Wheelhouse Weekly – June 9, 2015

Volume 20 . . . Number 23. . . June 9, 2015


In this issue:



News for MM&P Members:

Other News:


Never miss an issue!
Click here to subscribe to the Wheelhouse Weekly mailing list.
Did you miss a week?
Back editions of the Wheelhouse Weekly are available in the archives section.


MM&P Pacific Ports union halls will be closed on June 11 for King Kamehameha Day.June 11 is also a longshore holiday in Honolulu for all MM&P ships and a holiday on all Matson ships wherever they are. The MM&P Houston Hall will be closed on June 19for Texas Emancipation Day.

Back to Stories Covered


A bill introduced last week in Congress would authorize state governors to trigger federal “back-to-work” injunctions in port labor disputes and give the president power to intervene to halt work slowdowns. Specifically, the bill would expand the Taft-Hartley Act to cover slowdowns. It would also allow a governor to direct the state attorney general to seek a federal court injunction against slowdowns, strikes or lockouts.

The bill was introduced by Republican Sens. Cory Gardner (Colo.) and Lamar Alexander (Tenn.). International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) spokesperson Craig Merrilees called it “an extreme piece of anti-worker legislation.”

“Sen. Gardner’s bill is a blatant overreach by corporate interests whose sole objective is to eviscerate the collective bargaining rights of port employees,” said Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD). Wytkind said the legislation, if passed, would have “a severe chilling effect on labor-management relations in our nation’s ports by tilting the playing field in management’s favor.”

“By vesting governors with unique powers previously reserved for the President, Sen. Gardner’s proposal would pervert the collective bargaining process by subjecting it to potentially sinister political motives that have no place in labor-management negotiations,” Wytkind said.

He added that the bill’s language is so broad “that it could easily allow corporate interests to use the pretense of port disputes as an excuse to exact political retribution on opponents.”

The Taft Hartley Act, which passed in 1947 over the veto of President Harry S. Truman, gave the White House authority to end strikes in cases in which it could be claimed that national health or safety were at risk.

Back to Stories Covered


Port state control inspectors operating under the Paris Memorandum of Understanding (Paris MoU) have vowed to devote increased attention this year to the dangers of confined spaces. The Paris MoU consists of 27 participating maritime administrations and covers the waters of the European coastal states and the North Atlantic basin from North America to Europe.

Its mission is to eliminate the operation of substandard ships through a harmonized system of port state control. Annually more than 18,000 inspections take place on board foreign ships in Paris MoU ports, ensuring that they meet international safety, security and environmental standards, and that crew members have adequate living and working conditions.

In a statement released after their annual meeting, members of the Paris MOU noted that enclosed space entry drills and training every two months became mandatory under amendments to SOLAS in January 2015. “More people die or are injured in enclosed spaces than through any other related onboard work activity,” the group said in an official statement. “The largest problem is with spaces which are not perceived as dangerous: anchor lockers and deck stores which may suffer from oxygen depletion, for example.

The issue persists despite numerous guidelines, safety regimes, operational procedures manuals and assurance surveys.” Citing information disseminated by The Nautical Institute, Paris MoU members urged: adoption of a safety culture featuring an enclosed space management plan and onboard audits; improvements to ship design and operations to minimize the need to go into enclosed spaces in the first place; and “good frequent training.”

In a recent enclosed space accident, four people were found unconscious in the cargo hold of a ship in Hanstholm, Denmark. One man died, and the others were hospitalized as a result of wood pellet cargo handling operations on the cargo ship CORINA arriving from Poland. The men are believed to have been affected by the low oxygen atmosphere, possibly caused by the buildup of carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide in the enclosed space of the cargo hold.

In a separate accident earlier this year, three men died after entering the cargo hold of a ship in the Port of Antwerp. In this instance the cargo was coal.

Back to Stories Covered


Members of the American Merchant Marine Veterans Association (AMMV) will go to Washington, D.C., this month to urge support of legislation that would give long overdue recognition to merchant seamen who served in World War II.

A bill that would award a $25,000 one-time bonus to merchant mariners who served in World War II has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Janice Hahn (D- Calif.) and Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.). HR 563, the “Honoring Our World War II Merchant Mariners Act of 2015,” would provide the payment to surviving World War II merchant mariners.

