Wheelhouse Weekly – May 9, 2017

Volume 22…Number 19…May 9, 2017


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Congress has approved a $1.1 trillion spending bill that will fund the government through Sept. 30, 2017.

Included in the legislation is $300 million for the Maritime Security Program (MSP), the amount authorized by Congress to fully fund the program and its 60-ship maritime security fleet through the remainder of Fiscal Year 2017.

Full funding at the authorized level will help ensure that the U.S.-flag commercial sealift capability provided by MSP will continue to remain available to support Department of Defense operations throughout the world.

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Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) was honored by the maritime labor unions and U.S.-flag shipping companies at the Propeller Club’s annual “Salute to Congress.”

Each year, the event honors a member of Congress who champions the American Merchant Marine and the U.S.-flag shipping industry.

Hirono, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and its Subcommittee on Seapower and Energy, was honored for her long-standing support and commitment to the men and women of the American maritime industry.

Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.), last year’s Salute to Congress awardee, told the audience that Hirono “understands the critical role the domestic maritime industry plays in the nation’s economic, national and homeland security.”

“America’s maritime industry is vital to our island state, accounting for thousands of jobs and infusing $1.8 billion into Hawaii’s economy each year,” Hirono said.

“A strong domestic maritime industry is critical to accessing the goods local families need to lead productive, healthy lives, and that’s why I will continue to advocate for the Jones Act and other measures that support this vital segment of our economy and national security.”

“America is a maritime country,” she said. “Know that I am on your side.”

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Schuyler Line Navigation Company (SLNC) and its founders were recognized at the SUNY Maritime Admiral’s Scholarship Dinner for their contributions to the maritime industry and to the U.S.-flag fleet.

MM&P officials and members turned out to salute the company’s three founders: Christopher Hughes, Russell Paret and Keith Zelinsky, all SUNY Maritime alumni.

“MM&P is honored to work with SLNC,” said MM&P Secretary-Treasurer Steve Werse.

“This is a company that has faith in the U.S. merchant marine and a great future in our industry.”

The Admiral’s Scholarship Dinner is SUNY’s primary vehicle to raise scholarship funds.

This year’s event was so well-attended that the organizers had to move the dinner to a larger venue to accommodate everyone who wished to participate.

It raised $745,000 in scholarships for gifted students with financial need intent on pursuing a career in maritime.

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The U.S.-flag fleet is so small as to compromise the country’s sealift sustainment capability, according to Gen. Darren McDew, commander of U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM).

USTRANSCOM is responsible for the global movement of combat units and sustainment cargo for America’s armed forces.

McDew told senators at a hearing last week that the country’s ability to support and sustain the troops has been damaged by “merchant marine shortages and the reduction of U.S.-flag vessels.”

He made the remarks at a May 2 hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

McDew, consistently a strong advocate for the American Merchant Marine, told members of the committee that the country could initially deploy sufficient forces and equipment to a conflict zone.

But he said America would face “critical challenges” after the first 30 days because of the lack of suitable ships, aircraft and personnel to sustain a surge.

He said that fact became apparent in the context of “a critical examination of how USTRANSCOM executes its logistics mission in the contested environments of the future.”

Earlier this year, USTRANSCOM held its “first ever contested environment war game imagining a scenario in which we didn’t dominate the skies or control the seas.”

Among the lessons learned: “any further delay to the recapitalization of our military sealift capability creates risk in our future ability to deploy forces across the globe.”

“If we don’t take action soon,” he added, “many of our Military Sealift Command vessels will begin to age out by 2026.”

To view his opening statement in its entirety, go to:

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Equipment manufacturers continue to tout the potential of unmanned, “autonomous” vessels.

The first autonomous ship, a robot offshore supply vessel, is scheduled to be tested in a Norwegian fjord later this year.

So is it realistic to think that in the short-term or even in the medium-term, unmanned ships will be a viable alternative to traditional vessels and crews?

“It’s unlikely the world will see many ships without crews in the next 10 or even the next 20 years,” says George Quick, vice president of the MM&P Pilot Membership Group and chair of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) working group on autonomous shipping.

He made the remarks last month in a presentation at the meeting of the International Federation of Shipmasters Association/Council of American Master Mariners.

Although manufacturers like Rolls Royce Marine and Kongsberg Maritime are promoting their vision of fully autonomous ships, the absence of an international legal framework means ship operators and manufacturers lack the certainty needed to undertake significant investments in the field.

