Wheelhouse Weekly, May 11, 2021

Volume 27… Number 19… May 4, 2021


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Panama Canal workers are continuing to demonstrate against the Panama Canal Authority over dangerous working conditions on the canal.

Since the expanded canal opened in June 2016, shortages of equipment and skilled personnel have put increasing pressure on the workforce.

Many union members employed on the canal have been working without contracts for years.

The most recent demonstration, on May 7, took place just days after a peaceful protest on April 29 was broken up by 200 riot policemen shooting rubber bullets and tear gas.

Among those arrested at the April protest were a member of MM&P’s Panama affiliate Unión de Capitanes y Oficiales de Cubierta (UCOC) and members of the Unión de Ingenieros Marinos, an affiliate of the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association.

Despite the threat of violence, canal workers turned out again last week to demand a meeting with Panama Canal Authority managers.

“Panama Canal management says one thing but does the opposite,” UCOC tweeted.

“Until they are truly committed to mend things with the workers, sit down and be reasonable, this labor struggle will continue growing.”

Among the complaints of tug captains and engineers: dangerous working conditions, inadequate crewing and excessive hours.

International unions and labor federations are rallying in support of their cause.

MM&P and MEBA have asked members of Congress to get Panama’s government to intervene.

“Panama Canal workers are required to work under increasingly hazardous conditions, their civil rights are being jeopardized and their rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining are being denied,” MM&P President Don Marcus and MEBA President Adam Vokac wrote to the chairs of key Congressional committees on May 7.

They said poor labor conditions on the Panama Canal are creating an extremely dangerous situation that threatens the safety of canal employees as well as that of mariners on the ships that transit the canal and the security of the supply chain itself.

“Unsafe ship-handling procedures implemented in the locks, inadequate ship assist tugs and a depleted and fatigued workforce are positioning massive LNG vessels, any one of which has the potential to make the recent Suez Canal blockage appear inconsequential,” Marcus and Vokac wrote.

“Workers should be able to call for safety at work without fear of violence or repression,” said Mark Dickinson, director of the Nautilus Federation.

“It appears there are grounds for complaints to be made to the International Labor Organization about the violation of workers’ rights, and we stand ready to support UCOC and the International Transport Workers’ Federation in escalating the matter.”
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The crew of the MV PRESIDENT EISENHOWER extinguished an engine room fire on Wednesday, April 28.

No one was injured in the fire, which broke out while the vessel was transiting the Santa Barbara Channel.

The 7,500 TEU containership, which sails for APL Maritime as part of the Maritime Security Program, has been sidelined from service to undergo repairs.

The MM&P members aboard the vessel at the time of the blaze were Captain Jonathan Komlosy, Chief Mate Pedro Medeiros, Second Mate Steven Partridge and Third Mates Edward Carey and Joshua Ortega.

APL’s parent company, CMA CGM, released the following statement.

“On April 28th, a fire occurred onboard the M/V PRESIDENT EISENHOWER while she was transiting the Santa Barbara Channel.”

“Thanks to the crew’s rapid response, the fire was extinguished.”

“There are no reported injuries or pollution.”

“We thank the U.S. Coast Guard for their prompt assistance.”

“The incident is under investigation, and we are working closely with the appropriate authorities.”
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Many countries are ignoring the World Health Organization’s recommendation that transportation workers be prioritized in Covid-19 vaccination campaigns.

In April, the WHO joined four other United Nations organizations in calling for seafarers and airline crews to be given access to Covid-19 vaccination on a priority basis.

The International Transport Workers’ Federation argues that they should be in the second highest priority group, immediately after health workers.

The failure of many countries to schedule them in the top tier has both humanitarian and economic consequences, says ITF President Paddy Crumlin.

“Every day throughout the pandemic, transport workers have risked their lives to keep the world moving,” he says.

“And this has not come without a price.”

London bus drivers, he notes, have been up to three times more likely to die of Covid-19 than the general population.

Similar statistics are echoed in data compiled elsewhere: a study conducted in one Southeast Asian country put transport workers second at risk only to health workers.

“One might think seafarers would be safe in relative isolation at sea,” Crumlin says, “but the opposite has been and still is the case.”

“Many have found themselves in a wrenching physical and emotional dilemma as travel and border restrictions have prevented them from signing off ships and barred them from returning home month after month.”

“In extreme cases, seafarers have been onboard for nearly two years in a form of forced imprisonment.”

“At the peak, there were over 400,000 seafarers stranded, and around 200,000 are still trapped onboard vessels globally.”

