Wheelhouse Weekly – November 10, 2006

November 10th 2006


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

Volume 10 . . . . . Number 45. . . . November 10, 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.



Listed below is important information for MM&P members regarding the recent publication in the Federal Register of a draft Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) entitled, “Medical and Physical Evaluation Guidelines for Merchant Mariner Credentials” (Docket #USCG 2006-25080). The USCG issues NVICs as statements of policy and guidance for USCG personnel and the maritime industry. US Merchant Mariners will have to comply with the NVIC in order to maintain their current Merchant Mariner’s Document (MMD) or to maintain or upgrade their licenses.

The MM&P will be submitting comments to the US Coast Guard. I anticipate these will be ready for submission by the end of next week. In tandem with this, I will be writing a personal letter to each member and applicant asking you to review a less than two-page document detailing some of MM&P’s comments regarding these physical standards. A copy of this letter will also go to each contracted MM&P vessel.

I encourage ALL MM&P members to submit comments. The comment period closes on November 27th.

Some of the issues that you may want to focus on are as follows:

1. We commend the USCG for opening the process to the public. NVICs are not normally published in the Federal Register. Medical standards and the medical review process are emerging. Therefore, we believe the NVIC is the right vehicle for this policy because NVICs are more flexible than Regulations.

2. Notwithstanding, this process does have one significant drawback. The USCG is not required to provide an estimate of the costs associated with the NVIC. Therefore, MM&P has serious concerns that the USCG may not have an accurate notion of its full impact. Another consequence is the USCG’s underestimation of the potential increase in the number of mariners who will need to apply for waivers and the level of resources the USCG will need to process them efficiently.

3. While we agree the present system needs to be improved, we feel the proposed NVIC is an excessive response to the ANDREW J. BARBERI (a Staten Island Ferry) allision, which occurred in 2003 in New York. In the BARBERI accident, the Assistant Captain became suddenly incapacitated at a critical moment. He was alone in the wheelhouse when prudent seamanship and sound bridge resource management practices require that at least two persons with the appropriate training, skills and certifications be present.

4. Examining health care professionals should have more discretion as to the extent of consultation and testing with many of the less serious conditions.
Many of the Evaluation Data may not be necessary in total and the degree of testing is often anticipatory of findings from some of the basic and more initial testing.

Criteria for Evaluating Medical Conditions

5. Medical and physical evaluations should focus solely upon the following criteria as stated in the NVIC (paragraph 5.b.):
a. “risks associated with sudden incapacitation” and,
b. the ability of mariners to “perform their duties not only on a routine basis but also in an emergency”.

6. It is unclear how history of such conditions as tumors and certain psychological conditions included in the NVIC are related to these criteria.

7. According to the proposed NVIC, certain medications used at certain times are potentially disqualifying. MM&P expresses the following concerns:
a. It is costly and time consuming for the USCG to ask for medical evaluations apparently for the sole purpose of determining what medications mariners may be using.
b. It is unclear as to how the USCG will enforce the draft NVIC’s provisions regarding the use of over-the-counter medications. Presumably, mariners will be placed at risk of losing their documents or licenses if they fail to disclose the use of certain OTC medicines or herbal supplements.

8. MM&P feels the draft NVIC represents a powerful disincentive for mariners to seek medical treatment if they feel they may be disqualified from service.

9. Evidence suggests the mariner population is aging. Therefore, the development of certain medical conditions among mariners is inevitable. MM&P is deeply concerned that senior, experienced officers and ratings will be affected
disproportionately by the draft NVIC.

Mike Rodriguez is taking the lead oar in presenting MM&P’s position to the US Coast Guard. George Quick, VP of Pilotage, Pat McCullough, Plans Administrator and Jim Clements, instructor at MITAGS, are assisting him.

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:

Comments should include the docket number, USCG-2006-25080. Also 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. As mentioned above, MM&P intends to send its comments to all Offshore members when they are finalized.

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.



Although a hand-full of races for seats in the House of Representatives are still too close to call, the November 7th midterm elections have dramatically altered the political landscape in Washington, DC. For the first time in 12 years, the Democrats will have a majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Democrats will have a 51-49 majority in the Senate and a 230-196 majority in the House (with an additional 9 seats still undecided).

This means, among other things, that the Democrats will now control Committees and Subcommittees in the Senate and House; the calendar and legislative schedule; and, most importantly, the legislative agenda for both chambers when the 110th Congress convenes in January, 2007. This change in control also means that for the first time in our nation’s history, the Speaker of the House of Representatives will be a woman: California Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi. The Majority Leader in the Senate will be Nevada Senator Harry Reid.

