Wheelhouse Weekly – March 12, 2007

March 12th 2007


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

Volume 11 . . . . . Number 10. . . .March 12, 2007




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 International President Tim Brown and members of the MM&P General Executive Board participated during the first week in March in the Executive Board meetings of the AFL-CIO Maritime Trades Department (MTD) and the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department (TTD). Both groups hailed the passage in the House of Representatives of the Employee Free Choice Act (HR 800) and pledged to fight for its passage in the Senate and its enactment into law so that American workers can be given a fair opportunity to join a union and to engage in collective bargaining.

United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) Commander General Norton Schwartz spoke to the MTD about the importance to the national defense of a strong U.S.-flag merchant marine. Most importantly, he reaffirmed the Department of Defense support for the Maritime Security Program (MSP), stating that a “fully funded MSP is important to the defense community.”  Additional information about the two meetings and the actions taken will appear in the May-June issue of The Master, Mate & Pilot.


The recommendation that the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) be “interoperable” with international standards for travel documents was one of two positions advocated by maritime labor and adopted as part of the final working group’s report at a recent meeting of the National Maritime Security Advisory Committee (NMSAC).

Under Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulations, mariners have until Sept. 25, 2008, to obtain a TWIC. Until then, they can access secure areas of a facility or vessel without escort by showing a valid Merchant Mariner’s Document (MMD) or a merchant mariner’s license with a photo ID. The TWIC program will begin at specific Captain of the Port Zones according to a timetable to be published in the Federal Register. Enrollment for transportation workers, including mariners, will begin according to a schedule which will also be published in the Federal Register. There will be program enrollment sites across the country. Mariners will eventually be able to “pre-enroll” (provide biographical information) at When the information becomes available, MM&P will inform members through The Wheelhouse Weekly.

During the Feb. 28 NMSAC meeting, maritime labor was successful in advancing the position that the TWIC card should be interoperable with international standards, in such a way as to help guarantee American mariners’ right to shore leave in foreign ports. Another labor-advocated principle, that TSA approval be required before new types of information could be written to the TWIC card, was also adopted by NMSAC. MM&P was represented at the meeting, which took place in Arlington, Va., on Feb. 28, by Mike Rodriguez, Executive Assistant to MM&P International President Tim Brown.
“We still face some hurdles in getting our issues the recognition they deserve,” Rodriguez said. For example, several NMSAC members representing facility operators have expressed the intention to require their own, facility-specific cards for purposes of access control. “This would be a disaster for seafarers, since it could mean they would be forced to pay for and carry several cards for each port of call,” Rodriguez said. “The alternative for mariners would be to remain aboard ship or, in some cases, pay high fees for escorted access to shore leave. This ignores the seafarer’s basic rights and is contrary to the United States’ treaty obligations under ISPS.”

MM&P and the other seafaring labor unions have stated in written comments and in industry forums that federal law and regulations should preempt state and local programs on port access and that the TWIC should be sufficient to ensure a mariner unescorted access to and from terminal facilities.

“The U.S. Coast Guard and TSA duck the question of preemption by saying that it would be an infringement on private property rights,” Rodriguez said. “We think this argument doesn’t hold up since the federal government can and does tell property owners what they can and cannot do. Allowing every facility to implement its own system would also be a threat to commerce. ”



Opening up the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) Code for review will give maritime labor an opportunity to argue for more enforceable manning standards. At the same time, however, MM&P and other labor unions are working hard to ensure that opening the STCW code to review does not lead to cumbersome new training and licensing requirements for a maritime labor pool that is already overburdened in this respect. 

With these goals in mind, MM&P and other labor unions attending the International Maritime Organization (IMO) STCW Subcommittee session in London set out to limit debate on the Convention’s 1995 amendments. An initial victory for the unions was the agreement in principal by IMO member states that the STCW review would not lead to downscaling existing standards.

The members of the subcommittee agreed that proposed amendments could address inconsistencies or new interpretations of the STCW Code, technologically driven modifications in requirements for training, certification and watchkeeping, and the requisites originating in emerging markets such as short sea shipping. Medical standards could also be reviewed with an eye toward developing international standards for all seafarers as well as a standard medical fitness certificate.

MM&P and other labor unions continue to fight against introduction of “alternative certification” procedures, as exemplified by a European Union (EU) proposal to institute onboard training and assessment that would certify crewmembers to perform some of the functions of a fully qualified ship’s officer or engineer. The EU’s position is that the traditional shipboard organization is “archaic” and that the key to making up for any shortage of fully qualified officers or engineers is to circumvent it.  

MM&P and other labor unions strongly oppose the EU position, arguing that personnel shortages should be addressed through market conditions by improving living conditions, wages and benefits, rather than through “deskilling” the positions held by officers and engineers.