“Transport workers on the ground, in the air and across the oceans are working with determination, courage and commitment, in many cases putting their lives on the line,” he says.

“It’s time their vital roles are fully recognized by governments.”

The ITF is calling on all countries to look closely at the benefits of prioritizing vaccination for transport workers.

“The failure to support transport workers is essentially a failure of health policy itself, and it flies in the face of evidence that safe transportation systems are essential to economic recovery,” Crumlin says.

MM&P is one of the nearly 700 transport unions in 150 countries that belong to the ITF.
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The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is scheduled to deliver the keynote address during graduation ceremonies at the US Coast Guard Academy on Wednesday, May 19.

This will be the second time that President Biden has addressed a graduating class at the Academy. The first was as Vice President in 2013.
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The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has banned MOVERS 3, a Panama-flag bulk carrier, from docking at the country’s ports for 18 months, saying it has “zero tolerance for substandard ships operating in Australian waters.”

The vessel, which is operated by Aswan Shipping, was detained at anchor off Weipa, Queensland, in early March for “appalling working and living conditions” and failure to carry out essential surveys.

Two months later, after several outstanding issues had been addressed, including replacement of poorly maintained ballast tank head vents, AMSA released the ship from detention and immediately banned it for 18 months.

“Aswan Shipping’s neglect has resulted in a difficult two months for the seafarers on MOVERS 3,” said AMSA Deputy Chief Executive Officer Sachi Wimmer.

“The company has shown a complete disregard for its obligations to provide decent working and living conditions for its seafarers, and has not ensured its ships were maintained so they were safe for the crew and Australia’s marine environment,” she added.

“We are holding Aswan Shipping accountable: it needs to step up, fulfill its obligations as a ship owner and operate responsibly if it wants to trade in Australian ports in the future.”

“A banning constitutes more than just a disruption to shipping schedules: it comes at great financial and reputational loss to the companies associated with these ships.”

She thanked charities, the port community and individuals for collecting funds, food and clothing for members of the crew.

Another of the company’s ships, MARYAM, is still under detention in Port Kembla for similar issues which AMSA uncovered in mid-February.

“The banning of MOVERS 3 should serve as a stark reminder to the maritime industry that AMSA will not tolerate or accept substandard ships in Australian waters,” Wimmer said.
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The State Department has issued new guidance for those who urgently need to renew their passports for work or personal reasons, in particular in view of the fact that many Passport Services office operations are limited under Covid-19 protocols.

The agency said the new guidance is intended to assist mariners who urgently need a passport for international voyages, and whose current valid passport expires in 13 months or less.

The notice also gives instructions for those who have applied for a passport but have yet to receive it.

Instructions for Urgent Assistance in Renewing Your Passport

Call the National Passport Information Center at (877) 487-2778 and identify yourself as a mariner who urgently needs to renew your current passport or apply for a new one.

The Duty Officer will take your information and schedule an appointment at the nearest passport agency.

Prepare an application package that includes:

1) A completed DS 11 or DS 82 passport form—visit the US State Department Passport Information webpage for form instructions;

2) Passport photograph;

3) Current passport or evidence of citizenship such as an original or certified birth certificate or an original naturalization certificate;

4) Letter from your US mariners’ union or your supervisor on company letterhead—MM&P members can send an email to to obtain the letter from MM&P that is needed for the application.

5) A clear copy of your Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC).

The employer’s/US mariners’ union letter should include the following details: your full name; the printed name and title of your supervisor or mariners’ union representative; signature of your supervisor or mariners’ union representative; and date the letter was issued.

Bring your completed application, required documents, and the passport fee including the $60 expedited fee with you to your appointment.

If you have already applied for your passport but have not received it, contact the National Passport Information Center at (877) 487-2778 and identify yourself as a mariner who has already applied for and urgently needs your passport.

The Duty Officer will provide further instructions and the passport agency will contact you to coordinate the delivery or pickup of the completed passport.

Applying for a Passport for Personal (Non-Life or Death Emergency) Travel

If you are applying for a passport for personal (non-life or death emergency) travel, please see for instructions and the most up-to-date processing times.
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President Biden has announced two new easier ways to source local vaccine inventory/ appointments.

Go to and click on “Find a COVID-19 Vaccine Near You.”

Or just text your zip code to 438829 to immediately receive contact information for vaccine providers in your area.

Also, the US has instructed all federal pharmacy partners (Walgreens, CVS, etc.) to start accepting walk-in vaccinations, no appointment necessary, just like getting the flu shot.

