News

Wheelhouse Weekly – May 22, 2003


THE MASTERS, MATES & PILOTS’
WHEELHOUSE WEEKLY

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

Volume 7 . . . . . Number 21. . . . . May 22, 2003

STORIES COVERED

ALSO

REMINDERS




 

MEMBERS AND FAMILIES GET SPECIAL SUMMER RATES AT MITAGS

For a limited time only, MITAGS is opening up its renowned conference center hotel and conference facility to MM&P members and their families at a very affordable rate. This is the first time MITAGS has made their facilities available as a vacation destination for MM&P members.

Centrally located just south of Baltimore, MITAGS is within easy reach of the many tourist attractions found in the Washington, Baltimore, Annapolis, southern Pennsylvania and northern Virginia area.

Even better, MITAGS is just five minutes from BWI Airport which has become a leading hub for low-cost airlines such as Southwest and Air Tran.

MM&P member summer rates are just $85 per night, per room. Occupancy is limited to member, spouse and two children. Complimentary full breakfast buffet and free shuttle service to BWI Airport or Amtrak are included.

For more info or reservations contact the MITAGS reservation department at 410-859-5700 extension 0 or Email: reservations@ccmit.org. Be sure to mention this special when making your reservation. Offer is based on availability and only valid June 1 through September 10, 2003.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

MM&P AND OTHER OFFSHORE UNIONS REACH MATSON AGREEMENT

Besides the MM&P, Matson Navigation Company has now reached agreements with the majority of its offshore unions and will proceed with the purchase of the two new container ships currently under construction at Kvaerner Philadelphia Shipyard. Matson will own and operate the ships and crew the vessels through its existing offshore unions.

The company reports that, with the new labor agreements for these two ships, they will be able to operate them under a cost model that justifies the significant financial investment. The first of the two new ships will enter Matson’s Hawaii service later this year; the second will be delivered in 2004.

“Matson is very pleased that we have been able to reach agreements with all but one of our current offshore unions that will allow us to achieve most of the cost savings that are vital to this project,” said James Andrasick, Matson president and CEO.

“We are hopeful that a mutually satisfactory agreement can be reached with that remaining union, which provides one crew member aboard each ship that Matson owns and operates,” he said. The American Radio Association’s negotiations with Matson have not yet yielded an agreement.

Matson has been serving the Pacific since 1882 and has enjoyed a successful relationship with the MM&P extending more than 65 years. The newbuilds underscore the company’s commitment to continuing to invest in US domestic offshore markets, with US-built and US-crewed vessels.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN KEYNOTE SPEAKER AT MARITIME DAY

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, USAF Gen. Richard Myers, was the featured speaker at the Military Sealift Command’s National Maritime Day wreath-laying ceremony. The annual event was hosted by the MSC at the Washington Navy Yard and honored US merchant mariners who have given their lives in support of the US.

The backdrop for the event was the MM&P-crewed MSC oceangoing tug, USNS APACHE.

All Military Sealift Command ships are operated by civilian mariners, including licensed deck officers that are MM&P bargaining unit members. The MSC is the largest employer of US merchant mariners.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

PRESIDENTIAL PROCLAMATION: NATIONAL MARITIME DAY, 2003

“Today, as in the past, America depends on our maritime services to help ensure our security, promote our prosperity, and advance the universal hope of freedom. We honor the service and proud history of our merchant mariners and also recognize their important contributions in strengthening our economy.

“For generations, merchant marines and commercial sailors have assisted in the defense of our Nation. Most recently, more than 5,000 merchant mariners supported Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom by serving aboard 157 ships moving vital supplies to our troops. As they continue to support our troops in the ongoing war on terror, their mission continues to be dangerous and difficult, and remains vital to our efforts to defend the peace.

“We also remember the vital role the Merchant Marine has played in past conflicts. More than 6,000 merchant mariners lost their lives during World War II, and more than 700 US merchant ships were lost. Even before the US declared war, merchant mariners were making perilous runs to Europe with desperately needed supplies.

“President Franklin Roosevelt, the first President to issue a proclamation honoring merchant mariners, wrote of their role during wartime: “They have delivered the goods when and where needed in every theater of operations and across every ocean in the biggest, the most difficult and dangerous transportation job ever undertaken.”

