News

Wheelhouse Weekly – June 24, 2004

June 24th 2004

 


THE MASTERS, MATES & PILOTS’
WHEELHOUSE WEEKLYonline

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

Volume 8 . . . . . Number 26 . . . . June 24, 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.


NOTE:

The cutoff date for receipt of resolutions at MM&P Headquarters is Friday, July 2, 2004 at 5:00 PM Eastern time, in order to be included on the Convention Agenda.

 


STORIES COVERED

ALSO

REMINDERS




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




 

MM&P’S UNITED INLAND MEMBERSHIP GROUP TAKES JOB ACTION

Brothers and Sisters of MM&P’s United Inland Membership Group have reluctantly taken a job action in the San Francisco Bay area against Oscar Niemeth Towing. After two years of collective bargaining negotiations and two “Last, Best, and Final” offers these members soundly rejected the sub-standard proposal by the employer. The proposal did not reflect the Bay area current standards.

These members knew that had they accepted the agreement, it would affect ALL the other mariners in the Bay area by working to lower area standards. For more info on the job action, contact MM&P’s UIG-PMR San Francisco Branch Agent at 415-543-2533; Email: rshipway@bridgedeck.org or John Schaeffner, MM&P’s UIG-PMR Portland Branch Agent at 503-283-0518; Email: jschaeffner@bridgedeck.org.



 

HOUSE PASSES BILL THAT INCLUDES MM&P-FAVORED TONNAGE TAX

Late last week, the House of Representatives passed HR 4520, the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004. This is the corporate tax reform legislation that contains Congressman William Jefferson’s tonnage tax provision for US-flag commercial vessels operating in the foreign trades. This is the first time that a pro-US-flag shipping tax incentive has cleared the House of Representatives in many years.

The next step is for the differences between the House-passed tax bill (HR 4520) and the Senate passed version (which does not include the tonnage tax, among many other provisions added in the House) to be resolved in conference. As a general statement, since the Senate bill (S.1637) is revenue neutral, and the House-passed bill would cost upwards of $200 billion, the conference is expected to be long and difficult and is likely to carry-over until after Labor Day.

An in-depth report just released by the Sealift Committee of the National Defense Transportation Association (www.ndtahq.com) states that tonnage tax programs have played a very beneficial role in revitalizing traditional maritime registries in many foreign countries.

The NDTA report states that with the exception of the US, Japan, and China, all of the world’s leading registries provide a corporate tax program for ship owning companies based on an annual fee calculated on the tonnage capacity of owned or operated vessels rather than on the profits earned from the vessels commercial activities.

Where such tax programs have been adopted, they have dramatically improved the competitiveness of registered vessel’s, and the attractiveness of traditional national flag registers. Traditional European registries that have benefited from the adoption of tonnage-based maritime corporate tax programs by their flag state have experienced dramatic growth in fleet size and seafarer employment.



 

USCG SEEKS MERCHANT MARINE ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEMBERS

The USCG is seeking applications for appointment to membership on the Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee (MERPAC). 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. Applications should reach the USCG by August 30.

Application forms may be obtained by writing to:

Commandant (G-MSO-1) United States Coast Guard 2100 Second Street SW Washington, DC 20593-0001

For further info, call MERPAC at 202-267-6890, fax 202-267-4570 or contact Capt. Joe Stone at MM&P HQ at 410-850-8700 x24, Email: jstone@bridgedeck.org .



 

HOUSE MEASURE ON USCG SHIP SECURITY REVIEW OPPOSED

Many US-flag shipping companies and allied organizations have posted a letter to the House-Senate conference committee asking the panel to reject the House effort to force a USCG review of security plans on foreign vessels.

The USCG’s appropriations bill is now with the committee and conferees are faced with two versions: the Senate bill that allows foreign vessel security plans to be accepted at face value and the House version that would require the USCG to review and approve all such plans.

Homeland Secretary Tom Ridge and USCG Admiral Larry Hereth, director of US port security, are also opposed to the House proposal. They both say the House plan would detract rather than enhance maritime security and note the proposal is contrary to the SOLAS and ISPS covenants.

Signatories to the letter include MM&P’s Maritime Institute for Research & Industrial Development, the American Maritime Congress, American President Lines, Chamber of Shipping of America, International Association of Independent Tanker Owners, Farrell Lines, Lykes Lines, Maersk Sealand, National Association of Manufacturers, National Industrial Transportation League, Retail Industry Leaders Association, Transportation Institute, US Chamber of Commerce and the World Shipping Council.



