Wheelhouse Weekly – June 17, 2004

June 17th 2004



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

Volume 8 . . . . . Number 25 . . . . June 17, 2004


Convention Call: MM&P 80th Convention

In accordance with Article IV, Section 2, of the International Constitution, members are hereby notified that a regular convention of the MM&P will be convened at 1000 on Monday, August 2, at MITAGS, 692 Maritime Blvd, Linthicum Heights, MD. Nominations for elective office will take place at this Convention. Constitutional amendments may also be considered at this Convention.

Members are also hereby notified that in accordance with Article IV, Section 6., Subsection b), all proposed resolutions must be forwarded to the International Secretary-Treasurer at least 30 days prior to the opening day of the Convention for inclusion on the Agenda and determination by the Convention.





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



International Headquarters is pleased to report that after a final bargaining session on Friday, June 11, 2004, MM&P and Horizon Lines agreed on a contract for the next eight (8) years.

The three Offshore Vice Presidents negotiating with Horizon’s Management Team arrived at a contract that covers the following items:

  • There will be pay raises on wage and wage related item as follows:

     Effective 6/16/2004 and 6/16/05:  2.5 percent increase each year
     Effective 6/16/2006, 6/16/2007, 6/16/2008 and 6/16/2009:  3.0 percent increase each year
     Effective 6/16/2010 and 6/16/2011:  3.5 percent increase each year

  • Horizon will extend its obligation and amend Trust and Plans documents to continue them in full force and effect through June 15, 2013.
  • Horizon agrees to contribute 7.5 percent plus Feinberg to the individual’s IRAP account based on the daily benefit wage for the duration of the Contract period.
  • The days of vacation remain the same as does the current amount that is being contributed to the MATES and MIRAID Programs.
  • The union agreed to reduce contributions to the Joint Employment Committee (JEC) from the current 1.0 percent to 0.5 percent as long as the employer’s contribution rate to the MM&P Pension Plan remained above 16.0 percent plus Feinberg. Once Horizon’s contribution rate drops below 16.0 percent plus Feinberg, the JEC (Joint Employment Committee) percentage shall return to 1.0 percent.
  • The MM&P agreed to amend the current severance program to provide that the severance program shall not apply as long as Horizon is operating 15 vessels under the terms of the Agreement.

– and –


  • Finally, MM&P agreed to allow Horizon, at its option, to shift the second Third Mate, currently carried on the Caribbean vessels, to any other Horizon vessel so long as there is no loss of billet days of employment and no interruption or reduction in the dispatch of an additional Third Mate once he/she is assigned to a particular vessel.

There have been additions to the courses required to be taken at MITAGS. These courses are described in the signed contract that was mailed to Offshore Membership Group Union Halls on Wednesday, June 16. Copies of this contract will be provided to all Horizon vessels.



Negotiations between the MM&P and US Ship Management (USSM) have been ongoing for some months. On June 14, Union officials from both MM&P and MEBA met with USSM at MM&P HQ to negotiate a new agreement for the contract expiring on Tuesday, June 15, 2004.

No new agreement was finalized during this negotiating session. It was agreed by all parties to extend the current collective bargaining agreement in its entirety including all applicable wages, benefits and work rules until midnight October 15, 2004.

The parties further agreed that the new agreement, once finalized, including any wage and or benefit adjustments, will be effective retroactively to June 16, 2004. All parties agree to continue to negotiate in good faith until a fair and equitable contract is achieved.



As reported in last week’s edition of the Wheelhouse Weekly, MM&P-contracted Horizon Lines is to be awarded an approximately $23 million Military Sealift Command (MSC) contract for the operation and maintenance of seven oceanographic ships (T-AGS) to support the Naval Oceanography Program. MM&P will represent the deck officers.

For those members and applicants interested in employment possibilities on these vessels, contact MM&P HQ by calling 410-850-8700 x23 or by Email at:



Late Monday evening June 14, the House Committee on Ways and Means reported HR 4520, the American Jobs Creation Act, containing the MM&P-supported tonnage tax provision as sponsored by Congressman Bill Jefferson (D-LA). This is the first time in many, many years that a pro-US-flag tax initiative has been approved by the Ways and Means Committee and sent to the full House of Representatives for a vote currently scheduled for Friday, June 18. *

The provision is modeled after the tonnage tax regimes adopted by a number of European countries and would apply to US-flag commercial vessels operating in the foreign trades. It is hoped and intended that this new tax system would encourage companies to increase the number of vessels in their US-flag fleets.

