Wheelhouse Weekly – March 02, 2006

March 2nd 2006


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

Volume 10 . . . . . Number 9. . . . March 2, 2006




T-AGS Oceanographic Survey Ships Info

Required Coursework

Security Clearances

MSC Physicals

MM&P Health & Benefit Plan News

Notice to Members who are taking Vioxx

NMHC Mail-Order Prescriptions Website Updated & Improved

WWII USCG Veterans Outreach

Company Gives Bucks Back for buying Safe Shoes

Website Offers Union-Made Goods and Services



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



Health & Benefit News

MM&P Plans Administrator Valerie Verrecchio reports that, “during the week of February 20, the Bank of America inadvertently returned a number of checks on the Plan’s Health & Benefit Account. Most of these checks were issued to providers and health systems whose banking institutions routinely re-deposit checks at which time, these checks were paid.

“A number of these checks, however were issued to our members. If any of our members have experienced a situation where a check from the Plan Office was returned for insufficient funds during this time frame, please re-deposit the check immediately. If your banking institution has charged to your account any fees for this error, please contact the Plan Office at 877-667-5522 for instructions on how to recover this fee. The Plan will reimburse our members for any penalties assessed to our members by their banking institutions. The Plan will receive reimbursement from the Bank of America who has assured us that they will cover all charges. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused any of our members.”


New Branch Finder Link For Fidelity 401k Participants

For MM&P members who participate in the 401K and who would like to take advantage of the one-hour, free, on-site retirement planning consultation, you can now use to locate the closest Fidelity office. You can also request a consultation over the phone if there is not a convenient location in your area.


On March 10, Navy Rear Admiral Robert D. Reilly Jr. will relieve Vice Admiral David L. Brewer III, USN,
as Commander of the Military Sealift Command (MSC). The change of command and retirement ceremony will take place
at 1300 hrs at the Washington Navy Yard.

RADM. Reilly, currently Deputy, Assistant Chief of Naval Operations for Information Technology, is a native
of Winnetka, IL. He comes from a family with more than a century of service in the US Armed Forces. Commissioned in 1975 through the Navy’s Reserve Officer Training Corps program, Rear Adm. Reilly first served aboard USS EDSON (DD946) as Combat Information Center Officer and Damage Control Assistant.

His other shipboard tours include commissioning USS FLETCHER (DD 992) as its first Operations Officer;
Engineering officer aboard USS STERETT (CG 31); Executive Officer of USS JOHN YOUNG (DD 973); and as Commanding

Rear Adm. Reilly’s additional operational tours at sea include duties as Flag Secretary, Cruiser Destroyer
Group One, where he participated in the western Pacific and Southwest Asia deployments of USS NEW JERSEY (BB 62), USS MISSOURI (BB 63), and USS MIDWAY (CV 41) Battleship
and Carrier Battle Groups; and command of Destroyer Squadron Fifty (COMDESRON 50), homeported in the Arabian Gulf state of Bahrain. He most recently commanded
Cruiser Destroyer Group Two and the USS HARRY S. TRUMAN (CVN 75) Carrier Strike Group, prior to his current assignment.

Ashore Rear Adm. Reilly has served as Fleet Readiness Assessment Officer, Commander, US Pacific Fleet staff in Pearl Harbor, HI; Surface Warfare and Weapons Procurement analyst, Program Resource Appraisal Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations; Surface Warfare Junior Officer Assignment Branch Head, Bureau of Naval Personnel; Joint Operations Division Pacific Command Division Chief, Joint Staff; and as Director, Environmental Readiness, Chief of Naval Operations.

Rear Adm. Reilly earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Washington, and a Master’s in Public Administration (National Resources) from the George Washington University. He is also a 1993 graduate of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.


On Monday, Feb.20th, the M/V COLUMBIA, crewed top-to-bottom by MM&P members, experienced what could have been a serious situation that was averted by the quick thinking of First Assistant Engineer Curtis McClendon who was on duty in the pump room.

