News

Wheelhouse Weekly – May 07, 2007

 

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

Volume 11 . . . . . Number 18. . . .May 7, 2007

STORIES COVERED

Also

REMINDERS

T-AGS Oceanographic Survey Ships Info

Required Coursework

Security Clearances

MSC Physicals

MM&P Health & Benefit Plan News

Notice to Members who are taking Vioxx

NMHC Mail-Order Prescriptions Website Updated & Improved

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.


MERPAC WEIGHS IN ON TWIC CARD AND USCG PROPOSAL TO COMBINE LICENSE WITH MERCHANT MARINER CREDENTIAL

The Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee (MERPAC) met by teleconference April 30 to finalize its position on the U.S. Coast Guard’s supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking on the consolidation of Merchant Mariner Qualification Credentials.

From the outset, MERPAC has advocated that the current licensing system remain intact and that the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) be incorporated into the existing merchant mariner document.

MERPAC’s position encompasses the following recommendations:

–the requirement for self-disclosure by mariners of certain offenses should be limited to incidents that have occurred since the last application;
— to facilitate shore leave and crew changes overseas, the new U.S. credential should be compliant with International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 185 on the Seafarers Identity Document;
— an interim clearance procedure should be put in place so that mariners can train and work while awaiting a final determination on their eligibility;
— the application process should be transparent so  mariners can track their applications every step of the way between enrollment and issuance.

MERPAC’s recommendations are in line with official comments that MM&P has submitted on the TWIC and the Merchant Mariner Credentialing proposal.  You can view MM&P’s comments online at www.bridgedeck.org. MM&P was represented on the teleconference call by MERPAC members George Quick, vice president of MM&P’s Pilot Membership Group, and by Mike Rodriguez, executive assistant to MM&P International President Tim Brown.


TWIC IDENTITY CARD PROGRAM INDEFINITELY ON HOLD

The Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program has been placed on indefinite hold and is unlikely to meet its deployment schedule. In the most recent of numerous congressional hearings on the TWIC program, members of the House Homeland Security Committee expressed skepticism about the Homeland Security Department’s ability to begin testing the card at key U.S. ports by July 1. “We know they are not going to meet this deadline,” says House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.). Members of the committee were particularly concerned when the director of the TWIC program, Maurine Fanguy, was unable to name the ports at which the program is initially supposed to be implemented. She told the committee that the rollout would begin at the Port of Wilmington, but could not say when that would happen.

On the basis of information provided by the Department of Homeland Security, MM&P has reported that mariners would be able to “pre-enroll” for the card on a government web site. Visitors to the site are now being informed that “pre-enrollment is not currently available.” MM&P will provide updates on the status of the TWIC program when more information becomes available.


 

SENATORS FIGHT FOR FULL MSP FUNDING

A growing bipartisan group of U.S. senators have joined MM&P, MIRAID and others in our industry in urging Congress to appropriate $156 million for the Maritime Security Program (MSP) for fiscal year 2008. This is the amount authorized by Congress in 2005 to fully support the continued operation of the maritime security fleet of 60 U.S.-flag, U.S.-crewed, militarily useful commercial vessels. The advocacy effort is necessitated by the Administration’s decision to request less than full funding for the MSP.

Leading the battle for full MSP funding are Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and Gordon Smith (R-Ore.).  To date, they have been joined by Democratic Senators Daniel Akaka (Hawaii), Barbara Boxer (Calif.), Maria Cantwell (Wash.), Ben Cardin (Md.), Tom Carper (Del.), John Kerry (Mass.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Jack Reed (R.I.) and Ron Wyden (Ore.) and Republicans Trent Lott (Miss.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and David Vitter (La.).



 

GAO SAYS COAST GUARD FACES OBSTACLES IN COMPLYING WITH SAFE PORT ACT

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) is facing a series of significant challenges in its drive to boost security at U.S. port facilities, the Government Accounting Office (GAO) has told Congress.

