Wheelhouse Weekly – November 03, 2006

November 3rd 2006


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

Volume 10 . . . . . Number 44. . . . November 3, 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.



Meetings are scheduled directly after job call, in all Pacific Ports during November. Members and Applicants are encouraged to attend. MM&P International President Tim Brown and Vice President-Pacific Ports Don Marcus will be in attendance at the Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles/Long Beach meetings that are scheduled for:

Seattle – November 6th
San Francisco – November 7th
Los Angeles – November 8th

A fourth meeting will be held in Honolulu on November 29th.



Our apologies to those who tried to log into the Member’s Only section of on Monday, Oct. 30 and the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 31. A message on the site advised members that they could not log in because their membership was inactive. This problem, which was caused by a malfunction of our server, has been corrected. MM&P is sorry for any inconvenience the problem may have caused.


Next Tuesday, November 7th, is Election Day. People across the country will have the opportunity to vote for their representatives and, in 33 states, for their senators. This is an opportunity for all of us who care about the US Merchant Marine to make a decision that will affect our future and help determine whether our country maintains a US-flag shipping industry.

This is our opportunity to vote for our jobs, to protect our economic interests and to promote a stronger, larger and more competitive US-flag Merchant Marine.

Every vote counts. Remember that whether or not we are disillusioned by what has or hasn’t happened in Washington, the candidates who are ultimately elected November 7th will control the fate of our industry and thus, our future.

Log onto MM&P’s Web site at , for a list of candidates who support: funding and expansion of the
Maritime Security Program; enforcement of the Jones Act; implementation of cargo preference programs; the right of American workers, including licensed maritime officers, to join and belong to unions and bargain collectively. Please review the candidate recommendation page.

If we take the time to learn about an individual’s position on issues important to our industry and if we use that information when deciding how to vote, we can and will make a difference. We can elect candidates who will fight by our side for a stronger US-flag Merchant Marine.

Go to today to view our Candidate Recommendations. If you don’t have access to the Internet and want information on the candidates, send an email to Jim Patti at MIRAID in Washington, DC at or contact him by phone at 202-463-6505.


The AFL-CIO announced it will conduct an election night “watch party” Tuesday evening (November 7th) at its headquarters, starting at 2000 hrs, for union members, their families and guests. Participants will monitor up-to-the-minute election results and follow field reports about union member activism across the nation.

AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka and Executive Vice President Linda Chavez-Thompson will be among the union officials who will join the watch party Tuesday evening. Phone banks will run all day at the AFL-CIO headquarters, reaching out to union members, their families and retirees. The AFL-CIO’s Labor 2006 program is reaching out to 13.4 million voters in 32 battleground states. The federation’s headquarters building is located at 815 16th Street, NW, in Washington, DC.


On Wednesday, Sean Connaughton, the new Maritime Administrator, visited MITAGS to tour the training facility with MITAGS Executive Director Glen Paine, MM&P International President Tim Brown, Secretary-Treasurer Glen Banks, Executive Assistant to the President Mike Rodriguez, and Director of Special Projects Richard Plant. After the tour, Connaughton addressed a luncheon meeting of the Ship Operations Cooperative Program (SOCP) that was held at MITAGS on November 1st and 2nd.


As previously reported in the Wheelhouse Weekly, the USCG is seeking public comment on a draft Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) to replace the existing NVIC 2-98, “Physical Evaluation Guidelines for Merchant Mariner’s Documents and Licenses.”

Due of the potential serious effect this proposal could have on MM&P members, the draft NVIC is currently under review at MM&P HQ so that a comprehensive union policy statement can be developed and then circulated to all ports for review. The policy statement is scheduled for publication in next week’s Wheelhouse Weekly. For more info, contact Executive Assistant to the President Mike Rodriguez at 410-850-8700 ext. 23 or by email at It is also requested that a copy of any comments submitted by members to the USCG docket be forwarded to MM&P HQ so that the union can remain current with what is being stated for the record.

