News

Wheelhouse Weekly – May 17, 2010

 

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

Volume 14 . . . . . Number 20. . . .May 17, 2010

STORIES COVERED

REMINDERS

MM&P FCU News

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.


CONGRESSIONAL SAIL IN BRINGS MARITIME ISSUES TO THE FORE

Maritime union leaders, U.S.-flag shippers and representatives of the nation’s ports met with members of Congress and their staffs last week to promote awareness of the importance of the maritime industry. 

Among the union officials who came to Washington for the maritime industry “Sail-In” were MM&P International Secretary-Treasurer Don Marcus, Pacific Ports Vice President David Boatner, Gulf Ports Vice President Wayne Farthing and Atlantic Ports Vice President Steven Werse. Capt. Richard Phillips, the MM&P member held hostage for five days last year by Somali pirates during the MAERSK ALABAMA attack, also participated in the event.

The “Sail-In” was widely supported by various segments of the American maritime industry: the 136 participants represented 47 different companies and organizations in 48 congressional districts and 20 states. Key messages expressed on the Hill included the fact that more than 1.6 million Americans are employed in the U.S. maritime industry and that our country’s ports and waterways move trillions of dollars worth of cargo every day.

During the course of the high-level meetings, Capt. Richard Phillips, Maersk Lines Limited representatives and union officials including MM&P’s Don Marcus and Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association President Don Keefe urged legislators to step up their efforts to protect U.S.-flag ships, in particular following the April release by the White House of an Executive Order on Somalia.

The Executive Order offers confusing directives which seem to suggest that under U.S. law, it may be illegal to pay ransoms to secure the release from Somali pirates of mariners and ships. “The focus should be on the eradication of piracy, not on making it impossible to pay ransoms,” Capt. Phillips said.

MM&P officials voiced agreement with Phillips and reiterated the union’s position that armed military detachments operating under the authority of the U.S. government should be deployed on the limited number of U.S. flag ships that are at risk of being seized. Capt. Phillips reminded congressional leaders with whom he met that 15 ships and almost 300 mariners are still being held in Somalia for ransom.

Representatives of MM&P-contracted companies, MIRAID, the other maritime unions and the AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trades Department were in attendance at the meetings, which took place during the entire day in various sites around the Capitol. Among the other topics discussed were the importance of the Maritime Security Program, the dredging backlog in the Great Lakes and the need to pave the way for short sea shipping by eliminating the duplicate taxation of waterborne cargo under the Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT). “Lifting the HMT is the only way short sea shipping is going to be cost effective,” said Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio).

Participants in the meetings received a warm reception from the legislators and Hill staffers with whom they met. “Maritime has been an interest of strong passion for me since the beginning,” said New Jersey Republican Frank LoBiondo. “I look forward to continuing to be an advocate for your issues. What’s good for your industry is good for America.”


MORE SIGNS OF RECOVERY IN SHIPPING MARKET

Worldwide idle containership capacity has fallen back to its January 2009 level, according to the Alphaliner maritime consulting service. The idle containership fleet is now at a 15-month low of 5.3 percent. In related news, U.S.-flag lakers are reporting a 50 percent rebound in volumes. In April, the U.S.-flag Great Lakes vessel fleet transported 7.6 million tons of dry bulk cargo, a 50 percent increase over the previous year, but still about 15 percent off the month’s five-year average, according to the Lake Carriers’ Association. Increases in steel production and limestone shipments are considered the most significant factors in the resurgence.


MM&P REMEMBERS MEBA VP MIKE NIZETICH

The members of the Masters, Mates & Pilots extend their deepest condolences to the family and colleagues of MEBA Executive Vice President Mike Nizetich, who passed away recently after a long illness. “Mike was a true shipmate and Union brother who will be missed by all who knew him,” said MM&P International Secretary-Treasurer Don Marcus. In attendance at the very moving memorial service held in San Pedro, Calif., on Sept. 12 were Don Marcus, MM&P Pacific Ports Vice President David Boatner, former Pacific Ports Vice President Paul Nielsen and other MM&P members from the Port of Los Angeles.


DOZENS INJURED IN STATEN ISLAND FERRY CRASH

The ANDREW J. BARBERI, the same vessel involved in a tragic allision several years ago, allided with a pier last week during docking. Three dozen people were injured. Officials believe that a mechanical malfunction caused the accident. Passengers and crew report that the alarms never sounded when the engines failed. The crew tried to use the propulsion system to stop the ferry while other crew members warned passengers to brace for impact. The crew passed a test for the possible influence of alcohol, and the drug tests are pending. Investigators are reviewing footage from cameras onboard the ferry and from the pier. The National Transportation Safety Board has a team in place which will gather information over the next week and will meet with the manufacturer of the propulsion system.