In April 28 testimony before the Subcommittee on Border, Maritime and Global Counterterrorism, GAO described the extent to which current port security programs are in compliance with the standards set by the SAFE Port Act. As an example, GAO says, the law calls for interagency operational centers to be set up at so-called “high-risk ports.” Three centers are up and running, says GAO, but there is little coordination among them. 

The Coast Guard doesn’t have enough trained inspectors to conduct more frequent inspections, GAO says, nor does it have the ability to evaluate new technology for scanning containers because it can’t directly test the security measures used by different companies. The law also required that the TWIC  worker credentialing program be modified to reduce delays, but that can only happen if the agency can secure extensive coordination with other federal departments, GAO said.

MM&P NEW YORK/NEW JERSEY HALL MEMBERSHIP MEETING POSTPONED

The membership meeting at MM&P’s New York/New Jersey Hall, which is traditionally held on the second Wednesday of the month, is being postponed. Because the Boston membership will meet on May 9 and Trust meetings will be held in Linthicum on May 16, the next NY/NJ meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 23.


GROWING SUPPORT FOR MARINERS THANK YOU LEGISLATION

HR 23, the “Belated Thank You to the Merchant Mariners of World War II Act of 2007,” continues to garner support. The list of representatives who have stepped forward as cosponsors of this important and long overdue legislation now totals 119.

Representatives who have added their names in the course of the past month are Democrats Julia Carson (Ind.), Jerry Costello (Ill.), Rosa DeLauro (Conn.), Chaka Fattah (Pa.), Brian Higgins (N.Y.), Maurice Hinchey (N.Y.), Paul Hodes (N.H.), Darlene Hooley (Ore.), Tom Lantos (Calif.), Rick Larsen (Wash.), Carolyn Maloney (N.Y.), Richard Neal (Mass.), James Oberstar (Minn.), Donald Payne (N.J.), Ed Perlmutter (Colo.), Charles Rangel (N.Y.), Dutch Ruppersberger (Md.), Tim Ryan (Ohio), John Salazar (Colo.), Betty Sutton (Ohio), Henry Waxman (Calif.), Charles Wilson (Ohio), and David Wu (Ore.), and Republicans Ken Calvert (Calif.), Charles Dent (Pa.), John Doolittle (Calif.), Vernon Ehlers (Mich.), Ralph Hall (Texas), Steve King (Ia.), Frank LoBiondo (N.J.), Ken Marchant (Texas), Thaddeus McCotter (Mich.), Charles Pickering (Miss.), Heather Wilson (N.M.) and Frank Wolf (Va.).

The House Committee on Veterans Affairs has not scheduled any further action on HR 23. It is our understanding that the Committee will act on the legislation as soon as it receives an estimate of how much it would cost the federal government to implement the bill, which would provide a $1,000 monthly benefit to eligible World War II merchant mariners or their surviving spouses.

For updates on the status of HR 23, visit the U.S. Congress on the web: http://thomas.loc.gov/



SHOULD YOU RECEIVE A MEDAL ON NATIONAL MARITIME DAY?

May 22 is National Maritime Day. The Maritime Administration is looking for mariners who may have earned the Merchant Marine Expeditionary (MME) Medal (MME) through their service aboard U.S.-flag vessels in support of American and allied military operations. If you believe you have earned the MME medal, please gather your discharges, letters of service or other documentation and contact Mike Rodriguez at MM&P headquarters at (410) 850-8700 ext. x 23 or by e-mail, mrodriguez@bridgedeck.org.



SENATOR JOHN WARNER HONORED AT SALUTE TO CONGRESS

MM&P International President Tim Brown, Secretary-Treasurer Glen Banks and Pilots Group Vice President George Quick were among the maritime industry leaders who gathered last week, under the auspices of the International Propeller Club, to honor Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) with the annual “Salute to Congress” award. Warner was chosen because of his “consistent and strong support” of the U.S. maritime industry. “Our one greatest bond is our love of the sea,” Warner told the audience at the event. Now in his twenty-ninth year in the Senate, Warner is the former chairman, and now the second-ranking Republican, on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

In introductory remarks, Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii), who himself was honored with the “Salute to Congress” award in 2006, told the audience that Warner can help increase nationwide awareness of the importance of the maritime industry. “Many Americans do not realize what the true state of maritime is in this country,” he said. “John Warner can make them understand.”

