Wheelhouse Weekly – March 21, 2017

March 22nd 2017

Volume 22…Number 12…March 21, 2017


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“You campaigned to bring jobs back: The American Merchant Marine is a good place to start,” MM&P member Paul Nielsen has written in a letter to President Donald Trump.

During the Vietnam War, Nielsen told the President, he was sailing aboard the SS BAYOU STATE when it was diverted to Long Beach to load supplies destined for U.S. troops after a foreign-flag vessel had refused to carry the cargo into the war zone.

“The foreign crew’s reason was that it was ‘not their war’,” writes Nielsen, who served as MM&P Vice President-Pacific Ports from 1993 to 2001.

When he began sailing, Nielsen recalled, “there were U.S.-flagged ships docked in ports all over the world.”

But today, thousands of vessels owned by U.S. companies are “registered and operated under flags-of-convenience with multinational crews that pay no U.S. federal or state taxes,” Nielsen told the President in the letter, which was also published in The Torrance Breeze, a California newspaper.

“The U.S. Merchant Marine is in dire straits,” he writes.

“It’s a national security issue. If we had a land war today, we would not have the vessels or the mariners to man them.”

“Our troops overseas should not have to depend on foreign-flag vessels to get their supplies.”

“For the sake of our country,” Nielsen writes, “please act to bring more ships under the U.S. flag and halt the decline in the size of our fleet.”

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Transportation labor leaders meeting in San Antonio, Texas, last week laid out a strategy to shape the President’s $1 trillion transportation infrastructure package.

Participants in the meetings included representatives of MM&P and the other 31 unions that belong to the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department (TTD).

The group hosted Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) for a discussion of the issues affecting America’s transportation workers, including the need to advance a robust infrastructure package.

Denham is a senior member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and chairman of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials.

“Our nation’s transportation system, and the men and women who build, operate and maintain it, play a crucial role in keeping our economy strong,” Denham said.

“I look forward to working with transportation labor leaders to advance strategic infrastructure investments that will rebuild our vast transportation network and, in the process, drive middle-class job creation in California and throughout the nation.”

Participants in the meeting discussed key transportation issues, including cargo preference.

“The Trump Administration and Congress must uphold cargo preference laws that ensure a viable U.S. merchant marine, strengthen our national defense and support good maritime jobs,” they said.

The group vowed to work to ensure that President Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure investment package includes a significant infusion of federal funds and embraces strong worker protections, labor standards and Buy America requirements.

“Pouring $1 trillion into our infrastructure–as the President has proposed–could create millions of middle-class jobs and upgrade and modernize our transportation system to which our nation’s leading civil engineers give a low grade,” says TTD President Edward Wytkind.

“This is something both Republicans and Democrats agree on.”

But members of both parties have warned that there is too much focus in the President’s current plan on using the tax code to incentivize private investment in infrastructure projects.

“We can’t ‘toll our way’ to a trillion-dollar investment plan,” Wytkind says.

First, because private entities are forced to borrow at higher rates than the government, which makes privately funded projects more expensive, especially in view of the fact that private investors by definition require financial returns.

What this means is that private funding only works if projects generate revenue and turn a profit.

For this reason, a majority of projects, including those in rural areas, probably would not get funded under a tax-incentive plan.

“It is time for the President and Congress to find a way to pay for a $1 trillion plan that includes a substantial amount of new federal funds,” Wytkind says.

“A plan that almost exclusively relies on tax incentives for private investment will not bring fast trains and modern infrastructure to Amtrak, modernize our ports, replace and repair 60,000 bridges, pump new life into budget-starved public transit systems, or deal with the multi-billion dollar shortfalls in highway improvements,” he says.

“Only real money will.”

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Longshoremen in Spain called off a planned series of strikes last week after members of parliament rejected a plan to open the country’s ports to non-union workers.

The proposal that was voted down would have allowed employers to phase out hiring union members over a three-year period, substituting them with temps and other casual workers.

