Wheelhouse Weekly – March 09, 2006

March 9th 2006


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

Volume 10 . . . . . Number 10. . . . March 9, 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.



MM&P Vice Presidents Bob Groh, Don Marcus and Rich May along with Gulf Ports Agent Wayne Farthing are pleased to announce that on March 8, MM&P and International Shipholding Corporation signed collective bargaining contracts covering vessels operated by Central Gulf/Waterman. These contracts covered car carriers, containerships and lash vessels.

All contracts are for a 10-year duration with reopeners in 2008 and again in 2011. All contracts are retroactive to October 1, 2005.

All contracts will receive a 5% IRAP contribution per man per day as well as full pension contributions and full health and welfare contributions.

All 2nd and 3rd Mates will receive one additional day of vacation for every 30 days worked retroactive to October 1, 2005.

In addition, 2nd and 3rd Mates working on car carriers will receive an additional day of vacation for every 30 days worked on October 1, 2007.

Wage increases are as follows for the first three years as of the below listed effective dates:

Car Carriers 5% – 10/01/05; 4% – 10/01/06; 4% – 10/01/07.

Containerships 4% – 10/01/05; 4% – 10/01/06: 4% – 10/01/07.

Lash Vessel 4% – 10/01/05; 4% – 10/01/06; 4% – 10/01/07.

The three Vice Presidents would like to thank the participating rank and file who assisted in the direct negotiations on these contracts for their support. In addition, they would like to thank all the fleet Captains and Chief Mates for their informed e-mails of direction and support during this very long and sometimes tedious contract process.

Finally, MM&P appreciates Mike Cameron’s efforts on behalf of Central Gulf/Waterman in getting these contracts completed.



Rear Adm. Robert D. Reilly Jr. will officially take the helm as the new commander of the US Navy’s Military Sealift Command (MSC) during a ceremony on March 10th at the historic Washington Navy Yard. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Mullen will preside over the change of command. International President Capt. Tim Brown will lead a delegation of officials that will represent the MM&P.

As the new MSC commander, Reilly will be responsible for a fleet of more than 120 government-owned and chartered ships, as well as a workforce of more than 10,000 civil service and military personnel operating worldwide.

In recent years, MSC has been at the forefront of the global war on terrorism, delivering 85.7 million square feet of combat power and more than 8.4 billion gallons of fuel to US war fighters around the globe. This represents enough cargo to fill a bumper-to-bumper line of sport utility vehicles stretching from Washington, DC, to Los Angeles, and enough fuel to fill the Empire State Building more than 30 times.

Reilly comes to MSC from the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations in Washington, DC, where he reported in June 2004 and served as deputy assistant chief of naval operations for information technology. Throughout Reilly’s 31-year Navy career, he has served in a wide variety of assignments at sea and ashore.

Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, USAF, Commander, US Transportation Command, the nation’s defense transportation manager based at Scott Air Force Base, IL, will deliver remarks at the change of command ceremony. Vice Adm. David L. Brewer III, USN, who will retire after 36 years of distinguished naval service, has served as MSC commander since August 2001. For more information about MSC, visit the command Web site at


Earlier this week, the Port of Long Beach received the first call of the new MM&P-contracted Matson service connecting Shanghai and Long Beach. As previously reported in the Wheelhouse Weekly, Matson re-entered the world of international shipping in February, with a five-vessel string of 2,600-TEU ships offering one of the fastest services between China and Southern California. The first of the vessels to arrive in Long Beach was the Matson MANULANI.


Since the USCG’s 8th District Regional Exam Center (REC) was damaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, MM&P members in the region have been instructed to use the Memphis REC which is taking 3-4 months to process renewals. Members also report that the center is difficult to reach by phone.

MM&P’s NOLA port representative Sue Bourcq says that the USCG’s regional temporary office in Morgan City, LA (90 miles from NOLA) represents a good alternative to the Memphis REC for renewals. Hours of operation are from 0800-1700 on Tuesday and Thursday. The phone number is 985-380-5150 and the fax number is 985-380-5379. The address is 800 David Drive, Morgan City, LA 70380. Bourcq says that, “this is a much better solution as it took one of our members only one day to have a radar renewal added to their license.”


