Wheelhouse Weekly – October 06, 2006

October 6th 2006


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

Volume 10 . . . . . Number 40. . . . October 6, 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 Shipping Rules Conference will be held at MM&P HQ October 17-18. For further info or to submit comments, contact Dave Boatner at



The MM&P-crewed Oceanographic Survey Ship USNS SUMNER has been commended by Rear Admiral Robert Reilly, Commander of the Military Sealift Command (MSC), for her professional response in assisting the stricken Cambodian-registered cargo vessel SHUN TONG which was adrift and without power in deteriorating weather south of Korea.

The incident began when SUMNER’s Third Mate John Dean, Mate-on-Watch at the time, and Lookout AB “Pete” Harper noticed a red parachute flare off the ship’s starboard side at about 2330 local time September 21st. Master Fred Smallwood was notified and ordered that the ship break her survey line and proceed to investigate. An unlighted contact was seen approximately eight miles away and upon closing to hailing distance, SUMNER’s crew was informed that the disabled ship had lost all power and was listing approximately 15 degrees in brisk winds. Shouting questions and answers between the two ships, SUMNER learned that although power was out, the ship was not taking on water and there had been no injuries among the nine Chinese crewmembers.

SUMNER notified the USCG SAR Coordination Center in Alameda, CA, and they in turn passed information on the disabled ship to the Korean Coast Guard. The KCG dispatched a vessel to the area to assist, while SUMNER remained on station a few hundred yards from the stricken vessel throughout the remainder of the night. The MSC ship stood by in case conditions onboard the SHUN TONG deteriorated further and crew rescue became necessary. The SUMNER also coordinated rescue communications until the Korean Coast Guard unit arrived at 0530 where upon she was released from her On-Scene Commander duties.

In addition to Admiral Reilly’s commendation, which was directed primarily to the Bridge Team for its vigilance, Captain Smallwood commended the entire crew for their professional response throughout the long night. “What can I do to help?” was a question received on the Bridge from virtually every member of the crew. SUMNER is a unit of the MSC and is contract-operated by Horizon Lines, LLC of Kenilworth, NJ. She is manned by 9 Officers and 15 unlicensed mariners and has been operating in the Western Pacific for several years.

USNS MERCY CREWED BY MM&P LDOs Completes Aid Mission

The naval hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), crewed by members of MM&P Government Employees’ Membership Group, returned to Naval Base San Diego after a five-month Western Pacific humanitarian deployment Sept. 29. MERCY’s Master is Robert Wiley. Other Licensed Deck Offices on board were Chief Mate Michael Keller, Second Mate Tiffany Brockman, Second Mate David Boudreaux, Third Mate Richard Paramore, Third Mate Timothy Christensen and Third Mate Scott Pistoressi.

As previously reported in the Wheelhouse Weekly, MERCY deployed to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to the people of the Philippines, Bangladesh, Indonesia and East Timor. “I think they did a super job, taking care of all the people in the entire area they were assigned to,” said Rear Adm. Brian Brannman, the Naval Medical Center San Diego commander. “Plus they revisited the area devastated by the tsunami, making a positive difference having another facility to help and bring healthcare for the needy.”

The deployment has been a model of cooperation and deliberate planning with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and demonstrates the Navy’s commitment to bringing security, help and hope to those in need. “When it comes down to the job of humanitarian assistance, you get involved in providing healthcare,” said Brannman. “There’s no distinction between military and NGOs because it’s all about providing healthcare. Everybody worked together like one team.”

MERCY deployed in an innovative way, utilizing a creative approach to provide the type and level of care needed to aid people of the region. The humanitarian assistance crew, many of them NGOs, took advantage of MERCY’s Computerized Tomography (CAT scan) testing and state of the art operating rooms, especially for more complex cases. Brannam said the MERCY treated everything from bruises to major medical procedures, like clef palettes and reconstruction facial surgery, and took care of people who had previous untreated traumatic wounds.

