Wheelhouse Weekly – November 19, 2013

November 19th 2013


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

Volume 17 . . . Number 47 . . . Nov. 19, 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 Nov. 28 and 29 for Thanksgiving.


The most recent amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) led the U.S. Coast Guard to issue a policy letter outlining new security training and endorsement requirements for all vessel personnel. According to that policy letter (No. 12-06), as of Jan. 1, 2014, all personnel aboard a vessel will have to have some security training.  The training comes in varying forms, but the regulations are consistent in that all security endorsements must be listed in the seafarer’s Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC).

The three STCW security endorsements are: SA – VI/6 – Security Awareness;VPDSD – VI/6 – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties; and VSO – VI/5 – Vessel Security Officer.

As of Dec. 31, 2013, no officer will be dispatched if the officer does not have either VSO (Vessel Security Officer) or VPDSD (Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties) endorsed in their Merchant Mariner Credential. This is not a union prerequisite; it is an IMO/USCG regulatory requirement that you must meet in order to be assigned to a vessel. Since officers aboard a vessel must have this endorsement as of Jan. 1, 2014, officers being dispatched to a vessel who will not complete their voyage prior to Jan. 1, 2014, or who will be in any situation in which they may not be relieved prior to Jan. 1, 2014, must have the security endorsement on their MMC.

Please note: MITAGS has added a VSO course for MM&P members to its schedule on Dec. 12-14.
MM&P and MITAGS have recommended that mariners attend a Vessel Security Officer course and get a VSO endorsement to their MMC. Only the Vessel Security Officer endorsement will allow you to work on all MM&P contracted vessels. The lower-level training endorsement, Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties (VPDSD – VI/6), will satisfy the regulatory requirements for dispatch to most companies. Officers holding this endorsement may be assigned to a vessel provided it is acceptable under the contract provisions and the company agrees that VPDSD conforms to the requirements of the Vessel Security Plan.

Note: Under federal law and under all MM&P contracts, the company can unilaterally change the Vessel Security Plan. There is therefore no guarantee that an officer holding a VPDSD endorsement will be allowed to work or even complete his or her dispatch if he or she does not hold the higher level Vessel Security Officer (VSO – VI/5) endorsement.

Unless a VSO has already been placed on the STCW page of a mariner’s MMC, he or she will need to obtain the VSO or VPDSD endorsement on his/her MMC. Possession of a training certificate does NOT satisfy the requirements of the regulation. The officer MUST apply to the USCG for an endorsement to the officer’s MMC. According to the policy letter, mariners will not be charged for adding an STCW endorsement if they apply before Jan. 1, 2014, unless they are seeking a renewal or a raise in grade of their MMCs, nor will the expiration dates change.

Should you have any questions about these requirements, please contact your area Vice President.


Jones Act operators, international shipping companies and U.S. shipbuilders are just a few of the maritime industry players who will have to come together to answer the call from a leading member of Congress to formulate “a national maritime policy,” says MM&P President Don Marcus. “We need to be on the same page if we are going to build a policy or develop a common objective,” Marcus told MarEx Editor Tony Munoz in an interview that was published last week. The interview centered in part on a request by California Democrat John Garamendi, Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard & Maritime Transportation, that the maritime industry create a “preamble” that could serve as the basis for a coherent national maritime policy.

“We also have to be politically realistic,” Marcus says. “We’re not going to be lavished with funding. We’ve got to be innovative, and at the same time we have to build a consensus.” That means there can’t be a race to the bottom, he added. “You look at some of the players out there–they are truly more interested in being the last man standing…  They would rather be the last survivor in a declining industry that’s limping along than build a consensus and work together to make the pie bigger. If we’re going to build a consensus, you have to be willing to share. You have to work together so that everybody has a modicum of prosperity, or at least has the ability to prosper.”

The key component to a consensus is agreement on certain core principles, he told Munoz. “It has to be U.S.-flagged; it has to have U.S.-citizen mariners. On the domestic side, it has to be U.S.-built.”

