Wheelhouse Weekly – May 19, 2015

Volume 20 . . . Number 20. . . May 19, 2015


In this issue:


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Atlantic Ports union halls will be closed on May 22 for National Maritime Day. All MM&P union halls, the MM&P Plan Office, the MM&P Federal Credit Union and MM&P headquarters will be closed on May 25 for Memorial Day.

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Crewmembers of the Military Sealift Command dry cargo/ammunition ship USNS WILLIAM MCLEAN and the Coast Guard Fifth District rescued two people aboard the sailboat SOLARUS on May 14 in open waters 50 miles southeast of Ocean City, Md. The MCLEAN, a TAKE-12 vessel, is crewed by licensed deck officers who are represented by the MM&P Federal Employees Membership Group (FEMG). The sailboat had struck an object and was taking on water through a two-foot-long crack in the hull.

The MCLEAN received a distress call from the SOLARUS around 0610 on Thursday and immediately sailed towards the small craft to render assistance, at the same time establishing contact with the Coast Guard. MCLEAN crewmembers then launched a fast rescue boat with a P100 dewatering pump aboard. The crew stopped about 100 yards from SOLARUS and the decision was made to bring the sailboat and its two-man crew alongside MCLEAN for shelter from the choppy seas and to facilitate dewatering and repair.

The fast rescue boat crew was able to dewater SOLARUS using the P100 pump, removing approximately 400 gallons of water. The deck department of the MSC ship quickly assembled the items needed to affect a temporary repair to the sailboat’s hull and lowered them down to the boat. Repairs were made to control the flooding.

Once the crack had been repaired, MCLEAN crewmembers recovered the fast rescue boat and got back underway. SOLARUS maintained station about 100 feet off MCLEAN’s port side so it was sheltered from the four-to-six foot seas and 25-knot northerly winds. MCLEAN and SOLARUS proceeded in this fashion for about two hours until they rendezvoused with the Coast Guard motor lifeboat crew. “I can’t thank the crews of USNS WILLIAM MCLEAN and the USCG enough for their rapid and complete response, which resulted in the saving of SOLARUS and our lives,” said Bill Kneller, one of the mariners rescued.

“The crew performed flawlessly and was ready to go on ‘no notice’ to help out the two mariners and their sailboat,” said MCCLEAN’s Master James White. He added that the crew of the MSC vessel had received a message of commendation from USCG District 5.

MCLEAN is one of 15 Navy Combat Logistic Force (CLF) ships that provide fuel, food, ordnance, spare parts, mail and other critical supplies enabling the MSC fleet to remain at sea, on station and combat ready for extended periods of time. All CLF ships are government-owned and crewed primarily by Civil Service mariners.

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The essential role played by American mariners in peace and war will be recognized this week at ceremonies across the country. In Washington, D.C., on May 21, the Maritime Administration will honor active mariners and retirees and commemorate, in a solemn wreath-laying ceremony, the men and women who have lost their lives at sea. At last year’s ceremony, Gen. Paul Selva, Commander, U.S. Transportation Command, cited statistics that underscore the key role played by the American Merchant Marine in our country’s national defense.

From 9/11 through early 2013, he said, MSC-operated and commercially chartered vessels supplied 26 billion gallons of fuel and shipped 126.2 million square feet of equipment and materials to U.S. and Coalition warfighters supporting Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. In Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, chartered commercial and MSC-operated ships carried 95 percent of the cargo and 99 percent of the fuel that was moved to the Persian Gulf. “America’s dominance on the world’s waters has been built by the determination and dedication of our merchant seafarers,” Selva said.

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Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) last week introduced an amendment to defense authorization legislation that would provide a much-needed increase in funding for the Maritime Security Program (MSP). Appropriations for the program have been unchanged–at $3.1 million per ship, or $186 million a year for the fleet–since Fiscal Year 2012. MSP is scheduled to continue at that funding level until Fiscal Year 2019, when the 60-ship program would receive a $24 million increase. The Hunter amendment would boost funding for the program in Fiscal Year 2016. If it is included as part of the defense bill that is signed into law, that means that the amendment would increase MSP’s funding level by $24 million beginning Oct. 1, 2015. The increase would translate into a total of $3.5 million per vessel per year.

“The drop in the number of U.S-flag commercial vessels that are available to supplement military transport adds to the strain of an already reduced and undersized naval fleet,” Hunter has said. “With emerging threats requiring the full attention of naval resources and the shifting of America’s defense strategy to the Pacific, the support provided through the Maritime Security Program is absolutely essential. Congress must look ahead and consider policies that support the growth of the U.S. international flag fleet to alleviate pressure on limited naval resources.”

“On May 22, the nation will observe National Maritime Day,” Hunter says. “Not only is this a time to observe our history, it’s also an opportunity to recommit to America’s maritime industry. In the process, preserving what works—such as the Maritime Security Program and the Jones Act—will go a long way, but it’s equally important that we explore new avenues such as short sea shipping, the liquefied-natural-gas trade and an improved ship-financing program, all of which can be accomplished through a national maritime strategy.” Hunter is chair of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation.

