Wheelhouse Weekly – March 05, 2013

March 5th 2013


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

Volume 17 . . . Number 10. . . March 5, 2013

(Look in the archives for this weeks Special Edition.)



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


The budget-cutting law referred to as “sequestration” may affect the Maritime Security Program (MSP) and could put at risk continued operation of the MSP fleet at its full 60-ship complement. Under the terms of sequestration, Congress has mandated that federal spending be automatically cut beginning on March 1 by $85 billion. The cuts are required to be split between defense and non-defense spending.

In the context of the sequester, MSP is considered a “defense discretionary account” subject to a 13 percent cut in appropriations for Fiscal Year 2013. Since the sequester will be implemented over the seven months remaining in the current fiscal year rather than over a full 12-month fiscal year, MSP will be subject to an effective cut equal to 9 percent of funding. In other words, unless Congress acts, there will be a reduction of approximately $22.8 million in MSP funding, which will reduce the amount available for the program from the $175 million appropriated for Fiscal Year 2013 to $152.2 million. This means that the Maritime Administration (MARAD) may be faced with a choice between:

– reducing the amount paid under MSP operating agreements from $3.1 million per vessel to approximately $2.5 million per vessel; or

– terminating the MSP operating agreements for seven vessels, thereby reducing the size of the maritime security fleet from 60 ships to 53.

It is unclear at this time how MARAD and the Department of Defense will proceed. What is clear is that a reduction in the size of the maritime security fleet, coupled with a loss of jobs for American mariners, would adversely affect our industry’s ability to provide the commercial sealift capability our country needs. The continued viability of the U.S.-flag merchant marine would be put at risk by cuts to MSP. The same can be said for the proposed cuts to U.S. government export programs, including the PL 480 Food for Peace Program covered by U.S.-flag cargo preference requirements.

MM&P and MIRAID will be working with our friends and supporters in Congress to maintain the programs important to the U.S.-flag fleet and the jobs of American merchant mariners. We will keep readers informed through articles in The Wheelhouse Weekly.


MM&P and MM&P members have been officially notified by all government employers of the intent to effect furloughs under the terms of the “sequestration” law enacted by Congress as part of the battle over the federal budget. “MM&P will enter into negotiations on behalf of all Federal Employee Membership Group (FEMG) members to minimize impact if a furlough is implemented,” says MM&P Government Fleet Representative Randi Ciszewski.

Civil Service mariners in combat zones or deployed onboard ships at sea are exempt from the furlough provision. But Civil Service mariners aboard ships overseas in a maintenance status and mariners ashore are subject to furlough. The furlough requirement would affect MM&P members who work for Military Sealift Command and are in training status, at the CSUs, on leave, on ship’s leave, on ship’s funded leave and assigned to a ship but berthing in a hotel.

“MM&P will negotiate over the application of furlough regulations to ensure fair and consistent application among the members that may be affected by the potential furlough,” Ciszewski says.

As part of the furlough planning process, the Defense Department (DOD) notified Congress Feb. 20 that should sequestration not be avoided, “the magnitude of the potential reductions would damage force readiness, slow major acquisition programs and necessitate civilian furlough actions that would negatively affect our Federal civilian workforce.”

Every affected DOD employee would be subject to up to 22 discontinuous workdays (176 hours) of furlough. The Department of Defense/Department of the Navy would implement the furlough from April 25 through the pay period ending Sept. 21. Notices would be issued to affected employees on or about March 21-25. Any exceptions to the furlough would have to be endorsed by the Secretary of the Navy and approved.


Grain terminal operator Mitsui-United Grain last week locked out 44 members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) who work in the Port of Vancouver. The lock-out began just days after the union ratified a contract with a competing U.S.-owned grain terminal operator, TEMCO LLC.

In a statement issued last Wednesday, ILWU International President Robert McEllrath said the five-year agreement with TEMCO had been reached “because American companies, farmers and workers recognize a common interest in our country’s resources and economic wellbeing.”

The labor dispute is ongoing with foreign-owned terminal operators Mitsui-United Grain, Columbia Grain and Louis Dreyfus Commodities, but Mitsui is the only one of the three to have locked out its workers. The company has motivated the lock-out with the allegation that one worker sabotaged equipment, a claim the ILWU denies.

The union says the lockout is in violation of U.S. labor law and that the company has not presented any evidence to support its accusation of sabotage. “Mitsui-United Grain has fabricated a story as an excuse to do what they’ve wanted to do all along, which is to lock workers out instead of reaching a fair agreement with them,” the ILWU said in a statement.