Military health care professionals from Canada, India, Singapore, Australia and Malaysia made up another significant part of the MERCY team. According to Capt. Joseph Moore, the ship’s commanding medical officer, the crew did a tremendous job in humanitarian assistance in four nations, and took care of more than 60,000 people in need. “I’m glad to be home with my family,” said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Ronald Bayaca, a radiology technician aboard Mercy. “The deployment was a big success and now I’m ready to go home.”

MM&P’s Government Employees’ Membership Group Representative Randi Ciszewski represents Licensed Deck Officers employed by the MSC.


MM&P-contracted Horizon Lines has won the American Maritime Safety (AMS) Quality Ship Management Award. The presentation was made at the annual AMS membership meeting and award ceremony on September 26th in New York. McAllister Towing & Transportation Company won the Tug & Barge Safety Award. The AMS consortium is a non-profit trade association that was established in 1988 to facilitate the maritime industry’s compliance with US Coast Guard regulations and international protocols. The AMS consortium administers a chemical testing program for 380 US-flag deep-sea, tug and barge and Great Lake vessel operators as well as a significant number of international flag vessel companies.


American Shipper Magazine reports that MM&P-contracted Matson Navigation has signed a $17 million contract with Atlantic Marine Alabama, to convert its containership MOKIHANA to a combination roll-on/roll-off and container vessel. Matson said conversion of the ship would increase its Ro/Ro capacity by 35 percent. Modification work on the 2,800-TEU containership will begin April 2007, with delivery scheduled for June 2007. The conversion will allow Matson to provide “auto customers with the two features they prefer: frequency of service and Ro/Ro capacity,” said Dave Hoppes, senior vice president, ocean services.


MIRAID President Jim Patti reports that immediately prior to the Congressional recess last Saturday, the House of Representatives passed HR 5681, the Coast Guard Authorizations Act of 2006. Section 307 of this legislation contains language promoted and supported by the MM&P regarding the issue of access by crewmembers and their representatives to terminal and port facilities. The language states the following:

“Each facility security plan approved under section 70103(c) of title 46, United States Code, shall provide a system for seamen assigned to a vessel at that facility, pilots, and representatives of seamen’s welfare and labor organizations to board and depart the vessel through the facility in a timely manner at no cost to the individual.”
Congress is expected to return to work on November 13th and the Senate is expected to consider HR 5681 at that time.


As reported last week’s issue, the Coast Guard has announced the availability of, and seeks public comment on, a draft Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) to replace the existing NVIC 2-98, “Physical Evaluation Guidelines for Merchant Mariner’s Documents and Licenses.”

The new proposed NVIC is entitled “Medical and Physical Evaluation Guidelines for Merchant Mariner Credentials.” It will be officially numbered if and when it becomes effective. 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 e-mail address:

The USCG encourages you to submit comments. The most helpful comments will include the specific section of the proposed NVIC to which each comment applies, as well as the reason for each comment. Comments should be identified by USCG docket number USCG-2006-25080. Please 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.

Due of the potential serious effect this proposal could have on MM&P members, the draft NVIC is currently under review at MM&P HQ so that a comprehensive union policy statement can be developed and then circulated to all ports for review. For more info, contact Executive Assistant to the President Mike Rodriguez or Director of Special Projects Richard Plant at MM&P HQ. Rodriguez can be reached at 410-850-8700 ext. 23 or by e-mail at Plant can be reached by at 410-850-8700 ext. 36 or by e-mail 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.


The Senate unanimously approved Mary Peters as the new Secretary of Transportation on Saturday. The confirmation came just before Congress recessed for the upcoming election. Maria Cino, who has been acting secretary since Norman Mineta left in July, will return to her position as deputy secretary. When President Bush announced his selection to succeed Mineta as Transportation Secretary on September 5th, he called Mary Peters “the right person for this job.” She is 15th Secretary of Transportation.

Peters will bring a wealth of transportation experience to the job, both in the private and the public sectors. She previously served as head of the Federal Highway Administration from 2001 to 2005 and since November of last year, she was national director for transportation policy and consulting in the Phoenix office of an Omaha-based architectural, engineering and consulting firm. Prior to that, Peters directed the Arizona Department of Transportation, culminating a 16-year career there.

