EMR – Emergency Shiphandling: 6/26, 7/31, 8/28


Check the MITAGS website at www.mitags.org for course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations, and schedule revisions. For class availability or info on MITAGS courses and programs, contact admissions toll-free at 866-656-5568 or Email: admissions@mitags.org.


PMI ACADEMIC NOTES

Spring – Fall 2006

June 2006

6/19-23 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
6/19-30 GMDSS
6/26-30 Radar Observer Unlimited
6/26-30 Basic Shiphandling

August 2006
31 Jul-4 Aug Basic Shiphandling
7-11 ECDIS
7-11 Basic Safety Training
7-11 Meteorology – Basic
8-11 Survival Craft / Lifeboatman
14-18 Able Bodied Seaman
14-18 Basic and Advanced Firefighting
14-25 GMDSS
14-25 Shiphandling – Advanced
21-25 Ship Construction & Basic Stability
21-25 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
28-1 Sep Cargo Handling & Stowage – Basic

September 2006
5-9 (tu-sa) Medical Care Provider
5-9 (tu-sa) Emergency Shiphandling 5-day
5-15 Medical Person-In-Charge
11-12 Search and Rescue
11-15 Basic Safety Training
11-23 100 Ton OUPV
12-15 Survival Craft / Lifeboatman
13-15 Emergency Procedures
18-22 Radar Observer Unlimited
18-22 Shiphandling – Basic
18-22 Able Bodied Seaman
18-6 Oct Terrestrial & Coastal Navigation with Compasses
25th Radar Recertification
25-29 ARPA
25-2 Oct Watchkeeping & BRM

October 2006
10/2-4 Ship Security Officer
10/2-4 Basic Safety Training
10/2-13 Shiphandling – Advanced
10/9-13 ECDIS
10/9-13 Radar Observer Unlimited
10/9-20 GMDSS
10/10-13 Survival Craft / Lifeboatman
10/16-20 Basic & Advanced Firefighting
10/23 Flashing Light
10/23-27 ARPA
10/23-27 Cargo Handling & Stowage – Basic
10/24-25 Simulation Assessment

For registration call Jennifer Fowler 888-893-7829

PMI MERCHANDISE FOR SALE!!!

High quality with embroidered PMI logo.
Navy or Khaki Hats : $16 / includes tax
———————————-
Button Down Long Sleeve Dress Shirts
Blue or Khaki: $38 / includes tax
———————————-
Pocket t-shirts with Logo: $12 / includes tax
————————————
15oz. Cobalt Blue Ceramic Mug: $8 / includes tax

Call DeeDee Lazik 206-838-8328 or e-mail dlazik@mates.org.


MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 6-14

 

 D O W  N A S D A Q  S & P 500
11,014.38 +75.56 for the week 2,146.39 +1.03 for the week 1,256.16 -.27 for the week

 

Fund Name & Trading Symbol
Closing
Price
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
116.13
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
35.02
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
21.94
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
17.62
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
32.67
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
10.00
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX)
6.03
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
9.75
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
18.94
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
16.11
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
34.36
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
85.39
 Fidelity Small Company Instl (FMACX)
21.45
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
77.51
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX) 44.63
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
29.59

 






~ Reminders ~





 

T-AGS OCEANOGRAPHIC SURVEY SHIPS MANNING REQUIREMENTS

REQUIRED COURSEWORK

All MM&P members are reminded that to sail aboard the T-AGS ships that MM&P-contracted Horizon Lines will be operating, you must have the required training certification and your certificates must be current in accordance with Military Sealift Command requirements. Members are also required to have had a MSC pre-employment physical and to possess Ship Security Clearance (see below).

The MSC Contract calls for all training certificates required for manning of these vessels to be no older than 5 years and that all STCW-95 courses be renewed every 5 years, or annually, as applicable.

Five-year renewable courses include, but are not limited to:

  • Advanced Fire Fighting
  • Basic Safety Training, and
  • Damage Control

Small Arms certificates must be less than 1 year old and MUST NOT expire during your tour of duty.

Members interested in applying for one of the positions onboard the T-AGS vessels are advised to make sure your certificates are up to date. If not, contact Mary Matlock or Diane Ford at MITAGS Admissions, email: admissions@mitags.org, and schedule to take the course(s) needed.

Those MM&P members interested in obtaining more information and facts about the T-AGS Oceanographic Vessels are asked to email the Director of Special Projects requesting the “facts sheet”. It will be provided by return email in an Adobe Acrobat PDF format.

Members interested in employment on the T-AGS ships are asked to provide a 1-2 page resume. Please list the desired position you are seeking along with the certificates of training you possess and their dates. Upon receipt it will be forwarded to Horizon Lines and a confirmation sent back to the member. Vessel turnover commenced Oct.17, 2004. Positions for all ratings remain open.

