Wheelhouse Weekly – October 23, 2003

October 23rd 2003


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

Volume 7 . . . . . Number 43 . . . . October 23, 2003






All Licensed Deck Officers who possess STCW-95 certificates containing Basic Safety Training (BST) completion dates close to or more than five years old need to carry copies of their USCG discharges with them so they can prove that they have the required sea service necessary to extend their BST qualification.

For questions or further info, contact MM&P’s Executive Assistant to the President Mike Rodriguez at 410-850-8700 ext.23 or Email:



Since it is approaching the end of the year and a number of members have already paid their social security maximum for the year, we would ask that when you file for vacation, along with your discharge of service papers, please bring your final pay stub from the vessel with you if it shows the YEAR-TO-DATE Social Security Tax withheld.

If the final pay stub DOES NOT provide year-to-date information, please bring with you ALL pay stubs for the calendar year for that particular company.

It is highly likely that your social security obligations for the year have been met and your pay stub will provide documentation to the Port Office and the Plan that you won’t require additional deductions from your check. This will benefit you because you will have use of the money instead of Uncle Sam and the Plan will benefit because they won’t be paying unnecessary payroll taxes.



MM&P member C/M Jeff Idema and 3/M applicant Chris Groark were also aboard Matson’s new containership MV MANUKAI when she arrived in Honolulu on her inaugural voyage on October 5. Master Katharine Sweeney reports that it was smooth sailing for ship’s historic voyage. The vessel is the first newbuild to enter the Matson fleet since the MV RJ PFEIFFER in 1992.




The Robert J. Pfeiffer Memorial Fund has been established at California Maritime Academy Foundation with the input and guidance from Brad Mulholland, Jeff Hull, and Capt. Lynn Korwatch.

It is anticipated that many seagoing personnel as well as Matson employees will wish to donate to this fund in honor of Mr. Pfeiffer. Donations may be sent to:

California Maritime Foundation Attn: Robert Pfeiffer Memorial Fund 200 Maritime Academy Dr. Vallejo, CA 94590

or contact Mr. Chris Walker at 707-654-1245 or Email at

All donations are tax deductible and all contributors will receive a letter of thanks acknowledging their donation. Names and donation amounts will also be passed on to the Pfeiffer family.



The Maritime Administration (MARAD) has commissioned a study that describes how the top 15 maritime nations treat the taxation of shipping income and the taxation of income earned by their mariners. The primary purpose of the study is to help bolster the industry’s case for meaningful maritime tax reform in the US.

Last week MARAD held the first meeting of the Short Sea Shipping Cooperative program (SCOOP) which is an industry-partnered initiative for the advancement of short sea shipping. Special Projects Director Richard Plant will represent MM&P as a full voting member.

Plant plans to work closely with SCOOP to promote US-flag short sea shipping initiatives. MARAD is helping fund the program and has so far earmarked $50,000 for FY ’03.

The Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration will also be promoting SCOOP which aims to make the heavily-traveled coastal interstates less congested with cargo traffic.



MM&P participated in a meeting with Congressman Don Young (R-AK) to solicit his support for legislation that would allow a portion of bridge tolls collected in California to be used to support ferry and other California transportation systems.

Such legislation was included by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) as part of the Transportation, Treasury Appropriations bill that is pending a vote in the Senate. MM&P represents Licensed Deck Officers on ferries on the West Coast and Alaska.



It will cost the US maritime industry some $120 million in the first year, and $477 million between 2003 and 2012 to develop and administer Area Maritime Security plans under new USCG regulations that take effect November 23.

The plans are one of the key features of extensive rules for security of ports, vessels and offshore facilities that are required under the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002. The rules also require training of security personnel, and drills and exercises to prove the effectiveness of security plans.

Container terminals will be among facilities paying shares of $627 million to install security equipment and train personnel in the first year of the regulations, part of $1.125 billion in first-year costs for shoreside security.

