Wheelhouse Weekly – October 08, 2013

October 8th 2013


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

Volume 17 . . . Number 41 . . . Oct. 8, 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 Monday, Oct. 14, for Columbus Day.


The U.S.-flag maritime industry turned out in force last week for showings of the Hollywood blockbuster “Captain Phillips,” which tells the story of the 2009 hijacking of the MV MAERSK ALABAMA. On hand for the showing in Washington, D.C., were MM&P member Captain Richard Phillips and his wife Andrea, MM&P members and officials, representatives of MM&P-contracted companies and members of the armed forces, including Navy Capt. Frank Castellano, who was in command of the USS BAINBRIDGE when Phillips was rescued after spending five days in a lifeboat with the four pirates. Actor Tom Hanks, who played Phillips in the film, was also present, as were director Paul Greengrass and Barkhad Abdi, an actor who plays one of the pirates. Greengrass told the audience he was particularly honored to have been asked to make the film because his father had been a merchant mariner.

In interviews conducted at the screening, MM&P officials took the opportunity to underline the importance of the American Merchant Marine to our country’s economy and national defense, and to bring to the public’s attention the fact that a funding shortfall could soon decimate the Maritime Security Program. “The crew of the ALABAMA refused to give up the ship,”
commented MM&P Secretary-Treasurer Steve Werse. “You can look at the film as a microcosm of our industry: what the pirates could not take away, Congress could legislate away. We are looking at a terrible situation were a funding anomaly of $ 12 million dollars–less than the cost of a highway overpass–could deal a critical blow to our industry.”

Actor Tom Hanks spoke of the importance of the shipping industry to the world economy. “The world operates by it,” he said. “These shoes would not be here, these cameras would not be here, unless guys like Rich Phillips saw to it that they got halfway around the world.” Hanks said he hopes the film “brings a greater appreciation for the hard work” that merchant mariners do.
“They have a lot of pressure on them,” he said. “It’s a very dangerous job as well as an important one and you have to be accomplished to get it done.
I was very impressed with how hard it is and how much is involved.”


MM&P President Don Marcus has written to Russia’s Ambassador to the United States to protest, in the strongest possible terms, the detention on piracy charges of a group of environmentalists, including an MM&P member, sailing on the Greenpeace ship ARCTIC SUNRISE.  If convicted, the 28 members of the crew face jail terms of up to 15 years. 

“As an organization representing merchant seafarers we want to go on record expressing our grave concern with how this situation is being handled by the Russian Federation,” Marcus said. “We can assure you that the officers and crew members of the ARCTIC SUNRISE are not pirates. To prosecute them as such is an affront to the seriousness of the scourge of piracy throughout the world and an insult to the thousands of seafarers who have been and continue to be victimized by it.” Marcus pointed out that the crewmembers of the ARCTIC SUNRISE were involved in a peaceful, non-violent protest.

MM&P has been joined in defense of the crew by Nautilus International, the union that represents British, Dutch and Swiss maritime officers. “The crime of piracy is one that involves illegal acts of violence or detention, or raids committed for private gain,” said Nautilus Secretary-General Mark Dickinson. “We consider that exposing professional mariners and environmental protestors to such a charge is a serious misuse of a term that is widely accepted as a definition for armed robbery on the high seas.”

MM&P and Nautilus have called for the immediate release of the crew of the ARCTIC SUNRISE and for any charges against them to be withdrawn.


Speaking out against the failure to fully fund all programs within the jurisdiction of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, Congressman Ed Pastor (D-Ariz.) told his colleagues that the piecemeal approach advocated by some in the Congress should be rejected. “The Maritime Security Program gets no relief in this piecemeal approach,” Pastor said. “This program provides vital support by helping move the cargo that is necessary to support our national defense efforts overseas.”

Pastor is the Ranking Democrat on the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, which is responsible for funding the Maritime Security Program. He is a strong supporter of our industry and a participant in the maritime grassroots program that includes MM&P, the Marine Engineers’
Beneficial Association (MEBA), the International Longshoremen’s Association
(ILA) and a number of U.S.-flag vessel operators.


Substandard towboat operators taking advantage of the lock-out of union members at two northwest grain terminals are creating new risks to navigation on the Columbia River, according to MM&P and the Inland Boatmen’s Union (IBU). The unions’ warning has been reported in publications that include the Columbian and Workboat.

“Two maritime unions say United Grain Corp. at the Port of Vancouver and Columbia Grain in Portland are employing an unqualified, nonunion tug and towboat operator to move grain amid the companies’ ongoing lockout of union dockworkers, exposing people and the environment to danger on the region’s waterways,” reports Aaron Corvin, port and economy reporter for the Columbian in the Sept. 26 issue of the publication. A similar article appeared in “Workboat.”