Under current regulations, port employers are required to hire longshore workers from designated local staffing companies, all of which are unionized.

In 2014, the European Court of Justice ruled that the system was a violation of European Union laws on freedom of establishment and ordered Spain to open the system to competition.

The unions had offered to work with the government to draft a plan to present to the court.

Instead, the government announced the unilateral decree that was rejected by parliament last week after waves of protest erupted in Spain and in other countries.

The International Transport Workers’ Federation and the International Longshoremen’s Association were among the labor organizations that staged protests in support of Spanish dockworkers.

Jordi Aragunde of the International Dockworkers’ Council said that the support of longshore workers around the world had helped convince the Spanish parliament and the public that the measures were “reckless, dishonest, and harmful to the interests of the working class.”

Spanish unions said the plan would have led to the elimination of 6,500 jobs in domestic ports.

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A state-of-the-art computer simulation has confirmed that both new classes of ultra large container vessels (ULCVs)–those handling 14,000 and 18,000 TEUs–can safely navigate the Port of New York and New Jersey.

The simulation was conducted in two phases during the second half of 2016 at the Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies (MITAGS) in Linthicum Heights, Md.

The port’s major stakeholders–a partnership between the New Jersey Office of Maritime Resources, the New York Shipping Association and the port’s three vessel pilot organizations—decided to conduct the full-mission ship simulation study to identify best practices for the safe and efficient handling of ULCV transits to the port’s major container terminals.

The simulation factored in the new controlling depth (50 feet) of the port’s major navigation channels as well as the new working height of the Bayonne Bridge once the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey completes its “Raise the Roadway” Program in 2017.

The simulation established important parameters for the handling of ULCVs at the Port of New York and New Jersey.

For example, there will be limitations on which part of the tidal cycle the giant vessels can transit, as well as speed, visibility and maximum wind conditions.

Members of the Port Authority’s Port Department will establish a working group to develop a set of procedures and protocols that all port constituents will be asked to concur with in order to ensure the safety and efficiency of waterside activities.

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In the first such incident to be reported since 2012, Somali pirates last week hijacked a chemical tanker, the ARIS 13, and took eight crewmembers hostage.

The vessel and its crew were released three days later, on March 16.

At the time of the incident, the ship was some 18 km off the northern tip of Somalia en route to Mogadishu from Djibouti.

According to the master, the vessel was attacked by eight pirates in two skiffs. It was then held at an anchorage off the north coast of Puntland, close to Alula.

On the morning of March 13, Somali law enforcement officers exchanged gunfire with the pirates as they attempted to resupply the ship.

The vessel was released following negotiations between the Puntland Maritime Police Force, local Somali authorities, clan elders and the pirates.

The crewmembers of the ARIS 13 were released unharmed. It is not known whether a ransom was paid.

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The U.S. Coast Guard has a statutory requirement to publish new Great Lakes Pilotage (GLP) rates by March 1 of each year.

Last week, the Office of Waterways Management announced that the 2016 GLP rates will remain in effect as the agency works to finalize the notice of proposed rulemaking published on Oct. 19, 2016.

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MM&P President Don Marcus will meet with members in the MM&P Norfolk Hall on March 27 at job call at 1100.

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

As a reminder, the Norfolk Hall is located at Interstate Corporate Center, 6325 North Center Dr., Suite 100, Norfolk, VA 23502. The phone number of the hall is: 757-489-7406.

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Photographs of the maritime industry Congressional Sail-In have been posted online at

During the Sail-In, representatives of the maritime labor unions, U.S.-flag shipping companies and maritime industry associations advocated for the U.S.-flag fleet on Capitol Hill.

The Sail-In helps establish relationships with legislators who in the past may have had only moderate awareness of maritime issues.

It also helps cement ties with members of Congress who understand the essential role the U.S.-flag fleet plays in America’s national security and economic wellbeing.