 

USCG TIGHTENS ENFORCEMENT ON US-FLAG SOLAS COMPLIANCE

The United States Coast Guard has issued a notice to inform US-flag vessels in foreign ports that should be meeting International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, (SOLAS), requirements, that it intends to more strictly and consistently enforce regulations requiring SOLAS compliance. This enforcement notice is intended to warn such vessels to take steps to come into compliance and avoid the consequences of non-compliance.

The notice is effective as of June 21. Comments on this notice must be filed by Sept. 20. Reference USCG docket number USCG-2004-17615. For more info, contact Lt. Commander Martin Walker, Project Manager, Office of Compliance, USCG HQ, phone: 202-267-1047.



 

JULY 1 DEADLINE APPROACHES FOR ENHANCED SHIP SECURITY

The Coast Guard is rapidly preparing for a July 1 deadline that will see vast changes to the security climate in local ports, port facilities and vessels. As reported previously in the Wheelhouse Weekly, a new international code and US law requires vessels and facilities implement security measures designed to protect the world’s global shipping industry from terrorist attacks.

The International Ship and Port Facility Security Code and the Maritime Transportation Security Act require ports and vessels to control access, monitor activity, and screen personnel, baggage, cargo, and vehicles. Under the US law and the international code, port facilities and vessels must implement the new security measures by July 1.

The USCG reports that security plans have been received from 99 percent of required US vessels and facilities. Initial reviews have been completed on most facility and vessel plans. Area Maritime Security Committees have also been established in all US port areas.

The USCG is also preparing to verify international compliance with the new requirements by:

  • Boarding every vessel, at sea or at the dock, on its first visit to a US port on or after July 1;
  • Taking additional security precautions or denying entry into US waters for non-compliant vessels on a case by case basis;
  • Tracking vessels coming from non-compliant ports. Those vessels may be subject to delays until their security status can be verified through a USCG boarding.

For more info on these measures, go to the USCG’s port security website at: www.uscg.mil/hq/g-m/mp/index.shtml.



 

EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE ON MSC T-AGS SHIPS

Under a new Military Sealift Command contract, MM&P-contracted Horizon Lines will soon take over 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: mrodriguez@bridgedeck.org.



 

AFL-CIO LAUNCHES WEEK-OF-ACTION JUNE 28-JULY 4

As Independence Day approaches, the AFL-CIO has declared that working men and women in America have lost a basic right. When workers try to form unions to improve their lives and win workplace justice, employers respond with campaigns of intimidation, coercion and retaliation, said the AFL-CIO, noting that federal law falls short in addressing this.

It’s gotten so bad that three times more workers want unions, some 42 million, than have unions, according to research by economist Richard Freeman and political scientist Joel Rogers.

Through its Voice@Work campaign, the AFL-CIO is urging union members to celebrate Independence Day with a National Workplace Week of Action from June 28 to July 4. They ask for union members across the nation to seek support from their elected US Senators and Representatives for the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) and to push for state and local resolutions and proclamations supporting the EFCA to be made by those elected leaders.

EFCA was introduced in Congress in November 2003 as HR 3619 in the House of Representatives and as S.1925 in the Senate. Today it has more than 200 cosponsors in the House of Representatives and 30 in the United Sates Senate. S.1925 was introduced Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Congressman George Miller (D-CA) introduced HR 3619. Presidential candidate Senator John Kerry has signed-on as a cosponsor of the legislation. President George W. Bush has so far withheld support for its passage.

The EFCA would ensure that when a majority of employees in a workplace decide they want to form a union, they can do so through a democratic majority verification or card-check process without having to face the tactics employers now use to block workers’ free choice. It is the first major effort in a quarter century to restore the promise of federal labor law protecting workers’ freedom to form unions.

In addition to ensuring that workers could freely choose whether to have union representation through a card check, the EFCA provides for mediation and arbitration for first contract disputes and establishes stronger penalties for violation of employee rights when workers seek to form a union and during first contract negotiations.

Members can learn more about the EFCA and find out if their elected representatives have cosponsored the legislation by going to www.aflcio.org/voiceatwork/efca.cfm. Members can then contact their US senators at 202-224-3121 and US representative at 202-225-3121 to ask them to co-sponsor the legislation. The AFL-CIO is also urging union members to contact President Bush to ask him to change his mind and support the Employee Free Choice Act. Letters to President Bush may be sent from www.aflcio.org/voiceatwork/efca_form.htm.



 

NOTICE TO MM&P MEMBERS REGARDING THE UPCOMING CONVENTION

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 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 cut off date for resolutions will be Friday, July 2, at 1700 EST. This is due to the July 4th holiday being on Monday, July 5.



