Wheelhouse Weekly – March 17, 2008

March 17th 2008


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

Volume 12 . . . . . Number 11. . . .March 17, 2008




T-AGS Oceanographic Survey Ships Info

Required Coursework

Security Clearances

MSC Physicals


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.


Beginning this week, MM&P will distribute a poster detailing seafarers’ rights in the event of a maritime casualty to all union halls and contracted companies. The poster, “Seafarers: Be Aware,” was designed as the centerpiece of the campaign launched recently by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), the International Shipping Federation (ISF) and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS). The three organizations have united to support and promote the “Guidelines on the Fair Treatment of Seafarers in the Event of a Maritime Accident,” developed under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Labor Organization (ILO). The guidelines require that seafarers be treated fairly by ports and coastal states, flag states, seafarers’ home countries and shipowners. The poster, which is also available for download from MM&P’s website,, carries the following message:

“REMEMBER—If you are questioned about a maritime accident involving your vessel:

  • If you think it is necessary, ask for a lawyer before answering any questions or making any statements to port, coastal or flag state investigators, since any statement you make could be used against you in future criminal or other legal proceedings
  • Contact your company and/or union for advice and assistance
  • Make sure you fully understand everything that you are asked

If there is anything you don’t understand:

  • ask the authorities to stop the questioning
  • request the assistance of an interpreter, if necessary

It is important to ensure that you protect your interests first. Therefore, follow the advice you receive from your company, union or lawyer, and importantly, when advised to provide information, be truthful with investigators. Read the fair treatment guidelines and know your rights. If in doubt, ask for advice.”

The guidelines are posted in their entirety at and


An interview with MM&P member Robert Johnson, a Columbia River Bar Pilot, was aired Feb. 27 on a Portland, Ore., news station. The report focused on the challenges of navigating ships through the bar, especially in poor weather conditions. The report included filmed footage of the dangers pilots encounter as they move between pilot boats and ships amid ocean swells and gale-force winds. The segment mentions the 2006 death of pilot Kevin Murray, who was swept away when he fell into rough seas during a nighttime transfer.


MM&P-crewed USNS SACAGAWEA, a Military Sealift Command dry cargo/ ammunition ship, rescued 10 Iraqi seafarers from a sinking tanker in the Central Arabian Gulf on Feb. 22.  The ship, the North Korean-flagged MV NADI, had been operating without power for a week. The crew was suffering from dehydration and exhaustion.

USNS SACAGAWEA was conducting logistics operations in the area when the distress call was issued. Medical officers on the ship stood by, ready to examine the seamen, who were picked up by the aircraft from USS TRUMAN’s Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 7 and delivered to the SACAGAWEA. The ship’s crew provided shower and laundry facilities, food, and clothing. On Feb. 23, the Iraqi mariners were transferred to the UK’s Royal Fleet Auxiliary landing dock ship CARDIGAN BAY, and taken to the Iraqi Navy the following day for transport home. 


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) says only one-fourth of all maritime workers who will need to obtain the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) have begun the enrollment process. In the most recent edition of DHS’s TWIC Dashboard report, the agency said 190,447 people had pre-enrolled and 120,148 had completed the enrollment process. DHS said it anticipates more than 750,000 workers, including longshoremen, truckers and port employees, will be required to obtain a TWIC card.

The TWIC Dashboard provides program information on enrollment, contact information for TWIC resources and quarterly deployment schedules of enrollment center openings. You can access the website by clicking on


In other TWIC news, Lockheed Martin announced that you can now go online to check the status of a TWIC application and schedule a card pick-up appointment at the enrollment center. Pre-enrolled applicants can log on to TWIC’s website at http://twicinformation.tsa/, and click on the “Check Card/Status/Schedule Pickup” link on the left margin. The next step is to fill out the “Check Card Status” form to access your account. If the card status shows “Ready for Pickup: Yes,” you can schedule the “Activation/Pickup Appointment” online. Appointments can also be scheduled by calling the TWIC Help Desk at 1-866-DHS-TWIC, once automated notification is received. Lockheed Martin said it continues to service walk-in activations/pickups at enrollment centers during normal business hours. 


