Wheelhouse Weekly – November 05, 2013

November 5th 2013


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

Volume 17 . . . Number 45 . . . Nov. 5, 2013


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


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, Nov. 11 for Veterans Day.


Leaders of the nation’s maritime unions and the heads of the House Transportation Committees are urging members of Congress serving on the “farm bill” conference committee to leave the PL-480 Title II Food for Peace Program intact. The conferees have been at work “reconciling”–or merging–the House and Senate versions of the legislation since Oct. 30.

A proposal contained in the Senate version would partially transform Food for Peace, which provides an essential source of cargo to the U.S.-flag fleet, into a voucher program under which cash, instead of U.S.-grown and U.S.-shipped agricultural commodities, would be sent to feed starving people in foreign countries.

“Since 1954, the Food for Peace Program has provided the mechanism for U.S. agricultural products to be shared with people in need throughout the world,” wrote House Transportation Committee leaders in an Oct. 25 letter. “Since the commodities are shipped on U.S.-flagged vessels, it has also helped maintain a U.S.-flagged fleet on which the Department of Defense can call in emergencies.”

Transportation committee leaders urging maintenance of the Food for Peace Program in the letter were: Congressmen Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), chairman of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure; Nick Rahall (D-W. Va.), ranking member on the committee; Congressmen Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation; and John Garamendi (D-Calif.), ranking member on the subcommittee. The letter was sent to the chairpersons and ranking members of the House Committee on Agriculture and the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. 

“The Food for Peace Program has been the largest and most successful international food aid program in the world,” the transportation committee leaders wrote. They said substituting cash transfers for U.S. commodities would weaken accountability, since “U.S. taxpayers would have no guarantee that food was delivered or know to whom it was delivered.” They pointed out that fewer than 100 U.S.-flagged vessels remain in the international trade, providing the U.S. military with capability to transport equipment and supplies throughout the world in times of crisis. Food for Peace allows these vessels to remain active in commercial trade and is crucial to maintaining an active group of U.S. mariners who can be called on in times of need.

Leaders of the nation’s maritime unions also wrote to the House and Senate conferees urging that the Food for Peace program be maintained in its current form. “This system is transparent and tested,” they wrote. “The logistics and distribution practices could be fine-tuned to create greater efficiencies without abandoning the core U.S. nature of these time-tested programs.” MM&P President Don Marcus and MEBA President Mike Jewell signed the letter, along with SIU President Mike Sacco and AMO President Tom Bethel.

The U.S. Navy League of the United States, speaking for its 47,000 members, urged the conferees to reject proposed changes to the Food for Peace Program, saying they would “weaken our nation’s Merchant Marine and our national security.”

“The current program assures reliable sealift resources to the Department of Defense at a low price, preserves national security and provides wider benefits to the U.S. including tax revenues, jobs and savings for other programs,” the Navy League said in an official statement. “More than $1.9 billion in U.S. economic output, 40,000 jobs and our national security are at stake.”


MM&P, the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association and the Seafarers International Union joined MLL and Waterman in sponsoring a screening of “Captain Phillips” for members of Congress and their staffs. The film tells the story of the 2009 hijacking of the MAERSK ALABAMA. Almost 200 people attended the event, including about 50 Congressional staffers and several members of Congress, among them Reps. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.), Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.) and Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.) Also in attendance was Captain Richard Phillips, master of the MAERSK ALABAMA: Phillips, a member of MM&P, was held hostage by Somali pirates aboard a lifeboat for five days before being freed by U.S. Navy SEALS.

“The screening was enormously successful at helping people to make the link between the MAERSK ALABAMA hijacking and the battle going on in Washington, D.C., to defend the American Merchant Marine and the PL-480 Food for Peace Program,” said MIRAID President C. James Patti. “The MAERSK ALABAMA was delivering food aid when it was attacked by pirates. The screening helped show members of Congress and their staffs what merchant mariners actually do.”

