News

Wheelhouse Weekly – March 22, 2010

March 22nd 2010

 

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

Volume 14 . . . . . Number 12. . . .March 22, 2010

STORIES COVERED

REMINDERS

MM&P FCU News

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.


DIRECT COSTS OF PIRACY TO SHIPPING INDUSTRY TOP $100 MILLION ANNUALLY

Pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia are costing the shipping industry over $100 million a year, according to a study conducted by an international foundation specialized in conflict analysis. The study, published at the end of January by the World Peace Foundation, reports that shipowners paid about $110 million in ransoms in 2008 and 2009. These costs are on top of a roughly equal amount in lost revenue from hijacked ships.

From a broader perspective, of course, the direct and indirect expenses of piracy are far greater. They include sharply increased fuel costs and lost time from changes in routes, security systems and insurance premiums, among other things. On an international level, the deployment of naval vessels to the waters around Somalia carries a multibillion dollar price tag.

The findings of the report, “Combating Maritime Piracy,” were outlined in an article in the most recent edition of “Nautilus,” the magazine of the British and Dutch officers’ union. One conclusion of the report: Somali piracy has become “a big business” that employs about 1,500 pirates operating under the umbrella of seven criminal syndicates based not just in Somalia but also in Kenya, Dubai, Lebanon and other countries. To read the report in its entirety, go to http://www.worldpeacefoundation.org/WPF_Piracy_PolicyBrief_11.pdf.


BRITAIN’S HIGH COURT RULES PAYING RANSOMS NOT CONTRARY TO PUBLIC POLICY

Britain’s High Court has ruled that ransom payments to pirates are neither illegal nor contrary to public policy. The ruling came in response to a case brought by an insurance company which had disputed having to compensate a shipowner for the cost of ransoming a ship and crew.

The British maritime industry welcomed the decision, which means that shipowners can continue to negotiate with pirates holding crewmembers hostage. “If the crews of the vessels are to be taken out of harm’s way, the only option is to pay the ransom,” said Judge David Steel in issuing the ruling. “Diplomatic or military intervention cannot usually be relied upon, and failure to pay may put in jeopardy the crews.”

At the end of February, Somali pirates were holding at least 10 vessels and 180 people hostage. Captives include: a British couple abducted in October while sailing aboard their yacht in the Indian Ocean; the India-flagged NESEYA, with a crew of 13; the Israeli-owned, U.K.-flagged chemical tanker ST JAMES PARK and 26 crewmembers; the Greek-owned, Panama-flagged NAVIOS APOLLON, with 19 crewmembers; the U.K.-flagged ASIAN GLORY, with 25 crewmembers; and the Libyan-owned, North Korea-flagged RIM and its 10-member crew.

MV THERESA VIII, a tanker with a crew of 28, was released last week. The vessel had been hijacked in November. The ship’s master was shot to death by the pirates when the vessel was seized.


PIRATES ATTACK EU WARSHIP; NAVAL FORCES REPORT SKIRMISHES, ARRESTS

The Dutch warship HNLMS TROMP fired warning shots at two small skiffs which approached it at top speed in the Somali basin on Wednesday, May 17. The vessel was patrolling the region as part of the ongoing European Union counter-piracy mission. The captain of HNLMS TROMP deployed a helicopter to intercept the pirates, who tried to flee when they realized they had attacked an armed naval vessel instead of a merchant ship. A search of the skiffs by personnel dispatched from the warship uncovered ammunition and rocket-propelled grenades. Ten suspects were held on board the warship before being released to one of their boats. Having completed the search, the warship destroyed the other two skiffs. European Union naval forces report this is the eleventh pirate attack they have disrupted in the past two weeks. Eleven suspected pirates have been arrested and taken to the Seychelles for prosecution.

In related news, on March 11, MV LUEBECK, a German-owned, Liberia-flagged containership, sustained damage from small arms fire but was able to escape hijacking while en route to Salalah. European Union naval vessels on patrol between the Seychelles and the Somali coast have continued their campaign to disrupt pirate attacks. The German warship EMDEN intercepted a pirate group consisting of a mother ship and two skiffs. On approach by EMDEN, two small skiffs attempted to flee and pirate gear consisting of ladders and hooks was tossed overboard. EMDEN’s helicopter eventually intercepted the three ships and boarding parties were sent onboard. All suspected pirates were returned to the mother ship and one of the skiffs was sunk. EMDEN retained the third skiff as evidence.


AFL-CIO TRANSPORTATION TRADES DEPARTMENT SEEKS GREATER PROTECTIONS FOR MARINERS

Protecting maritime industry workers from pirates is among the action items in the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department (TTD) 2010 legislative agenda, approved last week by union leaders strategizing for the coming year. “Transportation labor urges the U.S. government to prevent acts of piracy in the short term through immediate military and other government assistance and over the long term through international engagement,” reads the statement approved by the group. “Specifically, transportation labor believes the most effective means to prevent and repel acts of piracy is for our government to immediately provide U.S.-flag vessels operating in high risk waters with on-board armed force protection.”

