Wheelhouse Weekly – May 11, 2009


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

Volume 13 . . . . . Number 19. . . .May 11, 2009



T-AGS Oceanographic Survey Ships Info

Required Coursework

Security Clearances

MSC Physicals


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.


The budget for fiscal year 2010 released last week by the Obama Administration includes full funding for the Maritime Security Program (MSP): $174 million to support the 60-ship MSP fleet. “The Maritime Security Program provides resources to maintain a U.S.-flag merchant fleet crewed by U.S. citizens to serve both the commercial and national security needs of the United States,” according to the President’s budget. “The program provides direct payments to U.S.-flag ship operators engaged in U.S.-foreign trade. Participating operators are required to keep vessels in active commercial service and are required to provide intermodal sealift support to the Department of Defense in times of war or national emergency.”


Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) has called for “bold action” on the part of the government to protect U.S- flag ships from pirates. “A timid approach will not do,” says Lautenberg. “We need to take bold action to keep our seas and ship crews safe.”

Lautenberg made the remarks at a May 5 hearing of the Senate Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security, which he chairs. The hearing was held in the context of Congressional efforts to craft a response to the attempted hijacking last month of MAERSK ALABAMA and the kidnapping of MM&P member Captain Richard Phillips.

Phillips, who testified at the hearing in the company of MM&P member Captain James Staples, advocated the presence on board U.S. ships sailing in pirate-infested waters of force protection teams “of two-three people, talented and trained, who can eradicate the threat” before pirates can board. Phillips testified, as he had at another hearing held the previous week, that in some cases, the captain and senior officers should have access to weapons. But he said that “arming the crew is a misnomer” for the approach he suggests. “This isn’t the Wild West,” he said. “These mariners are not walking around with guns in their pockets. To put all the onus onto the ship and its crew will not solve it.” Both Phillips and MAERSK ALABAMA Chief Engineer Mike Perry, who also testified at the hearing, said they believe ships should be further hardened with features such as safe rooms where crewmembers can barricade themselves in case of pirate attack.

During the course of the hearing, Lautenberg took issue with one of the witnesses, Theresa Whelan, deputy assistant secretary of defense for African affairs. Whelan testified that the United States “needs to ensure that addressing piracy does not come at the expense of other ongoing, critical military commitments.”

“The relatively low incidence of pirate attacks has implications for how we allocate military assets,” she stated. “The Department of Defense has urgent priorities around the globe… We will continue to be prepared to respond as appropriate when U.S.-flagged vessels and U.S. citizens are involved. But this is a context in which our actions will be most effective when private partners take proactive measures themselves.”

“I don’t find your testimony very comforting when you say you will respond ‘as appropriate,’” Lautenberg told her. “Are you like an alarm company? Isn’t an American-flag ship something that resembles a piece of our territory? I think that letting our crews know that they are protected by all the might that U.S. forces can bring is very important.”

Coast Guard Rear Adm. Brian Salerno commended Maersk Line, Limited and the crewmembers of MAERSK ALABAMA for the anti-piracy measures that had been put in place before the incident took place. “While we are still examining the attack on the MAERSK ALABAMA,” Salerno said, “I can tell you that the preventative measures they took before the events in accordance with their vessel security plans and industry best practices contributed greatly to the successful resolution of the case.”

Among the other witnesses who testified at the hearing was Philip Shapiro, president and chief executive officer of Liberty Maritime Corp. Shapiro showed a video taken by a crewmember aboard the LIBERTY SUN, which was hit during a recent pirate attack by four rocket-propelled grenades.

Shapiro testified that those who say that U.S.-flag shipowners have not done enough to protect their vessels are “flat wrong,” adding, “Our company adopted every measure recommended by international organizations and required by the U.S. Coast Guard’s approved security plan for making the vessel a difficult piracy target and more.”

John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), chairman of the full committee, did not attend the hearing, but issued a statement which said in part: “Arming the crew is not an option. Instead the U.S. military should provide the support and protection of our men and women at sea.”


MM&P and the rest of the nation’s maritime unions also submitted a statement for the record. “American mariners working aboard U.S.-flag vessels continue to face an immediate and ongoing threat from international pirates,” the unions said. They called on Congress and the Administration to immediately provide U.S.-flag vessels with the force protection necessary to prevent any further acts of piracy against them. “We strongly believe it is the responsibility of the U.S. government to provide the protection necessary to ensure the safety of life and property aboard U.S.-flag vessels,” the unions said. “When a vessel flies the U.S. flag, it becomes an extension of the United States itself, regardless of where it is operating.”
“As an essential first step, the U.S. government should immediately provide protection for U.S.-flag vessels operating on sea lanes where piracy is a serious threat. This protection should entail military escorts or military security detachments aboard the vessel. We also believe that a private security detachment could provide necessary protection. However, it should be noted that there are serious concerns and risks associated with this approach. The employment of private security detachments can, for example, raise command and liability issues which must be thoroughly considered.”

