Wheelhouse Weekly – Oct. 27, 2015

October 28th 2015

Volume 20 . . . Number 43. . . Oct. 27, 2015


In this issue:



News for MM&P Members:


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On behalf of CONMARS and CIVMARS, MM&P took part last week in executive meetings with representatives of Military Sealift Command (MSC) in the context of the labor-management partnership forum. The meetings were held at MITAGS, the MM&P training facility in Linthicum Heights, Md.

Participants in the meetings included MSC Commander Rear Adm. Thomas Shannon, MM&P President Don Marcus, MM&P Secretary-Treasurer Steve Werse, MM&P Government Fleet Representative Randi Ciszewski and representatives of the other organizations that represent maritime labor, as well as company employers.

The meetings are aimed at addressing labor and management concerns and workplace challenges and developing joint solutions.

“While our meetings were productive,” Ciszewski said, “liberty restrictions, licensed deck officer shortages, untimely reliefs, pay caps, unilateral changes in working conditions, etc., remain challenges that the parties will have to resolve together if MSC intends to recruit and retain professional MM&P bargaining unit members.”

“MM&P was pleased to host Admiral Shannon, his staff, company employers and leaders from maritime labor,” said MM&P President Don Marcus. “We share the Admiral’s expressed concerns for safety at sea and can think of no more appropriate venue to conduct such a meeting than our facility MITAGS, which is at the forefront of advancing professional standards and safety training in the U.S. maritime industry.”

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MSC Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) USNS CHOCTAW COUNTY is the first ship of its kind to join the Navy’s Fifth Fleet. The Fifth Fleet’s area of responsibility includes the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, and parts of the Indian Ocean.

The CHOCTAW COUNTY will be lay-berthed in the Mina Salman port in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Its licensed deck officers are represented by the MM&P Federal Employees Membership Group (FEMG).

In September 2015, the Navy decided to re-designate the JHSV class of ships as Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) vessels. These 338-foot aluminum catamarans are designed for speed, flexibility and maneuverability. They are faster and much cheaper to operate than traditional Navy warships. They can maneuver in only 13 feet of water, which allows them to navigate closer to shore. The vessels are intended to support users in the Department of the Navy and the Department of the Army.

The EPFs are intended for rapid intra-theater transport of medium-sized cargo payloads. They can reach speeds of 35–45 knots (65–83 km/h; 40–52 mph) and will allow for the rapid transit and deployment of conventional or special forces, as well as equipment and supplies. They are adapted from a commercial ferry design, with a flight deck for helicopters above the vehicle deck.

The new addition to the Navy’s Fifth Fleet “will be a groundbreaker in this type of environment,” said CHOCTAW COUNTY Master and MM&P member Roger Gwinn. “I know that the ship will contribute positively to every task it receives.”

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U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez gave a powerful shout out to labor unions in a recent speech, calling them the foundation of the middle class.

Perez told Maryland teachers in a speech on Oct. 23 that they and their union are in the vanguard of the fight against income inequality.

“In a nation where education is the engine of upward mobility, you are the pistons in that engine,” Perez said.

“Unions reduce income inequality. You improve retirement security. You improve the overall quality of life. You, in short, reinforce the very best of American values.”

During his remarks to members of the Maryland State Education Association, Perez also criticized the use of standardized test scores to “punish” teachers.

“When you screw with unions, you’re screwing with the middle class and with the livelihood of millions of people,” Perez said.

The news was reported by Reporter Erin Cox in The Baltimore Sun.

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The U.S. shipbuilding and ship repair industry issued a statement on Oct. 19 slamming “shameful” and “unfounded” claims of a causal link between the Jones Act and the loss of the containership EL FARO in Hurricane Joaquin earlier this month.

The statement by the Shipbuilders’ Council of America (SCA) was a response to attempts to blame the tragic loss of the EL FARO and its 33-person crew on the Jones Act requirement that ships operating between two U.S. ports be built in the United States.

Critics of the Jones Act, including foreign shipping interests and anti-U.S.-flag and anti-maritime-labor groups, claim that if operators could purchase less costly foreign ships they would replace their vessels more often and similar tragedies could be avoided.

The National Review published an article blaming the EL FARO tragedy in part on the Jones Act’s U.S.-build requirement, claiming that the legislation has “strangled” U.S. shipbuilding and made the U.S.-flag fleet the oldest of any developed nation.

“To imply that vessels that do not have to comply with rigorous U.S. safety standards are safer than those that do defies common sense,” said Matt Paxton, president of the Shipbuilders’ Council of America (SCA).

“To try and connect a law that works to protect our economic and national security to this tragedy, particularly during a period when our industry family is mourning such a loss, is not only incorrect, but shameful.”

