Wheelhouse Weekly – October 27, 2006

October 27th 2006


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

Volume 10 . . . . . Number 43. . . . October 27, 2006




T-AGS Oceanographic Survey Ships Info

Required Coursework

Security Clearances

MSC Physicals

MM&P Health & Benefit Plan News

Notice to Members who are taking Vioxx

NMHC Mail-Order Prescriptions Website Updated & Improved

WWII USCG Veterans Outreach

Company Gives Bucks Back for buying Safe Shoes

Website Offers Union-Made Goods and Services

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



As per OAC action of October 17th, a new applicant point system was put in place for those applicants doing port relief office work. This new policy becomes affective November 1, 2006. Please see your local port representative for details.



Resumes are needed for Second Mates interested in sailing on the Horizon Lines T-AGS Oceanographic Vessels. Please e- mail your resume if interested to Richard Plant, Director of Special Projects at It is mandatory that mariners going aboard T-AGS vessels have a Small Arm Training certificate. MITAGS is offering a SMA Course December 4th with a SMA Recertification (2 days) on December 6th. Presently there are openings in both classes.
Mariners interested in submitting their resume to Horizon Lines and needing the SMA certificate should call Mary Matlock, MITAGS Admissions at 410-859-5700 ext. 3246 to register. If too many students register, MITAGS will schedule an additional course.


For those members interested in job opportunities on Horizon Lines (T-AGS vessels), or possibly other MM&P vessels requiring security clearance to ship, it is important to note the following. Once the company decides to hire an individual mariner, at that point the mariner will have to obtain a government security clearance.
Members are advised that they SHOULD NOT submit security clearance documents to the shipping company until they are told to do so by the company. For further info, contact Richard Plant, MM&P’s Director of Special Projects at or phone: 410-850-8700 ext.36


The next Ship Operations Cooperative Program (SOCP) meeting will be held at MITAGS next week on Wednesday, November 1st and Thursday, November 2nd. The meeting will showcase presentations and discussions regarding “Legislative and Regulatory Issues Impacting the Maritime Industry.” The meeting offers a great opportunity for open discussions relating to legislative support needed to facilitate utilization of our nation’s maritime mode.

All industry representatives are welcome to attend. While there is no registration fee, interested persons are urged to reserve a seat by contacting Kim-Anh Rester at your earliest convenience by email at or by phone at 202-366-0364. Provide your name, position title, the name of your organization, mailing address, phone number, fax number, and email address.

All SOCP meetings are open to the general public. SOCP works with the support of Maritime Administration (MARAD) and various industry, labor, and government organizations to address common challenges and identify new solutions for improvements in ship operations. For more info and an agenda of meeting topics, visit the SOCP website at or contact Todd Ripley at 202-366-2625.


Tuesday, November 7th, is Election Day. People across the country will have the opportunity to vote for their representatives and, in 33 states, for their senators. This is an opportunity for all of us who care about the US Merchant Marine to make a decision that will affect our future and help determine whether our country maintains a US-flag shipping industry.

This is our opportunity to vote for our jobs, to protect our economic interests and to promote a stronger, larger and more competitive US-flag Merchant Marine.

Every vote counts. Remember that whether or not we are disillusioned by what has or hasn’t happened in Washington, the candidates who are ultimately elected November 7th will control the fate of our industry and thus, our future.

Log onto MM&P’s Web site at , for a list of candidates who support: funding and expansion of the Maritime Security Program; enforcement of the Jones Act; implementation of cargo preference programs; the right of American workers, including licensed maritime officers, to join and belong to unions and bargain collectively. Please review the candidate recommendation page.

If we take the time to learn about an individual’s position on issues important to our industry and if we use that information when deciding how to vote, we can and will make a difference. We can elect candidates who will fight by our side for a stronger US-flag Merchant Marine.

Go to today to view our Candidate Recommendations. If you don’t have access to the Internet and want information on the candidates, send an email to Jim Patti at MIRAID in Washington, DC at or contact him by phone at 202-463-6505.


