Wheelhouse Weekly – May 26, 2006


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

Volume 10 . . . . . Number 21. . . . May 26, 2006




T-AGS Oceanographic Survey Ships Info

Required Coursework

Security Clearances

MSC Physicals

MM&P Health & Benefit Plan News

Notice to Members who are taking Vioxx

NMHC Mail-Order Prescriptions Website Updated & Improved

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.



The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Proposed Rules for the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) in the Maritime Sector were published in the Federal Register on May 22nd. (They include 33 CFR Parts 1, 20 et al; 46 CFR Parts 10, 12 and 15; 49 CFR Parts 1515, 1570 and 1571.) Under the TWIC program, merchant mariners holding an active License, Merchant Mariner Document or Certificate of Registry, and workers who require unescorted access to secure areas at maritime facilities or on vessels must undergo a “security threat assessment”. Persons without a TWIC will not be granted access to these facilities or vessels.

Under the proposed rules, the USCG, which is part of DHS, seeks to amend its regulations on vessel and facility security to require the use of the TWIC as an access control measure. It is also proposing to amend its regulations covering merchant mariners so as to incorporate the requirement to obtain a TWIC. In a separate rulemaking action, the USCG is also proposing to consolidate existing license and documentation regulations to minimize duplicative or redundant ID or background check requirements.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), also part of DHS, is also proposing to amend its “security threat assessment standards” for commercial drivers authorized to transport hazardous materials so that they also apply to merchant mariners and workers who require unescorted access to secure areas on vessels and at port facilities. In addition, the TSA is proposing a fee to pay for costs related to the issuance of the TWIC under this rule.

The two CFRs contain over 140 pages of details. MM&P has previously submitted positions on the issues they cover. The Union must now research the new proposals to determine the extent to which MM&P positions have been adopted in the new CFRs. That research is currently underway at headquarters. Once it is completed, MM&P will make formal comments which will be submitted to the official government docket. This information will also be circulated to all ports as guidance as to the position MM&P has taken.

Members who wish to make official comments to the docket are asked to send a copy of their comments to MM&P HQ. The contact person coordinating the Union’s response to the two CFRs is MM&P’s Director of Special Projects Richard Plant. He can be reached at

The Docket Number for the USCG proposed rule is USCG-2006-241-96. The Docket Number for the TSA proposed rule on TWIC is TSA-2006-24191. For more info on submitting comments or to view comments that have been received, as well as the documents mentioned above, go to the DHS Web site and click on “Simple Search,” enter the last five digits of the docket number for the USCG or TSA rulemaking, and click on “Search.”

Comments and related material on this proposed rulemaking must be received by the government by July 6th. The USCG and TSA will hold four public meetings as follows: Sheraton Newark Airport Hotel, 128 Frontage Road, Newark, NJ (May 31); the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay Hotel, 2900 Bayport Drive, Tampa, FL (June 1); the Renaissance St. Louis Hotel-Airport, 9801 Natural Bridge Road, St. Louis, MO (June 6); and the Renaissance Long Beach Hotel, 111 East Ocean Boulevard, Long Beach, CA (June 7). Each meeting is expected to run from 0900 to 1700 hrs, except that in Long Beach the meeting will be from 1000 to 1800 hrs. Interested persons are invited to attend, provide comments and ask questions about the proposed rule.

For more info on the USCG proposed rules, contact Lt. Cdmr. Jonathan Maiorine at 877-687-2243. For more info on the TSA proposed rules, contact Rick Collins at 571-227-3515 or e-mail: For questions concerning viewing or submitting material on the rulemaking, contact Renee Wright at 202-493-0402. DHS is encouraging all those interested in participating in this rulemaking to submit comments and related materials. All comments received will be posted without charge on the DHS Web site at Any personal information that has been provided will also be included.



Joshua M. Smith, Ph.D., assistant professor, US Merchant Marine Academy served as the guest speaker at the US Navy’s Military Sealift Command’s annual National Maritime Day ceremony held on May 22nd at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, DC. The event honored the unsung heroes of national defense — US merchant mariners.

National Maritime Day is observed each May to commemorate the first voyage of a steam ship across the Atlantic Ocean on May 22, 1819. The day was declared a holiday in 1933 by a Joint Resolution of Congress.

