Wheelhouse Weekly – Mar. 29, 2016

March 29th 2016

Volume 21 . . . Number 13. . . March 29, 2016


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A recently released paper on the “six-on/six-off” system is little more than an opinion piece intended to serve the interests of operators in the inland tug and barge industry.

MM&P made the statement in an interview with Nautilus, the publication of the British, French and Swiss maritime officers’ union.

The paper, “Enhancing Sleep Efficiency on Vessels in the Tug/Towboat/Barge Industry,” is the product of Northwestern University’s National Cooperative Freight Research Program (NCFRP).

In the introduction, the authors state that guidance in preparing the paper was provided by freight stakeholders with emphasis placed on representing the intended users.

The Transportation Research Board (TRB), which published the paper, states specifically in the introduction that it does not necessarily share the opinions and conclusions presented therein.

“It is interesting to note that the paper came out at the same time the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) identified fatigue in the transportation industry as a high priority issue that it needs to address,” says MM&P Vice President George Quick.

“The timing, the methodology and the conclusions appear to be an attempt to justify the current six-on/six-off watch system in the towing industry. The paper is not based on an independent scientific study but on interviews as to the opinions of the stakeholders–company officials or employees–who have an interest in or are under pressure to shape the outcome.”

In the paper, he added, “Self-serving opinions combined with selected research papers on fatigue and sleep in a very different environment, such as astronauts in space, are used to justify inherently unsafe practices.”

Quick said there is “a serious credibility issue” with the paper, calling it “essentially an advocacy position paper for the American Waterways Operators,” a trade group that represents companies in the towing and barge industry.

As a counterpoint to the NCFRP paper, Quick cites The Horizon Project, a multi-year scientific study of the impact on cognitive performance of watch-keeping patterns.

In The Horizon Project, which was sponsored by the European Commission, researchers analyzed data drawn from realistic scenarios using experienced watch-keepers working on ship simulators.

In stark contrast to the views expressed in the NCFRP paper, The Horizon Project found substantial risks caused by fatigue-induced impairment of cognitive ability in the six-on/six-off watch system.

“The NCFRP paper should be viewed in the context of the longstanding debate between regulators, companies and seafarers as to the solution to the endemic problem of fatigue-induced accidents in the maritime transportation industry that operates 24/7,” Quick says.

“There is no doubt that fatigue is a serious problem. The debate is over the possible solutions.”

Because manning costs money, companies argue that there is no need for additional resources. Their position is that the problem can be solved through “effective management” of available resources, such as the Fatigue Resource Management System (FRMS) advocated in the NCFRP paper.

Seafarers and their advocates argue instead that in many cases vessels are undermanned and without sufficient resources to manage fatigue. They view the FRMS as a way to shift the responsibility for fatigue from the company to the watchstander: if seafarers have a fatigue-related accident, they are blamed for not having properly managed their work and rest periods.

“To avoid fatigue and resulting accidents, there is clearly a need to match the resources to the required operational workload,” Quick says.

“In our view the NCFRP paper is just another example of the companies attempting to influence the upcoming NTSB review of fatigue in the transportation industry.”

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The Department of Labor on March 23 released a new rule that requires employers to disclose their relationships with lawyers and other consultants they hire to keep their employees from joining labor unions.

The new rule requires companies to disclose the name of any consultant they hire to develop plans or policies for supervisors involved in trying to fight union campaigns, hold mandatory anti-union meetings or produce materials, such as flyers and videos, for distribution in the workplace. Employers will also have to disclose monies paid to consultants for this purpose.

The consultants will also have to disclose the relationships, along with how much they are being paid, in official government filings.

“In many organizing campaigns, decisions that workers make about whether to choose to stand together are often influenced by paid consultants, or persuaders, who are hired by employers to craft the management message being delivered to workers,” Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said in a phone call with journalists after the release of the final rule.

A study cited by the Labor Department says that 71 percent to 87 percent of employers “hire persuaders when faced with a union organizing campaign, with most of these agreements not currently being reported.” Anti-union consulting is a multi-million dollar industry.

A 1959 law requires labor unions to disclose funds spent on workplace organizing campaigns. The law also sought to require disclosures from employers, but Perez said that loopholes exploited under previous administrations had upset the balance of fairness between workers and employers. He said that in passing the rule, the Obama Administration was hoping to restore the balance, at least in part.

