News

Wheelhouse Weekly – March 16, 2009

March 16th 2009

 

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

Volume 13 . . . . . Number 11. . . .March 16, 2009

STORIES COVERED

REMINDERS

T-AGS Oceanographic Survey Ships Info

Required Coursework

Security Clearances

MSC Physicals

MM&P FCU News

MM&P Health & Benefit Plan News

Meet Our New Prescription Benefit Manager, PHARMACARE

Notice to MM&P Health & Benefit Plan Participants

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.


ST. PATRICK’S DAY UPDATE: SOME MM&P HALLS OPEN, OTHERS CLOSED

St. Patrick’s Day is tomorrow, March 17. MM&P Headquarters, MM&P Plans and all MM&P Pacific Port Halls will be open. On the Atlantic Coast, the New York/New Jersey, Charleston and Norfolk halls will be closed. Boston and San Juan will be open. On the Gulf Coast, the MM&P halls in Jacksonville, Port Everglades and Tampa will be closed. Houston and New Orleans will be open.


MM&P, OTHER SEAFARING UNIONS, MEET WITH COAST GUARD OVER BURGEONING MEDICAL REVIEW BACKLOG

A delegation of the nation’s seafaring unions met last Friday with senior Coast Guard officials to discuss the intolerable situation that has been created by the growing backlog of mariners’ medical evaluations awaiting approval at the National Maritime Center (NMC).

The time it takes the Coast Guard to process mariners’ and pilots’ medical evaluations has more than doubled—from fewer than 40 days to 89 days—since the agency introduced centralized medical vetting procedures in the second half of 2008. Under the new system, NMC staffers attempt to determine mariners’ and pilots’ fitness for duty based exclusively on paperwork submitted to the NMC office in West Virginia.

MM&P warned the Coast Guard repeatedly from the outset that the new medical review system would quickly become blocked by the volume of applications and the unnecessary medical tests and evaluations that may be required to establish a paper record for the USCG to review.

At the beginning of January, there were over 4,400 medical evaluations at NMC awaiting action. Each application caught in the Coast Guard’s bottleneck can translate into lost work and financial hardship for mariners, pilots and their families.

MM&P Pilots Group Vice President George Quick and Mike Rodriguez, Executive Assistant to the MM&P International President, led the delegation of seafaring unions that met Friday with senior Coast Guard leadership at USCG Headquarters.

The union is skeptical about the practicality of the entire centralized vetting program because it makes the medical review process unnecessarily time consuming, burdensome and costly. MM&P supports legislation that was introduced in the last session of Congress by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.). The measure, which is expected to be introduced again as part of The Oil Spill Prevention Act of 2009, would allow doctors on a designated list of qualified medical examiners to perform physical exams and certify mariners and pilots as being fit for duty.

Is your medical evaluation one of the thousands awaiting action at the National Maritime Center? If so, we want to know about it so we can take your concerns to Congress. Please immediately send an e-mail to communications@bridgedeck.org that specifies:

— Your name, address, e-mail and phone number;
— Number of years you have been a merchant mariner or pilot;
— License you hold;
— Date you sent your application for upgrade or renewal to the Coast Guard;
— How long before your license was scheduled to expire you started the renewal process;
— Dates and nature of follow-up correspondence with the Coast Guard, including requests by NMC that you undergo additional medical tests;
— Any details about how long it took you to complete the additional medical tests, in particular given the need to schedule them during periods when you were not at sea.

You may also want to write your Member of Congress. If so, please remember to e-mail a copy of your letter to the union: communications@bridgedeck.org.


MARITIME SECURITY PROGRAM FULLY FUNDED FOR ’09 FISCAL YEAR

The Senate and House have both passed the fiscal year 2009 omnibus spending bill which contains the $18 million needed to make-up the Maritime Security Program (MSP) funding shortfall for the remainder of this fiscal year. This means that the MSP is now fully funded at its authorized level of $174 million and that full payment can be made to each operator for each MSP vessel. Now that the shortfall has been taken care of, attention shifts to securing the full $174 million for MSP for fiscal year 2010.