Given the change of administration and the election of many freshmen members of Congress, this year’s event was particularly important.

More than 90 people took part, making it the largest Sail-In ever.

The participants in this year’s Sail-In included representatives of every major U.S. seafaring union, every USA Maritime member company and association, a number of major Jones Act companies and organizations, three State Maritime Academies, the Navy League of the United States, the AFL-CIO Maritime Trades Department and the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department.

Members of the group met face-to-face with key senators, representatives and their staffs in 131 Congressional offices 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.

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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:

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 – 4/17/17, 8/21/17, 10/16/17

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: 5/23/17

ARPA-OIC – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 4/4/17, 8/8/17, 9/26/17

AZIPOD 2-Day – 5/22/17, 10/16/17

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 4/3/17, 6/19/17, 9/25/17, 11/13/17

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 5/22/17, 7/20/17, 11/14/17

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

BRMP-Refresher – 5/24/17, 7/17/17, 9/12/17, 10/18/17

BT – Basic Safety Training: 4/10/17, 8/14/17, 10/9/17

BT-Revalidation (2-day) – 5/4/17, 6/22/17, 8/21/17, 9/28/17, 11/8/17, 12/14/17

BT-Refresher (3-day) – 5/4/17, 6/22/17, 8/20/17, 9/28/17, 11/8/17, 12/14/17

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 5/8/17, 10/30/17

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVNAV-CMM – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): Contact Admissions

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 4/10/17, 6/12/17, 7/31/17, 10/2/17, 12/11/17

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 6/5/17, 8/7/17, 9/25/17, 12/4/17

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 4/17/17, 10/9/17

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 3/27/17, 6/26/17, 8/14/17, 9/18/17

LMS – Leadership and Managerial Skills (Management Level – Formerly MCL-CMM) 5/22/17, 6/19/17, 8/21/17, 9/11/17

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants: 4/3/17

SEC-APPS – Practical Defense Tactics: 7/31/17, 11/6/17

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management (2 weeks): 5/1/17, 10/30/17

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 4/10/17, 4/24/17, 5/8/17, 6/5/17, 7/17/17, 7/31/17, 8/14/17, 9/11/17, 10/2/17, 10/30/17, 12/4/17

SHS-ADV-II-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 3/27/17, 4/17/17, 5/1/17, 5/15/17, 6/12/17, 7/24/17, 8/7/17, 8/21/17, 9/18/17, 10/9/17, 11/6/17, 12/11/17

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

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 10/23/17

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 5/15/17, 11/13/17

CNAV-OIC – Celestial Navigation: 4/24/17, 11/6/17

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: Contact Admissions

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications: Contact Admissions

CRSMGT – Crisis Management and Human Behavior – 7/11/17

CDMGT – Crowd Management – 7/10/17

DDE – Great Lakes: 6/5/17

DPA – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-OIC – Contact Admissions

ECDIS for Pilots – 5/24/17, 11/14/17

ERM – Engine Resource Management: 7/10/17, 8/28/17, 10/16/17, 12/4/17

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 4/10/17, 8/14/17, 10/9/17

FF-ADV-REV – Advanced Fire Fighting Revalidation & Refresher: 5/2/17, 6/20/17, 8/23/17, 9/26/17, 11/6/17, 12/12/17

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications: 4/4/17, 4/18/17, 9/12/17

GL-Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization: Contact Admissions

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 8/21/17

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 6/26/17, 8/28/17, 11/27/17

LAP- 9/11/17

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

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross Ton License: 6/5/17, 8/7/17, 12/4/17

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 4/19/17, 9/13/17

LNG-TPIC – 12/4/17

LTS –Leadership and Teamworking Skills (Formerly MCL-OIC): 4/3/17, 8/15/17, 9/25/17 (*2-Evening Session)

MEECE – Management of Electrical and Electronic Control: Contact Admissions

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 5/8/17, 7/10/17, 9/11/17, 10/23/17