The point of contact for sending a resume for employment on the Horizon Lines T-AGS Oceanographic Vessels is Richard Plant, MM&P’s Director of Special Projects. Send resumes in an email or as a Word file attachment to him at: rplant@bridgedeck.org, by fax to 410-850-0973 or by mail to:

Richard Plant, Director of Special Projects

IOMM&P
700 Maritime Blvd.
Linthicum Heights, MD 21090



SHIP SECURITY CLEARANCE NEEDED

Members who want to sail for Horizon Lines on the T-AGS Oceanographic Survey vessels the company is set to begin operating for MSC must have Ship Security Clearance before going aboard.

Special software must be downloaded from the US Government’s Defense Security Service to complete the Security Clearance application. You must have an Internet connection and a Windows-based computer to retrieve the application and run the program.

Go to https://sclient.dss.mil/download/w9xfull.htm to download the software titled “EPSQ SUBJECT2_2”.

After the software is installed and the program is launched, select “Create” from the menu bar at the top of the screen. You will be required to enter your Social Security Number and a case-sensitive password. A window titled “Type of Form” will appear.

All Deck Officers should select the first button titled “Request for Security Clearance (SF86)” and then click “OK” to go to the next screen, “Type of Investigation”.

From the “Type of Investigation” screen:

  • Masters and Radio Officers should select the first button, “Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI)”.
  • All other Deck Officers (C/M, 2/M, 3/M) should click on the second button, “National Agency Check (NAC or NACLC)”.

After selecting the appropriate investigation type, click on “OK” to begin filling in the forms.

 



MSC PHYSICALS

Horizon Lines requests all mariners seeking employment aboard the T-AGS Oceanographic vessels to take their MSC Physical at specially-designated facilities only after being advised to do so by the Company. This is to assure that all requirements of the MSC Physical are properly met.

 


MM&P FCU NEWS

GET NEW WHEELS OR LOWER EXISTING PAYMENTS WITH MM&P FCU VEHICLE FINANCING

Is it time to replace that car you’re driving? Vehicle loan rates are looking great at MM&P FCU.

Drive away in a new or used vehicle for a standard loan rate of:

4.75 percent for terms up to 24 months.
Standard loan rates for longer-term loans are:

5.00 percent for 25-48 months;
5.75 percent for 49-60 months ($20,000 minimum); and
6.25 percent for terms extending from 61-72 months ($25,000 minimum).
You can lower your loan rate even more — by 0.75 percent — by becoming a Preferred Borrower.

Are you paying a higher rate on your current vehicle loan at another institution? Consider refinancing your outside loan at the MM&P FCU and taking advantage of our lower loan rates.

MM&P FCU will finance up to 100 percent of your new vehicle loan, and up to 90 percent of NADA Book Value on a used vehicle. Maximum vehicle loan amount is $30,000.

PREFERRED BORROWERS GET LOWER LOAN RATES
MM&P FCU members can reduce the interest rate they pay on any new loan even further by becoming a preferred borrower. What is a preferred borrower? That’s a member who deposits at least 10 percent of the original loan amount into their MM&P FCU savings account and keeps those funds on deposit until the loan is paid in full. By doing this you save twice – first, your deposit works for you by earning our regular dividend savings rate, and second, you save money by reducing the interest rate on your loan by 0.75 percent.

Contact the MM&P FCU for full details on all loan programs by email to mmpfcu@bridgedeck.org or call 1-800-382-7777 toll-free.



 

MM&P HEALTH & BENEFIT PLAN NEWS

NOTICE TO MEMBERS WHO ARE TAKING VIOXX

On Sept.30, Merck & Co. voluntarily withdrew Vioxx, a popular anti-inflammatory medication, from the market. As a result, individuals who are currently taking the drug have been asked to contact their health care professionals to discuss discontinuing use of Vioxx and possible alternative treatments.

MM&P Plans Administrator Valerie Verrecchio reports that, “We have gotten a number of calls from members who want to know what to do with their remaining supply of Vioxx and whether the Plan or NMHC will refund their co-pay for the unused portion.

“Unfortunately, neither NMHC nor the Plan was aware of the Merck decision prior to the public announcement on Sept.30. As of that date, all deliveries of Vioxx to our members was suspended in accordance with Merck’s announcement. Orders that had already been processed and were in transit could not be stopped.

“In regard to refunds, Merck has set up a website at www.vioxx.com where members can obtain information on how to recover refunds from Merck for the unused portion of medication. Members can also call following toll free number for information: 1-888-368-4699.

“We are sorry for any inc onvenience this may have caused to members currently taking this medication, however, the matter is out of the control of the Plans.”



NMHC MAIL-ORDER PRESCRIPTIONS WEBSITE UPDATED & IMPROVED

MM&P Plans Administrator Valerie Verrecchio reports, “Good news! NMHC mail has finally gotten their website upgraded and functioning properly. I went in and tested it myself and found it to be quite user friendly.”

To use NMHC’s upgraded service, go to the NMHC Mail website at www.nmhcmail.com and click on “MEMBER LOGIN” at the bottom of the screen.

First-time and Registered users may bypass the welcome screen and go directly to the log-in page at https://members.nmhcrx.com/Login/Login.aspx.

  • First-time users should then click on the link marked “NEW USER: REGISTER HERE”.
    This will take you to a page titled “MEMBER REGISTRATION” where you will need to enter demographic information and submit it by clicking on the
  • “CREATE ACCOUNT” button.