Each year the MM&P Plan allows for the award of six scholarships to the dependent children of MM&P offshore members and co-pay pensioners in good standing who are participants in the Health & Benefit Plan. Now is the time to begin thinking about scholarship applications for the 2007-2008 academic years. The deadline for filing an application with the Plan office is November 30, 2006.

All interested students who are high school seniors during the 2006-2007 school year should contact the Plan Office as soon as possible to request an application packet. The applications will be reviewed and the winners selected by the Scholarship Recognition Award Program in Princeton, NJ, who reviews all of the qualifications of the applicants including test scores, grades, extracurricular activities, community service, etc. In the spring, a list of approved candidates will be sent to the Plan Office to verify eligibility. The final list will be presented to the Trustees at the May 2007 meeting and winners will be notified immediately.

Please call Madeline Petrelli at the MM&P Plan Office, 410- 850-8615, to request an application.


According to a recently released General Accounting Office (GAO) report to Congress, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) must address and solve “key challenges before implementing the Transportation Worker Identification Credential Program.” The report identified three major challenges, which surfaced during TWIC program testing. Additionally, the report stressed that ensuring key components of the TWIC program can work effectively in the maritime sector was also an important task.

The report identified the three major areas of concern:

  • Enrolling workers and issuing TWIC cards in a timely manner to a significantly larger population of workers than was done during testing of the TWIC program.
  • Ensuring that the TWIC technology, such as biometric card readers, works effectively in the maritime sector. TSA has obtained limited information on the use of biometric readers in the maritime sector because most facilities that tested the TWIC program did not use these types of readers.
  • Balancing the added security components of the TWIC program with the potential impact that the program could have on the flow of maritime commerce.
  • GAO advice to DHS personnel specifically highlighted deficiencies in administrative and technical issues, which need to be solved before it can require maritime workers and vendors to use the universal, tamper-proof identification cards. The GAO report also noted many of the same problems pointed out by thousands of industry and public comments, like those submitted by MM&P, which were filed after the TSA published proposed TWIC rules last spring. Further testing of biometric cards and readers will also be required, according to the GAO, before making the cards mandatory.

    While the TSA has acknowledged problems with the program, and despite GAO concerns, they have not announced any additional testing of the system. Additionally, the new SAFE Port Act requires TSA to perform some testing of TWIC technology prior to making the system operational. Finally, the GAO report also noted that the cost of the program has virtually doubled because of changes made after awarding the contract to test TWIC. It was clear from the report that the proposed ID program has a long way to go before it can be made operational and perhaps more importantly, effective.

    According to media reports, DHS concurs with many of the report’s recommendations and is already taking steps to adopt some of them.


    House Small Business Committee Chairman Don Manzullo (R-IL) said the government’s proposed security credential process for port workers is too cumbersome and costly for America’s small businesses and needs to be revamped and strengthened to be effective.

    Manzullo, who recently held a full committee hearing on the issue, said the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) did not adequately consider the impact to America’s small businesses when it drafted the proposed rules to the Maritime Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC). The initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (RFA), required by law, was seriously flawed and did not accurately reflect the full small business impact of the rule.

    “I’m glad that DHS is taking steps to secure our ports, but I want a workable solution for the long term,” Manzullo said. “We must make sure DHS doesn’t go through all this effort in developing this worker credential process only to have the small business community successfully challenge it in court. Securing our homeland is way too important to be left to lawsuits.”

    TWIC is an expensive biometric identification card designed to ensure individuals who could pose security risks do not have access to our nation’s ports. To apply for a TWIC, workers must travel to a remote credentialing facility and submit information for a security background check. “The DHS received nearly 2,000 comments about this proposed program, many from small businesses who say that TWIC is too expensive and would cost them business,” Manzullo said.


