Wheelhouse Weekly – March 11, 2004

March 11th 2004



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

Volume 8 . . . . . Number 11 . . . . March 11, 2004




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



Last Friday, 3/5, while berthed at the Port of Shuaiba in Kuwait, a serious engine room fire erupted aboard the USNS SHUGHART, a Large Medium-Speed Roll-On/Roll-Off (LMSR) operated by MM&P-contracted Patriot Contract Services for the Military Sealift Command and crewed by MM&P licensed deck officers.

The MM&P LDOs and other civilian mariners aboard the ship responded swiftly and professionally in fighting the fire and contained it mainly to the Engine Room. Emergency response training such as enclosed space fire fighting are among numerous courses specified by Patriot and taught at the MM&P’s MITAGS facility. “These courses help ensure safety of life and the safety of the government’s assets that we manage”, said Sandy Jones of Patriot.

“After a long, hard effort, the latest report from Capt. Peter Strez, the SHUGHART’s Master, is that the fire is extinguished. All crew members are safe. We are very thankful that everyone is safe and are deeply appreciative of the efforts of crew and everyone else who assisted to fight the fire and respond to the incident,” said Archie Morgan, Senior Manager Labor Relations, Training, and Marine Resources for Patriot Companies/ASM.

Initial reports from the scene indicate that crew members from other MSC ships in the area along with members of the US Navy and Army also helped battle the blaze which apparently began in an engine room generator space. They were assisted by firefighters from local fire departments.

The SHUGHART’s cargo of military trucks and equipment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom was off-loaded and not damaged by the fire. An investigation is currently underway to determine the fire’s origin.

In addition to Capt. Strez, other MM&P LDOs aboard are Chief Mate Eric Erving, Second Mate Steve Kravitz, and Third Mates Jeremiah Turner and Matthew Tanner. Patriot flew Capt. Joe Byrne, the SHUGHART’s other Master, to the vessel following the fire to lend additional assistance.



Last week at the Maritime Trades Department meeting in Bar Harbor, FL, Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta offered a vision for the future of the nation’s marine transportation system and its integration into the US transportation network.

As a main thrust of that vision, he emphasized the Bush Administration’s support for the three pillars of national maritime policy: the Maritime Security Program, Cargo Preference and the Jones Act.

The Secretary also reaffirmed his commitment to push for an examination of the tax burdens on the US maritime industry and on American mariners, with the goal of improving the ability of US-flag vessels and crews to compete internationally.

This initiative comes as welcome news to many in the US-flag maritime community who are working on tax proposals to help their businesses compete and grow. As Secretary Mineta declared last week, “we know we cannot have a first-rate economy with a second-rate transportation system.”



Earlier this week, on March 9, Maritime Administrator Capt. William Schubert elaborated on the challenges facing the US-flag maritime community before a Propeller Club meeting in Wash., DC. He said the Marine Transportation System, merchant marine and the shipbuilding industry face the following challenges:

America’s port and freight system is increasingly operating at the limits of its capacity.

To add to that challenge, US foreign trade and freight volumes at our ports are expected to double by 2020.

These same ports now face new and important security requirements, but these costs have diverted funds away from investment in port infrastructure. He commented that for every dollar dedicated to port security about $10 is diverted from port infrastructure development.

In 2009, the Port of Singapore alone will have more container capacity than our entire port system today.

The oceangoing US-flag merchant fleet is a third of what it was over 30 years ago. In 1970, there were 793 privately owned oceangoing domestic and foreign trade vessels. In 1980, the number was 578 and the number is 236 today.

Only 10 new oceangoing commercial vessels are on the books in US shipyards today. In 1975, there were 77.

“And as if the volume and security challenges were not enough, 17 Federal agencies in six, separate cabinet-level Departments participate in maritime decision-making. This has lead to an inefficient patchwork of unconnected laws, policies, and programs,” Capt. Schubert noted.



In a speech last week to the Maritime Trades Department meeting in Hollywood, FL, US Maritime Administrator Capt. William Schubert declared that “the time is now to enhance our merchant marine and our shipbuilding. No other initiative better emphasizes what can be done today than short sea shipping.”

He recognized labor’s key roll in the continued development of short sea shipping as well as the newly-formed Short Sea Shipping Cooperative Program.

He also took the opportunity to thank MM&P President Capt. Tim Brown, Seafarers International Union President Mike Sacco, Ron Davis, President of the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association, and others from maritime labor for their hard work to make the new and expanded Maritime Security Program (MSP) a reality.



