Wheelhouse Weekly – October 31st, 2017

November 1st 2017

Volume 22… Number 44… Oct. 31, 2017


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The crew of the Military Sealift Command (MSC) Expeditionary Fast Transport (EFT) vessel USNS YUMA rescued seven people Sunday from a 50-foot powerboat that had lost all means of propulsion.

The licensed deck officers aboard YUMA are represented by the MM&P Federal Employees Membership Group (FEMG).

The operation began when YUMA, which was transiting off Key West, was hailed by a Coast Guard aircraft to assist the boat in distress, approximately 45 miles to the south.

“YUMA arrived on scene two hours later and found the boat beam to the seas,” reported Captain David C. Gommo.

“Given the 7-9 foot seas,” he said, “I decided that launching our RHIB was not in the best interests of my crew.”

“Accordingly, YUMA was maneuvered to get a heaving line off our bow down to the boat. We sent one of our mooring lines to the boat and paid out until the vessel was alongside. YUMA embarked all seven passengers. Everyone is in good health. We are providing food/water and essentials to make their time on YUMA as best it can be,” he said.

The crew of YUMA had the disabled powerboat, GOOD OLE MISS, in tow but unfortunately the tow line parted two hours into the tow.

“Sea state precluded attempting to get another tow line established,” Gommo said.

He added that Coast Guard Sector Key West had been notified and that “the boat’s owner understands and agrees with decision made and is happy that all seven passengers are safe.”

The owner said he would attempt to make alternate salvage arrangements for his boat.

YUMA returned the passengers to Naval Station Key West yesterday morning.

USNS YUMA and the other ships in the EFT class are designed to provide rapid transport of military equipment and personnel in theater. The Navy accepted delivery of YUMA in April of this year.

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The Senate last week approved a House-passed bill that would provide $36.5 billion to fund hurricane relief, a flood insurance program and wildfire recovery efforts in the West.

Earlier in the week, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) had threatened to hold up the relief bill if it did not permanently exempt Puerto Rico from the Jones Act.

Despite efforts by opponents of the Jones Act in Congress—including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)–senators advanced the disaster relief legislation without anti-Jones Act riders.

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Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called last week for an end to the requirement that a portion of international food aid be transported on U.S.-flag ships.

Cargo preference, along with the Maritime Security Program and the Jones Act, are the three cornerstones of U.S.-flag shipping that support the continued existence of the American Merchant Marine.

MM&P, the rest of maritime labor and U.S.-flag shipping companies work to support and defend the cargo preference rules because they help ensure the Department of Defense has ships and mariners to respond in time of war or national emergency.

In 2012, Congress lowered the percentage of food aid carried on U.S.-flag vessels to 50 percent from 75 percent.

During an Oct. 26 committee hearing, Corker called cargo preference “ridiculous” and said that eliminating the food aid requirement would save taxpayers more than $300 million annually.

He says he now intends to pressure members of the Senate Agriculture Committee to eliminate cargo preference altogether in the next Farm Bill.

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The campaign to repeal the Jones Act in the wake of Hurricane Maria has been met head-on by transportation labor and friends of the U.S.-flag fleet in Congress.

“It is both sad and unsurprising that some are using the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico to attack the Jones Act–a maritime cabotage law that protects good U.S. jobs and ensures the U.S. military has sealift capability in times of war or conflict,” wrote officials of the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA) in an Oct. 23 blog post entitled, “Enforcing the Jones Act Strengthens U.S. Economy and National Defense.”

“We will lend our voice and experience because the same arguments against the Jones Act have been used to go after the jobs and rights of ALPA members,” they said.

“To our maritime brothers and sisters, we say: we’ve got your back.”

The Transportation Trades Department (TTD), AFL-CIO, which includes MM&P, ALPA and 30 other transportation sector unions, mounted a vigorous defense of the Jones Act, including social media, articles in the press and letters to Congress.

“Gutting the Jones Act is a misguided proposal fueled by misinformation,” wrote TTD President Larry Willis in an Op-Ed that was published by the Washington media outlet The Hill.

“Repealing it will not solve Puerto Rico’s immediate humanitarian crisis, nor will it fix the island’s long-term financial problems,” he added.

