Wheelhouse Weekly – March 17, 2005

March 17th 2005


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

Volume 9 . . . . . Number 11 . . . . March 17, 2005




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


The following applicants were approved for membership in the Offshore Membership Group by the Offshore Advisory Committee and the General Executive Board at the March 16, 2005 GEB meeting held at MM&P HQ. The next three meetings of the GEB will be held on June 14 & 15; August 23 & 24; and December 6 & 7.

Offshore-Licensed Deck
Susan N. Begg
Kevin L. Franssen
Achim Huber
Michael L. LaMaina
Joao J. Lima
John P. Marcin
Jerome McGourthy
John B. Young

Transfer From Offshore Unlicensed To Licensed Deck
Dennis H. Hoak

Transfer Not Prior Offshore Member (Government) To Licensed Deck
Richard J. Gilmore

Licensed Engineers
William M. Smith


Philip Grill, Vice President of Government Relations for MM&P-contracted Matson Navigation and head of the Maritime Cabotage Task Force (MCTF), addressed a recent luncheon gathering of the Kings Point Club of Washington, discussing the accomplishments of MCTF during the past 10 years and its future objectives

One of the MCTF’s principal objectives for 2005 is a “grass routs” effort to re-connect with its original membership and to broaden the coalition, Grill told the luncheon gathering. “We would like to broaden our financial base, but members pay what they feel comfortable with.”
Grill explained that MCTF’s mission began by responding to every single misleading statement about the Jones Act fleet, and educating members of Congress on the reasons for and benefits of the Act.

Grill closed his remarks by mentioning the maritime project at the Smithsonian Institute – “America on the Move.” The exhibit opened in November 2003 and takes visitors on a chronological tour of the development of transportation in the US, starting with the first car to drive coast-to-coast (no roads).

The Matson executive further described the exhibit:
As you walk through the exhibit and reach the 1970’s, you see “Transforming the Waterfront” which shows how containerization revolutionized shipping. It has re-furbished early Matson containers and a life-size mural of Matson’s Oakland container yard at night. Matson is very proud to be part of this exhibit.

Directly adjacent to America on the Move are several rooms dedicated solely to the maritime industry. This exhibit has been there for over 20 years and the Smithsonian is now completely renovating it – “On the Water”. The theme of the new exhibit is “Maritime Matters” – role of maritime in development of the country and maritime’s present day role in providing food, clothing, shelter, and oil to the nation.

“How many times have we all sat in meetings and listened to ourselves lament the fact that our industry does a terrible job at public relations, that no one knows what we do, that no one appreciates the contributions maritime makes to the economy or national security, that when we do make an effort at PR we only reach other maritime interests so we are preaching to the choir?
Here is a chance to solve all of these problems and to reach millions of people each year,” Grill said.



When AIS is combined with the electronic chart technologies, it can potentially provide the watch officer with an icon for every significant ship within radio range, display its indicating speed and heading, reflect its actual size, name, classification, call sign, registration number, and other important information.

MITAGS’ AIS program can be delivered offsite as part of an in-house meeting or aboard ship. For more info on this program, please call the MITAGS Admissions Department toll-free at 866-656-5568 or via Email at You may also visit the MITAGS website at



The USCG Crew Endurance Management training is designed to provide commercial mariners/coaches with the knowledge and skill necessary to develop, deploy, and assess Crew Endurance Management Systems (CEMS) within their companies.

Crew Endurance Management (coaches) training provides the education and guidance principles for light sleep management, assists with changes to the work/rest environment, makes recommendations on schedule changes, and helps create personal endurance plans for each crew member.

Upon successful completion of this two-day course, coaches will have the training necessary to implement the USCG recommended CEM principles. For additional info on this course, contact Capt. Robert Becker toll-free at 866-656-5569 or via Email at You may also visit the USCG website at



The National Offshore Safety Advisory Committee (NOSAC) and its Subcommittee on SOLAS Application for Offshore Support Vessels will meet to discuss various issues relating to offshore safety and security. Both meetings will be open to the public.