MSC, host for the ceremony, is the single largest employer of US merchant mariners. More than 7,300 mariners work either as federal civil service mariners or commercial mariners employed by companies under contract to MSC. “For more than half a century, Military Sealift Command has benefited from the professionalism and expertise of America’s merchant mariners,” said Rear Admiral Robert Reilly Jr., USN, and MSC Commander.

Merchant mariners have never shied away from the call of duty, honor and country. They have been the backbone of our nation’s maritime service, especially in war. Today, mariners play a critical role in our nation’s defense by enabling the US military to operate worldwide.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, MSC’s merchant mariner-crewed ships support of the global war on terrorism. MSC has also delivered have moved more than 88 million square feet of combat cargo and more than 8.7 billion gallons of fuel worldwide in support of US forces.

In the recovery and relief efforts following Hurricane Katrina, five of the 15 US Navy ships on location on the Gulf Coast for hurricane relief efforts were Military Sealift Command (MSC) ships crewed with US merchant mariners. The United States Naval Ship (USNS) POLLUX remained pier side in the New Orleans area during Katrina while mariners provided shelter to emergency responders, fuel to power emergency generators at local hospitals and water pressure to keep kidney dialysis machines operating. In Pascagoula, MS, hospital ship USNS COMFORT’s medical staff treated patients, while mariners rebuilt a local church. Other MSC ships and crews provided food, fuel and supplies to Navy ships in the area.

MSC’s merchant mariners operate a variety of ships that not only deliver military cargo, but also provide at-sea replenishment of food, fuel and supplies to the Navy fleet, collect oceanographic data and preposition military cargo at sea in strategic locations around the globe. For nearly 57 years, thousands of US Navy’s civilian mariners have played a key role in the nation’s defense-delivering the goods, anywhere and everywhere in the world.


On Maritime Day, US Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao paid tribute to US Merchant Mariners at a National Maritime Day annual luncheon jointly hosted by the Propeller Club, Port of Washington, DC and Kings Point Club of Washington DC.
Secretary Chao emphasized the critical support role played by US merchant mariners in the war on terror and for US military war fighters throughout history.

As part of her remarks, Chao said that, “Today we reflect upon the tremendous contributions merchant mariners have made to ensuring that our country is strong, safe and free. When the history of the war on terror is written, the US Merchant Marine will be remembered – as it has been in every war – as vital to our victory.”

Secretary Chao also noted, “As they have in every war in our nation’s history, merchant mariners are delivering the troops and supplies needed by our armed forces. The cargo they transport is precious – some of the most expensive and complex equipment in the world. It takes the tremendous skills of our country’s merchant mariners to protect and transport this cargo, especially when it is at risk on the high seas.”

Chao also reaffirmed the Bush Administration’s support for the Jones Act, and said that on June 19th, President Bush will become the first sitting president ever to speak at a US Merchant Marine Academy graduation. “The 21st century holds so many challenges for the maritime industry, including an anticipated doubling of cargo and passenger traffic in the next two decades,” Chao said. “And both training and the collaborative partnership between management and labor becomes even more important than ever before.”

In brining her remarks to a close, Secretary Chao said, “Let me conclude by expressing out country’s gratitude for the critical role that the US Merchant Marine plays in serving our country during times of war and times of peace. They do so at great personal risk and with great distinction. Their contributions are immeasurable. Even during times of peace the life of a merchant mariner is one of sacrifice – long and lonely days at sea, separated from family and loved ones.”


The United States Merchant Marine plays an important role in ensuring our national security and strengthening our economy. As we celebrate National Maritime Day and the 70th anniversary of the Merchant Marine Act, we pay tribute to merchant mariners and their faithful service to our Nation.

Since 1775, merchant mariners have bravely served our country, and in 1936, the Merchant Marine Act officially established their role in our military as a wartime naval auxiliary. During World War II, merchant mariners were critical to the delivery of troops and supplies overseas, and they helped keep vital ocean supply lines operating. President Franklin D. Roosevelt praised these brave merchant mariners for persevering “despite the perils of the submarine, the dive bomber, and the surface raider.” Today’s merchant mariners follow those who courageously served before them as they continue to provide crucial support for our Nation’s service men and women. America is grateful for their commitment to excellence and devotion to duty.

