Wheelhouse Weekly – November 17, 2006

November 17th 2006


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

Volume 10 . . . . . Number 46. . . . November 17, 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.




The US Coast Guard and select response agencies within the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will be conducting a Maritime Security Level Two (MARSEC 2) Attainment Drill on Monday and Tuesday, November 20-21. No action is required from private sector entities. However, Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) regulated vessels and facilities in the vicinity may voluntarily elect to activate MARSEC Level 2 measures in accordance with their security plans, thus fulfilling the requirement of an MTSA drill.



The following is the complete schedule of MM&P Offshore Port Holiday Parties:

East Coast holiday party schedule is as follows:

  • Boston: December 7th 1200 to 1700 at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 75 West School St., Charlestown, MA.
  • New York/New Jersey: December 13th at 1230 hrs at the Union Hall, 26 Journal Sq. Suite 1502, Jersey City, NJ
  • San Juan: December 14 after job call at Levi’s on Ponce De Leon Ave.
  • Norfolk: December 15th at noon at the Union Hall on 39th St. in Norfolk.

    Gulf Port Holiday Party schedule is as follows:

  • New Orleans: December 13th noon at the Hall
  • Houston: December 14th noon at the Hall
  • Jacksonville: December 15th noon at the Hall
  • Port Everglades/Miami: December 20th at 1100 at the Hall

    West Coast Holiday Party schedule is as follows:

  • San Francisco: Thursday Dec 14th at 1230 hrs in the SUP Library
  • Los Angeles/Long Beach: Friday Dec 15th at 1200 hrs in the LA/LB Hall
  • Seattle Tuesday Dec 19th at 1230 hrs in the Seattle Hall
  • Honolulu: To be Determined

    Call any of the respective Halls for info or directions.


    Ship Operations Cooperative Program (SOCP) Co-Chairmen, Capt. Phil Shullo and Capt. Larry Wade were at the helm of SOCP’s recently-concluded fall meeting that welcomed over 80 attendees to MITAGS. The featured Rear Admiral Brian Salerno, USCG Director, Inspection and Compliance, as the keynote speaker.

    Other speakers included Sean Connaughton, Maritime Administrator and RADM Tom Gilmour, President of ABS, Americas Division and Robert Cowen, Venable LLP.

    Topics covered included Current Maritime Initiatives, Outlook for the Maritime Industry and the Role of the Maritime Administration, and Classification Societies Role in Safe Operation of Ships Worldwide. Various panel discussions were initiated regarding topics such as legislative and regulatory activities within the maritime industry, the Committee on the Maritime Transportation System, Lean Six Sigma member results, IMO/USCG Safe Manning Regulations, Transportation Workers Identity Card, STCW and the USCG NMC/REC Reengineering proposal. Streamed video of the meeting’s proceedings can be viewed at or at SOCP’s Web site,


    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.


    The following dispatch was received from Chris Rowley of Mercy Ships:

    “I am writing on behalf of Mercy Ships, a non-profit, Christian organization that operates a fleet of hospital ships, bringing free medical aid to people in developing countries around the world. Because of our status as a non-profit, 501(c) organization, all our workers are volunteers who raise their own support in order to work onboard our ships. The people who volunteer range from Deck Hands all the way up to Masters, and each contribute to the organization as a whole by doing their job well as professional mariners.

    “The reason I write is to ask that your organization allow us to spread our message in your newsletters. We have a need to recruit professional mariners, such as licensed Deck Officers to serve onboard our ships. It would be beneficial to both our organizations to develop this relationship in which we would be able to recruit professional mariners who belong to MM&P. We know that it would also be wonderful for MM&P to show their support for what Mercy Ships does around the world by helping people in poor countries have a better quality of life.”

    For further info, MM&P members should contract Chris Rowley, Marine Recruiter at Mercy Ship Marine Operations by fax at: 903-882-0498.


    The US Coast Guard has issued a statement reminding all mariners that the mandatory reporting season for North Atlantic right whale protection has commenced. All commercial vessels over 300 gross tons must report when they enter the southern region of the North Atlantic right whale reporting area (WHALESOUTH), located off the coast of southern Georgia and northern Florida.

    The only known calving ground for the right whale is a 25-mile wide area that extends from the coastal waters of Brunswick, GA, and continues south to the coastal waters of Jacksonville, FL. However, right whales frequent waters other than just their critical habitat, so it is important for all waterway users along the eastern seaboard to report sightings

    Anyone may report right whale sightings by contacting 1-888-97-WHALE in Florida and contacting 305-862-2850 in Georgia and South Carolina. Recreational and commercial mariners should report whale sightings to the USCG via VHF Channel 16.