NOSAC will meet on April 5 from 0900 to 1500 hrs. The agenda includes the following:
(1) Report on issues concerning the International Maritime Organization and the International Organization for Standardization.
(2) SOLAS compliance for foreign operation of US-flagged Offshore Support Vessels including Liftboats.
(3) Report from the Liftboat Subcommittee on operations procedure/training for liftboat operators.
(4) Offshore Helidecks–new and revised API and ICAO standards.
(5) Revision of 33 CFR Chapter I, Subchapter N, Outer Continental Shelf activities.
(6) 33 CFR Chapter I, Subchapter NN, Temporary Final Rule on Deepwater Ports, and status of license submissions for LNG deepwater ports. SOLAS Application for OSVs Subcommittee.

The agenda includes the following:
(1) Review and discuss previous work.
(2) Work on outline of Draft Report.
The Subcommittee on SOLAS Application for OSVs will meet on April 4 from 1300 to 1530. Written material should reach the USCG by March 22. NOSAC will meet in room 2415 of USCG HQ, 2100 Second Street, SW., Wash, DC. The SOLAS Application for OSVs Subcommittee will meet in room 6319 of USCG HQ. This notice is available on the Internet at For further info, contact USCG Commander Cushing or Jim Magill at phone: 202-267-1082 or fax: 202-267-4570.



The Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee (MERPAC) and its working groups will meet to discuss various issues relating to the training and fitness of merchant marine personnel. MERPAC advises the Secretary of Homeland Security on matters relating to the training, qualifications, licensing, and certification of seamen serving in the US merchant marine. All meetings will be open to the public.

MERPAC will meet on April 5-6 from 0830 to 1630. These meetings may adjourn early if all business is finished. Requests to make oral presentations should reach the USCG before March 22. Written material and requests to have a copy of your material distributed should reach the USCG by March 22.

MERPAC will meet on both days in the Classroom Building Auditorium of the Calhoon MEBA Engineering School, 27050 St. Michaels Road, Easton, MD. Send written material and related requests to Mark Gould, Commandant, USCG HQ, 2100 Second Street, SW., Washington, DC 20593-0001. This notice is available on the Internet at

For further info contactcontact Mr. Gould, Assistant to the Executive Director by phone: 202-267-6890, fax: 202-267-4570, or Email:


The US Merchant Marine Academy has accepted an invitation to join the National Academic Consortium for Homeland Security (NACHS). NACHS is an alliance of leading colleges and universities that conduct research or offer educational programs related to homeland security and defense. The consortium currently includes 189 leading universities and colleges in 46 states, the District of Columbia and the Territory of Guam.

The primary mission of NACHS is to promote and support scholarship in the field of homeland security, and to facilitate collaboration among academic institutions and faculty who are working in this area. NACHS also serves as an “academic strategic partner” to US government agencies and other non-federal organizations responsible for aspects of homeland security.

The Merchant Marine Academy, operated by the US Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration, is no stranger to homeland security issues. A faculty team there had the lead role in developing standards and curricula for maritime security training both in the US and internationally. The domestic project was mandated by the US Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002; Academy faculty partnered with counterparts in India to craft model maritime security courses for the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization.

The curriculum at the Academy has been enhanced since 9-11 to include transportation security issues. Academy students are conducting applied research in this area. A number of Academy graduates in the last few years have been employed by the Transportation Security Administration of the US Department of Homeland Security and in other security-related positions. The Academy’s Global Maritime and Transportation School, which offers a continuing education program, is providing maritime security training to professionals in the transportation field.





