Wheelhouse Weekly – March 09, 2001

March 9th 2001


Bridging the Information Gap With E-News You Can Use

Volume 5. . . . . Number 10. . . March 9, 2001




In an effort to acquire new jobs for MM&P members, HQ has distributed vessel crewing questionnaires to all port offices. All MM&P members, whether off-the-board or permanent, full-book or applicant, offshore or those belonging to other membership groups are encouraged to fill in the one page questionnaire.

The info will compiled in a way that will allow MM&P HQ to build a database of members willing and capable of sailing on new contract jobs. It includes questions on special training and education members have beyond the basic STCW-95 requirements. This data will allow MM&P to readily identify members who have advanced knowledge to fill specialized billets as they arise.

More info on why the MM&P has developed this specific form is contained on the questionnaire itself. Members with additional questions may direct them to any MM&P Vice President or to Richard Plant, Director of Special Projects at 410-850-8700 x36; Email:

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


The San Diego Union-Tribune reported last week that two MM&P-crewed Military Sealift Command (MSC) supply ships were damaged when they collided 88 miles west of Point Loma, CA.

The San Diego-based tanker USNS GUADALUPE was refueling the ammunition ship USNS SHASTA at night when the sterns of the two ships touched in a “sideswipe,” a Navy spokesman said.

Both ships were damaged but both were able to continue operations. The accident occurred at 2340 hrs. Monday while the GUADALUPE was refueling the SHASTA and the fast combat support ship USNS SACRAMENTO.

Initial reports indicate that the GUADALUPE was between the other vessels when it got too close to the SHASTA. An alarm sounded and the three ships started an “emergency breakaway” procedure to disconnect thick fuel hoses stretching between the ships and the tanker. Before the breakaway was complete, the GUADALUPE and SHASTA had a glancing collision.

An investigation is under way, and naval engineers have not yet assessed the ships’ damage. The SHASTA and SACRAMENTO are both home-ported in Washington state.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


MM&P-contracted container shipping line Maersk Sealand, owned by Denmark’s shipping and oil conglomerate A.P. Moeller (APM), said it was ready to expand again after a successful integration of its last major acquisitions. “We aim for a bigger market share and want to grow faster than the market”, APM Chief Financial Officer Eivind Kolding said.

In 1999 Maersk Line acquired South African shipping group Safmarine and US-based international container line Sea-Land for a total of $1.04 billion. The deals made the Danish group the leading global container line with 250 ships and 700,000 containers and an estimated market share of 13 percent.

“We want to be bigger and better within shipping as well as oil. We are not scaling down in one area and accelerating in another. But oil is indisputably very important for our earnings for the time being.” APM’s main oil operations outside the Danish sector of the North Sea are in Algeria and Qatar. Kolding said the state of the US economy, APM’s biggest container market, was very important to the company. “The weakening of the US economy has a negative effect on freight rates and transportation volumes and hence on our income, all else being equal,” he said.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


USCG investigators from Marine Safety Office in St. Louis are investigating the breakaway of over 76 barges that happened earlier this week in the Port of St. Louis. No injuries or pollution were reported in the accident which involved a tow vessel owned by ACL (American Commercial Lines). The breakaway forced the closure of the river from 2303 Sunday to 0630 Monday and affected a 10-mile stretch of the river beginning at the Jefferson Barracks Bridge, extending south to mile marker 158, near Kimmswick, Mo. All barges were corralled by about 0300.

As the breakaway barges drifted down the river, they impacted barges in the No. 3 fleeting area. Drifting barges then impacted fleeted barges in the Lewis and Clark No. 4 and No. 4-B fleeting areas. No barges carrying oil or hazardous materials were involved in the breakaway.

Nine barges were reported damaged. Some damage resulted in the flooding of barges, but no barges sank. Efforts to corral the errant barges at one point involved 15 towing vessels. The cause of the breakaway is under investigation.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


Late this week, the House of Representatives passed President Bush’s $1.6 trillion tax cut plan. It will now go to the upper chamber for consideration where passage by the 50 member Republican and 50 member Democrat Senate is predicted to be much more difficult.

Last week, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said that “the tax cut proposed by George Bush is too big, it is irresponsible and it is dangerously tilted to the wealthy. It would end up costing us $2.6 trillion total, which would not only devour the entire non-Social Security, non-Medicare surplus, but cost us even more than the current surplus projections.”

He noted that, “We have, at this moment, an unprecedented opportunity to fix the urgent problems facing working families – problems that voters tell us again and again are their top priorities, well ahead of a tax cut – and then still have room for a fair, responsible tax cut.