Marcus said MM&P is encouraged by statements from the new Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and Acting Maritime Administrator Chip Jaenichen. He added, however, that a maritime revival is unlikely without the affirmation of the government as a whole, including the U.S. President. “At the end of the day,” he said, “if you don’t have the affirmation at the highest level from the Administration and President that in fact the U.S. Merchant Marine is an industry of value and essential to our national economic and military needs, then you’re going to be fighting a constant, defensive, uphill battle just to hang on to what we have.”

Marcus said a cornerstone of the effort is bipartisan support from members of Congress aware of the essential role that the U.S. Merchant Marine plays in America’s sealift capability and national defense. “We think education is key for members of Congress,” he said. “We’ve been working hard with the Maritime Congressional Caucus to get like-minded congressmen and a bipartisan effort together–people like Duncan Hunter and Elijah Cummings. We have champions, but we don’t have as many as we used to because there’s been a generational change.

There aren’t enough people like Barbara Mikulski, who instantly understand and recognize the importance of the maritime industry as a cornerstone of America’s economic and military power. At the same time, elsewhere in the federal government, not to mention the public at large, you have fewer and fewer people who have the institutional or historical knowledge to understand the value of the merchant marine to the national economy and defense.”

To read the interview in its entirety, go to:


The Congressional Maritime Caucus is hosting a briefing for Congressional staffers on the importance of the Maritime Security Program (MSP) to America’s sealift readiness. Among the groups and individuals presenting testimony at the briefing, which will take place on Nov. 20, are the U.S. Navy League, MM&P Secretary-Treasurer Captain Steven Werse and MAERSK ALABAMA Captain Richard Phillips. The discussion will focus on the importance of the U.S.-flag merchant marine and American merchant mariners to America’s defense sealift readiness.


The Federal Workers Alliance (FWA) is calling on leaders of the House and Senate budget committees to negotiate a long-term budget agreement “without inflicting additional financial burden on the backs of federal employees.” The 19 FWA member unions collectively represent 300,000 federal employees. MM&P and the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA) are both FWA members.

In a Nov. 15 letter to the chairpersons and ranking members of the House and Senate budget committees, the FWA unions underlined the fact that federal employees have contributed more than $114 billion over the past three years toward deficit reduction. This amount is the result of a three-year pay freeze, multiple furlough days due to sequestration and an increase in pension contributions from new federal workers.

As a result of the ongoing three-year federal pay freeze, a worker earning $40,000 annually will lose $54,840.19 in cumulative income over the next 20 years, FWA said. “For many families, that loss of income is the difference between being able to make a mortgage payment or put food on the table,” the FWA unions wrote. They also underlined the fact that federal government retirees covered under the current system receive an annual pension benefit of $1,000/month. “The modest pension these employees receive is an essential element of their retirement security” and should not be cut further, the FWA unions said.

“Federal employees take pride in the work they do and the services they provide to our nation,” they added. “But the constant Congressional attacks on their pay, benefits and job security have driven morale among federal workers to an all-time low.” They closed the letter by urging members of Congress “to stand against any and all proposals that aim to take more from our dedicated federal workers.”


The Board of Directors of Maersk Line, Limited (MLL) has announced that J. Russell Bruner will be the next president and CEO of Maersk Line, Limited. He will succeed John F. Reinhart, who will step down on Jan. 31 to become CEO and executive director of the Port of Virginia.

“Russ has the experience, values and vision to lead MLL into the future,” said MLL Chairman Adm. Hal Gehman (U.S. Navy, retired). “As a member of MLL’s board since 2010, he has a strong understanding of the company, its strategy and customers. He is an intuitive leader and intelligent businessman, possessing the knowledge and qualities to be MLL’s next leader.”

Bruner joined Maersk in 1989 and has been the president and CEO of Maersk Inc. since 2004. He has also been an executive vice president of the A.P. Moller-Maersk Group since 2006. He is a native of Baltimore who has held various leadership positions in Maersk’s container businesses, both within the U.S. and internationally.