Metropolitan traffic around the US is bad and it is getting worse each year. As a potential solution to even more traffic woes, the US Maritime Administration has sponsored a number of short sea conferences around the country to promote coastwise barge transportation.

The state of Massachusetts and the city of Portland, ME, have launched major efforts to attract more barge traffic to smaller cities that have less truck traffic. The Port Authority of NY and NJ have also begun to fund a new barge network, to include Wilmington, DE, Camden, NJ, Albany, NY, Bridgeport, CT, and Providence, RI.

Port officials are very interested in the water highway for container terminals to move freight up and down the Eastern Seaboard. US international trade is expected to double by 2020, and experts are expecting traffic along the East Coast I-95 to have over 10,000 more trucks daily carrying cargo from ships.

It is also a well-known fact that a barge can move hundreds of containers, which means a lot less truckers on the highways. The Massachusetts Seaport Council has just funded Fall River with $200,000 for final designs to build a short sea marine terminal, which, will handle barge traffic from New York. For more info, contact the Short Sea Shipping Cooperative at



The Coast Guard and the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced on March 4th that they have completed a 14-month investigation into national security threats and document fraud associated with US merchant mariner credentials. The investigation, known as “Operation Drydock”, revealed nine individuals that held credentials have suspected associations with terrorist groups.

“Through extensive and detailed investigative efforts, we have reduced vulnerabilities to terrorism by preventing the fraudulent use of credentials by those who seek to harm our nation and its citizens,” said USCG Commandant Adm. Thomas Collins.

“This is a great example of interagency cooperation in the war on terror,” he said. “Using our combined resources and expertise, we will continue to make America safer and more secure.”

The USCG, working with the FBI and other interagency partners, examined the records of over 200,000 individuals who hold a US merchant mariner credential to identify potential terrorist links and detect document fraud.
In addition to the nine individuals possibly associated with terrorism, the USCG identified thousands of cases of possible fraud or other problems, including mariners with active arrest warrants.

In response to this information:

  • The USCG is revoking unauthorized credentials;
  • US Attorneys are pursuing criminal charges;
  • About a dozen people have been arrested because of active arrest warrants that were uncovered as a result of Operation Drydock. The USCG, FBI and the US Navy worked together to screen mariners serving on Military Sealift Command ships during the war in Iraq. More than a dozen mariners were removed from service aboard those vessels.

The entire Operation Drydock Press Release is at



The global maritime industry is increasingly vulnerable to seaborne attack by al Qaeda guerrillas, security experts said last week. “We believe al Qaeda and its associates may be planning a maritime ‘spectacular’,” said Dominick Donald, a senior analyst with Aegis Defense Services, a leading London-based risk and security consultant.

“We think there are enough indications now that al Qaeda would like to do this, is thinking hard about it, and is probably beginning to prepare for it,” said Donald, speaking at a transport security conference in London. Citing a surge in piracy attacks and ocean crime, he said the building blocks for an attack were already in place.

“Terrorism is imitative; it learns from other terrorists, and from organized crime. If organized criminals are using the maritime environment, terrorists will follow,” he said.

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB), the world’s top ocean crime watchdog, said last month that piracy attacks jumped 20 percent in 2003 to 445. Violent crime also jumped with 21 seafarers killed, 88 injured and 71 crew or passengers listed as missing.

The IMB has said it has not found any evidence linking militant groups to acts of piracy and ocean crime but said the growing lawlessness could help militant groups to gain a foothold. “Piracy is the perfect mask for maritime terrorism,” he said.



The USCG is in the process of issuing its Marine Operations Risk Guide developed by the Risk-Based Decision-Making Project at The new guide presents a step-by-step methodology to assess risk within various sectors of marine operations.

It is an easy-to-use document that presents a step-by-step methodology to access risk within various sectors of marine operations. The simplified procedures it contains may help identify, reduce, and even eliminate risks. At a minimum, the info may help foster new approaches to efforts to address maritime safety.

For more risk info provided by USCG’s Office of Design and Engineering Standards access or enter the main page at General questions related to Risk Based Decision Making can be addressed to



The USCG is soliciting for applications for the biennial Rear Admiral William Benkert, Marine Environmental Protection Award for Excellence. The program recognizes those involved in marine facility or vessel operations that have demonstrated sustained excellence and outstanding achievement in protecting the marine environment.

In recognition of the intense efforts expended by the maritime industry to meet the new Port Security requirements, the USCG has extended the award application submission date to March 31.

