Wheelhouse Weekly – October 19, 2001

October 19th 2001


Bridging the Information Gap With E-News You Can Use

Volume 5. . . . . Number 42. . . October 19, 2001





The USCG’s National Maritime Center issued a bulletin on October 15 declaring a new interim policy that would defer by one year, until February 1, 2003, enforcement of Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW-95) requirements for US mariners serving on vessels of 200 or more gross registered tons in near coastal domestic trades.

The USCG claims that the deferral is being done “to more effectively manage the demand for immediate issuance of STCW credentials. Even though many STCW-78 certificates are endorsed to expire on February 1, 2002, the Coast Guard will defer action on those certificates held by mariners employed in near coastal domestic trades.”

The bulletin notes that “as of October 1, 2001, nearly 10,000 mariners still required an STCW-95 certificate. Many RECs already have extensive backlogs, and a surge of applicants seeking STCW certification would exacerbate this situation.”

MM&P President Capt. Tim Brown expressed his and the MM&P’s strong opposition to this move. “The MM&P, our contracted employers, other unions and union training schools, including MITAGS and PMI, moved quickly beginning several years ago to ensure that the proper training programs were developed and put in place so that our members could be certified in advance of the 2002 deadline.

“We did this at tremendous expense and with a great deal of effort. The majority of our members have completed the required training and many have received certification from the Coast Guard. I find it ludicrous that the Coast Guard now finds itself incapable of issuing certification to qualified mariners in a timely fashion.”

Capt. Brown further noted that “it may well be that the Coast Guard has acted beyond its discretion by granting this waiver which may be in violation of the International Maritime Organization treaty signed onto by the U.S. which established the new requirements, and which may be in violation of enacting legislation passed by the U.S. Congress.”

Notice of the waiver was distributed on October 16 by Capt. Ernest Fink, Director of the USCG’s National Maritime Center, at Ship Operations Cooperative Program (SOCP) meetings in Norfolk, VA. The document was distributed without signature.

MM&P was represented at the SOCP meeting by Capt. Charles Pillsbury, Richard Plant, MM&P’s Director of Special Projects and Capt. Joe Stone, MM&P Special Representative. Capt. Pillsbury immediately raised objections to the extension. He noted that offshore mariners and their employers are de facto being discriminated against by having met and being held to what has now become a higher standard.

Pillsbury further noted that “it appears that the Coast Guard has acceded to efforts by certain segments of the coastal maritime industry who opposed the new STCW-95 requirements from the beginning and who refused to provide the necessary educational resources for their employees to become qualified.”

The notice further outlines that:

“Beginning February 1, 2002, all U.S. mariners applying for an upgrade of an existing credential, or issuance of a new credential, subject to the STCW-95 must meet the full requirements of the STCW-95 before a certificate will be issued. Between February 1, 2002, and February 1, 2003, any mariner renewing a credential will be issued an STCW-95 certificate if the gap-closing requirements have been met.

“Between February 1, 2002, and February 1, 2003, owners and operators of U.S. vessels in near coastal domestic trades must ensure that the mariners they employ have completed basic safety training and familiarization training in accordance with the current regulations. Those training requirements are not deferred.

“Applications for STCW-95 certificates from mariners employed on vessels engaged in foreign trade will be handled on a priority basis. Those mariners holding a limited license that intend to engage in foreign trades should present a letter from the vessel’s owner or operator stating that the bearer will be employed on the vessel identified in the letter on a foreign voyage and requesting expedited issuance of the STCW-95 certificate. The mariner must have completed all of the gap-closing requirements before an STCW-95 certificate will be issued.”

Finally, the notice states that:

“Although the Coast Guard will defer enforcement of the STCW-95 certification requirements for mariners serving on vessels in near coastal domestic trades, all mariners serving on seagoing vessels must hold the required certifications by February 1, 2003.”

Visit the National Maritime Center’s website at for additional information, or contact the NMC by phone at 202-493-1000 or by mail at 4200 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 630, Arlington, VA 22203-1804.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



On Thursday, October 18, Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta was the featured speaker at a ceremony in Baltimore celebrating the 25th anniversary of America’s Ready Reserve Force (RRF), a fleet of specialized cargo ships that provides reliable, cost-effective surge sealift support for the nation’s armed forces.

The ceremony, which was originally scheduled for September 14 but postponed due to the tragic terrorist attacks of September 11, was held onboard the 697-foot Roll-On/Roll-Off (RO/RO) vessel CAPE WRATH, one of six RRF ships berthed in Baltimore. The event honored MARAD’s strategic sealift partners in the RRF program, specifically the US maritime industry, including the maritime labor organizations that provide crews for the ships, ship managers, and ship construction and repair facilities.

Joining Secretary Mineta were Rear Admiral David Brewer III, Commander of the US Navy’s Military Sealift Command; Rear Admiral Edward Fahy of the US Transportation Command; Bruce Carlton, Acting Deputy Maritime Administrator; Capt. Timothy Brown, MM&P International President; Larry O’Toole, MEBA President; Jerry Joseph, AMO Exec VP; Michael Sacco, President, Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO, and President, SIU; and Richard du Moulin, Chairman, President, and CEO, Marine Transport Corp.

Capt. Brown delivered remarks on behalf of maritime labor. He said, in part that:

“The men and women of the United States merchant marine and the commercial companies with Ready Reserve Fleet operating contracts have been the backbone of the Ready Reserve Force since day one. We look forward to continuing and building on this proud tradition.

