News

Wheelhouse Weekly – October 11, 2010

October 11th 2010

 

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

Volume 14 . . . . . Number 41. . . .October 11, 2010

STORIES COVERED

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


MM&P CLOSED OCT. 11 FOR COLUMBUS DAY

All MM&P union halls, MM&P headquarters, MM&P Plans and the MM&P Federal Credit Union will be closed on Monday, Oct. 11, for Columbus Day.         


MM&P INTERNATIONAL SECRETARY-TREASURER TO MEET WITH PMR MEMBERS ON WEST COAST

MM&P International Secretary-Treasurer Don Marcus will meet this week with members of the union’s Pacific Maritime Region (PMR) in the Puget Sound area. All members of the PMR-United Inland Group are strongly encouraged to attend these meetings.

The meeting schedule is as follows:

  • TUKWILA: Wednesday, Oct. 13, 1000-1200, at the MM&P Offshore Hall, 15208 52nd Ave. S., Tukwila, WA 98188, in the lower-level assembly hall;
  • POULSBO: Thursday, Oct. 14, 1000-1200 and 1300-1500, at the “Sons of Norway” Hall, 18891 Front St. NE, Poulsbo, WA 98370;
  • ANACORTES: Friday, Oct. 15, 1000-1500, United Steelworkers Hall, 902 5th St., Anacortes WA 98221.

    UIG Vice President Mike Murray and PMR Representative Tim Saffle will be present at the meetings to give their reports to the membership.

    All members of the MM&P Pacific Maritime Region are urged to attend the meetings, at which many issues of importance to PMR members will be discussed.


    9.6 PERCENT U.S. UNEMPLOYMENT RATE UNDERLINES IMPORTANCE OF JONES ACT

    The Jones Act and its proven ability to support good-quality American jobs take on heightened relevance in challenging economic times such as the present, says the Maritime Cabotage Task Force (MCTF).  

    The Jones Act is the name commonly given to the body of U.S. maritime law that guarantees that America’s domestic waterborne commerce will be controlled by American companies operating U.S.-flag vessels built in American shipyards and crewed by American merchant mariners.

    The MCTF, of which MM&P and MIRAID are both members, released a statement last week underlining the importance of the Jones Act. The statement came on the heels of the most recent U.S. jobs report, which found the national unemployment rate unchanged between August and September, at a staggering 9.6 percent.

    It is essential that programs such as the Jones Act “remain uninhibited during these challenging economic times,” the MCTF said. “The Jones Act boosts our economy by maintaining the efficient and economical flow of domestic waterborne commerce, providing good, family-wage jobs for Americans. For example, every job created in an American shipyard spawns four jobs elsewhere in the U.S. economy. Overall, the Jones Act maritime industry supports 500,000 jobs.”

    “Though the law’s economic benefits are clear, there has been discussion in Congress of repealing the Jones Act,” the MCTF said. “Any efforts to repeal or broadly waive the Act would remove a law that has been proven to create jobs at a time millions of Americans are longing to get back to work.”


    TOWING VESSEL PUSHING THREE BARGES HITS POWER LINE, TEMPORARILY CLOSING HOUSTON SHIP CHANNEL

    The Houston Ship Channel was closed for several days last week after a barge pushed by an AEP towing vessel allided with a power structure. The damage occurred when one of three barges being pushed by the towing vessel SAFETY QUEST struck a highline electrical structure in Baytown early last Sunday morning. The tower supports power lines that cross the Houston Ship Channel. Following the accident, the Coast Guard stopped all inbound and outbound traffic to the Houston Ship Channel and established a safety zone from channel marker 105 to 124. The cause of the accident is under investigation. The channel is now open to all traffic.