The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) will begin discussions of its proposed medical NVIC in Seattle on March 12-13, before the meetings of the Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee (MERPAC), scheduled for March 14-15. MM&P outlined its concerns about the medical NVIC in formal comments submitted to the USCG in November. Among the concerns expressed by the union: the additional costs that the MM&P Health & Benefit Plan and individual members will be forced to pay because of the program; uncertainty over the implications for members of using over-the-counter medications; the risk that implementation of the measure will increase the number of retirements among mariners; and the risk that some mariners will opt not to seek medical treatment for fear of losing their livelihoods.

MERPAC’s meeting agenda also includes:

– access to shore leave;
– merchant mariner credentialing;
– military service for STCW certification;
– minimum standards of competence for tanker safety;
– recommendations on sea service required to obtain propulsion mode credit at the operational and managerial levels;
– voluntary training program for entry-level deck and engine mariners.

MERPAC committee members and members of the public in attendance will also hear briefings on issues relating to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) and improvements to the National Maritime Center.

The Medical NVIC working group will meet Monday and Tuesday, March 12-13, at: the North Pacific Fishing Vessel Owners’ Association (NPFVOA), 1900 W. Emerson Place, Suite 101, Seattle, Wash. 98119.

The full MERPAC meetings will be held Wednesday and Thursday, March 14-15 at: Washington Mutual Foundation Room, Level 4, Seattle Public Library, 1000 Fourth Avenue, Seattle, Wash. 98104.

MITAGS Executive Director and MERPAC committee member Glen Paine will attend. Also attending on behalf of MM&P will be Director of Special Projects Richard Plant and Executive Assistant to the President Mike Rodriguez.


MM&P and MIRAID are working hard to advocate for members’ interests in a wide range of forums in Washington, D.C., and around the world. Many of the comments the union submits on rulemakings, as well as reports of advocacy activities in international forums, are posted on Just click on the “What’s New” button on the left-hand side of the home page to read about some of the work being done on members’ behalf. Now posted online:

— MM&P and MIRAID encourage the Maritime Administration to promote U.S.-flag LNG ships;
— MM&P’s comments on the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) draft NVIC on the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC);
— MM&P urges Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to protect mariners’ rights to shore leave in the context of its chemical facility security rulemaking;
— MM&P comments on the USCG proposals regarding consolidation of Merchant Mariner Qualification Credentials;
— MM&P tells USCG of concerns that its NVIC on Medical and Physical Evaluation Guidelines for Merchant Mariner Credentials will generate excessive costs for union health plans and individuals;
— MM&P tells DHS that ferries should not be required to carry voyage data recorders but rather integrated navigation systems with playback functions.

Also on the complete text of the Merchant Officers’ Labor Alliance (MOLA) between MM&P and the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA). Plus: all the back issues of the MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly and the 2006 and 2007 issues of The Master, Mate & Pilot. Visit the MM&P website today and check out what’s new. Make your home page!


The U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) is revamping its organizational structure to reflect the agency’s changing role in promoting the U.S. Merchant Marine and to meet the Bush Administration’s objective of reducing congestion on roads and in ports.  

At a recent Washington, D.C., event sponsored by the Propeller Club, Maritime Administrator Sean T. Connaughton said the agency will be reorganized over the course of the next two years to address four areas: national and international transportation facilitation; regulatory compliance; domestic industry development; and national security.

Under the new structure, MARAD will be able to devote additional resources to the development of programs aimed at improving infrastructure at the nation’s ports. The new office of compliance will help MARAD develop new strategies to help industry comply with a growing number of safety, security and environmental laws.

MARAD already plays a key role in national security, Connaughton said, helping prepare the maritime industry and ports to deal with all types of emergencies. MARAD recently earned praise for providing vessels to shelter emergency vehicles during Hurricane Katrina, he said. After hearing the story, the City of Beaumont, Texas, asked MARAD if its vessels could shelter emergency vehicles there before Hurricane Rita struck. Connaughton said this type of on-site assistance could serve as a model for MARAD involvement in future emergencies. 


Environmentalists, Florida tourist operators and the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) are among the supporters of a bill pending in the Florida state legislature that would encourage the use of obsolete ships as artificial reefs. The bill calls for a statewide matching grant program to place decommissioned MARAD and U.S. Navy vessels in the waters off the Florida coast. It would create a $12 million trust of matching funds for localities interested in pursuing such projects. Artificial reefs serve as a bulwark for natural reefs. They have also proven to be a popular tourist attraction. If it becomes law, the measure would be a boon for MARAD, which is laboring under rigid fiscal limits to safely dispose of as many defunct ships as possible. The GENERAL HOYT S. VANDENBERG will be become an artificial reef off Key West, Fla., later this year, joining other ships from MARAD’s National Defense Reserve Fleet.