“We are grateful for the contributions and sacrifices of America’s merchant mariners before and after World War II, in Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, and around the world today. In addition to their efforts to support our troops, merchant marines play a vital role in moving the goods that we produce around the US and throughout the world. Their work provides jobs and economic benefits and strengthens our economy. By operating as the eyes and ears of America at sea, they also help protect our homeland.

“In recognition of the importance of the US Merchant Marine, the Congress, by joint resolution approved on May 20, 1933, as amended, has designated May 22 of each year as “National Maritime Day,” and has authorized and requested that the President issue an annual proclamation calling for its appropriate observance.

“NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 22, 2003, as National Maritime Day. I call upon the people of the US to celebrate this observance and to display the flag of the US at their homes and in their communities. I also request that all ships sailing under the American flag dress ship on that day.

“IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-first day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-seventh.”

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

USNS ERICSSON IN NEAR RECORD-SETTING DEPLOYMENT

When Military Sealift Command oiler USNS JOHN ERICSSON arrived in Singapore in early April, it marked the end of a near record-setting deployment of 200 days for the ship and her crew in support of the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet in the Central Command area of operations. The vessel is crewed by civilian mariners including licensed deck officers that are MM&P bargaining unit members.

During the assignment that began in September 2002, ERICSSON conducted 195 underway replenishments while operating in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. This included pumping more than 38 million gallons of fuel and transferring 3,700 pallets of cargo to a variety of US and Coalition warships.

USNS ERICSSON is no stranger to long deployments. This seven-month mission is believed to be the second longest for any MSC underway replenishment ship assigned to Fifth Fleet in recent history. One of the longest assignments, 205 days, was set by the ERICSSON and her crew last year.

“The ship’s strongest asset was the crew’s performance and effectiveness,” said ERICSSON’s master, MM&P member Capt. Bob Wiley. “They were absolutely superb, from the military detachment’s planning and communicating and the deck force’s execution of replenishments, to supply department’s management of fuel and cargo.”

In the past three years, ERICSSON has twice supported Fifth Fleet. The oiler also played a key role in re-supplying three carrier battle groups operating in the North Arabian Sea during Operation Enduring Freedom.

ERICSSON’s crew found themselves in the midst of the action as the buildup for Operation Iraqi Freedom got underway and naval forces surged into the Arabian Gulf region. The ship’s support mission doubled and eventually tripled as an ever-growing number of fuel-thirsty warships arrived in theater. The ship was in the extreme Northern Arabian Gulf supporting amphibious forces when combat in Iraq commenced on March 20.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

PRESIDENT BUSH SPEAKS AT USCGA GRADUATION

President Bush congratulated the graduates of the Coast Guard Academy and thanked them for becoming the newest members of the “shield of freedom.” The president spoke at the New London, CT, campus with the USCGC EAGLE, a square-rigger used as a training vessel for the cadets, as a backdrop on the Connecticut River.

“Coast Guard Academy life is demanding, and it should be, because you are entrusted with solemn responsibilities in peace and in war,” Bush said to the class of 2003. “America counts on the Coast Guard to enforce maritime law, to secure our waterways and ports, to rescue those in distress, and to intercept illegal drugs.”

The class is the first to graduate into the new Homeland Security Department. That department is charged with defending the US from terrorist attacks. The USCG belonged to the Transportation Department before moving to the new department March 1.

“You’re bringing a long tradition of duty to this new and urgent task,” Bush said. “Terrorists who seek to harm our country now face your shield of freedom. Every citizen can be grateful that the USCG stands watch for America.”

But the service goes beyond simply defending America’s shores, the president said, “In the Iraqi theater, Coast Guard cutters and patrol boats and buoy tenders, and over a thousand of your finest active duty and reserve members protected key ports and oil platforms, detained Iraqi prisoners of war and helped speed the delivery of relief supplies to the Iraqi people,” he said.

“Many have returned safely to port, and many remain on duty in the Persian Gulf. All have helped to liberate a great people, and all have brought a great credit to the uniform of the United States Coast Guard.”

The president spoke on the day after the Department of Homeland Security raised the national threat level to “orange.” Security was obvious as patrol boats combed the Connecticut River behind the president as he spoke. The danger of terrorism still exists, and the US will not relent in the global war on terror, he said.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

FORMER MM&P PRESIDENT FRANK SCAVO CROSSES FINAL BAR

MM&P is saddened to note the death on May 9 of former MM&P president Capt. Frank T. Scavo. He succumbed to pneumonia several weeks following bypass surgery. Capt. Scavo was 89 and had maintained an active life until his passing.