    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently released a fact sheet outlining the significant actions that have been taken to improve the nation’s homeland security. In the maritime industry, those measures include:

  • Strengthening Port Security: The USCG created port security teams to assess over 60 strategic port locations. USCG also completed special assessments on several classes of vessels including ferries, LNG vessels, certain dangerous cargo barges and single skin tank vessels. The Coast Guard also developed the port security risk assessment tool to assess and establish risk-based profiles. With the President’s FY 2007 Budget request, total DHS funding for port security activities since FY 2004 total nearly $10 billion.
  • Over $1.1 Billion Has Been Provided to Protect Critical
    Infrastructure: Through programs designated for infrastructure protection, DHS has provided more than $1.1 billion to date to strengthen the nation’s ability to prevent, protect against, respond to and recover from terrorist attacks, major disasters and other emergencies that could impact this country’s critical infrastructure.
  • Increasing Manpower and Resources: Since President Bush took office, the number of Border Patrol agents has increased from 9,000 to more than 12,000, and will double to 18,000 by the end of 2008. CBP officers at US ports of entry have increased 50 percent and funding for border security efforts has risen by 66%.
  • Assessing 100% of Cargo Entering the Country: The National Targeting Center (NTC) provides tactical targeting and analytical research support for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) anti-terrorism efforts and currently assesses info relating to all US bound cargo in order to identify, inspect and reject potentially high-risk cargo before it can enter the US. Experts in passenger and cargo targeting at the NTC operate around the clock using tools like the Automated Targeting System (ATS) to determine any potential national security risk before entering the US.
  • Scanning 98% of Cargo in our Seaports by the End of 2008: Prior to 9/11, approximately 2 percent of cargo was screened, and virtually none was screened for radiation. There are now approximately 267 Radiation Portal Monitors (RPMs) currently deployed at our nation’s seaports and 14,000 handheld detection devices are currently in use. By the end of 2006, 75 percent of seaborne cargo will be scanned by RPM. By the end of 2008, that number will increase to 98 percent.
  • Establishing the “Global Standard” for Cargo and Port
    Security: DHS established the Container Security Initiative (CSI) post 9/11 to inspect high-risk containers before they are loaded on board vessels destined for the US. By the end of this year, more than 50 ports accounting for over 90 percent of maritime containerized cargo shipped to the US will be part of the initiative. DHS also partners with more than 5,800 global businesses through the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) in which business take necessary steps to improve supply chain security and agree to pre-screen all cargo before entering the US.


    The Coast Guard medevaced a 24-year-old man off a ship, 34 miles south of Galveston earlier this week. A watchstander at USCG Sector Houston/Galveston received a call for help from a person onboard the EAGLE CATARIS, stating that a crewmember had been severely burned by hot oil while working on a settling tank.

    USCG Air Station Houston launched an HH-65 Dolphin helicopter to medevac the man, who had sustained oil burns on his neck, an arm, a leg and chest. The Air Station Houston crew flew the victim to the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. The EAGLE CATARIS was offloading a super tanker when the accident occurred.


    The US Coast Guard is investigating the cause of a collision between two ships earlier this week that occurred at the IMTT Myrtle Grove facility near Point A La Hache, LA. The collision occurred at 0125 hrs between the HEIDELBERG EXPRESS, a 773-foot German container ship, and the YEROT SAKOS, a 737-foot Liberian cargo ship full of iron ore. The incident began when the HEIDELBERG EXPRESS experienced a loss of power when traveling outbound at mile marker 57 along the Lower Mississippi River and the crew of the vessel dropped both anchors in an attempt to stop the ship. There were no reports of injuries or pollution at the time of the incident and the waterway remains open and unrestricted. Investigators from USCG Sector New Orleans are investigating the incident.


    Panamanian voters have approved a multi-billion dollar plan to widen the Panama Canal. About 75 percent of those who voted were in favor of the expansion. The estimated 8-year, $5.25 billion project won’t start until 2007, but when completed, it is expected to help consumers by providing shippers with better economies of scale through larger vessels, reduced delays and increased capacity.

    The widening of the Canal will be a huge undertaking, and entails adding a third set of locks on both the Atlantic and Pacific sides of the waterway. When completed, the 50- mile canal’s capacity will effectively be doubled, while allowing the new generation of still larger container ships, cruise liners and tank vessels to pass through a bottleneck which is currently too small. Built by the US, Americans ran it until 1999, when it was handed over the Panamanians in accordance with a treaty signed by President Jimmy Carter in 1977. In many respects, the canal remains little changed from what it looked like when it began operations nearly a century ago.

