Wheelhouse Weekly – June 19th, 2018

June 20th 2018

Volume 23… Number 25… June 19, 2018


In This Issue:


U.S. Coast Guard News:

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The crew of the Military Sealift Command (MSC) expeditionary fast transport vessel USNS TRENTON participated in a massive rescue mission on June 12, pulling 41 people to safety after their inflatable raft overturned and then caring for them on board the ship for days while Italy debated with other European countries over where the refugees should go.

USNS TRENTON is crewed by members of MM&P, the Marine Engineers’Beneficial Association and the Seafarers International Union.

The TRENTON was conducting routine operations in the Mediterranean when it encountered the migrants in the water about 20 nautical miles off the coast of Libya.

Twelve people reportedly drowned when the raft overturned.

The survivors were taken aboard TRENTON and given food, water and medical care.

The dramatic rescue occurred as another wave of overcrowded vessels set sail for Europe and a new hardline government in Italy announced it would no longer accept fleeing migrants.

After the rescue, the TRENTON asked the rescue vessel Sea-Watch 3 to take the survivors on board for transfer to a safe harbor.

Although the crew of Sea-Watch 3 agreed, the transfer did not occur, so on Tuesday the TRENTON got under way for Augusta, Sicily, to bring the survivors to shore.

On Sunday, six days after the rescue, the TRENTON was able to transfer the 41 to Italian Coast Guard vessels off the coast of Lampedusa.

“The pivotal role the shore-side units and personnel play in a rescue at sea cannot be minimized,” said Captain Susan Orsini, the master of the TRENTON and a member of the MM&P Federal Employees Membership Group (FEMG).

“The ship cannot do it alone. Their efforts involve intense and intricate coordination, timely and critical communications to all units and personnel involved.”

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The Senate Subcommittee on Transportation Housing and Urban Development on the Senate Appropriations Committee has approved a Defense bill that funds the Maritime Security Program (MSP) at its fully authorized level of $300 million for Fiscal Year 2019.

It is expected that the Senate will pass the legislation, which matches the full funding level for MSP as contained in its House counterpart bill.

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Thirteen government employee unions and the Federal Workers Alliance (FWA) have sued the Trump administration over a series of executive orders issued in May.

The unions say the measures the White House is seeking to implement will severely compromise their ability to represent government workers.

They “make it all but impossible for federal employee unions to offer federal workers the representation we are required by law to provide,” says Randy Erwin, FWA co-chair and president of the National Federation of Federal Employees.

Larry Willis, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), agrees.

“These orders are nothing more than a bald-faced attack on the rights of working people to have a say on what goes on in their workplaces,” he says.

“Transportation labor stands with the American Federation of Government Employees in their efforts to fight back against this cruel and illegal attack, and ensure all workers’ voices are protected and heard. Government employees–including the thousands of workers who support our nation’s transportation system–have a legal right to union representation and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.”

MM&P is a member of both TTD and the FWA.

The unions involved in the suit are asking the court to issue a preliminary injunction to block the Office of Personnel Management from implementing the orders.

In the latest development, the Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD) said last week it would evict AFGE Council 222, which represents HUD employees, from offices the union works out of in government buildings.

AFGE officials said that would violate federal law.

The union said its best avenue of defense would be to file an unfair labor practice complaint but that the Trump administration’s failure to nominate a Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) general counsel has foreclosed that avenue of redress.

“This is clearly an unfair labor practice and it’s prohibited by statute,” said an AFGE spokesperson.

“But under the statute, the only person who can issue a complaint to the FLRA is the general counsel, and the Trump administration has deliberately not filled that position, so no complaints have gone forward.”

The White House is also seeking to weaken the FLRA by closing two of its seven field offices.

Closing the offices would further limit unions’ ability to represent federal employees.

Republicans and Democrats in Congress have issued statements in support of federal employees and their unions.

“Federal workers have taken an oath of service to our great nation, and we take very seriously their duty to provide the American public with quality services,” a group of 21 Republican lawmakers wrote last week in a letter to President Trump.

“That is why we believe that now, more than ever, it is important to uphold and strengthen the working relationships between federal workers and agency leadership.”

“Management and labor must work collaboratively to ensure that the workplace is safe, fair and productive,” they wrote.

“The federal government is most efficient when these two entities can work together and address challenges and improve the delivery of public services.

When such a system exists, the result is agency cost savings.”

Twenty-four House Democratic leaders also asked President Trump to rescind the executive orders, saying they appear designed “to completely eradicate unions from the federal workplace.”

