Wheelhouse Weekly – March 20th, 2018

March 22nd 2018

Volume 23… Number 12… March 20, 2018


In This Issue:

Remembering an American Hero:

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A fire that broke out in a below-deck container aboard the MM&P-crewed MAERSK KENSINGTON on Thursday was successfully contained by the officers and crew.

MM&P officers aboard the vessel and responding to the blaze were Master Paul Coan, Chief Mate Scott Phelps, Second Mate Paul Camirand and Third Mate Andrew Rahner.

The fire broke out in the No. 3 cargo hold while MAERSK KENSINGTON was sailing en route from Salalah, Oman, towards Suez.

All members of the crew are safe and the fire is contained, Maersk Line confirmed.

“Safety measures were taken immediately,” the company said in an official statement.

“The crew reacted swiftly and as per procedure, by release of CO2 into the cargo hold to contain the fire.”

It was the second such incident to hit a Maersk Line vessel in recent weeks.

On March 6, the Singapore-flagged MAERSK HONAM suffered a devastating fire in its forward cargo holds while heading west in the Arabian Sea approximately 900 nautical miles southeast of Salalah.

Five crewmembers lost their lives in the tragedy.

Maersk Line said the cause of the container fire on board the MAERSK KENSINGTON is currently unknown.

The company said the initial investigation indicates there is no link between the cargo in the cargo hold where the fire began on MAERSK KENSINGTON and the cargo in the cargo hold which caught fire on the MAERSK HONAM.

MAERSK KENSINGTON is currently at anchor outside the port of Salalah, and is getting assistance from shore.

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Representatives of the maritime labor unions, U.S.-flag shipping companies and maritime industry trade groups headed to Capitol Hill today to advocate for the U.S.-flag fleet and the men and women who crew American vessels.

The occasion was the “Congressional Sail-In,” now in its ninth year, an advocacy campaign aimed at consolidating relationships with friends of our industry in Congress and establishing ties with legislators who in the past may have had only moderate awareness of maritime issues.

Well over 100 people took part this year, making it the largest Sail-In ever.

They were scheduled to attend 152 meetings with members of Congress and their staffs.

The participants include representatives of every major U.S. seafaring union, every USA Maritime member company and association, a number of major Jones Act companies and organizations, the State Maritime Academies, the Navy League of the United States, the AFL-CIO Maritime Trades Department and the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department.

Representing MM&P in the meetings with members of Congress were President Don Marcus, Chief of Staff Mike Murray, Vice Presidents Tom Bell, Don Josberger, Klaus Luhta, Tim Saffle and Lars Turner, MIRAID President Jim Patti and MIRAID Counsel Steve Wines.

Members of the group met face-to-face with key senators, representatives and their staffs to provide information about the programs and policies that enable the U.S.-flag merchant marine to meet the commercial sealift requirements of the Department of Defense.

Among the topics discussed: the need to assure that the Maritime Security Program is fully funded at the level authorized by Congress; the essential role of cargo in assuring the continued operation of the U.S.-flag fleet, and in particular the need to maintain the PL-480 Food for Peace program and to restore the Export-Import Bank to full operating status by re-establishing a quorum.

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Members of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation heard testimony March 14 on the White House’s 2019 budget requests for the U.S. Coast Guard, the Maritime Administration and the Federal Maritime Commission.

Among those testifying were Maritime Administrator Adm. Mark Buzby, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul F. Zukunft and Federal Maritime Commission Acting Chairman Michael A. Khouri.

Subcommittee Chair Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) opened the hearing with a statement in which he expressed “ongoing concerns with the Coast Guard being an armed service within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)…”

“… Under the Department,” he said, “the Coast Guard doesn’t fare well. The Service is hampered by lackluster funding requests that don’t meet the needs of the Service…”

He added that DHS limits the information provided to Congress on how the Coast Guard is meeting its statutory missions.

“Congress needs information to conduct proper oversight and to support programs with adequate funding,” he said.

“The lack of information on how the Service is meeting its statutory missions, and how its assets are meeting, or not meeting, performance goals, leaves Congress without much needed information, and could lead to inadequate budget requests and more importantly inadequate funding levels.”