After creating your account, NMHC will email you a password to gain entry into your records. With your first sign-in, the NMHC system will prompt you to change the NMHC password to one of your own choosing.

Once you are registered at NMHC, you can check the status of open orders by logging-in to the system through the “MEMBER LOGIN” page and going into the “MAIL ORDER” menu. You can look up all prescriptions and get the price our members will pay for any medication. You can also view an order history of all of your medication transactions (both retail and mail) for the last 24 months, locate 24-hour pharmacies in your zip code region as well as access other helpful member education information.

“We hope this welcome improvement will assist our members. Although you cannot order refills on line if you don’t provide a credit or debit card number, you can phone in your refill. Once you register on the website, you will still have access to all of the other information including checking the status of your order once it is phoned in,” said Ms. Verrecchio.



WWII USCG VETERANS OUTREACH

The U.S. Coast Guard has announced an initiative to identify and collect the oral histories of its World War II veterans. Coast Guard WWII veterans, including SPARS and merchant mariners, are encouraged to record their histories online with the Library of Congress Veterans History Project at www.loc.gov/folklife/vets.

Those veterans needing assistance in recording their stories can receive help from their local Coast Guard Auxiliary public affairs contact by leaving a message at 1-877-875-6296, a toll-free call.




 

COMPANY GIVES BUCKS BACK FOR BUYING SAFE SHOES

LMS Ship Management, the company that manages vessels for Central Gulf, Sulphur Carriers and Waterman Steamship, wants to remind MM&P members that they offer their crewmembers a $75 reimbursement on the cost of purchasing certain slip-resistant shoes and boots for use aboard ship.

This offer has been in place for some time and LMS reports that “we have been pleased with the participation to date, but feel a reminder may be in order.” Their goal is for every crewmember to wear slip resistant footwear during working hours aboard their vessels.

The $75 reimbursement is available to each crewmember who provides LMS with an original receipt for the purchase of slip resistant footwear. In order for the crewmember to obtain the reimbursement, they must wear the shoes while on duty. Upon presentation of the receipt, the crewmember will be reimbursed on their pay voucher. The receipt will be retained by the Master and will remain aboard the vessel.
 
 

Vessels in the LMS footwear reimbursement program are:

  • Green Cove
  • Green Dale
  • Green Lake
  • Green Point
  • Atlantic Forest
  • Sulphur Enterprise
  • Energy Enterprise
  • SGT Matej C. Kocak
  • MAJ Stephen W. Pless, and
  • PFC Eugene A. Obregon

LMS notes that in order to receive reimbursement, crewmembers must purchase one of the following recommended brands:

  • WORX by Red Wing Slip Resistant Footwear
  • Caterpillar (must have steel toe & slip resistant sole)
  • Wolverine (must have steel toe and slip resistant sole)
  • Dunham Sierra Work Boot EH
  • Steel Toe Voyager
  • Georgia Boot 6- or 8-inch Safety Toe Boot
  • Dr. Marten’s (must have steel toe & slip resistant sole)

LOOK FOR THE UNION LABEL:

Of the boots listed above, Red Wing, Caterpillar and Wolverine boots are produced by US union labor.

Redwing’s Union-made products are: Red Wing shoes and boots, Red Wing motorcycle boots and Craftsman (Sears).

Wolverine World Wide manufactures boots under the Caterpillar brand using US union labor. (Other union made safety-shoe brands by Wolverine are the company’s Hy-Test, Durashock and Bates Military labels. The company’s Wolverine brand combat boots are also produced using US union labor.)

Most Dr. Marten’s shoes and boots are produced in the UK.

To find US, union-made products, visit the AFL-CIO Union Label Service and Trades website at www.unionlabel.org and click on “Union Made Product Search”. To shop for union-made products online, go to www.ShopUnionMade.org.




 

WEBSITE OFFERS UNION-MADE GOODS AND SERVICES

The Union Label recently went digital with a new website offering shoppers an array of union-made gifts, from clothing and chocolates to computers, games and greeting cards.

The website, www.shopunionmade.org, launches on the eve of the fall and winter holidays, when shoppers will spend an estimated $1 trillion on gifts, food, drinks and other seasonal items, explained Matt Bates, Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO Union Label & Service Trades Department. The all-union shopping site, however, will be a year-round operation because that is what consumers demand, he added.

“Shoppers spent $56 billion in Internet sales last year, and on-line spending is doubling every two to three years. Everyday we receive Email and calls from people who want to support good jobs by buying union-made goods and services. The website will reach millions of people, 24 hours a day, with a quick convenient way to shop union,” Bates said.

“The public is ready for this. People have seen millions of good jobs disappear and they are looking for ways to take a stand and make a difference,” he added.

The AFL-CIO will target the peak of the holiday shopping season by promoting “Buy Union Week” Nov. 26 through Dec. 5. The newly-launched, all-union shopping site will be a cornerstone of that campaign. MM&P has a link to the Shop Union Site on this website under “Links and Other Sources”.



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 and is posted on our web page.



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