A number of journalists attended the event. “I think it’s a great movie,” MM&P President Don Marcus told Kris Maher of The Wall Street Journal. “It highlights the role of the merchant marine. It highlights the courage of Captain Phillips. These are American workers who rise to the occasion and had a dedication to duty, and we should celebrate them.”

Alec MacGillis of The New Republic interviewed MM&P Secretary-Treasurer Steve Werse on the proposal to turn the Food for Peace Program into a system based on vouchers. “The concept of paying people there versus paying people here is foreign to the American ethic,” said Werse. “We want American farmers to grow the crops and American ships to deliver them. The concept of handing a check to a third party is ludicrous. Food often isn’t available locally, or people wouldn’t be starving,” he added.

“Losing the food aid task would imperil the entire merchant marine fleet on which the military depends for the Maritime Security Program,” Marcus said. “If you presume to be the world’s greatest military, you better have ships.” The New Republic article is posted at The Wall Street Journal article is posted at


California Democrat John Garamendi says he stands ready to spearhead far-reaching reforms in U.S. maritime policy. He has asked those active in the industry to participate in the effort by bringing him a “preamble to legislate.” In an interview that was posted in the Oct. 28 edition of MarEx, Garamendi spoke of the need to safeguard the Jones Act and cargo preference statutes, which protect the jobs of American maritime workers.

At the start of the interview, conducted by MarEx publisher Tony Munoz, Garamendi posed a rhetorical question: “Should America be a maritime nation or not? We have 95,000 miles of coastline,” he said. “So my answer is we must be.”

In the interview, Garemendi called for Congressional efforts to encourage American shipbuilding. “We must establish policies that encourage American-made vessels and the shipyards that go with them,” he said. “Loan programs, subsidy programs, maybe tax incentives.”

The congressman said a coherent maritime policy is a must for America’s security and economy. “We need to pull all these disparate pieces together and write a maritime policy for the United States so there is clarity and continuity and uniformity of purpose,” he said. “A lot of the pieces are already there,” he said, asking that members of the industry make their voice heard. “Each of you has an interest here,” he said. “You know what the policy should be. Put it on the table. We’ll hold the hearings and we’ll make a policy out of it. The pride of authorship ought to be with the industry.” Read the full interview here,


Employees on Weeks Marine hopper dredges have chosen MM&P to be their bargaining representative by an overwhelming 79.5 percent. Ballots for the union representation election were counted on Oct. 29 at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) office in Newark. “We won by a huge margin,” said MM&P Contracts Officer Lars Turner, who led the organizing drive. “The employees are united and working together very well. This type of solidarity is the foundation of progress.”


Navy tug captains voting in an election that was held by the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) have unanimously selected MM&P as their representative. As a result, FLRA has awarded MM&P recognition for 10 captains employed by CNIC, Navy Region Northwest.

CNIC, which stands for Commander, Navy Installations Command, is responsible for worldwide shore installation support for the U.S. Navy under the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO). The CNIC captains support Port Tug and Craft year round, using Navy tugs and self-propelled workboats within the Puget Sound Naval Activities at SUBASE Bangor and Naval Station Bremerton. They also support Port Operations NAVMAG Indian Island and Port Operations Naval Station Everett.


Congress has taken a step towards acknowledging the service of one group of merchant mariners who served during World War II. By a 404-1 vote, the House approved a bill designed to expand the list of documents accepted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to grant veteran’s status to coastwise merchant seamen. (The legislation is not the same as the Thank You to Merchant Mariners of World War II, a bill that would grant a pension to merchant mariners and that has not been acted on by legislators.)

“It has been a long time in coming,” said Don Horton, who has been fighting for years for passage of HR 1288, the World War II Merchant Mariner Service Act. The bill was included in HR 2189, a piece of legislation aimed at improving the processing of claims by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Horton has been working since 2008 for veterans’ designation on behalf of some 30,000 merchant mariners who served along U.S. coastlines during World War II. Merchant mariners were asked to assist in the war effort by the War Shipping Administration, but many were not issued formal military records proving their service to the nation. Ship captains kept vessel logbooks that recorded who was aboard their vessel and the ship’s intended destination. But documents needed to prove service are often hard to find: some were lost, some destroyed and some never created.