HR 4520 is the so-called corporate tax cut bill that likely faces a close vote on the floor of the House. A group of approximately 25 Republican members oppose the bill because they believe it does not provide enough tax relief for small manufacturers. The bill faces opposition among many Democrats because it provides approximately $140 billion in new corporate tax cuts plus a $10 billion Federal buyout of tobacco farmers.

Assuming HR 4520 is passed by the House, and the Republican leadership is convinced it will, the legislation will head to a House-Senate conference committee. The Senate had passed its version of this legislation (S.1637) by a 92-5 vote on May 11.

The Senate version does not contain a tonnage tax provision. If and when the legislation gets to House-Senate conference, the MM&P will work to convince the conferees to accept the House provision. The MM&P will also work to have the conferees add the seamen’s foreign-earned income tax exclusion to the bill as yet another incentive for the operation of US-flag vessels.



The House of Representatives passed HR 4520, the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004, on June 17 after the Wheelhouse Weekly had been issued. This corporate tax reform legislation contains Congressman William Jefferson’s tonnage tax provision for U.S.-flag commercial vessels operating in the foreign trades. The next step is for the differences between the House-passed tax bill (HR 4520) and the Senate passed version (S.1637) to be resolved in conference. S.1637 does not include the tonnage tax among many other provisions added in the House.



As the July 1 deadline nears for vessel security plans to be approved and implemented, USCG Rear Admiral Larry Hereth said that he is confident that all vessels will soon be in compliance. The July 1 deadline is specified in the Maritime Transportation Security Act as passed by Congress.

As of last week, 99 percent of vessel plans have been submitted, and the USCG’s Marine Safety Center has approved over 90 percent of those. Those plans, Hereth said, likely will be approved before July 1.

He also said all ships will be boarded, though whether they get boarded at sea or dockside will depend on a variety of risk factors, adding that there will be random checks as well. He stated that with an average of 160 vessels a day coming into US waters, the USCG is prepared to handle the workload.

For more info go to the USCG port security website at: .



On June 14, the USCG formalized rules for ships entering US waters. The rules are intended to keep foreign marine species and organisms from being introduced into US waters and mandate not only how ballast water will be handled but also sets strict record keeping and reporting procedures.

Potential fines for non-compliance have been increased from $25,000 to $27,500 per day. Specific rules are included covering procedures and fines for ships entering the Great Lakes and portions of the Hudson River that fail to implement proper ballast management procedures.



Officials from East Coast ports are schooling up in opposition to proposed new rules from the National Marine Fisheries Service designed to protect the Atlantic Right Whale. Under the rules, speed restrictions would apply during the seasons when the whales appear most often within port ranges.

Speed limits would be in effect along the Delaware Bay from February through April and again from October through December, while in Savannah they would be in effect from November through April. Ships transiting these areas would be limited to speeds of 10-14 knots during the affected periods and would apply to areas within 20-30 n-miles of the ports.

It is estimated that the cost per vessel call at individual ports could range from $3400 at Portland, Maine, to $1200 at Philadelphia, shipping officials said. They believe that these regulations could cost shipping companies around $16M annually and an untold loss to ports if ships choose other routes.

For more info on the proposal to protect the Right Whale, go to NOAA’s National Marine’s Fisheries Service website at The deadline for submitting comments to the Fisheries Service is August 2.



In a move supported by the MM&P and other US maritime unions, the US Maritime Administration (MARAD) has issued a Final Opinion and Order conditionally approving the request of Maersk Line Limited (MLL) to transfer 15 Maritime Security Program (MSP) operating agreements from MM&P-contracted US Ship Management (USSM) to itself.

One of the conditions to which the order is subject is that MLL submit a certification that Denmark, the home of MLL’s parent company, has no laws that would prohibit the company from performing its obligations under the operating agreements.

