Wheelhouse Weekly – October 24, 2002

October 24th 2002


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

Volume 6 . . . . . Number 43 . . . . . October 24, 2002






MM&P International President Capt. Tim Brown and Executive Asst. Mike Rodriguez recently attended a meeting with the US Coast Guard, the Maritime Administration and the Military Sealift Command focusing on the assets needed to conduct an operation in the Middle East.

Deployment and time frames are still being discussed. Below is what the Union knows as of this time.

It is anticipated that merchant marine personnel will be key to this operation. MM&P, MEBA and AMO have a cooperative agreement so that if any of the unions’ contracted vessels need personnel and the contracted union cannot supply licensed marine officers, one of the other unions will staff these billets.

Within the next few days, MM&P will be sending a letter to all MM&P applicants, to retirees who retired within the last 3 years, and retirees that retired within the last 4-7 years. The purpose of the letter will be to ascertain your current address, the validity of your license, whether or not you have STCW-95, and other personnel data.

There are plans underway to provide a fast track STCW-95 course for those needing it as well as providing assistance in revalidating your license if it has expired.

In the case of retirees, you will be able to return to covered employment without the fear of exceeding the earnings limitation for health care. However, no additional pension credits will be provided for any service that you may render to your country during this emergency employment.

Since Desert Shield/Desert Storm, American Merchant Mariners have been provided with re-employment rights. These rights will insure that your present employer will give your current employment position back when you return from service with the MM&P in this type of deployment.

More details will be forthcoming in future issues of the Wheelhouse Weekly as they become known.


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Vice Admiral David L. Brewer III, USN, became the US Navy’s newest three-star admiral when he was promoted Oct.23 by Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Vern Clark at ceremonies at the Washington Navy Yard in Wash., DC.

Vice Adm. Brewer is the commander of the Navy’s Military Sealift Command (COMSC), the command responsible for the Navy’s 120 noncombatant ships operating worldwide with civilian US merchant mariners aboard. He becomes one of only 32 officers that hold the Navy’s second highest rank.

As COMSC, Vice Adm. Brewer has led the MSC support of the war against terrorism. MSC has been at the forefront of the US response, delivering a variety of services and supplies to US and allied forces around the world.

MSC’s Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force ships are replenishing Navy ships at sea with fuel, food, ammunition, spare parts and supplies enabling the ships and aircraft to operate at sea for extended periods without returning to port.

MSC’s Special Mission ships are conducting routine undersea surveillance and oceanographic missions while sister ships assist counter drug operations and monitor missile launches.

Prepositioning and sealift ships are standing ready to move enormous quantities of US combat equipment to any theater of operation if called. More than 95 percent of all equipment and supplies for a war or contingency operation move by sea on ships under Vice Adm. Brewer’s command.

When he spoke at the MM&P’s 79th Convention in July, Adm. Brewer told MM&P convention delegates, members and guests that improvements in the areas of manpower and force protection are the two main goals of his command.

He said the MSC is akin to a $2.2 billion business operation with 115 vessels and 8,500 employees of which 70 percent serve afloat as either federal civil service mariners (CIVMARS) or commercial mariners working for the ship operating companies under contract to MSC.

The admiral said the war on terrorism’s “Operation Enduring Freedom” is potentially the most wide-ranging military campaign since World War II.

He also said that the MSC is concerned about the availability of mariners. A full-scale activation would require 13,891 mariners.

Vice Adm. Brewer began his Navy career as a member of the first graduating class of the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps at a historically African-American university, Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, TX.

He came to MSC from Pensacola, FL, where he was the vice chief of Naval Education and Training. He has served in a variety of afloat and shore positions throughout his 32-year Navy career.


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



The joint industry-government Ship Operations Cooperative Program (SOCP) met October 16-17 at the Maine Maritime Academy located in Castine, ME. Attending the meeting for the MM&P and MITAGS were Richard Plant, Director of Special Projects, and Capt. Joe Stone, Special Representative.

Capt. Stone has headed the SOCP’s Mariner Recruiting and Retention (MRR) Committee for the past two years. This year, he was granted special recognition as recipient of the Second Annual Chairman’s Award for service to the SOCP. He follows in the footsteps of MM&P’s Capt. Chuck Pillsbury, who received the first-ever SOCP Chairman’s Award.

While at Maine Maritime, Plant and Stone attended a STCW seminar and served on a panel with SOCP Co-Chairs Lee Kincaid and Bob Sheen. Plant also took the opportunity to set up a MM&P information booth where he met with midshipmen, answered questions they had about the industry and about the advantages and benefits of sailing MM&P.