The Democrats, led by Maryland representative Elijah Cummings, have emphasized the threat the orders pose for federal whistleblowers.

“They strip federal employees of procedures that were put in place to protect them against retaliation by their superiors–who are often political appointees–and they deny whistleblowers assistance from their union representatives when they are punished for speaking the truth,” the Democrats wrote.

“Your Executive Orders also degrade existing protections against undue partisanship in the federal workforce, allowing political appointees to terminate employees arbitrarily and without the checks assured through meaningful collective bargaining.”

Erwin said the FWA is concerned that as systematic protections–such as representation, due process and the right to communicate with Congress–are eroded for federal employees, whistleblowers and other workers will increasingly fall prey to political corruption and extortion.

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The Paris Memorandum of Understanding (Paris MoU), which includes the maritime administrations of 27 nations, has adopted new performance lists for flags.

Together, the maritime administrations that participate in the Paris MoU cover the waters of the European coastal states and the North Atlantic basin from North America to Europe.

Every year, more than 18,000 inspections take place aboard foreign ships in Paris MoU ports.

The White, Grey and Black List presents the full spectrum of the Paris MOU’s inspection results, from flags with high performance to flags with poor performance that are considered high or very high risk.

On this year’s Grey List—which includes average performers–a total of 20 flags are recorded.

New on the Grey List are the United States, along with the Islamic Republic of Iran, Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation.

Last year, U.S. ships were on the “White List.”

The list is based on the number of inspections and detentions over a three-year rolling period for flags with at least 30 inspections in the period.

A minimum of 60 inspections per flag or recognized organization is needed before their performance is taken into account for the list.

More information can be found in the 2017 Annual Report, which will be published in July 2018.

The lists will also be published on the Paris MoU website (

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U.S. maritime authorities have issued Alert 2018-007A regarding combat operations in Yemen.

All ships in the area are advised to exercise extreme caution.

A Saudi-led alliance of Arab states launched an attack last week on Hodeidah, Yemen’s main port city, in the largest battle in the war to date.

Warplanes and warships struck Houthi fortifications in support of ground operations by foreign and Yemeni troops massed south of the port.

Thousands of civilians unable to escape are caught in what is being called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

The United Nations says 22 million Yemenis are in need of humanitarian aid, with 8.4 million on the verge of famine, a figure that could rise to 10 million by the end of this year.

For most of them, the port is the only route for food supplies.

The Saudi-led coalition said it plans to keep the port open so food aid can continue to flow.

But a spokesperson accused the Houthis of planting mines that could severely complicate efforts to bring in aid.

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Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray joined other Washington State officials earlier this month to celebrate the contributions of the state’s marine pilots to the local, regional and national economy.

The occasion was the 150th Anniversary of Washington’s Pilotage Act.

The Act established two pilotage districts, Puget Sound and Grays Harbor, to protect lives, property and the marine environment by requiring certain ships to take on a state licensed marine pilot.

“The incredible legacy of Puget Sound’s marine pilots is a testament to the foresight of our state’s early leaders, who recognized how important our waterways would be to our economy and our culture,” Murray said.

“Families across the Pacific Northwest are indebted to the marine pilots who keep our state’s waters clean, safe and fully operational, and as a voice for our state in the United State Senate, I’ll continue fighting to strengthen federal investments in our vital maritime industries—for the next 150 years, and beyond.”

“The Puget Sound Pilots’ record for safety is unparalleled,” Cantwell said.

“The pilots have completed over 200,000 sailings from Port Angeles to and from Puget Sound over the last 25 years with no major incidents. We rely on these pilots for the safe passage of $8 billion of goods that travel through Puget Sound every year: millions of cargo containers, more than 100,000 vehicles and more than 200,000 tons of bulk cargo.”

“We thank them for that unbelievable work and stewardship of our waters.”

During the ceremony, Puget Sound Pilots President Eric vonBrandenfels was awarded a Washington State Senate Proclamation commemorating the 150th anniversary of the pilotage act.

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In both cases, the self-ignition of charcoal cargoes was determined to be the source of the fires.

Both ships had loaded the cargoes in bulk in containers originating from Borneo, Indonesia and destined for the same client in France.

The two incidents were summarized in a single investigation report published by Germany’s Federal Bureau of Maritime Casualty Investigation.

In the first incident, on Nov. 20, 2015, containers containing charcoal caught fire on board the MSC KATRINA when the vessel was in the Elbe estuary.

The fire was extinguished by the coast guard with no damage to the vessel and only minimal damage to the containers.