 


NEW BILL WOULD EXEMPT DOD LAB EMPLOYEES FROM CONTROVERSIAL PERSONNEL SYSTEM

A bill introduced by Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio) would permanently bar the Pentagon from switching employees at 10 Defense Department laboratories to the controversial National Security Personnel System (NSPS). DOD lab employees are now working under “Lab Demo,” an alternative personnel management system that was put in place in 1995. The law that laid the framework for NSPS prohibited DOD from imposing the new personnel system on lab employees before Oct. 1, 2008. Turner’s bill would make permanent the exemption for the lab employees.  Labor unions have opposed NSPS because the system infringes on employees’ rights to bargain collectively.

MM&P is closely monitoring the situation because DOD is seeking to apply NSPS to a group of employees that would include civilian mariners. MM&P members and other civilian mariners are excluded from the human resource and appeals provisions of NSPS, but not from the labor relations provisions.


EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RULE REQUIRES DOUBLE HULLS FOR OIL TANKERS

Oil tankers transporting heavy oils will only be allowed to fly the flag of a European Union member state if they are double hulled, according to a new regulation passed by the European Parliament. Under the regulation, adopted in an attempt to mitigate the effects on the environment of tanker accidents, only double-hulled tankers will be able to enter member states’ harbors or anchor in their territorial waters—regardless of what flag they are flying. Double-hulled designs reduce the risk of pollution when accidents occur. The new regulation applies to all member states.


OCEAN SHIPHOLDINGS SEEKS PORT CAPTAIN/HEALTH, SAFETY AND ENVIRONMENTAL SPECIALIST

Ocean Shipholdings, a U.S.- flag ocean-going tank and dry cargo vessel operator, is seeking a port captain who can also conduct internal quality and safety audits. The person will be responsible for implementing the company’s quality, safety and environmental management system. Requirements include a chief mate’s license or equivalent and at least five years of sea time. Certified training as an internal auditor and vessel/company security officer is a plus. The position requires foreign travel as well as being subject to random drug and alcohol testing. Candidates must be familiar with the use of Microsoft Office. Candidates should send resumes to Captain Robert V. Sheen, Vice President Operations, Ocean Shipholdings Inc. via e-mail at rvs@oceanshipholdings.com; or by fax (281) 675-8130 or (281) 579-3329.

NTSB SEEKS ACCIDENT INVESTIGATORS

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is seeking to fill three
marine accident investigator positions. Applicants should have either unlimited master’s or chief engineer’s licenses with current sea time (STCW). Applications are being accepted until May 11. The job listings can be viewed on USA JOBS.

 


MARITIME ADMINISTRATION RESUMES DISPOSAL OF GHOST SHIPS IN JAMES RIVER FLEET

Within the course of the next month, MARAD will resume disposing of ships from the James River Reserve Fleet, according to Maritime Administrator Sean Connaughton. The agency had decided to suspend ship disposal in February while regulatory discrepancies among federal and state agencies were being ironed out. “Fast and favorable action by the Commonwealth of Virginia allows us to move forward with disposing of these vessels in an environmentally sensitive manner,” Connaughton was quoted as saying in an official MARAD press release. The agency is still working to reach agreements on environmental issues regarding the fleets in Beaumont, Texas, and Suisun Bay, California.

The regulatory discrepancies dealt with a process known as scamping, which is used to clean the hulls of ships, and which lessens the chance that invasive species may be taken to another ecosystem. The Maritime Administration keeps ships in the National Defense Reserve Fleet sites to support Armed Forces movements and to respond to national emergencies.  When the ships become obsolete, the Maritime Administration arranges for their disposition in an environmentally sensitive manner.  


MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

CLASS OPENINGS: Between now and the end of July 2007, seats are available in the following courses:

AIS – Automatic Identification System: 7/13, 8/3
AIS ECDIS 3 for Pilots – Automatic Identification System and Electronic Chart Display Information System (3 day) for Pilots:  6/12
ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 6/5, 7/24
AZIPOD-KAM-2 – Azipod and Kamewa Steering and Propulsion Systems: 6/2

BRM – Bridge Resource Management:  5/28
BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 7/17, 8/1

BST – Basic Safety Training: 6/4

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 1): 6/25
CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 7/9
CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 5/21, 7/30
CMM-SHMGT-I – Ship Management(week 1): 7/16
CMM-SHMGT-II – Ship Management (week 2): 7/23
CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1):  6/25
CMM-SHS-ADV-I I-Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 5/21, 6/25

CSE-AWR-2 – Confined Space Entry Awareness (2 day): 7/12

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 6/4

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5-day): 6/11, 7/23

LAP – License Advancement Program: 5/28, 7/23
LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage(Evening): 7/17, 8/1

MEDIA-RSP – Media Response Workshop: 7/12
MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 6/16, 7/28
MED-PIC – Medical Person-In-Charge:  6/11, 7/23
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 6/11, 7/23

[MSC – Military Sealift Command]
MSC-CBRD-1 – Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Orientation: 5/24, 6/28, 7/21
MSC-DC – Damage Control: 5/22, 6/26, 7/19
MSC-SMA – Small Arms:  5/21, 6/25
MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 5/25, 6/29 (must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years)

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 6/4, 7/23, 7/30
ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original or Renewal (5 days): 7/9

SEC-OFF-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility:  7/9
SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling:  7/23
SHS-EMR- Emergency Shiphandling: 6/18, 7/30
SHS-ESH- BRMP-3– Emergency Shiphandling & Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 5/23, 7/10

TPIC – Tankerman Person-In-Charge: 6/4


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 Email: admissions@mitags.org.


PMI ACADEMIC NOTES

Spring – Fall 2007

Due to the high demand for this program, PMI has now scheduled another that is already close to full enrollment for its 2007-start date. See the PMI Web site at www.mates.org for more info on this new development.

FOR REGISTRATION CALL JENNIFER FOWLER: 206 838-1126

SCHEDULE OF COURSES – (Course schedule also posted online at www.mates.org)

May 2007
7-11    ROP
7-11    SHS BAS
7-11    BST
7-18    CNAV
7-18    GMDSS
8-11    LFBT
14-18  ARPA
14-25  GMDSS
14-15  BFF
14-19  WX ADV
16-18  AFF
21-25  ENAV
21-25  TPIC
21-25  CHS BAS
21st     FL
22-23 SHS ASS
21-25  BST
22-23 BFF
29th    RADAR RENEWAL
29-2    WX BAS
29-2    AB
29th    FL
30-31 SHS ASSESS

June 2007
1-2      SHS ASSESS
4-8      TPIC
4-8      MED PRO
4-15    MED PIC
4-15    WKP
4-22    TCNAV
5-8      LFBT
11-13  SEC VCF
11-13  WKP
11-15  BST
11-15  AB
11-29  TCNAV
18-22 ARPA
25-29 ROP
25-29 BAFF

July 2007
9th      FL
9-13    ARPA
9-13    BST
10th     RADAR RENEWAL
10-11  SIM ASSESS
10-13  LFBT
16-20 AB
16-20 MED PRO
16-20 ENAV
23rd     RADAR RENEWAL
23-27  SHS BAS
23-3    CNAV
30-3   ARPA
30-3   MED PRO
30-10 MED PIC      

August 2007
6-7      SAR
6-10    BST
7-10    LFBT
8-10    EP
14-17  LFBT
13-17  AB
13-17  CONSTB
13-17  SHS EM5
13-17  ECDIS
13-17  TPIC
20-24 AB
20-31 SHS ADV
20-24 CHS BAS
27-31  BAFF
27-31  ENAV
27-31  MED PRO
27-8    GMDSS
27-29  CSO/SSO

