Wheelhouse Weekly – October 13, 2006

October 13th 2006


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

Volume 10 . . . . . Number 41. . . . October 13, 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.



Resumes are needed for Second Mates interested in sailing on the Horizon Lines T-AGS Oceanographic Vessels. Please e-mail your resume if interested to Richard Plant, Director of Special Projects at



Mariners interested in obtaining security clearance for Horizon Lines (T-AGS vessels), or possibly other MM&P vessels requiring clearance to ship, are advised to download, save and print out the SF86 worksheet document which can be found on the Internet at the following link:

Mariners are advised that they SHOULD NOT submit the completed document to the shipping company until they are told to do so by the company. Rather, they should save the data or file on their hard drive or as a hard copy. The company, upon offering the mariner a job requiring secret clearance, will give them the login name and password to complete the on line e-Qip forms (security clearance software presently being used by the government).

Obtaining the required data in advance will better prepare the mariner to fill in the answers when needed saving valuable time and effort. It takes between 2-3 hours to fill out the forms with all of the information available.


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 following letter was sent to San Francisco area union members on behalf of MM&P and Inland Boatmen Union (IBU) members who have been laid off from their jobs on the Alcatraz ferry. The layoffs came in the wake of Hornblower Cruises & Events taking over the operation of Alcatraz ferry operations from MM&P- and IBU-contracted Blue & Gold Line. As previously reported in the Wheelhouse Weekly, the MM&P and IBU have been in talks with Hornblower since the beginning of the year to ensure employees at both unions would retain their jobs when the changeover occurred. The text of the letter follows:

“We are in a life and death struggle with the notoriously anti-union company HORNBLOWER, operating as “ALCATRAZ CRUISES”. Out of the 45 laid off (9-25-06) Alcatraz Ferry Workers, including Deckhands, Captains, Ticket Agents, Customer Service Reps, Engineers, Facility Maintenance Workers and Fuelers, they have only hired 6. They are struggling to stay afloat, with many vessel and operational problems and yet they refuse to hire our experienced workers.

“With the assistance of Mayor Gavin Newsom, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, the SF Labor Council and ILWU, we have been in bargaining for a successoral relationship that brings about recognition for both IBU and MM&P.

“Talks broke down a week ago Friday, when we received their latest proposal that essentially provided such a porous bargaining unit that we would be unable to sustain a majority of employees during the process of bargaining a first agreement, and they would retain the right to call for an NLRB recognition election. Have you had enough?

“They have been in operation 3 weeks. Our efforts to resolve our differences peacefully were met with arrogance and indifference to the plights of our members who are without jobs and health and welfare right now. Have you had enough?

“Hornblower will not be paying the Port of San Francisco and revenue from their new service carrying 5000 fare paying passengers per day. Have you had enough?

“To add insult to injury, we received news that the National Park Service gave HORNBLOWER not only a $2 increase per adult ticket upon start up, but come November 1st, they will get another $9 increase per adult ticket. Have you had enough, yet?

“For the record, our former employer Blue & Gold Fleet was able to pay all its workers full time wages and benefits and pay their fair share to the San Francisco Port and make a profit. We will come together on Sunday, Oct. 15th at 10 AM at Pier 33 to tell this employer we have had enough. San Francisco is a union town and we will not go away, until Hornblower does the right thing and hires our workers – now! We hope to see you there at Pier 33.” For further info, contact MM&P’s United Inland Membership Group San Francisco Branch Agent Ray Shipway at 415-999-0949.


The HORIZON HUNTER, first of five 2,824 TEU-capacity, 23-knot containerships that will enter the MM&P-contracted Horizon Lines fleet in 2007, was christened earlier this week at a ceremony at the Hyundai Mipo shipyard in South Korea. The ship’s sponsor is Kimberly Raymond, wife of Horizon President and CEO Charles Raymond. The new vessel will be deployed in weekly service linking the US West Coast with Guam and Asia.

“The naming of the HORIZON HUNTER marks another milestone in the growth of Horizon Lines and our businesses,” said Raymond. “These new Hunter-class ships are named to connote speed, agility, keen sense and focus — the attributes that we believe have allowed our company to excel now and in the future.” Horizon Lines announced in March an agreement to charter five new US-flag, foreign-built vessels for 12-year terms from Ship Finance International Limited. The new vessels will each have 568 reefer slots to fill a growing requirement in all Horizon Lines markets. Horizon said the new ships will “make the five current Jones Act-eligible vessels sailing this transpacific route today, available to the rest of the Horizon Lines Jones Act network.”


On October 13th, President Bush signed the SAFE Port Act into law by saying that, “I’m pleased to sign a bill that will help protect the American people and our ports. The SAFE Port Act will make this nation more prepared, more prosperous and more secure. Protecting our homeland requires protecting our seaports. Our seaports are a gateway to commerce, a source of opportunity, and a provider of jobs. Our ports could be a target of a terrorist attack, and we’re determined to protect them.”

The President noted that, “Since September the 11th, we’ve launched a series of new efforts to improve port security. We worked with Congress to pass the Maritime Transportation Security Act, which required American ports and vessels to adopt strict new security measures. We made wider use of intelligence to screen cargo and target suspicious containers for inspection. We worked with foreign partners to improve their security procedures. And with the bill I sign today, we renew a clear commitment: We will work tirelessly to keep our nation safe and our ports open for business.