In his report of the incident, the COLUMBIA’s Chief Engineer Charles Holmes wrote: “Due to a fault in the Starter Motor Contractor for the Jet Pump Engine, the starter continued to run after the engine started. Not rated for continuous operation, it overheated before the starter circuit could be disconnected from the battery pack. The starter motor caught fire and a fire alarm was sounded.

“At this point, personnel would normally seal the area and leave the space, but due to the fact that flames were reaching the adjoining hydraulic manifold, 1 A/E McClendon took it upon himself to knock the flames down with a fire extinguisher and continued to do so until the fire team arrived to cut the electric cable to the starter.

“If 1 A/E McClendon had not taken it upon himself to take the action he did, I am sure that there would have been much more damage than there was. His quick thinking allowed us to have the engine back on line in short order. 1 A/E McClendon’s actions kept the vessel from suffering severe damage in the Pump Room, which would have been the case if the fire had spread to the hydraulic manifold. I recommend that Mr. McClendon be recognized for his quick thinking in this emergency.”


New York-based investment rating service Standard & Poor’s, has improved its outlook on MM&P-contracted Horizon Lines to positive from stable. At the same time, Standard & Poor’s affirmed the Charlotte, NC-based company’s “B” corporate credit rating.

Charles Raymond, Horizon Line’s president and chief executive officer, recently announced plans to replace the current fleet with new vessels in an unspecified time frame. For the rest of 2006, Horizon Lines will focus on paying down debt, Raymond said in a statement. The company will also grow through acquisitions in the near future that “will not be small deals,” he explained. In addition, Horizon Lines has been exploring prospects for short sea shipping along US coasts and even on intercoastal waterways, the company noted.


A federal judge has blocked the implementation of the Dept. of Defense’s proposed National Security Personnel System (NSPS). The decision is a victory for the American Federation of Government Employees and 12 other labor unions that filed a lawsuit in February 2005 challenging the proposed system. The MM&P has been a strong opponent of NSPS.

In his 77-page decision, US District Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled that provisions contained in NSPS would fail to protect civilian employees’ ability to bargain collectively. In development since 2003, NSPS seeks to replace the current general-schedule personnel ranking system with broad pay bands for DoD’s more than 650,000 civilian employees.


The Propeller Club of the United States has announced that Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI) has been selected as the prestigious Salute to Congress Award Recipient for 2006. Abercrombie is being honored for his consistent and strong support of the United States maritime industry. The twenty-second annual Salute to Congress dinner will be held on May 2nd at the Congressional Country Club.

Congressman Abercrombie has represented the first Congressional District in Hawaii since 1986. He is a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, Committee on Resources, the Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces and the Readiness Subcommittee. Congressman Abercrombie has and continues to support the US maritime industry, the Jones Act, US shipbuilding, environmental issues, and the United States military with strong conviction.

Abercrombie recently remarked that “the Jones Act generates thousands of American jobs and millions in revenues for the federal government, states and localities. It ensures fair wages and decent conditions for working men and women aboard US vessels and in domestic shipyards. It provides a vital strategic mobility component in our national security equation. Last but not least, the Jones Act guarantees a dependable ocean-shipping lifeline for my home state of Hawaii and other offshore jurisdictions. I’m deeply honored by this recognition from the Propeller Club of the United States. I look forward to continuing to work with Propeller Club members in making sure Congress understands the importance of the Jones Act and its historic contributions to our nation’s prosperity and security.”


The controversy on over the purchase of operations of six major Atlantic and Gulf ports from British owned P&O to United Arab Emirates (UAE) owned Dubai Port World continues to rage through the halls of Congress and numerous state houses. In the process, it has received extensive daily media coverage in the nation’s major newspapers and by all the major broadcast news and cable networks.