September 2007
4-7      LFBT
4-8      WX BAS
4-8      TCNAV
10th    RADAR RENEWAL
10-14  BST
10-14  AB
10-14  MED PRO
10-14  TCNAV
10-14  SHS BAS
17-21  MED PRO
17-21  ARPA
17-21  SHS BAS
17-21  TCNAV
17-28  GMDSS
19-21  AFF
24-5    WKP
24-28 ROP
26-28 AFF

For registration call Jennifer Fowler 888-893-7829

PMI MERCHANDISE FOR SALE!!!

High-quality clothing embroidered with the NEW PMI logo! We can ship these items also! Acceptable forms of payment are check, credit card, money order and exact cash. Call Laura Bendixen at 888-893-7829 for prices and to order. If we don’t have your size, we’ll be glad to special order for you at no extra cost.


MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 5-4-2007

 

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
13,264.62 2,572.15 1,505.62
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Closing
Price
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
138.81
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
42.14
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
26.23
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
20.36
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
37.78
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
10.22
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX)
6.29
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
10.01
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
19.98
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
16.87
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
32.80
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
92.19
 Fidelity Small Company Instl (FMACX)
22.47
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
89.58
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
53.34
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
36.11

.






~ Reminders ~





 

T-AGS OCEANOGRAPHIC SURVEY SHIPS MANNING REQUIREMENTS

REQUIRED COURSEWORK

All MM&P members are reminded that to sail aboard the T-AGS ships that MM&P-contracted Horizon Lines will be operating, you must have the required training certification and your certificates must be current in accordance with Military Sealift Command requirements. Members are also required to have had a MSC pre-employment physical and to possess Ship Security Clearance (see below).

The MSC Contract calls for all training certificates required for manning of these vessels to be no older than 5 years and that all STCW-95 courses be renewed every 5 years, or annually, as applicable.

Five-year renewable courses include, but are not limited to:

  • Advanced Fire Fighting
  • Basic Safety Training, and
  • Damage Control

Small Arms certificates must be less than 1 year old and MUST NOT expire during your tour of duty.

Members interested in applying for one of the positions onboard the T-AGS vessels are advised to make sure your certificates are up to date. If not, contact Mary Matlock or Diane Ford at MITAGS Admissions, email: admissions@mitags.org, and schedule to take the course(s) needed.

Those MM&P members interested in obtaining more information and facts about the T-AGS Oceanographic Vessels are asked to email the Director of Special Projects requesting the “facts sheet”. It will be provided by return email in an Adobe Acrobat PDF format.

Members interested in employment on the T-AGS ships are asked to provide a 1-2 page resume. Please list the desired position you are seeking along with the certificates of training you possess and their dates. Upon receipt it will be forwarded to Horizon Lines and a confirmation sent back to the member. Vessel turnover commenced Oct.17, 2004. Positions for all ratings remain open.

The point of contact for sending a resume for employment on the Horizon Lines T-AGS Oceanographic Vessels is Richard Plant, MM&P’s Director of Special Projects. Send resumes in an email or as a Word file attachment to him at: rplant@bridgedeck.org, by fax to 410-850-0973 or by mail to:

Richard Plant, Director of Special Projects

IOMM&P
700 Maritime Blvd.
Linthicum Heights, MD 21090



SHIP SECURITY CLEARANCE NEEDED

Members who want to sail for Horizon Lines on the T-AGS Oceanographic Survey vessels the company is set to begin operating for MSC must have Ship Security Clearance before going aboard.

Special software must be downloaded from the US Government’s Defense Security Service to complete the Security Clearance application. You must have an Internet connection and a Windows-based computer to retrieve the application and run the program.

Go to https://sclient.dss.mil/download/w9xfull.htm to download the software titled “EPSQ SUBJECT2_2”.

After the software is installed and the program is launched, select “Create” from the menu bar at the top of the screen. You will be required to enter your Social Security Number and a case-sensitive password. A window titled “Type of Form” will appear.