Horton began his efforts to honor the forgotten seamen after unsuccessfully trying to locate a photo of the tug on which his brother William Lee “Billy” Horton Jr. served. Billy Horton died when a German submarine sank his tugboat off the Virginia coast on March 31, 1942. Billy, who was 17 at the time, had only been on the tug a few days.

“For too long, the brave men and women who served their country during World War II in the merchant marine have gone unrecognized for their service,” said Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), who introduced the bill. “We have taken another step in an effort to do the right thing and honor these mariners while they are still with us.”

To generate support for the bill, Horton has created an online petition. He encourages members of the maritime industry to show their support by going to:


A development plan threatens to raze the San Pedro Maritime Museum: won’t you join us in signing a petition to save it? “This is not a fight over money or politics: it’s a moral issue,” says the mariner who brought the situation to our attention. ”The Maritime Museum tells the story of over 6,000 mariners who lost their lives at sea during World War II. It also tells the story of local maritime history in the Port of Los Angeles.” The petition calls on Councilmember Joe Buscaino and Rep. Janice Hahn to protect the museum and allow it to remain at its current site. To sign the petition, go to:


The National Maritime Center (NMC) Customer Service Center announced a change in hours that became effective Nov. 1. Except on federal holidays, the new hours will be Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. EST to 6:00 p.m. EST. “If you are in need of assistance outside the hours of operation, “the agency says, “please send your question or comment via e-mail to, and a Customer Service Agent will respond to your inquiry within one to two business days.”


The U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) has invited maritime transportation industry representatives and members of the public to participate in a National Maritime Strategy Symposium, to be held Jan. 14 to 16 at the Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C. The agency said the purpose of the symposium is to gather ideas for improving the nation’s cargo opportunities and sealift capacity while ensuring future sustainability.


The Operations Division, Physical Support Branch, Marine Management Section, Dredge Wheeler has announced an opening for a third mate hopper dredge (WJ-5782-07.) The job announcement number is: SWGY13741190978831. To view a description of this position on USA Jobs, go to: The position closes Nov. 22. New Orleans District employees who want an interview for this position must submit notification no later than the closing date to: Edward Morehouse; (504) 862-1055;


MITAGS-PMI is looking for experienced mariners interested in part-time full-mission ship simulation operator positions for the Transas Simulation Systems. Simulator operators are responsible for planning the use of the simulators in all courses. Operators assist other team members of the Engineering Department with service and support of computer network system. The ideal candidate will exhibit excellent interpersonal and multi-tasking skills, be detailed oriented and have the ability to handle stressful situations during simulation operations.

Major duties include preparing and operating ship simulators for use in courses, assisting simulation engineers in daily simulation system checks and problem solving. The position requires a high-level of computer skills and manual dexterity similar to that needed for video-gaming. Proficiency in use of Microsoft Office Suite is essential. The Simulation Operator position operates on a flexible instruction schedule which includes irregular hours both evenings and weekends. Simulator operators must be flexible. This position requires moderate physical activity.

There are many details to this position which can be discussed upon your inquiry. Interested candidates are invited to email a resume and cover letter to


There will be a membership meeting at the New York/New Jersey Hall on Nov. 13 at 1100 a.m. All members in the area are encouraged to attend


The following is the schedule of membership meetings for Pacific Ports for the month of November: Los Angeles/Long Beach, Nov. 13; Honolulu, Nov. 19; and Seattle, Nov. 21.


The KP Alumni Chesapeake Chapter will host a Veterans Day Commemoration Dinner on Thursday Nov. 7, beginning at 5:30PM. MM&P is cosponsor of this annual event, which will be hosted at The Conference Center at the Maritime Institute, 692 Maritime Boulevard, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090. Special guest speaker is Rear Adm. Mark H. “Buz” Buzby, former Commander, Military Sealift Command. A hosted tour of the MITAGS Simulator Technology Center will be held at 4:30. There will also be business networking opportunities and industry table top exhibitors. The cost of the complete dinner program is $35 advance registration, $40 for payments received at the door. For more information, go to: or contact Gary G. Hicks,


The Offshore Familiarization Course will be held in Los Angeles at the MM&P LA/LB Hall on Nov. 13-14. 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.


