Wheelhouse Weekly – March 17, 2006

March 17th 2006


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

Volume 10 . . . . . Number 11. . . . March 17, 2006




T-AGS Oceanographic Survey Ships Info

Required Coursework

Security Clearances

MSC Physicals

MM&P Health & Benefit Plan News

Notice to Members who are taking Vioxx

NMHC Mail-Order Prescriptions Website Updated & Improved

WWII USCG Veterans Outreach

Company Gives Bucks Back for buying Safe Shoes

Website Offers Union-Made Goods and Services

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




The Seattle Hiring Hall and Offshore Division offices are moving again! Effective, Monday, March 20th, the new location will be at the 15208 52nd Ave. S., Suite 100, Seattle, WA 98188. Telephone and fax numbers are unchanged: tel: 206-441-8700, fax: 206-448-8829. Please call for directions. The location is at the intersection of Interstate 5 and Interstate 405, just northwest of Southcenter Mall, near SeaTac Airport.



Capt. Charles Pillsbury, former Executive Director of MITAGS and current teacher at MITAGS, was hospitalized last Friday (3-10) with a heart condition. He remains in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit. Members who would like to send a get well card to Chuck can do so in care of MM&P HQ, 700 Maritime Blvd., Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1941. MM&P’s officers and staff extend their very best wishes to Chuck for a speedy recovery.


Mike Rodriguez, Executive Assistant to MM&P’s International President, has been called to active duty effective March 20th. He as served as Executive Assistant to MM&P International President Timothy Brown since February 2001. However he has a second employer: Mike is a Naval Reservist assigned to the Merchant Marine Operational Command HQ Unit 0102 in Baltimore. Mike’s tour of duty may last one year.

Since Mike learned of his deployment, he has been working with staff at MM&P HQ, Plans, MITAGS and MIRAID toward a smooth turnover of the various projects and responsibilities in which he is involved. The goal is to provide for an efficient transition so that the work Mike handles can be readily accomplished until he returns.

As he prepares to deploy, Mike extends thanks “to MM&P officers Tim Brown, Glen Banks and the rest of the General Executive Board for their support of my naval career.” Mike also thanks to Jim Patti, Valerie Verrecchio, Audrey Scharmann and Diane Chatham for their help on many of his projects and the varied aspects of his role at MM&P. Mike also wants to express his thanks to the entire MM&P membership, as well as to his family, for their patience and support.

“I’m proud to serve MM&P and the Navy,” Mike says. “I expect to return to serve our members as a better mariner and a better officer. God Bless the United States and protect our brothers and sisters in the American Merchant Marine.”


MM&P’s General Executive Board met at MM&P HQ on March 14th and 15th. 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 15th meeting:

Stephen G. Fuccillo
Mark H. Lloyd
Daniel S. Nakos
James W. Ramsden
Pamela L. Taylor

TRANSFER NOT PRIOR OFFSHORE MEMBER (United Inland Membership Group – Great Lakes & Rivers) TO LICENSED DECK
John B. Waldrip

Scott D. Carter
David A. Desrosiers
Jennifer L. Fowler
Marcus J. Goodwin
Brian J. Kiesel
Larry G. McLawhorn
Olubunmi J. Owolabi
Rodney T. Rose
Liulaumea Toafe

Paul M. Grindle Maine Maritime Academy
Rayford J. Hardwick Kings Point
Raymond P. Lilly Kings Point
Raymond F. Tinney Texas A&M Maritime Acad.
Dwight J. Tompkins SUNY Maritime College


In accordance with Article IV, Section 2, of the International Constitution, you are hereby notified that a regular convention of the MM&P will be convened at 1000 hrs on Tuesday, August 22, 2006, at MITAGS, 692 Maritime Boulevard, Linthicum Heights, Maryland 21090.
Members are also hereby notified that in accordance with Article IV, Section 6., Subsection b), all proposed resolutions must be forwarded to the International Secretary-Treasurer at least 30 days prior to the opening day of the Convention for inclusion on the Agenda and determination by the Convention.


The US Coast Guard, Los Angeles-Long Beach Regional Exam Center (REC) will be moving locations to better serve the maritime community in late March. The REC, which serves 16,000 area merchant mariners, will be relocating from its Seaside Avenue, Terminal Island location to the sixth floor of the Long Beach Federal Building located at 501 W. Ocean Blvd. Suite 6200, Long Beach, CA. The REC will be closing its Seaside Avenue location on March 23rd and is scheduled to reopen to the public at its new Long Beach location on April 13th.