The new proposed NVIC is entitled “Medical and Physical Evaluation Guidelines for Merchant Mariner Credentials.” It will be officially numbered if and when it becomes effective. A copy of the proposed NVIC has been posted to the public docket and is available on the Internet at, under this docket number [USCG 2006-25080]. It is also available from Mark Gould, Maritime Personnel Qualifications Division, Office of Operating and Environmental Standards, Commandant (G-PSO-1), USCG HQ, Washington, DC 20590. Phone: 202-372-1409 or email address:

The USCG encourages you to submit comments. The most helpful comments will include the specific section of the proposed NVIC to which each comment applies, as well as the reason for each comment. Comments should be identified by USCG docket number USCG-2006-25080. Please include your name and address with your comments and submit them using one of the following methods:
(1) Web site:
(2) Mail: Docket Management Facility, US Dept. of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW, Washington DC 20590-0001
(3) Fax: 202-493-2251.
(4) Federal eRulemaking Portal: Follow the instructions on the Web site.

If you mail your comments and supporting material, they must be on 8 1/2-by-11-inch paper, and the quality of the copy should be clear enough for copying and scanning. If you mail your comments and would like to know whether the Docket Management Facility received them, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard or envelop. The USCG will consider all comments and material received during the 60-day comment period, which ends November 27th. The Union intends to send its comments to all Offshore members when they are finalized.


Resumes are needed for Licensed Deck Officers interested in sailing on the Horizon Lines T-AGS Oceanographic Vessels. MM&P member Fred Smallwood, Master of the T-AGS vessel USNS SUMNER advises that, “These are highly specialized ships with Z-Drive Propulsion Systems which includes a Dynamic Positioning Capability. Maneuverability is remarkable; there are few ships where Mates perform the actual hands-on shiphandling as they do in the T-AGS 60 Class. The ships are 100 meters long and displace 5000 Tons; Mates routinely conn the ship onto and off survey lines and in precise positioning for over the side operations. Deck operations are routinely conducted where unique oceanographic instrumentation packages are deployed and recovered, and LDOs supervise the conduct of these evolutions.”

There are currently two Chief Mate, two Second Mate and one Third Mate positions opened on these vessels. If you are interested in one of these challenging positions, please email your resume to Richard Plant, Director of Special Projects at It is mandatory that mariners going aboard T-AGS vessels have a Small Arm Training certificate. MITAGS is offering a SMA Course December 4th with a SMA Recertification (2 days) on December 6th. Presently there are openings in both classes. Mariners interested in submitting their resume to Horizon Lines and needing the SMA certificate should call Mary Matlock, MITAGS Admissions at 410-859-5700 ext. 3246 to register. If too many students register, MITAGS will schedule an additional course.


MM&P-contracted Horizon Lines announced earlier this week that its Board of Directors has voted to appoint Charles (Chuck) Raymond as its first Chairman of the Board of Directors. He will continue to also serve in his current roles as President and Chief Executive Officer.

“I am deeply honored by the Horizon Lines Board of Directors’ vote of confidence in electing me Chairman,” said Raymond. “I look forward to working with my fellow Board members and my 1,889 fellow associates at Horizon Lines to continue the string of successes that we have achieved together during our seven-year existence.”

Raymond has served as President and Chief Executive Officer and as a director of Horizon Lines since July 2004, and of Horizon Lines, LLC, since February 2003. Mr. Raymond has held various senior management positions during his 41-year transportation career, including Group Vice President-Operations and Senior Vice President and Chief Transportation Officer of Sea-Land Service from 1994 through 1999. He was an Executive Officer of CSX Corporation from 1994 to 2003. From 1999 until 2003, he was President and Chief Executive Officer of Sea-Land Service Domestic Shipping and CSX Lines, LLC.

Mr. Raymond is a member of the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) and The National Cargo Bureau. He serves on several industry-specific boards including the Transportation Institute, and the Maritime Cabotage Task Force. Additionally, he serves on the Board of Advisors of the US Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) at Kings Point, the Global Maritime and Transportation School at the USMMA, the McColl Graduate School of Business at Queens University
and The Greater Charlotte Chamber of Commerce. From May 2000 to May 2003, he served as Chairman of the Marine Transportation System National Advisory Council (MTSNAC), which was established by the US Secretary of Transportation. In 2005, he was appointed to serve a five-year term on the National Maritime Security Advisory Committee. In July 2006, he was appointed to the Board of Directors of Carolinks.