He said a lack of adequate funding “has definitely impacted the Service in its ability to adequately and consistently fund its programs…” which “represents a risk to national security and should compel a more serious budget approach.”

The Maritime Security Program (MSP), a central pillar of America’s sealift capability, enjoys unequivocal support within the Maritime Administration and the U.S. Transportation Department as a whole, testified Maritime Administrator Mark Buzby.

He said that President Trump’s proposal to fund MSP at only $214 million in Fiscal Year 2019 instead of the $300 million authorized by Congress “reflects hard choices,” adding that if the President’s proposed 29 percent cut to the MSP budget goes forward, MARAD will be forced to “look at” the per-ship payment.

Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.) said during the hearing that he was concerned by the President’s decision to “zero out” the Title XI maritime loan guarantee program that MARAD oversees.

“I don’t see the logic of the Title XI request,” he said.

Buzby, who described Title XI as of “great benefit to our country,” said the budget proposal reflects the fact that funds are tight this year.

“This subcommittee understands the critical role U.S. mariners have in supporting domestic shipping operations as well as defense operations including the Maritime Security Program and Sea Lift,” Hunter said.

Too often, he added, the maritime agencies are “asked to do more with less.”

Both he and Garamendi strongly endorsed a plan to build new multi-mission training ships for all the maritime academies to support the next generation of mariners and help respond to national emergencies.

The President’s budget, however, proposes spending $300 million to procure and retrofit just two used cargo vessels to replace the aging SUNY and Massachusetts Maritime training ships.
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MARAD Administrator Buzby testified earlier in March at a joint hearing of the House Armed Forces Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces and the Subcommittee on Readiness.

Also testifying was U.S. Transportation Commander Gen. Darren W. McDew.

The focus of the joint hearing was the importance of the Jones Act to national security readiness.

“For me, the Jones Act from a war fighting perspective is all about the mariners and the ability to keep mariners trained and ready to go to war,” McDew testified.

“The ships that are in the Jones Act are also useful, but the primary thing we get from the Jones Act are the mariners. And those mariners have been with us in every conflict that I can imagine and suffered great loss and still stay with us.”

“The Jones Act really is the linchpin,” Buzby said.

“It is foundational to our merchant marine as it is today. It’s the ships; it’s the mariners, which are critical. And it’s the infrastructure that supports the shipbuilding and ship repair part of the industry and all of the supply chain that has impact on our government shipbuilding programs as well. The costs of all of those and the availability of shipbuilders are greatly impacted by that. So [the Jones Act] has far ranging impact.”

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Democrat Conor Lamb, a former marine and federal prosecutor, eked out an approximately 600-vote victory in a special election on March 13 over a Republican, Pennsylvania State Rep. Rick Saccone.

The result was somewhat remarkable given the fact that voters in the district had supported Donald Trump by 20 points in the 2016 presidential election and that the previous representative, Republican Tim Murphy, had represented the district for eight terms.

Nearly one in four voters in the district is a union member and Lamb made his support for organized labor a central theme of his campaign.

He promised to protect collective bargaining rights, endorsed a bipartisan fix for underfunded coal miners’ pensions and supported efforts to “level the playing field” for American manufacturing.

He also focused on basic economic issues, in particular with a pledge to protect Social Security and Medicare.

Saccone had an anti-union record, including support for so-called “right-to-work” laws, which allow free riders in the workplace to benefit from union-negotiated contracts without paying dues.

Unions joined forces behind Lamb and carried out an extensive effort to inform their members about why they believed he was the right candidate.

The United Steel Workers contacted all 20,000 members in the district at least once, according to the union’s political director Tim Waters.

“It’s a good win for the labor movement,” Waters said.

Although there is not detailed enough data to document exactly how votes broke down based on union membership, several working-class precincts where labor has a large presence went from voting for Trump to voting for Lamb.

“If you look at his win and what happened recently with teachers’ unions in West Virginia, the labor movement is resurgent,” said Krystal Ball, founder of the People’s House Project, which recruits and advises candidates in GOP-held districts in the Midwest and Appalachia.

“I hope the Democratic Party is smart enough to know their best friends and allies are in the labor movement.”

