Wheelhouse Weekly – October 26, 2001

October 26th 2001


Bridging the Information Gap With E-News You Can Use

Volume 5. . . . . Number 43. . . October 26, 2001





An unnamed individual at the USCG’s National Maritime Center has further muddied the waters concerning the recent release of an unsigned bulletin on the interim enforcement of STCW-95 requirements in near coastal domestic trades.

As reported in last week’s Wheelhouse Weekly, that bulletin deferred US mariners in the near coastal domestic trades from complying with the STCW requirements for another year until February 1, 2003.

According to information provided to the MM&P, the proposed changes reportedly extend the exception to include the Puerto Rican and Hawaiian trade routes. It is the MM&P’s contention at this time, from reading the existing published regulations, that our members must be in compliance with the existing STCW-95 requirements for these two trade routes by Feb.1, 2002.

Future editions of the Wheelhouse Weekly will keep members up-to-date as the USCG advises the MM&P of any changes to the existing law or regulations.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Martin Kapp, an accountant in Los Angeles, has won a tax court ruling that can result in more beneficial tax treatment to merchant mariners.

According to Mr. Kapp, who met with MM&P President Capt. Tim Brown yesterday, the average savings for the licensed mariner has been between $2,000 and $2,500.

The MM&P has arranged for an article on that subject written by Mr. Kapp that appeared in the “Professional Mariner” to be distributed to all ports. It should be available by Oct.30. Members interested in receiving a reprint of the article should contact their closest port and a copy will be provided to them.

Members currently at sea can request a reprint of the article from MM&P HQ by Emailing Capt. Brown at: and a copy will be mailed to their home address.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



MITAGS’ and MM&P’s Capt. Charles Pillsbury is the first recipient of the new “Chairman’s Award” instituted by the Ship Operations Cooperative Program for “excellent service to the SOCP over the last year.”

Among other accomplishments, Capt. Pillsbury was honored for his work on near-miss reporting, STCW basic training and the Smart Card project. The MM&P extends its hardy congratulations to Capt. Pillsbury for receiving this prestigious recognition.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Earlier this week, Admiral James Loy, Commandant, USCG, briefed a Senate subcommittee on key elements of its Maritime Homeland Security Strategy which included leveraging international cooperation and participation to share intelligence and conduct maritime security activities to the benefit of all.

Testifying before the Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, and Fisheries (Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation), the Admiral discussed the USCG’s rapid response in wake of the Sept. 11 attack.

He told the panel that, “it is no surprise that sustaining mobility will come at a higher cost to all of us. But the sobering reality is, because we live in a country prides itself on the openness of its democracy, we are always at risk of a terrorist attack. Therefore, it is vital that we address the issue of security in seaports now.”

Key elements of the USCG security strategy will be:

  • Develop effective awareness of all activities that can affect the maritime security of the US and its citizens;
  • Integrate activities of multiple agencies into a single unified maritime effort through interagency command centers and coordination procedures;
  • Ensure agile and scalable security measures for personnel, vessel, facility, and cargo;
  • Employ interoperable, multi-agency forces consistent with their core competencies to conduct coordinated maritime security operations;
  • Conduct layered maritime security operations with the aim of extending the borders, deterring, disrupting, and intercepting threats across the maritime domain; and
  • Leverage international cooperation and participation to share intelligence and conduct maritime security activities to the benefit of all.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



The Ship Operations Cooperative Program (SOCP) Co-chairmen, MEBA’s Capt. Lee Kincaid and Capt. Robert Sheen, announced plans for developing SOCP’s “Maritime Smart Card” pilot project at its October meeting in Norfolk, VA.

The pilot project, jointly sponsored by the SOCP and the Maritime Administration (MARAD) and led by SOCP Working Group Chair, Capt. Charles Pillsbury of MM&P and MITAGS, will use SOCP and MARAD matching funds. The General Services Administration (GSA), experts in smart card technology development, was commissioned to develop a maritime smart card requirements analysis using information and data gathered from joint planning meetings comprised of a cross-section of the maritime industry and the Coast Guard. GSA will also assist with project implementation.