The LUDWIGSHAFEN EXPRESS suffered a fire while underway in the Red Sea on Feb. 21, 2016.

That fire was extinguished by the crew, also without damage to the vessel.

German authorities want the IMO to amend International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code regulations to help prevent such cargo fires in the future.

They also want the IMO to consider updating stowage requirements to ensure that any type of self-heating substance is always transported on deck with sufficient accessibility.

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The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) has issued a safety alert to raise awareness of a potentially dangerous problem involving personal flotation devices (PFDs).

During several inspections aboard different vessels, Coast Guard personnel discovered a significant number (fewer than 100) of unwearable type 1 PFDs that would have presented a problem for users if needed in an emergency.

In the inspections, Coast Guard personnel discovered that the securing strap was secured at its bitter end, and was also fused to the side of the PFD by what appeared to be the shell coating or color-matching material.

As a result, a user would not be able to separate the halves of the PFD to open the gap and place the device over the head to wear.

Based on the number of problematic PFDs discovered, the Coast Guard is strongly recommending that owners and operators using this type of PFD inspect each one for this condition.

If problematic PFDs are discovered, owners and operators are encouraged to report their findings to the Coast Guard.

For more information, go to

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Three organizations–Freedom Partners, Americans for Prosperity and The Libre Initiative—are calling on Congress and the Administration to repeal the Jones Act and force U.S. shipping companies to compete with foreign-flagged ships in our domestic trades.

The three say repealing the Jones Act would benefit the United States but offer no evidence to support the claim.

We need legislators in Congress to fight against the lies that these groups are spreading.

We need supporters in Congress to fight against groups like these.

But to do so, we need the support of every MM&P member, pensioner and employee!

Please help us elect pro-maritime legislators to Congress. Stand with your union brothers and sisters!

Support the MM&P Political Contribution Fund by making a contribution to the PCF today.

Go to and click on the “PROTECT YOUR JOB” button in the top right-hand corner of the page.

(Mobile devices: the link is active in the 2nd bullet point on the “Members Only” site.)

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All MM&P union halls, the MM&P Plan Office, the MM&P Federal Credit Union and MM&P headquarters will be closed on Wednesday, July 4, for Independence Day.

Pacific Ports will also be closed on Thursday, July 5, for the ILWU holiday Bloody Thursday, in memory of the union members who were shot and killed during the 1934 maritime strike.

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There will be an Offshore Membership Meeting at the MM&P New Jersey Union Hall on Wednesday, June 20, at 1100.

All Offshore members in the area are encouraged to attend the meeting.

The New Jersey Hall is located at 570 Broad Street, Suite 701, Newark, NJ 07102.

The phone number is: 201-963-1900.

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MITAGS-PMI is interested in receiving photo submissions from MM&P members for use on the official MITAGS-PMI social media platform.

The goal is to document members’ voyages. As suggestions, photos can be of events and sights onboard, crewmembers at work or scenic locations.

If you are interested in sharing photos, please send them with caption information to or

Be sure to tell us whether you would like to be credited for the photo.

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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:

For Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) processing, MMC problem resolution advice, STCW compliance and VA GI-Bill questions, contact MITAGS-PMI Student/Instructional Services Manager Jennifer Pitzen at 206-739-0720 (direct line); (888) 893-7829 (toll free); or by e-mail:

Please include your Mariner Reference Number, date of birth and the last four digits of your social security number in all emails.

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 – 8/27/18, 10/15/18

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: 8/29/18

ARPA-OIC – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 9/25/18

AZIPOD 2-Day – 10/15/18

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 9/24/18, 10/29/18

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 7/16/18, 12/19/18

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling: **Now included in BRMP-Refresher**

BRMP-Refresher – 7/18/18, 9/11/18

BT – Basic Safety Training: 8/13/18, 10/22/18

BT-Revalidation (2-day) (Must have 1 year of sea service in last 5 years) – 7/31/18, 8/27/18, 9/26/18, 10/31/18, 12/18/18

BT-Refresher (3-day) – 7/30/18, 9/26/18, 12/17/18

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: Contact Admissions

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 7/30/18, 9/24/18, 12/10/18

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 8/6/18, 9/17/18, 12/3/18

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 10/1/18

CM-OPS 1 – Chief Mate Operations – Week 1: 8/6/18, 10/1/18

CM-OPS 2 Maersk – Chief Mate Operations II Maersk Specific: 8/13/18, 10/8/18

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information Systems: 6/25/18, 8/13/18, 11/12/18