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The House-passed National Defense Authorization Act creates a simpler path from a career in the Navy or Coast Guard to a career in the commercial maritime industry. Rep. Mark Takai (D-Hawaii) proposed the amendment, which would help those who had served primarily as mariners take their skills to private industry.

In recent years, there have been parallel efforts to help, for example, military medics become EMTs, or military vehicle drivers obtain a commercial driver’s license, without having to start at the beginning of the training and certification process. Takai’s amendment would apply the same principle to the maritime industry.

The amendment states that “to the greatest extent practicable… members of the armed forces whose duties are primarily as a mariner receive training opportunities necessary to meet the requirements for licenses, certificates of registry, and merchant mariners’ documents.” For those in shipboard engineering positions, the Navy and Coast Guard would create a “designated path to meet the requirements for such licenses, documents, and endorsement commensurate with their positional responsibilities.”

A member of Takai’s staff said the Navy and Coast Guard would be responsible for developing a plan to streamline their training with commercial licensing requirements to ensure men and women leaving the two services have a clear and simple path to a job in commercial shipping. The amendment received bipartisan support from House Armed Services Committee leadership as well as from the transportation and homeland security committees and from a variety of industry organizations and unions, the staffer said.

The measure was included in the final version of the bill the House passed on May 15 and would be signed into law if the Senate agreed to it. Takai has said it would be, “a boon to both veterans and businesses.”

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Insurance company representatives meeting in New York City last week discussed the potential liabilities that could arise from an accident involving giant new container ships, some with capacities of up to 20,000 20-foot equivalent units. Journal of Commerce Editor-at-Large Peter T. Leach reported on the meeting, which was held May 14 by the American Institute of Marine Underwriters, in a copyrighted article that appeared in the May 15 edition of the online edition of JOC.

Some insurers at the meeting, Leach reported, hypothesized the potential liabilities associated with a mega-ship grounding could reach $4 billion. Participants wondered, he wrote, whether the insurance industry could handle losses of this size.

JOC reported that one speaker at the meeting, Capt. James McNamara, former president of the National Cargo Bureau, said the container shipping industry doesn’t pay enough attention to the safety of crews. In particular, he noted that no speaker at the JOC’s 15th Annual TPM Conference in Long Beach on March 2-3 had addressed the topics of safety or hazardous material carriage. “There were many good speakers, but the focus was on making money, on productivity, and improving service,” JOC quoted him as saying. “There wasn’t one speaker who addressed safety concerns and hazmat concerns,” McNamara said.

With containers with hazardous materials accounting for 5 to 10 percent of the container trade, he added, “to me it was shocking that in this big conference, not one speaker was concerned about safety.”

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The unique, nuclear-powered ship NS SAVANNAH, on which a number of MM&P members sailed in years past, was open for tours at her pier in Baltimore last weekend as part of the annual commemoration of Maritime Day. “This day pays special tribute to the people who served as merchant mariners in service to their country as well as to the benefits that the maritime industry provides for the United States,” said Bob Moody, president of the N.S. Savannah Association Inc. and former licensed reactor operator on the ship. “We’re pleased that the Port of Baltimore hosts visitors on these occasions, and that the U.S. Maritime Administration opens the ship for the day for tours so that people can see just how unique and beautiful the ship is, inside and out.” NS Savannah Association members were on board during the weekend, providing information to visitors from a unique perspective: that of having worked on the ship.

The Association serves to assist in the preservation of the ship, as well as public education about the SAVANNAH and its history. The ship is owned by the Maritime Administration. It is located at Canton Marine Terminal Pier 13, 4601 Newgate Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21224.

MARAD offers dedicated groups the possibility to schedule a tour of the ship. To find out how to schedule a tour, go to:

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In May, the monthly membership meeting at the MM&P New York/New Jersey Hall will take place on the third Wednesday of the month, May 20, instead of on the second Wednesday of the month. All members in the area are encouraged to attend the meeting. The hall is located at 35 Journal Square, Suite 912, Jersey City, NJ 07306-4103.

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MITAGS needs your current address! Have you moved recently? Did you remember to send MITAGS your new address for communications regarding courses? Please send your current contact information to or to the fax number below.

New dedicated fax line for Admissions only: 1-443-568-1928. For all other MITAGS business, please continue to use: 410-859-5181.

For class availability or information on MITAGS courses and programs, contact Kelly Michielli, Admissions Coordinator, toll-free at 866-656-5568 or by e-mail: . Why not try our on-line calendar to register for class:

Please note the special addition to our on-campus schedule of MSC classes marked with an asterisk (*), which are not normally scheduled to be held at MITAGS.

