Wheelhouse Weekly – October 3rd, 2017

October 4th 2017

Volume 22… Number 40… Oct. 3, 2017


In This Issue:


Coast Guard Safety Alert:

News for MM&P Members:

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The Maritime Labor Alliance, which includes MM&P and five other leading maritime unions, released the following statement on Sept. 28.

The humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico is one that requires the full resources and cooperation of all Americans. The men and women of the United States maritime industry, which includes several thousand Puerto Ricans, are deeply committed to providing the relief that is necessary for the people of the Island. The domestic maritime industry has risen to the occasion.

Contrary to misinformation spread in the media, the current crisis in Puerto Rico has nothing to do with the Jones Act. There is no shortage of U.S.-flag tonnage available to serve the Island. The emergency is caused by lack of ability to distribute critical supplies, food, medicine, water and fuel to local communities from the ports where these supplies are located.

The Maritime Labor Alliance insists on setting the record straight.

Our alliance consists of six leading maritime labor unions: American Radio Association (ARA), Inlandboatmen’s Union (IBU), International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA), International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA), and International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots (MM&P).

The facts are as follows:

1. The Jones Act does not prohibit foreign vessels from transporting supplies to Puerto Rico. In fact, nearly two-thirds of the vessels calling in Puerto Rico are foreign flag and nearly all the fuel transported to Puerto Rico is delivered aboard foreign-flag vessels.

2. Maritime labor does not oppose Jones Act waivers in emergencies when there have not been enough U.S.-flag ships available to transport cargo between U.S. ports. There are currently 15 U.S.-flag ships and U.S.-flag oceangoing tug/barge combinations regularly serving Puerto Rico.

These vessels alone are now bringing in more supplies than can be distributed ashore. Other U.S.-flag commercial vessels are available as are over 60 government-owned reserve cargo vessels that can be called into action and fully operational within 72 hours.

3. If a shortage of available shipping hinders relief efforts in the future, the undersigned organizations will fully support a temporary Jones Act waiver.

4. Spreading falsehoods about the Jones Act is harmful to the economic and military security of the United States. The Jones Act facilitates regular, reliable shipping services between the Island and other U.S. ports and at the same time promotes jobs for Puerto Ricans and other Americans while safeguarding the United States shipbuilding industry and merchant marine in times of peace and war.

We, the undersigned organizations, pledge our solidarity with the people of Puerto Rico, many of whom are in our ranks.

The statement was signed by Kelly Anderson, President of the ARA; Alan Cote, President of the IBU; Harold Daggett, President of the ILA; Robert McEllrath, President of the ILWU; Marshall Ainley, President of the MEBA; and Don Marcus, President of MM&P.

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Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) introduced a bill on Sept. 28 that would permanently exempt Puerto Rico from the Jones Act.

The bill was cosponsored by Republicans Jeff Flake of Arizona, James Lankford of Oklahoma and Mike Lee of Utah.

The Jones Act requires that cargo moving between U.S. ports be shipped on U.S.-flag vessels operated by U.S.-citizen mariners.
As is the case with other countries’ so-called “cabotage laws,” the Jones Act serves to ensure the existence of a national-flag fleet to be called into service in time of war or other emergency.

In America, it provides jobs in the maritime and shipbuilding industry for hundreds of thousands of people nationwide.

McCain, who has served in the Senate since 1987, has consistently been an outspoken critic of the Jones Act.

U.S.-flag shipping operators and maritime labor unions have asserted that there is sufficient capacity on U.S.-flagged vessels to move goods to Puerto Rico.

After issuing a statement agreeing with that assessment in the wake of Hurricane Maria on Sept. 26, the Trump administration on Sept. 29 announced it was waiving the act for 10 days.

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Mountains of aid has accumulated on the docks of San Juan in the wake of Hurricane Maria because the island’s infrastructure has been crippled by flooding, lack of electricity and a shortage of local transport personnel, MM&P Gulf Ports & Government Affairs Vice President Klaus Luhta told journalists for Bloomberg and The Washington Post who contacted the union on Sept. 28.

The maritime unions and the rest of the U.S.-flag fleet are united in their support for the people of Puerto Rico, Luhta said, reiterating the official statement of the Maritime Labor Alliance that U.S. ships are ready, willing and already fully engaged in support of the humanitarian relief effort.

Port and warehouse facilities have become choke points in the effort to aid survivors of Hurricane Maria, Luhta told Laura Blewitt of Bloomberg.

Maria is the worst natural catastrophe to occur on the island, affecting the entirety of the territory and leaving its 3.4 million residents in the midst of a growing humanitarian crisis.

U.S. shipping executives and unions say the Trump administration’s order waiving the Jones Act won’t speed the delivery of relief because there were already more than enough U.S.-flag vessels to handle the aid.

“The Jones Act is one leg of a three-legged stool that allows U.S.-flag shipping to continue to exist,” Luhta told Steven Mufson of The Washington Post.

“Waivers make sense only in instances where there’s a need and a demand and we’ve exhausted all possible U.S.-flagged resources.”

