Wheelhouse Weekly – March 25, 2014

March 25th 2014


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

Volume 18 . . . Number 12 . . . March 25, 2014


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


The MM&P halls in Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland/San Francisco and Seattle will be closed on March 31 for Cesar Chavez Day, a state and International Longshore & Warehouse Union holiday.


USA Maritime, a coalition of ocean carriers and maritime unions committed to promoting the U.S. maritime industry, is expressing strong opposition to an Obama Administration proposal that would overturn the bipartisan compromise reaffirming the importance of maintaining the PL 480 Food for Peace Program in its current form. MM&P and MIRAID, which advocates for the union’s members and contracted companies in Washington, D.C., are both members of USA Maritime. The organization expressed its opposition to the proposal, which was contained in the administration’s 2015 budget, in a March 19 letter to Sen. Debbie Stabenow, chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry.

Our organization is “deeply disappointed that the Obama Administration’s budget proposes to overturn the bipartisan, bicameral compromise struck in the Farm Bill regarding the PL 480 Food for Peace Program,” USA Maritime wrote. Under the Administration’s proposal, USAID could divert 25 percent of the PL 480 food aid budget for cash export programs and an additional $35 million for “cash administrative uses.”

“Similar proposals were rejected by Congress last year in the budget process and this year in the Farm Bill,” the organization wrote. It added that the Administration’s proposal would “callously cut” an additional $66 million from the program budget. “There is no authority for these proposals to convert food purchases to cash exports, and they needlessly reopen contentious issues which have been laid to rest by Congress,” USA Maritime wrote.

Under PL 480, American-grown crops are sent overseas on U.S.-flag ships to people who lack access to food. Because Food for Peace’s reliable, transparent formula requires the export of crops grown by Americans on ships crewed by Americans, it has wide support among stakeholders in the United States. The program supports 33,000 jobs in the transportation sector alone. According to the US Transportation Command, PL 480 cargoes are essential to maintaining the U.S.-flag commercial fleet that our country needs in time of war and national emergency and it saves the Department of Defense billions of dollars in sealift costs.


The U.S-flag fleet is asking Congressional appropriators to provide funding for the Maritime Administration’s loan guarantee program, known as Title XI. In a March 14 letter to congressional appropriators on both sides of the aisle, industry representatives, including MM&P, asked that at least $70 million be appropriated for the program in fiscal year 2015. Title XI guarantees commercial loans for privately financed commercial ship construction and shipyard modernization in the United States. “This is not a large, top-down government program but a small program that facilitates investment by the private sector,” representatives of the industry wrote.

“Billions of dollars in new investment in the American maritime industry is needed to respond to explosive growth in the domestic energy industry and renew domestic liner shipping fleets,” they said. The program has created and maintained tens of thousands of well-paying seagoing and shore-side jobs, and helped to ensure that an adequate pool of vessels and mariners and a shipyard industrial base, including associated supply industries, is available to meet U.S. economic, homeland and national sealift needs. The program provides a significant return for the government because each Title XI dollar can leverage as much as 15-20 dollars of private investment.

On the Senate side, the letter was addressed to Sens. Patty Murray and Susan Collins, chairwoman and ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies. In the House, it was sent to Reps. Tom Latham and Ed Pastor, chairman and ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies.


The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) is telling ships to be extremely vigilant when transiting the waters around West Africa because pirates in the area have become more active. There have been eight incidents in the past 2 ½; months and a Liberian-flagged product tanker was hijacked by Nigerian pirates in January in Angolan waters. The IMB said that pirates in the area are venturing further south. Last year the number of attacks by pirates from Nigeria increased and is now at the highest level since 2008. Nigerian pirates accounted for 31 of the 51 attacks reported in the region in 2013, and West Africa as a whole made up 19 percent of attacks worldwide in 2013, the IMB said.


A new Coast Guard rule implementing the STCW amendments authorizes the agency to postdate a merchant mariner credential (MMC) by up to eight months. The rule took effect on March 24. Postdating is defined as placing an issue date on the MMC that is in the future. It will only apply to applications for renewal where no other credential activity is requested or results from the transaction. Except on receipt of written request documenting the need for immediate issuance, the National Maritime Center (NMC) will automatically postdate credentials with the appropriate future date.

The issue date of the MMC will be the day following the date of expiration of the current MMC, but no more than eight months in the future. The expiration date and period of validity of the credential will be five years from the date of issuance. If the expiration date of the mariner’s current credential is beyond eight months from the date that the Coast Guard accepts a complete application, the new credential issue date will be eight months from the date of application acceptance, at which time the current active credential will become invalid.

Any transactions initiated after a postdated MMC has been approved and mailed will result in endorsement labels being printed and mailed for both the mariner’s active MMC and the postdated MMC, the agency said. Mariners must ensure that the endorsement labels are properly placed in the appropriate MMC. To ensure consistency of service, the Coast Guard will implement postdating of renewal credentials beginning with applications processed on or after March 24.

The new credential will not be valid until the issue date listed on the new MMC. Mariners must continue to carry their current credential until that date. Mariners are required to return expired or otherwise invalid credentials to the NMC. If a credential is lost, mariners must follow the procedures in 46 CFR Part 10.231.

The Coast Guard said that it would no longer accept new requests for delayed issuance but that applications that had been approved for production with delayed issuance on or before March 23 would be processed using the previous delayed issuance procedure. If you have questions, please contact the Customer Service Center at


A new Coast Guard rule implementing the STCW amendments indicates that mariners may submit an appeal of a National Maritime Center (NMC) reconsideration decision directly to the Director of Inspections and Compliance (CG-5PC). Beginning on March 24, appeals may be e-mailed to or mailed to: U.S. Coast Guard, Director of Inspections and Compliance (CG-5PC), 2703 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave, S.E., Stop 7501 Attn: CG-CVC-4, Washington, D.C. 20593-7501.