“Congratulations to Rep.-Elect Conor Lamb and union members in Pennsylvania who propelled him to victory,” said AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka.

“Conor won this race because he proudly stood with unions, shared our agenda and spoke out for our members. He didn’t just ask for our support—he earned it by opposing unnecessary ‘right to work’ laws, backing protections for coal miners’ pensions and supporting commonsense trade enforcement.”

“His victory proves that the path to power runs through the labor movement.”

“Union members used our passion and resources to help elect Lamb,” Trumka continued.

“Now we are going to use that same energy to hold him accountable in office. Winning elections is only the first step. Winning pro-worker policies is the ultimate goal.”

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Captain Thomas Phelan, who ferried hundreds of people to safety from Lower Manhattan after terrorists struck the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, is being remembered for his heroism, generosity and professionalism by family, friends, New York City officials and members of MM&P.

“He was one great captain to work with, always happy, and he will be deeply missed,” said MM&P Atlantic Maritime Group Representative Paulina Czernek.

“New York Harbor will not be the same without him.”

Phelan, 45, worked in the harbor when the Twin Towers were hit and took part in the largest evacuation of Lower Manhattan.

He died Friday of cancer that was reportedly linked to exposure to toxic substances in the area around Ground Zero.

In 2003, he became a firefighter with Engine 55 in New York’s Little Italy and later a pilot with FDNY Marine Company 9.

“In our city’s darkest hour, FDNY firefighter Thomas Phelan’s heroism saved hundreds of lives,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

“We will never forget his service and his sacrifice.”

Phelan started out as a line catcher for Circle Line. He moved on to become a deckhand and eventually a captain on the MISS CIRCLELINE, the same boat on which his father had worked as an engineer.

While working as a firefighter, he continued part-time aboard the LADY LIBERTY, former MISS CIRCLELINE, as a captain with Statue Cruises.

His last assignment with the New York Fire Department brought him back to the water full time in 2013, when he was a pilot on the Marine Company 9 FIREFIGHTER II.

“Throughout his career in New York Harbor, he touched many lives,” Czernek said.

“He was one of the kindest, most respected people known in the harbor.”

“God must have had a shortage of captains this week because he called this great one home to Him,” she said.

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Atlantic Ports Vice President Don Josberger will hold an Offshore Membership Meeting at the Charleston Union Hall on Wednesday, March 28 at 1100.

All members in the area are encouraged to attend the meeting.

The Charleston Hall is located at 1481 Tobias Gadson, Blvd., Suite 2C.

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MM&P Atlantic and Gulf Ports, the MM&P Hawaii Union Hall, the MM&P Plan Office, the MM&P Federal Credit Union and MM&P headquarters will be closed on Friday, March 30, for Good Friday.

MM&P Pacific Ports will be closed on Friday, March 30, for Cesar Chavez Day.

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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 Amanda Meadows, Admissions Coordinator, toll-free at 866-656-5568 or by e-mail:

Why not try our on-line calendar to register for class:

For Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) processing, MMC problem resolution advice, STCW compliance and VA GI-Bill questions, contact MITAGS-PMI Student/Instructional Services Manager Jennifer Pitzen at 206-739-0720 (direct line); (888) 893-7829 (toll free); or by e-mail:

Please include your Mariner Reference Number, date of birth and the last four digits of your social security number in all emails.

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 – 4/16/18, 8/27/18, 10/15/18

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: 5/23/18, 8/29/18

ARPA-OIC – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 4/3/18, 9/25/18

AZIPOD 2-Day – 5/21/18, 10/15/18

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 6/18/18, 9/24/18, 10/29/18

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 3/29/18, 5/21/18, 7/16/18, 12/19/18

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling: Contact Admissions

BRMP-Refresher – 3/26/18, 5/23/18, 7/18/18, 9/11/18

BT – Basic Safety Training: 4/9/18, 8/13/18, 10/22/18

BT-Revalidation (2-day) (Must have 1 year of seatime in last 5 years) –4/2/18, 4/30/18, 6/18/18, 7/31/18, 8/27/18, 9/26/18, 10/31/18, 12/18/18

BT-Refresher (3-day) – 4/29/18, 7/30/18, 9/26/18, 12/17/18

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 5/7/18

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 4/2/18, 6/11/18, 7/30/18, 9/24/18, 12/10/18

