Wheelhouse Weekly – June 25, 2013

June 25th 2013


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

Volume 17 . . . Number 26. . . June 25, 2013

(Look in the archives for this weeks Special Edition.)



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


All MM&P union halls, the MM&P Plan Office, the MM&P Federal Credit Union and MM&P headquarters will be closed on Thursday, July 4, for Independence Day. Pacific Ports will also be closed on Friday, July 5, for the ILWU holiday Bloody Thursday, in memory of the union members who were shot and killed during the 1934 strike.

The Ports of Seattle, San Francisco/Oakland and Los Angeles/Long Beach will be closed on Monday, July 29, for the ILWU holiday that commemorates the birthday of visionary labor leader and ILWU founder Harry Bridges.


Congressional supporters of the American Merchant Marine sent a strong message last week when the House of Representatives rejected an amendment that would have implemented the Obama Administration’s proposal to institute a voucher plan in place of shipments of PL 480 food aid on American vessels. The vote took place on June 19, as the House considered amendments to the Farm Bill. The final tally against the amendment was 220-203. Since the entire Farm Bill failed on final passage, opponents of our industry may well have another opportunity to mount an attack on the Food for Peace program in the not-too-distant future.

The legislation to supplant the use of U.S.-flag ships in the Food for Peace program was submitted by Reps. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.). It would have taken half the funding for PL 480 and converted it to a cash scheme in which taxpayer money would be wired or handed to foreign interests without accountability or transparency.   The cash transfers could be used for anything, not just food, unlike the procedures in place under the PL 480 program, which requires that all funds be used for the purchase and delivery of wholesome U.S.-grown commodities. 

Leading the charge against the amendment were legislators who have traditionally recognized the importance of the U.S.-flag fleet to our nation’s economy and national defense. They were joined in voting down the amendment by participants in the Maritime Advisory Committees (MAC), the educational and advocacy groups established in legislators’ home districts by MM&P, the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA), the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and others in our industry.
Reps. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) and Stephen Lee Fincher (R-Tenn.) initiated a letter to members of the House to encourage a “No” vote on the Royce-Engel Amendment. “It would cripple the PL 480 Food for Peace Program, harm U.S. farmers and further deplete the U.S. Merchant Marine and our national defense sealift capacity,” Cummings wrote. “The existing Food for Peace Program sustains 44,000 jobs here in the United States in both the agriculture and marine transportation sectors of the U.S. economy,” he added. “Reducing food aid cargoes would cause vessels to leave the U.S. flag, leave U.S. mariners out of work and significantly reduce the U.S.-flagged sealift capacity available to support our military.” 

The letters were also signed by Reps. Charles Boustany Jr. (R-La.), John Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.), Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.), John Garamendi (D-Calif.), Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio), Gene Green (D-Texas), Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.), Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.), David B. McKinley (R-W.Va.) and Nick J. Rahall II (D-W.Va.).

“The United States provides 60 percent of the world’s food aid,” they wrote. “We need to be generous to countries that can’t grow enough food to feed their people, but not at the expense of American farmers and transportation workers.”

“This is an important win, but there will be many challenges ahead,” said MM&P International President Don Marcus. “Those members who voted for the amendment need to understand the importance of preference cargoes to the economic viability of the U.S. merchant marine and we must ensure that our friends remain vigilant.”


The world’s three largest container carriers-Maersk, MSC and CMA CGM-have announced a new alliance that will include complete coordination of all East-West trade routes. In a June 18 press release, the three said the new arrangement is a long-term alliance that will combine their individual container shipping services into a jointly planned set of routes across all Asia-Europe, Trans-Pacific and Trans-Atlantic trade lanes. The new alliance, to be called the P3 Network, is said to be the largest agreement of this type ever undertaken. It is scheduled to begin operating in the second quarter of next year, subject to regulatory approval.

The companies said the network will operate on the three trade lanes with an overall capacity of 2.6 million TEUs, equal to 255 vessels on 29 loops. Although a shared planning body will operate joint vessel schedules, the individual companies said they will retain full control over sales and marketing.