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) took to the floor of the House of Representatives to refute “the false narrative spreading through the media about the Jones Act…”

“The Jones Act DELIVERS for Puerto Rico,” she said, holding up charts of statistics on aid shipments to the hurricane-ravaged island that had been delivered on Jones Act ships.

In her seven-minute address to her colleagues, Jayapal said it was not the Jones Act blocking humanitarian relief deliveries to residents of the island but damage to roads and ports, “lack of infrastructure and lack of refrigeration.”

If you want “better wages, better jobs and a better deal for the American public,” she said, you should support the Jones Act, which is “the epitome of that.”

Another voice raised in defense of the Jones Act came from The Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.

“The feverish debate about whether to waive the Jones Act to expedite Puerto Rico’s disaster recovery is akin to considering what to do about a paper cut for a cancer patient,” wrote Brookings Institution expert Aaron Klein.

“A waiver was–and remains–irrelevant to the core humanitarian problems at hand and any needed reaction. The key problems, including insufficient and delayed federal resources, and a lack of means to distribute supplies on the island, have nothing to do with the Jones Act.”

For the latest on the battle to defend the Jones Act, go to and scroll down to “Latest News.”

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The hospital ship USNS COMFORT is continuing its life-saving work as part of the post-hurricane humanitarian relief effort in Puerto Rico.

The ship is operated by Civil Service mariners, including licensed deck officers who belong to the MM&P Federal Employees Membership Group (FEMG).

After administrative problems on land were found to have kept many in need of help from reaching the ship during three weeks it was stationed off the coast, COMFORT is now back at the pier in San Juan, and has set up a shore-based screening team to help bring in patients.

According to Military Sealift Command, medical personnel aboard the ship had treated 270 people over the three days since the vessel returned to the pier, substantially more than they had helped during the preceding three weeks at sea.

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The GLORY AMSTERDAM, a Panama-flagged bulk carrier, ran aground Sunday in a storm about a mile off the shore of the German island of Langeoog.

Reuters has reported that the 742-foot freighter is not carrying any cargo but has 1,800 tons of heavy oil and 140 tons of marine diesel on board as fuel.

Authorities are monitoring the vessel with helicopter overflights, looking for any signs of oil leaks.

The captain of the freighter and 22 crewmembers are still on board and are said to be safe.

Efforts to tow the GLORY AMSTERDAM free are being complicated by the fact that the grounding occurred in the Wadden Sea, the world’s largest unbroken system of intertidal sand and mud flats.

Plans to tow the freighter during high tide on Monday were abandoned after officials decided that the water was too shallow for the designated towing vessel.

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Members of the maritime community in Washington State have honored Captain C. Michael Murray with an award for lifetime achievement.

Murray, who sailed for Washington State Ferries and then served two terms as vice president of the MM&P United Inland Group, accepted the award in the presence of his wife Linda, colleagues and friends.

“It was from his parents that he learned the value of honesty and hard work and there is no harder worker than Mike Murray,” said MM&P President Don Marcus.

“He is for certain a man that you would want to have on your team and MM&P is fortunate to have him on ours,” he added.

The ceremony, which was organized by the Maritime Trades Department, Puget Sound Council, AFL-CIO, took place on Oct. 17 in Seattle.

Proceeds from the event were donated to the Mission to Seafarers.

Also honored was Captain John Dwyer, USCG Ret., Officer in Charge of Marine Inspections in Puget Sound, who was named Maritime Person of the Year.

Murray and Dwyer each received a plaque embedded in a ship’s wheel.

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The most recent edition of The Master, Mate & Pilot has been posted on

In this issue:
— highest award for bravery to Houston pilots McGee and Phillips;
— MM&P members approve affiliation with Panamanian Union of Captains and Deck Officers (UCOC);
— MV CALUMET aids Coast Guard in search for person in the water;
— U.S. unions front and center in Puerto Rico aid efforts;
— interview with Josh McGrath, a member of the MM&P United Inland Group-Pacific Maritime Region who sails for the Alaska Marine Highway System and volunteers on Mercy ships.

