News

Wheelhouse Weekly – March 21, 2011

March 21st 2011

 

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

Volume 15 . . . . . Number 12. . . . March 21, 2011

STORIES COVERED

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


MARAD ADVISES U.S.-FLAG SHIPS TO MAINTAIN A DISTANCE OF AT LEAST 50 MILES FROM FUKUSHIMA POWER PLANT

The Maritime Administration has advised U.S.-flag ships transiting to or from ports in Japan and in the vicinity of the northeast coast of Honshu Island to stay beyond 50 miles of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, which was damaged during the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. The Coast Guard says this recommendation should be considered a minimum distance. In the event a vessel bound for a U.S. port transits within the 50-mile area, the Coast Guard recommends that the master submit transit information, including the date and total time within the precautionary area, to the relevant Coast Guard captain of the port using the comment block on the 96-hour advance notice of arrival.

About 50 workers at the plant have been fighting to stabilize the situation by flooding the reactors and spent-cooling rod pools with water from a variety of sources. As this issue of The Wheelhouse Weekly was being distributed, workers had been evacuated and smoke was billowing out of one of the reactors.


REP. FRANK LOBIONDO CALLS FOR U.S. TO TAKE STRONGER ACTION AGAINST PIRATES

Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.) says the United States must work harder to identify a solution to the problem of piracy. “I think our national policy has been ambiguous and not direct enough,” LoBiondo told the audience at a recent meeting of the Kings Point Alumni Association.

LoBiondo, who is chairman of the House Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee, said he and other policy makers regret that Somalia does not have institutions that can “take care of the problem.” He added however that given the current situation, “if we are unambiguous then they [pirates] will think twice before attacking an American ship. We can’t pussy-foot around with them.”

LoBiondo said that American mariners who want to be trained and armed should have that option. He also said that companies should place armed security detachments on board at-risk ships. “Armed guards are expensive, but a whole lot cheaper than the alternative,” he said.

In the meantime, the killing last month of four U.S. citizens aboard a sailboat has prompted the State Department to launch a review of the government’s counter-piracy strategy. At a hearing last Tuesday before the subcommittee that LoBiondo chairs, Kurt Amend, principal deputy assistant secretary of state for political and military affairs, said the Administration has undertaken a reassessment of U.S. policy in light of the escalating violence.

“Our goal is to develop a recalibrated strategy that once implemented will enhance the safety and security of Americans on the high seas,” he testified. Amend said the new strategy would: continue to discourage nations and private parties from paying ransoms; emphasize self-protection measures by the industry; push for prosecution of pirates in national courts; request contributions of military forces and basing rights to defend against pirates; and promote contributions to an international fund to defray the expenses of countries in the region willing to prosecute and incarcerate pirates.
  
He said the United States and the international community are also trying to formulate diplomatic solutions to the political vacuum in Somalia, including giving assistance to regional governments that oppose piracy.
  
Korea and the Philippines, who have had citizens killed by pirates, are among the countries that now support armed guards on commercial ships.


DREDGING CRISIS ON GREAT LAKES WOULD WORSEN DRAMATICALLY UNDER ADMINISTRATION BUDGET

Only 11 out of 83 Great Lakes ports would be dredged under the Administration’s 2011 budget proposal, which would cut dredging funds on the Lakes, where light loading is already the norm, by a further 32 percent. Spokesmen for the Great Lakes shipping industry called the proposal “a total abandonment of America’s industrial heartland” and declared a “state of emergency” on the Lakes. “Never in my 51 years in this industry have I seen such a total abandonment of the federal government’s responsibility to maintain the Great Lakes navigation system,” said John D. Baker, president of the Great Lakes Maritime Task Force, in an official statement.  “What was a dredging crisis is now a state of emergency for each of the eight Great Lakes states,” he added. “At this funding level, the Corps won’t be able to dredge even half of the sediment that builds up each year.” Baker said it the proposal is implemented, “ports will close and cargo will either shift to modes of transportation that burn more fuel and produce more emissions than vessels or production will be moved to other regions of the country or even overseas.”

He pointed out that the budget for Great Lakes dredging is being cut by far more than dredging budgets for other navigation systems. “We are being treated like second-class citizens,” he said.

