Wheelhouse Weekly – October 16, 2012

October 16th 2012


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

Volume 16 . . . Number 42. . . October 16, 2012


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


After other seafaring unions joined MM&P in voicing concern over the U.S. Coast Guard’s lack of guidance regarding the STCW Manila Amendments, the Coast Guard made available on Monday three policy letters providing guidance to vessels and mariners subject to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978 (STCW Convention). 

Of greatest importance to mariners at sea is CG-CVC Policy Letter 12-05, which provides guidance on hours of rest requirements. The policy letter conforms to the 2010 Manila Amendments and stipulates: a minimum of 10 hours rest in any 24-hour period; that the hours of rest may be divided into no more than two periods in any 24-hour period and that one of those periods should be at least six hours long; that the interval between any two periods of rest should not exceed 14 hours; that the mariner should have 77 hours of rest in any seven-day period; and that a “rest log” endorsed by the Master should be maintained.

The rest hour requirements apply to: mariners assigned duty as officers in charge of a navigational or engineering watch; mariners assigned duty as ratings forming part of a navigational or engineering watch; all personnel with designated safety, prevention of pollution and security duties aboard vessels.


MM&P-contracted International Shipholding Corporation (ISH) announced last week that it will purchase a 100 percent stake in maritime transport company United Ocean Services (UOS), an acquisition that will lead to new jobs for MM&P members. “This strategic purchase by a long-time MM&P employer will provide new jobs for our members at the same it diversifies and enhances International Shipholding Corporation’s already strong position in the U.S.-flag Jones Act dry bulk transportation market,” said the MM&P Gulf Ports Vice President. The transaction is expected to be concluded in the fourth quarter of 2012.

The purchase will lead to an expansion of the company’s fleet, which is crewed by MM&P licensed deck officers and, in the engine room, members of MEBA. Both unions worked closely with ISH over the course of recent months to help make the deal a reality. UOS supplies marine transportation services for dry bulk and break-bulk commodities in the United States. The company operates the largest U.S.-flag Jones Act dry bulk fleet, consisting of handy-size bulkers and tug/barge units.

“We are pleased to acquire UOS from United Maritime Group, a leader in dry bulk coastwise transportation in the United States for over 50 years,” said ISH Chairman and CEO Niels M. Johnsen. “This acquisition enables management to capitalize on a growth opportunity in a niche market that is expected to [increase] both earnings and free cash flow. The addition of these vessels strengthens our presence and improves our operating efficiencies in the U.S.-flag Jones Act dry bulk market.” A corporate spokesperson said ISH will retain the UOS management team and operate the company as a subsidiary.


Patriot Contract Services has won a renewal of its multiyear contract to operate USNS WATERS, the Military Sealift Command (MSC) navigation test support ship (T-AGS 45). “The award of the contract to Patriot is a vote of confidence for our employer and evidence that the hard work of the officers and crew has paid off,” said the MM&P International Secretary-Treasurer.

The WATERS is one of 24 ships in MSC’s Special Mission Ships Program. Its primary mission is to support the Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs Office in the area of submarine weapons and navigation system testing. Patriot originally won the award to operate the ship in 2007. MM&P licensed deck officers crew the vessel along with marine engineers who belong to MEBA.


A proposal that would effectively end the ability of labor unions to support political candidates at the state and local level will come before California voters on Nov. 6. Proposition 32 is being presented by its sponsors as a “good-government” reform that will take the money out of politics. In reality it would strike a body blow to labor unions while leaving other groups, notably corporate interests, unaffected.

On its surface, Proposition 32 would block both corporations and unions from making contributions to candidates. But its most significant effect would be to bar unions from raising political funds through payroll deductions. Labor leaders describe Proposition 32 as the most serious threat the labor movement has faced in a season of generalized attacks. It is seen as a harbinger that would pave the way for similar efforts across the nation.

“Those who have seen its list of backers will not be surprised to learn that it would have a devastating effect on labor unions’ political fundraising efforts and only a trivial impact on corporate spending,” according to an editorial published in the Oct. 3 edition of the Los Angeles Times. The newspaper strongly advises a vote against the measure.

Proposition 32 exempts the out-of-state super Political Action Committees that spend millions of dollars on campaigns. It also explicitly exempts Wall Street investment firms, hedge funds, developers and insurance companies. The San Jose Mercury News calls the ballot measure “a deceptive sham that would magnify the influence of wealthy interests while shutting out many middle-class voters.”

“This is intended to eviscerate us,” said Art Pulaski, the head of the California Labor Federation. “If they can do it in California, they can do it anywhere.” Among the backers of Proposition 32 are the America Future Fund, which has ties to billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch. The Koch brothers have contributed heavily to defeating President Obama and have been instrumental in funding the anti-collective bargaining campaign waged by Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker.

