Wheelhouse Weekly – March 26, 2013

March 26th 2013


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

Volume 17 . . . Number 13. . . March 26, 2013

(Look in the archives for this weeks Special Edition.)



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


On March 29, Good Friday, the MM&P Health & Benefit Plan Office, MM&P headquarters, the MM&P Federal Credit Union and all MM&P union halls will be closed. On Monday, April 1, all Pacific Port halls except for Honolulu will be closed for Cesar Chavez Day.


Representatives of the labor movement, government and industry joined members and officials of the Masters, Mates & Pilots March 19 in a salute to former MM&P International President Tim Brown. The event, which was sponsored by MM&P and the Kings Point Alumni Association’s Chesapeake Chapter, was held at MITAGS.

During the course of the evening, Brown was named a Commodore of the U.S. Maritime Service by order of President Barack Obama. A plaque to that effect was presented to him by U.S. Maritime Administrator David T. Matsuda and Deputy Maritime Administrator Paul N. Jaenichen Sr.

“It goes to show how much respect people in every sector of the maritime industry have for Tim,” said Maryland Pilot Brian Hope, who spoke at the event on behalf of the Pilot Membership Group. Hope presented tributes to Brown from every pilot group on the West Coast, including a silver plate with an inscription from the San Francisco Bar Pilots. American Pilots’ Association (APA) President Mike Watson also sent an official tribute to Brown, along with well wishes on behalf of all APA members.

A heart-felt commendation came from MM&P International President Don Marcus, who credited Brown with working tirelessly to ensure the union’s survival in the face of industry change, internal conflicts and attacks from the outside.

“Tim preserved the livelihoods, working conditions and benefits for our members, pensioners and their families,” Marcus said. “He worked with particular dedication to enhance health care benefits for our active and retired members. He has always cared first and foremost about the guys on the ships. We are proud of what Tim has given to our brothers and our sisters, proud for what he has achieved in our industry.”

Other speakers at the event thanked Brown for consistently advocating on behalf of the U.S. Merchant Marine, Kings Point, the labor movement and working families.


Licensed deck officers who belong to the MM&P Atlantic & Gulf Region will be at the helm of Governors Island Ferry in New York under the terms of a new agreement signed by the union and HMS Global. The new contract will provide about 16 jobs for MM&P members. The Governors Island ferry departs from the Battery Maritime Building adjacent to the Staten Island Ferry in Lower Manhattan.

“MM&P is pleased to have reached an agreement with HMS Global,” said MM&P United Inland Group Vice President Mike Murray. “This agreement is the first new contract in the Atlantic & Gulf Region of our United Inland Group in several years and represents a renewed inland presence by MM&P in New York harbor. We are gratified that we were able to protect the interests of incumbent MEBA employees who otherwise would have lost their jobs when their employer lost their operating contract for the ferry service.”

Governors Island has a rich and colorful history. In 1637 it was purchased from local Native Americans by a representative of the Dutch government. The sale price was two ax heads, a string of beads and a handful of nails. After that, the island switched hands several times between the British and the Dutch. It was used as a military facility by British and American forces for more than 200 years. During the American Civil War, it was used for recruitment and as a prison for captured Confederate soldiers. Throughout World War I and II, the island served as an important supply base for Army ground and air forces.

The island was later transferred to the Coast Guard and then to the people of New York. It now welcomes thousands of visitors each year to enjoy a diverse array of arts, cultural and recreational programs.


The Government Accountability Office (GAO) on March 20 released a report intended to analyze the possible effects of any hypothetical future modification in the way the Jones Act applies in the Puerto Rico trades. The Jones Act requires that vessels used for shipping between Puerto Rico and the United States be registered in the United States, crewed by U.S. citizens and built in a U.S. shipyard. The report was prepared at the behest of Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi, who represents Puerto Rico as a non-voting member of the U.S. House of Representatives. 

The GAO analysts said they were unable to substantiate claims by one or more of the interviewees who said freight rates to or from Puerto Rico could at times be marginally lower on some foreign-flag ships compared to some U.S.-flag ships. “Data were not available to allow us to validate the examples given or verify the extent to which this difference occurred,” the agency researchers said. GAO also reported that average freight rates of the four major Jones Act carriers in this market were lower in 2010 than they were in 2006. GAO said the effects of modifying the application of the Jones Act for Puerto Rico were “highly uncertain, and various trade-offs could materialize” depending on how the Act were to be modified.

The agency also warned that changes to the Act “could result in the disappearance of most U.S.-flag vessels in this trade, having a negative impact on the U.S. merchant marine and the shipyard industrial base that the Act was meant to protect.”

Representatives of MM&P–including International President Don Marcus, United Inland Group Vice President Mike Murray, Regional Representative Eduardo Iglesias and International Counsel Gabriel Terrasa–met with Pierluisi in Washington on March 20,  the day the report was released.