Between now and the end of May 2005 seats are available in the following courses:

  • AIS – Automatic Identification System: 4/29, 5/7
  • ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 4/4, 5/2, 5/9
  • BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 4/26
  • BST – Basic Safety Training: 4/25, 5/23

    CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses

  • CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 5/2
  • CMM-CHS I- Cargo Handling & Stowage (week 1): 3/28
  • CMM-CHS II- Cargo Handling & Stowage (week 2): 3/21
  • CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display and Info Systems: 3/21, 4/18, 5/16
  • CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 3/28, 4/18, 5/23
  • CMM-WKP- Advanced Watchkeeping: 4/11
  • CMM-VPEN-Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 4/25
  • CONT-PLNG – Contingency Planning: 4/8, 5/6, 5/13
  • FF-BADV – (Combined) Basic and Advanced Firefighting: 4/20, 5/23
  • HAZ – Hazardous Materials [5-day]: 4/11, 5/2
  • LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 4/13, 4/26, 5/4, 5/10
  • MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 4/7, 5/5, 5/12
  • MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 4/23, 5/14
  • MED-PIC – Medical Person-In-Charge: 4/18, 5/9
  • MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 4/18, 5/9

    MSC – Military Sealift Command

  • MSC-CBRD-1 – Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Training Orientation: 4/23, 5/1, 5/19
  • MSC-DC – Damage Control: 4/18, 4/27, 5/16
  • MSC-ENVPRO: Environmental Protection: 5/18
  • MSC-SMA – Small Arms Training (4-day): 4/25, 5/16
  • MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 4/29, 5/20
    (must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years)
  • ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal (5-day): 3/28, 5/23
  • ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 4/4, 5/2, 5/9
  • SEC-FSO – Facility Security Officer: 4/4
  • SEC-MAR-PRO – Maritime Security Professional Train The Trainer Training [5 days], 4/11
  • SEC-OFF-PCS – Security Officer: Port, Company, Ship: 5/2
  • SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling (5-day): 3/28, 5/23
  • SHS-ESH-BRMP-3: Emergency Shiphandling/Bridge Resource Management for Pilots (3-day): 5/2
  • TRAC-TUG – Water Tractor and Azimuth Stern Drive Tugs: 5/5
  • TPIC – Tankerman Person-In-Charge: 4/4



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.


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


All the courses below will be conducted at our new facility at 1729 Alaskan Way South, home to the “Maritime Technology and Career Center” which houses PMI’s state-of-the-art Full Mission Ship Simulator.

March 2005

  • 3/21-25: Able Bodied Seaman
  • 3/21-24: Personal Survival Craft/Lifeboatman
  • 3/21-25: Medical Care Provider
  • 3/21-4/01: Medical Person-In-Charge
  • 3/21-25: ECDIS
  • 3/21-24: Fast Rescue Boat
  • 3/28-29: Ratings Forming Part of a Navigational Watch
  • 3/28-29: Search and Rescue
  • 3/30-4/01: Emergency Procedures
  • 3/28-4/01: ARPA
  • 3/28: Radar Recertification
  • 3/28-4/01: Emergency Shiphandling

For registration and more info call DeeDee Lazik or Jennifer Fowler at 888-893-7829, check the PMI website at or Email PMI at



 D O W    N A S D A Q
 10,633.07 -72.55 for the week  2,015.75  -45.54 for the week
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX)
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)

~ 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.

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 commences Oct.17, 2004 and will continue until Jan.3, 2005. Crew rotations will start beginning as early as January 2005 and will continue through as late as June 2005. 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.

When complete and all information has been validated, click on “Communications” from the menu bar at the top of the screen and select “Transmit to Security Officer”. Save the file to the hard drive on your computer using your last name (surname) as the file name. Send this file as an email attachment to Mike Bohlman at Horizon Lines, His phone number is 908-259-2803. You will need to provide Mike Bohlman with your name and the case-sensitive password you assigned to the file in order for Horizon Lines to open the file and process your Security Clearance.


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.

On Dec.6, MM&P members will begin manning the third of seven T-AGS ships operated by Horizon. The USNS SUMNER will be crewed-up in Portland, OR. MM&P wishes the crew a safe voyage and happy holidays.