For the following nine years, the USCG estimates overall costs for facilities not handling hazardous liquid bulk cargoes will be $315 million. The agency also estimates that will cost $218 million in the first year and $1.4 billion over 9 years to bring some 10,300 ships into compliance with the law.

The rules are designed to coincide with the International Ship and Port Facility Security code (ISPS) that the International Maritime Organization adopted in December 2002. The code, which is part of the Safety of Life at Sea treaty (SOLAS), will take effect in July 2004.

The six final rules focus on those sectors of the maritime industry that have a higher risk of involvement in a transportation security incident, including various tank vessels, barges, large passenger vessels, cargo vessels towing vessels, offshore oil and gas platforms, and port facilities that handle certain kinds of dangerous cargo or service vessels listed above.

The regulations require security measures that have three scalable security levels. Depending on security needs, measures include passenger, vehicle and baggage screening procedures; security patrols; establishing restricted areas; personnel identification procedures; access control measures; and/or installation of surveillance equipment.

Under the new rules, the captain of the port will serve as the “federal maritime security coordinator” who will establish a maritime security committee and implement its security plan. The security committee is to include port security officials, federal, state and local officials, and members of the maritime industry.

Most large vessels are now required to have automatic identification systems.

Shoreside facilities will now be responsible for their own security assessments and plans.



On October 21, the European Union banned single-hulled tankers carrying heavy oil fuel from its ports, in response to last November’s breakup of the tanker PRESTIGE off the Spanish coast.

All single-hulled tankers over 23 years old will be barred in 2005, two years earlier than planned, and all single-hulled tankers should be withdrawn by 2010. In the US, the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, passed after the sinking of the tanker EXXON VALDEZ off of the Alaskan coast, requires that all newly constructed tankers that carry oil in the US be double hulled, and single hulls to be retrofitted and phased out by 2015.

In the meantime, the USCG has set new minimum standards for leak-monitoring equipment, which will be required in all single-hulled vessels by 2007.

Both the EU and US insist that the single-hulled tankers are accident-prone. Under the new EU regulation, heavy grades of oil can be transported only in double-hulled tankers to or from European ports.

Last year’s PRESTIGE disaster was the latest notorious oil spill off the Atlantic coast. It contaminated beaches from Portugal to Belgium.



The Bush Administration projected that with its tax cuts in effect, the economy would generate 5.5 million jobs by the end of 2004 – or 344,000 new jobs each month, starting in mid-2003.

This week, Treasury Secretary John Snow backpedaled, predicting that the economy will only grow enough to create two million new jobs before next year’s election, or only about 200,000 jobs a month. This announcement comes just as the latest unemployment and job creation numbers are showing a continuing jobs crisis in the states.

Only Rhode Island has a lower unemployment rate than when the recession started. Nearly two and a half years after the March 2001 onset of the recession, 35 states still have fewer jobs than they did then, in contrast to only 18 states with fewer jobs at the same time point after the recession of the 1990s.

Given the grim national job picture, it’s not surprising that most states are facing troubled job markets. In 33 states across the country, at least a full percentage point more of the labor force cannot find work than at the official start of the recession in March 2001. Ten states have seen at least a two-percentage-point increase in the unemployment rate.

“The Administration projected 344,000 new jobs each month once the tax package was passed. This has been a profound failure – one that Secretary Snow has now implicitly acknowledged,” said Economic Policy Institute president Lawrence Mishel. “Creating 200,000 jobs per month is not satisfactory performance, as we need at least 170,000 jobs each month to absorb new workers.”

Last week, EPI Research Director Lee Price briefed House and Senate staff members on the increasingly grim job picture facing the millions of unemployed Americans.

Not only are more people unemployed, the average spell of unemployment is longer, and hardship has become more widespread as the number of people who have been unemployed longer than 39 weeks has risen sharply. At the same time, job vacancies reported by employers have continued to shrink, along with help wanted advertising.

Presenting a new EPI overview of the latest data, Price noted that labor market conditions have deteriorated markedly since March 2002, when Congress authorized Temporary Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits for workers who had exhausted their 26 weeks of state benefits.