The new issue of The Master, Mate & Pilot will be in your mailbox soon. In the meantime, look for it online on

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All MM&P union halls, the MM&P Plan Office, the MM&P Federal Credit Union and MM&P headquarters will be closed on Friday, Nov. 10, for Veterans Day.

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MITAGS needs your current address! Have you moved recently? Did you remember to send MITAGS your new address for communications regarding courses? Please send your current contact information to or to the fax number below. New dedicated fax line for Admissions only: 1-443-568-1928. For all other MITAGS business, please continue to use: 410-859-5181.

For class availability or information on MITAGS courses and programs, contact Amanda Meadows, Admissions Coordinator, toll-free at 866-656-5568 or by e-mail:

Why not try our on-line calendar to register for class:

Please note the special addition to our on-campus schedule of MSC classes marked with an asterisk (*), which are not normally scheduled to be held at MITAGS.

AB – Contact Admissions

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: Contact Admissions

ARPA-OIC – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 1/16/18

AZIPOD 2-Day – Contact Admissions

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 11/13/17, 2/26/18

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 11/14/17, 1/16/18, 2/22/18, 3/29/18

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling: Contact Admissions

BRMP-Refresher – 3/26/18

BT – Basic Safety Training: 1/15/18, 4/9/18

BT-Revalidation (2-day) (Must have 1 year of seatime in last 5 years) – 11/8/17, 12/12/17, 2/7/18, 3/6/18, 4/2/18, 4/30/18, 6/18/18

BT-Refresher (3-day) – 11/8/17, 12/11/17, 2/7/18, 3/5/18, 4/29/18

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 10/30/17

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 12/11/17, 1/29/18, 4/2/18, 6/11/18

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 12/4/17, 1/22/18, 3/12/18, 6/4/18

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 4/9/18

CM-OPS 1 – Chief Mate Operations – Week 1: 12/4/17

CM-OPS 2 Maersk – Chief Mate Operations II Maersk Specific: 12/11/17

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information Systems: 1/15/18, 3/26/18, 6/25/18

LMS – Leadership and Managerial Skills (Management Level – Formerly MCL-CMM): 1/8/18, 2/19/18, 5/14/18, 6/18/18

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants: 11/27/17, 3/5/18

SEC-APPS – Practical Defense Tactics: 3/12/18

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management (2 weeks): 4/23/18

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 12/4/17, 1/15/18, 2/5/18, 3/5/18, 3/19/18, 4/9/18, 4/23/18, 5/7/18, 6/4/18, 6/18/18

SHS-ADV-II-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 11/6/17, 12/11/17, 1/22/18, 2/12/18, 3/12/18, 3/26/18, 4/16/18, 4/30/18, 5/14/18, 6/11/18, 6/25/18

**SHS-ADV-I & II now approved to include SAR-CMM assessments at MITAGS effective immediately**

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 3/19/18

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 11/13/17, 5/7/18cnav

CNAV-OIC – Celestial Navigation: 11/6/17

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: Contact Admissions

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications: 2/19/18

CRSMGT – Crisis Management and Human Behavior – Contact Admissions

CDMGT – Crowd Management – Contact Admissions

CSE – Confined Space Entry: 1/15/18

CSE-AWR – Confined Space Entry Awareness: Contact Admissions

DDE – Great Lakes: 1/22/18

DPA – Contact Admissions

ECDIS for Pilots – 11/14/17, 2/20/18

ERM – Engine Resource Management: Contact Admissions

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 1/15/18, 4/9/18

FF-ADV-Rev (1-day) (Must have 1 year of seatime in last 5 years) – Advanced Fire Fighting Revalidation: 11/7/17, 12/14/17, 2/6/18, 3/8/18, 4/4/18, 5/2/18, 6/20/18

FF-ADV-REF (2-day) – Advanced Fire Fighting Refresher: 11/12/17, 12/9/17, 2/10/18, 3/3/18, 4/27/18

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications: Contact Admissions

GL-Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization: 1/19/18

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 3/5/18

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 11/27/17, 5/21/18

IEN – Integrated Electronic Navigation – 11/28/17

LAP – 2/26/18

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes: 1/22/18

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross
Ton License: 12/4/17

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 3/28/18

LNG-TPIC – 12/4/17

LTS –Leadership and Teamworking Skills (Formerly MCL-OIC): Contact Admissions (*2-Evening Session)