For MM&P, approximately 94 percent of the candidates supported by our Political Contribution won election to the House of Representatives on November 7th, and 10 of 11 MM&P-supported Senate candidates also won. In the House of Representatives, we are fortunate that Representatives Neil Abercrombie (D-HI), Brian Baird (D-WA), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Bob Filner (D-CA), Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Peter King (R-NY), Rick Larsen (D-WA), Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Jim McCrery (R-LA), Jim Oberstar (D-MN), Ike Skelton (D-MO), and Don Young (R-AK), among many others, will be back in 2007 to continue the fight for a stronger US-flag fleet. In addition, a number of individuals elected for the first time to serve in Congress in 2007 have also indicated their commitment to work with us in support of a stronger, more competitive US-flag fleet. They include Democrats Gabrielle Giffords (AZ), Jerry McNerney (CA), Zach Space (OH), Mazie Hirono (HI), Phil Hare (IL), and John Sarbanes (MD). In all, the MM&P PCF supported 18 non-incumbents and 14 won on November 7th (two lost and two are involved in races that are still too close to call).

We are also especially pleased that long-time MM&P friends and merchant marine supporters won election to the Senate, including Senators Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Trent Lott (R-MS), Diane Feinstein (D-CA), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT). In addition, longtime merchant marine advocate Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) has been replaced by Democratic Congressman Ben Cardin in the Senate. During his time in the House of Representatives, Congressman Cardin, who represented MM&P Headquarters in Linthicum, has been a good friend and a strong voice in behalf of the US-flag fleet.

The new Speaker of the House for the 110th Congress, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, who represents San Francisco, has always been a strong fighter in behalf of American workers and an equally strong fighter to protect the rights of workers to organize and to bargain collectively. Significantly, she has been a consistently strong supporter of the programs and policies important to our industry and a good friend to the MM&P, to the other seafaring unions and longshoremen.

For MM&P and the maritime industry, the change in control from the Republicans to the Democrats in the House of Representatives and Senate means there will be new Chairmen of the Committees and Subcommittees with jurisdiction over the issues and programs important to the US-flag merchant marine. Fortunately, in most instances, a good friend of MM&P and a strong supporter of our industry will be taking the reins of power from an individual who has been an equally good friend and supporter.

For example, under the leadership of Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter, the House Committee on Armed Services led the way to the enactment and reauthorization of the Maritime Security Program. Throughout both efforts, Congressman Hunter and our industry had the full and unwavering support of the Committee’s Ranking Democrat, Missouri Congressman Ike Skelton, who will take over as Chairman in 2007.

Similarly, a number of maritime issues, including those relating to port and maritime security, mariner licensing and credentialing, and other matters involving merchant mariners and the Coast Guard are within the jurisdiction of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. This Committee has been chaired by Republican Congressman Don Young who, along with the Committee’s Ranking Democrat, Minnesota Congressman Jim Oberstar, have worked diligently to protect the rights of American mariners. Congressman Oberstar will take over as Chairman of this Committee in 2007.

In the Senate, the Committee that has primary jurisdiction over maritime issues, including the Maritime Security Program, the Jones Act, the cargo preference laws, and port and maritime security issues is the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. It has been chaired by Alaska Republican Senator Ted Stevens who, along with the Committee’s Ranking Democrat, Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye, have been in the forefront of every major legislative effort designed to protect and strengthen the US-flag fleet. Senator Inouye is expected to Chair this Committee in the 110th Congress.

Additional information on the make-up of the 110th Congress will be covered in subsequent issues of our magazine. A complete list of election results involving MM&P-supported candidates is available on the MM&P Web site at


The 2006 Admiral of the Ocean Sea Awards were presented by United Seamen’s Service (USS) to Paul F. Richardson, President of Paul F. Richardson Associates Inc., and Colin Veitch, President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line. The event was held at the 37th annual AOTOS industry-wide gala dinner and dance on November 3rd at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers. International President Capt. Tim Brown led a delegation of Union officials that represented MM&P at the prestigious event.

In addition, Gloria Cataneo Tosi, President of Tosi Maritime Consultants, Washington, DC, and recently retired as President of the American Maritime Congress received the AOTOS Recognition Plaque for her many years of devotion to the industry. The Honorable Helen Delich Bentley, former Federal Maritime Commission Chairman and Congresswoman, presented Paul Richardson his award. Michael Sacco, President of Seafarers International Union of North America, Atlantic, Gulf Lakes and Inland Water/NMU, AFL-CIO, presented the award to Colin Veitch. Ron Davis, President of the Maine Engineers Beneficial Association, awarded the plaque to Ms. Tosi.