“In recent years, Maersk Line has taken many initiatives to improve on the customer and products side and this alliance will be yet another step in this drive,” said Maersk Line Chief Trade and Marketing Officer Vincent Clerc in an official statement. “It will provide our customers on the main trades with attractive, stable services and our Triple-E vessels will be implemented in the network without adding to the overcapacity on Asia-Europe. Fuel consumption will also be reduced with significant benefits for the environment, and our operations will get even more efficient and competitive.”


Nautilus, the British and Dutch maritime officers’ union, is reiterating the urgent need for changes in lifeboat drill procedures after yet another tragic shipboard accident: the death of a mariner when a rescue boat fell into the sea during a drill aboard the ANNA MAERSK on March 27. The ship’s chief officer was also severely injured in the accident, which took place in the port of Kobe, Japan.

“We have argued for many years that boats should be lowered and raised with no persons in them during drills,” said Nautilus Senior National Secretary Allan Graveson. “These incidents show the lack of a true safety culture in shipping, as these processes would not be allowed in aviation.”

The Danish Maritime Accident Investigation Board (DMAIB) attributed the accident to faulty mounting and maintenance of a swivel arrangement, along with exposure of the equipment to environmental forces. The report also noted that maintenance was the responsibility of personnel who had not been specifically instructed to check the swivel and “for whom no specific qualifications were required for the work.”


The State University of New York Maritime College (SUNY Maritime) is looking for watch officers, day workers and instructors for this year’s summer training cruise aboard the TS EMPIRE STATE. Employment on the summer training cruise offers an opportunity to assist with the at-sea, practical training of the mariners of tomorrow, as well as to travel on a great itinerary. Salary commensurate with experience. The appointment will begin as soon as possible and end on Aug. 8, 2013. Naval orders can be issued for MMR officers. Requirements: senior licenses preferred, and recent sea experience required along with medical clearances.

For more information or to apply, please contact: Joann Sprague, Regimental Assistant/Office Manager, (718) 409-7352,


An official from a Japanese maritime union traveled from Tokyo to Vancouver and Portland earlier this month in support of members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), who have been locked-out of their jobs since February. Fusao Ohori, a representative of the All-Japan Seamen’s Union, picketed with members of the ILWU outside the gates of United Grain Corp., which is owned by the Tokyo-based multinational Mitsui. Ohori brought with him a contribution from the All-Japan Seamen’s Union of 1 million yen, equal to approximately $10,400. He visited two picket lines: one at the Port of Vancouver, where United Grain operates a facility, and another at the Port of Portland, where Columbia Grain Inc., owned by Japan-based Marubeni Corp., runs a grain elevator.


Attention history buffs: the MM&P magazine online archives now include issues of The Master, Mate & Pilot dating back to the 1930s. We have scanned and posted these older back issues of the publication for those who are interested in reading about the history of our union and the maritime industry. As part of the ongoing archives project, we have posted issues from 1938, 1939, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1952, 1953 and 1954. To access them, go to and click on “News,” then on “MM&P Magazine,” then on “Archives.”


Union Plus, the AFL-CIO affiliate that provides discounted products and services to union members, is offering a $ 50 one-time credit on new individual or family plans to union members who switch to AT&T Wireless through July 26. The offer also includes a 15 percent discount on select AT&T Wireless individual or family plans and up to $200 for Union Plus credit cardholders who upgrade to a new smartphone with an AT&T data plan and/or move to AT&T from another provider. The $50 credit is available only to new AT&T customers who sign up for a monthly voice plan of $39.99 or more. The offer excludes iPhone, iPad and other tablets and expires July 26. To find out more, go to:


The Bahamas-flagged container ship MOL COMFORT broke in two in bad weather on June 17 while underway about 430nm southeast of Salalah, Oman. The vessel was carrying a near-full load of containers. As this issue of The Wheelhouse Weekly was being distributed, salvors were about to reach the two parts of the ship. A spokesman for the ship owner said that the majority of the cargo was still aboard the fore and aft sections, although some containers had been damaged and others were drifting. No significant oil leakage has been reported so far.


MM&P members and applicants are encouraged to forward valid training certificates from schools other than MITAGS-PMI for inclusion in their training records. We will review your submissions and enter into your record any equivalent courses that were taken elsewhere. For details, please refer to Section 6 of the MATES Program Trust Student Guide, which is posted at To ensure your privacy, our confidentiality policy requires your written consent to allow your training records to be provided to your employer or potential employer, or to be viewed in the MM&P Port System (which determines your qualifications for an assignment). Please complete and submit the consent form posted at Approximately two weeks after the entry is made at MITAGS or PMI, courses added to your history can be viewed in the Members Only section of by clicking the Course tab.