Is it time to replace that car you’re driving? Vehicle loan rates are looking great at MM&P FCU.

Drive away in a new or used vehicle for a standard loan rate of:

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

5.00 percent for 25-48 months;
5.75 percent for 49-60 months ($20,000 minimum); and
6.25 percent for terms extending from 61-72 months ($25,000 minimum).
You can lower your loan rate even more — by 0.75 percent — by becoming a Preferred Borrower.

Are you paying a higher rate on your current vehicle loan at another institution? Consider refinancing your outside loan at the MM&P FCU and taking advantage of our lower loan rates.

MM&P FCU will finance up to 100 percent of your new vehicle loan, and up to 90 percent of NADA Book Value on a used vehicle. Maximum vehicle loan amount is $30,000.

MM&P FCU members can reduce the interest rate they pay on any new loan even further by becoming a preferred borrower. What is a preferred borrower? That’s a member who deposits at least 10 percent of the original loan amount into their MM&P FCU savings account and keeps those funds on deposit until the loan is paid in full. By doing this you save twice – first, your deposit works for you by earning our regular dividend savings rate, and second, you save money by reducing the interest rate on your loan by 0.75 percent.

Contact the MM&P FCU for full details on all loan programs by email to or call 1-800-382-7777 toll-free.




On Sept.30, Merck & Co. voluntarily withdrew Vioxx, a popular anti-inflammatory medication, from the market. As a result, individuals who are currently taking the drug have been asked to contact their health care professionals to discuss discontinuing use of Vioxx and possible alternative treatments.

MM&P Plans Administrator Valerie Verrecchio reports that, “We have gotten a number of calls from members who want to know what to do with their remaining supply of Vioxx and whether the Plan or NMHC will refund their co-pay for the unused portion.

“Unfortunately, neither NMHC nor the Plan was aware of the Merck decision prior to the public announcement on Sept.30. As of that date, all deliveries of Vioxx to our members was suspended in accordance with Merck’s announcement. Orders that had already been processed and were in transit could not be stopped.

“In regard to refunds, Merck has set up a website at where members can obtain information on how to recover refunds from Merck for the unused portion of medication. Members can also call following toll free number for information: 1-888-368-4699.

“We are sorry for any inc onvenience this may have caused to members currently taking this medication, however, the matter is out of the control of the Plans.”


MM&P Plans Administrator Valerie Verrecchio reports, “Good news! NMHC mail has finally gotten their website upgraded and functioning properly. I went in and tested it myself and found it to be quite user friendly.”

To use NMHC’s upgraded service, go to the NMHC Mail website at and click on “MEMBER LOGIN” at the bottom of the screen.

First-time and Registered users may bypass the welcome screen and go directly to the log-in page at

  • First-time users should then click on the link marked “NEW USER: REGISTER HERE”.
    This will take you to a page titled “MEMBER REGISTRATION” where you will need to enter demographic information and submit it by clicking on the
  • “CREATE ACCOUNT” button.

After creating your account, NMHC will email you a password to gain entry into your records. With your first sign-in, the NMHC system will prompt you to change the NMHC password to one of your own choosing.

Once you are registered at NMHC, you can check the status of open orders by logging-in to the system through the “MEMBER LOGIN” page and going into the “MAIL ORDER” menu. You can look up all prescriptions and get the price our members will pay for any medication. You can also view an order history of all of your medication transactions (both retail and mail) for the last 24 months, locate 24-hour pharmacies in your zip code region as well as access other helpful member education information.

“We hope this welcome improvement will assist our members. Although you cannot order refills on line if you don’t provide a credit or debit card number, you can phone in your refill. Once you register on the website, you will still have access to all of the other information including checking the status of your order once it is phoned in,” said Ms. Verrecchio.


