News

Wheelhouse Weekly – May 31, 2010

 

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

Volume 14 . . . . . Number 22. . . .May 31, 2010

STORIES COVERED

REMINDERS

MM&P FCU News

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.


HOUSE COMMITTEE APPROVES 10-YEAR EXTENSION OF MARITIME SECURITY PROGRAM

The House Committee on Armed Services has taken action to ensure the continuation of the Maritime Security Program (MSP). Specifically, section 3502 of HR 5136, the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2011, extends MSP through fiscal year 2025. As presently authorized, the program is scheduled to expire at the end of fiscal year 2015. The committee passed the extension to enable the Department of Defense to undertake long-term planning with the certainty that it can count on the ships, civilian maritime manpower and logistical resources that MSP provides.

Although it voted to extend the MSP program, the committee deferred any action on its specific terms, including those related to the number of vessels enrolled and the amount of annual payment that each would be eligible to receive during the new ten-year period.

It is expected that the House of Representatives will complete action on HR 5136 prior to the Congressional July 4th recess.


NOAA EXPECTS BUSY ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON

An “active to extremely active” 2010 hurricane season is expected for the Atlantic Basin, according to the seasonal outlook issued last week by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. Across the entire Atlantic Basin for the six-month season, which begins June 1, NOAA is projecting the following with a 70 percent degree of probability: 14 to 23 named storms (top winds of 39 mph or higher), including eight to 14 hurricanes, of which three to seven could be category 3, 4 or 5. “If this outlook holds true, this season could be one of the more active on record,” said NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco.

She said expected factors supporting this outlook are upper atmospheric winds conducive to storms, record warm Atlantic Ocean water (up to four degrees Fahrenheit above average) and continuation of the high hurricane activity era which began in 1995.

“The main uncertainty in this outlook is how much above normal the season will be. Whether or not we approach the high end of the predicted ranges depends partly on whether or not La Niña develops this summer,” said Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “At present we are in a neutral state, but conditions are becoming increasingly favorable for La Niña to develop.”

NOAA scientists will continue to monitor evolving conditions in the tropics and will issue an updated hurricane outlook in early August, right before what is historically the peak period for hurricane activity.


NOAA SHIPS DISPATCHED TO DEEPWATER HORIZON SPILL IN GULF

NOAA research vessel GORDON GUNTER and six more of the agency’s vessels were dispatched last week to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. MM&P masters and mates sail on many NOAA vessels, including GORDON GUNTER.

The GUNTER is to use its sophisticated sonar and other research equipment to define the spreading underwater plume in the framework of a collaborative project that also involves academics and private sector operators. The GUNTER will sail to the vicinity of the well head and begin a systematic survey using its 18 and 38 kHz sonar to define the shape and extent of the underwater plume. The GUNTER is homeported in Pascagoula, Miss. It normally conducts scientific surveys of the health and abundance of fishery resources and marine mammals.


MILITARY SEALIFT COMMAND ANNOUNCES AWARDS FOR PREPOSITIONING SHIPS

On Thursday, May 27, Military Sealift Command (MSC) announced contract awards on the maritime prepositioning ships. MM&P was awarded the USNS MARTIN, which was successfully bid by Patriot Contract Services as a small bid set-aside.

Unfortunately, Waterman was not the successful bidder with regard to the TAKX ships, three vessels that Waterman had successfully run for over 25 years. These vessels are: the MAJOR PLESS, the SGT. KOCAK and the PFC. OBREGON.

MM&P is very disappointed about this, having worked with Waterman in the fight to reestablish bidding on these three ships in January, when Waterman was disqualified from the bid for technical reasons.

“I am distressed that Waterman was not the successful bidder on these three ships,” said MM&P International President Timothy Brown. “The officers on these ships have consistently delivered a superior level of performance. MM&P will assist Waterman by providing whatever it needs to correct this situation.”

Waterman/Central Gulf released the following statement: “Waterman has taken great pride in the operation of the KOCAK Class Maritime Prepositioning Ships over the last 25 years. The MM&P officers aboard these ships have served their country with professionalism and distinction through two wars and numerous exercises. We thank them for their many years of hard work and dedication. We are evaluating all options available to us.”


PIRACY INCIDENTS INCREASE

European Union (EU) naval forces off the coast of Somalia report that the number of pirate ships operating between the Seychelles and the Somali coast skyrocketed in February, March and April. EU authorities said that European navies and NATO ships had interrupted and dismantled more than 60 pirate gangs and processed roughly 400 suspected pirates in the course of the three-month period.  

The Asian Shipowners Forum last week joined other international groups in calling on the world’s navies to step up their activities in the Gulf of Aden to more effectively protect ships from pirates. At the same time, European naval forces stationed in the waters off the coast of Somalia say they have been successful in implementing a new strategy: keeping pirates from gaining access to the sea by blocking selected strongholds. Spearheading the blockade is the Dutch amphibious warship HNLMS JOHAN DE WITT, which launches small landing craft manned by armed military personnel to block pirates’ access to the open sea. 

In related news, the U.S. Navy destroyer USS MCFAUL reported May 19 that it had managed to locate a hijacked ship, the Panamanian-flagged MV ICEBERG I, which had been missing for several months. Officers aboard MCFAUL reported that up to 50 heavily armed pirates appeared to be on board the hijacked ship, along with 20 of the original crew members.