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The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS COMFORT left Norfolk Sept. 29 to assist in the humanitarian mission in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

The ship was expected to arrive by Oct. 3.

On board are 70 civil service mariners and more than 800 medical professionals and other naval personnel.

MSC said the ship has been equipped with 250 beds for this particular mission and is capable of receiving up to 200 patients a day.

On-board medical equipment includes sophisticated imaging technology, a dental suite, laboratory, pharmacy, four X-ray machines and 12 operating rooms.

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

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This article has been reprinted in its entirety, with permission, from the Sept. 26 edition of MarEx. Copyright 2017, Maritime Executive.

Examination of global ship tracking data for the last two years has shown several instances of multiple vessels reporting their locations as being on land at airports far from where the ships were operating off shore.

“We first became interested in this problem in June when a vessel master in the Black Sea reported his GPS showing him to be at the Gelendzhik airport, about 25 miles from his real location,” said Dana A. Goward, president of the non-profit Resilient Navigation and Timing Foundation.

“He provided photographs of equipment and other information that convinced experts his GPS receiver was being deliberately spoofed.”
About 20 other vessels in the area were reported to be similarly affected.

“Spoofing” a GPS receiver is the intentional transmission of false GPS signals to cause it to provide incorrect time or location information.

“Jamming” is blocking reception of GPS with stronger signals and is easier and more common than spoofing.

“In July, we followed-up on the June report and found evidence that, for some in the Black Sea, GPS signals were still being periodically disrupted. We then contacted Windward Ltd., a leader in maritime data and analytics to investigate further,” said Goward.

By running its algorithms on data from vessels’ Automatic Identification System (AIS), Windward experts identified two additional instances of mass GPS interference in 2017, lasting for months each.

“Because we see the same disruption patterns in multiple vessels and in specific areas, it appears that the issue is GPS rather than AIS disruption and is therefore likely to affect everything in the area, not just ships,” said Matan Peled, co-founder of Windward.

“Most interestingly, all three locations involve airports: Gelendzhik Airport and Sochi International Airport near the Black Sea, and St. Petersburg Airport near the North Sea.

Windward also found that some of the vessels that mistakenly appeared in Sochi Airport were really located near Gelendzhik, about 200 kilometers (124 miles) away. Even yesterday, the 25th of September, two vessels appeared at Sochi Airport, 20 kilometers (12 miles) from their actual positions near the Sochi harbor,” said Peled.

“These incidents dovetail with reports that people in downtown Moscow often find their GPS receivers placing them at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport, about 25 miles away,” said Goward.

“We don’t know where all these false signals are coming from, or the motivation behind them. From a safety perspective, it is fortunate that they seem to be providing obviously false information. Most people probably realize right away their equipment is not working properly and ignore it. More subtle errors caused by spoofing could lead to tragic accidents.”

While spoofing GPS takes more sophisticated equipment than jamming, the equipment is readily available. In 2015 a Chinese researcher at a hacker’s convention provided step by step instructions to build a spoofing device and sold kits for $300.

Readymade “GPS signal generators” are now available on the internet and are very popular with Pokemon-Go enthusiasts. They are used to trick cell phones into collecting rewards from remote locations without having to physically be there.

“The real lesson from all of this,” according to Goward, “is that GPS signals can be easily spoofed. Users should beware and take precautions.”

One precaution users might take while in Russia and some other parts of the world is using GPS signals in combination with terrestrial Chayka/Loran-C. The land-based electronic navigation system operates at very high power and is nearly impossible to disrupt.

Russia, China, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and India operate such systems.

The United States has said it will build an eLoran system, and eLoran is reportedly being considered by the United Kingdom and others.

Combination GPS/eLoran/Chayka receivers are available from a limited number of suppliers.

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The Coast Guard said it has recently received a safety bulletin from Cruise Lines International Association that reported problems with lifejacket lights.

The bulletin relates to Alcares water-activated flashing lifejacket lights models Jack A1-ALK and Jack ARH-ALK (CG approval numbers 161.112/88 and 161.112/90).

The trade association said that to date, inspections had discovered over 3,000 non-operational lights.

All the faulty lights discovered had leaky batteries and some were identified as having incorrect battery expiration labels.

All the faulty lights were found to be non-operational before their expiration date.

The Coast Guard said lifejackets with lights, especially those with automatic lights, should be stored in temperature and humidity-controlled water-tight environments.

It said vessel owners and operators should check their lifejacket lights to verify that they are operational at the nearest opportunity.

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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 Monday, Oct. 9, for Columbus Day.

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SOCP, the Ship Operations Cooperative Program, invites the maritime community to attend its 2017 Fall Meeting, the focus of which is “Managing Maritime Risks.”

The event will be held at: MITAGS, 692 Maritime Blvd., Linthicum Heights, MD, Oct. 31–Nov. 1.

The two-day event will include the following facilitated panel discussions: Overcoming Impediments to Maritime Recruitment and Diversity; Incident Command and Crisis Response; Incident Investigation & Root Cause Analysis; Underwater Noise Mitigation; Maritime Sexual Assault/Sexual Harassment Prevention.