MEETINGS ON THE MM&P OFFSHORE PENSION PLAN: A NOTE FROM THE INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT

A number of members have expressed interest in attending the meetings on the MM&P Offshore Pension Plan that will take place on May 19 and 20. At the moment, we are setting aside two, one-hour sessions during which members can direct questions to Plans Co-Counsel or the Plans Actuary.

If you are planning to attend and need a room, please call MITAGS at 410-859-5700 to make a reservation at the union rate. MITAGS Executive Director Glen Paine is currently setting aside 30 rooms. The cost, including three meals and taxes, is $151.57. There are also a number of hotels within walking distance of the meeting site. The Wingate is charging $99.00 per night but this does not include taxes or meals. The Hyatt Place is charging $139.00, again without meals or taxes.


BILL THAT WOULD PAVE THE WAY FOR SHORT SEA SHIPPING INTRODUCED IN SENATE

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) has introduced a bill that would end the multiple taxation of waterborne cargo moving between U.S. ports. Enactment of this legislation is considered a key element in the development of a U.S. marine highway/short sea shipping industry. The bill, S 551, has five original cosponsors:  Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and David Vitter (R-La.). 

MM&P, other seafaring and longshore unions and U.S.-flag shipping companies have consistently been strong supporters of legislation that would rationalize the way the Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) is applied so as to pave the way for development of an American short sea shipping system. Today, the HMT is imposed on cargo entering a U.S. port from an overseas market. The same tax would be applied again on the cargo if it were to be transferred to another vessel for transportation along our coasts to another American port. It is important to note that under the current system, the multiple taxation of cargo under the HMT only applies to waterborne transportation; it does not apply to cargo moving domestically by truck or rail.  


TWIC COUNTDOWN: 30 DAYS UNTIL ALL MARINERS MUST HAVE A TWIC

Reminder: April 15 is the deadline for all mariners and other maritime industry workers to obtain the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC).


BILL THAT WOULD MAKE IT EASIER TO FORM UNIONS INTRODUCED IN CONGRESS

Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) have introduced legislation that would make it easier for workers to form unions. The bill is known as the Employee Free Choice Act because it would let workers decide whether to form a union through a majority sign-up or an election. “The Employee Free Choice Act is critical legislation that will restore our middle class and give workers back the freedom to bargain for a better life,” said AFL-CIO President John Sweeney in an official statement. “The mission to restore our middle class has never been more important than it is right now.”

America’s basic labor law, the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), was intended to protect workers’ rights to join unions and bargain collectively for better pay, benefits and working conditions. But the law has been distorted over the years by hostile amendments and lax enforcement. The proposed bill would: provide that if a majority of employees sign union authorization cards, after the National Labor Relations Board validates the cards, the company must recognize and bargain with the union; assess significant penalties for companies that break the law during organizing campaigns and negotiations for a first contract; and require binding arbitration when an employer and a new union are unable to negotiate a first contract within 90 days, following an unsuccessful attempt at mediation.

President Barack Obama was an original co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act when it was introduced in the Senate in 2007.


AMERICAN MERCHANT MARINE VETERANS MEMORIAL: CONTACT INFORMATION

The American Merchant Marine Veterans (AMMV) Memorial Committee is embarking on a fundraising campaign to ensure the continued survival of the Merchant Marine Veterans Memorial in San Pedro, Calif. The memorial was built with private funds raised by merchant seamen and others, including the city of Los Angeles. The inspiration for the memorial was a group of MM&P members led by Captain Richard Connelly, a former Sealand master.

Over the years, there have been attempts to relocate the memorial to make way for redevelopment of the property on which it is sited. Although the AMMV Committee has so far been successful in fighting off these attempts, its members believe that more money is needed to ensure the survival of the monument going forward.

If you are interested in finding out more about the memorial or contributing to the fund that maintains it, please contact Paul Nielsen, former MM&P Pacific Ports Vice President, at (310) 325-3506 or by e-mail 7-seas@sbcglobal.net. You can also mail a contribution to: AMMVC Memorial Inc., P.O. Box 1659, Wilmington, CA 90748-1659.


APL MARITIME SEEKS APPLICANTS FOR SENIOR OFFICER POSITIONS

MM&P-contracted employer APL Maritime is asking qualified union members interested in pursuing careers as senior officers to submit their resumes. “The APL Maritime fleet of nine contract ships is facing a period of change as far as manning is concerned,” the company says. “Retirements, particularly in our senior staff, could very well be at a high level based on projected changes in government pension rules.” The company says that although it is encouraging current employees to apply for some of the jobs, there are not enough junior officers to fill the potential vacancies.