With those federal benefits due to expire in December and economic trends now far worse for the unemployed, Price urged Congress to move quickly to avert additional hardship for millions of workers about to lose this critically important safety net. For more info visit the Economic Policy Institute on the web at



The CANOPUS and the COMPASS ISLAND were towed from the James River Reserve Fleet in Newport News, VA last week. These, plus the two World War II-era ships that were towed three days earlier, bring to four the number of ships removed from the rusting fleet.

The CANOPUS is a submarine tender, built in the 1960s; the COMPASS ISLAND was built in the early 1950s as a breakbulk cargo ship, and was converted to a research ship shortly thereafter. It was used in the development and evaluation of navigation systems.

All four will be dismantled at the Able UK facility in the Teesside area of northeastern England as part of pilot project authorized by Congress, directing the disposal of four ships overseas in an environmentally responsible and fiscally sound manner.



You only have two more chances to take Basic Safety Training in 2003: 03-45 on November 3, and 03-50 on December 8. BST includes LIVE firefighting, a prerequisite for Advanced Firefighting.

Class Openings

Between now and the end of 2003, seats are available in the following courses:

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

  • ARPA — Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 12/1


  • BRM — Bridge Resource Management: 11/3
  • BST — Basic Safety Training: 11/3, 12/8


CMM = Chief Mate and Master Courses

  • CMM-ADVSTB — Advanced Stability: 10/27
  • CMM-CHS-I — Cargo Handling & Stowage-Week I: 11/3
  • CMM-CHS-II — Cargo Handling & Stowage-Week II: 11/10
  • CMM-MPP — Marine Propulsion Plants: 12/1
  • CMM-SHMGT-I — Ship Management-Week I: 12/8
  • CMM-SHMGT-II — Ship Management-Week II: 12/15
  • CMM-SHS-ADV I — Shiphandling Advanced-Week I: 12/1
  • CMM-SHS-ADV II — Shiphandling Advanced-Week II: 12/8
  • CMM-WKP — Watchkeeping Procedures: 11/17


  • COMP-ABSS — American Bureau of Ship Management Software: 12/1
  • CONT-PLNG — Contingency Planning Workshop: 11/13, 12/4, 12/11
  • CSE-AAES — Confined Space Entry, Atmospheric Analysis of Enclosed Spaces: 11/3


  • FF-ADV — Firefighting Advanced: 11/10


  • GMDSS — Global Marine Distress & Safety Systems: 10/27, 12/8


  • HAZ — Hazardous Materials: 11/17


  • MED-DOT-DA — Dept.of Trans Drug/Alco Testing: 11/15, 12/6
  • MEDIA-RSP — Media Response: 11/14, 11/21, 12/5, 12/12
  • MED-PIC — Medical Person In Charge: 12/1
  • MED-PRO — Medical Care Provider: 12/1
  • MED-SMC — Shipboard Medical Care: 10/27


MSC = Military Sealift Command Courses

  • MSC-CBRD-1 — Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Training Orientation: 12/19
  • MSC-COMMS — Strategic Sealift Communications: 12/8
  • MSC-DC — Damage Control: 11/13, 12/9


  • ROP-5 — Radar Observer Unlimited: 11/17
  • ROR-1 — Radar Observer Renewal: 11/15, 12/1, 12/8


  • SEC-OFF PCS — Security Officer-Port, Company, Ship: 11/3, 11/10, 12/1, 12/8
  • SHS-EMR5 — Shiphandling Emergency: 10/13, 12/15


  • T-PIC — Tankship/Barge Dangerous Liquids Person In Charge: 12/1

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

Check the MITAGS website for up-to-date course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations, and for schedule revisions.


Attendance Verification & Cancellation is Vital

If you are scheduled for a course, call, write, or Email admissions to advise whether or not you will attend. Many classes are in demand and maintain a Standby List. “No Shows” are missed training opportunities for other members.