In accordance with 46 Code of Federal Regulations 1.03, the appeal must be submitted in writing not more than 30 days after the decision or action being appealed. The appeal must contain a description of the decision or action being appealed, and the appellant’s reason(s) why the decision or action should be set aside or revised. While an appeal is pending, the original decision or action remains in effect unless otherwise stayed by the Commandant.

The process for requesting reconsideration of a NMC decision or action remains the same. Mariners and other providers should contact the Customer Service Center at or 1-888-IASKNMC (427-5662) with any questions or feedback.


The Coast Guard has issued a Marine Safety Information Bulletin stating that, in line with IMO STCW.7/Circ.21, it has adopted a modified enforcement posture for security awareness training and seafarers with designated security duties certification on subject U.S. vessels until July 1, 2015. The new enforcement policy is contingent on a mariner’s compliance with 33 CFR §104.220 and §104.225. To find out more, send an e-mail to  or read the circular at


A court in the Indian port city of Tuticorin has granted bail to 35 crewmembers and security guards who were arrested in October of last year aboard the SEAMAN GUARD OHIO. The ship was being operated by a U.S.-based maritime security firm, AdvanFort International, as an accommodation platform for counter-piracy guards between transits on commercial vessels traveling through the designated high risk area in the Indian Ocean.

The master of the SEAMAN GUARD has said he was tricked into leaving international waters by Indian Coast Guard officials who told him the ship was in the path of Cyclone Phailin. Once inside India’s territorial waters, the vessel was seized for having weapons on board without the required documents. According to the operator of the ship, when it entered port officials from eight different law enforcement agencies converged on it and detained the crew and security guards, seizing automatic weapons and almost 6,000 rounds of ammunition.

The men were held in Puzhal Prison, in Chennai, where they said they were deprived of food, bathing facilities and medical attention. MM&P has gone on record protesting India’s treatment of the men. The court ultimately ruled that the authorities had failed to file the required documents substantiating the charges against them, and that therefore they could be freed on bail.


The National Transportation Safety Board is seeking a full-time permanent marine accident investigator to work in Washington, D.C. The salary range is $75,621 to $138,136. To apply for this position, you must provide a complete application package by 11:59 PM (EST), Monday, April 7, 2014.  For more information, go to


The annual National Maritime Day Observance and Memorial Service will be held at the American Merchant Marine Veterans Memorial and Walls of Honor, located on Harbor Boulevard at the foot of 6th Street, San Pedro, Calif., on Thursday, May 22. The ceremony begins at 11:00 a.m. It will be the 25th anniversary of the construction of the American Merchant Marine Veterans Memorial and the observance of National Maritime Day in San Pedro.

National Maritime Day honors the American merchant mariners who have served their country in peace and war since the American Revolution. The observance will include speakers representing state and local organizations and the American maritime industry. A memorial service will be conducted by local clergy and veterans groups. A luncheon at Ports O’Call Restaurant at Berth 76, San Pedro, will follow the observance at 1230. For more information, please contact John Pitts at 562-716-2899 or


Union Plus offers a variety of services to save union members money on moving. The services and benefits include:
– access to a network of real estate agents who understand the local market and participate in a real estate rewards programs in which at closing sellers receive $50 for every $10,000 in home value;
– the Union Plus mortgage program, which provides interest-free loans and grants to help union members make mortgage payments if they are disabled, unemployed, locked-out or on strike;

– full-service moving discounts on interstate moves with North American Van Lines and Allied Van Lines (both offer free quotes, factory-direct pricing on moving supplies, plus door-to-door shipping of cars, trucks and boats);

– savings on local and self-moves using your Union Plus discount with Budget, one of the nation’s largest truck rental companies–union families save 20 percent on Budget truck and van rental rates for local or one-way moves;

– 10 percent savings on a PODS container;

– 15 percent discount on packing supplies.

For more information, go to and click on “Home & Technology” and then on “Moving Discounts.”


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: Contact Admissions

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

DDE – Great Lakes: Contact Admissions

DPA – Contact Admissions

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: Contact Admissions

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-ENV – Contact Admissions

MSC-FF-HELO – Contact Admissions

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-Security Watch Advanced – 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: 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

SMS – 4/1

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: 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

31-2       Vessel Security Officer

April 2014

7-9          Bridge Resource Management for Pilots w/Emergency Shiphandling
7-11       ECDIS
14th       Radar Renewal
14-25     GMDSS
21-22     ECDIS for Pilots
21-25     Marine Pilot Exam Preparation
15-18     ARPA
28-30     Vessel Security Officer
28-2       ECDIS
28-2       Medical Care Provider
28-9       Medical Person-In-Charge

May 2014

5th         Radar Renewal
12-16     ECDIS
12-16     Tankerman Person-In-Charge
19-21     Vessel Security Officer
19-23     Train the Trainer

June 2014

2-6          Basic Meteorology
9th         Radar Renewal
9-20       GMDSS
9-27       Terrestrial and Coastal Navigation
11-13     Vessel Security Officer
16-20     ECDIS

July 2014

7-11       Radar Observer Unlimited
7-18       GMDSS
14th       Radar Renewal
14th       Flashing Light
15-18     ARPA
21-25     Bridge Resource Management
28-1       ECDIS
28-1       Medical Care Provider

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