The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) has reported that there were no injuries or instances of water pollution when the coal carrier MONTROSE, which had run aground near Sharps Island at the mouth of the Choptank River in the Chesapeake Bay on Feb. 28, was freed from the mud and refloated. After initial attempts to liberate the vessel with four tugboats failed, the USCG decided it would have to be lightered of its approximately 7,000 metric tons of cargo. The vessel was refloated after the coal was offlifted to a barge and ballast was discharged. The USCG is investigating why the vessel, which was reportedly bound for Romania, ran aground.


A U.S. plan which calls for foreign ports to scan all containerized cargo shipped to the United States by 2009 is impractical and unlikely to be implemented on schedule, according to an American retailer quoted in Fairplay/Lloyd’s Register. The magazine quotes an executive with the Retail Industry Leaders Association as saying that the plan to have foreign ports scan more than 75,000 teu a year of containerized goods will falter because the technology necessary to implement it is not available. The retail industry executive, who is a former congressional staffer specialized in security, said that when he visited the container-scanning pilot site for the program in Hong Kong recently, only two out of 50 lanes were being scanned.


Congressional support for HR 23, the “Belated Thank You to the Merchant Mariners of World War II Act of 2007,” continues to grow. The legislation, introduced by Congressman Bob Filner (D-Calif.), chairman of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, has attracted 23 additional cosponsors over the past two weeks.  The new cosponsors are: Reps. Michael Arcuri (D-N.Y.), Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.), Jo Bonner (R-Ala.), Rick Boucher (D-Va.), Charles Boustany (R-La.), Robert Brady (D-Pa.), Corrine Brown (D-Fla.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Lincoln Davis (D-Tenn.), Michael Doyle (D-Pa.), John Duncan (R-Tenn.), Michael Honda (D-Calif.), Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Harry Mitchell (D-Ariz.), Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), John Murtha (D-Pa.), Jon Porter (R-Nev.), Lee Terry (R-Neb.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), and Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.).  

The legislation would provide a $1,000 monthly benefit to eligible World War II merchant mariners or their surviving spouses. According to Congressman Filner, HR 23 is intended to “correct an injustice that has been inflicted upon a group of World War II veterans, the World War II United States merchant mariners.”


The Maritime Institute of Technology & Graduate Studies (MITAGS) announces the grand opening of its marine simulation technology center on March 26, from 1630 to 2030 hours. The event will include a reception, entertainment and continuous tours of the full-mission bridges, towing simulators, 14-station computer lab, vessel traffic system, All-Weather Navigation system and the crane simulator.

Guests will be able to view Full-Mission Simulator #1, one of the world’s largest and most sophisticated devices of this type, which has been upgraded and integrated into two towing, six part-task and one vessel traffic simulator. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP Brandi Smith at no later than March 19.

Investments in Simulator #1 and other state-of-the art equipment will enhance training and research at MITAGS and the Pacific Maritime Institute in Seattle. To learn more about simulation at MITAGS, contact Robert Becker, at (866) 656-5569 or by e-mail You can also visit


The Maritime Institute of Technology & Graduate Studies (MITAGS) is seeking an instructor to teach masters and mates. The position requires a U.S. Coast Guard issued master’s license, oceans unlimited, and three or more years sailing as master, preferably in the cruise line or tanker industry. Applicants should be well-versed in all professional skills essential to the jobs of master/mate. Requirements include an understanding of and appreciation for the principles of Bridge Resource Management (BRM), as well as demonstrated drive and a desire to teach. Good computer skills (MS Office) and excellent verbal and written communications skills are a must. Experience as an instructor or a trainer teaching professional courses to adults is a plus. This is a contractual position which could become a full-time job. Competitive salary, commensurate with experience. Please e-mail resume to or fax it to the attention of HR Manager at (443) 989-3341.


MM&P has received a notice from the post office advising that it will no longer deliver mail that it considers incorrectly addressed. All mail must have: the name of the individual (if going to a person); the name of the organization; the street address and suite number; and, on the same line, the city, state and zip+4.