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 6/4/18, 8/6/18, 9/17/18, 12/3/18

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 4/9/18, 10/1/18

CM-OPS 1 – Chief Mate Operations – Week 1: 6/4/18, 8/6/18, 10/1/18

CM-OPS 2 Maersk – Chief Mate Operations II Maersk Specific: 6/11/18, 8/13/18, 10/8/18

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information Systems: 3/26/18, 6/25/18, 8/13/18, 11/12/18

LMS – Leadership and Managerial Skills (Management Level – Formerly MCL-CMM): 5/14/18, 6/18/18, 8/20/18, 11/26/18

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants: 10/15/18

SEC-APPS – Practical Defense Tactics: 10/1/18

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management (2 weeks): 4/23/18, 10/29/18

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 4/9/18, 4/23/18, 5/7/18, 6/4/18, 6/18/18, 7/16/18, 7/30/18, 8/13/18, 9/10/18, 10/1/18, 11/5/18, 11/26/18

SHS-ADV-II-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 3/26/18, 4/16/18, 4/30/18, 5/14/18, 6/11/18, 6/25/18, 7/23/18, 8/6/18, 8/20/18, 9/17/18, 10/8/18, 11/12/18, 12/3/18

**SHS-ADV-I & II now approved to include SAR-CMM assessments at MITAGS effective immediately**

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 10/22/18

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 5/7/18, 9/10/18

CNAV-OIC – Celestial Navigation: 4/23/18

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: Contact Admissions

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications: 5/1/18

CRSMGT – Crisis Management and Human Behavior – 7/12/18

CDMGT – Crowd Management – 7/13/18

CSE – Confined Space Entry: 7/23/18

CSE-AWR – Confined Space Entry Awareness: 5/24/18, 7/26/18

DDE – Great Lakes: 6/4/18

DPA – Contact Admissions

ECDIS for Pilots – 5/24/18, 8/27/18, 12/17/18

ERM – Engine Resource Management: 4/23/18, 7/9/18, 11/26/18

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 4/9/18, 8/13/18, 10/22/18

FF-ADV-Rev (1-day) (Must have 1 year of seatime in last 5 years) – Advanced Fire Fighting Revalidation: 4/4/18, 5/2/18, 6/20/18, 8/2/18, 8/29/18, 9/25/18, 10/30/18

FF-ADV-REF (2-day) – Advanced Fire Fighting Refresher: 4/27/18, 7/28/18, 9/29/18, 12/15/18

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications: 4/17/18, 9/11/18

GL-Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization: Contact Admissions

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: Contact Admissions

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 5/21/18, 8/20/18, 12/10/18

IEN – Integrated Electronic Navigation – Contact Admissions

LAP – 7/9/18, 9/17/18

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes: Contact Admissions

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross
Ton License: Contact Admissions

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 3/28/18, 4/18/18, 5/8/18, 9/12/18

LNG-TPIC – 12/3/18

LTS –Leadership and Teamworking Skills (Formerly MCL-OIC): 5/21/18

MEECE – Management of Electrical and Electronic Control Equipment (Assessments not included): 4/30/18, 7/16/18, 12/3/18

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 5/7/18, 7/9/18, 10/8/18, 11/26/18

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 4/23/18, 6/25/18, 8/20/18, 9/17/18

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 4/16/18, 5/7/18, 10/8/18, 11/26/18

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 4/5/18, 5/3/18, 5/12/18, 6/21/18, 7/14/18, 8/30/18, 9/24/18, 10/13/18, 10/29/18, 12/1/18, 12/21/18

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: Contact Admissions

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 5/24/18, 6/8/18, 8/8/18, 9/12/18, 11/14/18

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control: 5/22/18, 6/6/18, 8/6/18, 9/13/18, 11/12/18

*MSC-ENVPRO – 6/3/18, 8/5/18, 11/4/18

*MSC-FF-HELO – 6/4/18, 8/13/18, 10/31/18

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualifications: 5/14/18, 6/11/18, 7/16/18, 8/12/18, 9/17/18, 11/5/18