Consultants are extremely effective at creating an environment in which workers fear for their job if they opt to form a union.

“This long-awaited rule will increase transparency about employers’ activities when they hire outside third parties to do their union busting,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “It takes great courage for working people to come together to form a union. Working men and women deserve to know who their employer is hiring and exactly how much they are spending to discourage workers from forming a union.”

The rule takes effect on July 1. It has already drawn threats of lawsuits from groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the International Franchise Association and the National Association of Manufacturers, which say that it violates an employer’s First Amendment free-speech rights.

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Representatives of two unions that belong to the Maritime Labor Alliance have been named to the national Maritime Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (MACOSH). The two are Ed Ferris, president of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10 and Robert Fiore, safety representative of the International Longshoremen’s Association.

The 15-member committee advises the U.S. Labor Secretary on matters relevant to the safety and health of employees in the maritime industry.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

The MLA is an alliance of six of the country’s leading maritime labor organizations–American Radio Association, Inlandboatmen’s Union, International Longshoremen’s Association, International Longshore & Warehouse Union, Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association and International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots—which was formed to protect the interests of their members in terms of jurisdiction, working conditions and labor rights.

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Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) has been named the 2016 Great Lakes Legislator of the Year. The award is presented annually by the Great Lakes Maritime Task Force (GLMTF) to a legislator who has helped advance waterborne commerce on the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway.

“Senator Johnson has demonstrated time and again that Great Lakes shipping has his full support,” said GLMTF President Thomas Curelli.

“He has fully recognized that Great Lakes shipping is a lynchpin in the Wisconsin and national economies and called for better maintenance of ports and waterways and more effective prioritization of federal spending on dredging and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects.”

In making the award, the task force also cited Johnson’s chairmanship of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee as being of significant benefit to Great Lakes shipping

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One out of six jobs created in the United States since the 2008 recession is a low-paying “temp job,” according to ProPublica, an independent, non-profit news organization that conducts investigative journalism in the public interest.

Temporary–or “temp”–workers are technically employed by staffing agencies instead of by the companies at which they actually work. They generally have no job security, no access to benefits, little or no training and no right to labor union representation. Their wages average 22 percent less than those of the permanent workers they replace.

In 2015, three million Americans worked through a temp agency on any given day, according to the Alliance for the American Temporary Workforce (AATW), a labor rights group.

The “temp phenomenon” was the subject of a recent panel discussion at AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, D.C. Among the topics discussed:

– 37 percent of America’s temp workforce is employed in what were once middle income manufacturing and industrial jobs (this is a turnaround from the situation in the ‘70s, when most temp jobs were in offices);

– there are now 17,000 temp agencies in the United States operating 50,000 outlets (that means there are over four times as many temp offices in the country as there are McDonald’s restaurants);

– temp workers are 50 percent more likely to be injured on the job and three times more likely to suffer amputations, in part because they receive little or no training;

– temp workers are two times more likely to live in poverty and to require government assistance;

– in 1970, the average temp job lasted one week—now it lasts five months, with one quarter of all temp workers holding the same job for over a year;

– Nissan is opening a plant in North Carolina that will be 100 percent staffed by temps;

– BMW in South Carolina has its own temp agency subsidiary;

– and in contrast to what proponents of temp jobs and “the gig economy” often assert, the main reason temp workers give for doing temporary work is that they are hoping to get a permanent job.

“It’s all part of a continuum of undermining the employment relationship,” says a spokesperson for the National Employment Law Project (NELP), which advocates for policies to create good jobs and strengthen protections for workers.

For more on temp workers in America today, go to:, and

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All Pacific Ports halls with the exception of the Honolulu Hall will be closed on Thursday, March 31 for Cesar Chavez Day.

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The Offshore Orientation Course will be held in the San Francisco/Oakland Hall on April 13-14. Interested applicants should sign up with the San Francisco/Oakland dispatcher: 415-777-5074(phone); 415-777-0209 (fax). There is no sea-time requirement to take the course. All Offshore applicants, potential transferees from other membership groups and other interested Offshore members are encouraged to take the course as soon as possible.

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On Sunday, May 22, the annual National Maritime Day Observance and Memorial Service will be held at the American Merchant Marine Veterans Memorial at Harbor Boulevard and 6th Street in San Pedro at 1000.