The SOCP’s pilot is designed to demonstrate and validate the functionality and applications of the smart card onboard ship. It will focus on demonstrating that any or all of the tasks related to Mariner Access and Physical Identification, Training Records and Fraud Prevention, and Single Swipe Mariner Sign-On can be automated on board the vessel so that they are accurate, less expensive, accomplished faster, and are less manpower intensive. Applications have the potential to greatly improve business practices, processes, and create efficiencies.

A recent study requested by the International Maritime Organization identified over 12,000 seaman’s documents and/or training records that were fraudulently obtained. The SOCP and MARAD believe there is a definite need to provide secure access to ships and port facilities by properly identifying personnel. Recent terrorism attacks emphasize the need to ensure an even higher level of security.

For more info about the SOCP and its projects view its website at

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Comsat Mobile Communications has teamed with the USCG and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to offer free Automated Mutual-assistance Vessel Rescue/Shipboard Environmental-data Acquisition Systems messaging to mariners that use COMSAT-C satellite messaging service.

CMC recently distributed more than 2,000 free packages of AMVER/SEAS software to vessels and maritime shipping companies. This software combines AMVER capabilities with NOAA volunteer observing ships weather reporting. The software, which uses a message format developed by COMSAT, enables ships to send compressed data via INMARSAT-C terminals using COMSAT-C service. All AMVER/SEAS messaging is free to ships using the special software and sending reports using COMSAT-C service.

In response to increased national security concerns, the USCG has temporarily changed AMVER reporting requirements for vessels bound for or departing from US ports. AMVER reports, including schedules, routes, passenger, crew, and cargo info, are now required from all vessels 96 hours prior to entering domestic ports or waterways.

Vessels wishing to take advantage of the free messaging program offered by the USCG and NOAA through CMC can obtain a free copy of CMC’s AMVER/SEAS software by contacting COMSAT Mobile Communications at or +1-301-214-3100, option #1.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Northrop Grumman Corporation announced on Thursday that, effective immediately, it has suspended all work on Project America, a US-flag cruise ship program to build two 1,900-passenger ships at its Pascagoula, MS., Ingalls Shipyard.

Approximately 1,250 of the 1,600 full-time employees assigned to the project will be affected. An additional 500 subcontractor employees could also be affected. American Classic Voyages Company (AMCV), which is the parent of Project America, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Oct. 19, following the tragic events of Sept. 11 and their impact on the tourism industry.

AMCV is the largest US-flag cruise company. It has ceased operations of its two Hawaii-based cruise ships, the MS PATRIOT and the SS INDEPENDENCE. It has also ceased operations of four of the company’s five Delta Queen vessels, including the AMERICAN QUEEN, MISSISSIPPI QUEEN, COLUMBIA QUEEN and the CAPE MAY LIGHT.

The DELTA QUEEN steamboat, the company’s National Historic Landmark steamship, will continue to operate its future voyages. The company said that approx. 2,150 people will lose their jobs.

Northrop Grumman said that ongoing work on the ships was subject to Project America’s ability to secure immediate financing for the balance of the contract. This financing was contingent upon US Maritime Administration loan guarantees.

“Unfortunately, to date MARAD has decided not to continue the guaranteed funding necessary for the construction of the ships,” said Phil Dur, president of Northrop Grumman’s Ship Systems sector. “It is with regret and a deep feeling of disappointment that we discontinue work on this contract.”

The decision follows six months of effort by Northrop Grumman to continue work on the first cruise ships to be built in the US in more than 40 years. The first ship is 40 percent complete, and 55 percent erected. Ninety percent of the production material has been committed.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



November 1-2 has been set for the Offshore Membership Group Shipping Rules Committee to meet at MM&P HQ. Members wishing to provide input or who have interest in committee service should contact their area Offshore Membership Group vice president. Atlantic: Richard May at; Gulf: Robert Groh at; and Pacific: Donald Marcus at

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



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!


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.


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

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

The first Medical Person-In-Charge course will commence on February 18, 2002 in Seattle. Successful candidates will receive STCW certificates in Elementary First Aid, Medical First Aid Provider and Medical Person in Charge.

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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