The other condition is that MLL confirm its status as a US documentation citizen and the status of all vessel owners purported to be US citizens pursuant to Section 2 of the Shipping Act, 1916.

For those members who would like to review MARAD’s full Final Opinion and Order approving the MLL request, it may be downloaded as an Acrobat file from: .




European hull survey-company Sub Sea Ventures plans to launch an in-water security and scheduled hull inspection service in Gibraltar next January. A sophisticated six-person submarine will carry out class-approved underwater inspections on ships in port, bunkering or at anchor within a 20-mile radius of Gibraltar, the company says.

Ships’ crewmembers may even be able to take part in an inspection dive as submarine passengers. The vessel is also available for routine maintenance, research, leisure and educational dives. The company plans to introduce a second sub in 2006 once the service is established. For more info, go the company’s website at: .



With headline grabbing massive maritime pollution incidents occurring in their waters over the last several years, European countries are doling out tough fines. Last week, the captain of a Cyprus-flagged cargo ship caught polluting the French Atlantic coast was hit with a $600,000 fine.

The fine, twice the normal level, was imposed against the Romanian master not only because of the pollution caused last December, but also because he failed to stop his ship, the PANTOKRATORAS, when ordered to do so by the French Navy. French authorities had to wait for the ship to return to its territorial waters in late January to intercept the vessel and question the crew.

The ship’s Master has continued to deny accusations of pollution. He has insisted that he was sleeping when the Navy called on the ship to stop. Mastrogiorgis Shipping, owner of the PANTOKRATORAS, already had to pay a record of over $500,000 bail to get the ship released.



Global warming is having an increasing effect on the oceans on which many MM&P members rely to earn their livelihood. It is already thawing some of the permafrost and releasing methane, which is 25 times more potent a greenhouse gas than is carbon dioxide.

Enormous quantities of methane are in the oceans, two small deposits off the North Carolina coast contain at least 1,300 trillion cubic feet of methane, and even small releases could speed up global warming. Rising temperatures could break down buried mixtures of water, methane, and other gases, called gas hydrates, and release them into the atmosphere where they would be trapped in the sun’s heat.

Hydrate thawing is already affecting Alaska, which is discovering problems with settling and destabilization of buildings.

The Kyoto Protocol, which is the main international plan for controlling emissions of carbon dioxide and gases like methane, is dependent on Russia after the US pulled out of the agreement in 2001.

President Vladimir Putin has said that Russians might benefit from a warmer world. UN scientists have predicted a rise in temperatures of between 2.5 degrees and 10 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100.



The Convention will start at 1000 hours on the 2nd of August. This is a nominating Convention for all officers and Convention Delegates.

To be nominated for any Office (including Convention Delegate) in the Organization, you must have been a member for at least four years and be in continuous good standing for the 24 months preceding the nomination. In addition, you must meet the eligibility requirements for your specific membership group as listed in the International Constitution.

To run for International Office as Int. President or Int. Secretary-Treasurer, you must be nominated in Convention or, in lieu thereof, you may be nominated by a petition signed by fifty (50) members of the Organization.

To run for Vice President of any membership group, you must be nominated in Convention or, in lieu thereof, you may be nominated by a petition signed by at least five members of that particular membership group.

Nominations will be accepted up until the close of nominations which will take place on August 4th.

Nominating petitions shall be sent to the International Office to the attention of the International Secretary-Treasurer.

Any proposed resolutions to be acted on by the International Convention shall be received by the International Secretary-Treasurer at least 30 days prior to the opening of the Convention.



The Presidential race is heating up as both candidates criss-cross the country educating voters on their various positions. The MM&P and the AFL-CIO have endorsed Democratic candidate Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) for President.

For members who want to find out detailed info on the candidates’ positions, both have extensive websites packed with the latest news from the campaign trail. The Kerry website is His Republican opponent, President George W. Bush’s website is




Please plan your travel in accordance with the following class times.

Classes start daily at 0830 and conclude at 1630 hrs. The exception is Shiphandling, which may be scheduled for a morning or late afternoon starting time.

Shiphandling attendees will be assigned a starting time at the 0825 briefing for all students on Monday. If you are attending a Shiphandling course, do not make plans to depart MITAGS prior to the morning following course completion.