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries recommends that operators assume that any whale sighted within 30-miles of the coast is a right whale. Vessels are reminded not to come within 500 yards of any right whale. Due to the right whale’s black skin, lack of a dorsal fin, and its tendency to lull just below or on the water’s surface, the species may be very difficult to spot. For this reason, vessels shall exercise caution when transiting these areas. If you find yourself on a head-on course with a right whale, maneuver to avoid collision, and if necessary reduce speed.

    The northern right whale, one of the rarest and most endangered species of whale, is protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and the Endangered Species Act of 1973. With an estimated 300-350 northern right whales left, this species is dangerously close to extinction.

    The WHALESOUTH reporting system is a collaborative effort amongst the Coast Guard, NOAA and US Navy to protect endangered northern right whales by eliminating collisions between the species and large commercial traffic.


    The US Coast Guard proposes to revise its regulations for certain deep draft vessel anchorage areas within the Port of New York and New Jersey (PONYNJ) so as to reduce the maximum duration of stay from 30 days to 96 hours. Requests for extensions beyond 96 hours would be sought from Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) New York. Comments on the proposal should be submitted by December 18th.


    The US Coast Guard issued a notice stating that the Breath Alcohol .02 Detection System manufactured by Akers Bioscience may be used by the maritime industry to conduct alcohol tests in compliance with Coast Guard regulations. The change comes into effect immediately.


    Earlier this week, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued its annual Most Wanted List of safety improvements, a list that calls for action by federal agencies on the most critical transportation safety issues.
    In the maritime area, the NTSB welcomed the adoption of new rules by the Coast Guard that improve procedures for crew drug/alcohol testing after serious accidents, and removed this issue from the Most Wanted List.

    In its recommendations, the Board had cited 28 major marine investigations dating back to the EXXON VALDEZ in which mandatory post-accident alcohol and drug testing was not completed. The final USCG rule was issued in December 2005, and seven of the eight recommendations were closed with acceptable action. Established in 1990, the Most Wanted List highlights specific recommendations the Board believes would significantly reduce transportation deaths and injuries.


    The MarEx e-newsletter reports that a Boston harbor pilot has lost his life in a tragic accident, which occurred on October 24th. According to accounts of the incident, Boston pilot Robert Cordes was attempting to board the M/V “BALDOCK” via rope ladder when he fell to his death on a steel barge which was breasting alongside the vessel. Although few details of the accident have yet been disclosed, it was reported that the vessel’s gangway was not deployed at the time, so the pilot attempted to board using the rope ladder. The vessel was moored at the Eastern Minerals Terminal at Chelsea, MA at the time of the incident and was empty, having just finished discharging a cargo of salt. Cordes was to have guided the vessel on its outbound leg to the sea buoy.

    Cordes was a 40-year veteran of the Boston Pilots Association, with the group since 1966 and commissioned as a full pilot in 1976. The incident reportedly occurred in full daylight, under ideal weather conditions. Although the vessel was said to be almost empty, the extent of freeboard presented by the vessel is not yet known. The USCG is investigating the incident.

    The tragic accident is at least the third such event to occur in the US this year. In January, another veteran harbor pilot died in Hawaii after falling from a ladder after piloting a cruise ship out of the harbor. After falling in the water, he was hit by the pilot boat. Also in January of this year, a Columbia River bar pilot lost his life on the job when he tried to disembark from a log carrier that he had finished guiding during a storm. As he attempted to make the leap to a smaller shuttle boat that would return him to land, he went overboard and drowned. His body was finally recovered almost two days later.

    The most recent incident in Boston differed from the two earlier tragedies in that it occurred alongside a berth in the harbor. All three incidents underscore the dangerous nature of the job of harbor pilot and that of the marine industry in general.


    The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has begun a pilot program that will collect biometric information from illegal migrants interdicted while attempting entry into US territory through the body of water between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico known as the Mona Passage.

    The USCG will compare the digital fingerprints and photographs of illegal migrants against the US-VISIT database, which includes information about wanted criminals, immigration violators and those who previously encountered government authorities. Those attempting to illegally enter the US and its territories are prosecuted under US law in conjunction with bilateral agreements in effect.

    “The Coast Guard’s role in maritime border security is to support the national policy of orderly, safe and legal migration while ensuring safety of life at sea,” said Admiral Thad Allen, the commandant of the USCG. “Since 9/11, it has become increasingly important to know who is attempting to gain access to the US, and this project gives us the means to positively identify and take appropriate actions regarding individuals intercepted at sea.”