The two recipients led the field of nominees for the award, a silver statuette of Christopher Columbus, the first Admiral of the Ocean Sea, sharing first place among a group that was solicited by USS from more than 200 maritime management, labor, and government officials. All proceeds from the event benefit USS community services for the US merchant marine and seafarers of the world.

John Bowers, Chairman of the USS AOTOS Committee, and President of the International Longshoremen’s Association, AFL-CIO said: “These two industry icons represent the past, present and future of the US-flag industry. Our recipients have been selected by those who know them best, international transportation leaders who understand very well the challenges and issues which confront United States shipping and the American seafarers and recognize their leadership in this area.”

Richardson’s experience in transportation has been as a specialist in containerization, company management and labor. He held a key leadership role in the dynamic growth of Sea-Land Service, Inc., forging its development and serving as President and Vice Chairman of the innovative steamship company. In 1977, he established Paul F. Richardson Associates, Inc., an international maritime and transportation consulting firm serving various segments of the maritime industry including carriers, ports, shipbuilding companies, inland carriers, labor and labor-management groups.

Under Veitch’s stewardship, NCL (America), a division of NCL he also heads, placed into service PRIDE OF ALOHA, NCL’s first US-flag vessel in June 2004. It was the first passenger ship to join the American fleet in 50 years. US Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta said: “Raising the Stars and Stripes over more ships raises our maritime strength and raises jobs.”

Senator Daniel Inouye was General Chairman for this year’s event and sent a message as well, congratulating the two recipients and recognizing the mission of USS, which has been dedicated to meeting the needs of seafarers for 65 years. Captain Robert Hart, USN (ret.) and Samuel B. Nemirow served as National Committee Co-Chairmen. Michael Sacco, President of Seafarers International Union of N.A., was Dinner Chairman.

USS continues to provide community services for the US Merchant Marine, the American Armed Forces, and seafarers of the world. USS, a non-profit agency established in 1952, operates centers in ports in Europe, Asia, Africa and in the Indian Ocean, and also provides seagoing libraries to American vessels through its affiliate, the American Merchant Marine Library Association.

USS also presented six Honored Seafarer awards to heroic merchant mariners in the ceremony narrated by the Honorable Sean Connaughton, US Maritime Administrator, assisted by Edward Morgan, President of E-Ships. The AOTOS Mariners’ Plaque was awarded.


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a notice stating that it is proposing a variety of regulatory amendments relating to maritime communications. It proposes to cease authorizing INMARSAT-E emergency position indicating radiobeacons (EPIRBs), due to the planned cessation of such service by Inmarsat. It seeks comment on whether to require Global Positioning System (GPS) capability in VHF-DSC handset units. It requests comment on whether to require carriage of at least one VHF handheld marine radio transceiver on all small passenger vessels that do not have a reserve power supply.

The notice also seeks comment on whether there is a need to make additional spectrum available for ship station facsimile communications, or to permit transmission of data on VHF maritime voice channels. It requests comment on whether there is any need to continue limiting the number of frequencies that may be assigned to any particular private coast station. It requests comment on updating standards for ship radar equipment. Finally, it proposes to add a rule clarifying that GMDSS vessels subject to subpart W (relating to GMDSS requirements on certain vessels) are required to test GMDSS radiotelephone equipment on a daily basis. Comments should be submitted by January 8, 2007.


The Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (TSA) has charted a new course for leadership by creating a four-member Executive Committee that will run the organization. TSA the 17-year-old discussion and research group made up of 11 of the world’s leading container shipping companies will now be led by chief executive officers from four of those carriers: MM&P-contracted American President Lines, Evergreen Marine Corp., Hanjin Shipping Co, Ltd., and NYK

Beginning Dec. 1, Ron Widdows, CEO of American President Lines, will serve as Executive Committee Chairman for the next year. “We need new energy, new ideas and a new commitment if we’re going to meet the needs of shippers in the world’s most dynamic trade lane,” said Widdows a 35-year industry veteran who has been at APL’s helm since 2003. “By placing control of TSA directly into the hands of its members, we can be more responsive than ever to those needs.”

The newly created Executive Committee will be responsible for establishing policy, formulating and implementing the group’s business objectives, research activities and communicating with customers, government regulatory agencies and the shipping public. It’s a highly visible role given that the Transpacific trade between Asia and the US is the world’s largest container shipping market.


The M/V HEIDELBERG EXPRESS has been refloated in the Mississippi River. As previously reported in the Wheelhouse Weekly, the collision between the M/V HEIDELBERG EXPRESS and the M/V YEROT SAKOS occurred on October 23 at about 0125 hours near Point La Heche, LA. The HEIDELBERG EXPRESS reportedly lost power while transiting outbound at mile marker 57 in the Mississippi River and then struck the other vessel, which was moored at a commercial dock. There were no injuries on either vessel, no reports of pollution and only minor damage to both ships. The waterway remains open and unrestricted. The collision between the two vessels was the second such incident on the Mississippi River in less than a week’s time.