Between now and the end of August 2004, seats are available in the following courses:

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

  • AIS-1/PPU – Automatic ID System/Portable Pilot Unit: 7/12, 7/17
  • ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 6/28, 7/12, 8/9
  • AZIPOD-KAM – Azipod and Kamewa Steering and Propulsion: 7/12


  • BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 7/26
  • BST – Basic Safety Training: 6/28, 8/16


CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses

  • CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 7/12
  • CMM-CHS I – Cargo Handling & Stowage (week 1): 8/9
  • CMM-CHS II – Cargo Handling & Stowage (week 2): 8/16
  • CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display and Info Systems: 8/16
  • CMM-MMP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 8/2
  • CMM-SHS-ADV I – Advanced Shiphandling (wk 1): 7/19, 8/2, 8/9
  • CMM-SHS-ADV II – Advanced Shiphandling (wk2): 7/26, 8/9, 8/16
  • CMM-SHMGT-I – Ship Management: 8/23
  • CMM-VPEN – Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 7/19


  • COMP-ABSS – American Bureau of Shipping Safenet Software: 8/23
  • CONT-PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: 7/1, 7/15, 7/29


  • FL – Flashing Light: 7/30
  • FSM – Fatigue, Sleep and Medications: 7/14


  • GMDSS – Global Marine Distress and Safety System: 8/9


  • HAZ – Hazardous Materials [5-day]: 7/12, 8/23


  • LAP – License Advancement Program: 7/26
  • LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 7/14


  • MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans. Drug & Alcohol Testing: 8/14
  • MED-PIC – Medical Person In Charge: 7/19, 8/9
  • MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 7/19, 8/9
  • MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 7/2, 7/16, 7/30


MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses

  • MSC-COMMS – Strategic Sealift Communications: 8/9
  • MSC-CBRD-1 – Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Training Orientation: 8/23
  • MSC-DC – Damage Control: 8/7, 8/24, 8/26
  • MSC-SMA – Small Arms Training: 8/2
  • MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Renewal (2-day): 8/24, 8/26
    must have passed all 3 weapons within 2 years


  • ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original & Renewal: 8/23
  • ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 6/28, 7/12, 8/2, 8/14


  • SEC-OFF-PCS – Security Officer: Port, Company, Ship: 6/28, 7/12, 7/26
  • SEC-SHPOFF – Security Officer: Ship (2-days) 6/30
  • SEC-PLT – Security Training for Pilots: 7/13
  • SHS-EMR3 – Emergency Shiphandling (3-day): 8/5
  • SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling (5-day): 8/23


  • TRAC-TUG – Water Tractor and Azimuth Stern Drive Tugs: 7/15

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

Check the MITAGS website for up-to-date course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations, and for schedule revisions.


Attendance Verification & Cancellation is Vital

If you are scheduled for a course, call, write, or Email admissions to advise whether or not you will attend. Many classes are in demand and maintain a Standby List. “No Shows” are missed training opportunities for other members.


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 or by calling toll-free, 1-866-656-5568.




All the courses below will be conducted at the new Pacific Maritime Institute facility located in Seattle at 1727 Alaskan Way South, Pier 34. The new facility features a state-of-the art Ship Simulator that has to be experienced. PMI phone numbers remain the same. Come see the new facility at PMI’s “Maritime Technology and Career Center”.


June 2004 Courses

  • 6/21-25: Radar Observer Unlimited
  • 6/28-30: Compasses
  • 6/28-7/02: ECDIS
  • 6/30-7/02: Ship Security Officer

Contact DeeDee Lazik at 206-441-2880 or 888-893-7829 (toll free) for registration or visit the PMI website at




 D O W    N A S D A Q
 10,379.58 +11.11 for the week  1,998.23  +7.62 for the week

Fund Name & Trading Symbol


Year-to-Date Fund
Percentage Return

5 Year
Percentage Return
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)


 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)


 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)


 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)


 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)


 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)


 Vanguard High Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX)


 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)


 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)


 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)


 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)


 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)


 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)



~ Reminders ~



Rates Drop, Limits Increase On Auto Loans

MM&P FCU vehicle loan rates have dropped across-the-board. Effective May 5, borrowers may finance up to $30,000 on vehicle loans for terms up to 72 months. This is an increase of $5,000 and 12 months over past maximum financing amounts and terms.

