Wheelhouse Weekly – May 24, 2010


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

Volume 14 . . . . . Number 21. . . .May 24, 2010




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.


Government officials, U.S.-flag shipping companies and the leaders of the country’s maritime unions paid tribute May 22 to the contributions made by American merchant mariners to the security and economic wellbeing of the United States. “You have our gratitude and you have our respect,” Acting Maritime Administrator David Matsuda told mariners in attendance at the ceremony, which was held at the headquarters of the Department of Transportation.

President Obama expressed the nation’s gratitude in an official Maritime Day proclamation. “Today, we pay tribute to the United States Merchant Marine and we honor all those whose tireless work is laying a foundation for growth, prosperity and leadership in the 21st century,” the proclamation reads. “On National Maritime Day, we recognize the men and women of the United States Merchant Marine for their contributions to America’s leadership in the global marketplace and to our security.”

Among those in attendance at the ceremony were MM&P International President Timothy Brown, Secretary-Treasurer Don Marcus and MIRAID President C. James Patti.

Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.), the morning’s keynote speaker, seized the opportunity to call for tougher enforcement of the Jones Act in the wake of the Gulf oil spill. “I hope Congress and the Obama Administration will take the Jones Act a step further and say drilling off our coasts should be reserved for American-built, American-flagged, American-crewed vessels,” Taylor said. “We should use this tragedy as a wake-up call.”

During the official ceremony, two MM&P members, First Officer David Leiberman and Third Officer Joseph Kranz, received U.S. Merchant Marine Medals of Outstanding Achievement for their service aboard USNS COMFORT during the earthquake relief mission in Haiti. “The 79 civilian mariners on COMFORT not only surge-deployed her from Baltimore, but kept water, electricity, medical supplies and patients flowing to her surgical wards during the two months she was on station in Haiti,” said Adm. John C. Harvey Jr., Commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command. “Mr. Lieberman, we are very proud of what you and your crew accomplished in Haiti and very grateful for your service.”

Later in the day, Harvey and Rear Adm. Mark H. Buzby, Commander of Military Sealift Command, presided over a solemn wreath-laying ceremony in memory of mariners who have lost their lives at sea. “Each year, we honor the multitude of merchant mariners who have served our nation,” Buzby said. “We recognize the debt of gratitude we owe the men and women of the merchant marine.” Buzby and Harvey singled out for special mention the civilian mariners aboard all MSC vessels who participated in the relief mission to Haiti, as well as the volunteers who crew Liberty ship SS JOHN W. BROWN.

As an example of the heroism displayed by merchant mariners in the defense of the nation, Harvey recounted an epic fight that took place during the Battle of the Atlantic, the longest continuous military campaign of World War II. In 1942, America’s shipyards were building Liberty ships at the rate of one every 42 days, but Allied vessels were being sunk at a rate of 33 each week. Harvey recounted the story of the mariners aboard SS HOPKINS, who sank the German submarine STIER in a furious battle, at a tremendous cost in lives lost. Forty-six aboard HOPKINS were killed. The 16 survivors drifted over a thousand miles across the Atlantic before reaching shore in Brazil 31 days later. “It was the courage of our merchant mariners and the Naval Armed Guard that got us through 1942,” Harvey said.

“Although our merchant marine force and the maritime industry are much smaller today, they are no less important. Just as in the past, the availability or non-availability of sealift ships determines what the country can or can’t do militarily,” he added. Harvey’s Maritime Day speech is posted in its entirety on the MM&P website. To read it, go to and click on “What’s New.”


In a historic first, MITAGS has announced an agreement with the American Public University system (APU) to allow transfer of academic credit earned from MITAGS Chief Mate/Master (CMM) License Advancement Program courses into APU graduate degree and certificate programs. All APU courses are delivered on-line, which means mariners can complete their educational goals wherever they are based.

The agreement provides MITAGS CMM program students up to one-third of the credits required to complete a master’s degree. With this agreement, upon completion of the MITAGS CMM program, APU, through its affiliates American Public University and American Military University, will accept up to 12 semester hour credits towards the Transportation and Logistics Management Master of Arts Degree.

Other degree programs vary in the amount of transfer credit accepted. For example, a student who seeks a master’s degree in management will be able to transfer credit from the CMM Program to waive Human Resource Management, a major course requirement, and three credit hours of an elective. CMM students will have the option of choosing among more than 30 graduate degrees eligible for transfer of up to a maximum of twelve credit hours.

CMM students can apply for enrollment at APU/AMU as transfer students. Students are permitted to register for classes while awaiting confirmation of their transfer credits.  Full transfer credit will be awarded only after completion of the Chief Mate/Master Program and submission of the CMM Program Completion Certificate issued by the MITAGS registrar.

American Public University system, the 2009 recipient of the Sloan Consortium Award for Quality Online Education, is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association and nationally accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council.