Capt. Scavo first came to the Union’s head office in July 1975 following a hotly-contested runoff election against incumbent MM&P president Thomas F. O’Callaghan.

In the first MM&P newspaper following the certification of votes in that election, Capt. Scavo informed the MM&P membership that, “with the campaign and its rhetoric behind us, I hope we will enter into a new era of cooperation and advancement for the Organization. One of the most gratifying aspects of my short tenure to date has been the outstanding degree of cooperation and help afforded… by the outgoing International President and Executive Vice President…”

Capt. Scavo served as the MM&P’s chief officer until April 1978. He first became involved in union activity in 1959 and 1960 as a member of MM&P’s former Local 88. Shortly thereafter, he ran for and was elected Local 88 Patrolman. In 1964, he was elected Secretary-Treasurer of Local 88 and remained in that post until consolidation of MM&P locals into the International in 1970.

Prior to his shoreside service to the Union, Capt. Scavo sailed aboard numerous deep sea vessels. During World War II, one ship he was serving aboard was torpedoed and he subsequently spent nearly two weeks adrift before being rescued.

He is survived by his wife, Maria Scavo.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

Class Openings

Between now and the end of August, seats are available in the following courses:

  • 6/2-6: T-PIC
  • 6/12: MEDIA-RSP
  • 6/14: MED-DOT-DA
  • 6/16: CBRD-1
  • 6/17: MSC-ENVPRO
  • 6/18: MSC-ATER
  • 6/19-20: MSC-DC
  • 6/23-27: SHS-EMR5, COMP-MAR, CMM-MPP
  • 6/23-26: SMA
  • 6/27: CBRD-1
  • 7/7-11: CMM-SHS-ADV I
  • 7/14-18:CMM-SHS-ADV II
  • 7/21-25: BST Week,CMM-VPEN,MED-PRO
  • 7/21-23: SEC-ShpOff
  • 7/24: MEDIA RSP
  • 7/26: MED-DOT-DA, LIC-EXAM-PREP
  • 7/21-8/1: MED-PIC
  • 7/28-8/1:FF-ADV, SHS-BAS, CMM-ECDIS
  • 8/1:FL
  • 8/4-15: GMDSS
  • 8/4-8: BRM, ARPA, CSE-AAES, CMM-SHMGT I CMM-SHS-ADV I
  • 8/4: ROR-1, ISM/REG-UPDT
  • 8/5: CONTG PLNG
  • 8/6: MEDIA RSP
  • 8/7: SEC-MAR
  • 8/8: ASSESSOR TRG
  • 8/11-22: MED-PIC
  • 8/11-15: MED-PRO, CMM-SHS-ADV II, MSC-COMMS, CMM-SHMGT II
  • 8/16: MED-DOT-DA
  • 8/18-22: SHS-EMR5,CMM-ADVSTB
  • 8/18-20: SEC-ShpOff
  • 8/18: CBRD-1
  • 8/19: MSC-ENVPRO
  • 8/20: MSC-ATER
  • 8/21-22: MSC-DC
  • 8/25-29: HAZ, ROP, COMP-NET, CMM-CHS I
  • 8/25-28: SMA
  • 8/30: MED-DOT-DA

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

 

Small Arms Training Off-Site

Spots remain available in the June and follow-on classes at MITAGS. Requests for Small Arms training off-site are still being accepted, but, based on the current demand, the temporary option to arrange a 3-day small arms course at San Diego, Freehold, or Virginia Beach is scheduled to end as of July 31.

In order to be eligible for off-site training, members in good standing of the Offshore Membership Group must have 360 days of covered employment with a company or companies contributing to the MATES program.

Even after the temporary option for the 3-day MSC course off-site ceases, qualified members will still be able to attend a 1-day renewal at Virginia Beach.

In addition to MITAGS eligibility requirements, MSC requires that all 1-day renewal applicants have qualified on all three weapons within the last two years. All training must be arranged through MITAGS.

For further information and quotas, contact either Mike Wein 443-989-3238 or Debbie Walton 443-989-3224.

 

Company/Ship Security Officer Course

The MITAGS Company/Ship Security Officer course has been restructured from a 4-day to a 3-day program.