The veterans are calling their Congressional visits day “StormTheHill.” The goal, says AMMV President Morris Harvey, is to educate legislators “regarding the struggle and the history of similar bills in Congress,” and to urge senators to introduce a companion bill to HR 563, since both chambers would need to pass the legislation before it could become law.

More than 6,000 merchant mariners died in service during World War II.

Back to Stories Covered


An international flotilla rescued almost 6,000 migrants making the dangerous crossing from North Africa to Europe on Saturday and Sunday, a spokesperson for Italy’s coast guard said. The British warship BULWARK alone picked up more than 1,000 refugees.

On Saturday, 3,500 people were rescued about 45 miles from the Libyan coast. On Sunday, British, Swedish, Spanish and Italian naval and coast guard ships and a merchant vessel were called to aid 15 boats.

The wave of refugees risking the treacherous crossing to reach Europe is on the rise this year and the United Nations Agency for Refugees says at least 1,800 have drowned, including about 800 people who died in a single accident in April. In response to the tragedies, the European Union (EU) has boosted its presence in the Mediterranean, but member states continue to argue over how to handle the refugees once they are ashore. All those rescued are being taken to Italy, a situation which is becoming untenable, say local politicians.

On June 16, EU interior ministers are set to discuss a plan to disperse 40,000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece to other member states.

Back to Stories Covered


President Obama has nominated Gen. Darren McDew to lead US Transportation Command. McDew, who has commanded Air Mobility Command since May 2014, would replace Gen. Paul Selva, who has been named to serve as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Obama also nominated Navy Adm. John Richardson for assignment as Chief of Naval Operations. Richardson currently serves as director of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program in the Department of Navy and Department of Energy. He would replace Adm. Jonathan Greenert, who has led the Navy Department since September 2011. Both appointments are pending Senate confirmation.

Back to Stories Covered


Military Sealift Command (MSC) issued the following notice to all of its civilian employees: “On June 4, the press reported a massive data breach involving personally identifiable information for four million current and former federal employees. The press also reported that the breach is suspected to have been the result of a hacking operation by a foreign government.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has posted information on its website about this breach, and what it is doing about it. That website is OPM.GOV. Below are some highlights from the OPM website:

— Beginning June 8 and continuing through June 19, OPM will be sending notifications to approximately four million individuals whose personally identifiable information was potentially compromised in this incident. The email will come from and it will contain information regarding credit monitoring and identity theft protection services being provided to those federal employees impacted by the data breach. In the event OPM does not have an email address for the individual on file, a standard letter will be sent via the U.S. Postal Service.

— In order to mitigate the risk of fraud and identity theft, OPM is offering affected individuals credit monitoring services and identity theft insurance with CSID, a company that specializes in identity theft protection and fraud resolution. This comprehensive, 18-month membership includes credit report access, credit monitoring, identity theft insurance and recovery services and is available immediately at no cost to affected individuals identified by OPM.”

Back to Stories Covered


The National Maritime Center (NMC) has announced the customer beta test of a new online chat option. The test began yesterday. “We believe the application will provide a valuable time-saving option for interacting with NMC Customer Service Agents regarding all aspects of the credentialing process,” a spokesperson for the agency said in an official statement.

The application can be accessed by clicking the Get Help or Live Chat button located at the top right corner of any page of the NMC website. The system offers two means of connecting with NMC: a Help Ticket system will work along the same lines as the current e-mail option; there will also be the option of having a real-time chat. The Help Ticket option is now available 24/7. If it is successful, online chat will be launched July 1.

As the system ramps up, NMC asks users to limit the chat to more routine questions such as mariner application status checks. Once the online chat has been implemented, the Help Ticket feature will only be available outside of normal business hours and the Get Help button will be replaced by a Live Chat when agents are available to respond.

Users of the new system are encouraged to provide feedback via chat, by clicking the Feedback ribbon at the top of the page, by using the customer service center contact form, by e-mailing or by calling 1-888-IASKNMC. The people providing assistance via the chat line are the same operators who work in the NMC Customer Service Center. The internet-based chat system itself is provided by a third-party vendor.

Back to Stories Covered


Labor 411 is committed to building a nation-wide Buy Union, Buy American movement as a means of improving the safety and economic wellbeing of U.S. workers and their families. Labor 411’s print and online directory provides greater visibility to union products and union-made goods and services and helps union members ensure that their dollars and their values are connecting with the community at large. It’s a one-stop resource for people who want to buy union-made goods and services.