LMS – Leadership and Managerial Skills (Management Level – Formerly MCL-CMM): 8/20/18, 11/26/18

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants: 10/15/18

SEC-APPS – Practical Defense Tactics: 10/1/18

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management (2 weeks): 10/29/18

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 7/16/18, 7/30/18, 8/13/18, 9/10/18, 10/1/18, 11/5/18, 11/26/18

SHS-ADV-II-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 6/25/18, 7/23/18, 8/6/18, 8/20/18, 9/17/18, 10/8/18, 11/12/18, 12/3/18

**SHS-ADV-I & II now approved to include SAR-CMM assessments at MITAGS effective immediately**

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 10/22/18

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 9/10/18

CNAV-OIC – Celestial Navigation: Contact Admissions

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: Not currently scheduled

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications: Not currently scheduled

CRSMGT – Crisis Management and Human Behavior – Not currently scheduled

CDMGT – Crowd Management – Not currently scheduled

CSE – Confined Space Entry: 7/23/18

CSE-AWR – Confined Space Entry Awareness: 7/26/18

DDE – Great Lakes: Contact Admissions

DPA – Contact Admissions

ECDIS for Pilots – 8/27/18, 12/17/18

ERM – Engine Resource Management: 11/26/18

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 8/13/18, 10/22/18

FF-ADV-Rev (1-day) (Must have 1 year of sea service in last 5 years) – Advanced Fire Fighting Revalidation: 8/2/18, 8/29/18, 9/25/18, 10/30/18

FF-ADV-REF (2-day) – Advanced Fire Fighting Refresher: 7/28/18, 9/29/18, 12/15/18

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications: 9/11/18

GL-Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization: Contact Admissions

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: Contact Admissions

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 8/20/18, 12/10/18

IEN – Integrated Electronic Navigation – Not currently scheduled

LAP – 7/9/18, 9/17/18

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

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross
Ton License: Contact Admissions

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 9/12/18

LNG-TPIC – 12/3/18

LTS –Leadership and Teamworking Skills (Formerly MCL-OIC): Contact Admissions

MEECE – Management of Electrical and Electronic Control Equipment (Assessments not included): 7/16/18, 12/3/18

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 7/9/18, 10/8/18, 11/26/18

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 6/25/18, 8/20/18, 9/17/18

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 10/8/18, 11/26/18

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 7/14/18, 8/30/18, 9/24/18, 10/13/18, 10/29/18, 12/1/18, 12/21/18

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: Not currently scheduled

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 8/8/18, 9/12/18, 11/14/18

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control: 8/6/18, 9/13/18, 11/12/18

*MSC-ENVPRO – 8/5/18, 11/4/18

*MSC-FF-HELO – 8/13/18, 10/31/18

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualifications: 7/16/18, 8/12/18, 9/17/18, 11/5/18

*MSC-Security Watch Basic – 8/9/18, 9/15/18, 11/2/18

*MSC-Security Watch Advanced – 7/15/18, 8/10/18, 9/16/18, 11/3/18

*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force – 7/20/18, 8/17/18, 9/21/18, 11/9/18

NSAP-MMP – Navigational Skills Assessment Program-MM&P – 6/25/18, 6/27/18, 7/31/18, 8/2/18, 8/28/18, 8/30/18, 11/12/18, 11/14/18, 12/17/18, 12/19/18

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 9/24/18

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 7/11/18, 7/25/18, 8/8/18, 8/22/18, 10/3/18, 10/17/18, 10/31/18, 11/7/18, 11/14/18, 11/28/18, 12/5/18, 12/12/18, 12/19/18

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 9/17/18

SAR – Search & Rescue – (Now with OIC and CMM assessments): 12/17/18

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling: 8/27/18, 10/22/18

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day – 7/23/18, 9/24/18, 10/29/18, 12/10/18

SMS – Not currently scheduled

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: Contact Admissions

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: Contact Admissions

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: 7/9/18

TRAC-TUG-2: Contact Admissions

TTT – Not currently scheduled

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: Contact Admissions

VSO – Vessel Security Officer: Contact Admissions

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level): Contact Admissions

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): Contact Admissions

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Spring 2018

For registration, please contact our registrar, Mary McGhee, at 206.838.1126 or You can also view our schedule and enroll online at

June 2018

22-23 Basic Training Revalidation

22-24 Basic Training Refresher

25th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation

25-29 Meteorology (Operational Level)

25-29 Leadership & Managerial Skills

26th Medical DOT

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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 © 2018. 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