 

WEBSITES PROVIDE LATEST INFO ON PRESIDENTIAL RACE

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 www.johnkerry.com. His Republican opponent, President George W. Bush’s website is www.georgewbush.com.



 

MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

CLASS TIMES & TRAVEL PLANNING

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.

CLASS OPENINGS

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

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

  • ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 6/28, 7/12, 8/9

~~~

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

~~~

CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses

  • 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 Infor Systems: 8/16
  • CMM-MMP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 8/2
  • CMM-SHS-ADV I – Advanced Shiphandling (week1): 7/19, 8/2, 8/9
  • CMM-SHS-ADV II – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 8/9, 8/16
  • CMM-SHMGT-I – Ship Management: 8/23

~~~

  • 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

~~~

  • 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: 8/6, 8/24, 8/26
  • 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: 7/12, 7/26
  • SEC-SHPOFF – Security Officer: Ship (2-days) 6/30
  • SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling (5-day): 8/4, 8/23

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

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 admissions@mitags.org or by calling toll-free, 1-866-656-5568.

 


 

PMI MARITIME TECHNOLOGY & CAREER CENTER ACADEMIC SCHEDULE

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

  • 6/28-30: Compasses
  • 6/28-7/02: ECDIS
  • 6/29: Tug Security Officer
  • 6/30-7/02: Ship Security Officer

July 2004 Courses

  • 7/05: Radar Renewal
  • 7/05-09: ARPA
  • 7/05-09: Tankerman Person-In-Charge
  • 7/05-16: GMDSS
  • 7/12-16: Electronic Navigation
  • 7/12-14: Ship Security Officer
  • 7/19-23: Basic Safety Training
  • 7/19-23: Medical Care Provider
  • 7/19-30: Medical Person-In-Charge
  • 7/19-30: Celestial Navigation

August 2004 Courses

  • 8/02: Radar Renwal
  • 8/02-04: Ship Security Officer
  • 8/02-06: Basic Meteorology
  • 8/02-06: Basic and Advanced Firefighting
  • 8/02-06: ARPA
  • 8/09-13: Ship Construction and Basic Stability
  • 8/09-13: ECDIS
  • 8/09-13: Tankerman Person-In-Charge
  • 8/16-20: Basic Safety Training
  • 8/16-20: Basic Cargo Operations
  • 8/16-27: Advanced Shiphandling
  • 8/16-27: GMDSS
  • 8/23-27: Basic and Advanced Firefighting

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


 

MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF JUNE 23, 2004 CLOSE

 

 D O W    N A S D A Q
 10,479.57 +100.01 for the week  2,020.98  +22.75 for the week

Fund Name & Trading Symbol

Closing
Price

Year-to-Date Fund
Percentage Return

5 Year
Fund
Percentage Return
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)

106.01

+2.38
-2.11
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)

27.91

+3.08
+2.99
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)

16.64

+3.66
+0.29
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)

15.38

+1.68
-1.32
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)

28.40

+5.78
+1.75
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)

10.24

-0.31
+6.42
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX)

6.19

-0.21
+4.37
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)

10.04

-0.48
+6.45
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)

16.20

+7.65
+3.25
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)

15.79

+0.62
+2.99
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)

36.45

+2.04
-1.39
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)

99.96

+1.36
-2.94
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)

40.55

+2.35
-2.20



~ Reminders ~



 

MM&P FCU NEWS

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 mmpfcu@bridgedeck.org, 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.



 

COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE FOR FRESHMAN DEPENDENTS

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 mmpplansval@aol.com with the member info including address where the application can be mailed.



 

LMS OFFERS REIMBURSEMENT FOR SLIP-RESISTANT FOOTWEAR

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 www.unionlabel.org and click on Union Made Product Search.



 

NEW CAREER GUIDANCE SECTION ADDED TO MITAGS WEBSITE

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 www.mitags.org 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.


 

IMPORTANT SHIPPING NOTICE ON COURSE DOCUMENTATION

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.



 

IMPORTANT REMINDER FOR ALL LDOs ON STCW-95 CERTIFICATION

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: mrodriguez@bridgedeck.org.



 

WWII REGISTRY SITE OPEN TO ALL WHO SERVED IN ANY CAPACITY

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 www.wwiimemorial.com.

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.



 

TAX FILING DELAY OK FOR OIF MARINERS

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: combatzone@irs.gov. 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 www.irs.gov. 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: 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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