If you are interested in applying for a senior level position at APL, please send a resume that includes a brief professional history, current license and any other qualifications or endorsements (GMDSS, VSO training, RTRC etc.) to Bill_mahoney@aplmaritime.com or APL Maritime, Ltd., 6901 Rockledge Drive; Ste 200, Bethesda, MD 20817-1822.


VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES ABOARD MERCY SHIPS

Licensed mariners are needed to crew humanitarian vessels as volunteers in the Mercy Ships fleet, writes Captain John McDonnell, an MM&P pensioner who is about to ship out as master of the AFRICAN MERCY, the world’s largest privately owned hospital ship. “I am an Offshore retiree who did not leave the sea,” he writes. “I have worked for Mercy Ships on and off as a relief for the past nine years.  I always felt that I got far more out of the job than I gave.” 

At the end of March, McDonnell will be flying out to Cotonou, Benin, a West African nation that borders on Nigeria. “Mercy Ships pays for your travel, room, board and insurance, but you do not earn a salary,” he says. “You do get unlimited tonnage ocean sea service for USCG licensing purposes, the opportunity to meet a lot of fantastic people, and a lot of appreciation from the world’s neediest people.” McDonnell says there is now a need for second and third mates on the AFRICAN MERCY, which has a crew of 400 volunteers, mostly health care professionals, from about 40 different nations. Before taking the jobs, MM&P members must fill out a “permissible employment form” and obtain the approval of an MM&P official. The form should then be submitted to Ken Ryan in the MM&P Plans Office. You can download the form on www.bridgedeck.org.  For more information on the Mercy Ships fleet, go to www.mercyships.com.


NEW PHARMACY DISCOUNT CARD FOR MM&P PLANS PARTICIPANTS

MM&P Plans Trustees have approved a new benefit: a card that offers 20 percent savings on CVS/pharmacy brand, flexible spending account (FSA)-eligible, health-related items. You may have already received three ExtraCare Health card key tags in the mail. The cards can be used by Plan participants, their spouse and dependents.

If you already have a CVS ExtraCare card, the new card will replace it. Just call the toll-free number on the back of your new card to transfer your ExtraCare reward balance. The new card gives you all the same benefits you enjoy with the traditional CVS ExtraCare card, plus a 20 percent discount on CVS/pharmacy brand products including: cold and cough remedies; first-aid supplies; pain relievers; allergy relief products; eye and ear care products; and more. You and your family can begin using your ExtraCare Health cards right away. Just present your card at the CVS/pharmacy register to receive the discount.


IMPORTANT NOTICE ON MITAGS GMDSS COURSE

Important changes have been implemented in the schedule of the MITAGS Global Maritime Distress and Safety Systems (GMDSS) course. Effective immediately, week one of the ten-day GMDSS course will now convene Monday to Saturday.  Week two of the class will run Monday to Thursday. You should take note of this schedule if you plan to take the GMDSS class at MITAGS.

These changes do not affect the GMDSS course at the Pacific Maritime Institute (PMI). 

To register for GMDSS or any other MITAGS course, go to www.mitags.org and click on “Schedule and Registration.” You can also contact the MITAGS Admissions Department: (410) 859-5700, ext. 3226; (866) 656-5568; or admissions@mitags.org.


NEW MITAGS AND PMI COURSE ON MARINE VESSEL OPERATIONS & THE ENVIRONMENT

MITAGS and PMI have announced a new course for mid-level and senior vessel and operations managers, port captains, ship superintendents, deck and engineering officers, regulatory agency personnel and inspectors, marine safety and environmental auditors and anyone with environmental management, operational or reporting responsibilities in the maritime industry. A course is scheduled at PMI in Seattle on April 15. Courses may be arranged at other locations and additional dates. The course will be a prerequisite for the two-day “EPA Vessel General Permit (NPDES)” course now under development. Both courses will be combined and offered as a three-day session. For more information, contact Gregg Trunnell at (206) 838-7422 or by e-mail at gtrunnell@mates.org. For future training dates at MITAGS, contact Captain Bob Becker at (443) 989-3235 or by e-mail: rbecker@mitags.org


NEW ADDRESS FOR MM&P’S NEW YORK/NEW JERSEY HALL

MM&P’s New York/New Jersey Hall has moved to a new location: 35 Journal Square, Suite 912. The new office is in the Capital-One Bank Building (look for the Capital-One sign atop the building) a short distance from the old location at 26 Journal Square.  The entrance to the new office is on Bergin Avenue. The phone and fax numbers of the hall will remain the same: 201-963-1900 (phone) 201-963-1918 (fax).


