Wheelhouse Weekly – October 15, 2013

October 15th 2013


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

Volume 17 . . . Number 42 . . . Oct. 15, 2013


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


The Coast Guard says it is granting extensions to national endorsements to mariners whose credentials would otherwise expire between Oct. 1 and Nov. 30. The Coast Guard said that the new expiration date for these credentials will be Dec. 31, 2013. The agency took the step because of the partial government shutdown, now in its third week, which has paralyzed federal administrative functions nationwide.

The agency said, however, that mariners shipping internationally need to contact the National Maritime Center (NMC) before sailing using the contact information printed at the end of this article. Mariners shipping nationally have to go to the NMC website and print a notice that must be carried along with the expiring document. The official notice disseminated by the National Maritime Center appears below.

“The U.S. Coast Guard has announced that mariners whose credentials expire between Oct. 1 and Nov. 30 will receive an extension due to the current lapse in appropriations. The Coast Guard is currently unable to process mariner credentials in time to ensure renewed credentials before the documents expire. Under the authority of 46 United States Code 7507, the Coast Guard will grant extensions for national endorsements until Dec. 31, 2013. Any mariner affected should visit the National Maritime Center’s website,, to print the letter granting this extension.”

“Mariners should also keep the printed letter with their credentials and have it available for Coast Guard or any other official who may ask to examine them. The Coast Guard will issue a new credential to mariners who might sail on international routes and whose credential expires between Oct. 1 and Nov. 30. Those mariners whose credential expires between Oct. 1 and Nov. 30, and who are scheduled to sail internationally, should contact the National Maritime Center at: 1-888-427-5662, by e-mail at or from abroad at 001-304-433-3400.”


Journalists representing dozens of national and international news outlets packed an auditorium at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., last Thursday to hear Captain Richard Phillips and Captain Steven Werse outline the essential role played by American mariners in our country’s economy and national defense. Phillips is the MM&P member whose kidnapping by Somali pirates is the subject of a best-selling book and a blockbuster film. Werse is the MM&P International Secretary-Treasurer. The two spoke at length to members of the press about the risks that mariners face in doing their jobs on a day-to-day basis, as well as about the risks to the U.S.-flag fleet posed by threatened cuts to the Maritime Security Program (MSP).

Eliminating ships from the program could force the U.S. military to rely on foreign-flagged vessels to deliver hardware and supplies during wartime, raising security and safety issues, the two captains said. “Our companies need support,” Werse said. “If this program goes away, there’s an estimated cost of capital investment by the Department of Defense to replace these ships of $13 billion. MSP is a cost-effective program.”

The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg-BNA, CNN, USA Today and Reuters were among the tens of publications that broadcast the story, which focused in large part on the threat to MSP, the fleet of 60 militarily useful ships–including the MV MAERSK ALABAMA–that supports the U.S. government in national and international emergencies by guaranteeing sealift capability and military readiness. Other news outlets that reported the story include the National Journal, Press Associate Union News Service, Sea Technology, US News, Transportation World, WUSA (CBS local TV), BNA, Agence France Presse, AP, Scripps Howard News Service, The Hill and Maritime TV.

“In times of conflict or national emergency, you want to be assured and have the full faith and confidence that transportation needs are carried out by American mariners on American-flagged vessels,” Clint Eisenhauer, vice president of government relations for Maersk in Arlington, Va., told a Bloomberg News reporter in a telephone interview after the conference. “Because of our budget impasse, we find ourselves in a place where, despite all that, the [MSP] program is in severe jeopardy.” Without MSP, MLL spokesperson Kevin Speers told the journalist, a number of U.S.-registered ships may be “flagged-out” to foreign registries.

“It’s almost beyond comprehension for us in the industry to think that what Somali pirates couldn’t take away, the U.S. Congress might,” said MM&P International President Don Marcus. “It would leave not only the merchant fleet but also the national defense and our economy in serious straits.”


Norfolk-based Maersk Line, Limited (MLL) held a special screening of “Captain Phillips” last week for naval personnel, including Navy SEALS and leaders of the Navy, the Coast Guard and NATO. The company said the evening was a tribute and thanks to those who helped bring Capt. Richard Phillips safely home. Phillips was master of the MLL containership MV MAERSK ALABAMA when it was attacked by Somali pirates off the Horn of Africa in April 2009.

The USS BAINBRIDGE, the platform for the rescue operation, is based at Naval Station Norfolk. The Navy SEAL Team that saved Phillips from the pirates is also based in the area. Part of the movie was filmed in the Atlantic Ocean off Virginia Beach. “We are pleased to have the opportunity to again thank the Navy, SEALs and greater Norfolk community for their support,” said John F. Reinhart, MLL’s president and CEO.  “The film captures the intensity of the crisis, and it brought back memories of those days four years ago that captured the world’s attention. It also shows the resolve and courage of American seafarers, and the film hopefully reminds many Americans and moviegoers worldwide that the U.S. remains a maritime nation with a strong merchant marine and Navy worth protecting during this challenging fiscal crisis within the federal government.”