Although not readily apparent from the titles, MEDIA-RSP is a natural complement to the security course and, thus, most SEC-ShpOff courses will be followed by MEDIA-RSP. The workshop provides basic knowledge, skills, and abilities for interaction with the news media during and after a crisis event.

 

Schedules, Course Info & Registration

Courses are subject to change. Always check the MITAGS website for updated course availability. You can also check future schedules, review detailed course descriptions and register on-line or contact Admissions at admissions@mitags.org or by calling toll-free, 1-866-656-5568.

 

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 5-21 CLOSE

 D O W

 N A S D A Q

 8,516.40

-131.40 for the week

 1,489.87

 -44.03 for the week
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)

 85.45

 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)

20.29

 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)

 12.59

 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)

 12.01

 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)

 22.10

 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)

10.73

 Vanguard High Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX):

 6.19

 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)

 10.57

 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)

13.14

 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)

14.47

 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)

 31.32

Fidelity Magellan Fund (FAGX)

 83.27

 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)

  32.79

 

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



~ Reminders ~


 


 

MM&P HQ MEMO TO ALL OFFSHORE MEMBERS AND APPLICANTS

Effective for employment commencing on or after April 10, 2003 and until further notice, any Member or Applicant who is known to have shipped as a Licensed Deck Officer aboard a vessel under contract with another labor organization shall lose his/her shipping card and be required to re-register prior to seeking employment with MM&P.

Members and Applicants are advised that such action jeopardizes their standing in Masters, Mates & Pilots. Members and Applicants are urged to contact MM&P if they are solicited for offshore employment by other labor organizations. Any Licensed Deck Officer employment with other labor organizations must be dispatched through Masters, Mates & Pilots.

 

See below for additional information about shipping out on RRF and surge sealift vessels.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

IMMINENT DANGER PAY FOR IRAQ WAR CIVMARS APPROVED

Vice Adm. David Brewer III, US Navy, Commander of the Military Sealift Command called MM&P International President Capt. Tim Brown on Wednesday evening, May 7, to notify him that imminent danger pay (IDP) has been approved for CIVMARS serving on MSC vessels in sail into danger zones in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Further details will be provided as they become known.

Earlier this month, Adm. Brewer said he has been most impressed with the expertise, professionalism and assistance that merchant mariners have provided during this time of conflict. “Civilian mariners are constantly demonstrating their unequivocal willingness to put themselves in possible harm’s way to deliver vital military cargo to our war fighters in support of our nation’s defense,” he said.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

MSC OPENS TOLL-FREE SHIP STATUS AND LOCATION SERVICE

Concerned family members of mariners serving aboard any Military Sealift Command and government-owned or chartered ship can now check on a ship’s status and general location, toll free. “Our mariners’ families are part of the MSC family too,” said Vice Admiral David Brewer III, commander of MSC. “We are proud to offer this information during these uncertain times.”

Family members of mariners who dial 1-888-SEA-LIFT (732-5438) and press 2 will be put in contact with a MSC employee who can tell them in general terms where the ship is operating and its general status.

This hotline was available during the first Persian Gulf War. Vice Adm. Brewer said he hopes that it can be used along with other forms of communication to keep family members informed.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 

TAX RELIEF FOR OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM CIVILIAN MARINERS

Qualified merchant mariners serving on vessels under Department of Defense operational control in direct support of US Armed Forces have been determined by the IRS to be eligible for the benefits of section 7508 of the Internal Revenue Code. 26 U.S.C. §7508.

This includes individuals, (including the spouse of such individuals) serving in the combat zone as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom aboard Maritime Administration and Military Sealift Command owned or controlled vessels.

Mariners are advised to consult their tax professionals with respect to the impact of this relief with respect to their individual situations.

Only mariners serving in the combat zone are covered. At present, the combat zone for Operation Iraqi Freedom is defined as follows:

  • Persian Gulf;
  • Red Sea;
  • Gulf of Aden; and
  • Gulf of Oman;
  • That portion of the Arabian Sea that lies north of 10 degrees north latitude and west of 68 degrees east longitude; and
  • The total land area of Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

Section 7508(a)(1) permits the postponement of certain time-sensitive acts for individuals serving in support of the Armed Forces in a designated combat zone. Activities specifically mentioned include the filing of tax returns, the payment of income, estate, or gift taxes (except employment and withholding taxes), tax claims filings or bringing suits for credits or refunds, filing any petition with the US Tax Court, making a qualified retirement contribution to an IRA, or performing any other act listed in Revenue Procedure 2002-71.

