Wheelhouse Weekly – May 05, 2000


Bridging the Information Gap With E-News You Can Use

VOLUME 4. . . . . NUMBER 18. . . . May 5, 2000



If you haven’t been to MITAGS recently, there have been a significant number of new courses introduced and many upgrades made to existing courses. Substantial improvements have also been made to the campus over the last several months. The following is a summary on the year-to-date 2000 activities at MITAGS.

Special Announcements

Patriot Holdings, LLC will be taking over five MSC chartered vessels this fall. Deck officers interested in working on these vessels should contact MM&P headquarters at 410-850-8700 ext.23 and Archie Morgan, Patriot Holdings, at 925-296-2013 or Email:

Course completion dates for Matson employees have been signed.

New Approved Training Programs

MSC Offsite Training: The MATES program will now reimburse a portion of the student’s out-of-pocket expenses for the MSC required training that MITAGS is not currently offering on-site. Courses include helio fire fighting, helio operations, 7-Day CBRDT, and small arms. Room and Board reimbursement will not exceed $100/day (tuition is already paid by the MATES Program). Please note that this reimbursement policy is only for students that have been sent to the MSC schools by MITAGS and have not been reimbursed by another source. Contact Mike Wein for details.

Other new courses include:

  • 1-Day Chemical Biological, Radiological and Defense Training Course (CBRDT)
  • 5-day GMDSS Refresher Training Course
  • 5-day SHS-Basic has been approved by the USCG as meeting the shiphandling competencies of an “officer in-charge of a navigational watch”
  • 8-Day Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels License Course (OUPV)
  • 3-Day Master or Mate 100-200 Tons License Upgrade from OUPV Course with tow and sail addendum
  • 5-day Tankerman PIC Barge Course
  • 2-Day Seminar on Maritime Casualties (MarCas) from 11/14-15/00. Sponsored by Professional Mariner with assistance from MITAGS (see website for details)

New Publications and Events

  • Trust Admission Guide has been mailed to all active Offshore members. Please contact Admissions if you did not receive a copy. The MITAGS website is up at:
  • Marine Fire Fighting Manual will be sold through the Ship’s Store. This is the first major revision of this manual in 20 years. Instructor Don Merkle was key author.
  • Second half of the MITAGS Schedule is available in print or from the website.
  • MITAGS Phone, Fax and E-mail Directory is now available.
  • Students no longer need to send discharges with their applications to attend MITAGS. Students may register on-line.
  • MITAGS has purchased a helicopter shell to be used in the fire-fighting portion of the BST Course. It is hoped that the 2-Day fire-fighting course can be certified as meeting the MSC helio firefighting training requirements.

Courses Under Development or Revision

  • 5-Day SHS Intermediate (parts I&II) designed to meet the competencies listed in the STCW95 Code for C/Ms and Masters.
  • 3-Day SHS emergency
  • 5-Day BRM will undergo a major revision. The revised version is scheduled to be completed by late fall.

Facilities Upgrades

  • Repainted Academic Classrooms
  • New TV system is installed with 10 local and 10 satellite in the Residence Center. Channel 3 now contains in-house announcements. New TVs have been installed in most rooms.
  • The gym has been relocated to basement of the North Tower. The new gym is equipped with the latest Nautilus-type equipment, stepmaster, treadmill, bikes, free weights, and bench presses.
  • New phone system. All extensions can be direct dialed using the prefix of “443-989-extension”. Students no longer have to go through the main switchboard. Guest and staff phones are equipped with voice mail. In addition, guest rooms have an automatic “wake-up call” feature.
  • Also, cappuccino is now available upon request at dinner, and an ATM is available near the front desk. The South Tower Residence Center boilers and air-cooler have been replaced. A high-speed copier has also been purchased.

STCW 95 Training Requirements

  • All Deck officers must have BST, GMDSS, ARPA, AFF, BRM, Med First by 2002. One person on board must have SMC or SMC-R refresher, or MPIC. Coast Guard requires that all training be taken within five years of applying for STCW95 certificate.
    Remember only BST has to be renewed every five years. MITAGS suggests lining all licenses up to expire at same time (license, z-card, STCW95, BST, radar). One should get all required training before going to the USCG for a new certificate. Remember to take certificates, license, Z-card, and passport photos.
  • If you get your STCW95 training offsite, please send MITAGS a copy for your training record. The USCG is gradually eliminating “sea service equivalencies”. By 2002, most mariners will have not have the option of taking a course in lieu of sea time for raise of grade. MITAGS will keep you posted on this new development. In addition, mariners that have not completed the STCW95 require training by the 2002 deadline may have to take additional training (the USCG has not provided details).

AFL-CIO Scholarships

The AFL-CIO is offering college scholarships for the children of union members affiliated with the AFL-CIO. Please contact the MITAGS Registrar for more info at

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


Two years after its original contract award fiasco, MarAd has announced new contract awards for the management of Ready Reserve Fleet (RRF) vessels. Said one Union official close to the process: “This latest RRF contract announcement will do nothing to restore faith in MARAD’s competence in awarding contracts. This award appears to be the result of political manipulation.”

