Wheelhouse Weekly – Sept. 23, 2014

September 24th 2014 ,

Volume 18 . . . Number 38 . . . Sept. 23, 2014


In this issue:


International News:

Upcoming Events:

Other News:


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


The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Sept. 17 that Al Qaeda militants tried to hijack a Pakistan Navy frigate. The raid was reportedly carried out Sept. 6 in part by Pakistan Navy personnel. Ten terrorists and one petty officer died in the attack. A Western counterterrorism official said that the intended target could have been an American naval supply ship deployed in the Indian Ocean. Details of the attack on the frigate, PNS ZULFIQAR, are still emerging.

The Pakistan Navy works with the United States and other maritime nations to fight terrorism, piracy and drug smugglers in the Indian Ocean. On Aug. 15, Pakistan took over from Britain’s Royal Navy the command of Combined Task Force-150, a multinational maritime security coalition that includes the United States. “This attack raises a lot of questions,” said a Western counterterrorism official who was quoted in The Wall Street Journal article. “If we are to work with the Pakistan Navy, we have to be able to trust them.”

In the attempted seizure of PNS ZULFIQAR, “the rogue officers were in uniform and had their service cards displayed. They simply walked on board,” the Wall Street Journal reported. Pakistani officials said the frigate was due to sail the same day to join an international flotilla in the Indian Ocean.

“It appears the officers on board were to be joined by other militants who were to arrive by boat and then stow away,” a Pakistani security official said. “The plan was to get close to the U.S. ships on the high seas and then turn the shipboard weapon systems on the Americans.”

The plan was foiled primarily by the alertness of a gunner aboard PNS ZULFIQAR. Some of the militants approached the docked ship in an inflatable boat, wearing Marine uniforms, as is normal for Navy harbor patrols. The gunner felt they were too close and noted that their weapons appeared to be AK-47s, which aren’t standard Marine issue, a Pakistani security official told the journalists. The gunner turned his sights on the approaching inflatable and fired a warning shot. The militants retaliated with rockets and automatic weapons. Marines and naval commandos rushed to the ship and were engaged by the group of officers turned terrorists already on board. The fight continued for several hours.

The terrorists in the inflatable boat were immediately eliminated by the gunner, who deployed his Gatling antiaircraft gun, decimating the boat and killing all six. Four militants who were naval personnel were killed aboard the frigate. The battle finally ended when the last rogue naval officer blew himself up. Here is a situation in which “one ship’s security person questioning something that seemed odd and taking action avoided what could have been a major terrorist attack,” commented a U.S. naval officer.

To read the Wall Street Journal article, go to The WSJ reporters who worked on the story were Syed Shoaib Hasan, Saeed Shah and Siobhan Gorman.

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Maritime news outlets including Maritime Executive and Marine Link are reporting on the election in which members of the Masters, Mates & Pilots and ILA Local 333 will decide whether to affiliate in the context of their relationship with the International Longshoremen’s Association. An affiliation “would bring added clout, resources and training to local mariners and open the door to opportunities beyond the East Coast,” MAREX newsletter reports in an article entitled “NY Mariners Vote on Joining New Union.”

“Affiliation with the Masters, Mates & Pilots will give local mariners access to the union’s resources, including its credit union, legal services, lobbying support and state-of-the-art training facility in Linthicum, Maryland,” MAREX reported. “Local mariners also will be eligible for job openings on inland waters in other regions of the country.”

“This is a win-win both for folks in maritime here in the New York and New Jersey area and for the Masters, Mates & Pilots,” the MAREX article quoted Local 333 Secretary-Treasurer Ron Tucker as saying. “Through this merger we will gain strength, we will gain access to legal, lobbying and financial support, to a state-of-the-art training facility and yet we will still maintain local control.” The Local represents the men and women who work on most of New York Harbor’s unionized tugs and ferries.

MM&P represents deck officers who serve on U.S.-flagged ships that sail across the globe delivering goods, including military cargo and American food aid. The union also represents workers at ferry services in Washington State and Alaska as well as on boats involved in the tourist trade, tugboats, dredges and other vessels that work in inland waters. Harbor pilots in ports across the nation, including those who guide large ships through New York Harbor, are also members of MM&P.

“While we represent many ship’s officers and harbor pilots who live in the greater metropolitan New York area and who navigate large commercial vessels in and out of the Port of New York and New Jersey every day, we haven’t had much of a presence aboard smaller vessels working the harbor and the coastal waters of the Northeast for many years,” said MM&P President Don Marcus.

A 90-day ballot was mailed to MM&P members on Sept. 4. A 60-day ballot was mailed to Local 333 members on Sept. 12.

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The U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) has won temporary reauthorization because legislation to keep it in existence for nine more months was included in a bill funding the rest of the federal government, giving those legislators who are determined to close the bank no option but to grant it an extension. The next time the bank’s reauthorization comes before Congress the measure will be on its own, which supporters say will make its chances of survival much more tenuous.

The bank provides loan guarantees, loans and insurance to help foreign companies buy U.S. goods. Rather than costing taxpayers money, it generates a profit—returning to the U.S. Treasury more than $3.4 billion since 2005. The bank says its programs supported $37.4 billion in U.S. exports last year. Ex-Im Bank’s mandate is to help American companies deal on a more equal footing with foreign companies when they sell their products overseas: creating jobs in the United States while promoting U.S. exports. At least 50 percent of the cargo exported with Ex-Im Bank financing moves on U.S.-flag ships, providing an important base of cargo for militarily useful U.S.-flag vessels and the American mariners who crew them.