All mail-in credentialing business should be sent to the following new address starting on April 10, 2006:
US Coast Guard
Regional Examination Center
501 W. Ocean Blvd. Suite 6200
Long Beach, CA 90802

To view updates on the REC move go to the USCG Web page at:
For replacement of lost credentials during the closure, contact REC San Francisco Bay at 510-637-1124.


The USCG’s limited-service regional exam center for the New Orleans area has been relocated to Metairie, LA. The new location at 201 Hammond Highway, Metairie, LA, 70005, is scheduled to operate Monday through Friday, 0800 to 1145 and 1300 to 1530. Personnel at the regional exam center will be able to provide such limited services as identification and fingerprinting services and oath administration. For more info call 504-219-2719.


Amid the growing controversy over the foreign ownership of US ports and shipping assets, Dubai Ports World has decided to sell off its US terminal interests over the next four to six months. DP World purchased the port operations of British-owned P&O earlier this month. P&O handles significant operations at ports in New Jersey, New York, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia, plus lesser dockside activities at 16 other ports in this country. DP World has said those US operations are worth roughly $700 million.

The DP World decision to sell its US operations to US owners has been praised by both supporters and critics of the original deal. One very vocal critic, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), said, “This is the first time we have gotten clarification that the intent is for full divestiture. While I still have to look at the details, it looks now like they have fleshed this out in far greater detail.” Schumer said that he has been assured that the process to find a US owner will be open, fair and quick. “That is very good news. That’s what we have been seeking from the beginning,” he said.


As part of the continuing fall-out over US maritime security generated by the port controversy, Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) introduced a bill earlier this week (S. 2410) which, among other things, would establish a scanning system for 100 percent of the inbound maritime containers destined for US ports. In the past, government and industry officials have said such a move would grind commerce to a halt. The bill also mandates that not later than 90 days after the date of enactment, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security report to Congress on processes and policies for implementation of the scanning program. The measure was referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.


In the wake of the great port debate that has grabbed so much media attention over the last several weeks, Congress remains focused on maritime matters. Earlier this week, in a 90-8 vote, the Senate approved a bill to spend nearly a billion dollars next year on port security. The House is expected to take up a companion bill shortly.


Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA) has introduced a bill (H.R. 4954) to improve maritime and cargo security through a various number of enhanced defense systems. If enacted, the “Safe Port Act” would, among other things, require the Department of Homeland Security to develop a timeline for deployment of radiation portal monitors at all seaports handling containerized cargo. It would also establish joint operations centers at seaports to bring together federal, state, local, and private sector security partners.

In introducing the bill, Lungren noted: “I am hopeful the recent heightened attention paid to the issue of national port security will inject a sense of urgency and spur the adoption of real-time legislation that ensures the safety of the American people and the security of our global supply chain. The SAFE Port Act strategically and practically addresses the need for comprehensive port security by effectively extending our borders out and focuses our limited resources on suspect cargo, port operations, and individuals before our national security can be compromised. Our shores must be the last line of defense in port security, not the first.”

The measure would:

  • Require DHS to conduct terrorist watch-list checks of all port employees with access to secure areas,
  • Ensure 100 percent of containers are scanned for radiation
  • Provide risk-based funding through a dedicated Port Security Grant Program to harden US ports against terrorist attacks and enhance capabilities to respond to attacks and resume operations.
  • Require the Secretary of DHS to develop protocols for resuming trade after a transportation security incident.


    Another area of maritime security to draw increased scrutiny from some members of Congress and the news media as a result of the extended port security flap has been the time it has taken the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to develop and implement the Transportation Worker Identification Credentials (TWIC) system. The futuristic ID program was mandated by Congress in 2002 as part of the Maritime Transportation Security Act and was supposed to be functional by 2004.

    TWIC uses a new multi-format identity verification and access control card which carries biometric data that must match the individual cardholder before the card bearer can gain access to secure areas of seaports and cargo terminals. It is designed to store the cardholder’s data in various formats – on a computer chip, on a magnetic strip, on a two-dimensional (2-D) bar code and on a liner bar code – to ensure that one card is compatible with the various security and access controls already in place.

