Wheelhouse Weekly – October 09, 2012

October 9th 2012


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

Volume 16 . . . Number 41. . . October 9, 2012


Did you miss a week? Back editions of the Wheelhouse Weekly are available in the section.


The maritime industry is a primary driver of America’s trade and the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to ship goods, writes Dale Lumme, national executive director of the Navy League, in the Oct. 7 edition of “The Washington Examiner.” Lumme calls Columbus Day “a milestone of history [that] moved us from the Middle Ages to the Modern Era.” 

He points out that the 25 percent of U.S. cargo that travels on our inland waterways accounts for just three percent of our total domestic freight shipping costs. “To put that in perspective,” Lumme writes, “a truck can carry a ton of freight 155 miles on one gallon of gas. On a cargo ship however, that same load can be carried nearly 600 miles, proving shipping to be 370 percent more cost efficient and less damaging to the environment.”

He also notes the U.S.-flag fleet’s leading role in the Food for Peace program, which has benefited more than three billion people in 150 countries. “It is our maritime Americans and shipping industry that ensure this aid reaches those in need,” Lumme writes. “This assistance generates international goodwill and builds connections for years to come.”

The Navy League is a civilian non-profit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to reminding the American people and the government that the United States is a maritime nation, and that its national defense and economic wellbeing are dependent on strong sea services.


President Obama today hailed Leif Erikson, “son of Iceland and grandson of Norway,” as a prime example of the “legacy of daring exploration” that has defined the United States over the course of centuries. He called on Americans to observe the day with ceremonies, activities, and programs to honor our nation’s Nordic-American heritage. Erikson crossed the North Atlantic more than 1,000 years ago to land on the shores of present-day Canada. His arrival marked the first known European encounter with North America. “Adventurers like Leif Erikson still spur our limitless desire to push toward new frontiers and shed light on the unknown,” Obama said. “As we strive for an ever brighter future, may we continue to be inspired by the rugged determination that motivated our forbearers, and may the same spirit of exploration guide our progress in the years to come.”


Responding to the recent cuts in the U.S.-flag cargo preference program, MM&P, the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA), the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and others in the maritime industry grassroots campaign have stepped up their efforts to bring home the importance of the U.S.-flag fleet to members of Congress. The Maritime Advisory Committee (MAC) meetings now being held across the country emphasize the importance of our industry to the residents of each Congressional district. A parallel goal is to underline the essential role that cargo preference and the Maritime Security Program (MSP) play in guaranteeing America’s ability to provide sealift capacity to the Department of Defense.

Participants in the grassroots effort met with Congressman Ed Pastor in his district office in Phoenix on Aug. 31. Pastor, a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, agreed to cosponsor HR 6170, legislation that would restore the cuts to the U.S.-flag cargo preference shipping requirements contained in the recently enacted surface transportation bill. 

Maritime advisory committee members met in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 13 with Congressman Rick Larsen, lead Democrat on the House Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee and a member of the Armed Services Committee. Larsen is a cosponsor of the bill to restore cargo preference funding, as well as a proponent of MSP and a staunch defender of the Jones Act. 

On Sept. 27, a meeting was held with Congresswoman Janice Hahn in her district office in San Pedro, California. Hahn, who is serving her first term in office, has quickly become a strong supporter of the U.S.-flag fleet. She is a cosponsor of HR 6170 and has agreed to work with the maritime advisory committees to generate support for the bill among her colleagues.

If you are interested in participating in maritime grassroots meetings with your own representative, please send your name and nine-digit zip code to MM&P headquarters:

And remember: your contribution to the MM&P Political Contribution Fund (PCF) helps ensure our issues receive the attention they deserve in Washington. To contribute, just go to and click on the PCF link in the left-hand column:


The captain of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Dredge HURLEY was interviewed recently by the Associated Press about the dredging crisis that has shut down parts of the Mississippi River. The HURLEY, a dustpan pipeline dredge, works in remote reaches of the Mississippi, operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the dredging season. The river saw water levels plummet over the summer because of drought conditions. Shippers say they have been forced to substantially lighten barge loads to avoid hitting bottom.

Segree, a member of the MM&P Federal Employees Membership Group (FEMG), told journalist Adrian Sainz that the summer of 2012 has been the busiest for dredging since he joined USACE some 20 years ago. At the time of the interview, four dredges were working the Mississippi from St. Louis to Vicksburg.

As a dustpan dredge, HURLEY uses vacuum-like equipment to suck sand up from the river bottom. It can dredge to a depth of 75 feet and remove up to 5,000 cubic yards of sediment per hour. After the sand is removed, it is pushed through a 1,200 foot pipeline that deposits it on the river bank. Operation of the dredge and associated plant requires a team of about 17 employees per shift. There are 51 positions assigned to the unit as a whole.

“We’re hitting the high spots and then getting out of the way,” Segree told Associated Press. He pointed out that dredging is essential to U.S. industry but hardly noticed by the general public. “If we lose the river system it’s just like losing the interstate highway system,” he says. “Commerce is a vital part of our nation and this is a main artery for commerce.”