Peters will be responsible for fostering a safe, reliable and efficient transportation system, and will oversee an agency with almost 60,000 employees and a $61.6 billion budget that oversees air, maritime and surface transportation missions. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Phoenix and attended Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government Program for State and Local Government Executives.


Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao’s speech to the United States Merchant Marine Academy Alumni Foundation in New York City last week centered on the dual role of American merchant mariners in winning the war on terror and strengthening the nation’s economy. Chao said, “When the history of this era is written, the US Merchant Marine will be remembered as a key part of the effort to defend our homeland.”

Chao told her audience that cargo and passenger traffic is anticipated to double in the next two decades, making the need to train and keep skilled merchant mariners a high priority. She then mentioned three new cruise ships in Hawaii as an example of the Bush Administration’s commitment to revitalize the US-flagged cruise ship industry. The new ships are expected to create more than 20,000 jobs, including 4,000 seafaring jobs. Chao also extolled the Bush Administration’s expansion of the Maritime Security Program. “Under this program, 13 new US-flag ships have been added to the fleet,” she said.

Chao finished her remarks by reminding the audience that “the US Merchant Marine serves our nation in war, and its role is not as greatly appreciated as it should be. Merchant Mariners serve alongside our soldiers as an auxiliary of the Navy. Graduates of Kings Point receive reserve commissions in the Navy, as well as their ratings in the Merchant Marine. And today, more than 8,000 brave Merchant Mariners crew auxiliary vessels for the United States Navy to support our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. They have delivered more than 92 percent of the equipment and supplies needed by our men and women in uniform.”

Also attending the dinner was Sean Cannaughton, who was recently confirmed by the Senate as the new US Maritime Administrator. He is also a graduate of the USMMA. The event benefited the American Merchant Marine Museum which commemorates the important role that the Merchant Marine has played in both times of peace and war. The American Merchant Marine Museum’s extensive collection of Maritime artifacts tells the story of the US Merchant Marine’s service to this nation during both war and peace.


The final version of the defense authorizations legislation (Section 1017) requires the Department of Defense to implement a new acquisition policy regarding DOD contracts with Jones Act-qualified vessels.

Specifically, the legislation directs DOD to implement an acquisition policy that establishes, as one criterion to be considered when contracting with a “covered vessel” for the carriage of DOD cargo, the extent to which the maintenance, repair and overhaul work on “covered vessels” offered to DOD has been performed in a US shipyard. The legislation specifically defines a “covered vessel” as a vessel that is eligible to operate in the domestic Jones Act trades.

In other words, when a company responds to a DOD solicitation by offering a Jones Act vessel, DOD is required to consider the extent to which foreign shipyard work was performed on that vessel, and to give a preference to Jones Act vessels that have had shipyard work performed in the United States.

Currently, the USCG rules on work for US ships in foreign yards on an individual basis. Current rules call for not more than 10% of a Jones Act compliant vessel’s hull work to be done in foreign shipyards. Some critics claim that Jones Act ship owners are skirting the 10% rule by having work done overseas in successive 10% increments.


Congressman James L. Oberstar (D-MN) has received the “Iron Man Award” from Great Lakes Maritime Task Force. The award recognizes Oberstar’s long commitment to healthy iron mining, steel and Great Lakes shipping industries and was presented on September 29th in Washington, DC. MM&P was represented at the award presentation by MIRAID President Jim Patti.

“Since being elected to the US House of Representatives in 1974, Congressman James L. Oberstar has promoted and protected America’s iron mining, steel producing and Great Lakes shipping industries like none before him,” said James H. I. Weakley, President of Great Lakes Maritime Task Force (GLMTF), a broad-based labor/management coalition promoting shipping on the Great Lake and related industries. “Whenever an issue affects these vital industries, you can be certain that Congressman Oberstar will play a leading role in reaching a positive conclusion.”

Weakley, who is also President of Lake Carriers’ Association, noted it is difficult to decide which of the Congressman’s many accomplishments should be mentioned first. “There is hardly an aspect of these industries that has not benefited in some way from Congressman Oberstar’s attention and dedication. Saving the icebreaker MACKINAW until its replacement was built was certainly crucial, but if the iron mines and steel mills were shuttered by unfair competition, what would be the gain? Congressman Oberstar has an incredible ability to grasp the big picture and address all the issues.”

