Wheelhouse Weekly – March 18, 2014

March 18th 2014


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

Volume 18 . . . Number 11 . . . March 18, 2014


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


The MM&P San Juan Hall will be closed on Monday, March 24 for Puerto Rico Emancipation Day.


The newest instalment of “Notice to Mariners,” the union’s quarterly update for members, has been posted on It focuses on the Maritime Industry Symposium sponsored by the U.S. Maritime Administration in January, as well as on recent successes in Washington, D.C.: the battle to maintain the PL 480 Food for Peace Program in its current form and to correct the funding anomaly that threatened to reduce the size of the Maritime Security Program fleet. To view “Notice to Mariners,” go to and click on the TV icon in the top right-hand corner of the home page.


The AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department (TTD), on behalf of its affiliates, including MM&P, has thanked the Obama Administration for resisting attempts by the European Commission (EC) to include the maritime and aviation sectors in negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

“The EC continues to advance a trade agenda that would undermine U.S. airline and maritime jobs and our national and economic security,” said TTD President Ed Wytkind in an official statement. “The Europeans have been pushing an agenda–through attempts that defy longstanding U.S. trade policy–to include aviation and maritime in talks on the TTIP. Specifically, the EC seeks to weaken or eliminate our laws limiting foreign ownership and control of U.S. air carriers and to hollow out Jones Act protections at the expense of U.S. Merchant Marine jobs.”

Air and maritime services have historically been excluded from broad free trade agreements because both sectors serve strategic economic and national security purposes. “America’s long-term economic interests are intrinsically linked to robust U.S. aviation and maritime sectors,” Wytkind said. “The EC would have us hand over the keys to these vital industries.”

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman last July removed maritime from TTIP talks by declaring that “The administration has continuously ensured that application of the Jones Act is permitted under each of our trade agreements” and that it “will continue to take this position.” TTD urged the administration to reaffirm these views and to declare that aviation should continue to be handled through bilateral negotiations under the auspices of the Department of State and the Department of Transportation.

“Leaked documents demonstrate the EC’s resolve to pursue reforms in U.S. transportation policy that have been roundly rejected by the president and by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle,” Wytkind said. “Aviation and maritime have no place at the TTIP negotiating table.”


The Chamber of Shipping of America (CSA) is seeking entries for the Jones F. Devlin Awards and the Safety Achievement Awards. Entries for the calendar year ending Dec. 31, 2013 will be accepted through Friday, April 11.

The Safety Achievement Awards are presented to vessels that have performed outstanding rescues or feats of bravery during the course of a calendar year. They are actions in which the ship and crew as a whole were involved. The Devlin Awards are awarded to any vessel that has operated for two full years or more without a crewmember losing a full turn at watch because of an occupational injury. A vessel is recognized for the number of qualifying years beyond the basic two-year award; many vessels receive awards for five years or more of safe operations.

All vessels–containerships, tankers, Great Lakes carriers and tugboats–representing all segments of the industry (international and domestic, deep-sea, coastwise and inland) are eligible to participate. The programs are open to all companies, whether or not they are members of CSA. All vessel owners and operators are encouraged to participate. To find out how to nominate a vessel, please visit the CSA website,, and click on “Award Programs.” The awards will be presented at a luncheon at the Hilton New Orleans Hotel-Riverside, Two Poydras Street, New Orleans, LA 70130 on Thursday, May 29.


Shipping companies that operate on the Great Lakes should consider delaying sail dates past next week “unless something changes drastically” in the intervening days, the Coast Guard says. Ice covered 92.2 percent of the lakes on March 6, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “It hasn’t been this severe since the winter of 1993-94,” says Grand River Navigation President Mark Rohn. The Coast Guard began breaking ice last year on Dec. 6, the earliest on record.

“We are working closely with the Canadian Coast Guard to deliver the best possible icebreaking service for the Great Lakes and the Saint Lawrence Seaway,” USCG Rear Adm. F.M. Midgette, commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District, wrote members of the U.S. Great Lakes Shipping Association on March 7. He said that to meet the challenge, the Coast Guard has readied all nine of its icebreakers on the lakes, including six Bay-Class icebreaking tugs. He said the Canadian Coast Guard will bring an additional icebreaker onto the lakes this year, for a total of three. He predicted, in any case, that “breakout will be long and difficult.”

