Wheelhouse Weekly – May 27, 2014


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

Volume 18 . . . Number 21 . . . May 27, 2014


Did you miss a week? Back editions of the Wheelhouse Weekly are available in the archives section.


The Maritime Security Program (MSP) would face severe cuts—resulting in the loss of American ships and jobs–if a bill passed recently by the House Appropriations Committee becomes law. MSP gives the Defense Department (DOD) access to 60 U.S.-flag, militarily-useful commercial vessels and related infrastructure. To replicate the program on its own, DOD would incur estimated up-front costs of $65 billion and about $9 billion a year in operating expenses.

The authorized level of funding for MSP is $186 million annually. But the Fiscal Year 2015 Transportation Appropriations bill passed by the House committee would reduce that amount by $20 million. The lower amount was originally proposed earlier this month by the House Transportation, Housing & Urban Development Subcommittee. The funding bill now will move to the full House of Representatives for a vote.

The issue of MSP funding is of critical importance to the U.S.-flag fleet and everyone it employs. In a meeting with U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx that was facilitated by Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings, industry leaders–including top managers of U.S.-flag carriers in both the domestic and international trades and the presidents of the major seagoing unions–discussed the importance of MSP to America’s sealift capability and national defense. Besides the recent developments in the House and the threat to MSP funding, the group addressed other major challenges facing the industry, such as the attacks on the Jones Act and cargo preference laws.

“The meeting on Capitol Hill with the Secretary of Transportation was positive,” said MM&P President Don Marcus. “Maritime industry management and labor will be working together with our friends on both sides of the aisle in the Senate to achieve full funding for this essential program.”


The essential role played by American mariners in peace and war was recognized on May 22 at ceremonies across the country that drew hundreds of maritime industry professionals, union members and government officials. “This event honors the selflessness, service and sacrifice of those brave men and women called to defend this great Nation on the high seas,” said Gen. Paul Selva, Commander, United States Transportation Command, keynote speaker at the National Maritime Day Observance in Washington, D.C. “America’s dominance on the world’s waters has been built by the determination and dedication of our merchant seafarers.”

Selva cited statistics that underscore the key role played by the American Merchant Marine. From 9/11 through early last year, Military Sealift Command (MSC)-operated and commercially chartered vessels supplied 26 billion gallons of fuel and shipped 126.2 million square feet of equipment and materials to U.S. and Coalition warfighters supporting Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. In Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, chartered commercial and MSC-operated ships carried 95 percent of the cargo and 99 percent of the fuel that was moved to the Persian Gulf.

“Mariners’ efforts ended tyranny and provided the first taste of democracy for oppressed peoples in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Selva said. “TRANSCOM’s unrivaled ability to perform its global mobility mission supporting the other eight Combatant Commanders has been achieved due to the efficient and effective operations of the U.S. Navy Military Sealift Command and America’s maritime industry.” He called the merchant marine “the backbone of TRANSCOM’s promise to deliver the strategic mobility and enabling capabilities needed to achieve our Nation’s objectives.”

Other speakers at the National Maritime Day ceremony included U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, MSC Commander Rear Adm. Thomas K. Shannon and Acting Maritime Administrator Chip Jaenichen. President Barack Obama issued an official proclamation that stated in part: “Today’s Merchant Marine upholds its generations-long role as our ‘fourth arm of defense.’ Yet they also go beyond this mission, transporting food where there is hunger and carrying much-needed supplies to those in distress. Thanks to our dedicated mariners, people around the world continue to see the American flag as a symbol of hope… Today, let us reaffirm our support for their essential mission.”

MM&P President Don Marcus and Chief of Staff Klaus Luhta attended the ceremony in Washington, D.C. MM&P Pacific Ports Vice President Dave Boatner and former Vice President Paul Nielsen represented the union at the Maritime Day Observance at the U.S. Merchant Marine Memorial in San Pedro, Calif., where a crowd of several hundred heard speakers that included Los Angeles Port Commissioner Dave Arian, formerly president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU).


The heroism of Captain Edward Markum Foster Sr., a veteran of World War I and World War II who also sailed for numerous MM&P-contracted companies over a career that spanned half a century, was the focus of an awards ceremony that took place at the Department of Transportation on Maritime Day. Sandra Foster Piccininni, the captain’s granddaughter, accepted commendations and a framed case of mounted awards on her family’s behalf from Acting Maritime Administrator Chip Jaenichen.