The following item is reprinted in its entirety, with permission, from the March 6, 2008 issue of MarEx Newsletter.

Joseph Keefe

“It would be an understatement to say that U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen has had a very busy three weeks. Culminating in his first appearance before the House Committee on Appropriations and Subcommittee on Homeland Security, where he discussed the President’s fiscal year 2009 budget request for the Coast Guard, he also appeared at a Senate Committee hearing on oil spill protection (March 4), and in mid-February, he gave the annual State-of-the-Coast Guard address at the National Press Club in Washington, followed by a quick trip to Houston to address the MARE (Maritime Transportation of Energy) 2008 Forum. No doubt I missed a few others and somewhere in between all of that, he’s found time to run the Coast Guard.

Allen’s tenure as Coast Guard Commandant has so far been anything but easy and he got dealt a less than perfect hand as he took the reins. Deepwater, poor internal accounting, marine safety program headaches — you name it, he’s had to set about fixing it. And why not? After all, they brought in the guy who picked up the pieces after Katrina to do the same with programs and processes within the Coast Guard that were also perceived to be “broken.” Allen knows what has to be done and he has set about an aggressive pace to make it happen. But the one thing he is no longer prepared to do is to labor under what he characterizes as “the inferred motto” of doing more with less.

In recent conversations with Adm. Allen, MarEx also learned that his interpretation of what needs to be done — and more importantly, why — differs considerably with some widely held notions. Allen is fully prepared to defend every penny of the President’s proposed fiscal year 2009 budget and has characterized the amount as adequate for the coming year. But, this is only the start, he says. “An adequate, permanent recapitalization plan is needed.” Beyond this, he insists that discussions surrounding Coast Guard acquisitions and appropriations can no longer be couched in terms of “whether or not we need the Coast Guard.” He says, rather strongly I might add, “That discussion is over.”

Allen instead grounds any discussion regarding Coast Guard appropriations in terms of operational realities. “You can talk a long time about what happened with the marine safety product line, if you will, around the early 1990s, but there were certain external things that happened to us to put that program in a hole. That doesn’t impeach the concept,” he says. Much has been made of the deterioration of the Coast Guard’s delivery of service to the commercial mariner and the maritime industry in general over the past two decades. In response, Allen has laid down the law within the Coast Guard as to how service should be delivered. He’s also asking Congress to put their money where their mouth is.

The wholesale overhaul of many aspects of how the Coast Guard does business is now underway. Part of that effort will involve an internal culture change. Another important part will be the extent to which Congress decides to appropriate funding for this important, multi-missioned service. Allen perhaps puts it best when he says, “We have multi-missioned cutters and multi-missioned people that you put in place and we can do five or six different things. We can’t do five or six different things at once.” All of this goes towards both the recapitalization of rapidly aging physical assets, as well as the size of the Coast Guard.

It is a fact that today’s Coast Guard — with an ever-expanding mission mix — is operating with the same number of personnel that it had a generation ago. To put things in further perspective, today’s Coast Guard, which can be neatly seated within the confines of the Washington Nationals’ new baseball venue, is expected to guard 95,000 miles of coastline with a force roughly equivalent to the size of the New York City Police Department. Allen knows, as he tries to meet the growing portfolio of duties and emerging challenges, that there is a limit to how fast the force can grow. But, he says, “We are talking about thousands, not hundreds of personnel.” In fact, he insists that the Coast Guard may need to grow its head count, in the short term, by as many 1,200-to-1,700 annually.