Detailed information can be obtained by consulting Publication 3 Armed Forces’ Tax Guide (2002 Returns). The Guide can be obtained by contacting the IRS or from the IRS website, www.irs.gov.

These benefits are afforded to the spouse of a qualified individual without any requirement that the individual and spouse file a joint return. Taxpayers within the US may seek assistance by calling the IRS toll-free at 1-800-829-1040. Taxpayers outside the US may call the IRS in Philadelphia, PA., at 215-516-2000 or via fax at 215-516-2555 (these are not toll free numbers).

More detailed info can be found on the MARAD website at: marad.dot.gov/Publications/employment/marinertaxes.html.

For MM&P members at sea who might have difficulty accessing the MARAD website, the MM&P Communications Department will Email this info to you upon request. Email requests to: communications@bridgedeck.org.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

CLARIFICATION OF DRUG FREE CERTIFICATE FOR MMD RENEWAL

Mariners renewing their licenses, Z-cards, other Merchant Marine Documents or Coast Guard credentials are advised that under the USCG’s national credentialing requirements, Coast Guard offices and Regional Exam Centers require “Drug Free Certificates” on stationery from a drug testing service agent. Drug testing service agents are defined in 49 CFR Part 40 (available for download at: www.dot.gov/ost/dapc/main/CFRintro.htm). Drug test certifications issued by other parties, such as health plans, will no longer be accepted.

Upon request, drug testing service agents will send “Drug Free Certificates” on their own stationary to merchant marine personnel so that they can satisfy the USCG drug test requirement for credential transactions.

MM&P members and applicants are advised that request forms for this purpose are available at MM&P port offices along with info on drug testing facilities. This is a nationwide USCG credentialing requirement and this notice is a clarification of info originally provided in the February 27, 2003 Wheelhouse Weekly, Volume 7 Number 9.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

LATEST USCG INFO ON PRIORITY SYSTEM FOR MMD CARDS

Applications for Merchant Mariner Documents can no longer be completed entirely through the mail. Applicants must now appear in person at a USCG Regional Exam Center to prove their identity and provide fingerprints. The following priority system has been implemented:

  • Priority One is assigned to mariners who are, or are about to be, employed on a vessel directly involved in a military operation. A letter from a shipping company, labor union, ship management company, or government agency attesting to the ship’s military purpose and the mariner’s position is needed for this priority.
  • Priority Two is given to mariners who are actively sailing. Evidence of current or scheduled employment on board a vessel, such as a letter or recent certificate of discharge is needed for this priority.
  • Priority Three is for all other transactions based on date of receipt.

Contact the National Maritime Center for additional info or questions at 202-493-6798.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 

SHIPPING-OUT ON SURGE AND RRF VESSELS

Members and Applicants are reminded that in order to receive pension credit, vacation and other benefits for sailing aboard a surge sealift or Ready Reserve Fleet vessel in support of U.S. operations in Iraq and neighboring areas, you must ship through a MM&P hall in accordance with instructions provided to each Union Hall.

Members and applicants are asked to protect their benefit status and, for applicants, their applicant status. Shipping aboard these vessels in any other way will not ensure that benefits will be passed through to MM&P Plans.

Applicant points will be awarded only for assignments shipped through MM&P offices.

You may direct any questions regarding this issue to:

  • Capt. Banks: gbanks@bridgedeck.org; phone: 410-850-8700 ext. 21
  • Capt. Boatner: dboatner@bridgedeck.org; phone: 310-834-7201
  • Mike Rodriguez: mrodriguez@bridgedeck.org; 410-850-8700 ext. 23
  • or to the Vice President in your area.

     

    MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


     

    LIST BEING DEVELOPED OF ORIGINAL MATES PROGRAM GRADUATES

    International President Capt. Tim Brown reports that,

    “For almost a year the staffs at MITAGS and the MM&P HQ have been working to collect the names of the graduates of the original MATES program. Inasmuch as record keeping in the late 1960s was not as streamlined or efficient as it is now, this was a large task that was done as time permitted.

    “We are now close to finalizing the list of names that we generated from several sources.