A lot of information and misinformation has been floated through government and media channels concerning the shipping industry in general and US port operations in particular. As the storm over foreign ownership over the control of US port assets has intensified, it has started to shed some light on other foreign owned shipping operations, including the US-flag merchant fleet.

One of the most-comprehensive accounts on the status of foreign-ownership as it concerns the US-flag maritime industry appeared in the March 1st edition of the International Herald Tribune as reported by Don Phillips. It contains a historical perspective not being covered by other news outlets as well as a concise analytical presentation on the current status of foreign-owned shipping operations within the US. Here are some excerpts from that article:

“The US maritime industry has all but disappeared in the past three decades, at the very time that shipping to and from the United States has experienced remarkable growth.
With a tiny number of special exceptions, every ship that once proudly flew the US-flag has been sold to a non-US company and now flies a foreign flag.

Literally thousands of US merchant sailors were put out of work with hardly a political whimper. In fact, only ships that engage in traffic from one US port to another, like tankers engaged in hauling Alaskan oil to California, must be US-owned and operated with US crews.

In general, US ports are US-owned, but many of them are leased to foreign operators in exactly the same manner as in the current proposed lease of six US port operations to a Dubai-based company, DP World.

While the Dubai port issue has become a political football, hundreds of ships enter US ports every day flying a “flag of convenience” that masks their true ownership. Panama is the main flag of convenience, but clearly many of those ships are quietly owned by countries hostile to the US

The intense interest now among members of the US Congress in who controls operations at US ports is remarkable mainly because the same people now pounding the table and protesting the lease of port operations to the Dubai-based company said almost nothing as US ocean shipping slipped away to foreign control over the past few decades. There is an irony in the differing attitudes toward differing forms of transportation.

During the time that the merchant marine fleet was slipping away, the United States maintained a strong and longstanding ban on majority ownership of US airlines by citizens or airlines of other countries.

This seems to follow a pattern: the public is strongly interested in the things that carry people, but the public pays almost no attention to the important conveyances that haul almost everything we eat, wear and use – ocean freight shipping, freight trains, trucks and pipelines – unless they are involved in a disaster.

“A number of people associated with the shipping industry wonder what has taken so long for someone to make this a major issue,” said Ed Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, the largest US labor organization.

The issue now at hand is new in only one way. This appears to be the first time that a country in the Middle East, even one whose government is allied with the United States, is trying to do something that has become common in the past few decades: the lease or sale of some unit of the US ocean shipping industry to a foreign company. However, this is not a matter of suddenly replacing thousands of US workers with low-paid third world workers.

As has been reported, the Dubai company would mainly handle loading and unloading of ships and would generally leave security to the US Coast Guard and the Transportation Security Agency. In addition, all current port workers would remain on the job, and Dubai has even said it would keep current management.

So why get upset with Dubai? One obvious reason is that Dubai is in the Middle East and therefore is viewed with suspicion by many Americans. In addition, Dubai would have access to some US security information. But there seem to be other reasons that have almost nothing to do with Dubai.

In addition to the mishandling of the issue by the White House, many in Congress now understand that the vast majority of transportation security money has been spent on airports and airlines, while ships, trucks and trains pass in or near all major cities with the ability to haul a disastrous load of explosives or germs.

Despite major efforts by those industries to spot dangerous goods, it simply isn’t possible to check even a majority of freight. “We need to just say ‘time out’ and rethink this security matter maturely and prudently,” said a top transportation security official who asked that neither he nor his specific industry be named, fearing a backlash from the US government.”


Maritime TV released a white paper entitled “Port and Cargo Security and the American Flag Merchant Marine.” This article contains an in-depth presentation of the many legal complexities found in the foreign ownership of port, cargo and shipping assets in the US-Flag maritime industry.

Maritime TV has been instrumental in highlighting video content that has attracted national attention about maritime security issues in the past, including the 2004 report that cited the homeland security threat from the lack of US-flag shipping and crew presence in US ports.