A $9.3 billion budget is enough to make even the most hardened of Capitol Hill observers blink. The reality of this number is that even a penny less in appropriations endangers the safety of millions of boaters, the environment and just as importantly, the very frontline of national homeland security. The maritime industry itself, long crying out for reform in the way the Coast Guard provides service, should back the full amount of the President’s request and hold their congressional delegation’s feet to the fire until they get it. Only then can they expect Adm. Allen to do the same with the full breadth of the marine safety program.

The guy who brought New Orleans back from the brink in the sloppy wake of Katrina can also be counted on to lead the Coast Guard out of the woods on any number of challenges. Thad Allen also says, “Doing more with less is over.” I believe him. And, while he uses those words (in part) as a pry to ensure adequate funding for his portfolio of missions, from my perspective, the continued expectation for the Coast Guard to do more with less is a recipe for disaster. Allen, better than anyone else, ought to know — he’s lived that reality for his entire career. Now, he’d like to finish that career by bringing the Coast Guard all the way back. Along the way, he’ll need some help.
– -MarEx (Copyright Maritime Executive, 2008)


Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have expressed support for U.S.-flag vessels and America’s Merchant Marine. If elected President, each candidate has pledged to pursue policies closely aligned with those of maritime labor, including support for the Jones Act, cargo preference laws and the Maritime Security Program. 

Their remarks were made in response to a questionnaire distributed to all the Presidential candidates by the AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trades Department (TTD). MM&P is a member of TTD through its affiliation with the AFL-CIO.

 Clinton said she is committed to using American products in the nation’s “coastal vessels to spur more jobs for hardworking Americans.” As President, she said, she would “firmly oppose” any effort to weaken the Jones Act. The Maritime Security Program, she added, is “very important for commercial vessels when it comes to international trade.” As President, she said she would “make sure our country has a strong maritime fleet to meet the needs of our economy and our military.”

Obama characterized the Jones Act as “vital” to national defense and the support of American workers, and vows to enforce it if he elected President. He said that full funding of the Maritime Security Program is also necessary to ensure U.S.-flag vessels are ready to meet challenges in times of war and national emergencies.


The National Weather Service (NWS) Ocean Prediction Center (OPC) is requesting comments relating to the importance of accurate and timely marine weather analyses to shipboard operations. Staffers at the center are especially interested in how this information is used to avoid damage, injury or loss of life. Equally important are comments associated with the use of this information to enhance vessel efficiencies (timely ETAs, reduced fuel consumption, etc.).  It would also be helpful if comments include how the situation today has improved in these areas, as compared with a decade ago (1990s).

All comments should be submitted to David Feit, Chief of the Ocean Forecast Branch, via e-mail at Comments may also be mailed to David Feit, Ocean Prediction Center; National Weather Service; 5200 Auth Road, Room 410; Camp Springs, MD 20746


The Coast Guard’s Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet April 8-10 in Dania Beach, Fla., at the RTM STAR Center, 2 West Dixie Highway. The agenda for the working group meeting, scheduled for April 8, includes discussion of Task Statement 68, the draft Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular, ‘‘Medical and Physical Evaluation Guidelines for Merchant Mariner Credentials’’; and Task Statement 69, concerning revisions to forms CG–719K, Merchant Mariner Physical Examination Report, and CG–719K/E, Merchant Marine Certification of Fitness.

The full committee will meet April 9. New working groups may be formed to address issues proposed by the Coast Guard, MERPAC members, or members of the public. At the end of the day, the working groups will make a report to the full committee. No action will be taken on the reports on this date.

All meetings are open to the public. At the Chair’s discretion, members of the public may make oral presentations during the meetings. If you would like to make an oral presentation, please notify the Executive Director no later than March 26. Written material for distribution at a meeting should reach the Coast Guard no later than March 26. If you would like a copy of your material distributed to each member of the committee or subcommittee in advance of a meeting, please submit 25 copies to the Executive Director no later than March 26. Send written material and requests to make oral presentations to: Captain Michael Blair, Executive Director of MERPAC, Commandant (CG–5221, U.S. Coast Guard, 2100 Second St., SW, Wash., DC 20593–0001). For more information, contact Mark Gould, Assistant to the Executive Director of MERPAC, at 202–372–1409.