Rates on 6 year auto financing range between 5.50% and 6.25%. Vehicle loan rates are as low as 4.00%. Rates apply to new and used cars, and to loans refinancing higher rate vehicle loans from other institutions. Contact the Credit Union office to find out how these rates may cost less than dealers incentives and how you qualify for new, low rate vehicle financing.


Signature Loan Rates Dip

As an added bonus, Signature Loan rates have also been lowered. Now is the time to start thinking about those summer vacation plans or home improvement projects. Signature loan rates range from 9.00% to 9.75%. Hurry and take advantage of these new lower rates and start saving money today.

Need More Info? Contact Kathy Klisavage, MM&P FCU Manager, to learn more about loan rates and products, direct deposit, share savings accounts and certificates of deposit, benefits of membership and membership eligibility. Kathy Klisavage can be reached by email to, or by calling 410-850-8700 x43 or toll-free 1-800-382-7777.

All MM&P FCU loan rate percentages are APR or Annual Percentage Rate. All MM&P FCU savings and certificate rates are APY or Annual Percentage Yield. Loan terms and conditions are subject to change. Contact the MM&P FCU for eligibility info and for full terms and conditions.

Protect Your Personal Information – Beware of Email Scams

“It’s the curse of technology,” was overheard recently as someone talked about Email scams. Email scams are rampant these days, just like telephone scams were not so long ago. In the most-common current scenario, an Email is received from what looks like a legitimate entity that asks you to provide sensitive, private information to “verify” your identity or account. Scam artists are now even posing as the Internal Revenue Service to try and get your info.

The IRS recently issued a warning that fraudulent emails disguised as being from them are aimed at tricking taxpayers into providing their Social Security numbers, driver’s license information and bank and credit card numbers through a web site that’s set up to look like it belongs to a federal agency. If this information is obtained it can be used by identity thieves to take over a person’s financial accounts, run up charge cards, apply for loans and file fraudulent tax returns.

Protect yourself. No financial institution, federal agency or legitimate business will initiate contact by Email or phone and ask for any such personal information. Legitimate entities with which you are already established should have that info. If you receive such a request, contact the sender to verify if it is legitimate. The MM&P Federal Credit Union has never been the target of such a scam and will never initiate an Email to you that asks for this type of private information.



Attention all Members in good standing with dependent children who will be college freshman in September: A local Baltimore law firm is awarding two $2,500 one-time only scholarships to children of Union members. Since the MM&P is headquartered in the Baltimore area, Union members’ children would be eligible to apply for these scholarships.

One scholarship is for Undergraduate and the other is for Graduate School. Students must already be accepted to a college prior to applying. The deadline for application is August 20. The scholarships will be awarded September 24.

If your son or daughter would like to make application for this scholarship, please have them contact the MM&P Plan Office at 410-850-8600 for an application. The member’s name is required so that the Union can sign the application to certify that he/she is a member in good standing prior to sending the application to your child.

Members can also Email Plans Administrator Valerie Verrecchio at with the member info including address where the application can be mailed.



MM&P-contracted LMS Ship Management recently reviewed the causes of injuries on board their vessels and found that accidental falls tend to be the cause of many of the crew’s injuries. In an effort to reduce the number of injuries caused by these falls, LMS is offering crewmembers that sail with them an incentive to purchase and wear proper shoe attire. The goal is for every crewmember to wear slip resistant footwear during their working hours aboard their vessels.

LMS will offer a reimbursement of up to $75 for the cost of the shoes to each crewmember who provides them 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.

LMS requests that crewmembers purchase one of the following recommended brands in order to be reimbursed:

  • 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 (with steel toe & slip resistant sole)

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

Red Wing has contracts with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) while Wolverine World Wide has contracts with UNITE!, the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees, for production of its Caterpillar brand (as well as its Hy-Test, Durashock and Bates Military labels). Some other Wolverine branded products including combat boots are manufactured under UFCW contract. 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 and click on Union Made Product Search.