SHIP SECURITY OFFICER REFRESHER COURSE WILL BE HELD ON THE WEST COAST IN APRIL

MITAGS and Matson are sponsoring three, one-day VSO refresher courses on the West Coast in April. The courses are designed for members who have not yet taken a certified VSO course. Anyone who took the MITAGS or PMI VCF or PCS course after April 2003 has taken a certified course. (If you are in doubt about whether you need the refresher course, please check with Diane Ford at dford@mitags.org.)  Captain John Kessler of PMI will be presenting the course. The schedule is as follows; please call the MM&P halls at the numbers listed in parentheses to confirm your seat:  Friday, April 17, Honolulu at the Matson Terminal Tower (808-523-8183); Tuesday, April 28, Los Angeles, at the MM&P Hall (310-834-7201) and Thursday, April 30, San Francisco at the MM&P Hall (415-777-5074).


TENSION WITH CHINA OVER U.S. MANEUVERS IN SOUTH CHINA SEA

Tensions have erupted between China and the United States over an incident that took place in early March about 70 miles south of Hainan Island in the South China Sea. According to reports, five Chinese vessels–including a naval intelligence ship, a marine fisheries patrol vessel, an oceanographic ship and two trawlers–undertook aggressive maneuvers in the vicinity of an American oceanographic ship, the USNS IMPECCABLE. The mariners aboard one of the Chinese ships reportedly dropped wood in front of the American ship and two other Chinese ships stopped directly in its path, forcing it to stop. American officials said the U.S. ship was operating in international waters and warned China to refrain from provoking unarmed ships.


NORWEGIAN TANKER LIGHTERED AFTER COLLISION WITH SUBMERGED RIG

The Coast Guard has reported that the SKS SATILLA, a Norwegian tanker carrying 41 million gallons of crude oil, was lightered on March 6. The tanker was suffering an 8-degree port list caused by an influx into the ballast tanks of sea water after a collision with a submerged object. The Coast Guard identified the object as the hull of a sunken jackup rig, the ENSCO 74. The lightering operation took place 65 miles south of Galveston. The SATILLA sustained damage along the port side of its hull below the waterline. Divers on scene removed a jagged piece of metal from the hull. Ensco’s rig was lost during Hurricane Ike last September. A spokesman for Ensco said it maintains insurance policies for removal of wreckage and loss coverage if it is found liable.


PREVIOUSLY REPORTED NEWS ON THE MM&P DEFINED BENEFIT PENSION PLAN

As previously reported in the Wheelhouse Weekly, the MM&P Board of Trustees met Feb. 3–4 to discuss the current economic situation as it has affected the MM&P Defined Benefit Pension Plan. As permitted by the Worker, Retiree, and Employer Recovery Act of 2008, agreement was reached to remain in the “green,” or safe zone under the Pension Protection Act of 2006. All current benefit options will be available for another year. As part of this agreement, employer pension plan contributions will be increased and deductions will be taken from Offshore vacation pay. The Board of Trustees will meet again in May 2009 to discuss long-term pension plan design changes and other measures to safeguard our retirement security.


OWNER OF EGYPTIAN FERRY GETS SEVEN YEARS FOR 2006 TRAGEDY

A court in Egypt has sentenced to seven years in prison the chairman of the board of directors of the company that managed the AL-SALAM 98 ferry, which capsized in 2006, killing more than 1,000 people. The ship operator was found guilty in absentia of manslaughter and negligence. The charges included failure to inform the Egyptian authorities for many hours after the accident and failing to maintain safety equipment, including fire extinguishers and life rafts.


