Wheelhouse Weekly – October 9th, 2018

October 10th 2018

Volume 23… Number 41… Oct. 9, 2018


In This Issue:


News for MM&P Members:


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Hurricane Michael strengthened Tuesday into a Category 2 storm with forecasters predicting that it would intensify further and hit Florida Wednesday as a major hurricane.

A state of emergency has been declared for 35 Florida counties, from the Panhandle to Tampa Bay.

Mandatory evacuation orders went into effect Tuesday morning for about 120,000 people in Panama City Beach and across other low-lying parts of the coast.

The entire state of Alabama is under an emergency declaration, with officials warning of the risk of widespread power outages and spinoff tornadoes.

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The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS COMFORT will leave Norfolk, Va., on Thursday for a four-month medical assistance mission in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Honduras.

The mission is focused on assisting the flood of Venezuelan refugees fleeing into neighboring countries.

The ship will carry about 200 military doctors, nurses and technicians from the United States and partner nations, along with about 60 medical and dental professionals from international aid groups.

Their combined expertise will give COMFORT the ability to provide general surgery, eye surgery, optometry, dentistry and general medicine and public health services for up to 750 patients per day.

COMFORT is equipped with surgical and post-surgical rooms, a CAT scan unit, four X-ray machines, a dental suite, an optometry lab, a physical therapy area, two oxygen-producing plants and a 5,000-unit blood bank.

The licensed deck officers at the conn of COMFORT and her sister ship USNS MERCY are represented by the MM&P Federal Employees Membership Group (FEMG).

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A Chinese warship came within 45 yards of the American destroyer USS DECATUR in the South China Sea on Sept. 30.

It was a demonstration of the growing tensions between China and the United States, now in the midst of an escalating trade war.

The USS DECATUR was sailing “in the vicinity” of a reef occupied by China when a Chinese destroyer confronted it with “an unsafe and unprofessional maneuver,” according to a spokesperson for the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

The destroyer “approached within 45 yards of DECATUR’s bow, after which DECATUR maneuvered to prevent a collision,” the spokesperson said.

Beijing claims more than 80 percent of the South China Sea.

The U.S. Navy regularly carries out freedom of navigation operations by sending warships and aircraft near disputed waters to demonstrate the right to travel through what it considers international waters and airspace.

Beijing last month refused a U.S. warship entry to Hong Kong, and its top naval officer canceled a high-level meeting with his U.S. counterpart.

The DECATUR incident was at least the second time this year that the United States has accused the Chinese navy of acting unprofessionally.

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American unions are concerned that the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement will not do enough to create good jobs in the United States or protect workers in Mexico from human rights violations.

President Trump has said the new agreement–a replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)–will be a boon for working Americans.

But labor officials are not convinced, at least not at this point.

Their chief concern is the lack of measures to enforce its worker protection provisions.

“It does make meaningful progress,” says Celeste Drake, the AFL-CIO’s trade and globalization policy specialist, pointing to provisions that would protect the right to strike and address violence and intimidation of workers.

“But those are pretty words on paper unless there’s a real systematic plan to get at how it will be enforced.”

Drake said unions want language in the pact that addresses the issue.

The White House has said, however, that the text it released on Sept. 30 is final.

“We understand how difficult it would be” to add that language now, Drake says, “but we don’t believe it’s impossible.”

Union officials are also concerned by the enthusiastic reception the deal has received from the Big Three auto companies.

“If they are not screaming, it is probably not changing very much,” Drake says.

Under the new agreement, 75 per cent of the content of vehicles manufactured in North America will have to be sourced from North America to qualify for zero tariffs. (Under NAFTA, the figure was 62.5 per cent.)

The new agreement also says that 40 per cent of the parts for any tariff-free vehicle must originate in “high wage” factories, which pay their workers at least sixteen dollars an hour, on average.

On the face of it, the “high wage” requirement seems significant.

But the penalty for importing vehicles that fail to meet the target is small, just 2.5 percent.

Rather than sourcing more of their parts in the United States or encouraging their Mexican suppliers to pay their workers more, auto companies are likely to just go ahead and pay the tariff, analysts say.

“We think the idea and concept of the USMCA could have the potential to provide some needed relief for America’s working families,” United Autoworkers President Gary Jones said in a statement.

But “given the history of loopholes in NAFTA,” he said, unions will wait until “all the pieces are put in place” before coming to a decision.

The Steelworkers and the Teamsters have criticized the deal, although they said they are still hopeful that they will be able to endorse the final result.