“But President Bush has it backwards. He would have us squander the surplus on a tax cut that goes primarily to the wealthy, and then discover that we have no ability to improve our children’s schools, to address the staggering gaps in health care, and to strengthen and protect Social Security and Medicare.

Sweeney said that, “We cannot, and together we will not, allow the Bush tax cut to become law. This is a defining moment for this Congress. And together, we will make sure that working families in congressional districts all across this country know exactly how their elected representatives vote.

He noted that “Members of Congress face an historic choice: they can stand with the wealthy special interests for a tax cut that robs us of the ability to meet the priorities of average citizens and recklessly jeopardizes our nation’s economic footing for years to come; or they can stand with the working families who put them where they are.”

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


AFL-CIO President John Sweeney issued a sharply-worded statement highly critical of this week’s Congressional vote to eliminate the recently enacted OSHA ergonomics standard.

In part, Sweeney said,

“To anybody who cares about the issues facing working men and women, it should be alarming that a worker health and safety rule has been overturned by Congress for the first time in OSHA’s 30-year history. And to anybody who cares about our democracy, it should be equally alarming that this deed was done with only a few hours of debate in each chamber over just two days … and over the voices of workers representing millions who have suffered from injuries on the job.

“A Republican leadership juggernaut in the House resorted to arm-twisting and steamroller tactics to assure a majority to crush the ergonomics standard and deliver for their big business backers. In doing so, they wiped out a 10-year effort to establish protections for workers who suffer from crippling and disabling injuries. Surely this legislative efficiency could have been put to better purpose.

“But the voices of injured workers were not heard in the halls of Congress. They were drowned out by the predatory demands of corporate greed. Those demands have also dominated decision-making in the White House at the other end of Penn. Avenue.
Not in recent memory have big business interests hostile to the concerns of working families held such sway with our President and the US Congress.”

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


Beginning with this issue, the Wheelhouse Weekly will periodically run a technical quiz question from one of the current courses being taught at MITAGS. The answer will appear in next week’s issue. This week’s question comes from the Heavy Weather Avoidance (HWA) course taught by Instructors Michael Carr and Lee Chesneau:

What is the difference between Significant Wave Height (SWH) and Average Wave Height (AWH), and which one of these appears on Marine Prediction Center (MPC) fax charts?

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


Openings in classes through the end of May follow:

  • 3/26-30: FF-ADV
  • 4/2-6: MSC-COMMS
  • 4/9-11: BRM-3
  • 4/9-13: COMP-MAR, FF-ADV
  • 4/9-20: GMDSS
  • 4/10-11: BRMP
  • 4/16-19: SMA
  • 4/16-20: FRB
  • 4/30-5/2: SHS-EMR-3
  • 4/30-5/4: ARPA, BST
  • 5/7-11: FF-ADV, ARPA
  • 5/14-18: TPIC, ECDIS
  • 5/14-17: SMA
  • 5/14-25: GMDSS
  • 5/21-25: BRM-3, DCS, FF-ADV

MSC Classes

The Strategic Sealift Communications Course will be held at MITAGS April 2-6, 2001. To sign-up for MSC courses contact Mike Wein at 443-989-3238 or e-mail

Original License Program

The 10-week program, which unfortunately had to be canceled in January, generated a high level of interest. A shorter “test” program, linked to the standard MITAGS LAP course, will be run this spring. Upon completion of the program at the end of May, an evaluation will be conducted and a decision made on how to proceed. Decision should be announced about June 1st. The slots available for the “test” program have been filled.

Schedule through Dec. 2001 is being maintained on the website. Hard copy schedule updates are also provided to the halls. Check the MITAGS website at: for up-to-date info. For additional course info, contact Mary Matlock at voice: 443-989-3226 or Email:

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 D O W

 N A S D A Q


+408.11 for the week 


 -14.64 for the week 

 Vanguard 500 Index Fund


+2.82 for the week

 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund 


+0.17 for the week

 Vanguard International Growth Fund


+0.31  for the week

 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund


+0.19 for the week

 Vanguard Windsor II Fund


+0.98 for the week

 Vanguard GNMA Fund


unchanged for the week

 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)


+0.20  for the week

 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)


-0.22 for the week

 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)


+0.50 for the week

Fidelity Magellan Fund (FAGX)


+2.14 for the week

 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)


 +0.85  for the week

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly

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 contact John Peige at The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea, broadcast worldwide via FEC marine telex andis posted on our web page under “News” at:

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