    Since November 2005, the TWIC card has been pilot tested in various ports across the country and reportedly there’s considerable developmental work that still needs to be done to get the system right. Some insiders familiar with the system’s shortfalls believe for DHS to now rapidly increase the speed for TWIC implementation nationwide could lead to a security shipwreck for maritime workers.


    The foreign-flagged container ship APL PANAMA that has grounded in the sand for two-and-a-half months since an ill-fated attempt to enter the Ensenada, Mexico harbor on Christmas Day is finally off the beach. The 874-foot ship was pulled out of her sand trap and into open water by tugboats on March 10th. By that time, she had been stripped of all her above deck containers and a special channel had been dredged close to the ship so she could make her escape. The dredge FRANCESCO DI GIORGIO was brought in from Nicaragua to dig the channel. The ship was taken to a safe anchorage for inspection. There was no apparent damage to the cargo and no leaks or spills occurred during the efforts to refloat the vessel.


    If you are interested in taking the helm of a growing Maritime Program at a coastal branch-campus of a world-class university, can navigate the deep waters of the US Maritime Administration and other Federal and State Agencies, and mentor maritime cadets from the bridge of a training ship in the stormy North Sea, you may be the leader that Texas A&M University at Galveston is seeking to serve as the next Superintendent of the Texas Maritime Academy.

    As the only maritime academy on the Gulf Coast, the Texas Maritime Academy is strategically located to make important contributions to American domestic and international shipping and to the offshore oil and gas industries in the Gulf of Mexico. The Superintendent is the senior administrative officer of the Academy and has comprehensive responsibility for internal program direction and maintenance of strong ties with state and federal agencies whose missions interface with the maritime industry. At the federal level the Superintendent works closely with the US Maritime Administration in its role in maritime education and training. The Superintendent is a member of the executive leadership team of the Galveston campus and will be appointed Rear Admiral in the US Maritime Service by the Administrator, US Maritime Administration.

    The Superintendent has comprehensive responsibility for development of leadership training programs for the US Maritime Services Corps of Cadets and for the coordination of the role of the Training Ship TEXAS CLIPPER in the life of the Academy and the University. This responsibility includes the expectation that the Superintendent will be present during a major portion of each year’s training cruise.

    The successful candidate will have a Masters Degree in a maritime discipline or equivalent and a minimum of five years of administrative experience as a department head or in a senior/flag officer capacity in the US Coast Guard or the US Navy or in a senior-level maritime industry position. Experience in both command of a vessel and in marine engineering is highly desirable.

    To be considered, applicants must complete an application form which can be down loaded from the A&M Web site at In addition, please submit a letter of interest, resume and names and email addresses of three (3) individuals who have agreed to serve as references. (References will be contacted only after permission from the candidate.) Application packets should be sent to: Texas Maritime Academy Search Committee, Human Resources Department, Texas A&M University at Galveston, PO Box 1675, Galveston, TX 77553-1675.


    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.

    Two MERPAC working groups will meet at USCG HQ on April 3rd, from 0830 to 1630. The full MERPAC committee will meet on April 4th from 0830 to 1630 and on April 5th from 0830 to 1600. Requests to make oral presentations should reach the USCG on or before March 24. For more info, contact Mr. Gould at 202-267-6890, fax 202-267-4570, or email


    CLASS OPENINGS: Between January and the end of June 2006, seats are available in the following courses:

    AIS – Automated Identification Systems: 5/5
    ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 5/1, 5/15, 6/5
    AZIPOD-KAM – Azipod and Kamewa Steering and Propulsion Systems: 5/15

    BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 5/15, 6/12
    BST – Basic Safety Training: 4/24, 5/22, 6/26

    [CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
    CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 1): 3/20, 6/12
    CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 3/27, 6/19
    CMM-ADVSTAB – Advanced Stability: 4/3, 5/22
    CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 6/28
    CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display and Info Systems: 3/20, 5/1, 5/15
    CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 4/17, 6/26
    CMM-SHMGT – Ship Management I (week 1): 6/19
    CMM-SHMGT – Ship Management II (week 2): 6/12
    CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 4/17, 5/29
    CMM-SHS-ADV-II – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 3/20, 5/29
    CMM-VPEN – Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 3/27, 5/8, 6/5
    CMM-WKP – Watchkeeping: 4/10, 6/5