“This lockout has been part of Mitsui’s plan from the beginning of negotiations,” said ILWU Coast Committeeman and Co-Negotiating Chairman Leal Sundet. “For the past two months Mitsui’s hired security guards have been shadowing and harassing our members every day at the United Grain elevator. This shows they’ve been itching to lock us all out rather than negotiate a fair contract like their U.S.-based competitors.”

The TEMCO agreement was ratified by ILWU Locals 4, 8, 19, 21 and 23 in the days preceding the Mitsui-United Grain lock-out. The lock-out came after the multinational grain corporations, including Mitsui-United Grain, gave ILWU workers a final offer that demanded deep concessions, even though the companies had been successful under the previous labor agreement and despite the fact that an impasse had not been reached in contract negotiations.

In December, ILWU members voted by a 93.8 percent margin to reject the employers’ concessionary proposal and the union called for a return to the bargaining table. Most of the employers implemented the concessionary proposal in late December. Only TEMCO, a joint venture of Minnesota-based Cargill and CHS, continued talks with the ILWU.

Last year, MM&P joined forces with the ILWU and four other unions to form an umbrella labor group, the Maritime Labor Alliance (MLA), to protect the jurisdictional rights of union members. Besides the ILWU and MM&P, the MLA includes the American Radio Association (ARA), the Inlandboatmen’s Union (IBU), the International Longshoremen’s Union (ILA) and the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA).


The Maritime Institute of Technology (MITAGS) has received U.S. Coast Guard National Maritime Center approval of its 35-hour Management, Communications & Leadership Course. The Coast Guard says the course fulfills the new STCW95 requirements (2010 Manila Amendments) for the application of leadership and team-working skills (Table A-II/1) and use of leadership and managerial skills (Table A-II/2) at the management level. Under the Code, “management level” refers to professional mariners sailing as chief mate and master.

The course is part of an ongoing series of managerial and leadership courses for senior shore-side and seagoing personnel. It can be taught at offsite locations and integrated with company-specific training.

MITAGS has also received National Maritime Center approval for a one-day Management, Communication & Leadership Course that meets the STCW95 operational level requirements. Under the Code, “operational level” refers to professional mariners sailing as second mate and third mate.

Although in technical terms the Coast Guard cannot enforce the new STCW95 training requirement until the Final Rules for Implementing STCW95 have been published, overseas port state control will be authorized to check for the training starting Jan. 1, 2017. We are providing this information to the membership for planning purposes.

For more information on these and related courses, please visit, send an e-mail to or call 866-656-5568.


Jeremy Hope has just signed on as the new MM&P Coast Agent-Pacific Ports. Jeremy joined MM&P immediately after graduation from Kings Point and began shipping off the board from Atlantic Ports union halls before moving to the West Coast. He has sailed for “a wide variety of MM&P-contracted companies,” he says. His last job was as chief mate of the MATSONIA. “I am grateful for this opportunity to be of service to the membership of MM&P and will do my best to promote and protect our interests here on the West Coast,” he says.


The MM&P Federal Credit Union (MM&P FCU) is pleased to announce a new service for members: ACH debits and credits. ACH is the acronym for “automated clearinghouse,” an electronic service offered by the Federal Reserve that allows members of the credit union to take advantage of electronic deposits and electronic payments.

With direct deposit, members can have all or part of their paychecks deposited directly to their credit union account or to any combination of credit union accounts, such as savings, checking or a Christmas Club account.
Members can use the new electronic payment service to pay a monthly mortgage installment, their telephone or other utility bills or their insurance premiums (among other things). To start enjoying the convenience of ACH credits and debits today, contact Kathy Ann Klisavage at 410-691-8136 or send an e-mail to


Like us. Follow us. Re-post and re-tweet. Every time you do, you help MM&P build an essential online community of members and allies. Many unions and organizations have been using Facebook and Twitter to great advantage for years. Help us do the same.

Roughly one to three times a day–we won’t overwhelm you, we promise–we’re posting and tweeting maritime news and items about MM&P activities. Help us keep in touch. When you “like” our Facebook page, items we post will show up on your page. But be sure to check back to the page periodically to see items posted by other members.

If you have news you want MM&P to share with everyone, e-mail Lisa Rosenthal at Connect with us today at and on Twitter @MMP_Union.


