News

Wheelhouse Weekly – March 03, 2005

March 3rd 2005


 
 


THE MASTERS, MATES & PILOTS’
WHEELHOUSE WEEKLYonline

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

Volume 9 . . . . . Number 9 . . . . March 3, 2005


STORIES COVERED

ALSO

REMINDERS




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




MAERSK AND USSM RESOLVE ALL DISPUTES

Maersk Line Limited (MLL) has executed a settlement agreement relating to the U.S.-flag vessels that had been assigned to U.S. Ship Management Inc. (USSM) in connection with the 1999 acquisition of the international liner business of Sealand Service Inc. by A.P. Moller-Maersk. While the details of the agreement remain confidential, MLL has confirmed that the settlement resolves all disputes between the parties and as of Feb. 28, provides for the immediate and orderly transfer of operational control to MLL of all vessels that were under time charters between USSM and MLL. “The MM&P is pleased that, to the benefit of the entire industry, this dispute has been resolved,” said MM&P International President Tim Brown.



NEW ORLEANS HALL OPEN HOUSE THIS WEDNESDAY, March 9

There will be a Grand Opening Party/Open House on Wednesday, March 9 after the noon job call at the MM&P New Orleans Hall. The NOLA Hall’s new location is 3330 West Esplanade Avenue, South, Suite 209, Metairie, LA 70002-3454. The telephone number, 504-837-5700, remains the same. RSVPs are appreciated. For more info, contact Representative Sue Bourcq by phone or by Email at sbourcq@bridgedeck.org.



 

TRANSCOM COMMANDER SALUTES US MERCHANT MARINE EFFORTS

Speaking to the AFL-CIO’s Maritime Trades Department (MTD) meeting in Las Vegas last week, General John Handy, Commander, US Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) thanked everyone involved in the US maritime industry for their efforts in supporting the movement of materiel in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. International President Capt. Tim Brown and Secretary-Treasurer Capt. Glen Banks represented the MM&P at the meeting.

Gen. Handy cited the vast amount of people and cargo moved during the past three-plus years for those support missions: 2.2 million people since Oct. 2001, almost 4.6 million short tons by sea, not counting 57.1 million barrels of fuel. He described America’s union maritime workers as “incredible Americans.”

The General stated that America’s merchant mariners “stand tall and make you proud as Americans. We couldn’t do it without the incredible support of the nation’s unions.” He noted that 85 percent of the tonnage moved by TRANSCOM goes by sea. “The contribution of our commercial partners and the people you represent is dramatic. We don’t get these jobs done without that very strong tie.”

Gen. Handy said that the US Maritime Security Program (MSP) “is extremely important to me.” He pointed out that the carrying capacity of one LMSR is equivalent to 420 C-17 airlifts. “That is incredible capability, and I wish every single American could understand and appreciate what this nation can do when we team together. But we can’t rest on those laurels. We need to modernize our shipping. We need to modernize our airlift capability.”

He specifically pointed to the fast sealift ships as needing modernization. “We need to do that because it ultimately means that as Americans we’ll be able to defend ourselves around the world and we can help people around the world.” For example, he noted that the MM&P-crewed Navy hospital ship USNS MERCY is deployed for tsunami relief.

He offered to the MTD executive board members “a dear and deep-felt passionate thanks for what you do for us as a military and what you do for us as Americans, and, importantly, what you do as union leaders and members who sustain this great country in so many ways.”



 

PATRIOT COMMENDS USNS SHUGHART CREW FOR ITS PROFESSIONALISM

The following update on the MM&P-contracted Patriot managed Military Sealift Command LMSRs was written by Patriot Executive Vice President Sandy Jones:

“Patriot’s motion for the issuance of a Preliminary Injunction to stop the turnover of the LMSRs is scheduled to be heard in US District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco, on March 29th. The Government has filed a cross motion for dismissal and/or a change of forum to the Court of Federal Claims, which will be heard at the same time. Our attorneys are preparing for the hearing. This will be the first time that the Court will hear our case in detail other than the original motion submittal.