The USCG icebreaker MACKINAW was to be decommissioned in 1994, but the winter of 1993/1994 was so harsh the cutter lead convoys of vessels laden with Minnesota iron ore across a frozen Lake Superior. Congressman Oberstar convinced the Coast Guard to keep the icebreaker in service and study future needs on the Great Lakes. The new MACKINAW was christened in 2006.

Congressman Oberstar has also been the driving force behind efforts to build another Poe-sized Lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. The locks link Lake Superior to the lower four Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway. Roughly 70 percent of US-flag carrying capacity on the Lakes is restricted to one lock, the Poe. Were it to fail, US-flag shipping on the Lakes would be unable to meet the needs of commerce. The smaller Canadian and overseas vessels could transit the MacArthur Lock, but the delays would be so significant the Great Lakes would be unable to compete with other port ranges. The US Army Corps of Engineers considers the Soo Locks the single point of failure that could shut down Great Lakes shipping.

“Congressman Oberstar has repeatedly tried to move the replacement lock forward, but a flawed funding formula has stalled the project since its authorization in 1986,” said Weakley. “He has included the replacement lock, built at full Federal expense, in the House’s Water Resources Development Act of 2006. If the Senate concurs during conference, the lock will finally become reality and assure the future of domestic, US/Canada and overseas shipping via the Great Lakes.”

American labor has long considered Oberstar a great ally, especially the men and women who crew the US-flag Great Lakes fleet. “Congressman Oberstar was among the first in the House of Representatives to sign a concurrent resolution defending the Jones Act, the law that reserves domestic waterborne commerce to vessels that are US-owned, -built and -crewed, from unprecedented attacks in the mid-1990s,” explained Weakley. “Were it not for his legendary support, a US flag on the stern of a vessel would be a rare sight in American waters.” The Congressman saved more jobs when he played a key role in the reopening of an iron ore mine that now thrives as United Taconite.

“I am truly honored to receive this award,” said Congressman Oberstar. “I consider every day I serve in the House as a privilege that bears great responsibility. While much has been accomplished to keep Great Lakes shipping safe and efficient, we face new challenges, in particular, restoring adequate funding for dredging Great Lakes ports and waterways. It is incomprehensible to me that the ships that depart our Minnesota harbors cannot carry full loads of iron ore and low-sulfur coal because the US Army Corps of Engineers does not get enough money to maintain the system. This waterway is too important a part of the national transportation infrastructure to be treated like a poor relation. In the next Congress, I will do everything in my power to bring our fair share of Federal dredging dollars back to the Great Lakes.”


MM&P’s Director of Special Projects Richard Plant advises that as of February 2007, license requirement changes will go into effect that will affect all members who want to raise their current license rating. Beginning in February, in order to sit for the Management (upper) level deck exam, candidates will be required to take 10 to 12 weeks of training courses. Plant says that, “If you have the sea time and meet the current qualifications please consider raising your license from Third to Second and from Chief Mate to Master or First Assistant to Chief Engineer before February 2007.”

Plant explains that, “Presently, mariners wishing to raise their license from Third to Second only need to take the Second’s exam. Mariners raising their license from Chief Mate to Master or First Assistant to Chief Engineer only need take the Master or Chief Engineer exam. As of February 2007, mariners wishing to raise their license from Third to Second will have to take the combined Third and Second exam. Mariners raising their license from Chief Mate to Master or First Assistant to Chief Engineer will have to take the combined Chief Mate and Master or First Assistant and Chief Engineer exam.”

Plant also notes that, “Apparently the National Maritime Center will be reviewing this issue and coming out with ‘guidelines’ as to how this change over from the raise in grade to sitting for the combined 3M/2M, 3AE/2AE, CM/MA and 1stAE/Chief exams will work. More specifics will be known after I receive the information from them.” Members with questions on these changes should contact Plant at 410-850-8700 ext. 36 or e-mail him at:


Tuesday, November 7th, is Election Day. People across the country will have the opportunity to vote for their representatives and, in 33 states, for their senators. This is an opportunity for all of us who care about the US Merchant Marine to make a decision that will affect our future and help determine whether our country maintains a US-flag shipping industry.

