Wheelhouse Weekly – June 30, 2005

June 30th 2005



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

Volume 9 . . . . . Number 26 . . . . June 30, 2005




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



MM&P membership meetings will be held in Los Angeles/Long Beach on July 13th and Seattle on July 14th. The meetings will begin directly after job call at noon.

All union halls will be closed July 4th for the MM&P contracted Independence Day holiday. Additionally Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles/Long Beach will be closed for the longshore holidays of Bloody Thursday July 5th and Harry Bridges Birthday July 28th.




The MM&P has submitted comments to the USCG concerning proposed USCG credentialing legislation. In a June 28 letter, International President Capt. Tim Brown wrote that, “the safety and security of shipping take a high priority on our agenda because our members are the first to feel the effects of maritime casualties and will be the first to suffer from any acts of terrorism directed toward shipping.”

Capt. Brown underlined the fact that MM&P supports action to improve safety within the maritime transportation system, but he cautioned that, “Measures taken to enhance the security regime need to be sensitive to their potential to adversely impact the system, particularly actions that will affect the livelihood of maritime workers. There is a need for a careful balance between the demands of security, the needs of an efficient maritime system, and the rights of transportation workers. Any proposed changes in statute or regulations taken in the name of security that adversely affect transportation workers should bear a reasonable relationship to security risks and should be proportionate to the actual risk.”

In the letter, he stated that MM&P has reviewed the proposed legislation in great detail. He said that the Union wants its comments considered before the USCG proceeds with its proposed revision of the statutes governing licensing and credentialing of merchant mariners. MM&P submitted comments on the five topics listed in the Federal Register regarding merchant mariner credentialing. While MM&P’s comments are too lengthy to set forth in their entirety in the Wheelhouse Weekly, the following are some of the points MM&P has raised.

A cornerstone of the MM&P position is that a merchant mariner’s license should not be used as a form of ID. A license is a certificate of competency and authorization to serve as a deck officer or engineer. It was never intended to serve as an official identity document, therefore should not be subjected to increased security requirements. Capt. Brown stated that with regard to the proposed merchant mariner license process, “It appears that the USCG is seeking to establish by statute an additional and separate security screening program only applicable to mariners. Such action is unwarranted and imposes an unreasonable additional burden and risk on mariners that is not borne by other transportation workers in equally sensitive positions.”

The Union wrote that, “given the intolerable delays and extraordinary inefficiencies in the present USCG management of licensing, a major concern is that innocent mariners will be denied employment on which their livelihood, and that of their families, depends” if even more security requirements are mandated. MM&P’s additional comments including concerns over modernization, organization, clarification and harmonization will be presented in future issues of the Wheelhouse Weekly.



MITAGS has announced that the X-Craft “Sea Fighter” crew recently trained on the world-class STN Atlas ANS 5000 simulator at its Linthicum, MD campus. The X-Craft transformational program is a high-speed aluminum catamaran that consists of an advanced geometric hull and is designed for speeds up to 50-knots or more. Initially, it will be used by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) for hydrodynamic experimentation and as a test bed for Hull, Mechanical, and Electrical (HME) concepts for the US Navy’s new class of warship, Littoral Combat Ship (LCS).

“The MITAGS STN Atlas offers an exceptional simulation environment for the X-Craft personnel to train in,” said Glen Paine. “Our full-mission simulator provides the latest generation of photo-textured on-screen graphics, advanced ship maneuvering capabilities, and a complete Raytheon integrated bridge system that utilizes a Kamewa joystick control for steering and maneuverability.”

The X-Craft crew, which consisted of USCG and Navy personnel, spent three days training on docking and undocking procedures. The X-Craft design was the result of two years of research, based upon the Navy’s requirement that the vessel remain fully operational in sea-state-four at 40-knots.




Recognizing the importance of port safety, MM&P-contracted Horizon Lines participated in a training exercise with US Maritime Administration (MARAD) officials and the USCG in San Francisco Bay on June 8. The exercise, dubbed Operation Safeport 2005, was a simulation that involved the off-loading of a suspect container from a ship at anchor in a safe and controlled manner.