This might take a week or so to get up and running so contact your chosen vaccine provider first if you plan to get walk-in service.
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Seafarers International House (SIH) is conducting a survey to determine how to best serve the needs of seafarers who wish to stay in the New York City area.

SIH has partnered with an organization that provides transitional housing at the guesthouse and is exploring other locations with a smaller footprint just for our mission-based guests.

We need your input to decide how to best serve seafarers’ needs in New York City!

Please respond to the survey as soon as possible:

The final date to respond is May 31.
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The Maritime Administration is asking all American mariners to respond to a confidential survey posted at

If you have not already done so, please respond to this survey.

The survey, Mariner Mental Health Needs during Covid-19, is being disseminated with support from: the Covid-19 Working Group of the US Committee on the Marine Transportation System; the Centers for Disease Prevention & Control; and the Ship Operations Cooperative Program.

It asks mariners a variety of questions about Covid-19, mental health, and what they are feeling and experiencing at sea under the current conditions.

The survey will take only 10 minutes to complete. No mariner identification data will be collected.

The survey is available through May 31, 2021.

The results will be shared with federal agencies, vessel owners and operators, maritime unions, maritime training institutions, seafarer welfare organizations and industry stakeholders to facilitate development of effective solutions that benefit mariners’ mental well-being.

MM&P and the other maritime unions have been asked to disseminate a link to the survey to their members with the request that they participate.

The survey is being conducted independently by Dr. Marissa Baker, Assistant Professor & Industrial Hygiene Program Director, University of Washington School of Public Health.

Individual responses will be kept confidential at the School. The survey allows mariners to skip any question which they do not wish to answer.

For more information on this survey, please click here.

Please email any questions, comments, or concerns regarding this survey to Nuns Jain, Staff Lead, C-19 WG, at
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MM&P Atlantic Ports Vice President Tom Larkin and Pacific Ports Vice President Lars Turner will hold a virtual membership meeting on Wednesday, May 26, at 1200 EDT.

All Offshore members and applicants are welcome to participate.

To register for the meeting, you will need to log into either the MM&P app or the Members’ Only section of the MM&P website.

You can download the MM&P app at

Once you are at, click on Offshore Membership Meeting Registration located under the Documents tab.
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MM&P Atlantic Ports union halls will be closed on Friday, May 21, for National Maritime Day.
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All MM&P union halls, the MM&P Plan Office, the MM&P Federal Credit Union and MM&P headquarters will be closed on Monday, May 31, for Memorial Day.
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Prior to attending any training at MITAGS East or MITAGS West, you must read the MITAGS Covid‐19 policy, which is posted on

At the end of the Covid-19 policy there is a statement acknowledging receipt of the policy and acceptance of the policy.

Before you attend either school, you must acknowledge receipt of the policy and acceptance of the policy by emailing a signed copy of the statement at the end of the policy document to or

In addition, students coming to the MITAGS East Campus must send Admissions a negative Covid-19 test result. The test must have been taken within 72 hours of arrival.

Students who cannot access testing but who otherwise meet all the requirements of the MATES Program Covid-19 policy will have to take a Covid-19 test offered at MITAGS East every Monday morning.

Members may also reschedule their classes for later in the year when the infection rates are expected to drop.

MITAGS West currently does not require negative Covid-19 test results and does not have the ability to test.

MITAGS West continues to follow established Covid-19 protocols, including daily temperature screening, health checks, masking and physical distancing.

Students attending MITAGS East or West under the MATES Program: Please note that the minimum number of days to obtain eligibility continues to be 42 days instead of 30, with a sunset date of Dec. 31, 2021.

We appreciate your cooperation during these very trying times.
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\\Classes are 5-day unless otherwise noted\\

Class dates followed by an * are full

AB – Able Seaman – 6/28/21

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation (1-Day): 8/13/21

ARPA-OIC (4-Day) – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 6/1/21, 9/21/21

AZIPOD (2-Day) – 8/9/21, 9/27/21

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management 35-Hour: 8/2/21, 10/25/21

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots (2-Day): 5/17/21, 8/9/21, 9/14/21, 11/9/21
Online: Not currently scheduled

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling – (Now also included in BRMP-Refresher) (3-Day): 8/11/21, 9/8/21, 9/29/21

BRMP-Refresher (Now including Emergency Shiphandling for Pilots) (3-Day) – Not currently scheduled