In addition to helping defend our country, merchant mariners facilitate commerce by importing and exporting goods throughout the world. They work with our Nation’s transportation industry to share their valuable skills and experience in ship maintenance, navigation, and cargo transportation. This past year, the good work and compassion of merchant mariners also played an important role in hurricane relief efforts. Ships brought urgently needed supplies to the devastated areas, provided assistance for oil spill cleanup, generated electricity, and provided meals and lodging for recovery workers and evacuees.

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.


Late last week, MM&P-contracted Horizon Lines announced that it has filed a registration statement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission relating to a proposed public offering of 5,750,000 shares of its common stock, consisting of 5,719,270 shares to be sold by its equity sponsor, Castle Harlan Partners IV, L.P. and affiliates, and its co-investors Stockwell Capital, LLC, and 30,730 shares to be sold by certain of the Company’s directors and management. The Company is not expected to issue any primary shares in the offering.


News media reports say that the USCG has routinely been advising ships in advance of what were supposed to be surprise inspections. USCG officials have acknowledged that in certain ports, up to 24-hour notice has been given for these inspections. Not everyone within the USCG is in favor of the practice and there is considerable debate as to whether the advance warnings are undermining the inspections.

In the wake of 9/11, surprise inspections became an important part of the USCG’s anti-terrorism mission. Generally, searches try to match up actual personnel and cargo on board the vessels against what the vessels have reported prior to calling on a port. Sometimes, inspections can involve bomb-searches, which can last up to five hours.

While the USCG is adamant that the “prior notice” practice will not compromise security, others are not so sure. After 9/11, security experts pointed to large holes in security infrastructure along the 95,000 miles of US coastline, saying that a single terrorist event at a large commercial port could interrupt the supply-chain and devastate national economy. Furthermore, with the USCG giving advance warning of ship inspections, would-be terrorists have time to get away, or worse, hide the evidence, say critics.

Cargo shippers, on the other hand, consider the inspections to be an annoyance which delays deliveries and increases cost. They also maintain that advance notice allows them to make more efficient use of the time during the inspections.


The chief engineer of a foreign flagged oil tanker was indicted last week in connection with concealing deliberate discharges of oil-contaminated bilge in the Gulf of Mexico from the M/T PACIFIC RUBY. Kun Yun Jho has been charged with conspiracy, making false statements and violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships for his alleged role in maintaining false Oil Record Books that concealed tampering with required pollution prevention equipment.

According to the indictment, Jho, a Korean national, was employed as the chief engineer of the vessel between October 2004 and September 2005, during which time he allegedly used fresh water to trick the Oil Water Separator and Oil Content Meter, which are intended to detect and prevent the overboard discharge of oil. The tricking allegedly took place before and after the owners and operators of the ship installed the anti-tricking equipment in May 2005 that prevented the use of the fresh water system at the same time as an overboard discharge. It is alleged that a screwdriver was used to force open a valve that allowed fresh water to circumvent the anti-tricking device and flush the Oil Content Meter so that it was unable to register the actual oil content during overboard discharges.

The indictment alleges that Jho presented a false Oil Record Book to the USCG during an inspection in Port Neches, TX in September 2005. The entries in the required log indicated proper use of the pollution prevention equipment during discharges of oil-contaminated bilge waste made in the Gulf of Mexico. International and US laws prohibit the discharge of bilge waste without having been treated by an Oil Water Separator and oil sensing equipment such as the Oil Content Meter that prevent the discharge of bilge waste containing concentrations greater than 15 parts-per-million oil. If convicted, Jho faces up to five years in prison on each count of the indictment. The investigation is continuing.


The Coast Guard is investigating the captain of the foreign flag cruise ship MERCURY for operating a commercial vessel under the influence of alcohol in violation of Title 46, United States Code, Section 2302. The statute, a Class A misdemeanor which is punishable with up to one year imprisonment, prohibits the operation of a vessel while under the influence of alcohol. Celebrity Cruises, owners of the MERCURY, removed the captain and the ship sailed from Seattle safely with a qualified relief captain.