The captain of the ill-fated tanker ship PRESTIGE was acquitted on Nov. 13 of charges of “environmental crime” in what is widely considered one of the world’s worst maritime disasters: an oil spill that blackened hundreds of miles of coastline in Spain, Portugal and France in 2002. Captain Apostolos Mangouras was, however, convicted of a lesser charge of disobeying orders from officials in Spain after the vessel began to sink.

During the course of the incident, approximately 80 per cent of the tanker’s 77,000 tons of fuel oil spilled off Spain’s northeast coast. Officials in France, Portugal and Spain refused the captain’s plea to dock the vessel and the ship subsequently split in half. Mangouras was sentenced to nine months in jail but prison time is unlikely because of his age and the fact that he has no criminal record. If convicted of environmental crime, he would have faced up to 12 years in prison.


As you prepare to head to the grocery store to pick up your Thanksgiving dinner ingredients, double check your shopping list to make sure your ingredients are union made in America. Here are some of the best union-made Thanksgiving eats and extras produced by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM), Machinists (IAM), United Steelworkers (USW) and United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).

For your Thanksgiving feast, please consider: Kraft and Nabisco crackers (BCTGM), Boar’s Head products (UFCW), Butterball (UFCW), Foster Poultry Farms (UFCW) and Thumann’s deli products (UFCW). On the side, why not try Ocean Spray Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce (IAM) and Bird’s Eye vegetables (UFCW)?

BCTGM workers make Pillsbury crescent rolls, frozen and bake rolls/breads and Pillsbury pie crusts. Use Stroehmann bakery products, made by BCTGM workers, for the stuffing. And for dessert? Sara Lee pumpkin and apple pie (BCTGM), Mother’s Kitchen cheese cakes (BCTGM), Nabisco (Mondelez) cookies (BCTGM) and Rich’s pies and cakes (BCTGM). P.S. Union members also make Cutco knives (USW) and All-Clad cookware (USW).


The Trustees at their October meetings approved a change to the Rules & Regulations to increase the health and benefit pensioner annual earnings limitation, effective Jan. 1, 2014, from $32,000 to $35,000. Pensioners who are under 65 and who have retired under the MM&P Pension Plan with 20 or more years of pension credit, along with their dependents under 65 who are employed, will now be able, effective Jan. 1, 2014, to receive annual earnings of up to $35,000 without losing their health coverage under the Plan. Additional information will be provided in the next edition of The Master, Mate & Pilot.


MM&P members have ratified contracts for the LAMONT-DOHERTY and the ENERGY ENTERPRISE by wide margins. The long-term contracts were ratified by 20:1 ratio.


All union members are eligible for discounted service with AT&T wireless, the only unionized wireless service provider. In addition, union employees are eligible for benefits that include: unlimited use of the AT&T national Wi-Fi network at no additional charge; waived fees on new service; discounted fees on AT&T Mobile Share Plans, which allow you to share service on up to 10 mobile devices. AT&T Mobile Share Plans also give you unlimited talk and text for all phones in the plan. For more information, follow this link:


There will be a membership meeting in the Seattle Hall on Nov. 21. All members in the area are encouraged to attend.


The schedule for MM&P Atlantic Ports holiday parties is as follows: Norfolk, Dec. 5; San Juan, Dec. 6; Charleston, Dec. 17; Boston, Dec. 19; New York/New Jersey, Dec. 20. All Atlantic Ports parties begin at noon. Most Atlantic Ports parties will begin with a brief membership meeting. The Norfolk party, which is a joint party with members of the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA), also begins at noon but will not be preceded by a membership meeting.

The schedule of holiday parties for Gulf Ports is as follows: Houston, Dec. 19; Jacksonville, Dec. 13; Miami-Port Everglades, Dec. 16; New Orleans, Dec. 18.

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 parties in Honolulu, Los Angeles/Long Beach and San Francisco/Oakland are joint parties with MEBA. 


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:

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: 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: 3/10/14

CMM-CHS – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 2/10/14

CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 12/2/13, 12/16/13, 1/27/14, 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): 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:  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: 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): 3/14/14

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

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



MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force –

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: 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: 12/10/13 PM

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

SEC-VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 12/12/13, 2/4/14

SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling:  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.

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