Wheelhouse Weekly – May 20, 2014


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

Volume 18 . . . Number 20 . . . May 20, 2014


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 26, for Memorial Day. In addition, Atlantic Ports will be closed on Thursday, May 22, for Maritime Day.


United Inland Group/Pacific Maritime Region members employed by the State of Alaska’s Marine Highway System (AMHS) have been involved in ongoing negotiations for a new three-year Master Agreement since early December 2013. The six members of the elected negotiating committee, MM&P Representative Ron Bressette and United Inland Group Vice President Mike Murray have met with the State on numerous occasions over the past five months in order to secure a new Agreement which results in some modest gains for the membership while, at the same time, recognizing the current financial constraints under which the Alaska Marine Highway System is operating.

To further add to the contentious negotiations, the State of Alaska Administration reached out to a State Senator to introduce a bill which would have eliminated Cost of Living Differential (COLD) compensation for all AMHS vessel employees in future Agreements. That bill (SB 182) was later modified in the State Senate Finance Committee to eliminate the COLD compensation only for vessel employees hired after July 1, 2014.  As a result of the strong lobbying efforts of the membership and leaders of MM&P, the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA) and the Inland Boatmen’s Union (IBU), SB 182 died a fitting death in the Senate Rules Committee at the end of the 28th Alaska Legislature.

A federal mediator met with MM&P and the State of Alaska on May 15 and 16. We are now scheduled to meet again with the mediator on June 12. The union is hopeful that the efforts of the mediator will lead to a fair Agreement which both sides can operate under.


Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.) has been named Great Lakes Legislator of the Year by the Great Lakes Maritime Task Force (GLMTF), which represents workers and industries engaged in shipping on “America’s Fourth Sea Coast.” The award is presented each year to a legislator who has helped advance the cause of shipping on the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway.

“Congressman Huizenga has shown incredible resolve in addressing the dredging crisis on the Great Lakes,” said GLMTF President James Weakley in an official statement. “His laser-like focus on the issue is one of the big reasons the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) passed by the House in 2013 contains provisions key to ending the dredging crisis. The bill not only calls for more funding for dredging, but designates the Great Lakes as a system in terms of dredging, and that in itself should put the Lakes on an even footing with other waterways.”


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has ruled that a mariner may not recover under the Jones Act for injuries allegedly incurred due to excessive work hours and an erratic sleep schedule. Relying on a decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in a case involving the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (on which the Jones Act is based), the court held that the Jones Act addresses injuries “caused by physical invasions or menaces.” The court found that work-related stress is not a peril covered by the Jones Act. The case is Skye v. Maersk Line, No. 12-16433 (11th Cir., May 15, 2014). 


“In a global economy starving for good jobs, the last thing we need is airline companies that game trade agreements and try to undermine fair competition,” says AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department (TTD) President Ed Wytkind. “Unfortunately, Norwegian Air Shuttle (NAS) has cooked up just such a scheme, and the stakes are high on both sides of the Atlantic.”

NAS has formed a subsidiary, Norwegian Air International (NAI), which has obtained an air operator’s certificate in Ireland. It allows NAI to bypass Norwegian labor laws and hire Thailand-based pilots whose individual employment contracts are governed by Singaporean law. “NAI wants to scour the globe for the cheapest labor it can find and exploit,” Wytkind said in a May 20 blog post. MM&P is one of 32 transportation sector unions that belong to TTD.

NAI’s effort to cut labor costs and undercut competition has run up against a wall of opposition both in Europe and the United States. In April, NAS CEO Bjorn Kjos sent a letter to Ireland’s Transport Minister asking him to intervene with the U.S. government.

The Obama Administration is a key player in the controversy because in order to offer expanded service to American cities, NAI needs a foreign air carrier permit from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The administration has ample grounds to say no to NAI, as the proposed operating arrangement violates the U.S.-EU Air Transport Agreement (ATA), which expanded aviation trade but expressly rejected any use of the expanded rights to “lower labor standards.” These protections were negotiated into the agreement to stop NAI-like schemes from gaining a foothold in the transatlantic market.