The HEIDELBERG EXPRESS is a 773-foot German container ship and the YEROT SAKOS is a 737-foot Liberian flagged iron ore carrier. After the HEIDELBERG EXPRESS lost power, its crew dropped both anchors in an attempt to stop the vessel, but could not prevent the vessel from striking the YEROT SAKOS. USCG investigators from Coast Guard Sector New Orleans are investigating the cause of the collision.


The USMMA Foundation Chesapeake Chapter will hold its Annual Dinner Dance at MITAGS on Friday December 1st from 7-11 pm at MITAGS. Guest of honor and featured speaker will be Chuck Raymond, President and Chief Executive Officer of MM&P-contracted Horizon Lines. All are welcomed to attend. Tickets are $60 per person. For more info, email or check the Web site at


After 10 years of languishing in the Maritime Administration’s Beaumont Reserve Fleet, the 473-foot TEXAS CLIPPER has departed the port of Beaumont, TX under tow. The trip represents the first step in a process, which will eventually lead to its final disposition as an artificial reef in the Gulf of Mexico. The vessel is the second vessel to depart from the US Maritime Administration’s Beaumont Reserve Fleet for the purpose of creating an artificial reef in the recent past. Earlier this year, the USS ORISKANY, a decommissioned naval aircraft carrier, was sunk off the Florida panhandle for the same purpose.

As the former training vessel for the Texas A&M University at Galveston, the vessel was the platform for the training of countless merchant mariners over the years. Before that, it saw service as a WW II troop carrier. At Brownsville, Texas, the vessel will be cleaned of all toxic hazards and readied for its final fate as an artificial reef some 17 miles off the coast of Texas. The vessel’s trip to its final resting place could happen as soon as the first quarter of 2007.

It is hoped that the new artificial reef will promote the underwater diving economy and benefit marine life, the Department of Transportation announced last week. The US Maritime Administration has been tasked with disposing of the obsolete vessels moored at three National Defense Reserve Fleet (NDRF) sites located in the James River in Virginia, at Suisun Bay in California, and in Beaumont, TX.

Creating artificial reefs out of these old hulls has recently become popular, although it faces significant challenges from environmentalists and others concerned about toxins leaching out of the hulls after they are sunk. The cost of preparing the hulls for eventual reefing is also prohibitive, sometimes reaching $5 million or more, depending on the vessel’s purpose in its former life. The ultimate cost of preparing and reefing the TEXAS CLIPPER has been put at about $3.9 million, some of which will come from MARAD.

Recently, the Navy, the Maritime Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency have been working with a host of groups to locate appropriate vessels for the program and to figure out ways to pay for reefing, as well as to ensure that the job is done safely, and in an environmentally-friendly fashion. This week, advocates for another old vessel, the former USNS HOYT S. VANDENBERG, finally got the funding they need to reef that vessel off of the Florida Keys. The VANDENBERG is presently moored in MARAD’s James River fleet.


CLASS OPENINGS: Between now and the end of February 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, 2/19
BRMP – Bridge Resource Mangement for Pilots: 12/7, 1/31
BST – Basic Safety Training: 11/13, 2/5

[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, 2/12
CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 2/5
CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart and Display Information System: 1/8
CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 12/4, 2/19
CMM-SHMGT-I – Ship Management II (week 1): 12/11, 2/26
Available on a “Stand-By Basis Only”: CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 11/13, 12/11,1/8, 2/5
Available on a “Stand-By Basis Only”: CMM-SHS-ADV-II – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 11/27, 1/15, 2/12
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: 11/13, 2/5

HAZ-Hazardous Materials (5-day): 12/4, 1/8, 2/12

LEG Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 12/7, 1/31

MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 1/25

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 12/9, 1/13
MED-PIC – Medical Person In Charge: 12/4, 1/8, 2/26
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 12/4, 1/8, 2/26

[MSC – Military Sealift Command]
MSC-CBRD-1 (Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Orientation): 1/20
MSC-DC (Damage Control): 1/18
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, 2/5

SEC-OFF-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 12/12, 1/22
SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 1/22
SHS-EMR- Emergency Shiphandling: 1/29, 2/26
SHS-EMR- BRMP-3- Emergency Shiphandling & Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 12/4
TPIC-DL – Tanker Person-In-Charge, Dangerous Liquids: 2/12
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
11/27-12/1 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
12,175.45 +156.91 for the week 2,384.94 +50.92 for the week 1,385.75 +18.41 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