BT – Basic Safety Training: 8/2/21, 10/11/21

BT-Revalidation (2-day) (Must have 1 year of sea service in last 5 years) – 6/22/21, 8/16/21, 9/21/21, 10/27/21, 12/14/21

BT-Refresher (3-day) – 9/20/21, 12/13/21

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: Not currently scheduled

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 6/21/21, 8/9/21, 10/18/21

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 6/14/21, 8/2/21, 10/11/21, 12/6/21

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (10 Days): 10/25/21

CM-OPS 1 – Chief Mate Operations – Week 1: 6/7/21*, 8/23/21, 11/29/21

CM-OPS 2 Maersk – Chief Mate Operations II Maersk Specific: 6/14/21*, 8/30/21, 12/6/21

CM-OPS 2 APL – Chief Mate Operations II APL Specific – Not currently scheduled

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information Systems: 6/7/21, 7/26/21, 10/4/21, 11/29/21

LMS – Leadership and Managerial Skills (Management Level – Formerly MCL-CMM): 6/28/21, 8/16/21, 11/8/21, 12/13/21

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants: 9/13/21
(DCS-1 available on request – contact Admissions)

SEC-APPS – Practical Defense Tactics: Not Currently Scheduled

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management: 9/20/21

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 6/7/21, 7/19/21, 8/9/21, 9/13/21, 9/27/21, 10/11/21, 11/1/21, 11/29/21

SHS-ADV-II-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 5/17/21, 6/14/21, 7/26/21, 8/16/21, 9/20/21, 10/4/21, 10/18/21, 11/8/21, 12/6/21

**SHS-ADV-I & II are now approved to include SAR-CMM assessments at MITAGS**

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 9/27/21

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: Not currently scheduled

WX-HW-ATL – Heavy Weather Avoidance Routing: Atlantic Ocean (2-day) – Contact Admissions

WX-HW-IND – Heavy Weather Avoidance Routing: Indian Ocean (2-day) – Contact Admissions

WX-HW-PAC – Heavy Weather Avoidance Routing: Pacific Ocean (2-day) – Contact Admissions

CIW-DPA/IA – Continual Improvement Workshop: Designated Person Ashore & Internal Auditor (3-Day) ** This course is NOT covered by the MATES Program **
Online: 7/7/21, 10/6/21

CIW-SMS – Continual Improvement Workshop: Successful Safety Management (2-Day) – Online: 6/10/21, 12/9/21

CNAV-OIC (15-Day) – Celestial Navigation: 11/1/21

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications (1-Day): Not currently scheduled

CRSMGT – Crisis Management and Human Behavior (1-Day) – 8/27/21

CDMGT – Crowd Management (1-Day) – 8/26/21

CSE – Confined Space Entry (3-Day): 8/23/21

CSE-AWR – Confined Space Entry Awareness (2-Day): 5/20/21

CY-MAR – Cyber-Skilled Mariner ** This course is NOT covered by the MATES Program ** – Not currently scheduled

DDE – Great Lakes (20-Day): Not currently scheduled

ECDIS for Pilots (2-Day) – 8/11/21, 11/11/21

ERM – Engine Resource Management: 8/30/21, 12/6/21

ADV-FF – Advanced Fire-Fighting (4-day) – Not currently scheduled

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 8/2/21, 10/11/21

FF-ADV-Rev (1-day) (Must have 1 year of sea service in last 5 years) – Advanced Fire Fighting Revalidation: 6/21/21, 8/18/21, 9/23/21, 10/26/21, 12/16/21

FF-ADV-REF (2-day) – Advanced Fire Fighting Refresher: 9/16/21, 12/11/21

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications (1-Day): 9/14/21
Online: Not currently scheduled

GL-Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization (2-Day): Not currently scheduled

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (10-Day): 8/9/21

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 8/30/21, 11/15/21

IEN – Integrated Electronic Navigation (3-Day) – Not currently scheduled

LAP – License Advancement Program for Mate to Master (20-Day): 8/2/21, 10/18/21

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes (15-Day): Not currently scheduled

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross
Ton License (15-Day): Not currently scheduled

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage (1-Day): 8/9/21, 9/15/21, 11/9/21

LNG-TPIC (10-Day) – Not currently scheduled

LTS –Leadership and Teamworking Skills (Formerly MCL-OIC) (1-Day): 9/20/21

MEECE – Management of Electrical and Electronic Control Equipment (Assessments not included): 8/23/21, 11/29/21

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge (10-Day): 7/12/21, 9/27/21, 11/29/21