On the MITAGS website downloadable files are now updated on a regular basis in response to info received from the various government agencies and mariners. As always, these checklists are for guidance only. The final arbiter of training requirements is your local USCG Regional Examination Center. For more info, visit the Career Guidance section on the MITAGS website by CLICKING HERE, or go to and select “Career Guidance” from the top menu.

Also, given the number of courses offered at MITAGS, the website now has new links to the various industry segment pages. These pages make it easier for mariners and companies to find the training designed specifically for them.

The links include:

  • Ship and Port Modeling Simulation Training;
  • Security Training;
  • State Pilot Training;
  • US Navy and Military Sealift Command Training;
  • High Speed Craft Training;
  • Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels (OUPV);
  • Limited Master Training; and
  • Custom Training.



All members shipping off-the-board and all company employees are reminded that they are responsible to insure that all of the company required courses they have completed are listed in the Union computer system.

In order to be dispatched/cleared, members must have certificates for any courses not listed in the computer in their possession and available for inspection by the dispatcher. Please double check that your documentation is in order prior to leaving your home to ship out of our Union halls. This can be done by checking your course history on the “Members Only” section of the MM&P website.



All Licensed Deck Officers who possess STCW-95 certificates containing Basic Safety Training (BST) completion dates close to or more than five years old need to carry copies of their USCG discharges with them so they can prove that they have the required sea service necessary to extend their BST qualification. For questions or further info, call 410-850-8700 ext.23 or Email:



The National WWII Memorial has a site on its webpage for individuals who served in any capacity during WWII to register to be included in the Memorial’s Registry. The main site is

If the individual clicks on WWII Registry, he/she can find out if he/she is already included as a result of one of the WWII databases and, if not, can follow the directions to register. Any American who contributed to the war effort is eligible for the Registry.



The April 15 deadline for filing US federal tax returns has passed, but for merchant mariners sailing in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom “on vessels under Department of Defense operational control in direct support of the United States Armed Forces” (and for their spouses ­ even if separate returns are filed), missing the dreaded deadline may be OK.

For merchant mariners and several other groups, the Internal Revenue Service is allowing an extension of time for tax filing. The extension, authorized in section 7508(a)(1) of the Internal Revenue Service Code, 26 United States Code, gives an additional 180 days PLUS the number of days served in a combat zone between January 1, 2004 and April 15, 2004. IRS reports that merchant mariners qualified for the extension are those “serving in the combat zone as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom aboard Maritime Administration and Military Sealift Command owned or controlled vessels.”

In addition to the tax filing extension, section 7508 also allows to be postponed 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.” According to the notice, “no penalties or interest will be imposed for failure to file a return or pay taxes during the extension period.”

IRS Tax Tip 2004-40 published Feb.27, 2004 says, “the various extensions granted to combat zone participants to file returns or pay taxes will also apply to those serving in Contingency Operations, as designated by the Secretary of Defense. This is effective for any acts whose deadline has not expired before November 11, 2003.”

Paper returns must be filed if claiming an extension under section 7508. When the return is sent, print the words “COMBAT ZONE” in bold red ink at the top of the return and in large red letters on the mailing envelope. For mariners, the IRS says to attach a brief statement listing the date(s) of service within the combat zone in order to provide them with the total number of days of extension to which you are entitled.

Mariners and others who qualify for combat zone tax filing relief may notify the IRS of their status in advance through a special e-mail address: Include in the email the following:

  • name
  • stateside address
  • date-of-birth and
  • date of deployment to the combat zone.

Do not include any social security numbers in an email. Notification may be made by the taxpayer, or by the taxpayer’s spouse, authorized agent or representative.

At present, the combat zone for Operation Iraqi Freedom is defined as follows:

  • Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, and the 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.

More detailed information can be found on the IRS website at From the main page, click on “The Newsroom” link and go to “Armed Forces” under the “Related Topics” headline. You’ll find useful info in the following titles:

Taxpayers in the US may seek assistance by calling the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. Taxpayers outside the US may call the IRS in Philadelphia at 215-516-2000. The information presented here is to serve as a guideline only. As always, readers are urged to seek the advice of a tax professional to discuss their own circumstances.

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 or to subscribe contact John Peige at 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.