    The Panama Canal Authority will finance the project using more than $2 billion in borrowed funds, but hopes to eventually pay the entire price tag by raising tolls.
    Upwards of 40,000 jobs could be created. Currently, 70 percent of canal traffic involves cargoes headed to or coming from the US. That figure is expected to grow once the conversion is complete and container ships with capacities of 12,000 TEUs will be able to transit the canal. That figure dwarfs the 4500 TEU capacity of ships that can use the canal today.


    The Wall Street Journal recently ran a feature story by reporters Daniel Machalaba and Bruce Stanley entitled “Giants of the Sea.” The story highlighted the new generation of 8,000-plus TEU containerships that are making their way to US ports and the challenge they pose for pilots in docking them. The following is an excerpt from that WSJ article:

    “When the container ship HUGO pulled into Long Beach, Calif., last month after a trans-Pacific crossing, its docking was about as easy as parallel parking a Greyhound bus in a phone booth.

    “Bigger than the TITANIC and nearly as long as the QUEEN MARY 2, the 1,095-foot-long HUGO required two harbor pilots and three tugboats to guide it through a narrow shipping channel to the dock. Crewmembers had to fold down a radar mast to clear the 157-foot-high Gerald Desmond Bridge — and made it with only five feet to spare. Then the ship made a 90-degree turn, its stern narrowly avoiding a concrete structure known as the “can opener.”

    “Big as it is, the HUGO is just one in a new generation of container ships so massive that they dwarf ships made just a decade ago. Often longer than three football fields and wider than the Panama Canal, the $100 million ships are jammed with Asian-made merchandise that will fill shopping lists and stores throughout the US before the holiday rush. Like Santa’s supersize sleigh, the HUGO was loaded with toys, electronic goods and clothes. The ship’s maximum load of 8,200 20-foot-long cargo containers could fill a train stretching more than 23 miles.

    “Spurred by the flood of goods from Asia, growing by about 10% a year, container-ship lines have put about 90 of these huge ships to work plying the high seas, estimates Paul Bingham, a principal at the global trade and transportation practice at consulting firm Global Insight Inc. About 150 additional ships with room for at least 8,000 20-foot-long cargo containers are being built or on order through 2010, creating $16 billion to $18 billion in work for shipyards throughout the world.

    “The Long Beach port plans to spend $800 million to replace the Gerald Desmond Bridge with a taller version. On Oct. 22, Panamanian voters are expected to approve a $5.5 billion plan to lengthen, widen and deepen the canal enough so it can accommodate most big container ships.”

    “Ports have to enlarge to stay in the game,” says Wilson Lacy, maritime director at the Oakland, Calif., port, which is investing $1.6 billion in expanded terminals, deeper channels and new equipment for large ships. Many older ports in the US and Europe are hemmed in by urban sprawl and have little room to grow.”

    “Meanwhile, shipping lines are trying to outdo each other with ever-bigger vessels. In August, Maersk launched its 1,300-foot-long EMMA MAERSK, calling it the largest container ship ever built. A month later, CMA CGM, based in Marseille, France, and the HUGO’s owner, announced a $1.2 billion order for eight new ships that can each carry 11,400 20-foot-long containers — about 4% more than the EMMA MAERSK’S official capacity.

    “Until port infrastructures catch up, expect many more tight squeezes. John Ochs, managing director of Maersk’s APM Terminals container-terminal operation in Los Angeles, recalls driving across a bridge on his way to work one recent morning as a giant ship was docking below. “I saw this monster sliding under me,” he says. “I said: ‘I hope they have Vaseline.’ “


    The Navigation Safety Advisory Council (NAVSAC) will meet to discuss various issues relating to the safety of navigation. The meetings are open to the public and will be held on Nov. 14-16. The meetings may close early if all business is finished. Written material for and requests to make oral presentations at the meeting should reach the USCG by Nov. 1. The meeting will be held in the Marriott Courtyard Washington Capital Hill/Navy Yard Hotel, 140 L Street, SE, Washington, DC 20003. This notice and related documents are available on the Internet at For further info contact: John Bobb, Executive Secretary, phone 202-372-1532, fax 202-372-1929, or e-mail at:

    The agenda includes the following items to be discussed:
    (1) Standard Navigational Bridge Design.
    (2) Offshore Renewable Energy Installations.
    (3) Navigation Aid Mix.
    (4) Electronic Positioning and Timing Systems.
    (5) Electronic Charts.
    (6) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Update (Right Whale Proposed regulations).