Sens. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) are working hard to promote passage of a bill that would keep good call center jobs in the United States. Both senators, who face re-election in November, have been taking the issue to the stump, promoting the United States Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act of 2012, which would make businesses that ship call center jobs overseas ineligible for federal grants or loans. The legislation would require that companies disclose when their calls are being transferred abroad and give consumers the right to talk to a U.S.-based operator. “There is no reason an issue like this shouldn’t be bipartisan,” Casey says. “It’s not a Democratic or a Republican issue. This is a workers’ issue. It’s an American issue.”

Casey, who introduced the bill, has been campaigning for its passage with the support of former Allentown, Pa., call center employees who lost their jobs when T-Mobile moved the operation overseas. The facility had employed 605 workers.

“Most Ohioans who have had to call a major company for a service repair or to get an answer about their cable bill have ended up speaking with a worker in a different time zone, on a different continent,” says Sen. Sherrod Brown, a cosponsor of the bill. “When companies send call center jobs overseas, they don’t just frustrate consumers: they hurt our economy as well. With thousands of Ohioans looking for work, it just doesn’t make sense to ship these jobs overseas.” According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, Ohio has at least 167,480 call center jobs.

Keep U.S. jobs in the U.S.! Call your Senators today toll free at 1-877-426-8013 and ask them to support Senate Bill 3402, the United States Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act of 2012. If you do call, please let us know by sending an e-mail to


The Executive Council of Hong Kong announced on Tuesday that it will establish a commission to determine the cause of the Oct. 1 accident off Lamma Island between the ferry LAMMA IV and another vessel, the SEA SMOOTH. Thirty-nine people were killed in the accident. Seven crewmembers have been arrested, including the captains of both vessels. The commission will investigate what caused the accident and evaluate the safety of maritime traffic in Hong Kong. It is expected to issue a report in six months. The LAMMA IV passenger ferry was traveling from Hong Kong Island to Lamma Island when it collided with the SEA SMOOTH, which is owned by the Hong Kong Electric Company. The LAMMA IV sank within minutes of the collision.


The AFL-CIO last week announced a nationwide boycott of American Crystal Sugar, which locked out 1,300 union workers in August 2011 and has gone to court to block many of them from receiving unemployment benefits. The boycott will start Oct. 15, says AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka, unless the company “returns to the bargaining table in good faith and concludes a contract.” The locked-out American Crystal Sugar employees are represented by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers, and Grain Millers International Union. Health care benefits and job security were reportedly the major sticking points in the negotiations.

A spokesman for American Crystal Sugar said no negotiations with the locked-out workers are planned and that its focus is now on replacing them with other workers. American Crystal Sugar, based in Minnesota, is the largest U.S. beet sugar producer.

Trumka said in a statement that the AFL-CIO is “proud to stand with the courageous locked-out workers who are responsible for American Crystal Sugar’s profitability and previously strong reputation.” He made a comparison to the National Football League referee lockout, saying “locking out skilled workers who do important, unglamorous work hurts not only the workers, but the bottom line.”


Pirates today freed a Greek oil tanker, the ORFEAS, which had been captured in the Gulf of Guinea over the weekend. All 24 members of the crew are reportedly unharmed. The Bahamas-flagged tanker was transporting gasoline to the Ivory Coast when it was seized on Oct. 6. There was no word about whether the pirates had managed to steal the fuel from the vessel. Piracy is increasing in the Gulf of Guinea. Maritime authorities report that the area is the second most common site of pirate attacks, after the waters surrounding Somalia.


The e-mail addresses for the MM&P Plan Office have been changed. The general e-mail address for the MM&P Plan Office is now: In addition, please make a note of the following new addresses:

Patrick McCullough, Administrator,

Ken Ryan, Director Pension, Vacation and IRAP,

Ann Marie McCullough, Director of Claims,

Paula Phillips, Controller,

Dave Romano, Trust Accounting,

Stacey Sullivan, Accounting Manager,

Dale Clark, Operations Manager EDP,


The MM&P Federal Credit Union is happy to announce a great new service for members: the MM&P FCU ATM/Debit Card. With this card, you can: access your MM&P Federal Credit Union accounts 24 hours a day, seven days a week; get cash and check your balance instantly at any ATM machine that displays the Cirrus and Star symbols; make purchases at stores with terminals that display the Cirrus and Star symbols.

You can use your card just like a check at any store or restaurant that accepts VISA, MasterCard or Discover. Just give your card to the cashier, sign the receipt, and your purchase will be deducted from your checking account. If you use the card to place a phone order, just give your card number, the expiration date and the identification code to the catalog representative and the purchase amount will be deducted from the available funds (up to your daily card limit) in your MM&P Federal Credit Union checking (share draft) account.

Apply for your card today and enjoy a whole new level of banking and shopping convenience. Just go to, click on “Credit Union” at the top of the page and then scroll down to the forms section and print the application. Contact us at 800-382-7777 for more information.