Here is the agenda:

Monday, Oct. 30: Pre-Meeting – Autonomous Vessel Technology Applications and Operations (2:00pm – 5:00pm).

Tuesday, Oct. 31: Main Meeting Day 1 (8:30am – 4:30pm); Cocktail Reception & Networking (5:00pm – 6:30pm); Future Leaders Halloween Event (6:30pm – 9:00pm).

Wednesday, Nov. 1: Main Meeting Day 2 (8:30am – 12:00pm); SOCP Members Lunch & Business Meeting (12:30pm – 5:00pm); SOCP Members Leadership Meeting & Dinner (6:15pm – 9:00pm).

Exhibit booths and activity sponsorships are still available. All maritime industry representatives are welcome to attend the meeting.

For more information and to register, visit:

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The MITAGS-PMI East Coast Campus has expanded its operational research, tractor-tug simulation and escort capabilities with the addition of two new assist tug bridges.

With the increased capacity, the school can now integrate up to six tug/ship bridges in one simulation exercise.

“The ASD tugs integrated with the full-mission simulators allow pilots, ship masters and tug operators to train in the same scenario,” says Glen Paine, executive director of MITAGS-PMI.

“This greatly enhances the realism and training related to tug placement and control, communications, and operational techniques.”

“The use of two tug bridges, integrated with the full-mission bridge, has become a regular feature of operational research projects.”

“Escort training has been an important curriculum at our West Coast Campus,” he adds.

“We expect demand for this training to grow on the East Coast as ultra-large container vessels establish regular service for the East Coast ports.”

“This will help the ship’s crew, pilots, and tug masters to better understand the capabilities and ‘best practices’ of today’s escort systems.”

The MITAGS-PMI West Coast Campus has also expanded its capabilities with the recent acquisition of Fremont’s India Tango Marine Fire Fighting School.

The campus is offering complete STCW courses and revalidation, license renewal and Sub-Chapter M training requirements.

Additionally, a new engineering apprenticeship program is scheduled for roll-out later this year.

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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 – 10/18/17

BT – Basic Safety Training: 10/9/17, 1/15/18

BT-Revalidation (2-day) (Must have 1 year of seatime in last 5 years) – 11/8/17, 10/16/17,12/12/17, 2/7/18, 3/6/18

BT-Refresher (3-day) – 10/15/17, 11/8/17, 12/11/17, 2/7/18, 3/5/18

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

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

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

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

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 10/9/17

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

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

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

SEC-APPS – Practical Defense Tactics: 11/6/17, 3/12/18

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management (2 weeks): 10/30/17

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 10/30/17, 12/4/17, 1/15/18, 2/5/18, 3/5/18,3/19/18

SHS-ADV-II-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 10/9/17, 11/6/17, 12/11/17, 1/22/18,2/12/18, 3/12/18, 3/26/18

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

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 10/23/17, 3/19/18

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 11/13/17

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: 10/16/17,

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 10/9/17, 1/15/18

FF-ADV-Rev (1-day) (Must have 1 year of seatime in last 5 years) – Advanced Fire Fighting Revalidation: 10/18/17, 11/7/17, 12/14/17, 2/6/18, 3/8/18

FF-ADV-REF (2-day) – Advanced Fire Fighting Refresher: 11/1/17, 12/9/17, 2/10/18, 3/3/18

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

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: Contact Admissions

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): 10/23/17

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 10/23/17, 1/22/18, 3/19/18

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 11/13/17, 12/4/17, 1/8/18

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 10/23/17, 11/27/17, 1/22/18, 3/19/18

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 10/28/17, 11/6/17, 12/15/17, 1/13/18, 1/27/18, 2/5/18, 3/9/18

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

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control: 2/21/18

*MSC-ENVPRO – 2/25/18

*MSC-FF-HELO – 10/16/17

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualifications: 10/9/17, 1/8/18, 2/26/18

*MSC-Security Watch Basic – 2/24/18

*MSC-Security Watch Advanced – 10/7/17, 1/12/18, 3/2/18

*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force – 10/13/17, 1/13/18, 3/3/18

NSAP-MMP – Navigational Skills Assessment Program-MM&P – 10/30/17, 1/22/18, 1/24/18, 3/29/18

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

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 10/18/17, 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): 10/16/17

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling: 10/23/17, 1/29/18

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day – 10/23/17, 11/27/17, 2/19/18

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: Contact Admissions

VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 2/14/18

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

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

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Spring 2017

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

October 2017

4th HAZWOPER Refresher
7-8 Basic Training – Revalidation
7-9 Basic Training – Refresher
9-13 Basic Training
9-13 Meteorology (Operational Level)
9-13 Engine Resource Management
10-12 Integrated Electronic Navigation
16th Vessel Personnel w/ Designated Security Duties (VPDSD)
16-17 ECDIS for Pilots
16-19 Advanced Firefighting
16-27 Watchkeeping (Operational Level)
21-22 Basic Training – Revalidation
21-23 Basic Training – Refresher
23rd Radar Renewal
23-27 Leadership & Managerial Skills
25-27 24-Hour HAZWOPER
30-10 GMDSS

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