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 4/24/17, 6/26/17, 8/28/17, 11/13/17, 12/4/17

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 4/17/17, 5/8/17, 9/11/17, 10/23/17, 11/27/17

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 5/1/17, 6/12/17 (Evening), 6/19/17, 7/16/17, 8/25/17, 9/25/17, 10/28/17, 12/11/17

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: Contact Admissions

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 6/9/17, 8/9/17, 10/2/17

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control: 6/7/17, 8/7/17, 10/3/17

*MSC-ENVPRO – 6/4/17, 8/6/17, 10/1/17

*MSC-FF-HELO – 6/5/17, 8/13/17, 10/16/17

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 6/12/17, 7/17/17, 8/13/17, 10/9/17

*MSC-Security Watch Basic – 6/10/17, 8/10/17, 10/5/17

*MSC-Security Watch Advanced – 6/16/17, 7/21/17, 8/12/17, 10/7/17

*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force – 6/17/17, 7/24/17, 8/18/17, 10/13/17

NSAP-MMP – Navigational Skills Assessment Program-MM&P – 5/9/17, 6/13/17, 8/14/17, 10/2/17

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 8/17/17, 9/25/17

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 4/5/17, 4/19/17, 5/3/17, 5/10/17, 5/17/17, 6/7/17, 6/21/17, 7/12/17, 7/26/17, 8/9/17, 8/23/17, 9/20/17, 10/4/17, 10/18/17, 11/1/17, 11/8/17, 11/15/17, 11/29/17, 12/6/17, 12/13/17

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 7/31/17

SAR-OIC – Search & Rescue – 4/10/17, 10/16/17

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling: 5/15/17, 8/28/17, 10/23/17

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day – 5/1/17, 6/26/17, 9/25/17, 11/27/17

SMS – Contact Admissions

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 8/7/17

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 7/10/17

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: 5/8/17, 8/7/17

TRAC-TUG-2: Contact Admissions

TTT – Contact Admissions

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: Contact Admissions

VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 4/17/17, 5/22/17, 7/13/17, 9/6/17

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level): 10/2/17

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): 9/11/17

Back to Stories Covered


Winter-Spring 2017

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

March 2017

28-31 ARPA

April 2017

3-4 ECDIS for Pilots
3-7 Search & Rescue / Emergency Procedures
3-14 GMDSS
8-10 Basic Training Refresher
10-14 Basic Training
10-14 Medical Care Provider
10-21 Medical Person-In-Charge
10-21 Watchkeeping – Operational Level
17th Vessel Personnel w/ Designated Security Duties
17-20 Advanced Firefighting
18th Radar Renewal
22-24 Basic Training Refresher
24-28 Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation (VPEN)
24-5 GMDSS

May 2017

2-4 Rating Forming Part of a Navigational Watch
6-8 Basic Training Refresher
8-12 ECDIS
8-12 Basic Training
8-12 Marine Propulsion Plants
15th Vessel Personnel w/ Designated Security Duties
15-18 Advanced Firefighting
15-19 Able Seaman
15-26 Watchkeeping – Operational Level
15-26 Celestial Navigation
16-18 Integrated Electronic Navigation
20-22 Basic Training Refresher
23rd Radar Renewal
30th Leadership & Teamworking Skills
31-2 Security Officer – Vessel, Company, and Facility

June 2017

5-9 Medical Care Provider
5-9 Basic Shiphandling
5-16 Medical Person-In-Charge
10-12 Basic Training Refresher
12-16 Basic Training
12-16 Cargo Handling and Stowage – Operational Level
19th Vessel Personnel w/ Designated Security Duties
20th Radar Renewal
19-22 Advanced Firefighting
19-23 Advanced Watchkeeping
19-23 Leadership & Managerial Skills
24-26 Basic Training Refresher
26-30 Engine Resource Management
27-29 Integrated Electronic Navigation

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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 © 2017. 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