The unions closed by addressing the suggestions coming from some quarters “that the answer to the threat posed by pirates is to simply arm the crew. We categorically reject the notion that this should be considered the best or even a primary solution to the problem of piracy. Rather, we believe that to the degree this option is considered, it should be considered as only one part of a response. Even then, it should entail no more than a few highly trained individuals who have extensive training and expertise in the use of weapons.”


Pirates off the eastern coast of Somalia last week attacked a U.S. Navy ship. The attack took place Wednesday against the USNS LEWIS AND CLARK, a dry cargo and ammunition ship that supports the U.S. Navy 5th Fleet and coalition ships. According to a spokesman for the Navy, two pirate skiffs pursued the LEWIS AND CLARK for more than an hour as it headed north. They reportedly got as close as one mile from the ship. The vessel sped up and tried to escape the pirates, and the ship’s security team issued verbal warnings, the Navy said. The pirates, who were then two nautical miles behind the LEWIS AND CLARK, fired small arms at the ship. The LEWIS AND CLARK again sped up and the skiffs gave up pursuit.


The presidents of America’s maritime unions have reiterated their strong support for HR 23, a bill that would grant a monthly benefit to merchant mariners who served during World War II. In a May 5 letter to Congressman Bob Filner, chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee and a champion of the so-called “Belated Thank You” legislation, the union presidents urge immediate action on the bill. The letter was signed by MM&P International President Tim Brown and the presidents of the American Maritime Officers, the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association, the Marine Firemen’s Union, the Sailors’ Union of the Pacific and the Seafarers International Union.

During World War II, merchant mariners suffered the highest casualty rate of any branch of the Armed Forces other than the Marine Corps. Enemy forces sank more than 800 merchant vessels between 1941 and 1944. Yet, despite this record of exemplary service, merchant mariners were not given the formal recognition and benefits granted other services by Congress through the 1945 GI Bill of Rights. In fact, no legislation to recognize the contributions made by World War II merchant mariners was enacted until Congress extended limited veterans’ status to them in 1988.

During consideration of HR 23 in the last Congress, changes were made to the legislation that would, among other things, reduce its overall cost. For example, it no longer would provide benefits to survivors’ spouses. In addition, those who have received benefits under the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 (the GI Bill – PL 78-346) would not be eligible for benefits under HR 23. 


Members of the MM&P Pilot Membership Group have voted in favor of a dues increase. The margin of approval was 58 percent of those voting. The ballots were counted at MM&P headquarters in the presence of MM&P Pilot Group Vice President George Quick, MM&P Pilot Group East Coast Regional Representative Timothy Ferrie and Pilot Group Member Randy Bourgeois. Also present at the vote count was MM&P International Comptroller Beverly Gutmann.


MM&P headquarters staffer Mike Rodriguez has been interviewed by Ohio public radio about the increasingly serious situation in the Gulf of Aden, where pirates continue to attack merchant vessels. “The union believes that protecting ships’ crew and vessels from piracy is a government function,” Rodriguez said. “We prefer to have an armed military security detachment on board, acting on behalf of the U.S. government.” The interview aired on “America’s Workforce Radio,” which is based in Cleveland and broadcasts throughout northern Ohio. Rodriguez took the opportunity to commend all the crewmembers aboard MAERSK ALABAMA for the “outstanding job” in beating back a pirate attack on April 8. Captain Richard Phillips, Chief Mate Shane Murphy and Third Mate Colin Wright are members of MM&P. The other crewmembers aboard the ship during the incident belong to the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA) and the Seafarers International Union (SIU). 


Below we reprint an article by Captain Jeffrey Kuhlman that was originally published in the April 30 edition of MarEx Newsletter.

“While pirates boldly attack vessels of all types around the world, it seems that only Somali piracy has the world’s eye. In the period of time from April 14-27, according to the IMB Live Piracy Report, 25 percent of incidents reported occurred in areas other than the Gulf of Aden and Somalia.