The service is hosted by the American Merchant Marine Veterans Memorial Committee. It honors American Merchant Mariners who have served their country in peace and war since the American Revolution–when they acted as our first Navy–until the present day.

Organizations wishing to send wreaths to be displayed during and after the services are requested to have them delivered to the memorial site by 0900 on Sunday, May 22. Massey’s Florist on Western Avenue in Lomita (310-325-8222) has provided very good service and is the preferred florist of the committee.

The committee is again planning to have an interesting program, with national, state, and city officials invited to participate as speakers.

The committee is seeking sponsors to help us this year by purchasing an advertisement in our 2016 program booklet.

A luncheon will be held immediately following the National Maritime Day Observance at the Ports O’Call Restaurant located at Berth 76 in Ports O’Call Village. A no host bar will open at 1100 hours, with lunch being served at approximately 1130 hours. Parking is available in Ports O’Call with transportation provided to and from the memorial service.

The committee cordially invites all sponsors and the general public to attend the National Maritime Day Observance and luncheon. For additional information, please contact Paul Nielsen at (310) 325 3506.

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Fuel oil leaking from TS TAIPEI, the containership that grounded March 10 and split in two on Friday, has fouled several miles of coastline in northern Taiwan.
The Tawain-flagged ship ran aground after losing propulsion in a storm that pushed it onto the rocks.

The Taiwan Coast Guard rescued all 21 members of the crew, but a Taiwan National Airborne Service Corps helicopter crashed during post-rescue efforts, leaving two men dead and one in critical condition. The helicopter had been dropping members of the country’s Environmental Protection Agency onto the containership to investigate the risk of environmental damage.

According to authorities in Taiwan, around 240 tons of fuel oil, 35 tons of lube oil and 30 tons of waste and other contaminants remain on board the ship. The majority of the 617 cargo containers the ship had been carrying, some of which are reported to contain hazardous materials, also remain on board.

As a result of the oil spill, officials have closed nearby fishing grounds and warned residents and visitors to stay off the beach and out of the water. Cleanup and salvage operations have been hampered by heavy weather over the past week, but officials say oil containment efforts continue around the clock.

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MITAGS needs your current address! Have you moved recently? Did you remember to send MITAGS your new address for communications regarding courses? Please send your current contact information to or to the fax number below. New dedicated fax line for Admissions only: 1-443-568-1928. For all other MITAGS business, please continue to use: 410-859-5181.

For class availability or information on MITAGS courses and programs, contact Elisabeth Cruz, 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 – 4/18/16, 8/22/16, 10/17/16

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: 5/27/16, 7/22/16

ARPA-OIC – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 4/5/16, 8/9/16, 9/27/16

AZIPOD 2-Day – 5/23/16, 11/14/16

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 4/4/16, 8/8/16, 10/31/16

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 05/23/2016, 7/18/16, 11/14/16

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling: 04/19/16

BT – Basic Safety Training: 04/11/16, 06/27/16, 8/15/16, 10/10/16

BT-Revalidation – 05/10/16, 8/22/16, 10/31/16

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 4/25/16, 11/14/16

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

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

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 06/20/16, 8/1/16, 10/17/16

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 06/06/16, 8/8/16, 11/7/16

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 04/04/16, 10/24/16

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 06/13/16, 7/25/16, 8/15/16, 9/12/16,10/10/16, 11/28/16, 12/19/16

LMS – Leadership and Managerial Skills (Management Level – Formerly MCL-CMM) 4/4/16,4/11/16, 4/25/16, 5/9/16, 5/16/16, 5/23/16, 6/27/16, 7/11/16, 7/25/16, 8/1/16, 8/8/16,8/15/16,8/22/16, 9/12/16, 10/3/16, 10/31/16, 11/14/16,11/28/16, 12/5/16, 12/12/16, 12/19/16

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants: 05/02/16, 9/19/16

SEC-APPS – Practical Defense Tactics: 6/20/16, 8/1/16, 10/31/16

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management (2 weeks): 04/18/16, 10/3/16

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 04/18/16, 05/09/16, 06/13/16, 7/18/16,8/15/16, 9/12/16, 10/24/16, 11/7/16, 12/5/16