The Towing Safety Advisory Committee (TSAC) and its working groups on the Medical Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) and inspection of towing vessels will meet in Jeffersonville, Ind., April 1-2. The committee will also discuss issues relating to shallow-draft inland and coastal waterway navigation and towing safety. All meetings will be open to the public. The working groups will meet Tuesday, April 1, starting at 8:00 a.m. The full committee will meet April 2. Written material, requests to make oral presentations and material for distribution should reach the Coast Guard on or before March 24. All meetings will be held at the offices of American Commercial Lines, 1701 East Market Street, Jeffersonville, Ind. 47130; phone (812) 288-0347. TSAC is using Louisville Airport (SDF) and the Residence Marriott Hotel Downtown Louisville, KY.

For more information, contact Gerald P. Miante, Assistant Executive Director, TSAC; U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters, CG-5221, Room 1210; 2100 Second Street, SW, Wash., DC 20593-0001; phone (202) 372-1401, fax (202) 372-1926, or e-mail at:


Coast Guard officers said they boarded a ship in the Patuxent River Channel March 8 after the pilots on board reported that some members of the crew were drunk and carrying knives.  The vessel involved was the Maltese-flagged OCEAN VICTORY.Eventually, the two pilots were able to depart the ship on the pilot boat. At last report, the ship was detaining the ship at anchor for investigations.


The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has announced it will hold a two-day public hearing as part of its ongoing investigation into the accident in which the COSCO BUSAN struck the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, spilling approximately 55,000 gallons of fuel oil. The hearing will convene at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 8, at the NTSB’s Board Room and Conference Center, 429 L’Enfant Plaza, SW, Wash., D.C.

NTSB said the meeting will focus on: the operability of the COSCO BUSAN’s safety management system and navigation equipment; accident notification and initial spill assessment; the role of the Vessel Traffic Service, and state pilotage oversight.

Among those expected to testify are witnesses from: the Coast Guard; the California Department of Fish and Game; the San Francisco Bar Pilots; Fleet Management Limited (operators of the COSCO BUSAN); the California Board of Pilot Commissioners; and the American Pilots Association.
The hearing will be webcast. An agenda and webcast details will be posted on the Board’s website,, as soon as it becomes available.


Any mariner who resided in New York State during the period 1941-45 and received his DD-214 for service in the American Merchant Marine can apply for the New York state bonus of $250. Widows who never remarried can also apply. If you believe you qualify for the bonus, please write to Michelle LaRock, 5 Empire State Plaza, New York State Division of Veteran Affairs, Suite 2836, Albany, N.Y., 12223 to register. Please note: MM&P has no further information about this bonus.


An MM&P member has volunteered to collect donations of money, cards and testimonials for Bernadette Hertel, who has retired as MM&P dispatcher. If you’d like to send a gift to Bernadette, please make your check payable to Kevin McHugh ( and mail it as soon as possible to MM&P’s LA/LB Hall, 533 N. Marine Ave., Wilmington, CA 90744-5527. Please write “Attention: Bernadette Retirement” on the envelope. The goal is to collect all the testimonials, gifts, photos, etc., in the course of the next five weeks, so if you would like to send something, please do so as soon as possible.


Attorneys for Exxon are arguing before the High Court that the company should not be held liable for the actions of the captain of the vessel, which ran around in 1989. Plaintiffs are arguing, on the other hand, that the company is responsible because it was aware the captain had a drinking problem. The captain was acquitted in an earlier court case of charges that he had been intoxicated when he left the bridge. In the meantime, a University of Alaska study revealed that only a quarter of the marine life affected by the spill survived. The plaintiffs were originally awarded $5 billion in punitive damages in U.S. District Court, but after a series of appeals, the award has been cut to $2.5 billion. Exxon also paid more than $900 million in fines to the federal government and the State of Alaska.