Midgette said, for example, that the Coast Guard Cutter HOLLYHOCK had “encountered conditions in the St Mary’s River and the Straits of Mackinac that were “beyond its capability.” According to the National Weather Service, temperatures are expected to remain below normal on the lakes through March.


A group of Republican members of Congress has introduced legislation that would reduce the size of the civilian workforce at the Department of Defense (DOD) by 15 percent. The bill, which could affect the jobs of members of the MM&P Federal Employees Membership Group (FEMG), would eliminate nearly 115,000 positions at DOD, cutting the current 770,000-person workforce to about 655,000, says Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Calif., who introduced the measure. “Many of our civilians at the Pentagon and around the world do a fine job but their growth is unsustainable,” Calvert said. The bill, which Calvert has called the REDUCE Act, would implement the 15 percent reduction by fiscal year 2020 and keep the number of civilian employees capped for five years after that. It would authorize the Pentagon to offer voluntary buyouts and early retirement incentives, and give more weight to job performance and tenure when issuing reductions in force. The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), which represents many civilians employed by DOD, strongly criticized the bill, saying it would defer costs to contractors and undermine the department’s ability to perform its mission.


If you served on active duty any time between January 1957 and December 31, 2001, under some circumstances, extra earnings may be credited to your record for Social Security purposes. Extra earnings credits are granted for periods of active duty or active duty for training. Active duty military service means that you served on Active Duty, Active Duty for Training (ACDUTRA) or were in the Reserves for the Air Force, the Army, the Coast Guard, the Coast & Geodetic Survey (CGS), the Marines, the National Guard or the Navy. After 2001, there are no extra earnings credits for military service because in January 2002, the Defense Appropriations Act ended special earnings credits for military service personnel.

If you are eligible, the credits may increase the amount of your benefit or help you qualify for Social Security. Up to $1,200 in extra benefits annually can be credited. To receive the benefit, when you apply for Social Security you must bring your DD 214 form to the Social Security Office and specifically request credit for your service time. To find out more, go to To request your DD 214, go to

Thank you to James Bolles, Operations Chief, USNS AMELIA EARHART and to MM&P Government Fleet Representative Randi Ciszewski for spreading the word about this benefit. Please share this information with friends and coworkers who also might be eligible.


UPS fired hundreds of workers after they walked off the job at the Queens hub of one of its New York City operations in protest over the firing of a union activist. The UPS workers, who belong to Teamsters Local 804, called the strike on Feb. 26 after the company fired the driver in question without a hearing. “We’re sick of the company’s harassment,” said one striker in an interview with Fight Back! News. “They fire people with families and kids for no reason. It’s just wrong.” Please voice your support for the fired UPS drivers by signing the petition posted at


If you are interested in attending the Offshore Familiarization Course, please contact your MM&P Vice President to request that one be scheduled in your area. An Offshore Orientation Course is now scheduled for Los Angeles/Long Beach on Oct. 8-9. If you are interested in participating in the course, please contact the Los Angeles/Long Beach Hall: 310-834-7201 or 310-834-6667 (fax). There is no sea-time requirement to take the course. All Offshore applicants, potential transferees from other membership groups and other interested Offshore members are encouraged to take the course as soon as possible.


The 2006 Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) entered into force on Aug. 20. It has been described as the fourth pillar of international shipping regulations along with SOLAS, MARPOL and STCW.  The International Labor Organization consolidated a number of previous conventions in MLC 2006. It establishes minimum standards on conditions of employment, accommodations, health and safety, medical care, crew welfare, recruitment, working conditions and social security protection. MLC will be strictly enforced during port state control inspections, including the potential for more detailed inspections and possible detention where hazardous conditions may exist if ships are not to be in compliance. Visit for more information or to register for the MLC course.


MITAGS needs your current address! Have you moved recently? Did you remember to send MITAGS your new address for communications regarding courses? Please send your current contact information to or to the fax number below.

New dedicated fax line for Admissions only: 1-443-568-1928. For all other MITAGS business, please continue to use: 410-859-5181.

For class availability or information on MITAGS courses and programs, contact Kelly Michielli, Admissions Coordinator, toll-free at 866-656-5568 or by e-mail: Why not try our on-line calendar to register for class:

Please note the special addition to our on-campus schedule of MSC classes marked with an asterisk (*), which are not normally scheduled to be held at MITAGS.