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 6/28/21, 8/30/21, 11/15/21

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 7/12/21, 9/27/21

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing (1-Day): 6/24/21, 7/17/21, 8/19/21, 9/24/21, 10/2/21, 10/25/21, 12/4/21, 12/17/21

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic) (1-Day): 5/17/21, 6/11/21, 8/4/21, 9/16/21, 10/31/21

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (2-day): 5/18/21, 6/9/21, 8/2/21, 9/14/21, 10/29/21

MSC-ENVPRO (1-Day) – 6/13/21, 8/6/21, 11/9/21

MSC-FF-HELO (2-Day) – 6/21/21, 8/2/21, 10/27/21

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualifications (4-Day): 6/14/21*, 7/12/21, 8/9/21, 9/20/21, 11/1/21

MSC-Security Watch Basic (1-Day/ 8-hour) – 6/12/21 (Evening), 8/7/21, 9/17/21, 11/1/21 (Evening)

MSC-Security Watch Advanced (1-Day) – 6/12/21*, 7/16/21, 8/8/21, 9/18/21, 11/5/21

MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force (3-Day) – 6/18/21*, 7/17/21, 8/13/21, 9/24/21, 11/6/21

NDMS-ENAV – Navigational Decision Making Series – Best Practice in eNav (3-Day) – Not currently scheduled

NSAP-MMP – Navigational Skills Assessment Program-MM&P (2-Day) – 6/22/21*, 6/24/21*, 7/12/21, 8/30/21, 9/1/21, 11/15/21, 11/17/21, 12/13/21, 12/15/21

PSC – Personal Survival Craft (5-Day) – Contact Admissions

PSC-REF – Personal Survival Craft Refresher (2-Day) – 9/18/21, 12/16/21

RFPNW – Ratings Forming Part of a Navigational Watch (3-day) – Not currently scheduled

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal (1-Day): 9/20/21

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes (1-Night): 9/14/21, 9/20/21

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 5/24/21, 8/23/21

SAR – Search & Rescue – (Now with OIC and CMM assessments) (3-Day): 12/6/21

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling: 8/23/21, 10/25/21

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling (5 Day) – 6/14/21*, 7/12/21, 8/30/21, 11/15/21, 12/13/21

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 5/17/21, 8/30/21

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses (15-Day): 6/7/21, 7/12/21

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: 6/28/21

TRAC-TUG-2 (2-Day): 11/9/21

TTT – ** This course is NOT covered by the MATES Program ** Not currently scheduled

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties (1-Day): 6/15/21

VSO – Vessel Security Officer (3-Day): 6/16/21, 9/8/21

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level) (10-Day): 10/11/21

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): 9/13/21
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Schedule of Courses – Please also see our schedule and enroll online at For Registration Contact our Admissions Department: 206.441.2880 or

Schedule of Courses – Please also see our schedule and enroll online at

For Registration Contact our Admissions Department: 206.441.2880 or

May 2021

17-20 Advanced Firefighting

June 2021

1st Leadership & Teamworking Skills
2-3 Search & Rescue
7-11 Advanced Shiphandling I
7-11 Medical Care Provider
7-18 GMDSS
14-18 Advanced Shiphandling II
16-17 Basic Training Revalidation
18th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
21-23 Security Officer – Vessel, Company and Facility
28-2 Basic Shiphandling

July 2021

6-9 Advanced Firefighting
12-16 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
12-30 Terrestrial & Coastal Navigation w/ Compasses
19-23 Basic Training
26-27 Basic Training Revalidation
28th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation

August 2021

2-6 Radar Observer Unlimited
9-20 Watchkeeping (Operational Level)
23-24 Basic Training Revalidation
23-27 Cargo Handling & Stowage
25th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
30-3 Meteorology (Operational Level)

September 2021

7-10 ARPA
7-8 Advanced Firefighting Refresher
8th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
9-10 Basic Training Revalidation
9-10 & 13 Basic Training Refresher
13th Flashing Light
13-17 Basic Training
13-17 Advanced Shiphandling I
14th Leadership & Teamworking Skills
20-23 Advanced Firefighting
20-24 Advanced Shiphandling II
27-1 ECDIS
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The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots, 700 Maritime Blvd. Suite B, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1953. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973. All rights reserved. The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly©2021. Articles can be reprinted without prior permission if credit is given to The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly. For subscriptions, address changes or messages to the editor or to MM&P headquarters, e-mail Back issues of The Weekly are posted on

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