MM&P member Capt. Greg Tylawsky, who sails as Master of the M/V SEA-LAND CHARGER, sent us an e-mail to remind active members that effective January 13, the USCG instituted interim rule changes for the renewal of a captain’s license. Capt. Tylawsky writes that, “renewals will no longer be processed by mail. Also, fingerprints will only be taken at one of the nation’s 17 Regional Exam Centers (REC) operated by the Coast Guard. According to its calculations, the USCG estimates that each applicant for a new license or renewal within a day’s drive of a REC will lose about $387 in addition to the fees for the required license. Captains needing two days and an airline ticket to reach a REC could be out almost $1,200. And these are conservative estimates.”

Capt. Tylawsky reports that, “included in the changes is a puzzling rule regarding reviews of criminal records. Until now, criminal record reviews were apparently processed on a random basis. Now, ‘no credential will be issued until the applicant has passed a criminal record review.'”

Capt. Tylawsky writes that the new provisions were developed in an effort to ensure that only “mariners whose character and habits of life are such that the applicant can be entrusted with the duties and responsibilities of the license.” Page 2158 of the Federal Register attempts to explain this provision further: “The harm that can be caused by persons who wrongfully obtain licenses with the intention of committing crimes or terrorist acts jeopardizes mariner safety and welfare, as well as national security.”

Capt. Tylawsky cautions that the new criminal background checks might pose a problem for captains with past alcohol-related driving convictions: “For example, DUI convictions that appear on the record reviews will be subject to suspensions and possible revocations. Crimes against persons carry the heaviest period of suspensions — up to 20 years.” Public comment on the interim rule is open until April 13th. To read the new rules and find out how and where to send comments go to .


Admiral William Fallon, Commander of the US Pacific Command, recently said that the details for cooperation between the US Navy and Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore are currently being developed which will outline standard operating procedures for maritime security in the region.

“We are standing by to help. When this agreement is formalized, we will have a better understanding of what contributions the US might provide,” Admiral Fallon said. The admiral would not elaborate on what assistance the US might provide to protect the waterway that is used by 50,000 ships annually, which transports half the world’s oil and a third of its commerce.

Regional officials have also said that the US, China, Japan, and other countries will be asked to strengthen joint air patrols, which were launched last September by Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore. They also conduct joint sea patrols. Admiral Fallon said progress is being made in maritime security in the region, noting that Jakarta is building radar sites along its coast.


The United Nations International Labor Organization (ILO) overwhelmingly adopted comprehensive new standards for the world’s 1.2 million merchant sailors last week, and in doing so established rights for decent working conditions, safety, minimum wages, and hours of work. The measure was adopted by a vote of 314-0. The delegates were from more than 100 countries representing seafarers, shipowners, and government officials.

The Labor Rights will be legally binding standards accompanied by guidelines. Its amendment procedures are rapid and, most importantly, establishes a system for the certification of seafarers’ labor conditions. “This convention is unique in that it has teeth,” said Bruce Carlton, Associate Administrator for Policy and International Trade at the US Maritime Administration.

The new convention clearly sets out, in plain language, a seafarers’ “bill of rights,” while allowing a degree of national discretion to deliver those rights with transparency and accountability. The convention also contains provisions allowing it to keep in step with the needs of the industry, and to help secure universal application and enforcement.

The convention sets minimum requirements for seafarers to work on a ship and contains provisions on conditions of employment, hours of work and rest, accommodations, recreational facilities, food and catering, health protection, medical care, welfare and social security protection.


The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a report earlier this week that cited insufficient intact stability and overloading as factors that caused the small passenger pontoon-style vessel LADY D to capsize in Baltimore’s Northwest Harbor two years ago killing five passengers and seriously injuring four others.

The accident occurred on the afternoon of March 6, 2004 as the vessel, carrying 23 passengers and 2 crewmembers, unexpectedly encountered strong winds and waves as it was crossing the harbor from Fort McHenry to Fells Point. “This tragic accident happened as a result of a number of safety issues that fell through the cracks,” stated NTSB Acting Chairman Mark V. Rosenker, “Our recommendations will go a long way toward fixing those cracks and help ensure this type of accident does not happen again.”