Congratulations to Capt. Stone on continuing the proud tradition of MM&P and MITAGS service to the SOCP. More about the SOCP can be learned by going to their website at:


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Capt. Manny Aschemeyer, Executive Director of the Vessel Traffic System (VTS) in LA/LB harbor has sent the following report on vessel traffic at the West Coast’s busiest port:

With the current work stoppage temporarily resolved on the waterfront, there is a need to safely, systematically, and fairly move vessels from their anchorages to their designated berths at LA/LB Harbor. The following procedures have been adopted:

  • A “Master Queuing List” will be posted on the Marine Exchange’s web site ( and will be automatically updated on a real time basis. This list is maintained by the Marine Exchange and is based on the actual arrival times for all vessels anchored at LA/LB Harbor.
  • The harbor pilots will use that list to determine a vessel’s place in the “Queue” for moving from anchorage to berth. PMA, meantime, will be using the Marine Exchange’s “Arrival Logs” to determine the priority for allocating longshore labor to the vessels, once they are berthed.
  • Everything is predicated on a “first arrived — first worked” basis. This policy has been approved by the USCG Captain-of-the-Port and ratified by the PMA.
  • Vessel Queuing Policy For LA/LB Harbor:

  1. Safety will dictate vessel queuing and traffic movement under all circumstances.
  2. Ships will be brought into port based on the Marine Exchange’s chronological “MASTER QUEUING LIST” — provided that the berth, tug and line handlers are all available.
  3. If the berth, tugs or line handlers are not available, the vessel will continue to hold its position in the queue and will be worked into the schedule at the earliest opportunity after the berth, tugs, and line handlers have all been confirmed.
  4. Cruise Ships and Tank Vessels will be worked into the queuing schedule as they arrive into the VTS Operating Area.
  5. When a vessel that has previously “arrived” (and anchored) departs the VTS Operating Area for any reason, they will lose their place in the queue.
  6. Once a ship is alongside its berth, the PMA will assign longshore labor according to a ship’s arrival date and time as reported by the Marine Exchange in their “Daily Arrival Logs”.

As of Thursday morning (10-24), there are 118 vessels in port, including 66 at anchor and 52 at berth. Many ship operators and agents have reported that their vessels are at anchor for up to nine days before coming to berth.

Be sure to check the Marine Exchange website for ongoing info provided free as a public service. Click on “Master Queuing List” for updated reports on all ships at anchor, and their “place in queue” for coming to berth; and click on the “VTS Situation Report” for the full vessel counts presented twice daily at 0600 and 1800.


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



The president of the World Shipping Council said in a recent speech that the effort to secure international trade from terrorist risks is moving forward with a growing commitment to the development and implementation of international standards and mechanisms.

Regarding cargo security, the US Customs Service is the lead federal agency and has undertaken several major initiatives, including the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) and the Container Security Initiative (CSI).

The principle behind C-TPAT is that if industry members (importers, shippers, carriers, freight forwarders, etc.) voluntarily undertake certain actions to improve their supply chain security, US Customs can give their cargoes expedited treatment. The liner shipping industry has fully supported this program and virtually the entire industry is enrolling in it.

CSI is a program through which US Customs is establishing agreements with other nations’ Customs organizations to craft security criteria for identifying high-risk containers, to develop and implement pre-screening processes to target and inspect containers before vessel loading, and to deploy technologies to screen certain containers before loading. The liner shipping industry has fully supported this initiative.

US Customs also recently issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would require carriers to submit import cargo manifests to Customs 24 hours before vessels are loaded at a foreign port. This proposed change involves major modifications not only to how carriers operate today, but also to the international flow of trade.

The liner industry supports the advanced screening of cargo shipments before vessel loading, and notes that it cannot be done without advance cargo shipment info.


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Class Openings

Plenty of seats remain in Advanced Fire Fighting, BST, Computer, and GMDSS classes between now and the end of the year.

Two seats remain in the MSC Communications course Nov.4.

New 2-day Damage Control Class on Nov 14-15 is wide open.

Basic Shiphandling class beginning Dec.2 still has 3 open slots.


DOT Training for D&A

The 1-day course satisfying the new DOT requirements for Breath Alcohol Technician (BAT) and Screening Test Technician (STT) will be presented at MITAGS November 9, December 14, 17, 18, 19, and 20. Contact admissions for seat availability.

One-day classes at the Halls are also scheduled for:

  • Boston (November 18)
  • Jacksonville (November 20)
  • New Orleans (November 22); and
  • New York (December 3-4).

To maximize resources, MITAGS is focusing on providing the 1-day training east of the Mississippi and PMI is developing a schedule with coverage in the West. Seats should be arranged through the respective halls.


Seasonal Reminders

Students planning to attend MITAGS around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays need to book airline tickets as soon as possible. Reduced availability and higher prices are already evident. Also, with the temperature now starting to drop, Small Arms attendees need to remember that a day-and-a-half will be spent on an outdoor range.


Schedules, Course Info & Registration

You can now check schedules, review detailed course descriptions and register on-line or contact Admissions at or 443-989-3226.