    COMP-OPSYS – Basic Computer Operating Systems: 6/26
    CONT-PLNG – Contingency Planning: 3/24, 6/9
    CSE-AASE – Confined Space Entry: 5/15

    FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 4/24, 5/22, 6/26

    HAZ-Hazardous Materials (5-day): 3/27, 4/10, 5/1, 6/12

    MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 3/23, 5/4, 6/8
    MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 4/22, 5/13, 6/19
    MED-PIC – Medical Person-In-Charge: 4/17, 5/8, 6/5, 6/19
    MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 4/17, 5/8, 6/5, 6/19

    [MSC – Military Sealift Command]
    MSC-CBRD-1 (Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Orientation): 4/19, 5/10, 6/19
    MSC-DC (Damage Control): 4/20, 5/11, 6/20
    MSC-SMA – Small Arms (4-day): 5/15, 6/19
    MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 3/31, 4/28, 5/19, 6/23 (must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years)

    ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal (5-day): 5/22
    ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 5/1, 5/15, 6/5, 6/21

    SEC-OFF-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 5/1, 6/5
    SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 4/10
    SHS-EMR – Emergency Shiphandling: 6/28

    TPIC – Tankerman Person-In-Charge: 4/10

    Check the MITAGS website at for course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations, and schedule revisions. For class availability or info on MITAGS courses and programs, contact admissions toll-free at 866-656-5568 or Email:


    Spring – Summer 2006

    March 2006

    3/4-5 Recreational Weather
    3/6-10 BST
    3/6-9 Lifeboat/Survival Craft
    3/6-10 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
    3/6-10 Basic Meteorology
    3/6-18 100 Ton OUPV
    3/13-24 GMDSS
    3/13-17 CONSTB
    3/14-15 MAXIMO
    3/20-24 CHS BAS
    3/22-24 Ship Security Officer
    3/25-26 Simulator Assessment
    3/27-31 MED PRO
    3/27-31 ARPA
    3/27 Radar Renewal
    3/27-4/7 MEDPIC

    April 2006
    4/3-4 Search and Rescue
    4/5-7 Emergency Procedures
    4/3-7 BST
    4/4-7 Survival Craft (Lifeboatman)
    4/10-14 ECDIS
    4/10-14 Radar Observer Unlimited
    4/10-14 AB
    4/10-21 GMDSS
    4/17-21 ARPA
    4/17 Radar Renew
    4/17-21 Basic Shiphandling
    4/24-5/5 Watchkeeping (BRM Inc.)

    May 2006
    5/1-3 BRM
    5/1-5 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
    5/2-5 Survival Craft (Lifeboatman)
    5/8-12 Basic Shiphandling
    5/8-12 BST
    5/8-12 AB
    5/8-19 GMDSS
    5/8-20 100 Ton OUPV
    5/15-19 MEDPRO
    5/15-26 MEDPIC
    5/22 Flashing Light

    June 2006
    6/5-9 ECDIS
    6/5-9 ARPA
    6/5-9 BST
    6/6-9 Survival Craft (Lifeboatman)
    6/5-23 TCNAV/CO
    6/19-23 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
    6/19-30 GMDSS
    6/26-30 Radar Observer Unlimited
    6/26-30 Basic Shiphandling

    August 2006
    31 Jul-4 Aug Basic Shiphandling
    7-11 ECDIS
    7-11 Basic Safety Training
    7-11 Meteorology – Basic
    8-11 Survival Craft / Lifeboatman
    14-18 Able Bodied Seaman
    14-18 Basic and Advanced Firefighting
    14-25 GMDSS
    14-25 Shiphandling – Advanced
    21-25 Ship Construction & Basic Stability
    21-25 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
    28-1 Sep Cargo Handling & Stowage – Basic

    September 2006
    5-9 (tu-sa) Medical Care Provider
    5-9 (tu-sa) Emergency Shiphandling 5-day
    5-15 Medical Person-In-Charge
    11-12 Search and Rescue
    11-15 Basic Safety Training
    11-23 100 Ton OUPV
    12-15 Survival Craft / Lifeboatman
    13-15 Emergency Procedures
    18-22 Radar Observer Unlimited
    18-22 Shiphandling – Basic
    18-22 Able Bodied Seaman
    18-6 Oct Terrestrial & Coastal Navigation with Compasses
    25th Radar Recertification
    25-29 ARPA
    25-2 Oct Watchkeeping & BRM