“I think we need to reform the way we approach the American Merchant Marine and the American shipping industry. It is time for our nation’s maritime programs, policies, tax and regulatory frameworks to be adapted to today’s shipping environment. To successfully accomplish this, maritime labor, management, and the government must come together to support innovative policies and programs that will increase the pool of trained, loyal, active American mariners and that will keep and attract merchant vessels to the United States-flag.

“For example:

  • “To encourage the employment of Americans on all American-owned merchant vessels, America’s tax law should exempt the income earned by American mariners working outside the US from Federal tax just as the income of other Americans working beyond our borders – and the income earned by many foreign mariners – is exempt;
  • “To preserve and expand the number of commercial vessels and shipboard jobs in the US-flag maritime industry, the existing Maritime Security Program should be extended, expanded and more realistically funded; and
  • “To attract and bring back vessels to the US-flag merchant marine, America’s tax code for American shipping companies should mirror the tonnage tax regimes that have worked so well in other nations.

“A couple of other areas that would help US companies succeed against foreign competition are gaining accelerated depreciation on shipping assets and the repeal of the stiff ad valorem duties on foreign repairs and parts that add half again as much to the cost of the repairs and parts.

“My union and many others in our industry are deeply committed to seeing these efforts to fruition,” Capt. Brown concluded.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Published reports say that some commercial training courses required for mariners who intend to obtain or upgrade licenses are already filled to capacity as a February 1, 2002 deadline for meeting new training standards approaches.

USCG officials are asking mariners to review the Standards, Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) requirements, arrange for training, and start their license applications early to avoid delays.

As we have been reporting in the Wheelhouse Weekly for more than a year, the STCW requires additional training for most seafarers as well as new methods for demonstrating the ability to perform duties. When a mariner complies with the STCW, USCG issues them a STCW certificate attesting to their qualifications.

August 1, 1998,and February 1, 2002, are crucial dates for mariners involved in training or working toward qualifications for a license. Mariners who began service or training after August 1, 1998 must comply with the STCW standards. Those who began training or sea service to qualify for their license before August 1, 1998 and who are issued their license before February 1, 2002, must also complete additional training to raise their licensing standards to essentially equal the STCW level, but will be given more consideration for longer service and training.

The STCW Convention of 1978 was the first international attempt to improve mariner’s qualifications. STCW and license information is available online at the following website:

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Class “No Shows”

The demand for STCW-95 courses has served to highlight both the frequency and impact of “no shows”. An empty seat is not only a lost training opportunity but also a waste of resources. Obviously, there will be occasions when an empty seat is unavoidable, but often, with timely notification, Admissions can move someone from the “standby” list to fill the seat. Please make every effort to inform Admissions when you realize that circumstances will preclude your attendance as scheduled.


STCW-95 Certificate

Please note that schedule above shows classes available through January. Remember that merely having completed all required courses does not satisfy the STCW-95 requirement. You will need to have the certificate in hand in order to sail on February 1, 2002. Processing times at Coast Guard Regional Examining Centers are already long and the workload will only increase between now and the first of February. MITAGS will continue to make every effort to expand capacity to accommodate demand but it is still possible that you may end up with all requirements complete except for one — the STCW-95 certificate itself! Don’t delay!


Openings in classes through the end of January 2002

Remainder 2001

  • 10/27: CBRD-1, ROR-1
  • 10/29-11/2: BRM, WX-HWA
  • 11/5-7: BRMP
  • 11/12-16: FF-ADV, BRM, VPM
  • 11/12-15: SMA
  • 11/26-30: BRM, TPIC, HAZ
  • 12/1: ROR-1
  • 12/3-7: BRM, FF-ADV
  • 12/10-21: GMDSS
  • 12/10-14: BRM, COMP-NET, DCS
  • 12/15: ROR-1
  • 12/17-21: FF-ADV, ARPA, COMP-MAR
  • 12/17-20: SMA

January 2002

  • 1/7-18: GMDSS
  • 1/7-11: FF-ADV, BRM, ROP, TPIC
  • 1/12: CBRD-1, ROR-1
  • 1/14-18: FF-ADV, BST, BRM, ARPA
  • 1/19: ROR-1
  • 1/21-2/1: MED-PIC, GMDSS
  • 1/21-25: FF-ADV, BST, BRM, ECDIS
  • 1/21-24: SMA
  • 1/26: CBRD-1, ROR-1
  • 1/28-2/1: FF-ADV, BST,BRM, ARPA, COMP-NET

Schedule Info

Schedule through June 2002 is being maintained on the website. Hard copies of the January-June 2002 schedule have been mailed to the halls. Check the MITAGS website at: for up-to-date info. For additional course info, contact Mary Matlock at voice: 443-989-3226 or Email:

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Openings in classes through December

  • 10/29-11/2: BRM
  • 11/5-99: ARPA
  • 12/3-7: ARPA
  • 12/10-14: ARPA, GMDSS, BRM
  • 12/17-21: ARPA, BRM

Registration is available on-line at

For further info, contact:

    Gregg Trunnell, Director Pacific Northwest Maritime Institute 2333 Third Avenue Seattle, WA 98121-1711

Phone: 206-239-9965; Fax: 206-441-2995; Email:

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



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MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly

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 contact John Peige at The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea, broadcast worldwide via FEC marine telex andis posted on our web page under “News” at:

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