Iglesias has been at the forefront of educating the public about the Jones Act in Puerto Rico as a member of the “Alianza Maritima of Puerto Rico” and president of the Maritime Trades Department in Puerto Rico. During the meeting, MM&P officials urged Pierluisi not to jeopardize the Jones Act based on the GAO report that does not document any conclusive benefit in altering the application of the law to Puerto Rico.


Reps. Janice Hahn (D-Calif.) and Ted Poe (R-Texas) have been awarded the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) 2013 “Port Person of the Year.” The two are co-founders of the bipartisan congressional PORTS caucus. “I am honored to accept this prestigious award with my friend and colleague, Congressman Poe,” said Hahn.

“Occasions of bipartisanship in this city are few and far between, especially now when our nation’s economic future hinges on cooperation and compromise. The fact that Ted and I are accepting this joint award in Washington, D.C., is a testament to what can be achieved when common goals trump partisan labels.”

Hahn said she and Poe began working together “to ensure that our ports play a prominent role in our national policy discussions, and this award is a ringing endorsement of the PORTS Caucus’ progress. The impact of our ports reaches far beyond harbor communities, into the foundations of our economy and our national security. As the Co-Chair of the PORTS Caucus and a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I will continue to promote projects that safeguard the economic vitality and security of our nation’s ports,” Hahn added. 

The PORTS Caucus now includes more than 80 members of the U.S. House of Representatives.


MM&P Government Fleet Representative Randi Ciszewski has announced that the union has succeeded in negotiating an exemption from furloughs for our bargaining unit members who work aboard U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) dredges. Furloughs for government employees are mandated under the law known as “sequestration,” which was passed by Congress as a result of partisan deadlock over the federal budget. Ciszewski has been working on behalf of all members of the MM&P Federal Employee Membership Group (FEMG) to minimize the impact of furloughs.

Every affected DOD employee would be subject to up to 22 discontinuous workdays (176 hours) of furlough. The Department of Defense/Department of the Navy will implement the furlough from April 25 through the pay period ending Sept. 21. Any exceptions to the furlough have to be endorsed by the Secretary of the Navy and approved.

The Navy has created a website that lists answers to “frequently asked questions” regarding the impact of the furloughs on its civilian employees. The site URL is


Historic Ships in Baltimore, a division of Living Classrooms Foundation, is seeking a qualified individual to fill the position of Chief: Ships, Facilities and Collections Care. The position reports to the Executive Director and is in charge, primarily, of the day-to-day, mid-term and long-term maintenance and preservation of the Historic Ships fleet, buildings and storage spaces and the supervision of maintenance and preservation staff.

Qualified candidates must have knowledge of both steel and wooden ship construction and maintenance, electrical and mechanical systems, plumbing and HVAC, be willing and able to cultivate, manage, work with and supervise volunteers and exhibit proficiency and experience in project planning and management, material procurement and personnel management.

Qualified candidates should also exhibit a familiarity with historic vessel preservation, the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Historic Vessel Preservation, and basic collections management. Finally, a qualified candidate must be able to show that they can produce quality results and work cohesively as a member of the team at Historic Ships in Baltimore.

The regular work week is Tuesday-Saturday. While in many respects a managerial position, prospective candidates must also be physically able to access all areas on board the vessels of our historic fleet and engage in physical activity similar to that of a shipyard worker. Interested candidates must provide: cover letter; resume; salary requirements; at least three professional references.

These should be sent via e-mail to: with Historic Ships Chief: Ships, Facilities and Collections Care Search in the subject line, or via regular mail to: Human Resources, Living Classrooms Foundation, Historic Ships Chief: Ships, Facilities and Collections Care Search, 802 S. Caroline Street, Baltimore, MD 21231. Applications should be received no later than Friday, March 29, 2013.


From now until May 31, MM&P members and their families can save an additional 1% on the already low cost of our auto and personal loans. For the next 72 days, in fact, we’re reducing all our rates by 1%. Until May 31, the starting rate on our already low-priced auto loan will be reduced to an incredible 1.50% (according to, the average 4-year auto loan rate was 2.65 on March 18). This means that for clients who qualify for the starting rate, the MM&P Federal Credit Union can save members and their families more than $483 on a $20,000 auto loan!

The rates on our personal loans, which now start at 5.00%, will also be reduced by another 1% across the board until the end of May, which means that qualified borrowers can get a loan rate as low as 4%! Act now to take advantage of this great offer.

It’s easy to save money and time with MM&P Federal Credit Union: download a loan application at ; send an e-mail to or call us toll free at 800-382-7777 (we’re open Monday-Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Friday from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.)