    For registration call Jennifer Fowler 888-893-7829


    High quality with embroidered PMI logo.
    Navy or Khaki Hats : $16 / includes tax
    Button Down Long Sleeve Dress Shirts
    Blue or Khaki: $38 / includes tax
    Pocket t-shirts with Logo: $12 / includes tax
    15oz. Cobalt Blue Ceramic Mug: $8 / includes tax

    Call DeeDee Lazik 206-838-8328 or e-mail



     D O W  N A S D A Q  S & P 500
    11,053.53 -83.64 for the week 2,314.64 +31.47 for the week 1,291.24 -1.43 for the week


    Fund Name & Trading Symbol
     Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
     Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
     Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
     Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
     Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
     Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
     Vanguard High Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX)
     Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
     Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
     Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
     Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
     Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
     Fidelity Small Company Instl (FMACX)
     Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
     Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX) 45.84 -.01
     Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)


    ~ Reminders ~




    All MM&P members are reminded that to sail aboard the T-AGS ships that MM&P-contracted Horizon Lines will be operating, you must have the required training certification and your certificates must be current in accordance with Military Sealift Command requirements. Members are also required to have had a MSC pre-employment physical and to possess Ship Security Clearance (see below).

    The MSC Contract calls for all training certificates required for manning of these vessels to be no older than 5 years and that all STCW-95 courses be renewed every 5 years, or annually, as applicable.

    Five-year renewable courses include, but are not limited to:

    • Advanced Fire Fighting
    • Basic Safety Training, and
    • Damage Control

    Small Arms certificates must be less than 1 year old and MUST NOT expire during your tour of duty.

    Members interested in applying for one of the positions onboard the T-AGS vessels are advised to make sure your certificates are up to date. If not, contact Mary Matlock or Diane Ford at MITAGS Admissions, email:, and schedule to take the course(s) needed.

    Those MM&P members interested in obtaining more information and facts about the T-AGS Oceanographic Vessels are asked to email the Director of Special Projects requesting the “facts sheet”. It will be provided by return email in an Adobe Acrobat PDF format.

    Members interested in employment on the T-AGS ships are asked to provide a 1-2 page resume. Please list the desired position you are seeking along with the certificates of training you possess and their dates. Upon receipt it will be forwarded to Horizon Lines and a confirmation sent back to the member. Vessel turnover commenced Oct.17, 2004. Positions for all ratings remain open.

    The point of contact for sending a resume for employment on the Horizon Lines T-AGS Oceanographic Vessels is Richard Plant, MM&P’s Director of Special Projects. Send resumes in an email or as a Word file attachment to him at:, by fax to 410-850-0973 or by mail to:

    Richard Plant, Director of Special Projects

    700 Maritime Blvd.
    Linthicum Heights, MD 21090


    Members who want to sail for Horizon Lines on the T-AGS Oceanographic Survey vessels the company is set to begin operating for MSC must have Ship Security Clearance before going aboard.

    Special software must be downloaded from the US Government’s Defense Security Service to complete the Security Clearance application. You must have an Internet connection and a Windows-based computer to retrieve the application and run the program.

    Go to to download the software titled “EPSQ SUBJECT2_2”.

    After the software is installed and the program is launched, select “Create” from the menu bar at the top of the screen. You will be required to enter your Social Security Number and a case-sensitive password. A window titled “Type of Form” will appear.

    All Deck Officers should select the first button titled “Request for Security Clearance (SF86)” and then click “OK” to go to the next screen, “Type of Investigation”.

    From the “Type of Investigation” screen:

    • Masters and Radio Officers should select the first button, “Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI)”.
    • All other Deck Officers (C/M, 2/M, 3/M) should click on the second button, “National Agency Check (NAC or NACLC)”.

    After selecting the appropriate investigation type, click on “OK” to begin filling in the forms.



    Horizon Lines requests all mariners seeking employment aboard the T-AGS Oceanographic vessels to take their MSC Physical at specially-designated facilities only after being advised to do so by the Company. This is to assure that all requirements of the MSC Physical are properly met.




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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



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

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

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

    Vessels in the LMS footwear reimbursement program are:

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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