Common Considerations: To determine effective defenses which can be used across the globe, we must understand the pirates’ common considerations. There are two; they are risk and profit. How much risk is there of injury or death for the potential profit to be gained? Today, there is virtually no risk. Although there are exceptions, pirates seldom need to be concerned about capture as evidenced by the recent capture of pirates by a Canadian warship; they were momentarily detained, disarmed and released.

What Can Be Done to Protect Our Vessels? Our concern is with large ships, workboats of all types and private vessels. A response to piracy must sever at least one of the two legs it stands upon, the leg of profit and the leg of risk. The method to accomplish this is three-fold. The first is adequate training. The second is a layered approach to defense. The third is equipping vessels for defense and providing strong points within the vessel for crew protection.

So often, those who are responsible for training have never faced the problem and mandate training by conjecture. In much the same way, many of those who specify vessel security policies understand little about the subject outside of secondary or tertiary resources. Ship security plans typically call for the use of fire hoses as a defense against piracy. Too seldom are crew members taught how to use those hoses as a defense. When hoses are used by trained crew they are a defense, but when not trained, the crew becomes an easy target. Training must be meaningful and related to the threats as they may be encountered.

Navigation watches are required to “Keep a proper watch.” However, vigilance required by a proper watch in keeping with collision regulations is different than keeping a suitably vigilant anti-piracy watch. The anti-piracy watch must maintain constant observation and know how to use the available shipboard electronic tools. The U.S. Navy teaches these skills as part of their basic training for a reason. The commercial industry should follow their lead but, as being the targets of attacks, to a greater skill level. The solution? We should assign certain crewmembers to shipboard security teams and train those team members professionally.

Countering the Risk/Profit Ratio: Once a threat is identified, a layered approach toward defense must begin. It cannot be stressed enough that early threat acquisition is most important. Defense begins with attempts at communication with the threat. If that threat maneuvers toward the vessel in a menacing way, a more active response using horns, whistles, spotlights and flares is appropriate. Further approach requires immediate high speed irregular maneuvering away from the approaching attacker and all of its potential support vessels. The latter has been effective in numerous cases.

The goal of defense is to demonstrate to the attacker that the crew has the ability and willingness to defend itself. This in itself may counter the pirates’ risk/profit ratio. The observation by attacking pirates that the crew is alert to their presence and is willing to defend has been shown to deter the attack. It is much easier for an aggressor to go after easier prey.

In case of an attempted boarding, there are three options; escape maneuvering, locking the crew within the vessel or defending the deck. Not all are correct in all cases. The crew must have options at its disposal.

Our vessels must be constructed to protect our crews. There are many changes which should be made to our vessels with security in mind and not merely to meet the verbiage of a regulation. For instance, many ships and workboats satisfactorily meet regulatory requirements by attaching locking pins on their exterior watertight doors. However, many of those doors also incorporate windows or port-lights, which make this security measure useless. Vessels have many wooden-framed structures. Their doors, however, should be changed to locking fire doors and frames. Work decks are laid out to provide efficiency and not security; they should be arranged to provide strong points. Vessels should be constructed or upgraded to allow for navigation and communication from the emergency control station, usually in the engineering spaces. A crew must have a strong point in which to retreat, where it can be assured of security.

Our crews should be equipped with the items necessary to establish their ability to protect themselves. Depending upon the company, it may or may not include firearms. It should at least include such useful items as a good flare gun and an assortment of white flares. The intention is to dissuade pirates from their attacks by increasing their risk to a level which provides them with an unacceptable risk/profit ratio, using non-lethal means whenever possible. It may be wise to keep the armed defense an option if used by a well-trained shipboard security team. – Reprinted from the April 30 edition of MarEx Newsletter.

About the author: Captain Jeffrey Kuhlman, who currently works in Africa, is the originator of the Castle Shipboard Security Program in association with the Sig Sauer Academy. He has extensive military and maritime training and is the holder of degrees in business, history and education, with graduate-level work in maritime history. His professional memberships include USSA, IASCP, SSCA and NRA.


The former chief engineer of the chemical tanker MT NAUTILUS has been sentenced to a month in prison and a $3,000 fine for maintaining an inaccurate oil record book. Carmelo Oria, a citizen of Spain, was also sentenced to two years of supervised release. Oria had pleaded guilty in March to violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships. The government accused him of ordering engine room crew to discharge oil-contaminated bilge water directly into the ocean. “This sentence sends a loud and clear message to crewmembers and companies alike that dumping pollution directly overboard and attempting to conceal it will lead to penalties,” said a spokesman for the Justice Department in an official release. “Maritime companies and their employees must understand that violations of our nation’s laws are serious and the Justice Department stands ready to prosecute those who choose to ignore them.”