    The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) issued a press statement that one of its members at Hayling Island observed a flashing light off the coast that seemed to be sending an SOS. He responded by flashing the lights of the control tower. He then alerted the Marine Rescue Coordination Center, which requested the launch of a lifeboat. The rescue was successfully completed. It turns out the man had transferred all of his safety equipment from his 28-foot fishing boat to a newly acquired vessel. He was running his old boat a short distance down the coast when it grounded. The only safety equipment he had on board was his flashlight.


    CLASS OPENINGS: Between now and the end of January 2007, seats are available in the following courses:

    JUST ADDED: Small Arms Course (4 day): 12/4
    Small Arms Re-Qual (2 day): 12/8

    AIS – Automatic Identification System: 12/15
    ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 11/14, 12/5, 1/16
    AZIPOD-KAM-2 – Two-Day Azipod and Kamewa Steering and Propulsion Systems: 12/4

    BRM Bridge Resource Management: 1/22
    BRMP – Bridge Resource Mangement for Pilots: 12/7
    BST – Basic Safety Training: 10/30, 11/13

    [CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
    *WX-BASREF-2 – Two day Basic weather refresher, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED PREP for Advanced Meteorology: 10/26
    *CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 10/30, 1/22
    CMM-ADVSTB – 11/27, 1/29
    CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 1): 11/13
    CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 11/6
    CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart and Display Information System: 12/4, 1/8
    CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 10/30, 12/4
    CMM-SHS-ADV-1 – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 12/11
    CMM-SHMGT-I – Ship Management II (week 1): 12/11
    CMM-WKP – Watchkeeping: 11/27

    COMP-OPSYS – Basic Computer Course: 11/13
    CONT-PLNG – Contingency Planning: 12/16, 1/26

    CSE-AASE – Confined Space Entry: 11/28, 1/15

    FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 10/30, 11/13

    HAZ-Hazardous Materials (5-day): 11/6, 1/8

    LEG Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 12/7

    MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 11/9, 1/25

    MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 12/9, 1/13
    MED-PIC – Medical Person In Charge: 1/8
    MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 12/4, 1/8

    [MSC – Military Sealift Command]
    MSC-CBRD-1 (Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Orientation): 1/20
    MSC-DC (Damage Control): 1/18
    MSC-SMA-Small Arms Re-Qualification (4-day): 12/4
    MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 12/8 (must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years)

    ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal (5-day): 11/27, 1/29
    ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 11/13, 12/4, 1/15

    SEC-OFF-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 11/6, 12/12, 1/22
    SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling 11/6, 1/22
    SHS-EMR- Emergency Shiphandling: 1/29
    SHS-EMR- BRMP-3- Emergency Shiphandling & Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 12/4

    TRAC-TUG – Water Tractor and Azimuth Stern Drive Tugs: 12/7

    Check the MITAGS website at for course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations, and schedule revisions. For class availability or info on MITAGS courses and programs, contact admissions toll-free at 866-656-5568 or Email:


    Fall and Winter: 2006-2007

    MATE 500/1600 TONS Program Begins January 2007
    Due to the high demand for this program, PMI has now scheduled another that is already close to full enrollment for its 2007-start date. See the PMI Web site at for more info on this new development.

    SCHEDULE OF COURSES – (Course schedule also posted online at

    November 2006
    10/30-11/3 Tankerman Person in Charge
    10/30-11/3 Able Bodied Seaman
    10/30-11/3 Medical Person in Charge
    10/30-11/3 Medical First Aid Provider
    11/6-10 Tankerman Person in Charge
    11/6-10 ARPA
    11/6-10 Emergency Shiphandling
    11/6-17 GMDSS
    11/27-12/1 Radar Observer Unlimited