Sources at Maritime TV have confirmed that the Internet TV channel is preparing to produce a nation-wide video webcast forum featuring industry experts on the issue, with more details to be announced shortly. To view a copy of the “white paper” or for more information go to .


The following excerpts are from a statement that was recently issued by Edward Wytkind, President of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), in response to the Bush administration decision allowing a company owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to operate six major US ports. MM&P is an active member of the TTD.

“Congress must immediately suspend the Bush administration’s decision allowing a United Arab Emirates company to run operations at six major US seaports. This action, made through a closed, secretive process, raises serious national security concerns which must be thoroughly examined and understood. We are outraged at President
Bush’s threat to veto a bill requiring a closer look at this plan. The White House is dangerously out of touch with the bipartisan national security concerns coming from both Congress and many of our nation’s mayors and governors.
President Bush has regrettably chosen a path of defiance — rather than open and constructive dialogue — on this critical homeland security issue.

“This is yet another example of the dangers of globalize run amok. We must not allow our national security to be compromised in an era of increasingly integrated capital and blurred ownership lines.

“Since 9/11, US ports have been struggling to meet a number of unfunded federal security mandates, while neither adequately inspecting the cargo containers which travel through our ports, nor fully-utilizing its workforce to enhance security.

“This latest decision from the Bush administration could further undermine our nation’s ability to better meet port security threats. Congress must move quickly to stop this plan and demand a more comprehensive review of the national security implications of this recent action by the Bush administration.” TTD represents 29 member unions in the rail, aviation, transit, trucking, highway, longshore, maritime and related industries. For more information, visit


National Maritime Day will be celebrated on May 22. Commemorative activities take place at seaports and along inland waterways across the nation, in combination with official observances in Washington, DC. For more information, visit the MARAD Web site at and click on the “National Maritime Day” link. This site will provide up-to-date information on all National Maritime Day commemorative activities. The site also contains a history on why the observance day was created and how the maritime industry has evolved to touch each and every American life.


The Council of American Master Mariners Inc. (CAMM), will hold its annual general assembly May 8-10 at the Los Angeles Harbor Hotel. The event is being hosted by CAMM’s chapter for Los Angeles and Long Beach.


CLASS OPENINGS: Between January and the end of May 2006, seats are available in the following courses:

AIS – Automated Identification Systems: 5/5
ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 4/3, 5/1, 5/15
AZIPOD-KAM – Azipod and Kamewa Steering and Propulsion Systems: 3/14, 5/15

BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 5/15
BST – Basic Safety Training: 3/6, 4/24, 5/22

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 1): 3/20
CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 3/27
CMM-ADVSTAB – Advanced Stability: 3/6, 4/3, 5/22
CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 3/13, 4/24
CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display and Info Systems: 3/20, 5/1, 5/21
CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 3/6, 4/17
CMM-SHMGT II – Ship Management (week 2): 3/6
CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 3/20, 4/17, 5/22
CMM-SHS-ADV-II – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 5/29
CMM-VPEN – Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 3/27, 5/8
CMM-WKP – Watchkeeping: 3/13, 4/10

CONT-PLNG – Contingency Planning: 3/24
CSE-AASE – Confined Space Entry: 5/15

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 3/6, 4/24, 5/22

HAZ-Hazardous Materials (5-day): 3/27, 4/10, 5/1

MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 3/23, 5/4
MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 3/18, 4/22, 5/13
MED-PIC – Medical Person-In-Charge: 3/13, 4/17, 5/8
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 3/13, 4/17, 5/8

[MSC – Military Sealift Command]
MSC-CBRD-1 (Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Orientation): 4/19, 5/10
MSC-DC (Damage Control): 4/20, 5/11
MSC-SMA – Small Arms (4-day): 3/27, 5/15
MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 3/31, 4/28, 5/19 (must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years)