MM&P and the IBU are honoring the picket lines maintained by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), which has been locked out of the two terminals for months. United Grain and Columbia Grain “have called in a fly-by-night tug and towboat operator using. unqualified tugboat personnel with no prior experience on the Columbia and Willamette rivers,”
the unions say. They also report that the U.S. Coast Guard is “turning a blind eye” to the situation.

MM&P International President Don Marcus was quoted in the Columbian as saying that the presence of the unqualified boat operator jeopardizes the safety of commerce on the region’s waterways and invites an environmental disaster. “It’s essential that the (grain handlers) and the ILWU get back together and settle this dispute. It’s very negative for everyone on the river,” he said.

Marcus told the journalist in a phone interview that a boat operated by the non-union company has been involved in several incidents. One took place on Aug. 20, when the boat collided with “a stationary object” near United Grain’s facility, causing damage. In another incident, on Sept. 10, he said the same boat failed to maneuver properly to allow company personnel to safely access the boat at Columbia Grain’s facility in North Portland.

In the news release, IBU National President Alan Cote said “accidents are occurring with regularity.” A spokeswoman for the Coast Guard commented for the record that the agency has an open investigation regarding the credentials of one of the crew on the non-union towboat, but that a full-scale investigation would not be opened unless another accident occurred causing damage in excess of $25,000.


The need to preserve the Maritime Security Program (MSP) was a central focus of a maritime industry roundtable hosted Sept. 25 near the Port of Oakland by Congressman John Garamendi (D-Calif.), a staunch advocate of the American Merchant Marine. Among the participants were a number of MM&P members, including Coast Agent Jeremy Hope, San Francisco Bar Pilots President Peter McIsaac, retired APL Captain Jeff Cowan and retired Matson Captain Allen Garfinkle. Cowan is now oil spill prevention specialist at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Garfinkle is executive director of the San Francisco Board of Pilot Commissioners. Other participants included Nina Rannells, executive director of MM&P employer WETA, Dave Nolan and Joseph Brooke of the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA) and International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 10 President Mike Velleggiante.

Garamendi is the Ranking Member on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation.
“We’re here to help shape what a national maritime policy should be,” he opened the meeting by saying. “We have pieces of a maritime policy in this country, but they’re disjointed at best.” Garamendi encouraged participants in the roundtable as well as other maritime industry representatives to contact their legislative officials to express their concern about issues including threatened cuts to the Maritime Security Program, a consequence of the law known as sequestration that has resulted from Congressional gridlock.

Time and again, conversation at the roundtable turned to a lack of federal funding for maritime and transportation infrastructure and unwillingness among many in Congress to make the connection between the maritime industry and economic growth.  “The role of the federal government in American life is being debated in Congress,” Garamendi said. “At the moment, those who believe the federal government should be drastically reduced are winning the day and imposing an austerity budget on America. But ultimately, I think those of us who believe there’s a role for the federal government to invest and grow our economy will win the day.”


Maritime TV has launched a new Internet TV series to highlight the abuse of law, including lack of due process, excessive bail and inhumane detention conditions, to which seafarers who face criminal charges in jails are subject worldwide. The series, “the Maritime TV Seafarer Criminalization Bulletin,” can be accessed at

From excessive detention in inhumane conditions, without hearing or trial, to denial of the rights of habeas corpus, the Maritime TV series goes in depth with moving profiles to update and inform the international maritime community about cases in which seafarers are being treated unjustly.

In the first edition, Maritime TV producer Dave Gardy touches on: the case of three Indian crewmen who have been detained in Togo for over two months; the detention of a group of Greenpeace environmental activists, including an MM&P member, by Russia; a crew arrested in Yemen; and a ship captain’s detention in Panama.

MM&P and Nautilus have spoken out in defense of the Greenpeace crew, who have been charged by Russia with “piracy” (see article, this issue). The Indian crewmembers detained in Togo have also been accused of being “pirates,” Maritime TV reports. The three were arrested by Togolese authorities when they stopped to report that their ship had been attacked by armed men. The captain of the ship is being held, his wife reports, in a small cell with 80 inmates, many of them violent criminals. She told Maritime TV that he is unable to sleep, and that the food he is given is inedible.

“The phenomenon of criminalization is worldwide,” Gardy says. “From extended pre-trial detention, to inhumane conditions, to excessive bail, to lack of translation services.” Readers of the Wheelhouse Weekly will be kept up to date on this important Maritime TV series through regular articles.