The American labor movement is not taking anything for granted, and has united in opposition to NAI’s application, with more than 20 unions representing hundreds of thousands of workers calling on U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx to reject NAI’s application. “We have seen first-hand the effects of un-checked globalization on the American workforce,” the coalition wrote in a letter to Foxx. “Too often, poorly conceived and badly enforced free trade agreements have led to the offshoring of U.S. jobs. That is why U.S. industries that previously formed the backbone of our economy have seen dramatic job losses that have coincided with the erosion of the middle class.”

Organizations representing European airline workers have been just as adamant. The European Cockpit Association, which represents nearly 40,000 professional flight crewmembers in 38 European countries, described NAI’s plans as “an attempt to engage in social dumping at the expense of EU member states and any states NAI may operate to or from.” Parat, which represents 32,000 workers in Norway including nearly 2,000 at Norwegian Air Shuttle and its affiliates, has stated that “NAI is being established in Ireland to get out from under Norwegian labor laws.”
The NAI model is already causing damage in Norway. Rather than expanding its long-haul service with Norwegian workers, NAS is using a flag-of-convenience strategy to relocate to Ireland and hire Asian flight crews. This model could become the norm, with airlines seeking to move from any country with strong labor and social laws in favor of countries with lower standards. The result will be bottom-of-the-barrel wages and labor rules across the transatlantic market, killing good jobs in the United States and Europe. European and American unions know that while airline workers are the immediate target, workers across the globe face the same threat.

“The NAI scheme, if approved, will set a standard that airlines can only compete for international routes by searching the globe for the lowest labor standards,” Wytkind says. “It takes direct aim at good jobs on both sides of the Atlantic and must be rejected.”


The SS JOHN W. BROWN, which is based in Baltimore, has scheduled four “Living History” cruises. The first takes place on May 24. The BROWN and the JEREMIAH O’BRIEN in San Francisco are the only two Liberty ships that are still operational.

The voyages aboard the BROWN feature food, music from the 1940s and even a fly-by featuring World War II aircraft. The JEREMIAH O’BRIEN has scheduled a four-hour May 24 voyage in San Francisco Bay with live music, engine room tours, a Color Guard presentation and refreshments. Tickets are $125 for adults, $75 for children and $300 family rates.  You can order tickets online by visiting the site at

The JOHN BROWN has also scheduled cruises on June 14, Sept. 6 and Oct. 4. Reserve early as cruises often sell out quickly. The deadline for ticket purchase is two weeks prior to any cruise. General admission tickets for the 2014 Living History cruises are $140 per person. For the Veterans’ Appreciation cruise on May 24,  there is a special ticket price for veterans, active military and merchant mariners. Ticket prices for this cruise are displayed on the online ticket purchase page and on the corresponding mail order form.

For questions about the SS JOHN BROWN, call (410) 558-0164 or e-mail with the word “Cruises” in the subject line. Project Liberty Ship, the foundation that preserves the vessel, is a volunteer, nonprofit organization. Donations will allow generations to view this historic floating museum and get a taste of how the Fourth Arm of Defense helped win World War II. Visit to volunteer your time, make a donation or find out more.


Prosecutors in South Korea have lodged homicide charges against the captain and three navigational officers of the sunken ferry SEWOL. The four are accused of negligence and of “failing to carry out their duties to protect passengers in need.” If convicted, they could face death. Two other members of the crew have been charged with fleeing the scene of a disaster while nine have been charged with negligence.

MarEx newsletter pointed out in a May 19 article that the crew has been “tried and convicted by an angry public before the case has even come to court.” Their lawyers are said to be agonizing over how to even mount a defense and in particular whether mitigating evidence—for example whether the crew had been trained for emergencies or had been given strict orders to abandon ship—will even be admitted. The SEWOL, seriously overloaded and apparently travelling too fast, sank on a trip from Incheon to the southern holiday island of Jeju, killing children and teachers, among others, on a high school field trip. Only 172 people were rescued of an estimated 476 passengers and crew on board.

In related news, South Korea’s President vowed last week to disband the  Coast Guard, saying that the country owes “reform and a great transformation” to the hundreds of people who died in the disaster. She promised to reorganize the government to enable it to deal more effectively with disasters. The Coast Guard “didn’t do its duty,” she said. “If it had tried to rescue people more swiftly and more actively right after the accident, it could have greatly reduced the casualties.” The duties of the Coast Guard will be absorbed into the national police force or into a new safety agency that the president said she would create to ensure future disasters are handled better.