According to published reports, at approximately 1427 hrs, a USCG Sector Seattle boarding officer, while performing a safety inspection onboard the vessel, made contact with the vessel’s captain and detected an odor of alcohol on his breath. The federal statutory law provides that a person operating a commercial vessel on the waters of the United States is considered legally intoxicated if his blood alcohol concentration level exceeds .040. The MERCURY was moored at Seattle’s Terminal 66 at the time of the incident.

The investigation emphasizes the USCG’s commitment to the American people to preserve the safety of US navigable waters. The resulting response by personnel from USCG Sector Seattle, USCG Investigative Service and the US Attorney’s office underscores the long standing inter-agency cooperation. This incident should send a clear message to all mariners operating in US waters that operating any vessel under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious threat to the safety of other mariners, the general public, and maritime commerce and transportation. The USCG advises that such behavior will not be tolerated and violations will be enforced to the fullest extent.


Captain Chuck Pillsbury re-entered the hospital last week where he slipped into a comma. In recent days, he has started to become slightly more alert, following people’s movement with his eyes and being able to squeeze their hand. It will be a long uphill battle for Chuck. Those members and friends wishing to send cards can do so by addressing them to MM&P HQ, 700 Maritime Blvd., Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1941.


Notice: Check the date of your MED-DOT-DA certificate. In accordance with CRF Title 49, Subtitle A, Part 40 –Procedures For Transportation Workplace Drug And Alcohol Testing Programs, a refresher must be taken every FIVE YEARS. MITAGS began offering MED-DOT-DA over five years ago, so if you were one of the first to attend, your certificate may have expired. Members attending MITAGS this summer, should consider staying aboard an extra day to attend MED-DOT-DA on any of the following Saturdays: 5/13, 6/10, 6/24, 7/29.

CLASS OPENINGS: Between January and the end of August 2006, seats are available in the following courses:

ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 6/5, 7/24, 8/14
AZIPOD-KAM-2 – Two-Day Azipod and Kamewa Steering and Propulsion Systems: 6/6, 8/5

BRMP – Bridge Resource Mangement for Pilots: 6/20, 8/7
BST – Basic Safety Training: 6/26, 8/28

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 6/26
CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 1): 6/12
CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 6/19
*WX-BASREF-2 – Two day Basic weather refresher, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED PREP for Advanced Meteorology: 6/22
CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display and Info Systems: 7/31
CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 6/26, 8/7
CMM-SHMGT-I – Ship Management I (week 1): 6/19, 7/10, 8/21
CMM-SHMGT-II – Ship Management II (week 2): 6/12, 8/14
CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 6/19, 7/24, 8/7, 8/21
CMM-SHS-ADV-II – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 6/26, 7/31, 8/14
CMM-VPEN – Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 7/24
CMM-WKP – Watchkeeping: 6/5, 8/28

COMP-OPSYS – Basic Computer Operating Systems: 6/26
CONT-PLNG – Contingency Planning: 6/9, 7/14
CSE-AASE – Confined Space Entry: 8/28

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 6/26, 8/28

HAZ-Hazardous Materials (5-day): 6/12, 7/31

LAP-License Advancement Program (5 weeks including USCG Exam): 7/24

MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 6/8, 7/13
MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 6/10, 6/24, 7/29, 8/12
MED-PIC – Medical Person-In-Charge: 6/5, 7/24, 8/14
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 6/5, 7/24, 8/14

[MSC – Military Sealift Command]
MSC-CBRD-1 (Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Orientation): 6/19, 8/23
MSC-DC (Damage Control): 6/20, 8/24
MSC-SMA – Small Arms: 8/28
MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 6/23, 9/1 (must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years)

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal (5-day): 8/28
ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 6/5, 6/21-evening, 7/15, 7/24, 8/14

SEC-OFF-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 6/5, 7/10
SHS-BAS -Basic Shiphandling: 7/10
SHS-EMR – Emergency Shiphandling: 6/26, 7/31, 8/28

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 Email:


Spring – Fall 2006

May 2006

5/30-6/2 Orientation/RFPNW for New Mate 500/1600 Tons Program!

