Wheelhouse Weekly – November 23, 2001

November 23rd 2001


Bridging the Information Gap With E-News You Can Use
Volume 5. . . . . Number 47. . . November 23, 2001






MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly




Congressmen Jim Oberstar (D-MN) and Don Young (R-AK) have introduced HR 3262, their maritime tax reform package. This legislation includes a proposal to create a tonnage tax system for US-flag vessel operators and a tax equity proposal which exempts the first $80,000 in income earned by merchant mariners working aboard US-flag commercial vessels in the foreign trades. HR 3262 represents one of MM&P’s highest legislative priorities for this Congress. Look for further details in future issues of the Wheelhouse Weekly.    


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly




The US Maritime Administration has issued the following notice regarding reemployment benefits for merchant mariners who voluntarily leave their existing employment for employment on a vessel supporting the sealift needs of the US during a war, armed conflict, national emergency or maritime mobilization need are entitled to receive reemployment rights similar to military reservists. This benefit does not apply to commercially employed mariners or civil service mariners who are employed and serving on US-flag vessels, but is intended to protect those qualified mariners who are no longer sailing but who volunteer to temporarily leave permanent employment in shoreside positions to serve on sealift vessels in a national crisis.

Reemployment Rights Criteria: The Maritime Administration under authority delegated by the Secretary of Transportation certifies that the merchant seaman was employed in the activation or operation of a vessel:

  • That is in the National Defense Reserve Fleet (NDRF) including the Ready Reserve Force (RRF), when in use or being activated for use at the request of Secretary of Defense; or
  • That is requisitioned by the Secretary of Transportation during any national emergency declared by proclamation of the President; or -That is owned, chartered or controlled by the US for a war, armed conflict, national emergency or mobilization need (including testing for readiness performance); and
  • During the period of that employment, the merchant seaman possesses a valid license, certificate of registry or merchant mariner’s document issued by the USCG.

Maritime Administration Certification: If a US seaman meets the above criteria, the individual may submit an application for certification of reemployment rights within 45 days after completion of service. The individual must submit relevant documentation to: Maritime Administration; Office of Maritime Labor, Training, and Safety; MAR 250, Room 7302; 400 7th Street, SW; Washington, DC 20590 Documentation must include certificate(s) of discharge or letter certifying service from the Master of the sealift vessels or authorized representatives of government contracted ship managers, copies of relevant U.S. Coast Guard license and/or Merchant Mariner’s Document (MMD) and a letter of request for certification.

MARAD will issue or deny certification not later than 20 days after receipt of request from the merchant seaman. Notifications to Employer: Prior to volunteer service, the individual must give advance written or verbal notice of above applicable employment as a merchant seamen to the person’s employer. After service, the mariner must submit an application to their previous employer for reemployment not later than 14 days after completion of service that is less than 181 days, or not later than 90 days after completion of service greater than 181 days.

Enforcement: MARAD shall provide administrative assistance to merchant seamen volunteers who are certified for reemployment per the above instructions and have been refused reemployment. The seaman must provide a complaint in writing to the MARAD address above describing the allegations of failure, refusal, or imminent failure or refusal of an employer to grant reemployment rights. MARAD will communicate with the individual and the employer to attempt to resolve the complaint without litigation. If attempts to resolve the complaint are unsuccessful MARAD may seek advice of the Department of Labor. If the complainant requests, MARAD will refer to the Attorney General a complaint relating to a private or State employer, or to the Merit Systems Protection Board for litigation, a complaint relating to a Federal executive agency employer. For further info contact Chris Krusa at the Maritime Administration at phone: 202-366-2648 or Email:    


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly




House and Senate conferees have reached agreement on compromise language relating to the ability of the US Army Corps of Engineers’ hopper dredge McFARLAND to continue to operate. The conferees rejected the private industry’s proposal to place the McFARLAND in ready reserve status but did agree to limit the use of the dredge to “Historic scheduled maintenance dredging in the Delaware River … and for urgent dredging, emergencies and in support of national defense.” The MM&P had opposed the proposal to place this dredge in reserve status. The conferees further directed the General Accounting Office “to conduct an economic and technical study to evaluate the benefits and impacts of the minimum dredge fleet.” The study is to include an assessment on the capability and capacity of the private dredging industry “to effectively respond to and accomplish the unique work the dredge McFARLAND has historically performed, with the viewpoints of all stakeholders included.” The conferees want the study finished and submitted to Congress within 180 days.    


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly




Iron ore cargoes loaded into US bottoms on the Great Lakes in October plunged a stunning 25 percent compared to the corresponding period last year. With America’s steel industry fighting for its very existence, the season-to-date iron ore total for US-flag lakers represents a decrease of nearly 20 percent compared to 2000’s end-of-October tally. Stone loadings, dependent on steel’s need for fluxstone, continued their season-long slump. The 3.2 million tons loaded in October represent a decrease of 8.5 percent. For the season, US-flagstone cargoes total 22.1 million tons, a decrease of 5.1 percent.    