Among the many decorations Foster received was the Meritorious Service Award for an incident that took place when he was master of the SS JONATHAN GROUT. The GROUT was attacked during World War II while at anchor off Sicily. Foster was twice wounded by shrapnel but remained at his post on the bridge and “had the situation under control at all times,” the award declaration reads. “His foresight, courage and marked ability to organize and train his crew to meet emergencies were in keeping with the high standards of the United States Merchant Marine.” Foster also received a letter from President Harry Truman thanking him for his service.

“It is an honor for me to receive my grandfather’s awards and medals today,” his granddaughter said. “In researching his story, I have learned so much about merchant mariners and their contributions to our country, information I look forward to sharing with my own children and their families. Today I want to thank all of America’s merchant mariners for their service to our country and their valor.”


USNS SAFEGUARD (T-ARS 50) provided assistance to salvage crews and military personnel in Korea in the wake of the tragedy aboard the passenger ferry SEWOL. Divers working at the site of the disaster used SAFEGUARD’s decompression chamber to get used to normal atmospheric conditions after being engaged in underwater salvage operations. While the vessel was on site, Republic of Korea Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Hwang Ki-chul boarded SAFEGUARD and met with the vessel’s Master Mark J. Wilson. “It never ceases to amaze how the important work that MSC Civil Service mariners perform on a daily basis has such a significant and positive impact on our allies globally,” said MM&P Government Fleet Representative Randi Ciszewski. The officers aboard USNS SAFEGUARD are represented by the MM&P Federal Employees Membership Group.


The 85th MM&P Convention is just around the corner. The Convention is the highest governing body of our Union and all resolutions that are properly submitted to the Convention will be considered by the elected delegates.

If you wish to submit a resolution, please forward it to the International Secretary-Treasurer at least 30 days prior to the opening day of the Convention (July 15) for inclusion on the agenda and determination by the Convention.

All MM&P members are encouraged to participate in the direction of our Union. As part of this effort, MM&P is seeking young members from each membership group who are interested in observing how the Union works. We have a limited number of places available for members under the age of 32 who wish to attend the Convention at no cost. If you are interested, please contact MM&P Chief of Staff Klaus Luhta,


The Coast Guard has issued a safety alert regarding SABRE emergency escape breathing devices. An emergency escape breathing device (EEBD) is used to escape an area with hazardous conditions such as fire, smoke or toxic gas. The devices contain enough oxygen to last for at least 10 minutes and can emit a low-pressure audible alarm. All cargo ships and passenger vessels must carry EEBDs at different locations. The Coast Guard advises masters with such devices on their vessels to ensure that the “Quick Fire” functionality on each one is in its “Primed” state. To view the regulation, go to


Civil Service mariners who serve in the USCENTCOM area of responsibility will no longer be covered by health policy guidance requiring mandatory smallpox vaccinations. “Upon consideration of the intelligence assessment provided, other intelligence products, and in alignment with current biological defense vaccination policy guidance, I approve the U.S. Central Command’s (USCENTCOM) request for exception to policy for the Smallpox Vaccination Program,” wrote Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Jonathan Woodson in a May 16 memorandum to the fleet.


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


The 2006 Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) entered into force on Aug. 20. It has been described as the fourth pillar of international shipping regulations along with SOLAS, MARPOL and STCW.  The International Labor Organization consolidated a number of previous conventions in MLC 2006. It establishes minimum standards on conditions of employment, accommodations, health and safety, medical care, crew welfare, recruitment, working conditions and social security protection. MLC will be strictly enforced during port state control inspections, including the potential for more detailed inspections and possible detention where hazardous conditions may exist if ships are not to be in compliance. Visit for more information or to register for the MLC course.


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

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

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

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

AB –8/11/14, 10/13/14

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: Contact Admissions

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

AZIPOD 2-Day –7/10/14, 10/9/14

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

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

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

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

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

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TRAC-TUG-2: 7/21/14

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

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

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

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: Contact Admissions

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

DDE – Great Lakes: Contact Admissions

DPA – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-OIC –9/8/14

ECDIS-Pilots – Contact Admissions

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

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

GL Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization: Contact Admissions

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

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

LAP- 9/8/14

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes

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

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

LNG-TPIC – Contact Admissions

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

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

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

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

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

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

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

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

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

MSC-ENV – 6/7/14, 8/23/14

MSC-FF-HELO – 6/11/14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SAR-OIC – Search & Rescue –10/13/14

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

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

SMS – Contact Admissions

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

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

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

TTT – Train the Trainer: Contact Admissions

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

June 2014

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

July 2014

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

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

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