In 2003, Raymond was inducted into the International Maritime Hall of Fame and was the recipient of the coveted Admiral of the Ocean Seas (AOTOS) award, presented annually by the United Seaman’s Service. In April 2004, he was selected as the maritime “Good Scout Award” recipient by the Boy Scouts of America. Later that year, he was presented with Kings Point’s “Leadership of Light” and the prestigious Containerization and Intermodal Institute “Connie” Award. In 2005, he was named Carolinas 2005 Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” and was also named “Kings Pointer of the Year” by the USMMA Alumni Foundation.


The University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business has honored Department of Transportation
Under Secretary Jeffrey Shane and MM&P-contracted APL’s Chief Executive Officer Ron Widdows for thrusting freight transportation into the public spotlight. Public-private sector partners over the last two years, Shane and Widdows received awards from the university’s Logistics, Transportation and Supply Chain Management Society for “bringing freight transportation into focus in the US public sector transportation community.”

The pair was honored before an audience of transportation industry leaders, university alumni and supply chain management graduate students on the Maryland campus. This was the second honor in a month for Widdows, who was given the National Transportation Award on Sept. 27th by the National Defense Transportation Association.


The issue of how the flag-of-convenience (FOC) system undermines marine safety came to the fore in mid-October when, in the space of five days, two accidents involving runaway vessels were reported in New Orleans and the Lower Mississippi River, according to the Maritime Trades Department (MTD), AFL-CIO.

The first incident occurred when two freight ships collided in the Mississippi River in Kenner, LA. The Greek-flagged ZAGORA, which was carrying soybeans and heading downriver, collided with the TORM ANHOLT, a Panamanian vessel. The second incident, reported in last week’s Wheelhouse Weekly, took place at the IMTT Myrtal Grover facility near Point A La Hache, LA. It involved the HEIDELBERG EXPRESS, a German containership, and the YEROT SAKOS, a 737-foot Liberian cargo ship full of iron ore.

New Orleans is no stranger to accidents involving FOC vessels. Perhaps the most notorious accident occurred in 1996, when a Liberian-flagged vessel owned by a Chinese company, the BRIGHT FIELD, slammed into a busy pedestrian walkway bordering the Mississippi River near Podras Street. Hundreds were injured and there was millions of dollars worth of damage, MTD noted.

MM&P is a member of the MTD, which has been a longtime critic of the FOC system since it allows owners with few ties to a nation to document their vessels under that country’s flag. The system not only allows companies to evade minimum health, safety, training, environmental and labor standards, it also is marked by a lack of transparency. A study conducted by the USCG showed that over a 3-year period, 1998-2001, 500 of 5,000 FOC vessels boarded and inspected by the agency (or 10 percent) were found to have safety violations severe enough to deny those vessels access to American ports.


The US Coast Guard is amending anchorage regulations for the Lower Mississippi River, prohibiting vessels anchored in the Lower Kenner Bend Anchorage from using or exercising the ship’s hold cargo cranes. Vessels in this anchorage must keep the ship’s hold cargo gear in the down and hawsed position, as rigged for sea transits. Deck-mounted cranes, deck booms, and stiff legs may be used to take on ship’s stores and spare parts and may be used to move manifold hoses. The purpose of these amendments, which come into effect on November 29th, is to reduce the risk to aircraft passengers and crew, mariners, and the public from potential safety hazards associated with the ascent and descent of aircraft over vessels anchored in the vicinity of the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.


35-year-old Russian seafarer was recovered by German Search and Rescue forces earlier this week after keeping himself afloat for about 90 minutes in 55 degree waters. The mariner serves as second engineer on the German 750-TEU container feeder vessel BELUGA STIMULATION. He fell overboard in heavy seas 10n-miles north of the German island of Langeoog. The vessel, owned by the Bremen-based Beluga Group, was en route to St. Petersburg. The man’s condition was reported to be stable upon recovery and he was taken to a hospital in Wilhelmshaven for further treatment. Three German rescue vessels as well as helicopters and planes took part in the operation.