    “So, you might ask, why are we doing this? There is an old saying that goes along the lines of, ‘You don’t know who you are unless you know where you have been.’ This brings us to the point:

    “MM&P is considering having an Original MATES Program Graduates’ Reunion sometime in the early fall of this year.

    “We will be printing a list in the MM&P paper of all those that we have so far determined were graduates of the original MATES Program. We encourage all graduates to verify that their names are listed and to also let us know if we’ve missed anyone who is a graduate but whose name is not on the list.”

    MM&P Headquarters will also be sending out a letter to the graduates to assess the level of interest in having a Reunion weekend at MITAGS. MM&P would be able to provide for a discount for rooms at MITAGS, with the International subsidizing the cost to some degree. Again, this would probably depend on the level of interest in this project.

    Please watch the MM&P paper closely in the future if you are an original MATES program graduate.

    MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


     

    GENERAL EXECUTIVE BOARD CLARIFIES OFFSHORE QUOTA SYSTEM

    During MM&P General Executive Board meetings held at MM&P HQ on January 15-16, 2003, the quota system established for admittance to the Offshore Membership Group was clarified to make it clear that this quota system does not apply to MM&P Offshore Unlicensed members.

    On October 3-4, 2002, the GEB established quotas effective October 4, 2002, stating that “No member of any membership group, including the Offshore Unlicensed Membership Group, may transfer into the Offshore Licensed Membership Group without having been a member of the organization for at least as long as the length of time that the lowest applicant admitted into membership has in the organization.” The wording of this statement was subsequently determined to be incorrect.

    On January 16, 2003, the GEB corrected the quota guidelines to read:

    “No member of any MM&P membership group, except for members of the MM&P Offshore Unlicensed Membership Group, may transfer into the Offshore Licensed Membership Group without having been a member of the organization for at least as long as the length of time that the lowest applicant admitted into membership has in the organization.”

    MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


     

    HEALTH & BENEFIT PLAN CHANGES EFFECTIVE APRIL 1, 2003

    The following Health and Benefit Plan changes went into effect on April 1, 2003.

     

    INPATIENT HOSPITAL DEDUCTIBLE

    All inpatient hospitalizations (both PPO and non-PPO) will be subject to the Annual Major Medical Deductible ($250 individual/$500 family) and an additional inpatient deductible of $150 per admission. Both the Annual Deductible and the $150 inpatient deductible count towards the individual out of pocket maximum of $3,000.

     
    REIMBURSEMENT FOR INPATIENT HOSPITAL EXPENSE

    The Plan will pay 90% for all PPO hospitals after satisfying Major Medical deductible and $150 per admission inpatient deductible. The Plan will pay 70% for all non-PPO hospitals after satisfying the Annual Major Medical deductible and $150 per admission deductible.

     

    IN-NETWORK (PPO) PHYSICIAN VISITS

    For Primary Care Physician visits, after satisfying the annual Major Medical deductible, the participant pays a $15 co-pay per visit and the Plan pays the balance of the contracted amount. For specialty visits, after satisfying the annual Major Medical deductible, the participant pays a $25 co-pay and the Plan pays the balance of the contracted amount. The co-pay amount does not count towards the $3,000 annual out of pocket maximum.

     

    OUT-OF-NETWORK PHYSICIANS

    Once the participant satisfies the annual Major Medical deductible and an additional $150 annual out of network physician deductible, the Plan will pay 90% of the UCR. For specialists, once the participant satisfies the Major Medical deductible, the Plan will pay 70% of the UCR.

     

    OUTPATIENT FACILITY – IN NETWORK (PPO)

    After the participant satisfies the annual Major Medical deductible, the Plan pays 90% of the contracted charges.

     

    OUTPATIENT FACILITY – OUT-OF-NETWORK

    After the participants satisfies the annual Major Medical deductible, the Plan will pay 70% of the UCR charges.

     

    As always, please feel free to contact the Plan Benefit Advisors with any questions at 877-667-5522.

    MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


     

    MM&P HEALTH PLAN PARTICIPANTS: Delta Dental Payment Errors

    Effective January 1, 2003, the reimbursement under the dental portion of the Plan was changed from 90 percent in-network to 80 percent in-network and from 80 percent out-of-network to 70 percent out-of-network.