To receive more info, contact Lt. Alexis Tune at 202-267-0426 or via Email:



Plans are underway for the restored World Ward II-vintage USS LST 325 (Landing Ship, Tank) to make a commemorative D-Day voyage from her home port in Mobile, AL to Boston, MA beginning on May 24 and returning July 9.

Two Licensed Deck Officers, a Chief Engineer and an AB are still needed to make the voyage possible. These are all volunteer positions. The Trip may be broken down to three legs or the full 46-day trip with 23 days at sea. Other port visits include the Massachusetts ports of Boston, Gloucester, Quincy, New Bedford and Washington, DC.

For more info, check out the website or call Bill Kapaus at 972-712-3394 or Capt Al Wilson at 508-830-5040.

Some of the stats:

  • LOA 328ft
  • Beam 50 ft
  • Speed 12 knots
  • Officers 10
  • Crew 35 unlicensed
  • Propulsion:
    • Two General Motors 12-567 diesel engines
    • two shafts
    • two rudders.

Travel will be reimbursed. Required documents are a drug free certificate and STCW.



The USCG, Maritime Administration, Ship Operations Cooperation Program and MarineLog Magazine will sponsor this year’s Maritime Operations: Human Factors’ Conference on Aril 27-29 at MITAGS. To register or for more info on conference topics contact MarineLog Magazine at 212-620-7209 or online at:


MITAGS Job Opening:
Academic Business Development Manager



Class Openings

Between now and the end of April 2004, seats are available in the following courses:

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

  • ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 3/15, 4/26
  • AZIPOD – Azimuthing Podded Drive Steering and Propulsion: 4/3


  • BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 4/5
  • BST – Basic Safety Training: 3/22


CMM = Chief Mate and Master Courses

  • CMM-ADVSTAB – Advanced Stability: 4/26
  • CMM-SHS-ADV-1 – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 3/22, 4/12
  • CMM-SHS-ADV-11 – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 4/19
  • CMM-SHMGT-1 – Ship Management (week 1): 3/15
  • CMM-SHMGT-2 – Ship Management (week 2): 3/22
  • CMM-VPEN – Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 4/19


  • COMP-DB – Computer Database Programs: 3/22
  • COMP-OPSYS – (Basic)Computer Operating Systems: 4/19
  • CONT-PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: 4/8
  • CSE-AAES – Confined Space Entry, Analysis of Spaces: 4/5


  • FRB – Fast Rescue Boat: 4/26


  • HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5-day): 4/5


  • MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 3/27, 4/17
  • MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 4/9
  • MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 4/12
  • MED-PIC – Medical Care Person-In-Charge: 4/12


MSC = Military Sealift Command Courses

  • MSC-CBRD-1 – Chemical Biological Radiological Defense: 4/10
  • MSC-DC – Damage Control: 3/26, 4/23


  • ROR-1 — Radar Observer Renewal: 4/3, 5/1


  • SEC-OFF PCS — Security Officer-Port, Company, Ship: 4/5
  • SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 4/26
  • SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling: 4/12


  • TTT – Train the Trainer: 4/19


  • WX-BAS – Basic Weather 2-days: 5/1

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

Check the MITAGS website for up-to-date course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations, and for schedule revisions.


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, Course Info & Registration