In the meantime, Patriot has received notice from MSC to commence turnover procedures on February 28th for the USNS SHUGHART, with actual turnover scheduled for March 11th. While this is most disappointing to all of us, it does not change our ongoing dispute with MSC regarding the LMSR contract. Patriot will continue to press our case in Federal Court and there are no additional turnovers scheduled prior to our hearing.

Captain Joe Byrne, Chief Engineer Gene Myers and the crew of the USNS SHUGHART have been carrying on in the best Patriot manner, finishing out the major Repair Availability, clearing USCG and Class items, cleaning the ship and accounting for inventory for turn over. They are to be complimented on their professionalism and steadfastness under very difficult conditions.

As reported earlier, Patriot has received an overall Exceptional rating from MSC on 10 LMSRs for the fifth straight year! The SHUGHART was rated Very Good. Crew bonuses will be awarded and will be paid in early to mid April pending receipt of Award Fee monies from MSC. Congratulations to you all for the professionalism and commitment to our program!”



 

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE REQUESTS COMMENTS ON PROPOSED PERSONNEL RULES

The Department of Defense is accepting comments from the public on the proposed rules for the new National Security Personnel System (NSPS) until March 16 only. MM&P Government Fleet Rep. Randi Ciszewski will be sending a letter to all Licensed Deck Officers along with information on how and where to send the letter or your own personal comments. Any and all federal employees, DOD contractors, their family members and friends can and should send comments to the Department of Defense before the March 16 deadline. This comment period is a “public” comment period. As such, federal employees are authorized to use government computers and work time to provide public comments to DOD. The proposed new personnel rules would severely limit the rights of the more than 700,000 Defense Department workers and become the model for government-wide and ultimately private-sector destruction of collective bargaining. Regardless of whether you pay union dues or not, you are a unit member represented by the MM&P on a daily basis. NSPS will weaken or eliminate MM&P’s right to represent your interests and negotiate on your behalf. Please make your comments regarding NSPS known to DOD prior to March 16. Point of contact for further information is Government Fleet Representative Randi Ciszewski: rciszewski@bridgedeck.org.




 

MM&P-MEMBER AWARDED AMERICAN MERCHANT MARINE SEAMANSHIP TROPHY

The Captain and crew of a civilian-crewed US Navy Hospital ship operated by the Military Sealift Command were the recipients of the 2004 American Merchant Marine Seamanship Trophy for their skillful action in rescuing a mariner from stormy seas.

MM&P member Capt. Richard Cicchetti, a 1980 alumnus of the US Merchant Marine Academy, along with his crew aboard the USNS COMFORT, displayed superior seamanship when they saved the life of a seafarer from a sunken fishing boat under extremely difficult weather conditions. The Seamanship Trophy, which recognizes extraordinary seafaring skills by American mariners, was presented during a luncheon on Jan. 29 at the US Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY.

On Jan. 8, 2003, the USNS COMFORT was heading to the Persian Gulf from Baltimore to assist in Operation Iraqi Freedom. As the ship neared Bermuda, it received a message about an overdue fishing boat from the island. An additional lookout was stationed on the bridge.

A subsequent message from the Bermuda Rescue Coordination Center gave more specific details based on an emergency radio beacon transmission, and added that there was a man in the water in a debris field. A USCG C-130 had dropped a life raft to the seafarer in distress. The USNS COMFORT immediately diverted course to render assistance.

The mariner adrift was spotted, but 25-foot seas and 45-knot wind gusts made conditions too extreme to put a boat over the side. In the face of the severe weather, Capt. Cicchetti maneuvered the 894-foot-long COMFORT alongside the life raft. The deck crew caught the life raft’s sea painter with a grapnel, pulled the raft alongside and brought the survivor to safety.

Capt. Cicchetti and his crew performed a textbook rescue under extremely dangerous weather conditions, undoubtedly preventing the loss of human life. The Academy administers the selection process for awarding the American Merchant Marine Seamanship Trophy. The trophy, an ornate sterling silver cup, is on permanent display at the American Merchant Marine Museum on the Academy’s Long Island campus. Winners receive a handsome plaque representing the trophy.