The NTSB found that the lack of intact stability was the result of overloading allowed by a US Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection that was based on an inappropriate stability test done on a different pontoon vessel to which the LADY D was erroneously granted sister status. The Board also noted that the USCG’s regulatory stability test standards used an out-of-date average passenger weight standard that contributed to the overloading condition. As a result the Board recommended that the USCG revise their regulations to require that passenger capacity for domestic passenger vessels be calculated based on a statistically representative average passenger weight that is periodically updated.

The Board further recommended that the USCG identify a method for verifying safe loading on a small passenger vessel, such as a mark on the hull, and require that vessel owners implement that method. The report also concluded that existing Coast Guard intact stability standards do not adequately account for the dynamic loading from wind and waves on a pontoon vessel operating on an unrestricted protected route. At the time of the capsizing, the LADY D encountered westerly wind gusts of 28 to 41 knots with a sustained wind speed of about 25 knots. The NTSB recommended that the USCG revise stability criteria for pontoon-type small-passenger vessels to minimize the potential for capsizing in wind and waves.

The report also found that the National Weather Service (NWS) failed to identify the developing storm conditions in a timely manner. Due to this failure, the weather information available to the LADY D’s operators did not accurately reflect the impending storm conditions. Since the time of the accident, the NWS has conducted a study of their operational procedures and determined that forecasters needed to take a more aggressive and efficient approach in analyzing evolving weather conditions.


An electrician was killed and another injured last week when a container ship being maneuvered away from a quayside in Mobile, AL, struck a gantry crane. USCG officials reported that the 1,156-TEU ZIM MEXICO III was moving off the pier under pilot control but without the aid of tugs. As the maneuver was underway, river currents pushed the ship back toward the dock. The ship’s bow sheered support on the crane, which was locked down with its boom in the up-and-locked position.

Once the stabilizers were sheered, the counterweights took the crane over backwards. The ship suffered about a five-foot gash to its bow and was ordered back alongside, where it remained while the USCG investigated the fatal incident. A back-up crane will be deployed until another track-mounted crane is purchased and installed.


Recently, the international shipping industry has developed some basic guidance for management and crews, concerning the use of oily water separators. The document emphasizes the vital importance of strict adherence to International Maritime Organization (IMO) requirements.

Making the document available does not represent an official endorsement by the US Coast Guard. The IMO document is being provided for informational purposes only and does not relieve any domestic or international, safety, operational, or material requirement. Requests for the document can be made to Ken Olsen at the USCG at or by phone at 202-267-1417.


Recently the US Coast Guard has become aware of a recall notice for some USCG approved fire extinguishers made by the Strike First Corporation of America. Strike First has determined that the valve stem seats in a number of its 2.5 and 5-lb. dry chemical fire extinguishers assembled between December 2002 and February 2004 may prevent the extinguisher from discharging properly when the lever is activated. As a result of this condition, Strike First has initiated a fire extinguisher retro-fit program for these units. Retro-fit kits are available free of charge by contacting your Strike First distributor, or by contacting Strike First directly.

The USCG recommends that vessel operators verify the manufacturer of their fire extinguishers, and if applicable, take the action recommended by the manufacturer. For details visit:
Questions or comments regarding this safety alert may be addressed to Klaus Wahle at USCG HQ Life Saving and Fire Safety Standards Division at 202-267-0256 or

This safety alert is provided for informational purpose only and does not relieve any domestic or international, safety, operational, or material requirement. For USCG Marine Casualty Info go to
For other USCG Safety Alerts –
To subscribe – email: .


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: 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: 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: 4/3, 5/22
CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 3/13
CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display and Info Systems: 3/20, 5/1, 5/21
CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 4/17
CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 4/17
CMM-SHS-ADV-II – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 3/20, 5/29
CMM-VPEN – Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 3/27, 5/8
CMM-WKP – Watchkeeping: 4/10

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

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 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): 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
SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 4/10
SHS-EMR – Emergency Shiphandling: 3/27

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
10,972.28 -81.25 for the week 2,249.72 -64.92 for the week 1,272.23 -19.01 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) 45.18 -.66
 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.