The task force reiterated the well-known fact that the government can fully fund dredging on the Lakes and nationwide without raising taxes or borrowing, since the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF), which is the depository for tax dollars levied on waterborne commerce, has a surplus of $5.65 billion. Bills have been introduced in both the House and Senate that would require the HMTF to spend what it takes in each year, about $1.6 billion. An appropriation of only $200, million, equal to 3.5 percent of the surplus in the HMTF, would be enough to alleviate the current crisis.


SENATORS DEMINT AND GRAHAM SEEK TO REFOCUS ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS PROJECTS ON NATIONAL PRIORITIES

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) last week introduced a bill that would reform the way water resources projects are funded with the goal of directing the work of the Army Corps of Engineers towards national priorities and away from “earmarked” projects championed by individual politicians in their own districts.

The bill would: eliminate the Corps’ multi-year backlog of more than 1,000 earmarked projects; establish a “Water Resources Commission” to prioritize Corps’ projects; “empower” the Corps to undertake studies and construction projects based on national priorities; and reform the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) so that individual states could choose where to use the taxes collected.

“For too long, Congress has relied on a corrupting system that funded projects based on politics instead of merit,” DeMint said in an official statement. “Politicians have tried to justify their existence with politically driven handouts to low-priority projects in their states, but the time of using taxpayer dollars as a favor factory must end. This bill answers the call of the American people who have demanded that we change the way Washington works. We can fund water resource projects of national priority, stop wasteful earmarks and give states the flexibility they need to address critical needs at our country’s busiest ports.” The legislation is being cosponsored by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). 


USNS COMFORT DEPLOYS IN SUPPORT OF OPERATION CONTINUING PROMISE 2011

U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS COMFORT (T-AH 20) departed its homeport of Baltimore last week in support of the humanitarian civic assistance mission Continuing Promise 2011 (CP11). CP11 is a five-month mission to nine countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean, during which the U.S. Navy and its partnering nations will work with host nations and a variety of governmental and non-governmental agencies (NGOs), to train in civil-military operations.

More than 480 Navy medical personnel will work side-by-side with medical professionals from the nine host nations, five partner nation militaries and more than 30 NGOs to provide medical care to patients both ashore and aboard the COMFORT.

Also deploying with COMFORT are 71 civil service mariners from Military Sealift Command who operate and navigate the ship, provide electricity and fresh water to the shipboard hospital, and when necessary, transport patients between ship and shore in small boats. “My professional Merchant Marine officers and crew are excited to be part of Continuing Promise 2011,” said Capt. Randall Rockwood, USNS COMFORT civilian master, in an official statement. “While COMFORT’s hospital is key to extending medical care and civil assistance to other nations, our role operating the ship is critical to getting the Navy professionals to their destinations.”


MM&P UNITED INLAND GROUP SIGNS EIGHT-YEAR CONTRACT WITH BLACK BALL FERRY LINE

Members of MM&P’s United Inland Group who work at Black Ball Ferry Line have ratified an eight-year contract. MV COHO, Black Ball’s car and passenger ferry, has provided service between Port Angeles, Wash., and Victoria, British Columbia, for over 50 years. MM&P represents the six deck officers aboard the vessel, four permanent and two reliefs. The engineering officers are represented by the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association; unlicensed crewmembers are represented by the Inland Boatmen’s Union; and the Victoria dock staff is represented by the Teamsters. Chief Mate James Mackrow, the MM&P shop steward aboard the vessel, served as delegate during the negotiations.


WISCONSIN JUDGE TEMPORARILY BLOCKS LAW THAT WOULD BAR COLLECTIVE BARGAINING

A Wisconsin Circuit Court judge issued a temporary restraining order on Friday that blocks implementation of the highly controversial Wisconsin law that would eliminate collective bargaining for public sector employees. Judge Maryann Sumi based her ruling on the fact that legislators provided only two hours’ advance notice of the meeting in which they passed the bill instead of the 24 hours required under state law. A spokesman for the governor’s office said the state would immediately lodge an appeal.

The bill was approved by Republicans two weeks ago in the absence of a quorum because Democratic senators had left the state to block the vote. Besides eliminating collective bargaining rights for public workers, the law would make it much easier for Gov. Scott Walker (R) to transfer public property to third parties without competitive bidding. “What happened in passing this legislation was an abuse of power and an abuse of the people’s trust,” said Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca in an official statement.