The Pacific Maritime Institute is seeking an assistant director. The assistant director supervises all department heads and is responsible for daily administration, activities and operations of the school. Duties and responsibilities include: managing simulation training; coordinating, managing and administering all aspects of navigation skills assessment programs, to include resource management, financial planning, administration, and report processing; helping the director in managing the operational research division, including the simulators, simulation development and visual modeling; serving as instructor for various courses.
Desired qualifications: degree in business admin, education, maritime technology or similar field; USCG License, 1,600 GRT or higher required, experience sailing as chief mate or master a plus. Tug Boat experience a plus. Minimum four years management-level experience in a professional, preferably academic and/or maritime environment. To apply for this job, send an e-mail to Bill Anderson, PMI Director:


Metal workers in Toronto have gone on strike against Crown Holdings, a U.S-based multinational that produces beverages and food containers in 149 countries. Crown is demanding the elimination of a cost-of-living allowance, the establishment of a two-tier wage system and the continuation of a nine-year freeze on pensions. The workers, who are members of the United Steelworkers (USW) have launched a global campaign, “Take-Backs No More,”
with support from unions that include Unite and the International Association of Machinists. Go to to show your support for the striking workers by sending a letter to Crown Holdings CEO John Conway.


There will be a membership meeting at the MM&P New York/New Jersey Hall on Oct. 9 at 1100 a.m. All members in the area are encouraged to attend the meeting.


The KP Alumni Chesapeake Chapter will host a Veterans Day Commemoration Dinner on Thursday Nov. 7, beginning at 5:30PM. MM&P is cosponsor of this annual event, which will be hosted at The Conference Center at the Maritime Institute, 692 Maritime Boulevard, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090. Special guest speaker is Rear Adm. Mark H. “Buz” Buzby, former Commander, Military Sealift Command. A hosted tour of the MITAGS Simulator Technology Center will be held at 4:30. There will also be business networking opportunities and industry table top exhibitors. The cost of the complete dinner program is $35 advance registration, $40 for payments received at the door. For more information, go to: or contact Gary G. Hicks,


The Offshore Familiarization Course will be held in Los Angeles at the MM&P LA/LB Hall on Nov. 13-14. If you are interested in participating in the course, please contact the Los Angeles/Long Beach Hall: 310-834-7201 or
310-834-6667 (fax). 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.


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:

AB – Able Seaman: 10/14/13

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications  Systems Orientation: 11/21/13

ARPA – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 9/24/13, 10/29/13

BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 12/16/13

BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots:  9/23/13

BST – Basic Safety Training: 1/20/14

CHS-BAS – Cargo Handling Basic: 10/21/13

CONSTB – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 1/27/14

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 11/18/13

CMM-ADVNAV – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): 12/2/13

CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability:  10/28/13

CMM-CHS – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 11/4/13

CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 10/28/13, 12/16/13

CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants:  10/21/13

CMM-SHMGT – Ship Management (2 weeks): 10/7/13

CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 9/23/13, 10/21/13, 11/4/13,

CMM-SHS-ADV-I I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 10/28/13, 11/11/13,

CMM-VPEN – 12/9/13

CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 12/16/13

CNAV -11/4/13

CONT PLNG – 11/5/13


ECDIS-OICNW – 10/14/13

ENVIRO-Regs Permit – Environmental Regulations Permit:

EP – Emergency Procedures – 10/30/13

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep and Medications:  1/8/14

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 10/7/13

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 3/17/14

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 12/2/13

HELO-FF – 10/8- 10/10/13

LAP – License Advancement Program for C/Mate & Master: 9/23/13

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

MCL – Management, Communications and Leadership

MCL OICNW -Management, Communications, and Leadership OICNW level: 9/5/14,

MEDIA-RSP – Media Response Workshop:  11/6/13

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 10/14/13, 12/2/13

MED-PIC -R- Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 11/11/13

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 10/14/13, 10/28/13, 12/2/13

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 10/12/13, 10/19/13, 12/7/13

Note that the following MSC courses, not normally offered onsite, are now being offered at MITAGS:

MSC Security Watchstander Basic  11/4 – 11/5

MSC Security Watchstander Advanced  11/6

MSC Ship’s Reaction Force 11/7 – 11/9

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 11/20

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 11/18-11/19

MSC -SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification:  11/11/13



MSC-SRF – 11/7-11/9

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 10/28/13

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 10/9/13, 10/15/13, 10/16/13, 10/30/13, 11/13/13, 12/4/13, 12/11/13

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal: 10/21/13

SAR – 10/28/13

SEC-MSA – 10/17/13 PM, 11/12PM, 12/10/13 PM

SEC-VPDSD -10/18/13, 11/13/13, 12/11/13

SEC-VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 10/14/13, 11/6/13

SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling:  10/7/13, 11/18/13

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling: 10/14/13

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 – 11/4/13

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.

October 2013

14th       Radar Renewal
15-18     ARPA
21-25     Basic Construction and Stability
21-25     Medical Care Provider
21-1       Medical Person-in-Charge
23rd       RFPNW Assessments
28-1       Emergency Procedures/Search and Rescue
28-1       ECDIS

November 2013

4th         Med DOT
11th       Radar Renewal
11-22     GMDSS
18-20     Vessel Security Officer
18-22     ECDIS

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