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal (5-day): 5/22
ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 3/20, 5/1, 5/15

SEC-OFF-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 3/20, 5/1

TPIC – Tankerman Person-In-Charge: 4/10

Check the MITAGS website at for course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations, and schedule revisions. For class availability or info on MITAGS courses and programs, contact admissions toll-free at 866-656-5568 or Email:


Spring – Summer 2006

March 2006

3/4-5 Recreational Weather
3/6-10 BST
3/6-9 Lifeboat/Survival Craft
3/6-10 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
3/6-10 Basic Meteorology
3/6-18 100 Ton OUPV
3/13-24 GMDSS
3/13-17 CONSTB
3/14-15 MAXIMO
3/20-24 CHS BAS
3/22-24 Ship Security Officer
3/25-26 Simulator Assessment
3/27-31 MED PRO
3/27-31 ARPA
3/27 Radar Renewal
3/27-4/7 MEDPIC

April 2006
4/3-4 Search and Rescue
4/5-7 Emergency Procedures
4/3-7 BST
4/4-7 Survival Craft (Lifeboatman)
4/10-14 ECDIS
4/10-14 Radar Observer Unlimited
4/10-14 AB
4/10-21 GMDSS
4/17-21 ARPA
4/17 Radar Renew
4/17-21 Basic Shiphandling
4/24-5/5 Watchkeeping (BRM Inc.)

May 2006
5/1-3 BRM
5/1-5 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
5/2-5 Survival Craft (Lifeboatman)
5/8-12 Basic Shiphandling
5/8-12 BST
5/8-12 AB
5/8-19 GMDSS
5/8-20 100 Ton OUPV
5/15-19 MEDPRO
5/15-26 MEDPIC
5/22 Flashing Light

June 2006
6/5-9 ECDIS
6/5-9 ARPA
6/5-9 BST
6/6-9 Survival Craft (Lifeboatman)
6/5-23 TCNAV/CO
6/19-23 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
6/19-30 GMDSS
6/26-30 Radar Observer Unlimited
6/26-30 Basic Shiphandling

August 2006
31 Jul-4 Aug Basic Shiphandling
7-11 ECDIS
7-11 Basic Safety Training
7-11 Meteorology – Basic
8-11 Survival Craft / Lifeboatman
14-18 Able Bodied Seaman
14-18 Basic and Advanced Firefighting
14-25 GMDSS
14-25 Shiphandling – Advanced
21-25 Ship Construction & Basic Stability
21-25 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
28-1 Sep Cargo Handling & Stowage – Basic

September 2006
5-9 (tu-sa) Medical Care Provider
5-9 (tu-sa) Emergency Shiphandling 5-day
5-15 Medical Person-In-Charge
11-12 Search and Rescue
11-15 Basic Safety Training
11-23 100 Ton OUPV
12-15 Survival Craft / Lifeboatman
13-15 Emergency Procedures
18-22 Radar Observer Unlimited
18-22 Shiphandling – Basic
18-22 Able Bodied Seaman
18-6 Oct Terrestrial & Coastal Navigation with Compasses
25th Radar Recertification
25-29 ARPA
25-2 Oct Watchkeeping & BRM

For registration call Jennifer Fowler 888-893-7829


High quality with embroidered PMI logo.
Navy or Khaki Hats : $16 / includes tax
Button Down Long Sleeve Dress Shirts
Blue or Khaki: $38 / includes tax
Pocket t-shirts with Logo: $12 / includes tax
15oz. Cobalt Blue Ceramic Mug: $8 / includes tax

Call DeeDee Lazik 206-838-8328 or e-mail



 D O W  N A S D A Q  S & P 500
11,053.53 -83.64 for the week 2,314.64 +31.47 for the week 1,291.24 -1.43 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) 45.84 -.01
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)


~ 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 and MUST NOT expire during your tour of duty.

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 commenced Oct.17, 2004. 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.



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.




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.