SOUTH KOREAN SHIP PROBABLY TORPEDOED BY NORTH

Although the government of South Korea has not yet made official the results of its investigation into the sinking of one of its boats in March, a team of South Korean and foreign investigators are said to have concluded that a torpedo caused the explosion which sank the corvette CHEONAN, killing all 46 sailors on board. North Korean has denied any involvement in the incident.


SALVAGE OF SHIP THAT STRUCK GREAT BARRIER REEF CONTINUES

Australian officials say they have moved the SHEN NENG 1, which struck the Great Barrier Reef earlier this spring, to a safe location in Hervey Bay for continued offloading of its cargo of coal. Removal of the coal is expected to take up to two weeks, at which point the ship will be towed to China.


PIRATES HIJACK CHEMICAL TANKER AND RELEASE CARGO SHIP

On May 8, pirates seized the MARIDA MARGUERITE, a 13,000-ton chemical tanker, 120 miles south of Salalah (Oman). The ship is a Marshal Island flagged-, German-owned tanker carrying a crew of 22. Three days later, pirates seized a Bulgaria-flagged ship, MV PANEGA, approximately 100 nautical miles east of Aden. The ship was on route from the Red Sea to India when she was attacked. Early Wednesday morning the Liberian flagged, Greek owned, ELENI P was hijacked 250 miles off the coast of Oman. The bulk carrier, with a crew of 26, was in route to Kandla, India. In related news, pirates have released the Bermuda-flagged cargo ship MV TALCA, which had been hijacked two months ago. 


UNITED INLAND GROUP MEMBERS IN PUERTO RICO RATIFY MCALLISTER CONTRACT

Members of MM&P’s United Inland Group (UIG) have approved a new three-year contract with McAllister Towing in Puerto Rico. The contract, which was approved by a wide margin, covers UIG members employed in licensed, unlicensed and maintenance positions with McAllister, a long-time MM&P employer. “This is an excellent contract,” said MM&P Puerto Rico Representative Eduardo Iglesias. “In particular, our members will now reap significant additional benefits, in the form of major increments in salary, for trips offshore.” The contract also calls for 2 percent raises in the second and the third year. 

“We are establishing a positive relationship with McAllister and we’re looking forward to an even stronger future,” said MM&P UIG Vice President C. Michael Murray. Iglesias and Murray extended special thanks to members of the union negotiating committee, Capt. J.M. Colon and Greber De Los Santos, as well as to McAllister Vice President and General Counsel Brian Buckley McAllister, and MM&P’s International Legal Counsel Gabriel Terrasa.


NATIONAL MARITIME DAY COMMEMORATION IN WASHINGTON ON TUESDAY, MAY 18

National Maritime Day honors American merchant mariners who have served our country in peace and war from the American Revolution to the present day. Their service to the nation will be recognized in events around the country. In Washington, D.C., Acting Maritime Administrator David T. Matsuda will preside over a commemorative ceremony in the atrium of the Department of Transportation at 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE, Washington, DC, 20590. The ceremony will be followed by a luncheon and wreath-laying ceremony at Washington Navy Yard.


NATIONAL MARITIME DAY OBSERVATION IN SAN PEDRO ON SATURDAY, MAY 22

The annual National Maritime Day Observance and Memorial Service will be held at the American Merchant Marine Veterans Memorial & Walls of Honor, located on Harbor Boulevard at the foot of 6th Street, San Pedro, at the Los Angeles Maritime Museum, on Saturday, May 22, starting at 11 a.m.

The San Pedro observance will include speakers representing state and local offices as well as the U.S. maritime industry. A memorial service conducted by local clergy and veterans groups will honor U.S. merchant mariners who made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of our country.

A luncheon will follow the memorial service at Ports O’ Call restaurant at Berth 76, San Pedro. Lunch will be served at 1230 at a cost of $35 per person with a no-host bar available at noon.

For more information about the Maritime Day Ceremony and/or luncheon, please contact American Merchant Marine Veterans Memorial Committee President John Pitts at 562-716-2899 (phone), 310-830-7899 (fax) or e-mail at ameucman@aol.com.


MM&P APPLICANTS’ COURSE FOR D-BOOK MEMBERSHIP IN BOSTON MAY 20-21

The course for MM&P applicants seeking to qualify for D-Book Membership will be held in Boston on May 20-21. All courses start at 0900 and finish around 1530. If you are interested in participating, please call the Boston Hall to reserve a seat: 617-671-0769. Class size is limited so sign up early. If you wish to be considered for D-Book status, you need to have completed this class, have four favorable recommendations, have paid the initiation fee and have at least 360 days sea time under MM&P contract.