 


REVISED MM&P MEMBER GUIDE BOOK UPDATED FOR 2005 NOW AVAILABLE

The “Member Guide Book” developed by Richard Plant and Dave Boatner has been revised and updated with 2005 changes. As of March 1st one color copy is being sent to all officials and ports along with one black and white copy to be used for duplication purposes for members wishing to receive a copy.

The Member Guide Book is an offshoot of the original Applicant Guide Book for new members. This latest edition contains the history of the MM&P, where MM&P is today, discussion on MIRAID, the PCF Fund and the importance of EACH MEMBER supporting same.

It also contains a list of names, addresses, Email addresses and phone numbers of all union officials in all membership groups, location of our union/hiring halls, a brief overview of benefits and plans info and contact points as well as membership group dues and initiation fees, the training requirements for offshore shipping companies, a history of MITAGS/PMI and a review of the BECK decision.

The booklet ends with a discussion of MM&P’s hiring hall process, transferring from one membership group to another, an Applicant summary, and publications available from MM&P; namely the “Wheelhouse Weekly” and “The Master Mate & Pilot” magazine and how you can subscribe to receive a copy.

Richard Plant and Dave Boatner have developed this booklet in response to the numerous questions and queries received over the years by retirees, members, applicants and prospective members. If there is any additional info you might feel is needed in the book please feel free to Email Richard Plant, MM&P Director of Special Projects, at rplant@bridgedeck.org.
.


DOT SECRETARY MINETA SAYS US MARITIME SECURITY GETTING BETTER

Speaking before the MTD meeting last week, Dept. of Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta said that, “maritime security is a linchpin issue that unites all of us. The President has said, and I quote, ‘We are safer, but we’re not yet safe.’ And he is right.”

Sec. Mineta said that the Maritime Security Program (MSP) supports the war on terror by giving us the wherewithal to carry equipment and supplies to those charged with defending our freedom and expanding liberty. “This program is one more important measure of the maritime industry’s vital importance to our economic and national security, and our commitment to addressing its needs. So, I am pleased to announce that the President’s fiscal year 2006 budget calls for a fully funded fleet expansion to 60 ships, up from 47. This marks the first increase in the fleet since the program was created more than 10 years ago,” he noted.

Mineta said that without MSP reauthorization, there would have been a high likelihood that many of the existing 47 ships would have been re-flagged to foreign registries employing foreign crews. And they would not be putting money into the US economy or paying taxes. Now, with the funding that the President has proposed, when the new MSP begins on October 1 of this year, it will bring greater opportunities and more jobs for US citizens.

Sec. Mineta also said that, “Nearly one year ago, at the MTD’s last conference, you’ll recall that I unveiled the Administration’s blueprint for a comprehensive Marine Transportation System. I called that initiative SEA-21.
This is one of my top priorities for this second term, and several crucial components have already gone into effect.”

One of the issues that SEA-21 recognized was that America’s merchant marine was at a disadvantage compared to foreign-flagged vessels whose owners and crews pay minimal taxes.
This issue was brought directly to the President’s attention. And I am extremely pleased that, after years of competing on a slanted playing field, tax relief for the US shipping industry is a done deal, and the field has been leveled.

Sec. Mineta also remarked that, as if taxes were not enough of a challenge, there are 17 Federal agencies in six separate cabinet-level Departments participating in maritime decision-making. “The job of coordinating their work and their policies has never been easy, but we hope we’ve found a way to make their job easier. The answer is a one-stop shop for the maritime sector.”

The Secretary of Transportation told the MTD attendees that “President Bush is committed to improving the coordination of maritime policy, and an integral part of that is building a higher profile for the Interagency Committee on the Marine Transportation System. On December 17 of last year, in his US Ocean Action Plan, the President elevated the ICMTS to a Cabinet-level body, ensuring that the maritime sector will now be accorded the attention it deserves.”