“After decades of ravaging our economy, NAFTA is being renegotiated because America’s working people demanded it,” says AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka.

“Our hard work made clear that the original, failed, pro-corporate NAFTA cannot continue. Negotiations have moved the ball down the field, but there’s still more work to be done.”

“America’s working families want the three countries to go back to the table and finish the work, and we will be right there with them, fighting for rules that will create good, high-wage jobs, protect our environment and safeguard our democracy.”

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Retail giant Amazon will raise the minimum hourly wage of all its employees in the United States to $15 starting Nov. 1.

The move is being seen as an attempt by the company to respond to widespread criticism of its wage structure, in particular in contrast to the wealth of owner Jeff Bezos, now considered the richest man in the world.

In the United States, many full-time Amazon employees survive on taxpayer-funded public assistance programs such as food stamps, public housing and Medicaid.

The minimum wage increase is also being seen as part of Amazon’s strategy to discourage employees from forming unions.

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Saudi Arabia’s navy reported last week that it had intercepted and destroyed two remote-controlled, explosives-filled vessels that had been targeting the port of Jizan.

According to a spokesperson, the navy detected the boats approaching in series, one at 0450 hours and one at 0505 on the morning of Sept. 30.

He said the remotely controlled boats were rigged with explosives.

The port of Jizan is located on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast, just north of the Yemeni border.

Houthi forces control much of the coastline to the south, including the Yemeni port of Hodeidah, and have used their territory to launch multiple attacks on Saudi vessels and installations.

A Houthi attack on a Saudi frigate in January 2017 resulted in the death of two Saudi sailors.

Over the past year, Saudi forces have reported intercepting multiple Houthi drone boat attacks, including a series of attempted strikes on merchant vessels in August and September.

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The mid-term elections are right around the corner.

Do you know whether your member of Congress stands with American mariners and the U.S.-flag fleet?

To find out, go to, enter the Members’ Only site and click on “Who We Support.”

There you will find the list of all the Congressional candidates who have received a contribution from the MM&P Political Contribution Fund (PCF) and/or the ILA COPE for their 2018 races as well as others who we support for election on Nov. 6.

The list will be periodically updated as additional information about the candidates and their position on issues important to the Masters, Mates & Pilots become available.

In the meantime, if you have any questions, send an e-mail to

And remember, every MM&P member, pensioner and employee should contribute to the union’s political contribution fund!

The fund contributes to the campaigns of legislators in both political parties who support the American Merchant Marine and the U.S.-flag fleet.

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MM&P officials met with their counterparts at the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA) in Oakland last month to discuss issues of importance to the members of both unions.

The meeting was organized in the context of the Merchant Officers Labor Alliance (MOLA), an agreement between the two unions that was finalized in 2007 with the goal of strengthening both organizations to the benefit of members.

Representing MM&P at the meetings were President Don Marcus, Gulf Ports and Government Affairs Vice President Klaus Luhta, Pacific Ports Vice President Lars Turner and Pacific Coast Agent Jeremy Hope.

Representing MEBA were President Marshall Ainley, Executive Vice President Adam Vokac and Secretary-Treasurer Bill Van Loo.

Among the topics covered were collective bargaining agreements, the pass-through agreement, political races and union halls.

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There will be an Offshore Membership Meeting at the MM&P Los Angeles/Long Beach Union Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 10.

A representative of Fidelity Investments will be on hand to discuss the 401(k) plan and the IRAP plan.

The meeting will begin immediately after job call at 1100.

All Offshore members in the area are encouraged to attend the meeting.

As a reminder, the MM&P Los Angeles/Long Beach Hall is located at: 533 N. Marine Ave., Suite A, Wilmington, CA 90744-5527.

The phone number is: 310-834-7201.

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MITAGS-PMI is interested in receiving photo submissions from MM&P members for use on the official MITAGS-PMI social media platform.

The goal is to document members’ voyages. As suggestions, photos can be of events and sights onboard, crewmembers at work or scenic locations.

If you are interested in sharing photos, please send them with caption information to or

Be sure to tell us whether you would like to be credited for the photo.

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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:

For Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) processing, MMC problem resolution advice, STCW compliance and VA GI-Bill questions, contact MITAGS-PMI Student/Instructional Services Manager Jennifer Pitzen at 206-739-0720 (direct line); (888) 893-7829 (toll free); or by e-mail:

Please include your Mariner Reference Number, date of birth and the last four digits of your social security number in all emails.