“This ground-breaking agreement gives merchant mariners the opportunity to complete their graduate degrees via the Internet, no matter where and when they travel throughout their maritime career,” said MITAGS Program Manager Victor Tufts. To find out more, contact him at 443-989-3531 or at You can also contact the American Public University System Admissions Department at (877) 777-9081 or


The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) has announced a tentative agreement with global mining giant Rio Tinto. The company had orchestrated a lockout of 600 ILWU workers after failing in its attempt to force them to accept a concessionary contract aimed at breaking the union.

The tentative settlement stipulates that the company cannot convert full-time jobs at the Boron mine into part-time jobs. It also contains protections against job discrimination and favoritism in promotions and scheduling and calls for guaranteed 2.5 percent annual wage increases over a six-year period. Current employees would continue to receive pensions. Newly hired employees would receive 401(k) plans paid for by the company.


The evidence that a North Korean submarine sank the South Korean warship CHEONAN in March is “overwhelming,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday. Speaking in Tokyo at the outset of a three-nation Asia trip, Clinton said the United States, Japan, South Korea and China are currently conducting talks on how best to respond. The South Korean corvette sank near the North/South maritime border on March 26 after an explosion, killing 46 sailors.

“It is important to send a clear message to North Korea that provocative actions have consequences,” Clinton said after meeting in Tokyo with the Japanese foreign minister, Katsuya Okada. “We cannot allow this attack on South Korea to go unanswered by the international community.” Clinton declined to lay out the options for a response, saying that would be “premature.” But other administration officials said they included action by the Security Council and joint American-South Korean naval exercises that could include antisubmarine warfare patrols. South Korea is also likely to squeeze the North economically by reducing trade ties.

The investigation into the explosion was carried out by a group of maritime experts from South Korea, Australia, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. The investigators found damage to the CHEONAN consistent with a homing torpedo attack. Pieces of a torpedo, including a propeller, have been recovered; some of the pieces have Korean writing on them. In addition, the recovered torpedo parts are identical to a blueprint for a 7.35 meter torpedo that was diagrammed in a North Korean weapons brochure.

The vessel used in the attack is believed to be a midget submarine, the YEONO. This sub, along with other small submarines and a mother ship, were said by investigators to have departed a North Korean Navy base in the Yellow Sea several days before the attack. North Korea is still denying its involvement.

The White House issued a statement saying that it agrees with the report. President Obama has vowed to support the Republic of Korea in its efforts to obtain justice and defend its citizens from future attacks.


A global coalition of labor unions and shipping organizations is demanding stronger action from governments to stop piracy. The group includes the International Transport Workers Federation, BIMCO, Intercargo, INTERTANKO, the International Group of P&I Clubs, and the International Chamber of Shipping, as well as national shipowners’ associations. The coalition is hoping to gather more than half a million signatures on a petition to be delivered to governments on World Maritime Day, Sept. 23. The petition demands that governments “dedicate significant resources and work to find real solutions to the growing piracy problem, take immediate steps to secure the release and safe return of kidnapped seafarers to their families and work within the international community to secure a stable and peaceful future for Somalia and its people.”


Pirates last week kidnapped two Russian sailors during an attack on a cargo ship, the MV NORTH SPIRIT, off the coast of Cameroon. The ship, which was carrying fertilizer and soya beans, was attacked while it was anchored off Cameroon’s commercial capital, Douala. According to reports, about 20 pirates boarded the ship, stealing sailors’ belongings and equipment. The pirates then took the ship’s captain and chief engineer hostage, forcing them onto a skiff at gunpoint.

In related news, Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse, a Somali national accused of hijacking the MAERSK ALABAMA, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court last week to charges of piracy and hostage-taking. Muse has apologized for the attack and says that piracy is the result of problems in Somalia. He will be sentenced Oct. 19 to at least 27 years in prison.


The AFL-CIO will hold a summit for young workers in Washington, D.C., June 10-13. AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler has made outreach to young workers a priority following release last year of a research study that found most American workers under the age of 35 lack basic economic security. Young workers today are significantly less likely to have health care than they were 10 years ago and a third of them still live with their parents. The study also found that only 58 percent receive paid sick days and only 66 percent receive paid vacation.

There is no fee to attend the summit, which will be held at the Washington Hilton, 1919 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington, D.C. 20009. To find out more, and to register, go to:


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

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

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

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 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:


Schedule of Courses – Please also see our schedule online at

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

May 2010

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


D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
10,193.39 2,229.04 1,087.69
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund (VAARX)
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
 Vanguard Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
 Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
 Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
 Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
 Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX)
 Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
 Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
 Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
 Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
 Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
 Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
 Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
 Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
 Fidelity Freedom 2050 (FFFHX)
 Fidelity Total Bond Fund (FTBFX)
 Spartan Extended market Index Fund (FSEMX)
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)

~ Reminders ~



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.

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 or call 1-800-382-7777 toll-free.




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.


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.


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

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.



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)


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 and click on “Union Made Product Search”. To shop for union-made products online, go to



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,, 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: 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.

© 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: For changes of address, contact Lisa Rosenthal at