Each year the MM&P Plan allows for the award of six scholarships to the dependent children of MM&P offshore members and co-pay pensioners in good standing who are participants in the Health & Benefit Plan. Now is the time to begin thinking about scholarship applications for the 2007-2008 academic years. The deadline for filing an application with the Plan office is November 30, 2006.

All interested students who are high school seniors during the 2006-2007 school year should contact the Plan Office as soon as possible to request an application packet. The applications will be reviewed and the winners selected by the Scholarship Recognition Award Program in Princeton, NJ, who reviews all of the qualifications of the applicants including test scores, grades, extracurricular activities, community service, etc. In the spring, a list of approved candidates will be sent to the Plan Office to verify eligibility. The final list will be presented to the
Trustees at the May 2007 meeting and winners will be notified immediately. Call Madeline Petrelli at the MM&P Plan Office, 410-850-8615, to request an application.


Shipments of dry-bulk cargoes in US-flag Lakers totaled 11.9 million net tons in September, an increase of 3.5 percent compared to a year ago. The fleet outperformed its 5-year average for September by 6.6 percent. The growth compared to a year ago came almost entirely in iron ore. Shipments neared 5 million net tons, an increase of 6.6 percent. Coal cargoes were virtually unchanged from 2005.

For the year, US-flag carriage on the Great Lakes stands at 78 million net tons, a slight increase over the same point in 2005. Lake Carriers’ Association represents 18 American corporations that operate 62 US-flag vessels on the Great Lakes. These vessels carry the raw materials that drive the nation’s economy: Iron ore and fluxstone for the steel industry, limestone and cement for the construction industry, coal for power generation. Collectively, these vessels transport as much as 125 million tons of cargo a year when high water levels offset lack of adequate dredging. More information is available at


The October 2006 issue of the “AARP Bulletin” carried an article on the survey results from their poll of 1,000 Americans 18 and older who are likely to vote in Tuesday’s election. The war in Iraq topped the list of their concerns. Next in line are the cost of health care and prescription drugs, corruption in government, energy prices and Social Security’s future. The article advises that, “Not every problem will be resolved within the next two years, no matter which party controls the House and Senate. But who sits in those seats might change the way some problems are approached, setting the stage for the political debate of the presidential election in 2008.”

The article continues by listing seven reasons to vote next Tuesday. Here are some brief excerpts:

  • Social Security: With the first of 78 million baby boomers beginning to collect benefits in 2008, many analysts say that in another decade Social Security could begin to pay out more in benefits than it takes in from payroll taxes. Unless Congress acts in assure solvency, by mid-century the system would have enough to pay only three-quarters of promised benefits.
  • Medicare: The health insurance program for the 65-and-older population is facing huge hurdles, including, some analysts predict, bankruptcy of the Part A trust fund (for hospital care) by 2018. The next Congress could hasten the debate to determine the future of Medicare.
  • Long-Term Care: A patchwork of federal and state laws is all that holds long-term care together in this country. The US Senate recently approved cuts to Medicaid, the federal state health program for low-income people, which has become the last resort for many nursing home residents to pay for their care once their savings runs out.
  • Economic Security: Even though Congress passed and President Bush signed the 2006 Pension Protection Act, major flaws still exist in the country’s pension systems. Many companies are ending traditional plans, switching to other types of plans or reducing benefits for workers and retirees.
  • Health Care Reform: The US Census reported last month that a record 46.6 million Americans lack health insurance. The number is rising, in part because workers and retirees are losing employer coverage or face higher premiums or co-payments they can’t afford.
  • Integrity in Government: Of all the issues on which to vote, this one is perhaps the most visceral, and one that could lead more voters to a “throw the bums out” mentality.
  • Presidential Power and Congressional Oversight: President Bush has expanded the president’s “universal power” in conducting the war on terror. He has also used “signing statements” more than 100 times to state his position on the laws he signs. That has effectively vetoed 700 provisions in the bills, say some constitutional scholars. Only recently has Congress pushed back, asserting a need for greater oversight. Yet, the 97 days the House is scheduled to be in session in 2006 is the fewest since Harry Truman derided the 80th Congress in 1947-48 as the “do-nothing” Congress. By contrast, the yearly average for Congress to be in session was 161 days in the ’60s and ’70s and 139 days in the ’80s and ’90s.
  • The article concludes that the undeniable fact in addressing these issues is that the nation’s resources are limited. The next leaders in Congress and in statehouses around the country will determine how much of those resources go into government coffers and how government, in turn, spends the money. The election this Tuesday is an opportunity for voters to decide who those leaders will be.