\\Classes are 5-day unless otherwise noted\\

Class dates followed by an * are full

AB – 4/15/19

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation (1-Day): 5/2/19

ARPA-OIC (4-Day) – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 1/15/19, 4/2/19

AZIPOD (2-Day) – 3/11/19, 5/2/19

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 2/18/19

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots (2-Day): 12/19/18, 1/29/19, 3/11/19, 4/9/19

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling – (Now also included in BRMP-Refresher) (3-Day): 10/17/18, 3/13/19, 4/29/18

BRMP-Refresher (Now including Emergency Shiphandling for Pilots) (3-Day) – Not currently scheduled

BT – Basic Safety Training: 10/22/18, 1/14/19, 4/8/19

BT-Revalidation (2-day) (Must have 1 year of sea service in last 5 years) – 10/31/18, 12/18/18, 2/5/19, 3/6/19, 4/3/19, 4/30/19, 6/19/19

BT-Refresher (3-day) – 12/17/18, 2/4/19, 3/6/19, 4/29/19

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 4/29/19

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 12/10/18*, 1/14/19, 3/11/19, 6/10/19

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 12/3/18, 1/7/19, 4/8/19, 6/3/19

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (10 Days): 3/18/19

CM-OPS 1 – Chief Mate Operations – Week 1: 3/18/19, 5/6/19

CM-OPS 2 Maersk – Chief Mate Operations II Maersk Specific: 3/25/19, 5/13/19

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information Systems: 11/12/18, 3/25/19

LMS – Leadership and Managerial Skills (Management Level – Formerly MCL-CMM): 11/26/18, 2/18/19, 5/20/19

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants: 10/15/18, 4/15/19 (DCS-1 available on request – contact Admissions)

SEC-APPS – Practical Defense Tactics: Not Currently Scheduled

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management: 10/29/18, 2/25/19

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 11/5/18*, 11/26/18*, 1/21/19, 2/4/19, 3/4/19, 3/18/19, 4/8/19, 4/29/19, 5/13/19, 6/3/19, 6/17/19

SHS-ADV-II-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 11/12/18*, 12/3/18*, 1/28/19, 2/11/19, 3/11/19, 3/25/19, 4/15/19, 5/6/19, 5/20/19, 6/10/19, 6/24/19

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

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 10/22/18, 4/1/19

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: TBD

WX-HW-ATL – Heavy Weather Avoidance Routing: Atlantic Ocean (2-day) – 3/11/19, 6/10/19

WX-HW-IND – Heavy Weather Avoidance Routing: Indian Ocean (2-day) – 3/15/19, 6/14/19

WX-HW-PAC – Heavy Weather Avoidance Routing: Pacific Ocean (2-day) – 3/13/19, 6/12/19

CNAV-OIC (10-Day) – Celestial Navigation: 4/8/19

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications (1-Day): 2/19/19

CRSMGT – Crisis Management and Human Behavior (1-Day) – Not currently scheduled

CDMGT – Crowd Management (1-Day) – Not currently scheduled

CSE – Confined Space Entry (3-Day): Contact Admissions

CSE-AWR – Confined Space Entry Awareness (2-Day): 5/23/19

CY-MAR – Cyber-Skilled Mariner – 12/10/18
DDE – Great Lakes (20-Day): 1/21/19, 6/3/19

DPA (2-Day) – Contact Admissions

ECDIS for Pilots (2-Day) – 12/17/18, 2/18/19, 4/30/19

ERM – Engine Resource Management: 11/26/18, 3/4/19, 4/22/19

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 10/22/18, 1/14/19, 4/8/19

FF-ADV-Rev (1-day) (Must have 1 year of sea service in last 5 years) – Advanced Fire Fighting Revalidation: 10/30/18, 12/20/18, 2/7/19, 3/5/19, 4/2/19, 5/2/19, 6/18/19

FF-ADV-REF (2-day) – Advanced Fire Fighting Refresher: 12/15/18, 3/9/19, 4/27/19

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications (1-Day): 1/29/19, 4/9/19

GL-Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization (2-Day): 1/18/19

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (10-Day): 3/4/19

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 12/10/18, 4/15/19

IEN – Integrated Electronic Navigation (3-Day) – Not currently scheduled

LAP – License Advancement Program for Mate to Master (20-Day): 2/25/19

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes (20-Day): 1/21/19

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross
Ton License (15-Day): 6/3/19