    NORTHROP GRUMMAN PLAN TO CLOSE AVONDALE SHIPYARD A BLOW TO GULF COAST EMPLOYMENT

    The number of unemployed workers in Gulf Coast communities will rise significantly if Northrop Grumman goes ahead with its plan to close the Avondale shipyard, according to the AFL-CIO. Last week, the first round of Avondale workers received pink slips from the company, telling them not to return to work. Northrop Grumman plans to lay-off all 5,000 of Avondale’s workers and permanently shutter the shipyard.

    Although unemployment rates in the Gulf States in August were approximately 2 percent lower than the nationwide average, employment in the region is still down about 20,000 jobs in recent years because of the impact of Hurricane Katrina and the oil spill.

    The AFL-CIO says closing Avondale, which it called “the hidden pillar for the entire Gulf Coast,” would ultimately cost the region over 12,000 jobs. “On top of 5,000 shipbuilders, 7,000 more will lose their jobs when Avondale closes,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “The economic impact will be many times that of the BP oil spill.”

    Just last month, the Navy announced plans to keep work at Avondale and move up production dates for future ships that could be built there. Northrop Grumman’s response was to proceed with layoffs. The company is taking advantage of tax loopholes that make it more profitable to close the shipyard then to keep it operating.


    ONE NATION MARCH DRAWS 200,000 TO WASHINGTON

    Tens of thousands of union members and their families rallied in Washington Oct. 2 to promote job creation and national unity. “It’s important that we make jobs the priority in this country and not all the other issues that are dividing us,” said one participant. “I think jobs are the one issue that’s important to all of us.”

    “Behind the voices of fear and hatred that have risen to dominate our national conversation are the forces of greed that put us in the economic mess we’re in today,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “We’ve got a lot of work to do to repair the damage that greed did to our country,” he said. Many of the marchers carried signs that read, “We March for Hope, Not Hate.”

    “What we’ve been seeing recently on Capitol Hill has been partisan—partisanship at its very worst,” AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Schuler told the crowd. “One party—the minority—has formed a solid bloc to fight and stop every attempt by President Obama and the Democratic leadership to create jobs…to stop outsourcing…to help unemployed workers…and to get America back on track.”

    “We come together today because America needs jobs: good jobs that support families, give our young people paths of opportunity and allow people to retire with dignity,” she said.

    “I hope you’ll pledge to march again on Nov. 2, to the voting booths, and take your family members and friends,” said American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten. “Cast your ballots for the economic patriots who will invest in good jobs and who will fight for you.”


    TENS OF CONTAINER SHIPS BLOCKED AS FRENCH OIL PORT WORKERS EXTEND STRIKE

    On Monday, a strike by workers at the Marseille oil terminals entered its 15th day, forcing refinery operations to begin shutting down and blocking tens of container ships waiting to unload. A wider transport strike, including all the nation’s ports, has been called beginning Oct. 12. Workers in other Marseille-area terminals also went on strike last week. This weekend, new strikes began at the ports of Dunkirk and Saint-Nazaire.

    A spokesman for the French union Confederation Generale du Travail (CGT) said that the Marseille-area strike was motivated by management’s proposal to cut back on port workers’ hours and eliminate overtime and weekend shifts. The workers are also protesting the government’s attempt to privatize unloading on the waterfront and increase the age at which French workers can retire.


    SOLE RELIANCE ON GPS CAUSED RECENT GROUNDING, INSURANCE GROUP SAYS

    The recent grounding of a containership was caused by sole reliance on GPS, according to an article in the most recent edition of the P&I Club’s “Stop Loss Bulletin.” The insurers said the accident “serves as a timely reminder of the consequences of failing to check navigation charts for information about corrections that need to be applied to satellite-derived positions.” According to the publication, the ship failed to recognize that a significant correction had to be applied to GPS positions before they were plotted on the chart. The ship ran aground during a coastal passage.