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Class Openings through November:

  • 10/28-11/8: GMDSS
  • 11/4-6: BRM
  • 11/4-8: BST
  • 11/11-15: ARPA
  • 11/15-22: Med 1/MPIC
  • 11/18-19: MAXIMO
  • 11/18-22: RADAR

For the latest up-to-date info on class schedules, visit the PMI website at


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 D O W

 N A S D A Q


+238.60 for the week


 +37.79 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)


 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)


 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)


 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)


Fidelity Magellan Fund (FAGX)


 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)



MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly

~ Reminders ~



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 will be receiving a brochure in early October that will include 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.


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly




MM&P’s General Executive Board met on October 3-4. One item of particular note is that the Offshore Advisory Committee established quotas for admittance to the Offshore Membership Group.

Effective October 4, 2002, no member of any membership group, including the Offshore Unlicensed Membership Group, may transfer into the Offshore Licensed Membership Group without having been a member of the organization for at least as long as the length of time that the lowest applicant admitted into membership has in the organization.

Please see your local Offshore Vice President for additional information.


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



MM&P has established a Fund to receive donations on behalf of Gisele Schmidt, the daughter of Brother Gary Schmidt. Gisele, who is 21, was rendered paralyzed as the result of a tragic auto accident in March.

Please Note: The fund is open only through December 31, 2002.

Contributions may be made payable to the:

Gisele Schmidt Fund c/o MM&P 700 Maritime Blvd. Linthicum Heights, MD 21090


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



A memorial fund has been established in the memory of recently deceased MM&P member Jerry Backman. Jerry shipped out of San Francisco and was 49-years old at the time of his tragic death as the result of an auto accident last month.

He will be affectionately remembered as a loyal union brother, outstanding licensed deck officer and a fine person. Jerry leaves a widow, a 22-year old daughter and a 15-year old son.

Donations on behalf of Jerry will be used to assist with the education of his children. The Backman family is privately managing the fund. They are most appreciative of all the messages expressing sympathy and the positive stories from his shipmates and friends.

Contributions can be sent to:

The Jerry B. Backman Memorial Fund c/o Bank of the West 2900 Railroad Avenue Pittsburg, CA 94565    

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Members are reminded that the Masters, Mates & Pilots Federal Credit Union is offering vehicle loans as low as 5.25 percent. Rates range from 5.25 to 6.99 percent for terms of 24 to 60 months. It doesn’t matter if it’s for a new, used or a refinanced vehicle.

These rates are also in effect for new or used recreational vehicles, motorcycles or boats. Limited funds available at this rate, certain terms and conditions apply.

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.

Rates and terms of offer are subject to change. Call Kathy Klisavage, Credit Union Manager, toll free 1-800-382-7777 or Email for all the details.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



MM&P-contracted AHL Shipping maintains a “job line” that provides info on available rotary jobs. Information is posted at the beginning of each month for the current month. It is only updated during the month if an error occurred in the original month’s posting. All jobs continue to be posted and shipped out of the Union Halls, the line is for info purposes only. The job line may be reached by calling 504-522-3300 and requesting the Job Line at extension 10.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Pursuant to a Resolution adopted at the MM&P’s 79th Convention, the web-based bulletin board established by the MM&P for communication among its members is going to be discontinued. The bulletin board was set up following passage of a Resolution calling for its establishment during the MM&P’s 78th Convention in 2000.

Since its establishment, fewer than one percent of MM&P members have registered to use the system and even fewer registered members have actually posted messages.

Members are advised that the bulletin board will go off-line about October 31, 2002 which is 90 days from the date of publication of the July-August edition of The Master, Mate & Pilot which was printed July 31.

Note: Shut-down of the bulletin board should not be confused with operation of the Members’-only web site accessed from the MM&P’s main web page. That site continues to get excellent traffic and improvements continue to be made.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



The USCG has issued a Safety Alert reporting that a high percentage of antennas attached to Satellite 406 Category I EPIRBs, product number 2754, manufactured by ACR Electronics, have failed.

On several occasions the antenna’s outer rubber coating was discovered ripped or torn. Closer inspection often revealed extensive internal corrosion. Other antennas showed no perforations on the outer rubber coating but displayed bulges on the antennae near its base. Upon closer inspection when the bulging area was sliced open, total wastage of the antennae interior was revealed.

It is reported that evidence of a corrosion failure may be discovered when the antenna is unscrewed from the EPIRB body assembly. Rusty liquid dripping from the antenna or moisture present inside the threaded section are tell-tale signs of failing equipment.

The company will replace damaged antennas at no cost.

If similar problems are encountered with your vessel’s 2754 EPIRB antenna, contact ACR Electronics Customer Service Representatives at 800-432-0227, ext. 110 to receive a replacement antenna.

The USCG strongly recommends that vessel operators carefully examine their EPIRB antennas, particularly those manufactured by ACR Electronics.


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 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 andis posted on our web page.

Return to Top