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

AIS � (1-Day) Automatic Identification System: 6/22
ARPA � Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 6/23
BRM � Bridge Resource Management: 7/27
BRMP � Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 6/25
BST � Basic Safety Training: 6/1
CONT PLNG � Contingency Planning: 7/10

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 6/22
CMM-CHS I � Advanced Cargo Handling (week 1): 7/6
CMM-CHS II � Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 6/29
CMM-ECDIS � Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems: 7/27
CMM-MPP � Marine Propulsion Plants: 6/15
CMM-SHMGT I � Ship Management (week 1) : 7/13
CMM-SHMGT II � Ship Management (week 2) : 5/18, 7/20
CMM-SHS-ADV-I � Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 6/1, 7/13
CMM-SHS-ADV-I I � Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 5/18, 6/8, 7/20
CMM-VPEN � Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 6/1, 8/3
CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 5/25

CSE-AAES � Confined Space Entry, Atmospheric Analysis of enclosed Spaces (3 day): 7/13
ENVIRO-REGS PERMIT – Environmental Regulations In The Maritime Industry / EPA General Permit for Commercial Vessels (2 day): 5/27, 6/16, 7/29
ENVIRO-REGS – Introduction to Environmental Regulations in the Maritime Industry (1 Day): 5/27, 6/5, 6/16, 7/29
FF-BADV � Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting Combined: 6/1
LEG � Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 6/24
LNG AWAR � Liquefied Natural Gas Awareness (2 day): 5/27

MEDIA RSP � Media Response Workshop: 6/26, 7/9
MED-PIC – Medical Person-In-Charge: 6/8
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 6/8
MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 6/13

[MSC – Military Sealift Command]
MSC-CBRD-1 � CBRD Orientation: 5/22, 7/18
MSC-DC � Damage Control: Special Evening MSC-DC Class: 5/18 to 5/21, 7/16
MSC-SMA � Small Arms Training: (stand by only 5/18), 6/22

[OICNW � Officer in Charge of a Navigation Watch Courses]
OICNW-CHS-BAS � Basic Cargo Handling and Stowage: 5/25
OICNW-TCNAV/CO � Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 7/13

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 6/22

SEC-VCF – Security Officer: Vessel, Company & Facility: 6/23, 7/6
SEC-VSO-R � Vessel Security Officer Refresher (1 day): 5/15, 6/8, 6/22
SHS-EMR5 � Emergency Shiphandling: 6/22
SHS-EMR-BRMP3 � Emergency Shiphandling and Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 6/22

TPIC � Tankerman Person in Charge (Dangerous Liquids): 5/25

…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. For class availability or info on MITAGS courses and programs, contact admissions toll-free at 866-656-5568 or by e-mail:


PMI Web site at for more info


SCHEDULE OF COURSES – (Course schedule also posted online at

May 2009
26-29SEC VCF

June 2009
1-3Security VCF
4Security Refresher
8-12Radar Observer Unlimited
12Flashing Light
15Radar Renewal
15-19Medical Care Provider
15-26Medical Person-in-Charge
22-24Security VCF
25Security Refresher

July 2009
6-10Basic Shiphandling
13Radar Renewal
14-17 ARPA
13-17Emergency Shiphandling

August 2009
3Radar Renewal
3-5Security VCF
10-14 ECDIS
10-14 TPIC

September 2009
21Radar Renewal
21-25Medical Care Provider
21-2Medical Person-in-Charge

For registration call Jennifer Pitzen 888-893-7829


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.


D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
8,409.85 1,739.00 929.23
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund(VAARX)
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
 Vanguard Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
 Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
 Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
 Fidelity Small Company Instl (FMACX)
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
 Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
 Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX)
 Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
 Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
 Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
 Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
 Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
 Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
 Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
 Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
 Fidelity Freedom 2050 (FFFHX)
 Fidelity Total Bond Fund (FTBFX)
 Spartan Extended market Index Fund (FSEMX)
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)

~ Reminders ~




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:, 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:, by fax to 410-850-0973 or by mail to:

Richard Plant, Director of Special Projects

700 Maritime Blvd. Suite B
Linthicum Heights, MD 21090


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 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.


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.



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.

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 or call 1-800-382-7777 toll-free.




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.


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.


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

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.



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)


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



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,, 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: 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.

© 2009, 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