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage (1-Day): 1/30/19, 3/12/19, 4/10/19, 4/30/19

LNG-TPIC (10-Day) – 12/3/18

LTS –Leadership and Teamworking Skills (Formerly MCL-OIC) (1-Day): 4/1/19

MEECE – Management of Electrical and Electronic Control Equipment (Assessments not included): 12/3/18, 2/25/19, 4/29/19

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge (10-Day): 11/26/18*, 1/21/19, 3/18/19, 5/6/19

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 1/7/19, 3/11/19, 6/24/19

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 11/26/18*, 1/21/19, 3/18/19, 5/6/19

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing (1-Day): 10/29/18, 12/1/18, 12/21/18, 1/12/19, 1/26/19, 2/8/19, 3/9/19, 3/23/19, 4/1/19, 5/3/19, 5/11/19, 6/17/19

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic) (1-Day): 11/14/18, 2/22/19, 5/21/19, 6/5/19

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (2-day): 11/12/18, 2/18/19, 5/21/19, 6/5/19

MSC-ENVPRO (1-Day) – 11/4/18, 2/24/19, 6/2/19

MSC-FF-HELO (2-Day) – 10/31/18, 6/3/19

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualifications (4-Day): 11/5/18*, 1/7/19, 2/25/19, 5/13/19, 6/9/19

MSC-Security Watch Basic (1-Day) – 11/2/18, 2/23/19, 5/12/19, 6/7/19

MSC-Security Watch Advanced (1-Day) – 11/3/18*, 1/11/19, 3/1/19, 5/17/19, 6/8/19

MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force (3-Day) – 11/9/18*, 1/13/19, 3/2/19, 5/18/19, 6/13/19

NSAP-MMP – Navigational Skills Assessment Program-MM&P (2-Day) – 11/12/18*, 11/14/18*, 12/17/18*, 12/19/18*, 1/24/19, 3/18/19, 4/22/19, 4/24/19, 6/24/19, 6/26/19

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal (1-Day): 1/14/19

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes (1-Night): 10/17/18, 10/31/18*, 11/7/18, 11/14/18, 11/28/18, 12/5/18, 12/12/18, 12/19/18, 1/9/19, 1/30/19, 2/5/19, 2/20/19, 3/6/19, 3/20/19, 4/3/19, 4/17/19, 4/24/19, 4/30/19, 5/8/19, 5/15/19, 6/5/19, 6/12/19, 6/19/19

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 1/7/19, 3/4/19

SAR – Search & Rescue – (Now with OIC and CMM assessments) (3-Day): 12/17/18, 4/21/19

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling: 10/22/18*, 1/28/19, 5/13/19

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling (5 Day) – 10/29/18*, 12/10/18*, 2/25/19*, 4/1/19, 6/17/19

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 1/21/19

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses (15-Day): 1/28/19

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: 1/14/19, 4/8/19

TRAC-TUG-2 (2-Day): Contact Admissions

TTT – Not currently scheduled

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties (1-Day): 2/14/19, 4/23/19

VSO – Vessel Security Officer (3-Day): 2/11/19, 4/24/19

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level) (10-Day): 2/18/19

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

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Summer-Fall 2018

For registration, contact our admissions department: 206.441.2880 or

Please also see our schedule and enroll online at

October 2018
15-18 Advanced Firefighting
15-19 ECDIS
15-19 Engine Resource Management (ERM)
18-19 Basic Training Revalidation
19th Medical DOT
22nd Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
22-26 MEECE
22-2 Celestial Navigation
31-1 Basic Training Revalidation
31-5 Basic Training Refresher

November 2018
2nd Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
5th Radar Renewal
5-8 Advanced Firefighting
5-9 Basic Training
12-14 Security Officer – Vessel, Company, and Facility
13-16 Advanced Firefighting
16th Medical DOT
16th Vessel Personnel w/ Designated Security Duties (VPDSD)
19-20 Basic Training Revalidation
21st Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
26-30 Radar Observer Unlimited
29-30 Basic Training Revalidation

December 2018
3rd Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
3-7 Leadership & Managerial Skills
3-7 Medical Care Provider
3-14 Medical Person-In-Charge
10-13 ARPA
10-14 Basic Training
14th Radar Renewal
14th Medical DOT
14-18 Basic Training Refresher
17-18 Basic Training Revalidation
17-20 Search & Rescue
18-21 Advanced Firefighting
19th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation

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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 © 2018. 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