Wheelhouse Weekly – May 14, 2013


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

Volume 17 . . . Number 20. . . May 14, 2013

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



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


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 27, for Memorial Day. In addition, Atlantic Ports including San Juan will be closed on Wednesday, May 22, for National Maritime Day.


MM&P members, officials and representatives of MM&P-contracted companies were part of a 135-person team that visited the offices of 157 members of the House and Senate last Wednesday to underline the important role played by the American maritime industry in the country’s security, economy and national defense. The meetings were part of the fourth annual Maritime Industry Congressional Sail-In. Among those who met with representatives of the U.S.-flag fleet were 61 House freshmen or their staffers, many of whom have little familiarity with our industry.

MM&P officials who spoke with members of Congress during the Sail-In were: International President Don Marcus; International Secretary-Treasurer Steve Werse; Atlantic Ports Vice President Don Josberger; Pacific Ports Vice President Dave Boatner; and United Inland Group Vice President Mike Murray. MIRAID President C. James Patti played a central role in developing the communications strategy for the Sail-In and organizing the meetings.

In discussions with members of Congress and their staffs, representatives of MM&P, the other maritime unions and U.S.-flag vessel operators underlined the importance of cargo preference laws and the PL 480 Food for Peace program, which is now threatened with elimination. A major focus of the discussions: the hundreds of thousands of Americans who work directly or indirectly for the U.S.-flag fleet and the contributions they make to the nation’s economy.

MM&P members and MM&P-contracted ships were prominently featured in the Congressional Sail-In brochure that was given to each legislator and staffer with whom the maritime groups met. Pictured in the brochure were MM&P members Sly Hunter, Angel Irlanda and Shawn Pavlovich. Vessels belonging to AmNav, Horizon Lines, Matson and Waterman/Central Gulf were also featured.


Maersk Line, Limited (MLL) has purchased and is currently reflagging eight newer and larger containerships to upgrade the ocean transportation services provided to its U.S. military, government and commercial customers. MM&P Licensed Deck Officers will sail aboard six of the new vessels which will be a ship for ship replacement of six of the older vessels currently under contract with MM&P. The total number of ships under MM&P contract with MLL will be unchanged. MM&P officers aboard the newly reflagged MV MAERSK DENVER are Captain Craig A. Rumrill, Chief Mate Travis A. Shirley, Second Mate Erik T. Cox and Third Mate Joshua Sturgis.

MLL’s investment of approximately half a billion dollars will improve the quality of service to the Middle East and Mediterranean Sea from the U.S. East Coast, a company spokesperson said. The vessels are about 10 years younger than the outgoing ships, offering improved fuel efficiency and environmental performance. Since 2000, MLL has invested over $1.75 billion dollars to modernize its fleet in support of the U.S. government and military.

“These eight newer vessels, along with the global transportation network that connects them, demonstrate our commitment to our customers,” said MLL President and CEO John Reinhart. “We are proud to serve the U.S. military and to deliver U.S. food aid worldwide.” He said the new ships would increase reliability and shrink the fleet’s environmental footprint. “The efforts of the mariners onboard the transitioning vessels and colleagues ashore have been excellent, assuring a timely and smooth progression of the reflagging process,” he added.

The vessels will join Maersk Line’s weekly Middle East Container Line service (MECL1) throughout May and June. This route serves commercial customers and the U.S. military, and transports U.S.-grown food aid. MECL1 will be the industry’s only direct U.S. flag service to and from the U.S. East Coast and Pakistan, and the service includes a new stop in Algeciras, Spain.

All eight vessels will join the Maritime Security Program (MSP) and Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement (VISA). “We are pleased to bring more modern and useful assets into the MSP and VISA fleets,” said Reinhart. “The vessels will augment our nation’s security and sustain jobs for the U.S. Merchant Marine, the fourth arm of our national defense.”

The eight incoming vessels are named in honor of American cities that have brought industrial vitality to the U.S. economy through manufacturing, finance, transportation and exports. This ship names are: Atlanta, Chicago, Columbus, Denver, Detroit, Hartford, Memphis and Pittsburgh.


The drastic changes in the Food for Peace Program proposed in President Obama’s FY 2014 budget would put our nation’s sealift capacity and 44,000 American jobs at grave risk, says the Navy League of the United States. In a May 7 letter to the majority and minority leaders of the House of Representatives and the Senate, the League said that elimination of the Food for Peace Program would seriously undermine the American Merchant Marine and risk “leaving our economy and our military… at the mercy of foreign actors and foreign governments.”

The proposal included in President Obama’s 2014 budget would replace PL 480 U.S.-originated food aid shipments with an international voucher program. It comes on the heels of a severe blow to the U.S.-flag fleet: elimination last summer of one-third of U.S. food aid cargo preference—without Congressional hearings or any advance notice to the industry–as part of a last-minute compromise on a transportation bill. The Navy League told Congressional leaders in its May 7 letter that last year’s cuts had already cost the fleet at least four U.S.-flag vessels and more than 200 U.S. mariner jobs.