This is our opportunity to vote for our jobs, to protect our economic interests and to promote a stronger, larger and more competitive US-flag Merchant Marine.

Every vote counts. Remember that whether or not we are disillusioned by what has or hasn’t happened in Washington, the candidates who are ultimately elected November 7th will control the fate of our industry and thus, our future.

Log onto MM&P’s Web site at , for a list of candidates who support: funding and expansion of the Maritime Security Program; enforcement of the Jones Act; implementation of cargo preference programs; the right of American workers, including licensed maritime officers, to join and belong to unions and bargain collectively. Please review the candidate recommendation page.

If we take the time to learn about an individual’s position on issues important to our industry and if we use that information when deciding how to vote, we can and will make a difference. We can elect candidates who will fight by our side for a stronger US-flag Merchant Marine.

Go to today to view our Candidate Recommendations. If you don’t have access to the Internet and want information on the candidates, send an e-mail to Jim Patti at MIRAID in Washington, DC at or contact him by phone at 202-463-6505.


The next Ship Operations Cooperative Program (SOCP) Meeting will be held at MITAGS on November 1st and 2nd. All SOCP meetings are open to the general public. SOCP works with the support of Maritime Administration (MARAD) and various industry, labor, and government organizations to address common challenges and identify new solutions for improvements in ship operations. For more info, visit the SOCP website at or contact Todd Ripley at 202-366-2625.


CLASS OPENINGS: Between now and the end of December 2006, seats are available in the following courses:

AIS – Automatic Identification System: 12/15
ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 10/24, 11/14, 12/5
AZIPOD-KAM-2 – Two-Day Azipod and Kamewa Steering and Propulsion Systems: 12/4

BRMP – Bridge Resource Mangement for Pilots: 10/10
BST – Basic Safety Training: 10/30, 11/13

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
*WX-BASREF-2 – Two day Basic weather refresher, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED PREP for Advanced Meteorology: 10/26
*CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 10/30
CMM-ADVSTB – 10/23, 11/27
CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 1): 11/13
CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 11/6
CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart and Display Information System: 10/16, 12/4
CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 10/30, 12/4
CMM-SHS-ADV-1 – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 10/23, 11/13
CMM-SHS-ADV-II – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 10/30
CMM-SHMGT-I – Ship Management II (week 1): 12/11
CMM-WKP – Watchkeeping: 11/27

COMP-OPSYS – Basic Computer Course: 11/13
CONT-PLNG – Contingency Planning: 10/13, 12/16

CSE-AASE – Confined Space Entry: 11/28

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 10/30, 11/13

HAZ-Hazardous Materials (5-day): 11/6

MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 10/12, 11/9

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 10/21, 12/9
MED-PIC – Medical Person In Charge: 12/4
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 10/16, 12/4

[MSC – Military Sealift Command]
MSC-CBRD-1 (Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Orientation): 10/25
MSC-DC (Damage Control): 10/26
MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 11/3 (must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years)

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal (5-day): 11/27
ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 10/9, 10/23, 11/13, 12/4

SEC-OFF-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 10/9, 11/6, 12/12
SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling 11/6
SHS-EMR- BRMP-3- Emergency Shiphandling & Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 12/4

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

October 2006

10/9-13 ECDIS
10/9-13 Radar Observer Unlimited
10/9-20 GMDSS
10/10-13 Survival Craft / Lifeboatman
10/16-20 Basic & Advanced Firefighting
10/23 Flashing Light
10/23-27 ARPA
10/23-27 Cargo Handling & Stowage – Basic
10/24-25 Simulation Assessment

November 2006
10/30-11/3 Tankerman Person in Charge
10/30-11/3 Able Bodied Seaman
10/30-11/3 Medical Person in Charge
10/30-11/3 Medical First Aid Provider
11/6-10 Tankerman Person in Charge
11/6-10 ARPA
11/6-10 Emergency Shiphandling
11/6-17 GMDSS
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
11,866.69 +187.62 for the week 2,306.34 +47.91 for the week 1,353.22 +17.37 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.