    CLASS OPENINGS: Between now and the end of January 2007, seats are available in the following courses:

    JUST ADDED: Small Arms Course (4 day): 12/4
    Small Arms Re-Qual (2 day): 12/8

    AIS – Automatic Identification System: 12/15
    ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 11/14, 12/5, 1/16
    AZIPOD-KAM-2 – Two-Day Azipod and Kamewa Steering and Propulsion Systems: 12/4

    BRM Bridge Resource Management: 1/22
    BRMP – Bridge Resource Mangement for Pilots: 12/7
    BST – Basic Safety Training: 11/13

    [CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
    CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 1/22
    CMM-ADVSTB – 11/27, 1/29
    CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 1): 11/13
    CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 11/6
    CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart and Display Information System: 12/4, 1/8
    CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 12/4
    CMM-SHMGT-I – Ship Management II (week 1): 12/11
    CMM-WKP – Watchkeeping: 11/27
    CMM-VPEN – Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 1/15

    COMP-OPSYS – Basic Computer Course: 11/13
    CONT-PLNG – Contingency Planning: 12/16, 1/26

    CSE-AASE – Confined Space Entry: 11/28, 1/15

    FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 10/30, 11/13

    HAZ-Hazardous Materials (5-day): 11/6, 1/8

    LEG Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 12/7

    MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 11/9, 1/25

    MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 12/9, 1/13
    MED-PIC – Medical Person In Charge: 1/8
    MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 12/4, 1/8

    [MSC – Military Sealift Command]
    MSC-CBRD-1 (Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Orientation): 1/20
    MSC-DC (Damage Control): 1/18
    MSC-SMA-Small Arms Re-Qualification (4-day): 12/4
    MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 12/8 (must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years)

    ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal (5-day): 11/27, 1/29
    ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 11/13, 12/4, 1/15

    SEC-OFF-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 11/6, 12/12, 1/22
    SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling 11/6, 1/22
    SHS-EMR- Emergency Shiphandling: 1/29
    SHS-EMR- BRMP-3- Emergency Shiphandling & Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 12/4

    TRAC-TUG – Water Tractor and Azimuth Stern Drive Tugs: 12/7

    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:


    Fall and Winter: 2006-2007

    MATE 500/1600 TONS Program Begins January 2007
    Due to the high demand for this program, PMI has now scheduled another that is already close to full enrollment for its 2007-start date. See the PMI Web site at for more info on this new development.

    SCHEDULE OF COURSES – (Course schedule also posted online at

    November 2006

    11/6-10 Tankerman Person in Charge
    11/6-10 ARPA
    11/6-10 Emergency Shiphandling
    11/6-17 GMDSS
    11/27-12/1 Radar Observer Unlimited

    December 2007
    12/4-8 ARPA
    12/4-15 Shiphandling – Advanced
    12/11-13 Security Officer – Vessel, Company, and Facility
    12/11-22 GMDSS
    12/18-22 ECDIS
    12/18-22 ARPA
    12/18-22 Medical First Aid Provider
    12/19 Radar Recertification

    January 2007
    1/2 Mate Program Begins/Orientation
    1/8-1/26 Ratings Forming Part of a Navigational Watch
    1/22-1/26 Terrestrial and Coastal Navigation
    1/22-1/26 Tankerman Person in Charge
    1/22-1/26 Emergency Shiphandling
    1/29-2/2 Medical First Aid Provider
    1/29-2/2 Radar Observer Unlimited
    1/29-2/9 Medical Person in Charge
    1/29-2/9 GMDSS

    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
    12,018.54 -145.12 for the week 2,334.02 -45.08 for the week 1,367.34 -21.74 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)
     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 and is posted on our web page.

    C 2006, 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 John Peige at