The operation consisted of a crane ship maneuvering alongside the MM&P-crewed HORIZON CONSUMER at anchorage in San Francisco Bay. The crew of the crane ship then began to remove containers around a test container tagged as a “suspicious” box by a USCG Vessel Boarding and Security Team. The simulation continued with a USCG Pacific Strike Team boarding the CONSUMER to perform additional security checks. The suspect container was then off-loaded to a small LASH barge where it was transported to a secure area without incident.

Over 80 observers from various government agencies including MARAD, Military Sealift Command, US Transportation Command, US Navy, USCG, the FBI, the Department of Energy and US Customs and Border Protection viewed this successful exercise. “Participating in this drill allowed Horizon Lines as a primary US-flag container ship operator to support and actively share in US port security development,” said John Keenan, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Horizon Lines. The company was one of the first domestic ocean carriers to be accepted in the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism program.



The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) 2005 Atlantic hurricane season outlook indicates a 70% chance of an above-normal hurricane season, a 20% chance of a near-normal season, and only a 10% chance of a below-normal season. This outlook is produced by scientists at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC), Hurricane Research Division (HRD), and National Hurricane Center (NHC). The outlook calls for 12-15 tropical storms, with 7-9 becoming hurricanes, and 3-5 of these becoming major hurricanes. This prediction reflects a very likely continuation of above-normal activity that began in 1995.


The House of Representatives has passed a measure aimed at preventing oil spills in US waterways like the 2004 accident in the Delaware River when the Greek tanker ATHOS I spilled over 80 tons of heavy crude. The Delaware River Protection Act, introduced by Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), will now go to the Senate for consideration.

If passed by the Senate and signed by the President, the bill will increase liability limits on single-hull tankers under the Oil Pollution Act. It will also require ships to report objects that are lost overboard to the USCG for immediate recovery. The legislation also creates a new committee to report to Congress on ways to improve oil spill response and prevention.



As part of the upcoming Ship Operations Cooperative Program (SOCP) meeting that will be held in Seattle on July 12-13, SOCP is inviting MM&P members to take a survey on enhanced LORAN (eLORAN) as a “back-up” to Global Positioning System technology. GPS has become a primary navigation aid employed in the commercial shipping industry but is susceptible to interference.

The purpose of the LORAN survey is to ascertain the navigation, positioning and timing technologies and procedures seafaring personnel use, or would use as a member of the commercial shipping industry in the event that GPS service was unavailable. A LORAN Survey web page has been created at A link to the survey as well as reference info is provided on this web page. SOCP would appreciate your responses by July 1. As a follow-up to the survey, SOCP plans to have a discussion at their July 12-13 meeting being hosted by the USCG & PMI in Seattle, WA. For further info, contact Ram Nagendran via e-mail at or voice at 703-620-8676 or Todd Ripley via e-mail at or voice at 202-366-2625.

Among those making presentations at the SOCP meting will be MM&P’s Director of Special Projects Richard Plant. Gregg Trunnell, Director of the MITAGS-affiliated Pacific Maritime Institute will host a reception for SOCP attendees. Tours of the PMI facility and Seattle VTS will also be offered. All MM&P members are welcome to attend the meeting and there is no registration fee. Those interested in attending should contact Kim-Anh Rester at e-mail or by phone at 202-366-0364.


The large print of the SEAWANHAKA being sold to benefit the MM&P Political Contribution Fund can be viewed on the MM&P web site at Members should click on “Members Only” and then select “Make a PCF Contribution” and then select the link: “Click here to see MM&P rewards you earn.” Suitable for framing, this lovely print is just $40 and would make an excellent addition to a home or office. All are signed by the artist, MM&P-member Capt. Brian Hope.