Salvors have ended work at the scene of the May 15 disaster on the Meghna River where a double-decker ferry sank in a storm. Fifty-four bodies have been recovered. Approximately 200 people were said to have been on board the ferry at the time of the accident, although ferry operators did not keep a tally of passengers. In the wake of the disaster, some people were able to swim to shore and 35 were rescued. The authorities said other bodies were expected to be found in the river in coming days. In March 2012, another ferry sank near the same spot, killing at least 145 people.


Fast food workers around the world engaged in a one-day strike on May 15, calling for higher wages and the right to form unions. The events were planned for May 15 as a symbol of the $15 wage that is being asked for by fast food workers in the United States.

Actions took place in more than 150 cities around the United States and in 30 other countries. “We’ve gone global,” said a McDonald’s worker in Memphis who makes $7.75 an hour after six years on the job. “Our fight has inspired workers around the world.” Many of the international protests focus on McDonald’s, a world leader in low-wage jobs. Workers planned to hold a teach-in outside McDonald’s head office in Auckland, New Zealand; to stage flash mobs at five McDonald’s locations in the Philippines; and to shut down a major McDonald’s during lunchtime in Belgium. The events around the world are being led by the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations.

“Working families everywhere are inspired by the spirit and the courage of fast food workers who made their voices heard in over 150 cities,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Every worker deserves fair wages and the right to form a union without retaliation because no one who works full time should have to struggle to support their family.”


Attention all hands: There is limited seating available for the May/June LMSR training courses beginning next week. Please contact MITAGS Admissions as soon as possible if you are interested in signing up for a course: toll-free at 866-656-5568 or by e-mail to Travel reimbursement policies for eligible Trust students apply.


SUNY Maritime’s TS EMPIRE STATE VI will hold receptions in honor of Maritime Day in the Port of Baltimore and the Port of Philadelphia. The reception in Baltimore will take place on Wednesday, May 21, from 1900 to 2100. The reception in the Port of Philadelphia will take place on Friday, May 23, from 1900 to 2100. Due to limited capacity aboard the ship, please register here by May 14: There is no fee to attend the receptions. For questions, please contact Ashley Scotti at 718-409-4001 or


The annual National Maritime Day Observance and Memorial Service will be held at the American Merchant Marine Veterans Memorial and Walls of Honor, located on Harbor Boulevard at the foot of 6th Street, San Pedro, Calif., on Thursday, May 22. The ceremony begins at 1100. It will be the 25th anniversary of the construction of the American Merchant Marine Veterans Memorial and the observance of National Maritime Day in San Pedro.

National Maritime Day honors the American merchant mariners who have served their country in peace and war since the American Revolution. The observance will include speakers representing state and local organizations and the American maritime industry. A memorial service will be conducted by local clergy and veterans groups. A luncheon at Ports O’Call Restaurant at Berth 76, San Pedro, will follow the observance at 1230. For more information, please contact John Pitts at 562-716-2899 or or Paul Nielsen at or 310-325-3506.


If you are interested in attending the Offshore Familiarization Course, please contact your MM&P Vice President to request that one be scheduled in your area. An Offshore Orientation Course is now scheduled for Los Angeles/Long Beach on Oct. 8-9. If you are interested in participating in the course, please contact the Los Angeles/Long Beach Hall: 310-834-7201 or 310-834-6667 (fax). There is no sea-time requirement to take the course. All Offshore applicants, potential transferees from other membership groups and other interested Offshore members are encouraged to take the course as soon as possible.


The 2006 Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) entered into force on Aug. 20. It has been described as the fourth pillar of international shipping regulations along with SOLAS, MARPOL and STCW.  The International Labor Organization consolidated a number of previous conventions in MLC 2006. 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. Visit for more information or to register for the MLC course.