CLASS OPENINGS: Between now and the first week of May 2008, seats are available in the following courses:

ARPA � Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 4/7

BST � Basic Safety Training: 4/7
BRM � Bridge Resource Management: 3/24
BRMP � Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 3/27, 4/28

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
CMM-ADVWX � Advanced Meteorology: 3/31
CMM-CHS I � Advanced Cargo Handling (week 1): 4/14
CMM-CHS II � Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 4/21
CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display & Information Systems: 3/31
CMM-MPP � Marine Propulsion Plants: 4/7
CMM-SHMGT-I � Ship Management (week 1): 4/28
CMM-SHMGT-II � Ship Management (week 2): 5/5
CMM-SHS-ADV-I-Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 4/21, 5/5
CMM-VPEN � Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 3/17

CONT PLNG � Contingency Planning Workshop: 5/9
CSE-AWR2 � Confined Space Entry Awareness (2 day): 3/20

FF-BADV � Combined Basic & Advanced Fire Fighting: 4/7

HAZ � Hazardous Materials 5 day Course: 4/14
HAZMAT � Hazardous Materials Seminar (1 day) Course: 3/21

LEG � Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 3/26, 4/29

MED-PIC � Medical Person-In-Charge: 4/14
MED-PRO � Medical Care Provider: 4/14
MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 3/15, 4/19
MEDIA RSP � Media Response: 3/20, 5/8

ROR-1 � Radar Observer Renewal: 4/7

SEC-VCF � Security Officer: Vessel, Company & Facility: 3/17, 5/5
SHS-BAS � Basic Shiphandling: 3/24, 4/21
SHS-EMR5 � Emergency Shiphandling: 3/31, 4/28
SHS-ESH- BRMP � Emergency Shiphandling & Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 3/24, 4/30

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

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:


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


SCHEDULE OF COURSES – (Course schedule also posted online at

April 2008
7          ROR
7-11     STB BAS
7-11     SHS EMR
7-11     BST
8-11     ARPA
14-18  CHS BAS
14-18  SHS ADV
21-25  ROP
22-25  AFF
28-5/2 WX BAS
28-5/2 SHS BAS
28-5/16 TCNAV

May 2008
5-9       MED PRO
5-9       SHS EMR
8-9       BFF
12-15   SHS BAS
12-16   ECDIS
12-16   BST
12-16   ROP
12-15   TPIC
19-23   WKP BAS
19-23   ROP
26        ROR
27         FL
27-30  ARPA
27-29  AFF
27-31  WKP BAS/BRM
28-30 CHS BAS

June 2008
2          FL
2-20    TCNAV/CO
2-6      ROP
2-6      SHS ASSESS
3-5      AFF
9         ROR
9-13    SHS ASSESS
9-13    BST
9-20    GMDSS
10        FL
10-13  ARPA
16-20  MED PRO
16-20  SHS BAS
16-20  BST
16-27  MED PIC
23-25  SEC VCF
23-27  ROP
23-27  BAFF

For registration call Jennifer Fowler 888-893-7829


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


D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
11,951.09 2,212.49 1,315
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund(VAARX)
 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 Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
 Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
 Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
 Fidelity Small Company Instl (FMACX)
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
 Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
 Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX)
 Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
 Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
 Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
 Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
 Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
 Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
 Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
 Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
 Fidelity Freedom 2050 (FFFHX)
 Fidelity Total Bond Fund (FTBFX)
 Spartan Extended market Index Fund (FSEMX)
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)

~ Reminders ~




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Richard Plant, Director of Special Projects

700 Maritime Blvd.
Linthicum Heights, MD 21090


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

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

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

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

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

From the “Type of Investigation” screen:

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

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


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



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

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

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.

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.




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.


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.


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

© 2008, International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots. All the material contained in this publication is protected by copyright. For permission to reprint text from the Weekly, contact the MM&P Communications Department: For changes of address, contact Lisa Rosenthal at