Are you planning a party? Celebrating a holiday? Go to Labor 411 for engaging product spotlights, fun facts, videos and recipes. This month’s featured products: union-made bourbon and 200 union-made beers.

By making the choice to spend your money on products and services that are made in our country by workers who are treated fairly and paid a living wage, you can help protect the middle class, strengthen our national economy and build a stronger America. Go to today to find out more.

Back to Stories Covered


Walmart abruptly closed five stores in April, citing “plumbing problems.” The shuttered stores, which had employed more than 2,000 workers, were in Tulsa, Tampa, Midland and Livingston, Texas, and Pico Rivera, Calif. The company said the stores will be closed for six months, although it notified local officials in one city that the layoffs are permanent.

Tampa Bay television station WTSP, which investigated the situation, found no evidence that plumbing-related issues were being addressed at one store, where no plumbing vehicles or septic trucks were in the lot. Local officials told the station they had no record of any code or permit violations at the site.

A city manager in Pico Rivera, Calif., the site of another abruptly closed Walmart store, said that the city had received no permit requests from the company.

Seven-year Walmart worker Venanzi Luna said the Pico Rivera location had been a base of worker activism and that many of the laid-off workers believe the company is targeting employees who have spoken out. As a longtime member of the Organization United for Respect (OUR) at Walmart, a group funded by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Luna has led strikes and sit-ins to fight for higher wages.

A number of complaints charging the company with closing the stores in retaliation for union activity have been filed with the National Labor Relations Board.

“It’s been almost two months since these stores were shut down, and hardly any of the workers who lost their jobs have been transferred,” said Candice Rodriguez, another laid-off worker from the Pico Rivera store, the first where Walmart workers went on strike.

To call attention to the situation, workers in Los Angeles held a 24-hour fast leading up to a rally calling on the Walton family and Walmart to stop retaliating against workers who speak out for $15 an hour and who ask for full-time jobs.

This week, a group of laid-off Walmart workers is traveling to Walmart’s annual shareholders’ meeting to call on Walmart CEO Doug McMillon and the Waltons to reinstate all those who have been laid off. They are asking supporters to call Walmart corporate headquarters and ask McMillon to transfer workers to a nearby Walmart store and give them their jobs back when the stores reopen.

To help, call 479-273-4000 (Press 3 for the main office) and share your views.

Back to Stories Covered


MM&P members: please send us your shipboard video clips so that we can share them with other members and the public on and social media. Send your videos to today!

Back to Stories Covered


The world’s oceans are essential to the U.S. economy and must be protected, said President Obama in a proclamation issued on June 1 that recognizes National Oceans Month. “As destinations for recreation and tourism, these bodies of water rejuvenate our spirit and cultivate a love of our great outdoors,” the president said. “Our marine environments contribute to our food supply, bolster our economy, strengthen our national defense, and support important scientific research and innovation. During National Oceans Month, we celebrate these life-sustaining ecosystems, and we reaffirm our vital role as stewards of our planet.” He said his administration is working as hard as possible to combat threats to the ocean, including climate change, carbon pollution and illegal fishing.

Back to Stories Covered


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 Kelly Michielli, Admissions Coordinator, toll-free at 866-656-5568 or by e-mail: . Why not try our on-line calendar to register for class:

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 – 8/17/15, 10/12/15

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: 6/19/15, 7/13/15

ARPA-OIC – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 8/4/15, 9/22/15, 1/26/16

AZIPOD 2-Day – 10/1/15

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 8/3/15, 10/19/15, 2/1/16

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 6/17/15, 7/16/15, 11/9/15

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling: 9/28/15

BT – Basic Safety Training: 8/10/15, 10/5/15, 1/25/16

BT-Revalidation – 8/4/15, 11/3/15

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 10/26/15

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVNAV-CMM – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): Contact Admissions

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 6/15/15, 7/27/15, 9/28/15, 1/25/16, 3/28/16

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 8/3/15, 10/19/15, 1/4/16, 3/7/16

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 10/5/15

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 8/17/15, 9/21/15, 10/5/15,11/2/15, 12/7/15, 1/11/16, 2/22/16, 3/21/16

LMS – Leadership and Managerial Skills (Management Level – Formerly MCL-CMM):6/22/15, 7/13/15, 8/10/15, 8/31/15, 9/28/15, 10/26/15, 11/16/15, 11/30/15,1/18/16, 2/15/16, 3/14/16

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants: 11/16/15

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management (2 weeks): 9/14/15