MEECE – Management of Electrical and Electronic Control Equipment (Assessments not included): Contact Admissions

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 1/22/18, 3/19/18, 5/7/18

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 11/13/17, 1/8/18, 4/23/18, 6/25/18

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 11/27/17, 1/22/18, 3/19/18, 4/16/18, 5/7/18

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 11/6/17, 12/15/17, 1/13/18, 1/27/18, 2/5/18, 3/9/18, 4/5/18, 5/3/18, 5/12/18, 6/21/18

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: Contact Admissions

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 2/23/18, 5/24/18, 6/8/18

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control: 2/21/18, 5/22/18, 6/6/18

*MSC-ENVPRO – 2/25/18, 6/3/18

*MSC-FF-HELO – 6/4/18

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualifications: 1/8/18, 2/26/18, 5/14/18, 6/11/18

*MSC-Security Watch Basic – 2/24/18, 5/13/18, 6/9/18

*MSC-Security Watch Advanced – 1/12/18, 3/2/18, 5/18/18, 6/10/18

*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force – 1/13/18, 3/3/18, 5/19/18, 6/15/18

NSAP-MMP – Navigational Skills Assessment Program-MM&P – 1/22/18, 1/24/18, 3/29/18, 4/23/18, 4/25/18, 6/25/18, 6/27/18

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 1/15/18

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 11/1/17, 11/8/17, 11/15/17, 11/29/17, 12/6/17, 12/13/17, 1/10/18, 1/31/18, 2/7/18, 2/21/18, 3/7/18, 3/21/18

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 11/27/18, 1/8/18

SAR – Search & Rescue – (Now with OIC and CMM assessments): Contact Admissions

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling: 1/29/18

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day – 11/27/17, 2/19/18, 4/2/18, 5/21/18

SMS – Contact Admissions

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 1/22/18

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 1/29/18

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: 2/12/18

TRAC-TUG-2: Contact Admissions

TTT – Contact Admissions

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: 4/12/18

VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 2/14/18, 4/9/18

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level): 2/19/18

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): 3/19/18

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For registration, please contact our registrar, Mary McGhee, at 206.838.1126 or You can also view our schedule and enroll online at

November 2017

4-5 Basic Training – Revalidation
4-6 Basic Training – Refresher
6-10 Basic Training
6-10 ECDIS
9th HAZWOPER Refresher
13th Vessel Personnel w/ Designated Security Duties (VPDSD)
13-14 ECDIS for Pilots
13-16 Advanced Firefighting
13-17 Tankship Dangerous Liquids
17th Leadership & Teamworking Skills
17th Flashing Light Exam
18-19 Basic Training – Revalidation
18-20 Basic Training – Refresher
20th Radar Renewal
20-22 Security Officer – Vessel, Company, & Facility
27-29 24-Hour HAZWOPER
27-1 Radar Observer Unlimited
27-1 Basic Shiphandling

December 2017

2-3 Basic Training – Revalidation
2-4 Basic Training – Refresher
4th Flashing Light Exam
4-8 Basic Training
4-8 Leadership & Managerial Skills
4-8 Medical Care Provider
4-15 Medical Person-In-Charge
4-15 GMDSS
8th HAZWOPER Refresher
11th Radar Renewal
11th Vessel Personnel w/ Designated Security Duties (VPDSD)
11-15 Construction & Stability (Operational Level)
11-15 Engine Resource Management
16-17 Basic Training – Revalidation
16-18 Basic Training – Refresher
18-20 Search & Rescue
18-21 Advanced Firefighting
18-22 ECDIS
20-22 24-Hour HAZWOPER

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The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates, & Pilots, ILA, AFL-CIO, 700 Maritime Blvd. Suite B, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1953. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973. All rights reserved. The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly © 2017. Articles can be reprinted without prior permission if credit is given to The MM&P WheelhouseWeekly. For subscriptions, address changes or messages to the editor or to MM&P headquarters, e-mail Back issues of The Weekly are posted on