June 2006
6/5-9 ECDIS
6/5-9 ARPA
6/5-9 BST
6/6-9 Survival Craft (Lifeboatman)
6/5-23 TCNAV/CO
6/19-23 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
6/19-30 GMDSS
6/26-30 Radar Observer Unlimited
6/26-30 Basic Shiphandling

August 2006
31 Jul-4 Aug Basic Shiphandling
7-11 ECDIS
7-11 Basic Safety Training
7-11 Meteorology – Basic
8-11 Survival Craft / Lifeboatman
14-18 Able Bodied Seaman
14-18 Basic and Advanced Firefighting
14-25 GMDSS
14-25 Shiphandling – Advanced
21-25 Ship Construction & Basic Stability
21-25 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
28-1 Sep Cargo Handling & Stowage – Basic

September 2006
5-9 (tu-sa) Medical Care Provider
5-9 (tu-sa) Emergency Shiphandling 5-day
5-15 Medical Person-In-Charge
11-12 Search and Rescue
11-15 Basic Safety Training
11-23 100 Ton OUPV
12-15 Survival Craft / Lifeboatman
13-15 Emergency Procedures
18-22 Radar Observer Unlimited
18-22 Shiphandling – Basic
18-22 Able Bodied Seaman
18-6 Oct Terrestrial & Coastal Navigation with Compasses
25th Radar Recertification
25-29 ARPA
25-2 Oct Watchkeeping & BRM

10/2-4 Ship Security Officer
10/2-4 Basic Safety Training
10/2-13 Shiphandling – Advanced
10/9-13 ECDIS
10/9-13 Radar Observer Unlimited
10/9-20 GMDSS
10/10-13 Survival Craft / Lifeboatman
10/16-20 Basic & Advanced Firefighting
10/23 Flashing Light
10/23-27 ARPA
10/23-27 Cargo Handling & Stowage – Basic
10/24-25 Simulation Assessment

For registration call Jennifer Fowler 888-893-7829


High quality with embroidered PMI logo.
Navy or Khaki Hats : $16 / includes tax
Button Down Long Sleeve Dress Shirts
Blue or Khaki: $38 / includes tax
Pocket t-shirts with Logo: $12 / includes tax
15oz. Cobalt Blue Ceramic Mug: $8 / includes tax

Call DeeDee Lazik 206-838-8328 or e-mail



 D O W  N A S D A Q  S & P 500
11,211.05 +81.05 for the week 2,198.24 +18.23 for the week 1,272.88 +10.66 for the week


Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 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 High Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX)
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
 Fidelity Small Company Instl (FMACX)
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX) 45.16
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)


~ Reminders ~




All MM&P members are reminded that to sail aboard the T-AGS ships that MM&P-contracted Horizon Lines will be operating, you must have the required training certification and your certificates must be current in accordance with Military Sealift Command requirements. Members are also required to have had a MSC pre-employment physical and to possess Ship Security Clearance (see below).

The MSC Contract calls for all training certificates required for manning of these vessels to be no older than 5 years and that all STCW-95 courses be renewed every 5 years, or annually, as applicable.

Five-year renewable courses include, but are not limited to:

  • Advanced Fire Fighting
  • Basic Safety Training, and
  • Damage Control

Small Arms certificates must be less than 1 year old and MUST NOT expire during your tour of duty.

Members interested in applying for one of the positions onboard the T-AGS vessels are advised to make sure your certificates are up to date. If not, contact Mary Matlock or Diane Ford at MITAGS Admissions, email:, and schedule to take the course(s) needed.

Those MM&P members interested in obtaining more information and facts about the T-AGS Oceanographic Vessels are asked to email the Director of Special Projects requesting the “facts sheet”. It will be provided by return email in an Adobe Acrobat PDF format.

Members interested in employment on the T-AGS ships are asked to provide a 1-2 page resume. Please list the desired position you are seeking along with the certificates of training you possess and their dates. Upon receipt it will be forwarded to Horizon Lines and a confirmation sent back to the member. Vessel turnover commenced Oct.17, 2004. Positions for all ratings remain open.