    December 2007
    12/4-8 ARPA
    12/4-15 Shiphandling – Advanced
    12/11-13 Security Officer – Vessel, Company, and Facility
    12/11-22 GMDSS
    12/18-22 ECDIS
    12/18-22 ARPA
    12/18-22 Medical First Aid Provider
    12/19 Radar Recertification

    January 2007
    1/2 Mate Program Begins/Orientation
    1/8-1/26 Ratings Forming Part of a Navigational Watch
    1/22-1/26 Terrestrial and Coastal Navigation
    1/22-1/26 Tankerman Person in Charge
    1/22-1/26 Emergency Shiphandling
    1/29-2/2 Medical First Aid Provider
    1/29-2/2 Radar Observer Unlimited
    1/29-2/9 Medical Person in Charge
    1/29-2/9 GMDSS

    For registration call Jennifer Fowler 888-893-7829


    High quality with embroidered PMI logo.
    Navy or Khaki Hats : $16 / includes tax
    Button Down Long Sleeve Dress Shirts
    Blue or Khaki: $38 / includes tax
    Pocket t-shirts with Logo: $12 / includes tax
    15oz. Cobalt Blue Ceramic Mug: $8 / includes tax

    Call DeeDee Lazik 206-838-8328 or e-mail



     D O W  N A S D A Q  S & P 500
    12,163.66 +203.15 for the week 2,379.10 +21.81 for the week 1,389.08 +23.46 for the week
    Fund Name & Trading Symbol
     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 (FMAGX)
     Fidelity Small Company Instl (FMACX)
     Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
     Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
     Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)


    ~ Reminders ~




    All MM&P members are reminded that to sail aboard the T-AGS ships that MM&P-contracted Horizon Lines will be operating, you must have the required training certification and your certificates must be current in accordance with Military Sealift Command requirements. Members are also required to have had a MSC pre-employment physical and to possess Ship Security Clearance (see below).

    The MSC Contract calls for all training certificates required for manning of these vessels to be no older than 5 years and that all STCW-95 courses be renewed every 5 years, or annually, as applicable.

    Five-year renewable courses include, but are not limited to:

    • Advanced Fire Fighting
    • Basic Safety Training, and
    • Damage Control

    Small Arms certificates must be less than 1 year old and MUST NOT expire during your tour of duty.

    Members interested in applying for one of the positions onboard the T-AGS vessels are advised to make sure your certificates are up to date. If not, contact Mary Matlock or Diane Ford at MITAGS Admissions, email:, and schedule to take the course(s) needed.

    Those MM&P members interested in obtaining more information and facts about the T-AGS Oceanographic Vessels are asked to email the Director of Special Projects requesting the “facts sheet”. It will be provided by return email in an Adobe Acrobat PDF format.

    Members interested in employment on the T-AGS ships are asked to provide a 1-2 page resume. Please list the desired position you are seeking along with the certificates of training you possess and their dates. Upon receipt it will be forwarded to Horizon Lines and a confirmation sent back to the member. Vessel turnover commenced Oct.17, 2004. Positions for all ratings remain open.

    The point of contact for sending a resume for employment on the Horizon Lines T-AGS Oceanographic Vessels is Richard Plant, MM&P’s Director of Special Projects. Send resumes in an email or as a Word file attachment to him at:, by fax to 410-850-0973 or by mail to:

    Richard Plant, Director of Special Projects

    700 Maritime Blvd.
    Linthicum Heights, MD 21090


    Members who want to sail for Horizon Lines on the T-AGS Oceanographic Survey vessels the company is set to begin operating for MSC must have Ship Security Clearance before going aboard.

    Special software must be downloaded from the US Government’s Defense Security Service to complete the Security Clearance application. You must have an Internet connection and a Windows-based computer to retrieve the application and run the program.

    Go to to download the software titled “EPSQ SUBJECT2_2”.

    After the software is installed and the program is launched, select “Create” from the menu bar at the top of the screen. You will be required to enter your Social Security Number and a case-sensitive password. A window titled “Type of Form” will appear.

    All Deck Officers should select the first button titled “Request for Security Clearance (SF86)” and then click “OK” to go to the next screen, “Type of Investigation”.