The print also comes with an account of how the fire aboard the SEAWANHAKA and the scapegoating of her Master, Capt. Charles Smith 125-years ago, mark the beginnings of the MM&P. For more info on how you can assist the MM&P PCF by purchasing a print, contact Assistant Comptroller Beverly Gutmann at MM&P HQ, 700 Maritime Blvd., Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1941. Phone: 410-850-8700 ext. 11, Fax: 410-850-8384, Email:




Between now and the end of September 2005 seats are available in the following courses:

  • AIS – Automatic Identification System: 8/5, 9/2
  • ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 7/18, 7/25, 8/15, 9/26
  • AZIPOD – Azipod Propulsion System (2 day): 9/12
  • BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 8/1
  • BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 8/9
  • BST – Basic Safety Training: 8/29, 9/2

CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses

  • CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 7/18
  • CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 1): 8/22
  • CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 8/15
  • CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display and Info Systems: 9/19
  • CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 8/8
  • CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 8/15, 8/22, 9/26
  • CMM-SHS-ADV-II – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 8/15
  • CMM-SHMGT I – Ship Management (week 1): 7/11, 9/26
  • CMM-SHMGT I – Ship Management (week 2): 9/19
  • CMM-VPEN – Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 7/25
  • CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 9/12
  • CMM-WKP- Advanced Watchkeeping: 8/29
  • CONT-PLNG – Contingency Planning: 9/9
  • FF-BADV – (Combined) Basic and Advanced Firefighting: 8/24, 9/26
  • HAZ-Hazardous Materials (5-day): 8/8, 9/12
  • LAP License Advancement Program: 7/11
  • LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 8/9, 9/21
  • MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 8/4, 9/8
  • MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 7/30, 8/20, 9/24
  • MED-PIC – Medical Person-In-Charge: 8/15, 9/26
  • MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider (1st week of MED-PIC): 8/15, 9/26

MSC – Military Sealift Command

  • MSC-SMA – Small Arms Training (4 day): 8/29
  • MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 9/2
    (must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years)
  • ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal (5-day): 8/22
  • ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 7/18, 7/25, 8/15, 8/20, 9/26
  • SEC-OFF-VCF – Security Officer,Vessel, Company & Facility: 8/1, 9/5
  • SHS-ESH-BRMP: Emergency Shiphandling/Bridge Resource Management for Pilots (3-day): 7/20
  • SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling (5 day): 8/29
  • TPIC Tankerman Person-In-Charge: 9/26



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.


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


MM&P Market Watch as of June 29, 2005 Close


 D O W  N A S D A Q  S & P 500
 10,374.48 -213.45 for the week  2,068.89  -23.14 for the week  1,199.85  -14.03 for the week



Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 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)
 Fidelity Small Company Instl (FMACX)
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)

~ Reminders ~




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

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

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

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

Small Arms certificates must be less than 1 year old.

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

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

Members interested in employment on the T-AGS ships are asked to provide a 1-2 page resume. Please list the desired position you are seeking along with the certificates of training you possess and their dates. Upon receipt it will be forwarded to Horizon Lines and a confirmation sent back to the member. Vessel turnover commences Oct.17, 2004 and will continue until Jan.3, 2005. Crew rotations will start beginning as early as January 2005 and will continue through as late as June 2005. Positions for all ratings remain open.

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

Richard Plant, Director of Special Projects

700 Maritime Blvd.
Linthicum Heights, MD 21090


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

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

Go to to download the software titled “EPSQ SUBJECT2_2”.

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

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

From the “Type of Investigation” screen:

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

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

When complete and all information has been validated, click on “Communications” from the menu bar at the top of the screen and select “Transmit to Security Officer”. Save the file to the hard drive on your computer using your last name (surname) as the file name. Send this file as an email attachment to Mike Bohlman at Horizon Lines, His phone number is 908-259-2803. You will need to provide Mike Bohlman with your name and the case-sensitive password you assigned to the file in order for Horizon Lines to open the file and process your Security Clearance.


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

On Dec.6, MM&P members will begin manning the third of seven T-AGS ships operated by Horizon. The USNS SUMNER will be crewed-up in Portland, OR. MM&P wishes the crew a safe voyage and happy holidays.



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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


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

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

First-time and Registered users may bypass the welcome screen and go directly to the log-in page at

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

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

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

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


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

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



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

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

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

Vessels in the LMS footwear reimbursement program are:

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates, and Pilots, ILA, AFL-CIO, 700 Maritime Blvd., Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1941. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973; Email: 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.