While MM&P-contracted Patriot Contract Services (APL) retains the Cape Breton, Cape Bover, Cape Blanco, Cape Borda, Cape Gibson and the Cape Girardeau other MM&P-contracted employers were unsuccessful in their bids.

Preliminary information indicates that at least two MM&P-contracted employers were not underbid on price, so it is open to speculation as to what criteria MARAD used in determining its awards. One MM&P employer has already filed a protest with the Government Accounting Office (GAO). Others will be forthcoming.

One thing is certain: MARAD did not consider the quality of the shipboard personnel employed by MM&P’s contracted employers. Nor did MARAD consider the admirable record of past performance by MM&P-contracted employers in the maritime industry. Further details on the award process will be published in the Wheelhouse Weekly as they become available.

To our members aboard the Cape “I”-class vessels and their families, be assured that MM&P shall take action to correct this shameful turn of events.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


On May 2, the US government stopped the intentional degradation of the Global Positioning System (GPS) signals available to the public. This degradation feature is known as Selective Availability (SA). This will mean that civilian users of GPS will be able to pinpoint locations up to ten times more accurately than they do now. GPS is a dual-use, satellite-based system that provides accurate location and timing data to users worldwide.

The decision to discontinue SA is the latest measure in an on-going effort to make GPS more responsive to civil and commercial users worldwide. It was based upon a recommendation by the Secretary of Defense in coordination with the Departments of State, Transportation and Commerce, the Director of Central Intelligence, and other Executive Branch Departments and Agencies. They realized that worldwide transportation safety, scientific and commercial interests could best be served by discontinuation of SA. Along with its commitment to enhance GPS for peaceful applications, the US is committed to preserving fully the military utility of GPS.

According to a White House press statement, the decision to discontinue SA is coupled with continuing efforts to upgrade the military utility of systems that use GPS, and is supported by threat assessments which conclude that setting SA to zero would have minimal impact on national security. Additionally, the US has demonstrated the capability to selectively deny GPS signals on a regional basis when US national security is threatened.

Civilian users will realize a dramatic improvement in GPS accuracy with the discontinuation of SA. For more info, go to:

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


A new computer virus dubbed the “Love Bug” virus hit the US this week with devastating effects. The FBI has been called in to help stop the proliferation of the virus which is reported to have emanated from the Philippines and first struck locations in Asia and in Europe. The Love Bug virus is said to be similar in nature to the memory-robbing Melissa virus that hit the US hard several months ago. The virus sends itself as an Email with the subject titled “I Love You”. It has an attached file.

If you receive an Email with this title that has an attached file, DO NOT OPEN THE FILE. DO NOT DOUBLE-CLICK ON THE FILE. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO READ OR OTHERWISE LOOK AT THE FILE. Simply and quickly move the file and the Email to your computer’s trash can/recycle bin and delete it (empty the trash can) immediately.
It does not matter if the Email and file come from an Email address you know as the virus has sent itself from someone’s address book to you without their knowledge, because their system has already been corrupted.

The latest reports on the virus are that it has mutated and is being spread under the following known subject lines: JOKE, I LOVE YOU, THIS IS A JOKE, MOTHER’S DAY ORDER CONFIRMATION (attachment mothersday.vbs) and SUSITIKIM SHI VAKARA KAVOS PUODUKUI. For the latest info check Yahoo at:

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


MITAGS has the following course openings:

  • May 10: CPR
  • May 13: CBRD
  • May 15-26: GMDSS
  • May 15-21: FF-ADV
  • May 16-17: EAPT
  • May 22-26: BST
  • May 24: HAZ-MAT
  • June 5-16: MED-PIC, GMDSS
  • June 5-09: HAZ, HWA, BRM
  • June 12-16: DCS, BST
  • June 17: CBRD
  • June 14: HAZ-MAT NITE
  • June19-25: BST
  • June 19-30: GMDSS
  • June21: CPR
  • June24: CBRD
  • June 26-30: FF-ADV, ROP, TPIC BARGE
  • June 27-28: EAPT

PLEASE NOTE: CBRD on May 27, 2000, has been cancelled. Week 022: May 29-June 4 there will be no classes. May 29, MEMORIAL DAY observed.

Contact Mary Matlock at MITAGS admissions at: Email: or phone: 443-989-3226. Information and applications are also available on the MITAGS web site at

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly

The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is being produced under MM&P election guidelines which have been previously published and may be found in their entirety on the MM&P website. The Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates, and Pilots, ILA, AFL-CIO, 700 Maritime Blvd., Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1941. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973; Email: For further info contact John Peige at The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea, broadcast worldwide via FEC marine telex and is posted on our web page under “News” at:

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