The correct address for MM&P headquarters is: 
700 Maritime Boulevard, Suite B
Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1953

The correct address for MM&P Plans is:
700 Maritime Boulevard, Suite A
Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1996
The correct address for the MM&P Federal Credit Union is:
Kathy Ann Klisavage, Credit Union Manager
Masters, Mates & Pilots Federal Credit Union
700 Maritime Blvd., Suite B
Linthicum Heights,  MD  21090-1941

The correct address for MITAGS is:
692 Maritime Boulevard
Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1952


CLASS OPENINGS: Between now and the end of May 2007, seats are available in the following courses:

AIS – Automatic Identification System: 3/23
ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 4/3

BRM Bridge Resource Management: 4/23
BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 5/2
BST – Basic Safety Training: 3/12, 4/9

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 3/19, 4/2
CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 1): 4/23
CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 4/16
CMM-ECDIS � Electronic Chart and Display Information System: 5/28
CMM-MPP � Marine Propulsion Plants: 5/21
CMM-SHMGT-I – Ship Management II (week 1): 4/30
CMM-SHMGT-II – Ship Management II (week 2): 5/7
Available on a “Stand-By Basis Only”: CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 4/9
Available on a “Stand-By Basis Only”: CMM-SHS-ADV-II – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 4/16
CMM-WKP � Advanced Watchkeeping: 3/12, 5/14

CONT-PLNG � Contingency Planning: 5/18
CSE-AASE – Confined Space Entry: 4/25

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 3/12, 4/9

HAZ-Hazardous Materials (5-day): 4/16

LAP � License Advancement Program: 5/28
MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 3/22, 5/17

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 4/21
MED-PIC � Medical Person-In-Charge: 5/14
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 4/16, 5/14

[MSC – Military Sealift Command]
MSC-CBRD-1 (Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Orientation): 3/30, 5/24
MSC-DC (Damage Control): 3/22, 4/23, 5/22
Available on a Stand-By Basis Only: MSC-SMA � Small Arms: 5/21
MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 3/26, 5/25 (must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years)

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal (5-day): 3/26, 5/14
ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 4/2, 4/30

SEC-OFF-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 3/19, 5/14
SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 4/23, 5/28
SHS-EMR- Emergency Shiphandling: 4/2, 4/30
SHS-EMR- BRMP-3- Emergency Shiphandling & Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 3/20

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:


Winter – Spring 2007

Due to the high demand for this program, PMI has now scheduled another that is already close to full enrollment for its 2007-start date. See the PMI Web site at for more info on this new development.


SCHEDULE OF COURSES – (Course schedule also posted online at

March 2007
12-16 BST
12-16 AB
12-16 STB BAS
12-16 ARPA
19-23 CHS BAS
19-23 SHS EMR-5

April 2007
2-6 WX BAS
2-6 TPIC
9-11 SEC VCF
9-13 FF BADV
9-13 SHS BAS
9-13 ARPA
9-13 ECDIS
9-20 GMDSS
16-27 WKP BAS
23-25 BRM
24-27 LFBT
30-4 AB
30-4 FF ADV
30-4 SHS BAS

May 2007
7-11 SHS BAS
7-18 GMDSS
7-18 CNAV
14-18 ARPA
14-18 SHS EMR-5
14-25 GMDSS
16-18 FF ADV
21-25 BST
21-25 ENAV
21-25 CHS BAS

June 2007
11-12         SHS ASSESS
11-15         ECDIS
11-13         SEC VCF
18-22         ARPA
18-22         SHS BAS
25-29         FF BADV
25-29         ROP

July 2007
9th      FL
9-13    ARPA
9-13    BST
10-13  LFBT
16-20 AB
16-20 MED PRO
16-20 ENAV
23-27  SHS BAS
23-3    CNAV
30-3   ARPA
30-3   MED PRO
30-10 MED PIC      

August 2007
6-7      SAR
6-10    BST
7-10    LFBT
8-10    EP
14-17  LFBT
13-17  AB
13-17  CONSTB
13-17  SHS EM5
13-17  ECDIS
13-17  TPIC
20-24 AB
20-31 SHS ADV
20-24 CHS BAS
27-31  BAFF
27-31  ENAV
27-31  MED PRO
27-8    GMDSS         
27-29  CSO/SSO

September 2007
4-7      LFBT
4-8      WX BAS
4-8      TCNAV
10-14  BST
10-14  AB
10-14  MED PRO
10-14  TCNAV
10-14  SHS BAS
17-21  MED PRO
17-21  ARPA
17-21  SHS BAS
17-21  TCNAV
17-28  GMDSS
19-21  AFF
24-5    WKP
24-28 ROP
26-28 AFF

For registration call Jennifer Fowler 888-893-7829


High-quality clothing embroidered with the NEW PMI logo! We can ship these items also! Acceptable forms of payment are check, credit card, money order and exact cash. Call Laura Bendixen at 888-893-7829 for prices and to order. If we don’t have your size, we’ll be glad to special order for you at no extra cost.



D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
12,276.32 2,387.55 1,402.85
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)
 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 and is posted on our web page.

C 2006, International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots. All the material contained in this publication is protected by copyright. For permission to reprint text from the Weekly, contact the MM&P Communications Department: For changes of address, contact John Peige at