“Working Californians looking for a seat at the table will be the only ones affected by Proposition 32,” writes Kern County Fire Fighters Union President Derek Robinson. “It unfairly limits the ability of teachers, nurses and firefighters to speak out on issues that matter to us all, like cuts to schools, police and fire response times, workplace safety, consumer protections and homeowner rights. If it passes, the other side will have free rein to attack the basic protections that all of us take for granted and there won’t be anybody to push back.”


The Obama Administration’s decision to invest an additional $2.3 million in the nation’s maritime academies got a resounding “thumbs up” from the AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trades Department (TTD). “President Obama and his team at the Department of Transportation clearly understand the important role that maritime plays in our economy and our national security, as well as the need to provide first-class worker training in this highly complex sector of our transportation system,” said TTD President Ed Wytkind in an official statement.

The appropriations announced last week are on top of $3.3 million in investments in the maritime schools announced by the Obama Administration in May. Wytkind called the move “good news for the long-term viability of our maritime sector and for the men and women seeking the education necessary to enter the profession.”
“If the U.S. Merchant Marine is going to thrive and compete globally, our training programs must be second to none,” Wytkind said. He drew a sharp contrast between the Presidential candidates on the issue of maritime education, pointing out that Republican Mitt Romney tried to close Massachusetts Maritime Academy in 2003 when he was governor of the state. “We don’t have much of a Merchant Marine in Massachusetts,” Romney said at the time.

“Romney made that statement as 50 cargo vessels were carrying supplies to Kuwait and other Persian Gulf nations supporting U.S. missions overseas,” Wytkind noted. “Many of them were sailing out of Boston Harbor on ships crewed by Mass Maritime grads.”

TTD represents 32 member unions in the aviation, rail, transit, longshore and maritime industries, including MM&P.


MSC Commander Rear Adm. Mark H. Buzby honored 89 members of the crew of USS PONCE during an Oct. 7 shipboard ceremony as the vessel was underway in the Arabian Sea. During the ceremony, which highlighted accomplishments associated with bringing USS PONCE into service and on station, Buzby presented the Department of Defense Meritorious Service Award to Civil Service Master Capt. Timothy Lockwood, as well as to Chief Engineer Blaine Darling and First Assistant Engineer Christian Teague. “PONCE has been an amazing and outstanding experience,” said Lockwood. “This command will benefit masters by making them more versatile for future platforms.”

During the ceremony, 10 civilian mariners were awarded flag letters of commendation and 61 were awarded letters of appreciation. Lockwood and Darling also received new MSC civil service mariner command-at-sea and chief engineer-at-sea pins. The pins were designed to mirror the U.S. Navy’s active duty command-at-sea pins which are worn by those who command Navy ships and aircraft squadrons.

“One of the things I’ve been trying to do in my time at MSC is to provide a means to recognize folks for the hard work and prestige that go with being the master and chief engineer,” said Buzby. “In the Navy, commanding officers wear a command-at-sea pin, the star image establishing their authority as commander. I’ve instituted such a device at MSC for masters and chief engineers.” Buzby said the devices are slated for distribution throughout the MSC fleet in the next month.


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 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:


Striking workers and their supporters have been picketing stores and warehouses belonging to retail giant Walmart in 12 cities. Outside Chicago, six hundred people shut down the company’s largest U.S. logistics hub for several hours last week to bring attention to the conditions at Walmart-contracted warehouses: backbreaking work for little pay, temperatures that oscillate between freezing and sweltering, lack of safety gear, wage theft and sexual harassment.

“You literally can’t do anything after a shift,” one striker told a journalist. “You’re just so exhausted. You constantly have bruised shins from heavy carts with no brakes slamming into your legs.”

Almost all the warehouse workers are temporary employees who work for years at or near the minimum wage and can be fired without notice. Among the protestors’ most pressing demands: shin guards and dust masks.

Demonstrations have been held in the past month outside Walmart’s Bentonville, Ark., headquarters and stores in Dallas, Seattle, Miami, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Orlando and on the outskirts of Chicago and Washington. This is the first time that workers at multiple Walmart facilities have gone on strike. The workers said their complaints have been met with threats, suspensions and terminations.

Walmart workers in stores across the country recently filed more than 20 unfair labor practice complaints with the National Labor Relation Board, according to a spokesman for the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).


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.

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

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: 11/29

MEDIA RSP – Media Response Workshop: 11/6

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

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

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 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

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

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

SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 11/16

… 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.

October 2012

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 10-16-2012 at 1:00 p.m. (EST)

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
13,542.87 3,096.85 1,453.83

Mutual Funds (Live)

Click a mutual fund for more information.
Click the right or left arrow on the right side of the ticker to browse the mutual funds.

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