Courses are subject to change. Always check the MITAGS website for updated course availability. You can also check future schedules, review detailed course descriptions and register on-line or contact Admissions at or by calling toll-free, 1-866-656-5568.




~~~ ~~~ ~~~

  • 3/15-19: Basic Safety Train
  • 3/15-19: Basic Cargo Handling and Stowage
  • 3/15-19: ECDIS
  • 3/15-26: GMDSS
  • 3/22/26: Basic and Advanced Firefighting
  • 3/22-26: ARPA
  • 3/22: Radar Recertification
  • 3/22-24: Ship Security
  • 3/29-4/2/04: Medical Provider
  • 3/29-4/9/04: Medical Person-In-Charge

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

Contact DeeDee Lazik at 206-441-2880 or 888-893-7829 (toll free) for registration or visit the PMI website at




 D O W    N A S D A Q
 10,456.96 – 136.15 for the week  1,964.15  -69.21 for the week

Fund Name & Trading Symbol


Year-to-Date Fund
Percentage Return

1 Year Fund
Percentage Return
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)


 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)


+ 6.79%
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)


+ 6.20%
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)


+ 3.63%
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)


+ 6.30%
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)


+ 1.77%
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX)


+ 1.98%
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)


+ 2.88%
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)


+ 7.65%
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)


+ 2.98%
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)


+ 3.39%
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)


+ 3.13%
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)


+ 3.45%

~ Reminders ~



All members shipping off-the-board and all company employees are reminded that they are responsible to insure that all of the company required courses they have completed are listed in the Union computer system.

In order to be dispatched/cleared, members must have certificates for any courses not listed in the computer in their possession and available for inspection by the dispatcher. Please double check that your documentation is in order prior to leaving your home to ship out of our Union halls. This can be done by checking your course history on the “Members Only” section of the MM&P website.




The buildings remain where they have always stood, but they have now been assigned new addresses. Local authorities have determined that it was necessary to put in place new street numbering for the MM&P’s MITAGS facility and for the MM&P Health & Benefit Plan office. The longstanding address of 5700 Hammonds Ferry Rd., used for both MITAGS and the Plan, has been eliminated.

Effective immediately:

  • The mailing address for MITAGS has been changed to:
    • 692 Maritime Blvd
      Linthicum Heights, MD 21090


  • The new mailing address for the Plan Office is now:
    • 700 Maritime Blvd.
      Suite A
      Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1996
    • This is the same street address as the Union headquarters since both offices are housed in the same building, but the Plan Office is denoted with a suite number.


  • The mailing address for the MM&P Federal Credit Union, located in the Plans Building Lobby, is now:
    • 700 Maritime Blvd.
      Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1996

The change brings the MITAGS, Plans and MM&P FCU addresses into conformance with Postal and 911 emergency mapping since all the buildings are located on the same road of the campus.

Plan Administrator Valerie Verrecchio advises Plan participants that “it is important to remember when you send mail to the Plans that you clearly address it to ‘MM&P Plans’ and to include our new suite number. This is what the Post Office will use to differentiate mail between the Union and the Plan office. Otherwise, the Post Office may send it through the mail system at the Union and your claims processing could be delayed for a couple of days.”

There is no change to the Union HQ mailing address.



The Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies (MITAGS) seeks an individual who can apply his/her knowledge and experience in marine shipboard operations to help solve organizational problems through training and education.

Excellent written and verbal skills a must. Person must also have an outgoing personality and be a goal-oriented self-starter with the ability to work independently. Travel expected 25 percent of time to seek opportunities and present proposals.

Desired background:

  • bachelor’s degree, graduate degree a plus;
  • unlimited tonnage license (or military equivalent), and
  • a record of continuing education.
  • Extensive industry contacts preferred.

MITAGS is located near the BWI airport, convenient to Baltimore, Washington and Annapolis, MD. Excellent full Union benefits, competitive salary. See our web site, for more info. Resumes to Human Resources Fax: 443-989-3341; Email: EOE.



All Licensed Deck Officers who possess STCW-95 certificates containing Basic Safety Training (BST) completion dates close to or more than five years old need to carry copies of their USCG discharges with them so they can prove that they have the required sea service necessary to extend their BST qualification. For questions or further info, contact Mike Rodriguez at 410-850-8700 ext.23 or Email:



MM&P-contracted LMS Ship Management recently reviewed the causes of injuries on board their vessels and found that accidental falls tend to be the cause of many of the crew’s injuries. In an effort to reduce the number of injuries caused by these falls, LMS is offering crewmembers that sail with them an incentive to purchase and wear proper shoe attire. The goal is for every crewmember to wear slip resistant footwear during their working hours aboard their vessels.

LMS will offer a reimbursement of up to $75 for the cost of the shoes to each crewmember who provides them 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.

LMS requests that crewmembers purchase one of the following recommended brands in order to be reimbursed:

  • 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 (with steel toe & slip resistant sole)

* Of the above, Red Wing and Caterpillar boots are produced by US union labor.

Red Wing has contracts with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) while Wolverine World Wide has contracts with UNITE!, the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees, for production of its Caterpillar brand (as well as its Hy-Test, Durashock and Bates Military labels). Some other Wolverine branded products including combat boots are manufactured under UFCW contract. 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.



The USCG advises that if you began your service or training in the towing industry before May 21, 2001, you may receive a license for Master of Towing Vessels if, before May 21 2004, you complete the exam required by 46 CFR 10.903(a)(18)(i) and meet either of the following two requirements:

1. Three years of service, including:

  • Two years on deck aboard a vessel 26-feet or more in length;
  • One year on deck aboard a towing vessel, with at least six months of training or duty in the wheelhouse of the towing vessel; and
  • Three months in each particular geographic area for which you are seeking authority.

~ OR ~

2. Three years of service aboard towing vessels, including:

  • One year on deck, with at least six months of training or duty in the wheelhouse of the towing vessel; and
  • Three months in each particular geographic area for which you are seeking authority.

The deadline to complete testing and service is May 21, 2004. If you miss this deadline, then the requirement to work up through Apprentice Mate, Mate, and then Master will apply. Although the deadline is this May, applications submitted after January may not allow sufficient time for evaluation and testing.

For additional info, please contact Richard Wells at 504-240-7300, ext 232, or via Email at



MITAGS Executive Director Glen Paine announced that MITAGS and PMI have implemented an innovative program, with reduced tuition and hotel costs, to assist professional mariners seeking license advancement to Chief Mate/Master (CMM).

The Institutes now offer one of the fastest, most versatile, and cost-effective routes for mariners to obtain their CMM licenses. The MITAGS/PMI program, which covers all USCG requirements, is only 12 weeks in duration.

Forty-one of the 53 required assessments may be completed during these courses. To flexibly meet their schedule, students can take the required courses at the PMI campus in Seattle, Washington and/or at the MITAGS campus in Baltimore, Maryland.

The MITAGS/PMI program can be completed in 60 days for under $14,000. Other programs take up to 71 days and charge $19,000 to complete the CMM requirements. Students taking ALL of the CMM courses at MITAGS and/or PMI will receive a 15 percent tuition discount from the normal pricing, which brings the total CMM tuition down to $13,303.

In addition to this cost reduction, those students taking ALL of the CMM courses at MITAGS/PMI will receive a substantial reduction in the room and board rates. If needed, MITAGS and PMI will also provide a convenient and flexible payment plan.

For more info regarding the CMM License Advancement, or any other course programs offered by MITAGS or PMI, please contact Capt. Craig Thomas (MITAGS) toll free at 866-656-5569 or via Email at You may also contact Gregg Trunnell at PMI in Seattle at 206-239-9965 or via Email at



Through a special arrangement with ShipCom, MM&P members at sea will now receive a significant discount on personal ship-to-shore radiotelephone calls. The rate is $2.50 per minute to any phone number in the US. This is a significant discount from the usual rate of $3.99 per minute. Calls may be placed collect, or billed to any major credit card.

To take advantage of this offer or for more info contact Station WLO on HF SSB channels 405, 607, 824, 1212, 16401, 1807, or 2237 or on HF radio telex channels (selcall 1090) 406, 606, 806, 810, 815, 1205, 1211, 1605, 1615, 1810 or 2215.

MM&P members must identify themselves as an MM&P member and provide the operator with the last 4 digits of their MM&P book number in order to get the discounted rate.

Any vessel equipped with HF radio telex may send and receive Internet email via the telex terminal. For more info contact WLO radio via telex or HF SSB voice.



The National WWII Memorial has a site on its webpage for individuals who served in any capacity during WWII to register to be included in the Memorial’s Registry. The main site is

If the individual clicks on WWII Registry, he/she can find out if he/she is already included as a result of one of the WWII databases and, if not, can follow the directions to register. Any American who contributed to the war effort is eligible for the Registry.



  • Do you want an easy way to grow your savings?
  • Do you want an easier way to make deposits to your Masters, Mates & Pilots Federal Credit Union account?

Consider establishing payroll or pension direct deposit.

Many employers allow you to directly deposit your pay into several different financial institutions. Trinity Management, Strong America and Moran Towing of Florida are among the MM&P-contracted companies that already provide for employees to deposit funds directly into the MM&P Federal Credit Union.

MM&P Health & Benefit Plans Pensioners and A&G Region Pensioners may have deductions made directly from their pension check to their Credit Union account. In addition, employees of MM&P, Plans, MITAGS and MIRAID are also eligible for payroll deduction directly into their Credit Union account.

Add to your savings by paying yourself first! Contact your payroll office to establish Credit Union direct deposit or to find out if this is available for you.


Who Can Be a Member?

MM&P Federal Credit Union membership is open to all MM&P members, to all MM&P, MITAGS, MIRAID and Plans staff, and to their immediate families.


Want to Know More?

For additional details or to get answers to your questions on all MM&P Federal Credit Union programs, contact Kathy Klisavage, Credit Union Manager, toll-free at 1-800-382-7777 or by Email at


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.