Schedules, Course Info & Registration

Courses are subject to change. Always check the MITAGS website for updated course availability. You can also check future schedules, review detailed course descriptions and register on-line or contact Admissions at or by calling toll-free, 1-866-656-5568.



PMI is looking for a few good mariners to attend the CMM Advanced Meteorology course at PMI October 20-24. The course has been recently revised and improved. All west coast MM&P members in need of STCW certificates that include this course are encouraged to register at the number listed below. Lee Chesneau of the Ocean Prediction Center, who also teaches the course at MITAGS, will be your instructor.

Here’s the entire PMI Course Schedule

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

  • 10/27-28: Compasses
  • 10/27-31: Basic-Adv. Firefighting
  • 10/27-31: Adv Watchkeep


  • 11/5-6: Ratings Forming Part of a Navigational Watch
  • 11/3-7: VPEN
  • 11/3-14: TCNAV
  • 11/3-14: GMDSS
  • 11/10-12: Ship Security Officer
  • 11/10-14: ECDIS
  • 11/10-14:Basic Safety Training
  • 11/17-25:Able Bodied Seaman
  • 11/17-21:Marine Propulsion Plants
  • 11/17-21: Tankerman PIC


  • 12/1-5: Basic-Adv. Firefighting
  • 12/1-5: Basic Meteorology
  • 12/1-5: Advanced Stability
  • 12/8-12: Basic Safety Training
  • 12/8-19: Ship Management and Business Law
  • 12/8-12: ARPA
  • 12/8: Radar Recert
  • 12/8-12: Medical Care Provider
  • 12/8-19: Medical PIC
  • 12/8-10: Ship Security Officer

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

Contact DeeDee Lazik at 206-441-2880 or 888-893-7829 (toll free) for registration.



 D O W

 N A S D A Q


– 112.20 for the week


 – 41.07 for the week
 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 (FAGX)


 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)


~ Reminders ~



A MM&P Pacific Maritime Region-contracted company with operations in the San Francisco Bay area is seeking to add up to six tug captains to their employee roster. The jobs are located in the Bay area.

  • Tractor Tug and Conventional Tug experience is highly desired.
  • MM&P members from any Membership Group are encouraged to apply.
  • Living within commuting distance is a necessity.
  • Relocation assistance may be available.

For additional info or to indicate interest, contact John Schaeffner, PMR’s Portland Branch Agent, by Email to or by phone to 503-283-0518.

Resumes may be sent to him by Email, faxed to 503-283-0518, or delivered to the PMR Portland Hall:

John Schaeffner, Branch Agent Pacific Maritime Region – IOMM&P 2225 N. Lombard St. #206 Portland, OR 97217



Through a special arrangement with ShipCom, MM&P members at sea will now receive a significant discount on personal ship-to-shore radiotelephone calls. The rate is $2.50 per minute to any phone number in the US. This is a significant discount from the usual rate of $3.99 per minute. Calls may be placed collect, or billed to any major credit card.

To take advantage of this offer or for more info contact Station WLO on HF SSB channels 405, 607, 824, 1212, 16401, 1807, or 2237 or on HF radio telex channels (selcall 1090) 406, 606, 806, 810, 815, 1205, 1211, 1605, 1615, 1810 or 2215.

MM&P members must identify themselves as an MM&P member and provide the operator with the last 4 digits of their MM&P book number in order to get the discounted rate.

Any vessel equipped with HF radio telex may send and receive Internet email via the telex terminal. For more info contact WLO radio via telex or HF SSB voice.



The National WWII Memorial has a site on its webpage for individuals who served in any capacity during WWII to register to be included in the Memorial’s Registry. The main site is

If the individual clicks on WWII Registry, he/she can find out if he/she is already included as a result of one of the WWII databases and, if not, can follow the directions to register. Any American who contributed to the war effort is eligible for the Registry.



  • Do you want an easy way to grow your savings?
  • Do you want an easier way to make deposits to your Masters, Mates & Pilots Federal Credit Union account?

Consider establishing payroll or pension direct deposit.