“The past year has been rife with examples of the need to strengthen safety and security in our transportation systems,” said TTD President Ed Wytkind. “From the underwear bomber to several rail transit accidents to pirate attacks on U.S. mariners, we will continue to advocate for safety and security standards that address the realities workers face and that serve the public interest.”

Speakers at the meeting included U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman James Oberstar and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Our highways, railroads, airways, waterways, ports and mass transit make us one nation instead of a patchwork of 50 individual states,” Oberstar told the group. “It is the men and women who build, operate, and maintain these systems that make American transportation work. As a nation, we owe a great debt to them and to their collective voice, TTD.”

During the course of the meeting, TTD’s Executive Committee adopted a strong statement in support of the 600 members of International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 30. Members of the local employed at a mining plant in Boron, Calif., have been locked out by Rio Tinto, which is trying to force them to accept an extremely concessionary contract.


GOVERNMENT FLEET NEWS: MORE T-AKE SHIPS ON THE WAY

Military Sealift Command’s T-AKE ship program continues to move forward. Recent milestones include the delivery of the ninth Lewis and Clark class supply ship, USNS MATTHEW PERRY, and the launch of a tenth ship, USNS DREW. The eleventh and twelfth ships in the class are now being built at NASSCO Shipyard, which has just been awarded a contract for the construction of the two final ships in the program. All T-AKE vessels are crewed by licensed deck officers who belong to the collective bargaining unit represented by MM&P. USNS PERRY is named for Commodore Matthew C. Perry (1794-1858), a U.S. Navy officer who established trade with Japan in the mid-19th century. USNS DREW is named after Dr. Charles R. Drew (1904-1950), a medical researcher who pioneered blood banking and transfusions. DREW is scheduled to be delivered to Military Sealift Command in the third quarter of 2010. 


SHIP OPERATIONS COOPERATIVE PROGRAM MEETS ON SAFETY APRIL 22-23

The Ship Operations Cooperative Program (SOCP) invites you to take part in its spring 2010 meeting at the Hilton Houston North, where senior federal and state government and maritime industry professionals will present a comprehensive discussion of safety. Among the topics to be discussed: safety training, inspections, safety audits, safety assessments, safety reporting systems, safety data standards and safety bench marking. There will also be updates on projects being carried out by SOCP’s education, training, security, safety and environmental working groups. To find out more and to register, go to www.socp.us. Sponsorship and exhibit opportunities are available. Contact Ram Nagendran [ramnagendran@socp.us or (240) 605-7429] to become a sponsor or exhibitor. SOCP is an industry-government partnership formed in 1993 to improve the competitiveness of the U.S. maritime industry through advances in shipboard safety, training, reliability and productivity.


MITAGS AND PMI ANNOUNCE TRAIN THE TRAINER COURSE SCHEDULE

Do you have training responsibilities in your organization? If so, you may want to take the “STCW Train the Trainer” course. The 40-hour program is designed for instructors who present the Coast Guard-approved training course, as well as everyone involved in training. The focus of the course includes: development of a learning system; course design; classroom management; training aids; learning system evaluation; evaluating trainees; monitoring progress; using tests and exams.

The next course is scheduled to start on April 12 at MITAGS in Linthicum, MD. The course will also be held at the Pacific Maritime Institute in Seattle, July 12-16. For more information, send an e-mail to admissions@mitags.org or admin@pmi.org.


SIXTEEN CADETS GRADUATE FROM PMI WORKBOAT-TO-MATE PROGRAM

PMI has announced the graduation of 16 cadets from its two-year Workboat-to-Mate Program. The students are sponsored by organizations which include NOAA, Foss Maritime, Crowley Marine Services, Dunlap Towing and Brusco Tug and Barge. The cadets completed an intensive two-year training program, starting as deckhands and working their way up to the wheelhouse by the end of their second year. They now qualify to sit for the Coast Guard exam for their mates’ license.


MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

CLASS OPENINGS: Between now and the end of May 2010, as of the Friday before this publication, seats are available in the following courses:

ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 5/17

AZIPOD (2 day) – Azipod Propulsion System: 4/8

BST – Basic Safety Training: 4/12

BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 5/24

BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 4/19, 5/13

CHS BAS – Cargo Handling and Stowage (Operational Level): 4/5

CNAV � Celestial Navigation: 5/3

CONT PLNG � Contingency Planning Workshop: 5/13

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 4/5

CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 5/17

CMM-CHS-I – Advanced Cargo Operations (week 1): 4/12

CMM-CHS-II – Advanced Cargo Operations (week 2): 4/19

CMM-SHMGT I � Ship Management (week 1): 5/3

CMM-SHMGT II � Ship Management (week 2): 5/10

CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 4/12, 5/24

CMM-SHS-ADV-I I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 3/29, 4/19

CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 4/26

CMM-VPEN � Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 5/24

ECDIS/ENAV for PILOTS (2-day): 5/18

ENAV � Electronic Navigation: 3/15

EP – Emergency Procedures: 4/21

ENVRO-REGS PERMIT – Environmental Regulations In The Maritime Industry / Epa General Permit For Commercial Vessels: 5/26

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Basic & Advanced Combined: 4/12

FSM for Pilots � Fatigue, Sleep & Medications: 4/21, 5/13, 5/20

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 4/19, 5/3, 5/13

LNG-GCC-Term – Liquefied Natural Gas for Terminal Operators: 4/26

MEDIA RSP � Media Response Workshop: 5/14

[MSC-Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC CBRD-1 � CBRD Orientation: 4/2, 5/21

MSC-DC � Damage Control (Special Evening Course): 3/29 to 4/1, 5/17 to 5/20

MSC-SMA � Small Arms Training: (Standby Only 3/29), 5/17

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 5/8

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 5/3

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 4/26, 5/3

ROP-5 � Radar Observer Original or Renewal: 5/3

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 5/17

SAR – Search & Rescue: 4/19

SEC-VCF – Security Officer: Vessel, Company & Facility: 5/10

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling: 4/26

TPIC � Tankerman Person-in-Charge: 5/17

TTT – Train the Trainer: 4/12

…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 2010

29-2    Tankerman Person-in-Charge
29-9    Celestial Navigation
30-1    BRM & Emergency Shiphandling for Pilots

April 2010

5-9      Tankerman Person-In-Charge
12-16   ECDIS
12-16   Medical Care Provider
12-16   Basic Stability
12-23  Medical Person-In-Charge
19-23  Basic Cargo Handling
26-30 Basic Shiphandling
26-7    GMDSS

May 2010

3          Radar Renewal
3-7      Medical Care Provider
10-14  Medical Care Provider
10-21  Basic Watchkeeping w/BRM
24-28 Medical Care Provider
24-28 ECDIS
26-28 Security VCF

June 2010

2-4      Security VCF
7-10    ARPA
7-11     Medical Care Provider
7-18    Medical Person-In-Charge
7-18    GMDSS
8-10    BRM & Emergency Shiphandling for Pilots
11         Radar Renewal
14-2    Terrestrial & Coastal Navigation w/ Compasses
21-25  Tankerman Person-in-Charge


MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 3-19-2010

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
10,779.17 2,374.41 1,159.90
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Closing
Price
 Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund (VAARX)
50.31
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
107.24
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
35.26
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
17.19
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
15.92
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
24.77
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
10.81
 Vanguard Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
28.40
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
5.55
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
15.59
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
20.31
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
13.63
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
18.30
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
11.26
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
11.69
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
11.73
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
12.08
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
12.49
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
10.47
 Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
28.84
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
15.84
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
14.25
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
16.83
 Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
10.31
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
66.55
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
61.18
 Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
17.10
 Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX)
39.54
 Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
27.83
 Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
24.83
 Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
10.93
 Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
11.57
 Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
12.82
 Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
12.89
 Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
12.75
 Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
7.38
 Fidelity Freedom 2050 (FFFHX)
8.60
 Fidelity Total Bond Fund (FTBFX)
10.66
 Spartan Extended market Index Fund (FSEMX)
33.06
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
41.19
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
27.10





~ Reminders ~



MM&P FCU NEWS

GET NEW WHEELS OR LOWER EXISTING PAYMENTS WITH MM&P FCU VEHICLE FINANCING

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.

PREFERRED BORROWERS GET LOWER LOAN RATES
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 mmpfcu@bridgedeck.org or call 1-800-382-7777 toll-free.



 

MM&P HEALTH & BENEFIT PLAN NEWS

MEET OUR NEW PRESCRIPTION BENEFIT MANAGER, PHARMACARE

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.



NOTICE TO MM&P HEALTH & BENEFIT PLAN PARTICIPANTS

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.


WWII USCG VETERANS OUTREACH

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 www.loc.gov/folklife/vets.

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.



 

COMPANY GIVES BUCKS BACK FOR BUYING SAFE SHOES

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)

LOOK FOR THE UNION LABEL:

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 www.unionlabel.org and click on “Union Made Product Search”. To shop for union-made products online, go to www.ShopUnionMade.org.


 

WEBSITE OFFERS UNION-MADE GOODS AND SERVICES

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, www.shopunionmade.org, 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: 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.

© 2010, 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.