*MSC-Security Watch Basic – 5/13/18, 6/9/18, 8/9/18, 9/15/18, 11/2/18

*MSC-Security Watch Advanced – 5/18/18, 6/10/18, 7/15/18, 8/10/18, 9/16/18, 11/3/18

*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force – 5/19/18, 6/15/18, 7/20/18, 8/17/18, 9/21/18, 11/9/18

NSAP-MMP – Navigational Skills Assessment Program-MM&P – 3/29/18, 4/23/18, 4/25/18, 6/25/18, 6/27/18, 7/31/18, 8/2/18, 8/28/18, 8/30/18, 11/12/18, 11/14/18, 12/17/18, 12/19/18

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 9/24/18

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 4/4/18, 4/18/18, 5/2/18, 5/9/18, 5/16/18, 6/6/18, 6/20/18, 7/11/18, 7/25/18, 8/8/18, 8/22/18, 10/3/18, 10/17/18, 10/31/18, 11/7/18, 11/14/18, 11/28/18, 12/5/18, 12/12/18, 12/19/18

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 9/17/18

SAR – Search & Rescue – (Now with OIC and CMM assessments): 5/22/18, 12/17/18

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling: 5/14/18, 8/27/18, 10/22/18

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day – 4/2/18, 5/21/18, 7/23/18, 9/24/18, 10/29/18, 12/10/18

SMS – Contact Admissions

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: Contact Admissions

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: Contact Admissions

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: 4/16/18, 7/9/18

TRAC-TUG-2: Contact Admissions

TTT – Contact Admissions

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: 4/12/18

VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 4/9/18, 7/9/18

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level): Contact Admissions

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): Contact Admissions

Back to Stories Covered


Spring 2018

For registration, please contact our registrar, Mary McGhee, at 206.838.1126 or You can also view our schedule and enroll online at

March 2018
23-24 Basic Training Revalidation
26th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
26th Medical DOT
26-30 Able Seaman
27th Vessel Personnel w/ Designated Security Duties (VPDSD)

April 2018
3-6 ARPA
9-13 Basic Training
9-20 GMDSS
9-20 Watchkeeping (Operational Level)
9-27 Terrestrial & Coastal Navigation
11th Hazwoper Refresher
13th Radar Renewal
13-14 Basic Training Revalidation
16th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
16-18 24-Hour Hazwoper
16-20 Medical Care Provider
16-27 Medical Person-In-Charge
23rd Vessel Personnel w/ Designated Security Duties (VPDSD)
23-4 GMDSS
23-4 Watchkeeping (Operational Level)
26th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
27-28 Basic Training Revalidation
30-4 Leadership & Managerial Skills

May 2018
7-11 Radar Observer Unlimited
7-18 License Preparation
9th Hazwoper Refresher
11-12 Basic Training Revalidation
11-14 Basic Training Refresher (no class on Sunday)
14th Radar Renewal
14-18 Basic Training
14-18 Ship Construction and Basic Stability
15th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
21-23 Search and Rescue
21-25 ECDIS
23-25 24-Hour Hazwoper
25th Vessel Personnel w/ Designated Security Duties (VPDSD)
29-31 Security Officer – Vessel, Company, and Facility
29-1 Advanced Firefighting

June 2018
2-4 Basic Training Revalidation (no class on Sunday)
4th Radar Renewal
4th Leadership & Teamworking Skills
4-8 Medical Care Provider
4-15 Medical Person-In-Charge
5-8 ARPA
11-14 Advanced Firefighting
11-22 GMDSS
11-22 Watchkeeping (Operational Level)
18-22 Engine Resource Management
22-23 Basic Training Revalidation
22-24 Basic Training Refresher
25th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
25-29 Meteorology (Operational Level)
25-29 Leadership & Managerial Skills
26th Medical DOT

Back to Stories Covered

The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates, & Pilots, ILA, AFL-CIO, 700 Maritime Blvd. Suite B, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1953. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973. All rights reserved. The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly © 2018. Articles can be reprinted without prior permission if credit is given to The MM&P WheelhouseWeekly. For subscriptions, address changes or messages to the editor or to MM&P headquarters, e-mail Back issues of The Weekly are posted on