“No shipowner in the international trades would risk building an unmanned ship until the regulatory framework for their operation is established by the International Maritime Organization, and that may take quite a long time,” Quick says, “perhaps 10 years or more.”

He notes that Norway’s trial of the autonomous offshore supply vessel will be conducted under national regulation, which means that the lack of applicable international laws will not be an issue.

Another major obstacle to the development of autonomous ships is the massive amount of investment required.

The conclusion of Rolls Royce and other major equipment manufacturers is in fact that today’s ships cannot be converted to autonomous operation: every unmanned ship will have to be built from scratch.

And because on average the world’s fleet is comparatively quite young, it will be some time before industry decides the time has come to renew it.

Finally, Quick says, the economic feasibility or business model for unmanned ships is completely unproven.

“The actual cost of building and operating an unmanned ship is unknown, especially the costs of the additional redundancy in equipment that will be necessary,” he says.

Routine maintenance of today’s ships is often carried out at sea by workers from low-labor-cost countries.

The same will not be true for autonomous vessels, which will probably have to be serviced by high-wage workers while the vessel is in port.

The project known as MUNIN–Maritime Unmanned Navigation through Intelligence in Networks–is a collaborative research project co-funded by the European Commission.

MUNIN aims to develop and verify a concept for an autonomous ship, which is defined as a vessel primarily guided by automated on-board decision systems but controlled by a remote operator in a shore side control station.

A MUNIN study suggests that unmanned ships could save $7 million over a 25-year-life cycle in fuel, crew supplies and salaries.

But that works out to less than $1,000/day. Not a very significant figure in a capital-intensive industry like shipping, where fuel costs for a large ship, even at today’s relatively low bunker costs, can run over $45,000/day.

To read Quick’s presentation on the future of autonomous ships, go to and scroll down to “Latest News.”

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The plight of the crew of the MV LIBERTY PRRUDENCIA has been largely ignored by the authorities in China in the six months since the shipowners abandoned them in Zhoushan, says the head of Human Rights at Sea (HRS).

“I have great respect for the mental and physical tenacity of the remaining 13 Indian crew of the MV LIBERTY PRRUDENCIA,” says David Hammond, chief executive officer of HRS.

“They remain effectively abandoned by the owners in Zhoushan, China, having been paid just one month’s wages in six months, but to date have steadfastly refused to bow down to pressure exerted to get them to leave their vessel.”

According to inspectors from the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), the outstanding bill for wages owed the men was in excess of $148,000 in March.

Since the ship is in a Chinese port and subject to the Chinese legal system, authorities in China have jurisdiction over the case.

Members of the crew have reached out to the international authorities for support, but only the ITF and HRS have responded, Hammond says.

“There should be strong condemnation from the international maritime community, not an embarrassing silence reinforcing the confidence of those who avoid payments due,” he adds.

Hammond made the remarks in an OpEd published in a number of maritime publications under the heading, “A Gross Failure in Protecting Seafarers’ Rights.”

The crew was abandoned in November 2016 and has subsisted since then on charity.

“With families in dire financial situations, medical bills mounting and some of the crew being repatriated to look after their family members without being paid what is owed to them, it is the seafarers and those who they went to sea to provide for who are suffering,” Hammond wrote.

He said that the fact that the vessel has not been arrested despite evidence of significant labor violations within a port state jurisdiction shows that the Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) is not being adequately enforced.

“Where are the international protections and effective remedies, and where is the legal support for these seafarers for their maritime lien attaching to the ship and providing prejudgment security for their claim?” he asks.

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The Coast Guard last week issued a news release stating that several merchant vessels and a pilot boat transiting the Chesapeake Bay had been struck by lasers during the past month.

The strikes, each lasting about 15 minutes, originated in the area between Drum Point and Cove Point, near the entrance to the Patuxent River.

The area is on the approaches to the Port of Baltimore, a busy route for merchant shipping and a popular area for leisure boating.

Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to contact the US Coast Guard.

Laser strikes on ships’ crews are a threat to life, property and the environment.

The penalty is a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.

The USCG has expressed concern at the rising number of dangerous lasing incidents across the country.

Last year, the Coast Guard office in San Juan reported three laser strikes over a five-day period on its SAR helicopters–including one incident which occurred in the middle of a rescue hoist.

In December, a hearing officer fined a Washington State resident $9,500 for shining a high-powered blue laser at the bridge of the Washington State Ferry TOKITAE.