In related news, Wisconsin state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald traveled to Washington, D.C., last week with several other Republican legislators to collect campaign donations from lobbyists and CEOs who support eliminating collective bargaining rights. Lobbyists and corporate CEOs paid between $1,000 and $5,000 to attend the event, which was held at BGR, a Washington, D.C.,-based lobbying group.

MM&P headquarters staffers Klaus Luhta, Lars Turner and Lisa Rosenthal joined more than 1,000 students, retirees and other union members at a mass protest outside BGR headquarters in Washington that coincided with the fundraising event. Fitzgerald and his entourage “came to Washington to collect their payoff from corporate lobbyists,” AFL-CIO D.C. Council President Jos Williams told the crowd. “We’re fighting to bring balance to our economy and protect middle-class families.”


SCHOLARSHIPS FOR STUDENTS IN MARINE TECHNOLOGY AND ENGINEERING

The Marine Technology Society is offering scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students at four-year colleges and students at two-year technical schools or community colleges who are studying a marine science/engineering/technology field. There are also several scholarships for graduating high school seniors. For more information and to apply, go to: http://www.mtsociety.org/education/scholarships.aspx. Applications and all relevant materials must be postmarked no later than April 15. You can also e-mail michael.hall@mtsociety.org or suzanne.voelker@mtsociety.org or call 410-884-5330. The Marine Technology Society is not-for-profit professional society of ocean engineers, technologists, policy makers and educators. It is dedicated to the development and sharing of information and ideas about marine engineering and technology.


UNITED INLAND GROUP-PACIFIC MARITIME REGION MEETINGS

The following dates, times and locations have been selected for UIG-PMR meetings in the Puget Sound region for the first half of 2011.

Monday, April 11 – Edmonds Office: 1400-1600

Tuesday, May 10 – Anacortes (site TBD: 1000-1200 and 1500-1700)

Thursday, June 9 – Edmonds Office: 1000-1200


SCHEDULE FOR 2011 D-BOOK MEMBERSHIP COURSE

The Offshore Division Orientation Course, formerly called the D-Book Membership Course, will be held at regular intervals throughout 2011.

The schedule is as follows (but please note that course dates may change depending on the number of participants who sign up): April 1-2, June 10-11 and Oct. 21-22 at MM&P headquarters in Linthicum Heights; Oct. 13-14 in Los Angeles/Long Beach; and Nov. 8-9 in New Orleans.

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 urged to attend.

If you want to attend the course, please RSVP to the local hiring hall where the class is offered or, in the case of a course planned for headquarters, to Mary Seidman at mseidman@bridgedeck.org.


COURSE EQUIVALENCIES FOR REQUIRED COMPANY TRAINING

Given the number of required company training courses, it is extremely important for new members to request a transcript review to determine whether they meet the course equivalency requirements.  The courses that are eligible for equivalency are listed in the MITAGS Trust Student Guide located on www.mitags.org in the MM&P Member Section. You may also request a copy from Diane Ford (dford@mitags.org or call 443-989-3238). Remember, the dispatcher in the union hall cannot assign you a job unless you meet the company’s training requirements!


MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

Between now and the end of June, the following courses are scheduled at MITAGS.  For class availability or information on MITAGS courses and programs, contact Kelly Michielli, Admissions Coordinator, toll free at 866-656-5568 or e-mail: admissions@mitags.org.

AB – Able Bodied Seaman: 4/18, 6/13
AIS – Automatic Identification Systems: 5/12
ARPA – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 5/16

BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 5/9, 6/6
BST – Basic Safety Training: 4/11, 6/27

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
CMM-ADVWX � Advanced Meteorology: 6/12
CMM-ADVSTB � Advanced Stability: 4/11, 6/27
CMM-CHS I � Advanced Cargo Operations (week 1): 4/18
CMM-CHS II � Advanced Cargo Operations (week 2): 4/25
CMM-ECDIS � Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems: 5/23
CMM-MPP � Marine Propulsion Plants: 6/13
CMM-SHMGT I – Ship Management (week 1): 5/2
CMM-SHMGT II – Ship Management (week 2): 5/9
CMM-SHS-ADV-I � Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 3/28, 4/18, 5/16, 6/13
CMM-SHS-ADV-I I � Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 4/4, 4/25, 5/23, 6/20
CMM-VPEN � Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 5/16
CMM-WKP � Advanced Watchkeeping: 4/4, 6/20