The point of contact for sending a resume for employment on the Horizon Lines T-AGS Oceanographic Vessels is Richard Plant, MM&P’s Director of Special Projects. Send resumes in an email or as a Word file attachment to him at:, by fax to 410-850-0973 or by mail to:

Richard Plant, Director of Special Projects

700 Maritime Blvd.
Linthicum Heights, MD 21090


Members who want to sail for Horizon Lines on the T-AGS Oceanographic Survey vessels the company is set to begin operating for MSC must have Ship Security Clearance before going aboard.

Special software must be downloaded from the US Government’s Defense Security Service to complete the Security Clearance application. You must have an Internet connection and a Windows-based computer to retrieve the application and run the program.

Go to to download the software titled “EPSQ SUBJECT2_2”.

After the software is installed and the program is launched, select “Create” from the menu bar at the top of the screen. You will be required to enter your Social Security Number and a case-sensitive password. A window titled “Type of Form” will appear.

All Deck Officers should select the first button titled “Request for Security Clearance (SF86)” and then click “OK” to go to the next screen, “Type of Investigation”.

From the “Type of Investigation” screen:

  • Masters and Radio Officers should select the first button, “Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI)”.
  • All other Deck Officers (C/M, 2/M, 3/M) should click on the second button, “National Agency Check (NAC or NACLC)”.

After selecting the appropriate investigation type, click on “OK” to begin filling in the forms.



Horizon Lines requests all mariners seeking employment aboard the T-AGS Oceanographic vessels to take their MSC Physical at specially-designated facilities only after being advised to do so by the Company. This is to assure that all requirements of the MSC Physical are properly met.




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:

4.75 percent for terms up to 24 months.
Standard loan rates for longer-term loans are:

5.00 percent for 25-48 months;
5.75 percent for 49-60 months ($20,000 minimum); and
6.25 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.




On Sept.30, Merck & Co. voluntarily withdrew Vioxx, a popular anti-inflammatory medication, from the market. As a result, individuals who are currently taking the drug have been asked to contact their health care professionals to discuss discontinuing use of Vioxx and possible alternative treatments.

MM&P Plans Administrator Valerie Verrecchio reports that, “We have gotten a number of calls from members who want to know what to do with their remaining supply of Vioxx and whether the Plan or NMHC will refund their co-pay for the unused portion.

“Unfortunately, neither NMHC nor the Plan was aware of the Merck decision prior to the public announcement on Sept.30. As of that date, all deliveries of Vioxx to our members was suspended in accordance with Merck’s announcement. Orders that had already been processed and were in transit could not be stopped.

“In regard to refunds, Merck has set up a website at where members can obtain information on how to recover refunds from Merck for the unused portion of medication. Members can also call following toll free number for information: 1-888-368-4699.

“We are sorry for any inc onvenience this may have caused to members currently taking this medication, however, the matter is out of the control of the Plans.”


MM&P Plans Administrator Valerie Verrecchio reports, “Good news! NMHC mail has finally gotten their website upgraded and functioning properly. I went in and tested it myself and found it to be quite user friendly.”

To use NMHC’s upgraded service, go to the NMHC Mail website at and click on “MEMBER LOGIN” at the bottom of the screen.

First-time and Registered users may bypass the welcome screen and go directly to the log-in page at

  • First-time users should then click on the link marked “NEW USER: REGISTER HERE”.
    This will take you to a page titled “MEMBER REGISTRATION” where you will need to enter demographic information and submit it by clicking on the
  • “CREATE ACCOUNT” button.

After creating your account, NMHC will email you a password to gain entry into your records. With your first sign-in, the NMHC system will prompt you to change the NMHC password to one of your own choosing.

Once you are registered at NMHC, you can check the status of open orders by logging-in to the system through the “MEMBER LOGIN” page and going into the “MAIL ORDER” menu. You can look up all prescriptions and get the price our members will pay for any medication. You can also view an order history of all of your medication transactions (both retail and mail) for the last 24 months, locate 24-hour pharmacies in your zip code region as well as access other helpful member education information.

“We hope this welcome improvement will assist our members. Although you cannot order refills on line if you don’t provide a credit or debit card number, you can phone in your refill. Once you register on the website, you will still have access to all of the other information including checking the status of your order once it is phoned in,” said Ms. Verrecchio.


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