AB – 8/17/15, 10/12/15

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: 6/19/15, 7/13/15

ARPA-OIC – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 8/4/15, 9/22/15

AZIPOD 2-Day – 10/1/15

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 8/3/15, 10/19/15

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 6/17/15, 7/16/15, 11/9/15

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling: 9/28/15

BT – Basic Safety Training: 6/8/15, 8/10/15, 10/5/15

BT-Revalidation – 8/4/15, 11/3/15

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 10/26/15

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVNAV-CMM – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN):

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 6/15/15, 7/27/15, 9/28/15

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 6/1/15, 8/3/15, 10/19/15

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 10/5/15

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 6/8/15, 8/17/15, 9/21/15, 10/5/15, 11/2/15, 12/7/15

LMS – Leadership and Managerial Skills (Management Level – Formerly MCL-CMM): 6/22/15, 7/13/15, 8/10/15, 8/31/15,9/28/15, 10/26/15, 11/16/15, 11/30/15

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants: 11/16/15

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management (2 weeks): 9/14/15

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 6/1/15, 7/13/15, 8/10/15, 8/24/15, 10/5/15, 11/9/15, 11/30/15

SHS-ADV-II-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 6/8/15, 7/20/15, 8/17/15, 8/31/15, 10/12/15, 11/16/15, 12/7/15

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: Contact Admissions

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 11/9/15

CNAV-OIC – Celestial Navigation: 11/9/15

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: Contact Admissions

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications: 7/9/15

DDE – Great Lakes: 5/27/15

DPA – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-OIC – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-Pilots – 6/15/15, 7/14/15, 11/12/15

ERM – Engine Resource Management: 6/15/15, 7/20/15, 8/24/15, 9/21/15, 10/19/15, 11/9/15, 12/14/15

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 8/10/15, 10/5/15

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications: 7/6/15, 9/15/15, 11/11/15

GL Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization: Contact Admissions

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 8/24/15

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 6/22/15, 8/31/15, 11/16/15

LAP- 9/14/15

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes: Contact Admissions

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross
Ton License: 6/1/15, 8/3/15, 11/30/15

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 6/17/15, 7/16/15, 9/16/15, 11/10/15

LNG-TPIC – 12/7/15

LTS –Leadership and Teamworking Skills (Formerly MCL-OIC): 9/21/15

MEECE – Management of Electrical and Electronic Control: 6/8/15, 7/6/15, 8/17/15, 9/14/15, 10/12/15, 11/2/15, 12/7/15

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 6/15/15, 8/24/15, 12/7/15

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 7/27/15, 9/28/15

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 6/15/15, 8/24/15, 10/12/15, 12/7/15

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 6/20/15, 7/25/15, 8/28/15, 11/5/15, 12/12/15

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: Contact Admissions

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 6/5/15, 8/19/15, 10/29/15

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 6/2/15, 8/17/15, 10/27/15

*MSC-ENVPRO – 6/6/15, 8/16/15, 10/31/15

*MSC-FF-HELO – 6/9/15, 8/3/15, 11/2/15

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 5/26/15, 8/8/15, 10/19/15

*MSC-Security Watch Basic – 5/30/15, 8/6/15, 10/17/15

*MSC-Security Watch Advanced –6/1/15, 8/12/15, 10/23/15

*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force – 6/2/15, 8/13/15, 10/24/15

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 8/3/15, 9/21/15

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 6/3/15, 6/10/15, 6/17/15, 7/8/15, 7/22/15, 8/5/15, 8/19/15, 9/2/15, 9/16/15, 9/30/15, 10/14/15, 10/28/15, 11/3/15, 11/11/15, 11/18/15, 12/2/15, 12/10/15

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 6/1/15, 7/27/15

SAR-OIC – Search & Rescue – 10/19/15

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling: 6/22/15, 11/2/15

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day: 7/27/15, 9/28/15

SMS – Contact Admissions

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 8/3/15

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 7/6/15

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: 8/3/15

TRAC-TUG-2: Contact Admissions

TTT – Contact Admissions

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: 5/21/15

VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 7/22/15, 9/9/15, 10/7/15, 10/17/15

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level): 9/28/15

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): 9/14/15

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Please also see our schedule and enroll online at For registration contact our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen: 206.838.1126 or

May 2015

26 Radar Renewal
27-29 Bridge Resource Management and Emergency Shiphandling for Pilots

June 2015

1-3 Security – Vessel, Company, and Facility
1-5 Medical Care Provider
1-12 Medical Person-In-Charge
8-12 Leadership and Managerial Skills
15-19 ECDIS
15-19 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
22-26 Leadership and Managerial Skills
22-26 Basic Meteorology
29-3 Leadership and Managerial Skills

July 2015

6-24 Terrestrial and Coastal Navigation
13-17 Leadership and Managerial Skills
13-24 GMDSS
20-23 ARPA
27-31 Radar Observer Unlimited

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The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates, & Pilots, ILA, AFL-CIO, 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 © 2015. Articles can be reprinted without prior permission if credit is given to The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly. For address changes, send an e-mail to Back issues of The Weekly are posted on