Also, please note that MITAGS and PMI now have an integrated database. Do not be concerned if you notice some duplication of courses but please report any discrepancies in your course history to or


The 2006 Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) will enter into force on Aug. 20, 2013.  It has been described as the fourth pillar of international shipping regulations along with SOLAS, MARPOL and STCW.  The International Labor Organization consolidated a number of previous conventions in MLC 2006. It establishes minimum standards on conditions of employment, accommodations, health and safety, medical care, crew welfare, recruitment, working conditions and social security protection. MLC will be strictly enforced during port state control inspections, including the potential for more detailed inspections and possible detention where hazardous conditions may exist if ships are not to be in compliance. Visit for more information or to register for the MLC course.


NOTE:  New Dedicated Fax Line for Admissions Only:  Fax: 1-443-568-1928, all other MITAGS business should continue to use:  410-859-5181.

Between now and the end of September, the following courses are scheduled at MITAGS.  Please be advised that the schedule is subject to change.  For class availability or info on MITAGS courses and programs, contact Kelly Michielli, Admissions Coordinator, toll-free at 866-656-5568 or Email: Or, try our on-line calendar to register for class:

AB – 8/19/13

ARPA – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 8/13/13, 9/24/13

AZIPOD (2-DAY) for Pilots: 7/22/13

BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 8/26/13

BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots:  8/19/13, 9/23/13

BST – Basic Safety Training: 8/12/13

CONSTB – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 7/29/13

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 9/23/13

CMM-ADVNAV – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): 9/9/13

CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 8/5/13

CMM-CHS – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 8/12/13

CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 7/29/13, 9/9/13

CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 8/26/13

CMM-SHMGT – Ship Management (2 weeks): 7/22/13

CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 7/29/13, 9/9/13, 9/23/13

CMM-SHS-ADV-I I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 8/5/13, 9/16/13, 9/30/13

CMM-VPEN – 9/16/13

CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 9/30/13

ENVIRO-Regs Permit – Environmental Regulations Permit: 8/26/13

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep and Medications:  8/27/13

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 7/22/13, 8/12/13

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 7/8/13, 8/19/13

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 9/16/13

LAP – License Advancement Program for C/Mate & Master: 9/23/13

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross Ton License: 8/5/13

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 7/24/13, 9/25/13

MCL – Management, Communications and Leadership: 8/19/13

MCL OICNW –Management, Communications, and Leadership OICNW level: 9/3/13

MEDIA-RSP – Media Response Workshop:  7/26/13

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 9/9/13

MED-PIC -R– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 7/29/13

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 9/9/13

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 7/28/13, 8/17/13, 9/14/13

MSC -SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 8/19/13, 9/30/13

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 8/19/13, 9/30/13

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 8/23/13, 10/4/13

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 7/10/13, 7/24/13, 8/1/13, 8/14/13, 8/28/13, 9/11/13, 9/18/13

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 8/12/13, 9/23/13

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal: 8/5/13

SEC-VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 7/22/13, 9/4/13

SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 8/12/13

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling: 8/19/13

SHS-ESH-BRMP3 – Emergency Shiphandling and Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 7/24/13

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 7/8/13

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge:  8/26/13

WX-BAS – Basic Meteorology: 7/29/13, 9/16/13

… Remember: If you can’t make the class, make the call. Be courteous, don’t be a “no show.”

Check the MITAGS website at for course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations.


Please also see our schedule online at For registration, call our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen, at (206) 838-1126.

July 2013

8th         Radar Renewal
8th         Flashing Light Exam
9-12       ARPA
15-19     ECDIS
15-26     GMDSS
22-26     Bridge Resource Management w/ Simulation
29-2       Medical Care Provider

August 2013

5-16       Celestial Navigation
6-7          Successful Safety Management Systems Workshop
12th       Radar Renewal 
12th       Med DOT
12-23     GMDSS
19-23     Medical Care Provider
20th       RFPNW Assessments
26-30     ECDIS
26-30     Basic Cargo Handling and Stowage