The perpetrator was also forced to pay $3,700 in damages to the master and the chief mate.

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An Offshore membership meeting will be held on Friday, May 12, in the Oakland hiring hall directly after the 1100 job call. All members and applicants are urged to attend.

The address of the Oakland hiring hall is: 548 Thomas L. Berkley Way, Oakland, CA 94612. The phone number is: 510-808-7068.

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STOMM&P Atlantic Ports union halls will be closed on Monday, May 22, for National Maritime Day. All MM&P union halls, the MM&P Plan Office, the MM&P Federal Credit Union and MM&P headquarters will be closed on Monday, May 29, for Memorial Day.RY

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The American Merchant Marine Veterans Memorial Committee invites you to the National Maritime Day Observance and Memorial Service in San Pedro, Calif. on, Monday, May 22.

Maritime Day honors the merchant mariners who serve our country in peace and war.

The service begins at 1100 at the American Merchant Marine Veterans Memorial at the foot of Sixth Street.

You are also invited to join us after the memorial service for a luncheon at 1200 at the nearby Ports O’Call Restaurant, Berth 76, San Pedro ($45 per person; tables are available).

To support National Maritime Day activities in San Pedro, a commemorative program is produced. Proceeds from the sale of advertising in the commemorative program also go to maintain the memorial itself.

Parking is available at the Ports O’Call Restaurant and shuttle service between the memorial and the restaurant will be provided by San Pedro Trolley.

If you would like more information about attending the event or about advertising, please contact Jerry Aspland, Vice President:; telephone/fax: 714-968-4409.

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The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) kicked off its 25th annual “Stamp Out Hunger” Food Drive campaign this week.

Since 1993, when the national food drive began, unionized letter carriers in every part of the country have worked with family members, friends, co-workers and allies to use the secondSaturday in May as a day to give back.

On May 13, food drive coordinators in hundreds of branches of the union will help replenish local food banks in communities across America.

“We know a layoff, a chronic illness or a lack of opportunity is all that separates a working family from a hungry family,” said a spokesperson for the union.

“NALC is determined to ensure that no child goes to bed with an empty stomach.”

80 million pounds—the amount of nonperishable food donated in last year’s Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive.

To contribute to the food drive, please leave a bag of nonperishable food items on your porch on Saturday morning.

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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 Amanda Meadows, 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 – 8/21/17, 10/16/17

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: 5/23/17

ARPA-OIC – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 8/8/17, 9/26/17

AZIPOD 2-Day – 5/22/17, 10/16/17

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 6/19/17, 9/25/17, 11/13/17

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 5/22/17, 7/20/17, 11/14/17

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling: Contact Admissions

BRMP-Refresher – 5/24/17, 7/17/17, 9/12/17, 10/18/17

BT – Basic Safety Training: 8/14/17, 10/9/17

BT-Revalidation (2-day) – 6/22/17, 8/21/17, 9/28/17, 11/8/17, 12/14/17

BT-Refresher (3-day) – 6/22/17, 8/20/17, 9/28/17, 11/8/17, 12/14/17

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 10/30/17

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVNAV-CMM – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): Contact Admissions

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 6/12/17, 7/31/17, 10/2/17, 12/11/17

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 6/5/17, 8/7/17, 9/25/17, 12/4/17

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 10/9/17

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 6/26/17, 8/14/17, 9/18/17

LMS – Leadership and Managerial Skills (Management Level – Formerly MCL-CMM) 6/19/17,8/21/17, 9/11/17

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants: 11/27/17

SEC-APPS – Practical Defense Tactics: 7/31/17, 11/6/17

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management (2 weeks): 10/30/17

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 6/5/17, 7/17/17, 7/31/17, 8/14/17, 9/11/17,10/2/17, 10/30/17, 12/4/17

SHS-ADV-II-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 6/12/17, 7/24/17, 8/7/17, 8/21/17,9/18/17, 10/9/17, 11/6/17, 12/11/17

**SHS-ADV-I & II now approved to include SAR-CMM assessments at MITAGS effective immediately**

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 10/23/17

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 11/13/17

CNAV-OIC – Celestial Navigation: 11/6/17

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: Contact Admissions

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications: Contact Admissions

CRSMGT – Crisis Management and Human Behavior – 7/11/17

CDMGT – Crowd Management – 7/10/17

DDE – Great Lakes: 6/5/17

DPA – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-OIC – Contact Admissions