    “Biometrics make it virtually impossible to use forged documents or claim a fraudulent identity,” said Robert Mocny, acting director of the US-VISIT program. “The Coast Guard’s comparison of biometrics collected at sea to those collected through the US-VISIT program will greatly enhance our ability to intercept those who pose a threat to national security.” The US-VISIT program is a continuum of biometrically-enabled security measures that collect biometric and biographic information from travelers at U.S. visa-issuing posts around the world, and upon their arrival in the US at air, sea and land border ports of entry.


    Five ships moored in Virginia, California, and Texas will be headed to recycling yards under contracts announced ast week by the Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration. Two of the ships are from the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet in Benicia, CA; two are from the Beaumont Reserve Fleet in Texas; and one is from the James River Reserve Fleet in Newport News, VA.

    “These recycling contracts are good for the economy, and removing ships from our fleet sites is good for the environment,” said Maritime Administrator Sean Connaughton. He noted that plans worked out with Congress called for the removal of at least 13 ships from the fleet sites in 2006, and that the agency has almost doubled that number, removing 25.

    The ships scheduled for recycling include the VULCAN, a former Navy repair ship built in 1941, which will leave the James River site to be dismantled at Bay Bridge Enterprises of Chesapeake, VA, under the terms of a contract worth $494,000. In 1978, the VULCAN was the first Navy ship on which women were deployed, except for hospital ships. The two ships from Suisun Bay are QUEENS VICTORY, a 1945-vintage Victory Ship, which will go to Esco Marine of Brownsville, TX, under terms of a contract work $1,180,000, and JASON, a Navy repair ship built in 1943, which will go to Marine Metal of Brownsville, to be dismantled at a cost of $1,426,035. The two ships from Beaumont will go to Esco Marine: MAUMEE, a tanker built in 1956, will be dismantled at a cost of $405,726, and MARYLAND, a container ship built in 1963, will be dismantled for $400,000. The companies have 45 days to remove the ships from the fleet sites.


    The Maritime TV broadcast of speeches recently given by Secretary of Labor’s Elaine Chao and US Maritime Administrator Sean Connaughton are now available on demand at the WEB site. Chao and Connaughton were guest speakers at the recent US Merchant Marine Academy Alumni Foundation dinner in New York honoring America’s Deep-Sea Domestic fleet. The gala dinner benefited the American Merchant Marine Museum located on the Academy’s campus in Kings Point, Long Island.

    The event is archived for viewing on and for a full year. Participants should have Windows Media player installed prior to viewing the archive. Call 703-961-9250, ext. 229 for tech support. Go to the following site to view the speeches:


    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


    The Maritime Technology Alliance (MTA) is holding a meeting at MITAGS on Monday, November 20th at 0930 in the Academic Conference Room. “The MTA is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the health and promotion of industry, academic, and government maritime capabilities resident in Maryland and the surrounding areas.”

    The MTA was the inspiration of Maryland’s US Senator, the Honorable Paul Sarbanes. The current President, Mr. Richard Metrey, has 41 years of distinguished service with the US Navy. The MTA is made up of a Board of Directors with diverse backgrounds in the naval and maritime arena. The MTA was incorporated in August 2001. Since its inception, the group has worked closely with the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED), Montgomery County, the congressional staffs of Maryland and Virginia, the Carderock Division, numerous government entities, the University of Maryland, and several well-known maritime businesses.

    Individuals that are interested in attending this meeting should contact Ivan Caplan, Vice President and Treasurer of the MTA, via email at For more information on the MTA, please visit the MTA’s Web site at


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

    JUST ADDED: MED-PIC (Medical Person-In-Charge): 2/12/07

    AIS – Automatic Identification System: 12/15
    ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 12/5, 1/16, 2/6
    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: 2/5

    [CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
    CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 1/22
    CMM-ADVSTB – 11/27
    CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 1): 2/12
    CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 2/5
    CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart and Display Information System: 12/4
    CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 12/4, 2/19
    CMM-SHMGT-I – Ship Management II (week 1): 12/11, 2/26
    CMM-SHMGT-II – Ship Management II (week 2): 12/4
    Available on a “Stand-By Basis Only”: CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 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

    CONT-PLNG – Contingency Planning: 12/15, 1/26

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

    FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 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, 1/12, 2/26
    MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 12/4, 1/8, 2/12, 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: 1/15, 2/5

    SEC-OFF-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 12/11, 1/22
    SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 1/22, 2/19
    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
    12,305.45 +130.37 for the week 2,449.06 +64.12 for the week 1,399.75 +14.01 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