“The U.S. government relies on the U.S.-flag, U.S.-crewed ships in a public-private partnership with the Department of Defense to ensure the trusted and reliable transportation of critical cargo anywhere in the world at any time—especially during times of national emergency,” the Navy League said. “Because we can rely upon the U.S.-flag commercial fleet, our nation achieves significant savings by not having to replicate with federal assets those 11,500 mariners and 100 commercial ships in international trade. To recreate the capacity it obtains from the U.S.-flag commercial industry, the Department of Defense would have to incur an additional $9 billion in capital costs and $1 billion in annual operating costs.”

The letter was signed by Navy League Executive Director Bruce K. Butler on behalf of the organization’s 47,000 members and 250 councils. “Leveraging the private fleet is a good deal for the taxpayer and certainly offsets any putative savings to be achieved under the Administration’s PL 480 elimination scheme,” Butler wrote.

“The potential conversion of the Food Aid program to a cash transfer operation is a direct attack on the merchant marine, national security and our livelihoods,” said MM&P International President Don Marcus. “The fact that we can be having this discussion at a time when the national economy is sputtering, when jobs are at a premium and U.S. exports are critical to our economic recovery shows the disconnect between reality and the Administration’s policy makers at USAID. MM&P officials have been working with many others in the maritime industry and in Congress to prevent this travesty from taking place.”


Supporters of the U.S.-flag fleet, including professional mariners and representatives of American shipping companies, should write to their senators and representatives to urge rejection of the food aid cuts contained in the Administration’s FY 2014 budget, says Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.). Cummings, who was honored by the maritime industry on May 7 at the annual “Salute to Congress” dinner, has consistently been a powerful advocate for merchant mariners and the U.S.-flag fleet. He has introduced legislation, HR 1678, the “Saving Essential American Sailors Act,” to reverse cuts to cargo preference enacted in 2012 as part of a last-minute compromise on a transportation bill.

“Our country’s mariners don’t need ‘worker adjustment programs,’ they need cargoes,” Cummings told the audience at the event, which recognizes members of Congress for exemplary support of the U.S.-flag fleet.

“If these vessels leave the flag [because of cargo preference cuts] they will not return,” Cummings said. “If we don’t take action, we will not have an American Merchant Marine. But it doesn’t have to be that way.” He urged supporters of our industry to contact their members of Congress to reject the changes that are being proposed in the Food for Peace Program. “We must concentrate on what we’re fighting for and on what our vision is,” he said.


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has not shown that any improvements in maritime security have resulted from its Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO). GAO is a watchdog agency tasked with evaluating the costs and benefits of government programs. In a study released during the first week of May, the agency said Congress should halt further work on the TWIC program “until it is clear that it works.” TWIC is administered by two agencies that operate under the DHS umbrella, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the U.S. Coast Guard.

GAO investigators made the remarks in the context of the agency’s evaluation of a DHS pilot test aimed at assessing TWIC card reader technology. “The test’s results were incomplete, inaccurate and unreliable for informing Congress and for developing a regulation about the readers,” GAO said. The agency said TSA “did not collect complete data on malfunctioning TWIC cards.” GAO also said that participants in the reader pilot program did not document instances of denied access.

TSA officials said that problems—including readers incapable of recording–prevented them from collecting complete and consistent pilot data. For this reason, TSA said it could not determine whether the operational problems encountered at its pilot sites were due to TWIC cards, the readers or the users, or to a combination of all three.

Although a DHS report concluded that TWIC cards and readers “provide a critical layer of port security,” GAO said no data to support this conclusion have been collected. “For example,” GAO investigators said, “the DHS assumption that the lack of a common credential could leave facilities open to a security breach with falsified credentials has not been validated.” The agency said that these and other issues “call into question the program’s premise and effectiveness.”

“After more than a decade and hundreds of millions of dollars spent, TSA has produced an ID card that is flawed and has conducted a pilot program to produce ID card readers that is also a failure,” commented Congressman John Mica (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations. 

Nearly 2.3 million cards have been issued since 2007, of which more than one million are now or will soon be due for renewal. Since the program’s inception, MM&P has consistently gone on record with questions about its effectiveness and objections to the costs of compliance for mariners and other covered workers.


Rear Adm. T.K. Shannon relieved Rear Adm. Mark Buzby as commander, Military Sealift Command, during a ceremony aboard USNS SPEARHEAD (JHSV 1) on May 10. MSC ships, with members of the MM&P Federal Employees Membership Group (FEMG) in the wheelhouse, deliver services, supplies and equipment to all branches of the U.S. military and their combatant commanders around the world.