    SUBMISSIONS BEING ACCEPTED ON CASE-BY-CASE BASIS FOR MM&P OFFSHORE DIVISION SHIPPING AND WORK RULES COMMITTEE MEETING

    The Offshore Division Shipping and Work Rules Committee will meet at MM&P headquarters in Linthicum Heights Oct. 19-21. Although the official deadline for rule change submissions has passed, the committee is still accepting submissions on a case-by-case basis for consideration depending on the amount of time available. Please submit recommendations for rule changes to the Offshore Division Shipping and Work Rules Committee c/o the International Secretary-Treasurer. Submissions must include: the page number of the proposed change/addition; the section heading of the Rule being changed; the paragraph (ex: 2. (a) (iii) ¶3 etc.) to be changed; the wording of the change/addition; the purpose of the change/addition; the name(s) of the submitter(s).


    401(K) ACCOUNTS CAN BE CONVERTED INTO ROTH ACCOUNTS, BUT RESTRICTIONS APPLY

    A bill signed into law on Sept. 27 makes it possible to convert an account balance in a 401(k) plan, such as the Fidelity IRAP, into a “Roth account.”  Subject to the approval of the Chairman and Secretary, the MM&P Plan IRAP is expected to adopt this new feature before the end of 2010. Fidelity will not however be able to offer the conversion feature until guidance has been issued by the relevant government agencies.

    Conversions are allowed only for accounts that are eligible for immediate distribution by the Plan. This means that the only IRAP/401(k) participants who will be able to take advantage of this provision are those who have ceased to be actively employed in the maritime industry.

    The amount converted into a Roth account is included in taxable income. If the conversion takes place by Dec. 31, 2010, the income inclusion may be postponed:  Instead of being taxable in 2010, the income may be divided into two equal installments and added to taxable income in 2011 and 2012.  The use of this provision is optional.
    After 2010, the amount of any conversion will be included in taxable income in the same year in which the conversion takes place.

    The advantage of a Roth account is that distributions are not taxable, so long as they meet these conditions: the Roth account has been in existence for at least five years; the account owner is at least 59½; years old or is disabled; the distribution is made after the death of the account owner.

    Conversion is not the right choice for everyone. If you are eligible to convert your IRAP/401(k) benefits into a Roth account, you should consult your investment advisor or tax advisor about the advantages and drawbacks depending on your own personal financial and fiscal situation.


    MM&P MEMBERSHIP MEETING OCT. 14 IN SAN FRANCISCO/OAKLAND HALL

    All members and applicants are encouraged to attend the Membership Meeting that will be held in the MM&P San Francisco/Oakland Hall immediately after Job Call on Oct. 14.


    D-BOOK MEMBERSHIP CLASS IN LOS ANGELES HALL ON NOV. 10-11

    The D-Book Membership class will be held in the MM&P Los Angeles Hall on Nov. 10 and 11. All applicants should complete the D-Book Membership Class as soon as possible to avoid delays in becoming members. Applicants should take the course before completing 360 days of covered employment. For more information and to sign up for the Nov. 10-11 course, please contact the Los Angeles Hall at 310-834-7201.


    IN MALAYSIA, CARGO SHIP STRIKES FISHING BOAT

    Six fishermen died when their boat was struck by a container ship on Oct. 7. The incident occurred in the Malacca Strait, about 10 nautical miles off central Selangor, Malaysia. The fishermen were sleeping when their boat was hit by the ship. Among the dead is the captain of the fishing boat.


    MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

    Between now and the end of December 2010, the following courses are scheduled at MITAGS.  For class availability or information on MITAGS courses and programs, contact admissions toll free at 866-656-5568 or e-mail: admissions@mitags.org.