The U.S. Coast Guard has announced an initiative to identify and collect the oral histories of its World War II veterans. Coast Guard WWII veterans, including SPARS and merchant mariners, are encouraged to record their histories online with the Library of Congress Veterans History Project at

Those veterans needing assistance in recording their stories can receive help from their local Coast Guard Auxiliary public affairs contact by leaving a message at 1-877-875-6296, a toll-free call.



LMS Ship Management, the company that manages vessels for Central Gulf, Sulphur Carriers and Waterman Steamship, wants to remind MM&P members that they offer their crewmembers a $75 reimbursement on the cost of purchasing certain slip-resistant shoes and boots for use aboard ship.

This offer has been in place for some time and LMS reports that “we have been pleased with the participation to date, but feel a reminder may be in order.” Their goal is for every crewmember to wear slip resistant footwear during working hours aboard their vessels.

The $75 reimbursement is available to each crewmember who provides LMS with an original receipt for the purchase of slip resistant footwear. In order for the crewmember to obtain the reimbursement, they must wear the shoes while on duty. Upon presentation of the receipt, the crewmember will be reimbursed on their pay voucher. The receipt will be retained by the Master and will remain aboard the vessel.

Vessels in the LMS footwear reimbursement program are:

  • Green Cove
  • Green Dale
  • Green Lake
  • Green Point
  • Atlantic Forest
  • Sulphur Enterprise
  • Energy Enterprise
  • SGT Matej C. Kocak
  • MAJ Stephen W. Pless, and
  • PFC Eugene A. Obregon

LMS notes that in order to receive reimbursement, crewmembers must purchase one of the following recommended brands:

  • WORX by Red Wing Slip Resistant Footwear
  • Caterpillar (must have steel toe & slip resistant sole)
  • Wolverine (must have steel toe and slip resistant sole)
  • Dunham Sierra Work Boot EH
  • Steel Toe Voyager
  • Georgia Boot 6- or 8-inch Safety Toe Boot
  • Dr. Marten’s (must have steel toe & slip resistant sole)


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

Redwing’s Union-made products are: Red Wing shoes and boots, Red Wing motorcycle boots and Craftsman (Sears).

Wolverine World Wide manufactures boots under the Caterpillar brand using US union labor. (Other union made safety-shoe brands by Wolverine are the company’s Hy-Test, Durashock and Bates Military labels. The company’s Wolverine brand combat boots are also produced using US union labor.)

Most Dr. Marten’s shoes and boots are produced in the UK.

To find US, union-made products, visit the AFL-CIO Union Label Service and Trades website at and click on “Union Made Product Search”. To shop for union-made products online, go to



The Union Label recently went digital with a new website offering shoppers an array of union-made gifts, from clothing and chocolates to computers, games and greeting cards.

The website,, launches on the eve of the fall and winter holidays, when shoppers will spend an estimated $1 trillion on gifts, food, drinks and other seasonal items, explained Matt Bates, Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO Union Label & Service Trades Department. The all-union shopping site, however, will be a year-round operation because that is what consumers demand, he added.

“Shoppers spent $56 billion in Internet sales last year, and on-line spending is doubling every two to three years. Everyday we receive Email and calls from people who want to support good jobs by buying union-made goods and services. The website will reach millions of people, 24 hours a day, with a quick convenient way to shop union,” Bates said.

“The public is ready for this. People have seen millions of good jobs disappear and they are looking for ways to take a stand and make a difference,” he added.

The AFL-CIO will target the peak of the holiday shopping season by promoting “Buy Union Week” Nov. 26 through Dec. 5. The newly-launched, all-union shopping site will be a cornerstone of that campaign. MM&P has a link to the Shop Union Site on this website under “Links and Other Sources”.

The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates, and Pilots, ILA, AFL-CIO, 700 Maritime Blvd., Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1941. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973; Email: For further info or to subscribe contact John Peige at The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea, broadcast worldwide via FEC marine telex and is posted on our web page.