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly




The widening of the Panama Canal’s thinnest point will be finished by the end of the year according to Canal Administrator Alberto Aleman Zubieta. The expansion of the Gaillard Cut, begun in 1992, was originally scheduled to be complete in 2014 but was expedited because of traffic pressures. It will be finished on time and at the budgeted $175 million. The 8.5-mile-long cut is being enlarged from 500 feet to 630 feet along straight sections and 730 feet on curves. It will allow two Panamax ships to pass each other in the cut. The work forms part of a $1 billion improvement program that will boost capacity by 20 percent, to 43 transits a day. The widened cut will reduce waiting times that already have fallen to record lows. The average time that ships spent in canal waters had fallen to 22 hours, a reduction of more than four hours from last year.    


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly




James P. Hoffa was reelected Nov.16 to serve what will be his first full five year term of office heading the 1.4 million member International Brotherhood of Teamsters. He is the son of the famed Teamster’s President Jimmy Hoffa, who has been missing and presumed dead since 1975. Court-appointed Election Administrator William Wertheimer reported late on Nov.16 that of 348,080 ballots returned in the election, 310,432 votes were counted. 200,168 were for Hoffa and 108,389 were for challenger Tom Leedham, a local Teamster’s officer from Oregon.

Hoffa first became president in a special election in 1998 against Leedham and another candidate after a scandal led to the invalidation of the 1996 vote in which he was narrowly defeated by former Teamster’s President Ron Carey. In the near future, the Teamsters are expected to begin negotiations around Jan.3 with the union’s largest single employer, United Parcel Service Inc. The union’s contract covering some 210,000 workers there will expire on July 31, 2002. Also coming up for renegotiation is the union’s master freight agreement with the nation’s major trucking firms, which expires on March 31, 2003.    


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly




Americans are working more hours than workers elsewhere in the industrialized world and have the highest productivity rates, according to the International Labor Organization. The average US worker put in 1,978 hours in 2000, nearly one week more on the job than they did a decade earlier. In contrast, hours of workers in Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom have declined. ILO economist Jeff Johnson, who spearheaded the study, said that the only two countries where people worked more are South Korea and the Czech Republic.    


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly




Openings in classes through the end of February 2002:

12/1: ROR; 12/3-7: BRM, FF-ADV; 12/10-21: GMDSS; 12/10-14: BRM, COMP-NET, DCS; 12/17-21: FF-ADV, ARPA, COMP-MAR; 12/17-20: SMA; 1/7-18: MED-PIC, GMDSS; 1/7-11: FF-ADV, BRM, ROP, TPIC; 1/12: ROR, CBRD-1; 1/14-18: FF-ADV, BST, BRM, COMP-ABSS; 1/19: ROR; 1/21-2/1: MED-PIC, GMDSS; 1/21-25: FF-ADV, BST, BRM, ECDIS; 1/21-24: SMA; 1/28-2/1: FF-ADV, BST,BRM, ARPA, COMP-NET; 2/2: ROR; 2/4-8: HAZ, SHS-BAS, BRM, WX-HWA; 2/11-15: BST, ARPA; 2/11-14: SMA; 2/11-22: MED-PIC; 2/16: CBRD-1, ROR; 2/18-22: FF-ADV, COMP-MAR; 2/25-3/1: BST, BRM; 2/25-27: SHS-EMR.

REPLACEMENT CERTIFICATES: Certificates will only be reissued when there is a clear requirement mandating presentation of the certificate. Usually, this will be to support an application to the Coast Guard. In the case of company requirements, our operating companies will accept the MITAGS database, as reflected in the halls, as proof of completion. Requests for replacement certificates should be forwarded directly to the Registrar via mail, fax, or Email. State clearly the specific requirement that is dr iving the request. Actual certificates will only be reissued if the course completion is within the last five years. A letter will serve as documentation for courses beyond five years. Schedule through June 2002 is being maintained on the website. Hard copies of the Jan-June 2002 schedule have been mailed to the halls. For additional course info, contact Mary Matlock at voice: 443-989-3226 or Email:    


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly




Openings in classes through December: 12/3-7: ARPA; 12/10-14: ARPA, GMDSS, BRM; 12/17-21: ARPA, BRM. For more info on courses or PMI, visit their website at The first Medical Person-In-Charge course will commence on February 18th, 2002 in Seattle. Successful candidates will receive STCW certificates in Elementary First Aid, Medical First Aid Provider and Medical Person in Charge. Registration is available on-line at For further info, contact Gregg Trunnell, Director, Pacific NW Maritime Institute, 2333 Third Avenue, Seattle, WA 98121-1711. Phone: 206-239-9965; Fax: 206-441-2995; Email:  

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly

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 contact John Peige at The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea, broadcast worldwide via FEC marine telex andis posted on our web page under “News” at:
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