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 –8/11/14, 10/13/14

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: Contact Admissions

ARPA-OIC – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 8/5/14, 9/23/14, 11/18/14

AZIPOD 2-Day –7/10/14, 10/9/14

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 8/25/14, 10/13/14

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 5/22/14, 7/24/14, 8/20/14, 9/22/14, 11/20/14

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling:  7/7/14, 10/6/14

BST – Basic Safety Training: 6/9/14, 8/11/14, 10/6/14

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 10/27/14

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVNAV-CMM – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): 6/2/14, 8/4/14, 11/10/14

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 6/23/14, 9/22/14

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 6/16/14, 9/8/14

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 7/7/14, 9/29/14

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 6/2/14, 7/14/14, 8/4/14, 10/20/14, 11/10/14

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications: 7/23/14, 11/19/14

MCL-CMM – Management, Communication, & Leadership (Management Level): 5/19/14, 9/15/14

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants:  7/21/14, 10/27/14

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management (2 weeks): 8/18/14, 10/13/14

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 6/9/14, 8/4/14, 9/8/14, 9/22/14, 10/20/14, 11/3/14, 12/1/14

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 6/16/14, 8/11/14, 9/15/14, 9/29/14, 10/27/14, 11/10/14, 12/8/14

TRAC-TUG-2: 7/21/14

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 6/9/14, 8/11/14, 11/17/14

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 7/28/14, 11/3/14

CNAV-OIC – Celestial Navigation: 11/3/14

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: Contact Admissions

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications:  10/7/14

DDE – Great Lakes: Contact Admissions

DPA – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-OIC –9/8/14

ECDIS-Pilots – Contact Admissions

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 6/9/14, 8/11/14, 10/6/14

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep & Medications:  5/21/14, 11/19/14

GL Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization: Contact Admissions

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 8/18/14

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 6/23/14, 9/15/14, 11/17/14

LAP- 9/8/14

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross Ton License: 6/2/14

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 7/8/14, 10/7/14, 11/20/14

LNG-TPIC – Contact Admissions

MCL-OIC –Management, Communications, and Leadership OICNW level: 9/5/14, 10/7/14

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 6/16/14, 9/8/14, 11/3/14, 12/1/14

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 8/4/14, 10/13/14

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 6/16/14, 9/8/14, 10/20/14, 11/3/14, 12/1/14

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 6/21/14, 8/3/14, 9/13/14, 10/12/14, 11/8/14, 12/6/14

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: 8/4/14 (PM), 10/6/14 (PM)

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 6/6/14, 8/22/14, 10/3/14

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 6/2/14, 8/18/14, 9/29/14

MSC-ENV – 6/7/14, 8/23/14

MSC-FF-HELO – 6/11/14

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification:  6/2/14, 8/18/14, 9/29/14, 11/10/14

*MSC-Security Watch Basic – 5/31/14, 8/25/14, 11/14/14

*MSC-Security Watch Advanced – 6/2/14, 8/27/14, 11/17/14

*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force – 6/3/14, 8/28/14, 11/18/14

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 8/4/14, 9/22/14, 11/17/14

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 5/14/14, 6/5/14, 6/11/14, 6/18/14, 7/9/14, 7/24/14, 8/6/14, 8/20/14, 9/10/14, 9/17/14, 10/1/14, 10/15/14, 10/29/14, 11/12/14, 12/3/14, 12/10/14

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 7/28/14, 11/10/14

SAR-OIC – Search & Rescue –10/13/14

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling:  6/16/14, 8/18/14, 11/17/14

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day: 7/14/14, 10/6/14

SMS – Contact Admissions

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 8/4/14

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 7/7/14

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge:  8/25/14

TTT – Train the Trainer: Contact Admissions

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: 8/5/14, 10/7/14

VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 8/6/14, 9/2/14, 10/8/14, 10/22/14

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level): 9/29/14

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

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

Check the MITAGS website at for course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations, and schedule revisions.


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

June 2014

2-6          Basic Meteorology
9th         Radar Renewal
9-20       GMDSS
9-27       Terrestrial and Coastal Navigation
11-13     Vessel Security Officer
16-20     ECDIS

July 2014

7-11       Radar Observer Unlimited
7-18       GMDSS
14th       Radar Renewal
14th       Flashing Light
15-18     ARPA
21-25     Bridge Resource Management
28-1       ECDIS
28-1       Medical Care Provider

The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates, and Pilots, ILA, AFL-CIO, 700 Maritime Blvd. Suite B, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1953. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973; Email: For further info or to subscribe contact Lisa Rosenthal at The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea and is posted on our web page.

© 2014, International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots. All the material contained in this publication is protected by copyright. For permission to reprint text from the Weekly, contact the MM&P Communications Department: For changes of address, contact Lisa Rosenthal at