And remember: if you’re sick and tired of bank fees, the credit union offers free checking accounts; surcharge-free ATMs through the 30,000 terminal CO-OP ATM Network; and free electronic bill pay. Contact us today to take advantage of our convenient, low-cost services and great new rates!


MM&P International Secretary-Treasurer Steve Werse will join Atlantic Ports Vice President Don Josberger at the union meeting on April 10 in the Norfolk Hall.


The Offshore Familiarization Course will be offered at the Los Angeles Hall on April 10-11 and Oct. 9-10. For more information or to sign up, please contact the Los Angeles Hall: 310-834-7201.


Following the death of five mariners in a lifeboat drill accident on Feb. 3, the European officers’ union Nautilus is calling for a thorough investigation and changes in lifeboat drill procedures.

As reported in an earlier edition of The Wheelhouse Weekly, mariners aboard the Maltese-flagged cruise ship THOMSON MAJESTY were conducting a safety drill when the cables snapped and the lifeboat fell 65 feet into the ocean, landing upside down. Three other men were injured in the accident, which took place in the port of La Palma in the Canary Islands.

As many as 15 percent of all maritime industry deaths involve lifeboat drills, Nautilus says. The investigation into the most recent tragedy is focusing on the condition of the fall wires, davits and on-load release hooks, and the ease with which the wires could be greased, Nautilus reports. The union says it has “consistently advised members not to be in lifeboats when they are being raised or lowered, unless strops are in place.”

“This is an issue that we have raised directly with companies and at the International Maritime Organization,” said Nautilus General Secretary Mark Dickinson. “We believe there is a need for much more concerted action to address design shortcomings. It is also time to have some more radical thinking about the whole concept of lifeboats.”


The Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a press release on March 18 stating that the owner of the abandoned barge DAVY CROCKETT has been sentenced to four months in prison, eight months of home detention, 100 hours of community service and three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to criminal violations of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act by discharging oil from the barge into the Columbia River and failing to report the incident. A DOJ spokesperson said the cleanup and salvage operation cost $22 million.


Although the Coast Guard has yet to issue final rules on implementation of the STCW95 Code and the 2010 Manila Amendments, deadlines for mariners sailing on foreign voyages (including to Canada and Mexico) are fast approaching. None of the listed requirements can be enforced by the Coast Guard until the final rules are in place, but they can be enforced by foreign port state control officials. If you sail on foreign voyages subject to the STCW Code, we encourage you to acquire the necessary training and endorsements before the various deadlines.

— Minimum Hours of Rest Requirements; Countries that have ratified the Convention may start enforcement in August 2013; See Policy Letter 12-05.
The 2010 Manila Amendments amended the definitions and amount of rest required by mariners with safety and emergency duties when serving aboard vessels subject to the STCW95 Code. The Code also requires additional recordkeeping for port state control.  CVC Policy Letter 12-05 provides guidance on these new requirements and recommendations on recordkeeping formats. We encourage management level officers and shore-side personnel to review and implement the recommendations provided in this policy letter.

— Vessel Security Officer, Vessel Personnel with Security Related Duties and Security Awareness for all other mariners; Due Jan. 1, 2014; See Policy Letter 12-06.
Vessel security officers (VSO) and other mariners require specific security-related endorsements on their Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC). Additionally, crewmembers who have specific security duties and all other crewmembers must have security awareness endorsements. The three STCW95 endorsements are: VSO = Vessel Security Officer; VPSSD = Vessel Personnel with Specific Security Duties; SA = Security Awareness.
Because the endorsements are hierarchal, VSO covers VPSSD and SA and the VPSSD endorsement also covers the SA endorsement. Endorsements should be made on the MMC’s STCW page in the column “Capacity.” On the page with the STCW Regulations, your endorsement should read either: VSO = VI/5; VPSSD = VI/6; or SA = VI/6
— Vessels Equipped with Electronic Chart Display Information Systems (ECDIS); Due Jan. 1, 2017; See Policy Letter 12-07.
Deck officers sailing on vessels equipped with ECDIS will have to complete a Coast Guard approved ECDIS Course (generally 35 hours or five days).  The policy letter “grandfathers” mariners who have successfully completed an approved Coast Guard ECDIS Course (see enclosure 1, section IV, paragraph 2 of policy letter 12-07). Mariners who successfully completed a MITAGS CMM-ECDIS course after April 1, 2001, have satisfied the new requirements.
— Management, Communication and Leadership Courses at the Management and Operational Levels; Due Jan. 1, 2017; See Policy Letter 12-07.
Mariners sailing as master, chief mate, chief engineer and first assistant engineer subject to the STCW Code have to complete a 35-hour leadership course. MITAGS has received approval for its course and has added it to the standard school schedule.  Mariners sailing at the operational level (2M, 3M, 2AE, 3AE) have to complete a 1-day seminar on leadership. Again, MITAGS has approval from the Coast Guard to present a new seminar. Please note: To date, mariners who completed the MITAGS Horizon Lines MCL Course have not met the new requirements. MITAGS is currently seeking approval of this course.
— 5-Year Refresher Training (BST); Due Jan. 1, 2017; See Policy Letter 12-07.
Mariners will no longer be able to completely satisfy the basic safety refresher requirements with sea service alone. Every five years, certain elements of basic/advanced fire-fighting, personal survival craft and fast rescue boat must be refreshed with an approved Coast Guard course.  MITAGS-PMI is working with the National Maritime Center to determine what will be required. More information should be available later this year.
— Other Endorsements; Due Jan. 1, 2017; See Policy Letter 12-07.
Mariners sailing as engineers at the operational or management levels will have to complete an approved Engine Room Resource Management (ERM) course. We are working on the details of this new requirement.
— Unlicensed deck personnel sailing as ABs will need a new “Able Seafarer-Deck” endorsement on the STCW page of their Merchant Mariner Credential. Unlicensed members of the engine department sailing as QMED will need an “Able Seafarer-Engine” endorsement. 
The Coast Guard is also amending the endorsement language on the MMC to better align with the new STCW requirements. New language will be placed on the STCW page of the credentials for the Tankerman PIC, Tankerman-Barge, Tankerman-Engineer and Tankerman PIC-Liquefied Natural Gas endorsements. Again, we recommend getting your updated STCW endorsement language before Jan. 1, 2017.