Many employers allow you to directly deposit your pay into several different financial institutions. Trinity Management, Strong America and Moran Towing of Florida are among the MM&P-contracted companies that already provide for employees to deposit funds directly into the MM&P Federal Credit Union.

MM&P Health & Benefit Plans Pensioners and A&G Region Pensioners may have deductions made directly from their pension check to their Credit Union account. In addition, employees of MM&P, Plans, MITAGS and MIRAID are also eligible for payroll deduction directly into their Credit Union account.

Add to your savings by paying yourself first! Contact your payroll office to establish Credit Union direct deposit or to find out if this is available for you.


Who Can Be a Member?

MM&P Federal Credit Union membership is open to all MM&P members, to all MM&P, MITAGS, MIRAID and Plans staff, and to their immediate families.


Want to Know More?

For additional details or to get answers to your questions on all MM&P Federal Credit Union programs, contact Kathy Klisavage, Credit Union Manager, toll-free at 1-800-382-7777 or by Email at




The following Health and Benefit Plan changes went into effect on April 1, 2003.



All inpatient hospitalizations (both PPO and non-PPO) will be subject to the Annual Major Medical Deductible ($250 individual/$500 family) and an additional inpatient deductible of $150 per admission. Both the Annual Deductible and the $150 inpatient deductible count towards the individual out of pocket maximum of $3,000.


The Plan will pay 90% for all PPO hospitals after satisfying Major Medical deductible and $150 per admission inpatient deductible. The Plan will pay 70% for all non-PPO hospitals after satisfying the Annual Major Medical deductible and $150 per admission deductible.



For Primary Care Physician visits, after satisfying the annual Major Medical deductible, the participant pays a $15 co-pay per visit and the Plan pays the balance of the contracted amount. For specialty visits, after satisfying the annual Major Medical deductible, the participant pays a $25 co-pay and the Plan pays the balance of the contracted amount. The co-pay amount does not count towards the $3,000 annual out of pocket maximum.



Once the participant satisfies the annual Major Medical deductible and an additional $150 annual out of network physician deductible, the Plan will pay 90% of the UCR. For specialists, once the participant satisfies the Major Medical deductible, the Plan will pay 70% of the UCR.



After the participant satisfies the annual Major Medical deductible, the Plan pays 90% of the contracted charges.



After the participants satisfies the annual Major Medical deductible, the Plan will pay 70% of the UCR charges.


As always, please feel free to contact the Plan Benefit Advisors with any questions at 877-667-5522.




The Board of Trustees, based on recommendations by the Cost Containment Committee, adopted changes to the Health & Benefit Plan. The following changes became effective January 1, 2003:

Annual Deductible

The current annual deductible of $150/$300 will be raised to $250/$500.

Out-of-Pocket Maximum

The current out of pocket maximum of $2,000 will be raised to $3,000.

Dental Reimbursement Levels

  • The Plan payment to in-network dental providers will go from 90% to 80%.
  • The Plan payment for out-of-network providers will go from 80% of UCR to 70% of UCR.
  • New contract with Delta Dental replaces Aetna/US Healthcare (Prudential Dental) agreement. See below for additional information

Prescription Drug Program

Mail order drugs will be subject to a 20% co-pay for all single source brand name and generic drugs with a maximum out of pocket, per prescription, of $75.

For brand name drugs where the generic equivalent is available, the member will be responsible for paying the total cost of the difference between the brand name and the generic drug. The Plan will then pay 80% of the cost of the generic and the member will be responsible for the 20% up to a per prescription maximum of $75.

The Plan has also removed the mandatory mail order provision. This means that any prescription, regardless of the number of refills, can be obtained at a retail level but will be limited to a 30-day supply. However, obtaining maintenance medications through the mail order program may still be less expensive to you.

A synopsis of these changes and additional changes effective April 1, 2003 appears in the November-December 2002 issue of the MM&P’s Master, Mate & Pilot newspaper. The Plan Office has also mailed a summary of all changes, with examples, to Health & Benefit Plan participants.