CHS BAS � Basic Cargo Handing and Stowage: 4/11
CNAV � Celestial Navigation: 5/2

ENVIRO-Regs Permit � Environmental Regulations Permit: 5/24
EP � Emergency Procedures: 4/27

FF-BADV � Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 4/11, 6/27
FSM � Fatique, Sleep and Medications for Pilots: 6/8

HAZ � Hazardous Materials (5 day): 6/13

LAP CMM � License Advancement Program of Upgrade to Chief Mate/Master: 3/28
LAP-ORG 3rd � License Advancement Program for Original 3/Mate: 6/6

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 5/9, 6/6

MEDIA-RSP � Media Response Workshop: 5/13
MED-PIC – Medical Person In Charge: 5/2, 6/13
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 4/4, 5/2, 6/13
MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 3/26, 5/7, 6/18

MSC-CBRD1 � Basic Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense: 6/10
MSC-DC � Damage Control: 6/6
MSC -SMA � Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 6/6

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 3/30, 4/6, 4/13, 4/20, 5/11, 5/25, 6/16, 6/28
ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal Day Class: 6/16
ROP-5 � Radar Observer Original and Renewal: 5/2

SAR � Search and Rescue: 4/25
SEC-VCF � Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 5/9
SHS-BAS � Basic Shiphandling: 4/18, 6/20
SHS-EMR3 � Emergency Shiphandling for Pilots: 6/8
SHS-EMR5 � Emergency Shiphandling: 5/2

TPIC � Tankerman Person in Charge: 5/16

WX BAS � Basic Meteorology: 3/28

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

Check the MITAGS website at www.mitags.org 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 e-mail: admissions@mitags.org


PMI ACADEMIC NOTES

Schedule of Courses – Please also see our schedule online at www.mates.org

For registration, call our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen, at (206) 838-1126

March 2011

28th   Radar Renewal

April 2011

4-15     GMDSS
11-13   Security VCF
11-15   Basic Stability
18-22  Medical Care Provider
23rd    Medical DOT
18-29  Medical Person-in-Charge
25th    Radar Renewal
25-29  Basic Meteorology

May 2011

2-13    Basic Watchkeeping
16th    Radar Renewal
16-20  Medical Care Provider
16-27  Medical Person-In-Charge
17-18   Environmental Regulations/VGP
21st     Medical DOT
23-25  Fast Rescue Boat
23-27  ECDIS
23-27  Management, Communication, and Leadership
25th    Flashing Light

June 2011

2-3      Vessel Security Officer
6-24    Terrestrial and Coastal Navigation
13-24  GMDSS
20-22 Fast Rescue Boat
20-24 ECDIS
27-29  Emergency Procedures
30-1    Search and Rescue


MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 3-18-11

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
11,858.52 2,643.67 1,279.20
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Closing
Price
 Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund (VAARX)
55.95
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
118.27
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
42.42
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
19.14
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
18.22
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
26.54
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
10.79
 Vanguard Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
31.75
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
5.79
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
16.54
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
22.32
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
14.20
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
19.80
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
11.89
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
12.57
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
12.77
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
13.25
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
13.66
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
10.63
 Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
32.25
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
17.74
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
15.60
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
18.61
 Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
10.64
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
72.25
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
71.08
 Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
18.85
 Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX)
45.47
 Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
30.07
 Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
29.00
 Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
11.41
 Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
12.10
 Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
13.80
 Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
14.01
 Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
13.98
 Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
8.13
 Fidelity Freedom 2050 (FFFHX)
9.52
 Fidelity Total Bond Fund (FTBFX)
10.81
 Spartan Extended market Index Fund (FSEMX)
39.07
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
45.43
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
30.50



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: iommp@bridgedeck.org. For further info or to subscribe contact Lisa Rosenthal at lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org. The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea and is posted on our web page.

© 2011, 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: lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org. For changes of address, contact Lisa Rosenthal at lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org.