Atlantic Ports have announced the schedule of their holiday parties: Norfolk, Dec. 5; San Juan, Dec. 6; Charleston, Dec. 17; Boston, Dec. 19; and New York/New Jersey, Dec. 20.

The schedule of holiday parties for Pacific Ports is as follows: San Francisco/Oakland, Dec. 6; Los Angeles/Long Beach, Dec. 13; and Seattle, Dec. 18.


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:

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: 11/21/13

ARPA – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 1/21/14

AZIPOD 2-Day – 2/6/14

BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 12/16/13, 1/27/14, 3/24/14

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 11/19/13, 2/4/14, 3/3/14

BST – Basic Safety Training: 1/20/14, 2/10/14

CHS-BAS – Cargo Handling Basic: 4/14/14

CONSTB – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 1/27/14

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

CMM-ADVNAV – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): 12/2/13, 2/24/14

CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 2/3/14

CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 11/18/13, 3/10/14

CMM-CHS – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 11/4/13, 2/10/14

CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 12/2/13, 12/16/13, 2/24/14

CMM-LDRSHP – Management, Communication, & Leadership (Management Level): 3/17/14

CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants:  1/20/14

CMM-SHMGT – Ship Management (2 weeks): 1/6/14

CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 12/2/13, 1/6/14, 2/17/14, 3/10/14

CMM-SHS-ADV-I I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 11/11/13, 12/9/13, 1/13/14, 2/24/14, 3/17/14

CMM-VPEN – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 12/9/13, 3/3/14

CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 12/16/13, 1/27/14

CNAV – Celestial Navigation: 4/28/14

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop:

DDE – Great Lakes: 1/27/14

ECDIS-Pilots – 3/5/14

ENVIRO-Regs Permit – Environmental Regulations Permit:

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 1/20/14, 2/10/14

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep & Medications:  1/8/14, 2/3/14

GL Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization: 1/24/14

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 3/17/14

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 12/2/13, 1/13/14

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes:  1/27/14

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross Ton License: 12/2/13

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 1/22/14, 3/5/14

MCL – Management, Communications and Leadership

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

MEDIA-RSP – Media Response Workshop:  11/6/13, 2/7/14

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 12/2/13, 1/6/14, 2/17/14, 3/17/14

MED-PIC -R– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 11/11/13, 1/27/14

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 12/2/13, 1/6/14, 2/17/14, 3/17/14

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 12/7/13, 1/11/14, 1/25/14, 3/22/14

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 11/20, 3/14/14

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 11/18-11/19, 3/10/14

MSC -SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification:  11/11/13, 3/10/14



MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force – 11/7-11/9

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 1/13/14, 2/3/14

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 1/20/14

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 11/13/13, 12/4/13, 12/11/13, 1/8/14, 1/22/14, 2/5/14, 2/19/14, 3/6/14, 3/20/14

SAR – Search & Rescue

SEC-MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: 11/12PM, 12/10/13 PM

SEC-VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: 11/13/13, 12/11/13

SEC-VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 11/6/13, 2/4/14

SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling:  11/18/13, 2/10/14

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day: 1/20/14, 3/3/14

SHS-ESH-BRMP3 – Emergency Shiphandling and Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 3/5/14

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 1/6/14

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge:  2/24/14

TTT – Train the Trainer: 4/7/14

WKP-BAS – Basic Watchkeeping: 3/3/14

WX-BAS – Basic Meteorology: 2/24/13

…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.

November 2013

11th       Radar Renewal
11-22     GMDSS
18-20     Vessel Security Officer
18-22     ECDIS

December 2013

2-6          Tankerman Person-in-Charge
2-6          Medical Care Provider
2-13       Medical Person-in-Charge
2-13       GMDSS
9-13       ECDIS
11th       Med DOT

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.

© 2013, 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