    AB � Able Bodied Seaman: 10/18
    ARPA � Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 11/30
    Azipod for Pilots: 10/14

    BRM- Bridge Resource Management: 12/13
    BRMP � Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 11/29

    [CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]CMM-ADVWX � Advanced Meteorology: 11/1
    CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 11/1
    CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Operations (week 1): 11/8
    CMM-CHS II � Advanced Cargo Operations (week 2): 11/15
    CMM-ECDIS � Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems: 11/15, 12/13
    CMM-MPP � Marine Propulsion Plants: 10/25, 11/29
    CMM-SHMGT I – Ship Management (week 1): 12/6
    CMM-SHMGT II – Ship Management (week 2): 10/18, 12/13
    CMM-SHS-ADV-I � Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 10/25, 11/29
    CMM-SHS-ADV-I I � Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 11/1, 12/6
    CMM-VPEN � Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 11/8, 12/6
    CMM-WKP � Advanced Watchkeeping: 10/25, 11/29

    CONT PLNG � Contingency Planning: 11/11
    CSE-AWR-2 � Confined Space Awareness: 11/11


    ENVIRO-Regs Permit � Environmental Regulations Permit: 11/10
    ENAV � Electronic Navigation: 11/1

    FSM � Fatique, Sleep and Medications for Pilots: 12/1

    GMDSS – Global Marine Distress Safety System: 10/18

    HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 11/29

    LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 10/12, 11/29

    MED-PIC – Medical Person In Charge: 11/8
    MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 11/8
    MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 11/13


    ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 10/20, 11/17, 12/1, 12/15
    ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal Day Class: 11/29
    ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal: 11/15

    SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 11/15, 12/13
    SHS-EMR3 – Emergency Shiphandling for Pilots: 12/1
    SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling: 10/18

    …remember: If you can’t make the class, make the call.  Be courteous, don’t be a “no show.”

    Check the MITAGS website at www.mitags.org 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 e-mail: admissions@mitags.org


    PMI ACADEMIC NOTES

    Schedule of Courses – Please also see our schedule online at www.mates.org

    For registration, call our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen, at (206) 838-1126

    October 2010

    12-15   ARPA
    18-29  Celestial Navigation
    18-22  Medical Care Provider – Standby only
    23rd    Med DOT
    25-27  Fast Rescue Boat
    27th    Radar Renewal

    November 2010

    1-3       Security VCF
    1-5       Medical Care Provider
    8-12    ECDIS
    8-19    GMDSS
    15-19   Basic Construction & Stability
    15-17   Fast Rescue Boat
    29        Radar Renewal

    December 2010

    6-10    Medical Care Provider
    6-17     Medical Person-in-Charge
    6-17     GMDSS
    7-9      Security VCF
    11         Med DOT
    13-15   Emergency Shiphandling
    20       Radar Renewal


    MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 10-8-10

    D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
    10,948.58 2,383.67 1,165.15
    Fund Name & Trading Symbol
     Closing
    Price
     Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund (VAARX)
    52.84
     Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
    107.32
     Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
    36.79
     Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
    18.78
     Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
    16.28
     Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
    24.08
     Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
    11.09
     Vanguard Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
    28.80
     Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
    5.75
     Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
    16.11
     Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
    21.06
     Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
    14.12
     Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
    19.08
     Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
    11.88
     Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
    12.23
     Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
    12.20
     Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
    12.49
     Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
    12.92
     Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
    10.93
     Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
    29.02
     Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
    16.32
     Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
    14.86
     Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
    16.61
     Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
    10.84
     Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
    65.78
     Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
    63.13
     Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
    16.92
     Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX)
    40.56
     Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
    29.21
     Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
    25.51
     Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
    11.26
     Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
    11.98
     Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
    13.33
     Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
    13.39
     Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
    13.20
     Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
    7.61
     Fidelity Freedom 2050 (FFFHX)
    8.85
     Fidelity Total Bond Fund (FTBFX)
    11.16
     Spartan Extended market Index Fund (FSEMX)
    34.18
     Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
    41.27
     Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
    27.41



    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: iommp@bridgedeck.org. For further info or to subscribe contact Lisa Rosenthal at lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org. The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea and is posted on our web page.

    © 2010, 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: lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org. For changes of address, contact Lisa Rosenthal at lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org.