All Deck Officers should select the first button titled “Request for Security Clearance (SF86)” and then click “OK” to go to the next screen, “Type of Investigation”.

From the “Type of Investigation” screen:

  • Masters and Radio Officers should select the first button, “Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI)”.
  • All other Deck Officers (C/M, 2/M, 3/M) should click on the second button, “National Agency Check (NAC or NACLC)”.

After selecting the appropriate investigation type, click on “OK” to begin filling in the forms.



MSC PHYSICALS

Horizon Lines requests all mariners seeking employment aboard the T-AGS Oceanographic vessels to take their MSC Physical at specially-designated facilities only after being advised to do so by the Company. This is to assure that all requirements of the MSC Physical are properly met.


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:

4.75 percent for terms up to 24 months.
Standard loan rates for longer-term loans are:

5.00 percent for 25-48 months;
5.75 percent for 49-60 months ($20,000 minimum); and
6.25 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

NOTICE TO MEMBERS WHO ARE TAKING VIOXX

On Sept.30, Merck & Co. voluntarily withdrew Vioxx, a popular anti-inflammatory medication, from the market. As a result, individuals who are currently taking the drug have been asked to contact their health care professionals to discuss discontinuing use of Vioxx and possible alternative treatments.

MM&P Plans Administrator Valerie Verrecchio reports that, “We have gotten a number of calls from members who want to know what to do with their remaining supply of Vioxx and whether the Plan or NMHC will refund their co-pay for the unused portion.

“Unfortunately, neither NMHC nor the Plan was aware of the Merck decision prior to the public announcement on Sept.30. As of that date, all deliveries of Vioxx to our members was suspended in accordance with Merck’s announcement. Orders that had already been processed and were in transit could not be stopped.

“In regard to refunds, Merck has set up a website at www.vioxx.com where members can obtain information on how to recover refunds from Merck for the unused portion of medication. Members can also call following toll free number for information: 1-888-368-4699.

“We are sorry for any inc onvenience this may have caused to members currently taking this medication, however, the matter is out of the control of the Plans.”



NMHC MAIL-ORDER PRESCRIPTIONS WEBSITE UPDATED & IMPROVED

MM&P Plans Administrator Valerie Verrecchio reports, “Good news! NMHC mail has finally gotten their website upgraded and functioning properly. I went in and tested it myself and found it to be quite user friendly.”

To use NMHC’s upgraded service, go to the NMHC Mail website at www.nmhcmail.com and click on “MEMBER LOGIN” at the bottom of the screen.

First-time and Registered users may bypass the welcome screen and go directly to the log-in page at https://members.nmhcrx.com/Login/Login.aspx.

  • First-time users should then click on the link marked “NEW USER: REGISTER HERE”.
    This will take you to a page titled “MEMBER REGISTRATION” where you will need to enter demographic information and submit it by clicking on the
  • “CREATE ACCOUNT” button.

After creating your account, NMHC will email you a password to gain entry into your records. With your first sign-in, the NMHC system will prompt you to change the NMHC password to one of your own choosing.

Once you are registered at NMHC, you can check the status of open orders by logging-in to the system through the “MEMBER LOGIN” page and going into the “MAIL ORDER” menu. You can look up all prescriptions and get the price our members will pay for any medication. You can also view an order history of all of your medication transactions (both retail and mail) for the last 24 months, locate 24-hour pharmacies in your zip code region as well as access other helpful member education information.

“We hope this welcome improvement will assist our members. Although you cannot order refills on line if you don’t provide a credit or debit card number, you can phone in your refill. Once you register on the website, you will still have access to all of the other information including checking the status of your order once it is phoned in,” said Ms. Verrecchio.



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., Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1941. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973; Email: iommp@bridgedeck.org. For further info or to subscribe contact John Peige at jpeige@bridgedeck.org. The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea and is posted on our web page.

C 2006, 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 John Peige at jpeige@bridgedeck.org.

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