ECDIS for Pilots – 5/24/17, 11/14/17

ERM – Engine Resource Management: 7/10/17, 8/28/17, 10/16/17, 12/4/17

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 8/14/17, 10/9/17

FF-ADV-REV – Advanced Fire Fighting Revalidation & Refresher: 6/20/17, 8/23/17, 9/26/17,11/6/17, 12/12/17

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications: 05/22/2017, 9/12/17

GL-Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization: Contact Admissions

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 8/21/17

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 6/26/17, 8/28/17, 11/27/17

LAP- 9/11/17

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes: Contact Admissions

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross
Ton License: 6/5/17, 8/7/17, 12/4/17

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 05/23/2017, 9/13/17

LNG-TPIC – 12/4/17

LTS –Leadership and Teamworking Skills (Formerly MCL-OIC): 8/15/17, 9/25/17 (*2-Evening Session)

MEECE – Management of Electrical and Electronic Control: 07/17/2017, 08/14/2017, 10/23/2017, 12/11/2017

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 7/10/17, 9/11/17, 10/23/17

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 6/26/17, 8/28/17, 11/13/17, 12/4/17

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 9/11/17, 10/23/17, 11/27/17

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 6/12/17 (Evening), 6/19/17, 7/16/17, 8/25/17, 9/25/17, 10/28/17, 12/11/17

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: Contact Admissions

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 5/25/17, 6/9/17, 8/9/17, 10/2/17

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control: 5/23/17, 6/7/17, 8/7/17, 10/3/17

*MSC-ENVPRO – 6/4/17, 8/6/17, 10/1/17

*MSC-FF-HELO – 6/5/17, 8/13/17, 10/16/17

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 6/12/17, 7/17/17, 8/13/17, 10/9/17

*MSC-Security Watch Basic – 6/10/17, 8/10/17, 10/5/17

*MSC-Security Watch Advanced – 6/16/17, 7/21/17, 8/12/17, 10/7/17

*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force – 6/17/17, 7/24/17, 8/18/17, 10/13/17

NSAP-MMP – Navigational Skills Assessment Program-MM&P – 6/13/17, 6/19/17, 7/31/17, 8/14/17, 10/2/17

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 8/17/17, 9/25/17

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 05/17/17, 6/7/17, 6/21/17, 7/12/17, 7/26/17, 8/9/17, 8/23/17, 9/20/17, 10/4/17, 10/18/17, 11/1/17, 11/8/17, 11/15/17, 11/29/17, 12/6/17, 12/13/17

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 7/31/17

SAR-OIC – Search & Rescue – 10/16/17

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling: 8/28/17, 10/23/17

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day – 6/26/17, 8/7/17, 9/25/17, 11/27/17

SMS – Contact Admissions

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 8/7/17

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 7/10/17

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: 8/7/17

TRAC-TUG-2: 06/29/2017

TTT – Contact Admissions

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: 5/25/17

VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 5/22/17, 7/13/17, 9/6/17

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level): 10/2/17

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): 9/11/17

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Winter-Spring 2017

For registration, please contact our registrar, Mary McGhee, at 206.838.1126 or You can also view our schedule and enroll online at

May 2017

15th Vessel Personnel w/ Designated Security Duties
15-18 Advanced Firefighting
15-19 Able Seaman
15-26 Watchkeeping – Operational Level
15-26 Celestial Navigation
16-18 Integrated Electronic Navigation
20-22 Basic Training Refresher
23rd Radar Renewal
30th Leadership & Teamworking Skills
31-2 Security Officer – Vessel, Company, and Facility

June 2017

5-9 Medical Care Provider
5-9 Basic Shiphandling
5-16 Medical Person-In-Charge
10-12 Basic Training Refresher
12-16 Basic Training
12-16 Cargo Handling and Stowage – Operational Level
19th Vessel Personnel w/ Designated Security Duties
20th Radar Renewal
19-22 Advanced Firefighting
19-23 Advanced Watchkeeping
19-23 Leadership & Managerial Skills
24-26 Basic Training Refresher
26-30 Engine Resource Management
27-29 Integrated Electronic Navigation

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The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates, & Pilots, ILA, AFL-CIO, 700 Maritime Blvd. Suite B, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1953. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973. All rights reserved. The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly © 2017. Articles can be reprinted without prior permission if credit is given to The MM&P WheelhouseWeekly. For subscriptions, address changes or messages to the editor or to MM&P headquarters, e-mail Back issues of The Weekly are posted on