    From the “Type of Investigation” screen:

    • Masters and Radio Officers should select the first button, “Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI)”.
    • All other Deck Officers (C/M, 2/M, 3/M) should click on the second button, “National Agency Check (NAC or NACLC)”.

    After selecting the appropriate investigation type, click on “OK” to begin filling in the forms.



    Horizon Lines requests all mariners seeking employment aboard the T-AGS Oceanographic vessels to take their MSC Physical at specially-designated facilities only after being advised to do so by the Company. This is to assure that all requirements of the MSC Physical are properly met.




    Is it time to replace that car you’re driving? Vehicle loan rates are looking great at MM&P FCU.

    Drive away in a new or used vehicle for a standard loan rate of:

    4.75 percent for terms up to 24 months.
    Standard loan rates for longer-term loans are:

    5.00 percent for 25-48 months;
    5.75 percent for 49-60 months ($20,000 minimum); and
    6.25 percent for terms extending from 61-72 months ($25,000 minimum).
    You can lower your loan rate even more — by 0.75 percent — by becoming a Preferred Borrower.

    Are you paying a higher rate on your current vehicle loan at another institution? Consider refinancing your outside loan at the MM&P FCU and taking advantage of our lower loan rates.

    MM&P FCU will finance up to 100 percent of your new vehicle loan, and up to 90 percent of NADA Book Value on a used vehicle. Maximum vehicle loan amount is $30,000.

    MM&P FCU members can reduce the interest rate they pay on any new loan even further by becoming a preferred borrower. What is a preferred borrower? That’s a member who deposits at least 10 percent of the original loan amount into their MM&P FCU savings account and keeps those funds on deposit until the loan is paid in full. By doing this you save twice – first, your deposit works for you by earning our regular dividend savings rate, and second, you save money by reducing the interest rate on your loan by 0.75 percent.

    Contact the MM&P FCU for full details on all loan programs by email to or call 1-800-382-7777 toll-free.





    On Sept.30, Merck & Co. voluntarily withdrew Vioxx, a popular anti-inflammatory medication, from the market. As a result, individuals who are currently taking the drug have been asked to contact their health care professionals to discuss discontinuing use of Vioxx and possible alternative treatments.

    MM&P Plans Administrator Valerie Verrecchio reports that, “We have gotten a number of calls from members who want to know what to do with their remaining supply of Vioxx and whether the Plan or NMHC will refund their co-pay for the unused portion.

    “Unfortunately, neither NMHC nor the Plan was aware of the Merck decision prior to the public announcement on Sept.30. As of that date, all deliveries of Vioxx to our members was suspended in accordance with Merck’s announcement. Orders that had already been processed and were in transit could not be stopped.

    “In regard to refunds, Merck has set up a website at where members can obtain information on how to recover refunds from Merck for the unused portion of medication. Members can also call following toll free number for information: 1-888-368-4699.

    “We are sorry for any inc onvenience this may have caused to members currently taking this medication, however, the matter is out of the control of the Plans.”


    MM&P Plans Administrator Valerie Verrecchio reports, “Good news! NMHC mail has finally gotten their website upgraded and functioning properly. I went in and tested it myself and found it to be quite user friendly.”

    To use NMHC’s upgraded service, go to the NMHC Mail website at and click on “MEMBER LOGIN” at the bottom of the screen.

    First-time and Registered users may bypass the welcome screen and go directly to the log-in page at

    • First-time users should then click on the link marked “NEW USER: REGISTER HERE”.
      This will take you to a page titled “MEMBER REGISTRATION” where you will need to enter demographic information and submit it by clicking on the
    • “CREATE ACCOUNT” button.

    After creating your account, NMHC will email you a password to gain entry into your records. With your first sign-in, the NMHC system will prompt you to change the NMHC password to one of your own choosing.

    Once you are registered at NMHC, you can check the status of open orders by logging-in to the system through the “MEMBER LOGIN” page and going into the “MAIL ORDER” menu. You can look up all prescriptions and get the price our members will pay for any medication. You can also view an order history of all of your medication transactions (both retail and mail) for the last 24 months, locate 24-hour pharmacies in your zip code region as well as access other helpful member education information.