Representing MM&P at the Change of Command were International Secretary-Treasurer Steve Werse, Atlantic Ports Vice President Don Josberger, Federal Employees Membership Group Vice President Randall Rockwood and Norfolk Representative Mark Nemergut. Rockwood, who was among the speakers at the ceremony, expressed MM&P’s deep appreciation for Buzby’s service to the United States and for his commitment to the mariners serving aboard the vessels under his command.

Buzby led the command through a worldwide reorganization, “One MSC,” that streamlined operations and improved efficiency, ultimately saving the Navy millions in personnel costs over the next 10 years. Under his command, MSC supported the successful planning and conversion of USS PONCE (LPD 15) to an interim afloat forward staging base in 2012 and accepted delivery of the remaining T-AKE class, a new missile range instrumentation vessel and USNS SPEARHEAD, the first-ever joint high-speed vessel, on-time and on-budget.

“It’s been an honor and privilege of a lifetime to serve as the Commander of MSC and represent this team of sailors, civilian mariners and shore-based civil servants who are truly the lifeline of support for our Navy and military worldwide,” Buzby said. 

Shannon, a graduate of Maine Maritime Academy, assumes command of MSC following his last tour of duty as the commander of Carrier Strike Group One in San Diego, Calif. His at-sea assignments include tours aboard USS JACK WILLIAMS, USS NICHOLSON and USS BOONE. He was also commanding officer of USS DE WERT, commanding officer of USS VICKSBURG and air defense commander for the JOHN F. KENNEDY Battle Group.


Maritime Administrator David T. Matsuda is leaving the post. He will be replaced on an “Acting Administrator” basis by Deputy Maritime Administrator Chip Jaenichen. Matsuda said he had made “the difficult decision” to move on from the position “with full appreciation” of the honor of having served. “Deputy Administrator Chip Jaenichen and the rest of our team are dedicated to ensuring a smooth transition of agency leadership,” Matsuda said. “In conducting our Nation’s maritime business, I have had the privilege of working with and learning from the Maritime Administration’s many dedicated employees as well as the countless professionals in America’s maritime industry who care about the future of our industry and work hard to sustain and grow it.” Matsuda has led MARAD for three years.


As previously reported in The Wheelhouse Weekly, maritime communications service provider Globe Wireless has informed MM&P that in a little over two weeks, on June 1, it will discontinue its “Shore Account Service,” which allows shore-side organizations to send e-mail to third-party ships.

The change in service could affect delivery to your ship of The Wheelhouse Weekly and communications from MM&P International Headquarters and MM&P Vice Presidents. If your ship receives communication via HF radio on Globe-email (not through a company e-mail address), please advise us of the new company-supplied address to use for the Weekly by sending an e-mail to

Globe Wireless explained the reasons for the new service policy in a letter to MM&P, which reads in part: “In the last three years, we are seeing broadband solutions being implemented on board ships which have drastically reduced the cost of data transmissions. Ten years ago the cost to send 1 MB to a ship was around $100. Today that is significantly reduced to a few dollars. Now more and more ship-owners are installing flat fee internet services reducing the cost per MB even further. An increasing amount of shipping companies are therefore allowing third parties to send e-mail to their ship at their expense… This has eroded the economic feasibility of maintaining Shore Account service levels.”


Nine-month tenure track position covered by a collective bargaining agreement. The successful candidate will work on the Ketchikan campus of the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS). Ketchikan is an island community of 13,000 located 700 miles north of Seattle in the heart of the Tongass National Forest.

Requirements: bachelor’s (preferably master’s) degree in Nautical Industrial Technology, Marine Transportation or related field; USCG license as 1600-ton master or higher; at least one year of experience as Officer in Charge of Navigation Watch on a vessel over 500 GRT.

Duties: provide administrative leadership in the development, implementation and expansion of the UAS Marine Transportation Program. Develop and deliver curricula for classroom, workshops, seminars and web-based delivery. Provide credit, non-credit and professional development training and technical assistance to MT-related organizations, federal and state agencies including the Alaska Marine Highway System. 

For job description and requirements, go to posting #0065235.  Questions please contact Human Resources at  The first review of applications will be June 17. UAS is an AA/EO employer.


Eight bodies have been recovered and one person is missing and presumed dead following an accident in the Port of Genoa that brought down a control tower. The accident took place on May 7. The Italian container ship JOLLY NERO was under pilotage when it struck the pilot tower, which collapsed. There were 10 people in the tower at the time of the accident. An Italian official told parliament that the investigation into the cause of the accident was still underway. He said four possibilities were a malfunction in the ship’s propulsion system, defects with the hawsers used by the tugs to pilot the ship out of port, a maneuvering error or excessive speed.