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 7/13/15, 8/10/15, 8/24/15,10/5/15, 11/9/15, 11/30/15, 1/11/16, 2/8/16, 3/14/16

SHS-ADV-II-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 7/20/15, 8/17/15, 8/31/15,10/12/15, 11/16/15, 12/7/15, 1/18/16, 2/15/16, 3/21/16

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 11/30/15, 2/29/16

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 11/9/15

CNAV-OIC – Celestial Navigation: 11/9/15

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: Contact Admissions

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications: 7/9/15

DDE – Great Lakes: 2/1/16

DPA – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-OIC – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-Pilots – 6/15/15, 7/14/15, 11/12/15

ERM – Engine Resource Management: 6/15/15, 7/20/15, 8/24/15, 9/21/15, 10/19/15,11/9/15, 12/14/15, 1/4/16, 2/8/16, 3/21/16

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 8/10/15, 10/5/15, 1/25/16, 2/22/16

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications: 7/6/15, 9/15/15, 11/11/15

GL Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization: 1/22/16

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 8/24/15, 3/7/16

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 6/22/15, 8/31/15, 11/16/15

LAP- 9/14/15

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes: 1/25/16

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross
Ton License: 8/3/15, 11/30/15, 3/7/16

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 6/17/15, 7/16/15, 9/16/15, 11/10/15

LNG-TPIC – 12/7/15

LTS –Leadership and Teamworking Skills (Formerly MCL-OIC): 9/21/15

MEECE – Management of Electrical and Electronic Control: 7/6/15, 8/17/15, 9/14/15, 10/12/15, 11/2/15, 12/7/15, 1/11/16, 2/22/16, 3/28/16

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 6/15/15, 8/24/15, 12/7/15, 1/4/16

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 7/27/15, 9/28/15, 2/1/15, 3/14/16

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 6/15/15, 8/24/15, 10/12/15, 12/7/15, 1/4/15, 2/15/16

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 6/20/15, 7/25/15, 8/28/15, 11/5/15, 12/12/15, 1/9/15, 1/31/16

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: Contact Admissions

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 8/19/15, 10/29/15, 3/8/16

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 8/17/15, 10/27/15, 3/5/16

*MSC-ENVPRO –8/16/15, 10/31/15, 2/28/16

*MSC-FF-HELO –8/3/15, 11/2/15, 2/22/16

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 8/8/15, 10/19/15, 1/4/16, 2/29/16

*MSC-Security Watch Basic – 8/6/15, 10/17/15, 2/26/16

*MSC-Security Watch Advanced –8/12/15, 10/23/15, 1/8/16, 3/4/16

*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force –8/13/15, 10/24/15, 1/10/16, 3/5/16

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 8/3/15, 9/21/15, 1/25/16

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 6/10/15, 6/17/15, 7/8/15, 7/22/15, 8/5/15, 8/19/15, 9/2/15, 9/16/15, 9/30/15, 10/14/15, 10/28/15, 11/3/15, 11/11/15, 11/18/15, 12/2/15, 12/10/15, 1/6/16, 1/13/16, 2/3/16

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 7/27/15, 1/18/16, 2/1/16

SAR-OIC – Search & Rescue – 10/19/15

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling: 6/22/15, 11/2/15, 2/15/16

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day: 7/27/15, 9/28/15, 1/25/16

SMS – Contact Admissions

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 8/3/15, 2/8/16

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 7/6/15, 1/4/16

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: 8/3/15

TRAC-TUG-2: Contact Admissions

TTT – Contact Admissions

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: Contact Admissions

VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 7/22/15, 9/9/15, 10/7/15, 10/17/15, 2/15/16

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level): 9/28/15, 3/21/16

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): 9/14/15, 2/29/16

Back to Stories Covered


Please also see our schedule and enroll online at For registration contact our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen: 206.838.1126 or

June 2015

15-19 ECDIS
15-19 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
22-26 Leadership and Managerial Skills
22-26 Basic Meteorology
29-3 Leadership and Managerial Skills

July 2015

6-24 Terrestrial and Coastal Navigation
13-17 Leadership and Managerial Skills
13-24 GMDSS
20-23 ARPA
27-31 Radar Observer Unlimited

Back to Stories Covered

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 © 2015. Articles can be reprinted without prior permission if credit is given to The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly. For address changes, send an e-mail to Back issues of The Weekly are posted on