AB – 3/24/14, 8/11/14, 10/13/14

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: 5/6/14

ARPA-OIC – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 4/1/14, 8/5/14, 9/23/14, 11/18/14

AZIPOD 2-Day – 5/7/14, 5/19/14, 7/10/14, 10/9/14

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 3/24/14, 6/2/14, 8/25/14, 10/13/14

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 4/14/14, 5/22/14, 8/20/14, 9/22/14, 11/20/14

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling:  4/29/14, 7/7/14, 10/6/14

BST – Basic Safety Training: 4/7/14, 6/9/14, 8/11/14, 10/6/14

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 4/14/14, 10/27/14

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVNAV-CMM – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): 6/2/14, 8/4/14, 11/10/14

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 4/28/14, 6/23/14, 9/22/14

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 6/16/14, 9/8/14

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 5/5/14, 7/7/14, 9/29/14

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 5/5/14, 6/2/14, 7/14/14, 8/4/14, 10/20/14, 11/10/14

MCL-CMM – Management, Communication, & Leadership (Management Level): 5/19/14, 9/15/14

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants:  3/31/14, 7/21/14, 10/27/14

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management (2 weeks): 4/7/14, 8/18/14, 10/13/14

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 4/7/14, 4/28/14, 6/9/14, 8/4/14, 9/8/14, 9/22/14, 10/20/14, 11/3/14, 12/1/14

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 4/14/14, 5/5/14, 6/16/14, 8/11/14, 9/15/14, 9/29/14, 10/27/14, 11/10/14, 12/8/14

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 6/9/14, 8/11/14, 11/17/14

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 4/21/14, 7/28/14, 11/3/14

CNAV-OIC – Celestial Navigation: 4/28/14, 11/3/14

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop:

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications:  10/7/14

DDE – Great Lakes:


ECDIS-OIC –9/8/14

ECDIS-Pilots – 5/19/14

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 4/7/14, 6/9/14, 8/11/14, 10/6/14

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep & Medications:  5/21/14, 11/19/14

GL Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization:

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 8/18/14

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 6/23/14, 9/15/14, 11/17/14

LAP- 3/10/14, 9/8/14

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross Ton License: 6/2/14

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 5/21/14, 7/8/14, 10/7/14, 11/20/14

LNG-TPIC – 4/7/14

MCL-OIC –Management, Communications, and Leadership OICNW level: 9/5/14, 10/7/14

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 4/21/14, 6/16/14, 9/8/14, 11/3/14, 12/1/14

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 5/12/14, 8/4/14, 10/13/14

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 4/21/14, 6/16/14, 9/8/14, 10/20/14, 11/3/14, 12/1/14

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 3/22/14, 4/26/14, 6/21/14, 8/3/14, 9/13/14, 10/12/14, 11/8/14, 12/6/14

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: 5/5/14 (PM), 8/4/14 (PM), 10/6/14 (PM)

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 6/6/14, 8/22/14, 10/3/14

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 6/2/14, 8/18/14, 9/29/14

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification:  6/2/14, 8/18/14, 9/29/14, 11/10/14

*MSC-SECURITY WATCH BASIC – Contact Admissions


*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force – Contact Admissions

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 3/31/14, 8/4/14, 9/22/14, 11/17/14

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 3/20/14, 4/2/14, 4/16/14, 4/30/14, 5/7/14, 5/14/14, 6/5/14, 6/18/14, 7/9/14, 7/24/14, 8/6/14, 8/20/14, 9/10/14, 9/17/14, 10/1/14, 10/15/14, 10/29/14, 11/12/14, 12/3/14, 12/10/14

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 4/7/14, 7/28/14, 11/10/14

SAR-OIC – Search & Rescue – 4/7/14, 10/13/14

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling:  5/12/14, 6/16/14, 8/18/14, 11/17/14

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day: 7/14/14, 10/6/14

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 8/4/14

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 7/7/14

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge:  8/25/14

TTT – Train the Trainer: 4/7/14

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: 5/6/14, 8/5/14, 10/7/14

VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 3/21/14, 5/7/14, 8/6/14, 9/2/14, 10/8/14

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level): 9/29/14

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): 9/15/14

…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.


Please also see our schedule online at For registration, call our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen, at (206) 838-1126.

March 2014

24-28     ECDIS
24-28     Able Seaman
24-4       License Preparation (Mate Level)

April 2014

7-11       ECDIS
14th       Radar Renewal
14-18     Medical Care Provider
14-25     Medical Person-In-Charge
15-18     ARPA
28-2       ECDIS

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.

© 2014, 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