Rescuers have called off the search for two passengers who disappeared from the CARNIVAL SPIRIT while the ship was sailing off the east coast of Australia on May 9. The passengers, a 30-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman, were reported missing after the vessel docked at Sydney. Surveillance footage show the two went overboard around 8:50 Wednesday, more than 14 hours before the alarm was raised. A local official told the Associated Press that investigators were having the video enhanced in a bid to determine whether the couple had jumped or fallen by accident. Police aircraft and boats, as well as a plane from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, were involved in the search, which covered over 120 nautical miles.

In related news, members of Congress continue to investigate safety issues aboard cruise ships. Senate Commerce Committee Chair Jay Rockefeller has asked Carnival executives to answer 15 questions on company practice. Recent incidents “underscore the need for a strong commitment to passenger safety and security from the entire cruise industry, not just those that wind up on the news most frequently,” the West Virginia Democrat says. Rockefeller has requested that the company help pay for the Coast Guard’s costs following power failures aboard CARNIVAL TRIUMPH and SPLENDOR. The company initially refused but has since agreed.


The Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) of 2006, which has been described as the fourth pillar of international shipping regulations along with SOLAS, MARPOL and STCW, will enter into force on Aug. 20, 2013. For ships over 500 GT engaged in international voyages, it establishes minimum standards on conditions of employment, accommodations, health and safety, medical care, crew welfare, recruitment, working conditions and social security protection. 
MLC will be strictly enforced during port state control inspections, including the potential for more detailed inspections and possible detention where hazardous conditions may exist if ships are not to be in compliance.

The next MLC class offered at PMI is scheduled for June 10-11. The next MLC class offered at MITAGS is scheduled for July 2223. Visit for more information or to register for the MLC course.


MITAGS has a new dedicated fax line for admissions use only. The number is 1-443-568-1928. All other MITAGS business should continue to use the fax line 1-410-859-5181.


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

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

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

ARPA – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 8/13/13, 9/24/13

AZIPOD (2-DAY) for Pilots: 7/22/13

BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 8/28/13

BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots:  5/23/13, 8/19/13, 9/23/13

BST – Basic Safety Training: 6/24/13, 8/12/13

CONSTB – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 7/29/13

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 6/17/13, 9/23/13

CMM-ADVNAV – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): 6/3/13, 9/16/13

CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 8/5/13

CMM-CHS – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 8/12/13

CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 7/29/13

CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 8/26/13

CMM-SHMGT – Ship Management (2 weeks): 7/22/13

CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 6/24/13, 7/29/13, 9/9/13, 9/23/13

CMM-SHS-ADV-I I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 6/17/13, 8/5/13, 9/16/13

CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 6/24/13

ENVIRO-Regs Permit – Environmental Regulations Permit: 3/5/2013, 5/23/13

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

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep and Medications:  8/26/13

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 6/24/13, 7/22/13, 8/12/13

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 7/8/13, 8/19/13

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 6/24/13, 9/16/13

LAP – License Advancement Program for C/Mate & Master: 9/23/13

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 7/24/13, 9/25/13

MCL – Management, Communications and Leadership: 8/19/13

MCL OICNW –Management, Communications, and Leadership OICNW level: 9/3/13

MLC – Maritime Labor Convention: 7/22/13

MEDIA-RSP – Media Response Workshop:  7/26/13

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 6/10/13, 7/8/13, 9/9/13

MED-PIC -R– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 7/29/13

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 6/10/13, 7/8/13, 9/9/13

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 6/15/13, 6/29/13, 7/13/13, 7/28/13, 8/17/13, 9/14/13

MSC -SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 6/3/13, 8/19/13

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 6/3/13, 8/19/13

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 6/7/13, 8/23/13

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 5/22/13, 6/5/13, 6/19/13, 6/26/13, 7/10/13, 7/24/13, 8/1/13, 8/14/13, 8/28/13, 9/11/13, 9/18/13

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 8/12/13, 9/23/13

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

SEC-VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 7/22/13, 9/4/13

SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 6/24/13, 8/12/13

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling: 8/19/13

SHS-ESH-BRMP3 – Emergency Shiphandling and Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 5/20/13, 7/24/13

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 7/8/13

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge:  8/26/13

WX-BAS – Basic Meteorology: 7/29/13, 9/16/13

… Remember: If you can’t make the class, make the call. Be courteous, don’t be a “no show.”

Check the MITAGS website at for course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations.


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

May 2013

20-24     ECDIS
21-23     Bridge Resource Management for Pilots
28-31     ARPA
29-30     ECDIS for Pilots
29-31     Vessel Security Officer

June 2013

3-7          ECDIS
3-14       GMDSS
3-21       Terrestrial and Coastal Navigation
10th       Radar Renewal
11-13     Bridge Resource Management for Pilots (3-day)
14th       Fatigue, Sleep, and Medications for Pilots
24-28     Radar Observer Unlimited
24-28     Medical Care Provider
27-28     Bridge Resource Management for Pilots (2-day)