MCTF CHAIRMAN GRILL TO SPEAK AT DC KINGS POINT LUNCHEON

Philip Grill, Vice President Government Relations for Matson Navigation Company, who is currently serving as Chairman of the Maritime Cabotage Task Force (MCTF), will be the speaker at the Kings Point Club of Washington DC luncheon on March 10. His responsibilities at Matson include representing the company’s interests before the legislative, executive and regulatory branches of the Federal government.

As MCTF Chairman, he represents a coalition of more than 400 ship and barge owners and operators, labor groups, shipbuilders and repair yards, marine equipment manufacturers, trade associations, pro-defense groups and companies from other modes of transportation. Through the MCTF, these widespread interests promote the Jones Act and other US cabotage laws that have made the US domestic fleet the world leader in innovation.

The luncheon begins at noon at Phillips Flagship Restaurant in DC and is $20 for members and $25 for non-members. For further info, contact Eileen Roberson at 202-366-5802 or by Email at: eileen.roberson@marad.dot.gov.


T/V KINGS POINTER TO VISIT BALTIMORE

The US Merchant Marine Academy Training Vessel KINGS POINTER will visit Baltimore Harbor from Tuesday morning March 8 to Thursday morning March 10. For further info, contact Lee Kincaid at CLKLAK@aol.com.


LIFEBOAT DRILL TURNS DEADLY WHEN SEAFARER IS KILLED

Earlier this week, a seafarer was killed and two others were injured during a lifeboat drill. The accident occurred when the 1996-built, 11,386-gt NORDKAPP, operating on the Norwegian Coastal Express ferry service, was off Ornes in Norway. Two crewmembers were on a lifeboat which was being lifted back onto the ferry when a wire came loose and the seafarers fell into the water. A third person was injured in the rescue effort.


MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

 

CLASS OPENINGS

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

  • AIS – Automatic Identification System: 4/29, 5/7
  • ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 3/14, 4/4, 5/2, 5/9
  • BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 4/26
  • BST – Basic Safety Training: 3/07, 4/25, 5/23

    CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses

  • CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 5/2
  • CMM-CHS I- Cargo Handling & Stowage (week 1): 3/28
  • CMM-CHS II- Cargo Handling & Stowage (week 2): 3/21
  • CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display and Info Systems: 3/21, 4/18, 5/16
  • CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 3/28, 4/18, 5/23
  • CMM-SHS-ADV-II- Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 4/25
  • CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 5/9
  • CMM-WKP- Advanced Watchkeeping: 3/14, 4/11
  • CMM-VPEN-Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 4/25
  • CONT-PLNG – Contingency Planning: 4/8, 5/6, 5/13
  • FF-BADV – (Combined) Basic and Advanced Firefighting: 3/07, 4/20, 5/23
  • HAZ – Hazardous Materials [5-day]: 3/28, 4/11, 5/2
  • LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 4/13, 4/26, 5/4, 5/10
  • MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 4/7, 5/5, 5/12
  • MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 3/19, 4/23, 5/14
  • MED-PIC – Medical Person-In-Charge: 3/14, 4/18, 5/9
  • MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 3/14, 4/18, 5/9

    MSC – Military Sealift Command

  • MSC-CBRD-1 – Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Training Orientation: 4/23, 5/1, 5/19
  • MSC-DC – Damage Control: 4/18, 4/27, 5/16
  • MSC-ENVPRO: Environmental Protection: 5/18
  • MSC-SMA – Small Arms Training (4-day): 4/25, 5/16
  • MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 4/29, 5/20
    (must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years)
  • ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal (5-day): 3/28, 5/23
  • ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 3/14, 4/4, 5/2, 5/9
  • SEC-FSO – Facility Security Officer: 4/4
  • SEC-MAR-PRO – Maritime Security Professional Train The Trainer Training [5 days], 4/11
  • SEC-OFF-PCS – Security Officer: Port, Company, Ship: 5/2
  • SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling (5-day): 3/28, 5/23
  • TRAC-TUG – Water Tractor and Azimuth Stern Drive Tugs: 5/5
  • TPIC – Tankerman Person-In-Charge: 4/4

 


ATTENDANCE VERIFICATION & CANCELLATION IS VITAL

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.