“The SAFE Port Act will build on progress and help us protect our ports in three key ways. First, the SAFE Port Act will strengthen physical security measures at our ports by helping us harness the power of technology. The bill authorizes the development of 21st century inspection equipment, so that Customs agents can check inside cargo containers for dangerous materials without having to open them. The bill also requires radiation detection technology at our 22 busiest ports by the end of next year. America has the best technology in the world, and with this bill we will apply that technology to make our ports the safest in the world.

“Second, the SAFE Port Act provides legislative authority for key elements of our port security strategy. The bill codifies into law the Container Security Initiative, which we launched in 2002. Through this initiative, we have deployed American inspectors to dozens of foreign ports on five continents where they are screening cargo before it leaves for our country.

“The bill also codifies into law the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, a joint effort between the public and private sectors to improve cargo security. Under this partnership, private shippers agree to improve their own security measures, and in return, they can receive benefits including expedited clearance through our ports.
And the bill provides additional authority for the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, which we established to guard against the threat of terrorists smuggling a nuclear device into our country.

“All these efforts are smart. They’re working. And with this bill, they’re here to stay.

“Finally, the SAFE Port Act requires the Department of Homeland Security to establish a plan to speed the resumption of trade in the event of a terrorist attack on our ports or waterways. This bill makes clear that the federal government has the authority to clear waterways, identify cleanup equipment, and reestablish the flow of commerce following a terrorist attack. We’ll do everything we can to prevent an attack, but if the terrorists succeed in launching an attack, we’ll be ready to respond.

“We take these steps to improve our port security, and as we do so, we thank the hardworking Americans who protect our people day in and day out. We’re grateful to the Coast Guard’s men and women, the Customs and Border Protection officers, our port workers and managers, state and local law enforcement officers, and all those in the private sector who do their part to keep America safe. We’re going to protect our ports. We’re going to defend this homeland. And we’re going to win the war on terror.”


A 108-foot Maine-based fishing trawler SUNLIGHT collided with the 819-foot tanker ERICK SPIRIT on Oct. 4th in international waters about 20 miles southeast of Portland, ME. The tanker was proceeding outbound after discharging its cargo of crude oil in Portland. The collision occurred in a driving rain in four-to-five foot seas. One person was injured on the trawler, which received extensive damage to her bow. She was escorted under her own power back into port by a USCG vessel. The extent of damages to the 115,000 DWT tanker, operated by Teekay Shipping and registered in the Bahamas, is still not known as she is continuing her voyage to Russia. No pollution was reported as a result of the collision, which remains under investigation.


The Coast Guard is adding three more meetings to its previously announced meeting schedule to discuss the establishment of permanent safety zones in the Great Lakes for live gunnery training exercises. All meetings are open to the public. The additional meetings are scheduled for October 30th in Rochester, NY; November 1st, in the Milwaukee, WI/Chicago, IL area; and November 3rd, in Charlevoix, MI. The proposed 34 live fire Great Lakes safety zones will serve 56 USCG units.

Comments and materials that are related to this issue must reach the Docket Management Facility before October 20th. If you are unable to attend, you may submit comments to the Docket Management Facility by November 13th. Comments and related material can be sent by fax to the Docket Management Facility at 202-493-2251 or electronically through the Web site for the Docket Management System at


In a final rule effective on Oct. 12th, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) denied a petition for reconsideration of the Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) equipment certification requirements for ship station equipment. The Commission concluded that there is no compelling justification for adopting domestic AIS equipment certification standards that diverge from the international standards. In support of this conclusion, the Commission noted that any such departure from the international standards would delay AIS deployment in the US, discourage voluntary AIS carriage, and create other problems, including difficulties in AIS coordination with maritime authorities of other nations.

In a separate action, FCC designated VHF maritime Channels 87B (161.975 MHZ) and 88B (162.025 MHZ) for Automatic Identification Systems (AIS). The designation of Channels 87B and 88B for AIS in the US is consistent with the establishment of a seamless global AIS framework, and will facilitate the broad implementation of AIS in US territorial waters. The designated VHF maritime channels are effective November 13, 2006. For further info contact: Jeffrey Tobias,, Public Safety and Critical Infrastructure Division, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, phone: 202-418-0680.


President George W. Bush appointed Julie Nelson as the Deputy Administrator of the Maritime Administration on October 6th. Nelson took over the responsibilities of the Acting Deputy Maritime Administrator on May 1, upon the resignation of John Jamian and before the confirmation of Sean Connaughton as Maritime Administrator. Nelson joined the agency as Chief Counsel in August 2005.

Nelson has extensive experience in the Maritime Industry and Admiralty Law, which gives her a solid understanding of the work done within the Maritime Administration. In addition to her career in private practice, Nelson worked from July 1985 to August 1993 at the Pentagon for the Department of the Navy as an Intelligence Research Analyst and Program Manager. She was on active and reserve duty with the Navy from 1981 to 1989.


As previously reported, 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.” 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 comment period ends November 27th. Comments should 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. 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.

The draft NVIC is currently under review at MM&P HQ. For more info, contact Executive Assistant to the President Mike Rodriguez at 410-850-8700 ext. 23 or by e-mail at or Director of Special Projects Richard Plant 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.


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: 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): 12/11
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: 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: 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: 11/13, 12/4

SEC-OFF-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 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
10/16-20 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
11,960.51 +93.82 for the week 2,357.29 +50.95 for the week 1,365.62 +12.40 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.