COURSE EQUIVALENCIES FOR REQUIRED COMPANY TRAINING

Given the number of required company training courses, it is extremely important for new members to request a transcript review to determine whether they meet the course equivalency requirements.  The courses that are eligible for equivalency are listed in the MITAGS Trust Student Guide located on www.mitags.org in the MM&P Member Section. You may also request a copy from Diane Ford (dford@mitags.org or call 443-989-3238). Remember, the dispatcher in the union hall cannot assign you a job unless you meet the company’s training requirements!


MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

CLASS OPENINGS: Between now and the end of July 2010, as of the Friday before this publication, seats are available in the following courses:

AB – Able Bodied Seaman: 6/14

AIS – Automatic Identification Systems: 7/21

BST – Basic Safety Training: 6/7

BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 5/24

BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 7/28

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 6/21

CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 6/28

CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Operations (week 1): 7/12

CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Operations (week 2): 7/19

CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information Systems: 7/21 – JUST ADDED

CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants:  6/14

CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 6/21, 7/12

CMM-SHS-ADV-I I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 6/28, 7/19

CMM-SHMGT I � Ship Management (week 1): 7/26

CMM-VPEN – Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 5/24

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning: 7/15

CSE-AAES – Confined Space Entry-Atmospheric Analysis of Enclosed Spaces: 7/21

ECDIS/ENAV for PILOTS (2-day): 7/27

ENVRO-REGS PERMIT – Environmental Regulations In The Maritime Industry / Epa General Permit For Commercial Vessels: 5/26

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Basic & Advanced Combined: 6/7

FSM for Pilots � Fatigue, Sleep & Medications: 7/22, 7/29

HAZ – Hazardous Materials Course (5-day): 6/21

LAP-ORD3rd � License Advancement Program for Original Third Mate (must be USCG approved to test): 6/7

MEDIA RSP – Media Response Workshop: 7/16

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 6/19

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 6/14

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 6/14

SEC-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company and Facility: 7/12

SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 6/21

TC NAV – Terrestrial and Coastal Navigation: 7/12

No classes scheduled for Memorial Day week (May 31-June 6).

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


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 e-mail: admissions@mitags.org.


PMI ACADEMIC NOTES

Schedule of Courses – Please also see our schedule online at www.mates.org

For registration, call our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen, at (206) 838-1126

May 2010

24        Flashing Light
24-28 Medical Care Provider
24-28 ECDIS
26-28 Security VCF

June 2010

7-10    ARPA
7-11     Medical Care Provider
7-18    Medical Person-In-Charge
7-18    GMDSS
8-10    BRM & Emergency Shiphandling for Pilots
11         Radar Renewal
14-2    Terrestrial & Coastal Navigation w/ Compasses
21-25  Tankerman Person-In-Charge

July 2010

5-9      Basic Cargo Handling and Stowage
12-16   Radar Observer Unlimited
12-16   Train the Trainer
12-23  GMDSS
19-23  Electron Navigation
27-29  Security VCF

August 2010

2          Flashing Light
2-6      Medical Care Provider
2-13    Medical Person-In-Charge
3-5      ARPA
16-20  ECDIS
16-20  Tankerman Person-In-Charge
23        Radar Renewal


MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 5-14-10

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
10,782.95 2,346.85 1,135.68
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Closing
Price
 Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund (VAARX)
50.20
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
104.84
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
35.89
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
15.99
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
15.63
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
24.01
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
10.87
 Vanguard Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
27.70
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
5.51
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
15.50
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
19.96
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
13.66
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
18.15
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
11.28
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
11.58
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
11.55
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
11.81
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
12.22
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
10.57
 Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
28.37
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
15.53
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
14.07
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
16.42
 Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
10.43
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
65.09
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
61.64
 Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
16.78
 Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX)
38.99
 Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
25.70
 Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
24.73
 Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
10.94
 Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
11.54
 Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
12.64
 Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
12.64
 Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
12.44
 Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
7.17
 Fidelity Freedom 2050 (FFFHX)
8.33
 Fidelity Total Bond Fund (FTBFX)
10.77
 Spartan Extended market Index Fund (FSEMX)
33.63
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
40.27
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
26.68





~ Reminders ~



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:

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.

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

MEET OUR NEW PRESCRIPTION BENEFIT MANAGER, PHARMACARE

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.



NOTICE TO MM&P HEALTH & BENEFIT PLAN PARTICIPANTS

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.


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. Suite B, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1953. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973; Email: iommp@bridgedeck.org. For further info or to subscribe contact Lisa Rosenthal at lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org. The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea and is posted on our web page.

© 2010, 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 Lisa Rosenthal at lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org.