MITAGS-PMI is seeking part-time simulator operators for the Transas system.  Responsibilities include: maintaining simulator performance; planning for use of simulators in courses; system support. Major duties include: preparing and operating simulators; helping engineers in daily system checks; helping develop models, databases and other reports. Qualifications include: background or degree in computer science/engineering or related field; two years’ experience in network support, systems integration and programming; experience servicing and designing local area networks and personal computer systems; knowledge of maritime industry; ability to work flexible hours, including early morning, evening and/or weekend schedules; excellent writing and communications skills; proficiency in MS Office Suite. Position requires moderate physical activity.  If you are interested, please send your resume to MITAGS-PMI East Coast Campus Director Eric Friend at


A membership meeting will be held at MM&P’s Boston Hall at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 16. The candidates for International Secretary-Treasurer and Atlantic Ports Vice President will be present at the meeting. All MM&P members in the area are encouraged to attend. Membership meetings in the other East Coast halls will be announced soon.


The following meetings have been scheduled for Pacific Ports: Los Angeles/Long Beach on Oct. 17 in conjunction with the Offshore Orientation Course; Seattle on Oct. 23; San Francisco/Oakland on Oct. 24; Honolulu on Nov. 7. All members in the vicinity are encouraged to attend the meetings.


The Ship Operations Cooperative Program (SOCP) invites you to participate in the SOCP Fall 2012 Meeting to be held at Rhode Island Convention Center (RICC) & Westin Providence Hotel Oct. 22-24. The meeting will be held in conjunction with the annual Society of Naval Architects & Marine Engineers (SNAME) meeting Oct. 24-26.

The meeting will focus on the impact of standards/rules/enforcement/compliance and regulatory changes in the areas of safety, environment and training in the maritime industry. The agenda includes presentations and panel discussions on a broad range of topics, including Vessel General Permit, ballast water regulations, human factors and mariner safety, North American ECA, vessel response plans, work force development and STCW.

All industry representatives are welcome to attend. You must, however, register to attend this event using the links on the SOCP website at under Upcoming Events or at SOCP members can register to attend the SNAME meeting at the SNAME Member rate using the same link.


The Offshore Familiarization Course, formerly called the D-Book Membership Course, will be held at regular intervals throughout 2012.

The schedule is as follows (but please note that course dates may change depending on the number of participants who sign up): Oct. 17-18 in Los Angeles; Nov. 7-8 in Houston.

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 urged to attend.

If you want to attend the course, please RSVP to the local hiring hall where the class is offered or, in the case of a course planned for headquarters, to MM&P Membership Secretary Mary Seidman:


Try our on-line calendar to register for class:

For class availability or information on courses and programs, contact MITAGS Admissions Coordinator Kelly Michielli toll free at 866-656-5568 or e-mail her at

Between now and the end of September, the following courses are scheduled at MITAGS.

AB – Able Bodied Seaman: 10/15

AIS-1 – Automatic Identification Systems (one day): 10/10

ARPA – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 10/23, 12/3

AZIPOD (2-DAY) for Pilots: 10/11, 11/12

BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 10/19

BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots:  11/29

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 11/12

CMM-ADVNAV – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): 10/22

CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 12/17

CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information Systems: 11/12

CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 11/26

CMM-SHMGT – Ship Management (2 weeks): 12/3

CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 10/22, 11/5, 11/26, 12/10

CMM-SHS-ADV-I I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 10/29, 11/12, 12/3, 12/17

CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 11/5

CHS-BAS – Basic Cargo Handling & Stowage: 10/22

CNAV – Celestial Navigation: 11/5

CONSTAB – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 12/15

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning: 11/10

ECDIS-ENAV (2 DAY) for Pilots: 10/11

ENVIRO-Regs Permit – Environmental Regulations Permit: 11/8

EP – Emergency Procedures: 10/17

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 11/26

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 10/10, 11/29

MEDIA RSP – Media Response Workshop: 11/6

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 10/15, 12/3

MED-PIC -R– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 11/12

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 10/15, 10/29, 12/3

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 10/20, 12/8

MSC -SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 11/12

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 10/17, 10/31, 11/14, 12/5, 12/12

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 10/11

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal: 11/26

SAR – Search & Rescue: 10/15

SEC-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 11/7

SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 11/16

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling:  10/15

… 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.


Schedule of Courses – Please also see our schedule online at For registration, call our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen, at (206) 838-1126.

September 2012

28thRadar Renewal

October 2012

15-26   GMDSS
22-26   Radar Observer Unlimited
29th      Radar Renewal
29-2      Basic Construction and Stability

November 2012

5-9         Bridge Resource Management w/ Simulation
6-9         ARPA
7-9         Z-Drive / Tractor Tug Training
12-16     ECDIS
26-30     Radar Observer Unlimited
26-7       GMDSS

December 2012

3rd         Radar Renewal
3-7         Medical Care Provider
3-14       Medical PIC
10-14     ECDIS
17th       Flashing Light


MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 10-9-2012 at 1:00 p.m. (EST)

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
13,492.28 3,066.46 1,443.15

Mutual Funds (Live)

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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.

© 2012, 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