    “We hope this welcome improvement will assist our members. Although you cannot order refills on line if you don’t provide a credit or debit card number, you can phone in your refill. Once you register on the website, you will still have access to all of the other information including checking the status of your order once it is phoned in,” said Ms. Verrecchio.


    The U.S. Coast Guard has announced an initiative to identify and collect the oral histories of its World War II veterans. Coast Guard WWII veterans, including SPARS and merchant mariners, are encouraged to record their histories online with the Library of Congress Veterans History Project at

    Those veterans needing assistance in recording their stories can receive help from their local Coast Guard Auxiliary public affairs contact by leaving a message at 1-877-875-6296, a toll-free call.



    LMS Ship Management, the company that manages vessels for Central Gulf, Sulphur Carriers and Waterman Steamship, wants to remind MM&P members that they offer their crewmembers a $75 reimbursement on the cost of purchasing certain slip-resistant shoes and boots for use aboard ship.

    This offer has been in place for some time and LMS reports that “we have been pleased with the participation to date, but feel a reminder may be in order.” Their goal is for every crewmember to wear slip resistant footwear during working hours aboard their vessels.

    The $75 reimbursement is available to each crewmember who provides LMS with an original receipt for the purchase of slip resistant footwear. In order for the crewmember to obtain the reimbursement, they must wear the shoes while on duty. Upon presentation of the receipt, the crewmember will be reimbursed on their pay voucher. The receipt will be retained by the Master and will remain aboard the vessel.

    Vessels in the LMS footwear reimbursement program are:

    • Green Cove
    • Green Dale
    • Green Lake
    • Green Point
    • Atlantic Forest
    • Sulphur Enterprise
    • Energy Enterprise
    • SGT Matej C. Kocak
    • MAJ Stephen W. Pless, and
    • PFC Eugene A. Obregon

    LMS notes that in order to receive reimbursement, crewmembers must purchase one of the following recommended brands:

    • WORX by Red Wing Slip Resistant Footwear
    • Caterpillar (must have steel toe & slip resistant sole)
    • Wolverine (must have steel toe and slip resistant sole)
    • Dunham Sierra Work Boot EH
    • Steel Toe Voyager
    • Georgia Boot 6- or 8-inch Safety Toe Boot
    • Dr. Marten’s (must have steel toe & slip resistant sole)


    Of the boots listed above, Red Wing, Caterpillar and Wolverine boots are produced by US union labor.

    Redwing’s Union-made products are: Red Wing shoes and boots, Red Wing motorcycle boots and Craftsman (Sears).

    Wolverine World Wide manufactures boots under the Caterpillar brand using US union labor. (Other union made safety-shoe brands by Wolverine are the company’s Hy-Test, Durashock and Bates Military labels. The company’s Wolverine brand combat boots are also produced using US union labor.)

    Most Dr. Marten’s shoes and boots are produced in the UK.

    To find US, union-made products, visit the AFL-CIO Union Label Service and Trades website at and click on “Union Made Product Search”. To shop for union-made products online, go to



    The Union Label recently went digital with a new website offering shoppers an array of union-made gifts, from clothing and chocolates to computers, games and greeting cards.

    The website,, launches on the eve of the fall and winter holidays, when shoppers will spend an estimated $1 trillion on gifts, food, drinks and other seasonal items, explained Matt Bates, Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO Union Label & Service Trades Department. The all-union shopping site, however, will be a year-round operation because that is what consumers demand, he added.

    “Shoppers spent $56 billion in Internet sales last year, and on-line spending is doubling every two to three years. Everyday we receive Email and calls from people who want to support good jobs by buying union-made goods and services. The website will reach millions of people, 24 hours a day, with a quick convenient way to shop union,” Bates said.

    “The public is ready for this. People have seen millions of good jobs disappear and they are looking for ways to take a stand and make a difference,” he added.

    The AFL-CIO will target the peak of the holiday shopping season by promoting “Buy Union Week” Nov. 26 through Dec. 5. The newly-launched, all-union shopping site will be a cornerstone of that campaign. MM&P has a link to the Shop Union Site on this website under “Links and Other Sources”.

    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 and is posted on our web page.

    C 2006, 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 John Peige at