Last week, a court in Yemen sentenced six Somali pirates to death and six others to ten years in prison. The pirates were arrested in April of last year. They were found guilty of hijacking a Yemeni oil tanker and killing two members of the crew.

Also last week, pirates released a video of Paul and Rachel Chandler, a British couple who were kidnapped while sailing on their small yacht. In the video, the two are seen pleading with the new British Prime Minister to make a public statement on Britain’s position regarding their kidnapping. The two were captured by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean seven months ago. Their captors have demanded seven million dollars from the British government to set them free.


COAST GUARD RELEASES NEW ANTI-PIRACY GUIDELINES

The Coast Guard said it has released revisions 2 and 3 of Maritime Security (MARSEC) Directive 104-6, which includes mandatory measures to be undertaken by U.S. vessels operating in high-risk waters, in particular around the Horn of Africa. The Coast Guard has designated these documents as Sensitive Security Information (SSI), which means that they are only available to people “with an appropriate clearance and a need to know.” The Coast Guard calls the attention of interested parties who do not fall into these categories to its Port Security Advisories, including PSA 02-09 (rev. 1), a non-SSI version of MARSEC Directive 104-6.


NEW COAST GUARD COMMANDANT TAKES HELM

Adm. Robert J. Papp Jr. became the 24th commandant of the Coast Guard last Tuesday, relieving Adm. Thad W. Allen, who remains national incident commander of the government’s efforts to deal with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf. Papp reports to Coast Guard Headquarters from Portsmouth, where he has served since 2008 as commander of the Coast Guard Atlantic Area.


SAN PEDRO MARITIME DAY COMMEMORATION DRAWS BIG CROWD

More than 200 people attended memorial services at the American Merchant Marine Memorial in San Pedro, Calif., on National Maritime Day. Speakers included Councilwomen Janice Hahn and Congressman Dana Rohrabacher. The services, attended by many MM&P members, were followed by a luncheon at Ports O’Call Restaurant. The American Merchant Marine Memorial, dedicated in 1989, was the first National Merchant Marine Memorial in the United States. The engravings on the memorial are the only headstones that many of the 6,800 mariners remembered here will ever have.


OIL FROM SHIP COLLISION WASHES ASHORE IN SINGAPORE

Beaches in Singapore are being fouled by an oil spill that resulted from the collision last week of a Malaysian-flagged tanker, MT BUNGA KELANA 3, with MV WAILY, a St. Vincent and Grenadines-flagged bulk carrier. The tanker was reportedly carrying over 700,000 gallons of oil that has caused a 4-mile slick. The authorities report that vessel traffic in the strait has not been affected.


GERMAN CRUISE SHIP CATCHES FIRE

A fire in the machine room of the German cruise ship MS DEUTSCHLAND forced the evacuation of its 607 passengers and crew on Sunday, May 23. The vessel was touring the Norwegian fjords when the fire broke out. There were no injuries reported.


GREENPEACE ACTIVISTS ARRESTED

Activists with the environmental group GREENPEACE were arrested last week for posting anti-drilling messages on the bridge of a ship docked in Port Fourchon, La. The vessel is scheduled to sail to the Arctic this summer to support Royal Dutch Shell’s exploratory drilling projects. The activists were charged with unauthorized entry into a critical infrastructure. All have been released on bail.


MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

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

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 www.mitags.org 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: admissions@mitags.org.


PMI ACADEMIC NOTES

Schedule of Courses – Please also see our schedule online at www.mates.org

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

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


MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 5-28-10

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
10,136.63 2,257.04 1,089.41
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Closing
Price
 Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund (VAARX)
49.16
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
100.68
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
34.53
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
15.43
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
15.11
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
22.93
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
10.88
 Vanguard Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
26.62
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
5.39
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
15.27
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
19.36
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
13.56
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
17.76
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
11.12
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
11.32
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
11.22
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
11.41
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
11.80
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
10.57
 Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
27.25
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
15.16
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
13.81
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
15.71
 Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
10.41
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
62.91
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
59.11
 Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
16.11
 Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX)
37.82
 Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
24.83
 Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
23.76
 Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
10.84
 Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
11.43
 Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
12.40
 Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
12.35
 Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
12.09
 Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
6.95
 Fidelity Freedom 2050 (FFFHX)
8.05
 Fidelity Total Bond Fund (FTBFX)
10.72
 Spartan Extended market Index Fund (FSEMX)
32.01
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
38.67
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
25.74





~ Reminders ~



MM&P FCU NEWS

GET NEW WHEELS OR LOWER EXISTING PAYMENTS WITH MM&P FCU VEHICLE FINANCING

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.

PREFERRED BORROWERS GET LOWER LOAN RATES
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 mmpfcu@bridgedeck.org or call 1-800-382-7777 toll-free.



 

MM&P HEALTH & BENEFIT PLAN NEWS

MEET OUR NEW PRESCRIPTION BENEFIT MANAGER, PHARMACARE

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.



NOTICE TO MM&P HEALTH & BENEFIT PLAN PARTICIPANTS

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.


WWII USCG VETERANS OUTREACH

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 www.loc.gov/folklife/vets.

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.



 

COMPANY GIVES BUCKS BACK FOR BUYING SAFE SHOES

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)

LOOK FOR THE UNION LABEL:

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


 

WEBSITE OFFERS UNION-MADE GOODS AND SERVICES

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, www.shopunionmade.org, 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: iommp@bridgedeck.org. For further info or to subscribe contact Lisa Rosenthal at lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org. 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: lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org. For changes of address, contact Lisa Rosenthal at lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org.