SCHEDULES, UPDATED COURSE AVAILABILITY, INFO & REGISTRATION

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 admissions@mitags.org or by calling toll-free, 1-866-656-5568.



PMI MARITIME TECHNOLOGY & CAREER CENTER ACADEMIC SCHEDULE – Winter 2004 – Spring 2005

All the courses below will be conducted at our new facility at 1729 Alaskan Way South, home to the “Maritime Technology and Career Center” which houses PMI’s state-of-the-art Full Mission Ship Simulator.

March 2005

  • 3/07-11: Construction and Stability
  • 3/14-18: Basic Safety Training
  • 3/17-18: Basic Firefighting
  • 3/14-18: Cargo Handling and Stowage
  • 3/14-18: ARPA
  • 3/14-18: Tankerman Person-In-Charge
  • 3/21-25: Able Bodied Seaman
  • 3/21-24: Personal Survival Craft/Lifeboatman
  • 3/21-25: Medical Care Provider
  • 3/21-4/01: Medical Person-In-Charge
  • 3/21-25: ECDIS
  • 3/21-24: Fast Rescue Boat
  • 3/28-29: Ratings Forming Part of a Navigational Watch
  • 3/28-29: Search and Rescue
  • 3/30-4/01: Emergency Procedures
  • 3/28-4/01: ARPA
  • 3/28: Radar Recertification
  • 3/28-4/01: Emergency Shiphandling

For registration and more info call DeeDee Lazik or Jennifer Fowler at 888-893-7829, check the PMI website at mates.org or Email PMI at admin@mates.org.




 
 

MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF February 28, 2005 CLOSE


 D O W    N A S D A Q
 10,766.23 +92.44 for the week  2,051.72  +20.47 for the week
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
Closing
Price
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
111.90
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
31.01
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
19.13
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
16.10
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
31.27
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
10.40
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX)
6.43
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
10.20
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
17.88
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
16.17
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
37.76
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
103.05
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
42.96





~ Reminders ~




 

T-AGS OCEANOGRAPHIC SURVEY SHIPS MANNING REQUIREMENTS

REQUIRED COURSEWORK

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: admissions@mitags.org, 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: rplant@bridgedeck.org, by fax to 410-850-0973 or by mail to:

Richard Plant, Director of Special Projects

IOMM&P
700 Maritime Blvd.
Linthicum Heights, MD 21090



SHIP SECURITY CLEARANCE NEEDED

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 https://sclient.dss.mil/download/w9xfull.htm 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, Mbohlman@horizon-lines.com. 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.



MSC PHYSICALS

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.


MM&P FCU NEWS

GET NEW WHEELS OR LOWER EXISTING PAYMENTS WITH MM&P FCU VEHICLE FINANCING

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.

PREFERRED BORROWERS GET LOWER LOAN RATES
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 mmpfcu@bridgedeck.org or call 1-800-382-7777 toll-free.



 

MM&P HEALTH & BENEFIT PLAN NEWS

NOTICE TO MEMBERS WHO ARE TAKING VIOXX

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 www.vioxx.com 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.”



NMHC MAIL-ORDER PRESCRIPTIONS WEBSITE UPDATED & IMPROVED

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 www.nmhcmail.com 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 https://members.nmhcrx.com/Login/Login.aspx.

  • 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.



WWII USCG VETERANS OUTREACH

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 www.loc.gov/folklife/vets.

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.




 

COMPANY GIVES BUCKS BACK FOR BUYING SAFE SHOES

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)

LOOK FOR THE UNION LABEL:

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 www.unionlabel.org and click on “Union Made Product Search”. To shop for union-made products online, go to www.ShopUnionMade.org.




 

WEBSITE OFFERS UNION-MADE GOODS AND SERVICES

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, www.shopunionmade.org, 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: iommp@bridgedeck.org. For further info or to subscribe contact John Peige at jpeige@bridgedeck.org. 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.

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