SHS-ADV-II-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 04/25/16, 05/16/16, 06/20/16, 7/25/16,8/22/16, 9/19/16, 10/31/16, 11/14/16, 12/12/16

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 9/12/16

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 05/09/16, 9/26/16

CNAV-OIC – Celestial Navigation: 05/02/16, 10/24/16

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: Contact Admissions

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications: 7/19/16

DDE – Great Lakes: 6/6/16

DPA – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-OIC – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-Pilots – 05/25/16, 7/20/16, 11/14/16

ERM – Engine Resource Management: 4/18/16, 5/9/16, 7/18/16, 8/22/16, 9/26/16, 10/24/16, 11/14/16, 11/28/16, 12/5/16, 12/12/16, 12/19/16

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 06/27/16, 8/15/16, 10/10/16

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications: 04/19/16, 4/27/16, 5/16/13, 6/1/16, 6/15/16, 9/20/16

GL Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization: Contact Admissions

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 8/22/16

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 6/27/16, 8/29/16, 12/5/16

LAP- 4/4/16, 9/19/16

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

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross
Ton License: 06/06/16, 8/8/16, 12/5/16

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 4/20/16, 5/23/16, 7/19/16, 9/21/16, 11/15/16

LNG-TPIC – 12/5/16

LTS –Leadership and Teamworking Skills (Formerly MCL-OIC): 4/4/16, 4/28/16, 7/12/16, 9/26/16, 10/26/16*, 11/14/16*, 12/19/16* (*Evening Session)

MEECE – Management of Electrical and Electronic Control: 4/25/16, 5/16/16, 7/11/16, 8/29/16, 9/19/16, 10/17/16, 11/7/16, 11/28/16, 12/5/16, 12/12/16, 12/19/16

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 05/16/16, 7/11/16, 11/7/16, 12/12/16

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 05/02/16, 8/29/16, 10/3/16

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 05/16/16, 11/7/16, 11/28/16, 12/12/16

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 05/14/16, 8/28/16, 11/12/16, 12/17/16

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: Contact Admissions

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 6/10/16, 8/10/16, 10/17/16

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control: 6/8/16, 8/8/16, 10/18/16

*MSC-ENVPRO – 6/5/16, 8/7/16, 10/16/16

*MSC-FF-HELO – 6/6/16, 8/22/16, 10/31/16

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 6/13/16, 8/14/16, 10/23/16

*MSC-Security Watch Basic – 6/11/16, 8/11/16, 10/20/16

*MSC-Security Watch Advanced – 6/17/16, 8/13/16, 10/22/16

*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force – 6/18/16, 8/18/16, 10/27/16

NSAP-MMP – Navigational Skills Assessment Program-MM&P – 5/23/16, 7/26/16, 10/25/16

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 4/4/16, 5/9/16, 8/8/16, 9/26/16

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 04/06/16, 4/13/16, 04/20/16, 05/04/16, 05/18/16, 06/08/16, 06/22/16, 7/13/16, 7/27/16, 8/10/16, 8/24/16, 9/21/16, 10/5/16, 10/19/16, 11/2/16, 11/9/16, 11/16/16, 11/30/16, 12/7/16, 12/14/16

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 8/1/16

SAR-OIC – Search & Rescue – 04/18/16, 11/7/16

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling: 04/11/16, 06/27/16, 8/29/16, 10/17/16

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day: 05/02/16, 8/1/16, 10/3/16, 11/28/16

SMS – Contact Admissions

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 8/8/16

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 7/11/16

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: 8/8/16

TRAC-TUG-2: Contact Admissions

TTT – Contact Admissions

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: Contact Admissions

VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 04/25/16, 7/13/16, 9/7/16, 10/22/16

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level): 10/3/16

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): 9/19/16

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

March 2016

30-31 Leadership for Shoreside Managers

April 2016

4-8 Leadership & Managerial Skills (waitlist only)
4-8 Engine Resource Management (waitlist only)
11th Radar Renewal
11-22 GMDSS
18-22 Leadership & Managerial Skills (waitlist only)
18-22 Medical Care Provider
18-22 MEECE (waitlist only)
25-29 ECDIS
27-29 Bridge Resource Management & Emergency Shiphandling for Pilots

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The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates, & Pilots, ILA, AFL-CIO, 700 Maritime Blvd. Suite B, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1953. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973. All rights reserved. The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly © 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