For more information: Policy letters 12-05, 12-06, and 12-07 are posted on the USCG National Maritime Center website. For credentialing and endorsement questions, please e-mail: If you have questions on specific MITAGS or PMI certificates or courses, please e-mail MITAGS-PMI Student Services Coordinators Vic Tufts ( or Jennifer Pitzen (


Between now and the end of June, the following courses are scheduled at MITAGS. (Please keep in mind, however, that the schedule may be subject to change.)

For class availability or information on courses and programs, contact MITAGS Admissions Coordinator Kelly Michielli toll free at 866-656-5568 or e-mail her at

Or, try our on-line calendar to register for class:

ARPA – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 4/2/2013

BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 5/12/13

BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 5/23/13

BST – Basic Safety Training: 4/8/13, 6/24/13

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 4/1/13, 6/17/13

CMM-ADVNAV – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): 6/3/13

CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 4/28/13

CMM-CHS – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 5/6/13

CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 5/20/13

CMM-SHMGT – Ship Management (2 weeks): 4/15/13

CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 4/1/13, 4/15/13, 5/6/13, 6/24/13

CMM-SHS-ADV-I I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 4/8/13, 4/22/13, 5/13/13, 6/17/13

CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 4/8/13, 6/24/13

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning: 5/9/13

ENVIRO-Regs Permit – Environmental Regulations Permit: 5/23/13

ECDIS-ENAV for Pilots (2 day): 6/13/13

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep and Medications: 5/23/13

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 4/8/13, 6/24/13

FL – Flashing Light: 4/1/13, 4/10/13

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 6/24/13

LAP – License Advancement Program for C/Mate & Master: 4/1/13

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 5/23/13

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 4/22/13, 6/10/13

MED-PIC -R– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 5/13/13

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 4/22/13, 6/10/13

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 4/13/13, 4/27/13, 6/15/13, 6/29/13

MSC -SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 6/3/13

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 6/3/13

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 6/7/13

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 4/3/13, 4/10/134/17/13, 5/1/13, 5/15/13, 5/22/13, 6/5/13, 6/19/13, 6/26/13

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 4/1/13

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal: 4/8/13

SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 4/29/13, 6/24/13 SEC-VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 5/6/13

SHS-ESH-BRMP3 – Emergency Shiphandling and Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 5/20/13

… 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.


Please also see our schedule online at
For registration, call our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen, at (206) 838-1126.

April 2013

3-5Vessel Security Officer
8thRadar Renewal
22-26Train the Trainer
29thMed DOT
29-3Medical Care Provider
29-10Medical Person-In-Charge

May 2013

6-7ECDIS for Pilots
6-10Basic Meteorology
13thRadar Renewal
14thRFPNW Assessments
21-23Bridge Resource Management for Pilots
29-30ECDIS for Pilots
29-31Vessel Security Officer

June 2013

3-21Terrestrial and Coastal Navigation
10thRadar Renewal
11-13Bridge Resource Management for Pilots (3-day)
14thFatigue, Sleep, and Medications for Pilots
24-28Radar Observer Unlimited
24-28Medical Care Provider
27-28Bridge Resource Management for Pilots (2-day)