MLL assisted Sony Pictures and the film’s director Paul Greengrass by hosting them on visits to Maersk vessels and helping them understand technical matters and daily life on a containership. MLL also aided the filmmakers in chartering one of the Alabama’s sister ships, the ALEXANDER MAERSK, for use in filming. “I would say, and Rich would say, that the real heroes are the Navy,” Andrea Phillips told a writer for a Norfolk-based publication.  “The Navy SEALS that came to his aid did their job very, very well.”

Phillips himself tries to downplay his role in the drama. “I do not like the movie named after me, as it makes it out to be just me out there,” he told Destination Vermont, a travel magazine. “There was a ship with 19 crew members that this story is about, not just me … They acted bravely and acted properly … It would be a different story without their actions.”


The international environmental group Greenpeace is disputing a claim by Russia that it found illegal drugs aboard the Greenpeace ship ARCTIC SUNRISE. Russia detained 30 people aboard the ARCTIC SUNRISE last month after two environmental activists tried to climb the side of an oil platform owned by the Russian energy company Gazprom in the Barents Sea. A spokesperson for Greenpeace called Russia’s claim that drugs were found aboard the ship “a smear” … and “a fabrication, pure and simple.”

Members of the international maritime community have also spoken out strongly in the crew’s defense.  “The crime of piracy is one that involves illegal acts of violence or detention, or raids committed for private gain,” said Mark Dickinson, secretary-general of the maritime labor union Nautilus, in a letter to authorities in Russia. Nautilus represents licensed ship officers in Britain, the Netherlands and Switzerland, including the captain of the ARCTIC SUNRISE. “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.”

Nautilus and MM&P have called for the immediate release of the crew of the ARCTIC SUNRISE and for any charges against them to be withdrawn. All 30 of those detained pleaded “not guilty” in court. MM&P President Don Marcus has written to Russia’s Ambassador to the United States to protest, in the strongest possible terms, the detention of the crew. He pointed out that the crewmembers of the ARCTIC SUNRISE were involved in a peaceful, non-violent protest.

Greenpeace said the recent accusations regarding drugs found aboard the ship were “designed to deflect attention from the growing global outrage over the continued imprisonment of the detainees.”

The government of the Netherlands–where the ARCTIC SUNRISE is registered–has launched legal action aimed at freeing the 30 under the U.N. Convention of the Law of the Sea. Two of those detained are Dutch citizens. The others are from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Britain, New Zealand, Ukraine, Russia, France, Italy, Turkey, Finland, Switzerland, Poland, the United States and Sweden. If convicted, they could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.


The most recent edition of The Master, Mate & Pilot will be in your mailbox soon. In the meantime, look for it online on In this issue: eight Watson-class LMSRs to go to Patriot, MSC says; officers and crew of MAERSK UTAH help rescue 83 off Sicilian coast; “Captain Phillips” blockbuster catapults U.S. mariners to national stage; aboard Black Ball Ferry Lines’ MV COHO; MM&P International Secretary-Treasurer interviewed on CNN about causes of COSTA CONCORDIA disaster; news from FEMG members on Army Corps Dredge ESSAYONS, at NOAA and CNO pilots; new jobs for MM&P members on Stockton-Oakland Corridor. Plus: help protect your own job—contribute to the MM&P Political Contribution Fund!


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:


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 “Pay Our Military Act,” which was passed by Congress and signed by the President on Sept. 30 to ensure that servicemen and women continue to be paid during the government shutdown, did not include funding for the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point (USMAA), reports Maritime Executive. Academy officials decided to change the fall schedule break to October 4-14 to accommodate the lack of funding, and the cadets were sent home on Oct. 4. The regularly scheduled fall break of would have been Nov. 1-11. 

A bill introduced by Arizona Republican Sen. John Boozman, the “Pay Our Military Technical Corrections Act,” would allow funding to flow to Kings Point during the shutdown. The bill has been referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee.


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:

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

ARPA – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 10/29/13

BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 12/16/13

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): 10/21/13, 11/4/13, 12/2/13

CMM-SHS-ADV-I I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 10/28/13, 11/11/13, 12/9/13

CMM-VPEN – 12/9/13

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

CNAV –11/4/13

CONT PLNG – 11/5/13

ENVIRO-Regs Permit – Environmental Regulations Permit:

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

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

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

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, 10/7/14

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

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

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

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

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

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: 10/16/13, 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 –11/12PM, 12/10/13 PM

SEC-VPDSD – 11/13/13, 12/11/13

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

SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling:  11/18/13

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

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