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The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced last week it was establishing a task force to recommend policy and procedures for creating a national registration database for the unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) commonly referred to as “drones.”

In testimony to Congress earlier this month, Airline Pilots Association (ALPA) President Tim Canoll cited hundreds of recent reports to the Federal Aviation Administration by pilots who had sighted drones in the air, including during takeoff and landing, the most critical phases of flight.

“Research suggests that there are likely more than 700,000 UAS already in the hands of the public,” Canoll says, “many of whom undoubtedly have very little appreciation for, or understanding of, how to safely operate UAS in airspace that is used by commercial aviation.”

ALPA says over a million drones are expected to be sold to consumers during the 2015 holiday season. DOT has asked ALPA members to participate in the new task force.

“As the operators responsible for flying passengers and cargo, pilots are hyper-focused on ensuring the safety of our aviation system, including the safe integration of unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace,” Canoll said. “We look forward to engaging in discussions with this task force in developing the procedures necessary to ensure we maintain the highest levels of safety of our aviation system.”

ALPA represents more than 52,000 pilots at 31 airlines in the United States and Canada. Both MM&P and ALPA are members of the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department (TTD), which advocates for the members of its 32 union affiliates in Washington, D.C., and nationwide.

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The Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee (MERPAC) has openings for: one licensed deck officer with an unlimited tonnage master’s license with experience on tank vessels; one licensed limited chief engineer or designated duty engineer; one member to represent the viewpoint of shipping companies employed in ship operation management; one unlicensed seaman to represent the viewpoint of the Engine Department; and one member drawn from the general public. If interested, please send a cover letter and resume to Davis Breyer at

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MM&P Atlantic Ports Vice President Don Josberger will hold an Offshore Membership Meeting in the Charleston Union Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 28, at 1100. All Offshore members in the area are encouraged to attend the meeting.

Additionally, phone and internet service has been fully restored at the Charleston Hall.

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The Offshore Familiarization Course will be held in the Los Angeles/Long Beach Union Hall onNov. 18-19, Wednesday and Thursday.

There is no sea-time requirement to take the course. All Offshore applicants, potential transferees from other membership groups and other interested Offshore members are encouraged to take the course as soon as possible.

If you are interested in participating in the course, please contact the hall at which the course has been scheduled. The phone number for the Los Angeles/Long Beach Hall is (310) 834-7201.

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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:

Please note the special addition to our on-campus schedule of MSC classes marked with an asterisk (*), which are not normally scheduled to be held at MITAGS.

AB – 4/18/16

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: 5/27/16

ARPA-OIC – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 1/26/16, 4/5/16

AZIPOD 2-Day – 2/29/16, 5/25/16

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 2/1/16, 4/4/16

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 11/9/15, 2/29/16, 05/23/2016

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling: 3/2/16,04/13/16

BT – Basic Safety Training: 1/25/16, 2/22/16, 04/11/16, 06/27/16

BT-Revalidation –11/3/15, 05/10/16

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 4/25/16

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVNAV-CMM – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): Contact Admissions

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 1/25/16, 3/28/16, 06/20/16, 8/1/16, 10/17/16

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 1/4/16, 3/7/16, 06/06/16, 8/8/16, 11/7/16

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 04/04/16

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 11/2/15, 11/30/15, 12/7/15, 1/11/16,2/22/16, 3/21/16, 06/13/16, 7/25/16, 8/15/16, 9/12/16, 10/10/16, 11/28/16, 12/19/16

LMS – Leadership and Managerial Skills (Management Level – Formerly MCL-CMM) 11/2/15,11/9/15, 11/16/15, 11/30/15, 12/7/15, 12/14/15, 1/18/16, 2/15/16, 3/14/16, 4/4/16, 4/11/16,5/23/16, 6/27/16, 7/11/16, 7/25/16, 8/15/16,8/22/16, 9/12/16, 10/3/16, 10/31/16,11/14/16,11/28/16, 12/5/16, 12/12/16, 12/19/16

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants: 11/16/15, 05/02/16

SEC-APPS – Practical Defense Tactics: 3/28/16, 6/20/16

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management (2 weeks): 04/18/16

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 11/9/15, 11/30/15, 1/11/16, 2/8/16,3/14/16, 04/18/16, 05/09/16, 06/13/16, 9/12/16

SHS-ADV-II-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 11/16/15, 12/7/15, 1/18/16, 2/15/16, 3/21/16, 04/25/16, 05/16/16, 06/20/16

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 11/30/15, 2/29/16, 9/12/16

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 11/9/15, 05/09/16

CNAV-OIC – Celestial Navigation: 11/9/15, 05/02/16, 10/24/16

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: Contact Admissions

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications: 3/2/16

DDE – Great Lakes: 2/1/16, 6/6/16

DPA – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-OIC – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-Pilots – 11/12/15, 3/2/16, 05/25/16