    DUE TO AN ERROR at Delta Dental, the claims for MM&P members for services rendered after 1/1/2003, in some cases, have been paid at the old reimbursement rate. The error has been corrected, however, and Delta will be asking for refunds from providers for the 10 percent overpayments. That means that members who were affected by this error will most likely receive a bill from dentists for the additional 10 percent.

    MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


     

    IMPORTANT UPDATE FROM THE MM&P PLANS OFFICE

     

    HEALTH & BENEFIT PLAN CHANGES

    The Board of Trustees, based on recommendations by the Cost Containment Committee, adopted changes to the Health & Benefit Plan. The following changes will become effective January 1, 2003:

    Annual Deductible

    The current annual deductible of $150/$300 will be raised to $250/$500.

    Out-of-Pocket Maximum

    The current out of pocket maximum of $2,000 will be raised to $3,000.

    Dental Reimbursement Levels

    • The Plan payment to in-network dental providers will go from 90% to 80%.
    • The Plan payment for out-of-network providers will go from 80% of UCR to 70% of UCR.
    • New contract with Delta Dental replaces Aetna/US Healthcare (Prudential Dental) agreement. See below for additional information.

    Prescription Drug Program

    Mail order drugs will be subject to a 20% co-pay for all single source brand name and generic drugs with a maximum out of pocket, per prescription, of $75.

    For brand name drugs where the generic equivalent is available, the member will be responsible for paying the total cost of the difference between the brand name and the generic drug. The Plan will then pay 80% of the cost of the generic and the member will be responsible for the 20% up to a per prescription maximum of $75.

    The Plan has also removed the mandatory mail order provision. This means that any prescription, regardless of the number of refills, can be obtained at a retail level but will be limited to a 30-day supply. However, obtaining maintenance medications through the mail order program may still be less expensive to you.

    A synopsis of these changes and additional changes effective April 1, 2003 appears in the November-December 2002 issue of the MM&P’s Master, Mate & Pilot newspaper. The Plan Office has also mailed a summary of all changes, with examples, to Health & Benefit Plan participants.




    ADDRESS CHANGES

    Remember to notify the Plan office whenever you move or have a change of address. There are a number of important mailings scheduled for the next few months and we would like to keep all members well informed. You can fax your address changes to the Plan Office at 410-850-8655 or you can email them to the Plan Office at mmpplans@aol.com.

     




     

    NEW DENTAL PROGRAM WITH DELTA DENTAL

    This is a reminder that effective October 1, 2002, the MM&P Plan’s contract with Prudential Dental expired. Prudential was purchased by Aetna/US HealthCare in 2001 and could no longer offer the Plan the same type of fee-for-service arrangement as before.

    In order to continue to offer Plan Participants an in-network dental benefit option, the Plan reviewed proposals from organizations that provide network dental services. After review, the Trustees approved a contract with Delta Dental, the largest provider of dental services in the US.

    The Delta Dental Claims Processing Center in Mechanicsburg, PA, will handle claims administration for all MM&P eligible participants and dependents. This includes claims submitted by out of network dentists as well as those who are Delta Dental providers.

    Plan participants who choose to go to a contracted provider will pay 10 percent of the contracted amount and the Plan will pay 90 percent. Participants will have access to all Delta providers in the Delta Premier Network option that includes over 133,000 dentists nationwide.

     

    FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

    ~ Where Does My Dentist Submit My Claims?

    Effective October 1, 2002, all dental claims with dates of service on or after October 1, 2002, from both in and out-of-network providers, should be sent directly to: Delta Dental, One Delta Drive, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055-6999. Participants will receive a claim form in the mailing sent out by the Plan Office on August 11. Your dentist can copy this form and use it to submit all dental claims incurred on or after October 1, 2002.

    ~ How Do I Find A Delta Dentist?

    You can locate participating dentists in your area in two ways. You can call 1-800-932-0783 from 8 AM to 8 PM Eastern Time, Monday-Friday, or you can sign on to the Delta website at www.MidAtlanticDeltaDental.com. Once you have signed on to the website, key on the bar marked “Pennsylvania”. (MM&P Plan members are enrolled in the Delta Premier Option through Delta Dental of Penn.) Next enter the search criteria to find participating Delta dentists in your area or enter your own dentist’s name to find out if he/she participates with the Premier network.