Remember to notify the Plan office whenever you move or have a change of address. There are a number of important mailings scheduled for the next few months and we would like to keep all members well informed. You can fax your address changes to the Plan Office at 410-850-8655 or you can email them to the Plan Office at




This is a reminder that effective October 1, 2002, the MM&P Plan’s contract with Prudential Dental expired. Prudential was purchased by Aetna/US HealthCare in 2001 and could no longer offer the Plan the same type of fee-for-service arrangement as before.

In order to continue to offer Plan Participants an in-network dental benefit option, the Plan reviewed proposals from organizations that provide network dental services. After review, the Trustees approved a contract with Delta Dental, the largest provider of dental services in the US.

The Delta Dental Claims Processing Center in Mechanicsburg, PA, will handle claims administration for all MM&P eligible participants and dependents. This includes claims submitted by out of network dentists as well as those who are Delta Dental providers.

Plan participants who choose to go to a contracted provider will pay 10 percent of the contracted amount and the Plan will pay 90 percent. Participants will have access to all Delta providers in the Delta Premier Network option that includes over 133,000 dentists nationwide.



~ Where Does My Dentist Submit My Claims?

Effective October 1, 2002, all dental claims with dates of service on or after October 1, 2002, from both in and out-of-network providers, should be sent directly to: Delta Dental, One Delta Drive, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055-6999. Participants will receive a claim form in the mailing sent out by the Plan Office on August 11. Your dentist can copy this form and use it to submit all dental claims incurred on or after October 1, 2002.

~ How Do I Find A Delta Dentist?

You can locate participating dentists in your area in two ways. You can call 1-800-932-0783 from 8 AM to 8 PM Eastern Time, Monday-Friday, or you can sign on to the Delta website at Once you have signed on to the website, key on the bar marked “Pennsylvania”. (MM&P Plan members are enrolled in the Delta Premier Option through Delta Dental of Penn.) Next enter the search criteria to find participating Delta dentists in your area or enter your own dentist’s name to find out if he/she participates with the Premier network.



Delta Dental will coordinate with the Plan Office to transition all billing for “work in process”. This means that all root canals, orthodontia work and other staged procedures that are not completed under the old arrangement will be carried over and the remaining balance billing, for work performed on or after October 1, 2002 will be processed by Delta Dental.

It is important to remember that all work that has been pre-determined by Prudential/Aetna must be completed and billed with a billing date on or prior to September 30, 2002, in order to assure that your co-pay will remain the same as quoted in the initial pre-determination.

Any work started under the old Plan but billed for date of service on or after October 1, 2002 will be reimbursed according to whether the dentist is participating in the Delta Dental network. If your dentist is not a participating dentist, the balance billing will be paid at the out-of-network rate of 80 percent of the Plan’s UCR schedules.



All questions about any dental claims incurred on or after October 1, 2002, including claims submitted by out-of-network providers, should be directed to Delta Dental at 1-800-932-0783. You have been provided with a Delta claim form to forward to your dentist, however, your dentist may submit any standard dental billing form as long as the bill is sent directly to Delta at the above listed address.



Participants have been sent a brochure that includes a perforated generic identification card. This card lists the telephone number and the billing address for Delta. You are not required to carry an identification card because your social security number and birth date will identify you as an eligible participant in the Delta Dental Network.

It is important to remember that MM&P claims will be processed by Delta Dental of Pennsylvania. You or your dentist can access your eligibility by calling either the Plan Office or Delta Dental at 1-800-932-0783.

If you or your dentist have any questions, you can contact Delta Dental at 1-800-932-0783 from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

Plan members are identified by social security number and the Group Plan number for MM&P which is 7117.

Billing for both in and out of network claims should be submitted on standard dental billing forms and sent directly to Delta at

Delta Dental of Pennsylvania One Delta Drive Mechanicsburg, PA 17055

You can locate participating providers on-line at Masters, Mates and Pilots members have access to providers in all of theDelta networks.

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, broadcast worldwide via FEC marine telex and is posted on our web page.

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