CHIEF ENGINEER OF CYPRUS-FLAGGED VESSELS PLEADS GUILTY IN POLLUTION CASE

A citizen of Spain who worked as chief engineer on the Cyprus-flagged MT NAUTILUS has pled guilty to using falsified records that concealed improper discharges of oil-contaminated bilge water, according to the Justice Department. The MT NAUTILUS is a 26,794 gross ton chemical tanker owned by Cyprus-based Iceport Shipping Company Ltd., and operated by Spanish-based Consultores de Navegacion S.A. The engineer admitted to ordering engine room crew members to discharge oil-contaminated bilge fluids from the ship’s bilges directly into the ocean.


MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

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

AIS � (1-Day) Automatic Identification System: 4/2, 6/22
ARPA � Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 4/13, 6/23
AZIPOD � (2-Day) Azipod Propulsion Systems: 4/2
BRM � Bridge Resource Management: 5/4, 6/15
BRMP � Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 6/25
BST � Basic Safety Training: 4/6, 6/1
CONT PLNG � Contingency Planning: 5/15

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 4/6, 6/22
CMM-CHS I � Advanced Cargo Handling (week 1): 4/27
CMM-CHS II � Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 5/4
CMM-MPP � Marine Propulsion Plants: 4/13, 6/15
CMM-SHMGT I � Ship Management (week 1) : 5/11
CMM-SHMGT II � Ship Management (week 2) : 5/18
CMM-SHS-ADV-I � Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 6/1
CMM-SHS-ADV-I I � Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 5/4, 6/8
CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 5/25

CSE-AWR2 � Confined Space Entry Awareness (2 day): 5/14
FF-BADV � Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting Combined: 4/6, 6/1
GMDSS � Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 4/6
HAZ � Hazardous Materials (5 day): 5/4
LAP � License Advancement Program for upgrade to Chief Mate/Master: 3/30
LEG � Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 4/22, 6/24
LNG AWAR � Liquefied Natural Gas Awareness (2 day): 5/27

MEDIA RSP � Media Response Workshop: 6/26
MED-PIC – Medical Person-In-Charge: 4/13, 6/8
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 4/13, 5/4, 6/8
MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 4/3, 4/18, 5/14, 6/13

[MSC – Military Sealift Command]
MSC-CBRD-1 � CBRD Orientation: 3/27, 5/22
MSC-DC � Damage Control: Special Evening MSC-DC Class: 5/18 to 5/21
MSC-SMA � Small Arms Training: 3/23, 5/18

[OICNW � Officer in Charge of a Navigation Watch Courses]
OICNW-CHS-BAS � Basic Cargo Handling and Stowage: 4/20, 5/25
OICNW-CNAV � Celestial Navigation: 4/20
OICNW-EP � Emergency Procedures: 5/14
OICNW-SAR � Search and Rescue: 5/11
OICNW-WKP BAS � Basic Watchkeeping: 3/30
OICNW-WX BAS � Basic Meteorology: 3/23

ROP-5 � Radar Observer Program (Original or Renewal): 5/4
ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 4/13, 6/22

SEC-VCF – Security Officer: Vessel, Company & Facility: 3/30, 5/11, 6/23
SEC-VSO-R � Vessel Security Officer Refresher (1 day): 4/21, 5/14, 6/8, 6/22
SHS-BAS � Basic Shiphandling: 6/15
SHS-EMR5 � Emergency Shiphandling: 6/22
SHS-EMR-BRMP3 � Emergency Shiphandling and Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 3/31, 6/22

TPIC � Tankerman Person in Charge (Dangerous Liquids): 5/25

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

Check the MITAGS website at www.mitags.org 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 by e-mail: admissions@mitags.org.


PMI ACADEMIC NOTES

PMI Web site at www.mates.org for more info

FOR REGISTRATION CALL JENNIFER PITZEN: 206 838-1126

SCHEDULE OF COURSES – (Course schedule also posted online at www.mates.org)

March 2009
16-20 ENAV
23-3 CNAV

For registration call Jennifer Pitzen 888-893-7829

PMI MERCHANDISE FOR SALE!!!

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.


MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 3-13-2009

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
7,223.98 1,431.50 756.55
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Closing
Price
 Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund(VAARX)
35.60
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
70.09
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
20.14
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
10.31
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
10.33
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
15.79
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
10.61
 Vanguard Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
18.44
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
4.22
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
12.26
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
13.70
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
11.67
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
13.38
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
9.03
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
8.56
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
8.09
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
7.90
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
8.18
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
10.00
 Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
18.41
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
12.24
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
10.18
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
11.00
 Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
9.00
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
41.66
 Fidelity Small Company Instl (FMACX)
10.50
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
31.88
 Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
10.80
 Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX)
23.71
 Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
17.93
 Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
13.58
 Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
9.19
 Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
9.66
 Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
9.53
 Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
9.03
 Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
8.56
 Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
4.85
 Fidelity Freedom 2050 (FFFHX)
5.55
 Fidelity Total Bond Fund (FTBFX)
9.14
 Spartan Extended market Index Fund (FSEMX)
19.11
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
26.91
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
16.42





~ Reminders ~



 

T-AGS OCEANOGRAPHIC SURVEY SHIPS MANNING REQUIREMENTS

REQUIRED COURSEWORK

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: admissions@mitags.org, 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: rplant@bridgedeck.org, by fax to 410-850-0973 or by mail to:

Richard Plant, Director of Special Projects

IOMM&P
700 Maritime Blvd. Suite B
Linthicum Heights, MD 21090



SHIP SECURITY CLEARANCE NEEDED

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 https://sclient.dss.mil/download/w9xfull.htm 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.



MSC PHYSICALS

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.


MM&P FCU NEWS

GET NEW WHEELS OR LOWER EXISTING PAYMENTS WITH MM&P FCU VEHICLE FINANCING

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:

6.50 percent for terms up to 24 months.
Standard loan rates for longer-term loans are:

6.75 percent for 25-48 months;
7.50 percent for 49-60 months ($20,000 minimum); and
8.00 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.

PREFERRED BORROWERS GET LOWER LOAN RATES
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 mmpfcu@bridgedeck.org or call 1-800-382-7777 toll-free.



 

MM&P HEALTH & BENEFIT PLAN NEWS

MEET OUR NEW PRESCRIPTION BENEFIT MANAGER, PHARMACARE

As you know, effective July 1, 2007, MM&P will have a new Prescription Benefit Manager, PharmaCare. If you use the mail service and have not sent your Confidential Mail Service Enrollment Form to the MM&P Plan Office, you have until June 30 to do so. Otherwise, you can call PharmaCare’s customer service line and give them the information over the telephone or send the form with your first new mail prescription directly to PharmaCare. In the next couple of days, you will be receiving a letter with your new MM&P identification cards and a prescription booklet with information on how to obtain your prescriptions. PharmaCare’s customer service number is listed in the booklet. If you have any questions, please contact the MM&P Health & Benefit Plan Advisors.



NOTICE TO MM&P HEALTH & BENEFIT PLAN PARTICIPANTS

As you know, MM&P Health & Benefit Plan members have a new prescription benefit manager, PharmaCare. When you first obtain a prescription at your retail drug store, please show your new Health & Benefit Identification Card with PharmaCare’s information. If you do not show your card, please inform your pharmacist of the following information so you can receive your prescriptions through the Plan. Your identification number HAS NOT CHANGED. Please provide the pharmacist with your full member identification number. You will have to also provide the following numbers. RxGrp#- Z50136968, RxBin: 610468 and RxPCN: PC2 

If your pharmacist has any questions, he or she should call PharmaCare directly at (800) 503-3241.  If you have any questions, PharmaCare members can call the company directly at (888) 364-6815.


WWII USCG VETERANS OUTREACH

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 www.loc.gov/folklife/vets.

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.



 

COMPANY GIVES BUCKS BACK FOR BUYING SAFE SHOES

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)

LOOK FOR THE UNION LABEL:

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 www.unionlabel.org and click on “Union Made Product Search”. To shop for union-made products online, go to www.ShopUnionMade.org.


 

WEBSITE OFFERS UNION-MADE GOODS AND SERVICES

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, www.shopunionmade.org, 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. Suite B, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1953. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973; Email: iommp@bridgedeck.org. For further info or to subscribe contact Lisa Rosenthal at lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org. The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea and is posted on our web page.

© 2009, 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: lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org. For changes of address, contact Lisa Rosenthal at lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org.




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