     

    WORK IN PROCESS

    Delta Dental will coordinate with the Plan Office to transition all billing for “work in process”. This means that all root canals, orthodontia work and other staged procedures that are not completed under the old arrangement will be carried over and the remaining balance billing, for work performed on or after October 1, 2002 will be processed by Delta Dental.

    It is important to remember that all work that has been pre-determined by Prudential/Aetna must be completed and billed with a billing date on or prior to September 30, 2002, in order to assure that your co-pay will remain the same as quoted in the initial pre-determination.

    Any work started under the old Plan but billed for date of service on or after October 1, 2002 will be reimbursed according to whether the dentist is participating in the Delta Dental network. If your dentist is not a participating dentist, the balance billing will be paid at the out-of-network rate of 80 percent of the Plan’s UCR schedules.

     

    CLAIMS QUESTIONS

    All questions about any dental claims incurred on or after October 1, 2002, including claims submitted by out-of-network providers, should be directed to Delta Dental at 1-800-932-0783. You have been provided with a Delta claim form to forward to your dentist, however, your dentist may submit any standard dental billing form as long as the bill is sent directly to Delta at the above listed address.

     

    IDENTIFICATION CARDS

    Participants have been sent a brochure that includes a perforated generic identification card. This card lists the telephone number and the billing address for Delta. You are not required to carry an identification card because your social security number and birth date will identify you as an eligible participant in the Delta Dental Network.

    It is important to remember that MM&P claims will be processed by Delta Dental of Pennsylvania. You or your dentist can access your eligibility by calling either the Plan Office or Delta Dental at 1-800-932-0783.

    If you or your dentist have any questions, you can contact Delta Dental at 1-800-932-0783 from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

    Plan members are identified by social security number and the Group Plan number for MM&P which is 7117.

    Billing for both in and out of network claims should be submitted on standard dental billing forms and sent directly to Delta at

    Delta Dental of Pennsylvania One Delta Drive Mechanicsburg, PA 17055

    You can locate participating providers on-line at www.MidAtlanticDeltaDental.com. Masters, Mates and Pilots members have access to providers in all of the Delta networks.

     

    MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


     

    CREDIT UNION MEMBERS: PAY YOURSELF FIRST WITH DIRECT DEPOSIT

    • Do you want an easy way to grow your savings?
    • Do you want an easier way to make deposits to your Masters, Mates & Pilots Federal Credit Union account?

    Consider establishing payroll or pension direct deposit.

    Many employers allow you to directly deposit your pay into several different financial institutions. Trinity Management, Strong America, Moran Towing of Florida, and McAllister Brothers are among the MM&P-contracted companies that already provide for employees to deposit funds directly into the MM&P Federal Credit Union.

    MM&P Health & Benefit Plans Pensioners and A&G Region Pensioners may have deductions made directly from their pension check to their Credit Union account. In addition, employees of MM&P, Plans, MITAGS and MIRAID are also eligible for payroll deduction directly into their Credit Union account.

    Add to your savings by paying yourself first! Contact your payroll office to establish Credit Union direct deposit or to find out if this is available for you. For additional details or to get answers to your questions on this or other MM&P Federal Credit Union programs, contact Kathy Klisavage, Credit Union Manager, toll-free at 1-800-382-7777 or by Email at mmpfcu@bridgedeck.org.

     

     

    NEW, USED OR REFI: LOW VEHICLE LOAN RATES AT MM&P FCU

    Members are reminded that the Masters, Mates & Pilots Federal Credit Union is offering vehicle loans as low as 5.25 percent. Rates range from 5.25 to 6.99 percent for terms of 24 to 60 months. It doesn’t matter if it’s for a new, used or a refinanced vehicle.

    These rates are also in effect for new or used recreational vehicles, motorcycles or boats. Limited funds available at this rate, certain terms and conditions apply.

    MM&P Federal Credit Union membership is open to all MM&P members, to all MM&P, MITAGS, MIRAID and Plans staff, and to their immediate families.

    Rates and terms of offer are subject to change. Call Kathy Klisavage, Credit Union Manager, toll free 1-800-382-7777 or Email mmpfcu@bridgedeck.org for all the details.

     

    MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


    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., Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1941. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973; Email: iommp@bridgedeck.org. For further info or to subscribe contact John Peige at jpeige@bridgedeck.org. The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea, broadcast worldwide via FEC marine telex andis posted on our web page.

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