New photos of MM&P members and contracted-vessels have been posted on the union’s home page at! Remember: we are always looking for new photos of members and ships to post on the website and use in The Master, Mate & Pilot. Please send your photos by e-mail to:


MM&P International President Don Marcus, International Secretary-Treasurer Steve Werse and Pacific Ports Vice President Dave Boatner will be present at membership meetings in the MM&P union halls in Seattle on Tuesday, March 5, in Los Angeles on Wednesday, March 6 and in Oakland on Thursday, March 7. In addition, there will be a meeting at the Honolulu Hall on Tuesday, March 12. All meetings will be held immediately after job call.


The Offshore Familiarization Course will be offered at the New York/New Jersey Hall on March 12-13 and at the Los Angeles Hall on April 10-11 and Oct. 9-10. For more information or to sign up, please contact the hall at which the course is being offered.


Civil rights groups that include the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) last week officially lent their support to the global boycott of Hyatt Hotels. The boycott was initiated last June by the union UNITE HERE in response to a pattern of documented mistreatment of Hyatt Hotel housekeepers. The union cites a study of work-related injuries at 50 hotel properties run by five different companies that was published by the American Journal of Industrial Medicine. The study found that housekeepers at Hyatt hotels have by far the highest work-related injury rate.

The civil rights groups have joined a growing list of supporters that have already agreed not to hold conferences or conventions at Hyatt Hotels until the substandard working conditions for housekeeping staff are improved. “The pattern of exploitation of housekeepers in Hyatt hotels is not only at odds with Hyatt’s commitment to hospitality but also inexcusable,” says NCLR CEO and President Janet Murguia. “We are joining these courageous workers in calling on Hyatt to stop this pattern of abuse and become an industry leader in respecting workers’ health and safety.”


Between now and the end of June, the following courses are scheduled at MITAGS. (Please keep in mind, however, that the schedule may be subject to change.)

For class availability or information on courses and programs, contact MITAGS Admissions Coordinator Kelly Michielli toll free at 866-656-5568 or e-mail her at You can also try our on-line calendar to register for class:

ARPA – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 3/26/2013, 4/2/2013

AZIPOD (2-DAY) for Pilots: 3/20/2013

BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 3/18/13, 5/12/13

BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 3/7/13, 5/23/13

BST – Basic Safety Training: 4/8/13, 6/24/13

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 4/1/13, 6/17/13

CMM-ADVNAV – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): 3/18/13, 6/3/13

CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 4/28/13

CMM-CHS – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 5/6/13

CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 3/11/13, 5/20/13

CMM-SHMGT – Ship Management (2 weeks): 4/15/13

CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 4/1/13, 4/15/13, 5/6/13, 6/24/13

CMM-SHS-ADV-I I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 3/11/13, 4/8/13, 4/22/13, 5/13/13, 6/17/13

CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 4/8/13, 6/24/13

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning: 5/9/13

ENVIRO-Regs Permit – Environmental Regulations Permit: 5/23/13

ECDIS-ENAV for Pilots (2 day): 6/13/13

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep and Medications: 3/7/13, 5/23/13

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 4/8/13, 6/24/13

FL – Flashing Light: 4/1/13, 4/10/13

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 6/24/13

LAP – License Advancement Program for C/Mate & Master: 4/1/13

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 3/6/13, 5/23/13

MCL – Management, Communications and Leadership, 3/25/13

MEDIA RSP – Media Response Workshop: 3/8/2013

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 3/18/13, 4/22/13, 6/10/13

MED-PIC -R– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 5/13/13

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 3/18/13, 4/22/13, 6/10/13

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 3/23/13, 4/13/13, 4/27/13, 6/15/13, 6/29/13

MSC -SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 3/11/13,

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 3/11/13, 6/3/13

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 3/15/13, 6/7/13

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 3/6/2013, 3/20/2013, 4/3/13, 4/10/134/17/13, 5/1/13, 5/15/13, 5/22/13, 6/5/13, 6/19/13, 6/26/13

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 3/25/13, 4/1/13

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal: 4/8/13

SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 3/25/13, 4/29/13, 6/24/13 SEC-VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 5/6/13

SHS-ESH-BRMP3 – Emergency Shiphandling and Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 5/20/13

… Remember: If you can’t make the class, make the call. Be courteous, don’t be a “no show.”

Check the MITAGS website at for course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations.


Please also see our schedule online at For registration, call our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen, at (206) 838-1126.

March 2013

11th Radar Renewal
12-15 ARPA
18-19 ECDIS for Pilots
18-22 Able Bodied Seaman
20th Fatigue, Sleep, and Medications
21-22 Azipod for Pilots
25-29 ECDIS
27-29 Vessel Security Officer