ERM – Engine Resource Management: 11/9/15, 12/14/15, 1/4/16, 2/8/16, 3/21/16, 4/18/16, 5/9/16, 7/18/16, 8/22/16, 9/26/16, 10/24/16, 11/14/16, 11/28/16, 12/5/16, 12/12/16, 12/19/16

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 1/25/16, 2/22/16, 04/11/16, 06/27/16

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications: 11/11/15, 1/26/16, 04/19/16

GL Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization: 1/22/16

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 3/7/16, 8/22/16

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 11/16/15, 6/27/16

LAP- 4/4/16

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes: 1/25/16

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross
Ton License: 11/30/15, 3/7/16, 06/06/16, 8/8/16, 12/5/16

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 11/10/15, 1/27/16, 3/1/16, 4/20/16, 5/23/16

LNG-TPIC – 12/7/15

LTS –Leadership and Teamworking Skills (Formerly MCL-OIC): 12/1/15, 1/7/16, 4/4/16

MEECE – Management of Electrical and Electronic Control: 11/2/15, 12/7/15, 1/11/16, 2/22/16, 3/28/16, 4/25/16, 5/16/16, 7/11/16, 8/29/16, 9/19/16, 10/17/16, 11/7/16, 11/28/16, 12/5/16, 12/12/16, 12/19/16

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 12/7/15, 1/4/16, 3/21/16, 05/16/16

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 2/1/15, 3/14/16, 05/02/16

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 1/4/15, 2/15/16, 3/21/16, 05/16/16

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 11/5/15, 12/12/15, 1/9/16, 1/31/16, 3/19/16, 05/14/16

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: Contact Admissions

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 3/8/16, 6/10/16

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control: 3/5/16 (March is 4 evenings), 6/8/16

*MSC-ENVPRO –2/28/16, 6/5/16

*MSC-FF-HELO – 2/22/16, 6/6/16

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 1/4/16, 2/29/16, 6/13/16

*MSC-Security Watch Basic – 2/26/16, 6/11/16

*MSC-Security Watch Advanced – 1/8/16, 3/4/16, 6/17/16

*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force – 11/4/15, 1/10/16, 3/5/16, 6/18/16

NSAP-MMP – Navigational Skills Assessment Program-MM&P – 11/4/15, 12/7/15, 12/9/15

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 1/25/16, 5/9/16

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 11/3/15, 11/4/15, 11/11/15, 11/18/15, 12/2/15, 12/10/15, 1/6/16, 1/13/16, 2/3/16, 2/10/16, 2/24/16, 3/9/16, 3/16/16, 04/06/16, 04/20/16, 05/04/16, 05/18/16, 06/08/16, 06/22/16

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 1/18/16, 2/1/16

SAR-OIC – Search & Rescue – 04/18/16

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling: 11/2/15, 2/15/16, 04/11/16, 06/27/16

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day: 1/25/16, 3/7/16, 05/02/16

SMS – Contact Admissions

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 2/8/16

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 1/4/16, 7/11/16

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: 2/22/16

TRAC-TUG-2: Contact Admissions

TTT – Contact Admissions

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: 4/28/16

VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 2/15/16, 04/25/16

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level): 3/21/16, 10/3/16

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): 2/29/16, 9/19/16

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Please also see our schedule and enroll online at For registration contact our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen: 206.838.1126 or

November 2015

2-6 Basic Stability
2-6 Engine Resource Management (waitlist only)
4-6 Security – Vessel, Company, and Facility
9th Radar Renewal
9-13 Medical Care Provider
9-20 Medical Person-In-Charge
9-20 GMDSS
16-20 Leadership & Managerial Skills (waitlist only)
16-20 MEECE (waitlist only)
30-4 Leadership & Managerial Skills (waitlist only)
30-4 Engine Resource Management
30-4 MEECE (waitlist only)

December 2015

4th Radar Renewal
7-11 ECDIS (waitlist only)
7-11 Medical Care Provider
7-18 GMDSS
14-18 Leadership & Managerial Skills (waitlist only)
14-18 MEECE

January 2016

4-8 Leadership & Managerial Skills (waitlist only)
4-8 Engine Resource Management
4-22 Terrestrial & Coastal Navigation
11th Flashing Light
11-15 ECDIS
11-15 Train the Trainer
18-22 Leadership & Managerial Skills (waitlist only)
25-29 Radar Observer Unlimited
25-29 MEECE

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The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates, & Pilots, ILA, AFL-CIO, 700 Maritime Blvd. Suite B, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1953. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973. All rights reserved. The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly © 2015. Articles can be reprinted without prior permission if credit is given to The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly. For address changes, send an e-mail to Back issues of The Weekly are posted on