President Barack Obama in a recent address to the nation urged owners and employees of U.S. businesses that rely on Export-Import Bank financing to tell their members of Congress to renew the bank’s charter. Ex-Im Bank’s “sole mission is to create American jobs,” Obama said. “It helps many American entrepreneurs take that next step and take their small business global.” The bank has been reauthorized 16 times before, always with bipartisan support and under both Republican and Democratic presidents.

“This time around shouldn’t be any different,” Obama said. “Because the bank works. It’s independent. It pays for itself. But if Congress fails to act, thousands of businesses, large and small, that sell their products abroad will take a completely unnecessary hit.” And so will the American Merchant Marine and American mariners.

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Two new Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) ferries will be built in Ketchikan, Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell has announced. The ferries, which will cost $120 million, will be built at Vigor Industrial Shipyard. The ferries in the Alaska Marine Highway System are crewed by licensed deck officers who belong to the MM&P United Inland Group-Pacific Maritime Region. The new ferries, which are scheduled to join the Alaska Marine Highway System in 2018, will seat up to 300 passengers and carry 53 vehicles. “These vessels will be the largest ships ever built in Alaska,” Parnell said in an official statement. “Building these ferries in state will be a major boost for Alaska’s economy.”

Earlier this month, in a study commissioned by the Ketchikan Marine Industry, it was estimated that the project would bring dozens of new jobs to the area. According to the study, a $100 million project, either public or private, would translate into 190 new jobs, $27.4 million in wages and $12.4 million in additional local spending for goods and services.

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The future of your job depends in large part on the results of the Nov. 4 Congressional elections. Many of our industry’s strongest supporters are in extremely tight races. If they lose, American mariners and their families stand to lose as well. What is your job worth? A $100 annual pledge to the MM&P Political Contribution Fund (PCF) works out to just 27 cents a day… far less than the cost of a postage stamp. Please go to and take a moment to view a short video about the work being done every day to protect your job and the jobs of all the members of our union. Remember: together we are stronger. Take the $100 pledge. Contribute to the PCF.

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The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has announced it will enter into arbitration with the government of Guatemala over the Central American country’s failure to meet the labor commitments of the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA, or CAFTA). Guatemala has been named the deadliest country in the world in which to be a trade unionist.

The AFL-CIO said it welcomed the announcement that the United States “will finally seek to ensure that the government of Guatemala lives up to the commitment to effectively enforce its own labor laws.”

Union members are a target of violence in Guatemala, with most killings cloaked by government impunity. In 2011 and 2012, there was a string of murders of members of the banana workers union, SITRABI. Overall, 64 trade unionists have been murdered in Guatemala since 2007 and hundreds more have been systematically terrorized. The vast majority of such crimes are never prosecuted. Unionists are targeted because they represent workers’ interests, putting them at odds with powerful corporate and state institutions

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The SOCP cordially invites the maritime community to attend the SOCP Annual Fall Meeting. This event will be held at MITAGS-PMI-CCMIT, 692 Maritime Boulevard, Linthicum, MD 21090 on Oct. 29-30, 2014. A high caliber line up of speakers has been invited to this event, which will focus on upcoming regulatory issues facing the maritime industry. The meeting will include the following facilitated panel discussions to help drive future cooperative program development: Polar Code Issues and Proposed Solutions; STCW Issues and Proposed Solutions; Environmental Regulatory Issues and Proposed Solutions; Ballast Water Management; ECA Compliance; EPA’s Ports Initiative, Shorepower and Incentives; and Workforce Issues and Proposed Solutions. All maritime industry representatives are welcome to attend the meeting.

The SOCP is a non-profit organization comprised of representatives of business, government, education and workforce. This business-led cooperative includes individuals from every sector of the maritime community who explore challenges facing the U.S. maritime industry and work together in the areas of safety, security, regulations, environmental protection and workforce development. Please visit the website to view SOCP’s product offerings. MITAGS-PMI-CCMIT is conveniently located near the Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI). Free shuttle service to the BWI Airport, MARC, AMTRAK and Baltimore Light Rail Stations is available. For more information and to register for the fall meeting, visit

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The Offshore Orientation Course will be held at the MM&P Los Angeles/Long Beach Hall on Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 8-9. If you are interested in participating in the course, please contact the Los Angeles/Long Beach Hall at 310-834-7201 or 310-834-6667 (fax).

There is no sea-time requirement to take the Offshore Orientation Course. All Offshore applicants, potential transferees from other membership groups and other interested Offshore members are encouraged to take the course as soon as possible.

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Teams from the U.S. Coast Guard and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife responded Saturday to an oil spill from the World War II Liberty Ship SS JEREMIAH O’BRIEN, docked at Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 45. The vessel is one of two Liberty Ships that are still operational. It is manned by volunteers who use it to illustrate the crucial role played by the 2,700-plus Liberty Ships and the men who crewed them in the Allied victory in World War II.

The Coast Guard says less than 50 gallons of crude oil went into San Francisco Bay after the barrel broke loose. A Coast Guard helicopter, booms, vacuum trucks and skimming vessels have been used in the cleanup. No impact has been reported on local wildlife. Spokespersons for the Coast Guard and California Fish and Wildlife said the agencies will continue to conduct shoreline patrols of the adjacent harbors and marinas until the cleanup efforts are complete to ensure the safety of the marine environment and the public.

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No injuries were reported when a 120-foot-tall schooner loaded with tourists ran aground near the Statue of Liberty on Saturday. The tourists were evacuated in Coast Guard, police and fire department rescue boats to the North Cove Marina in lower Manhattan. The ship, CLIPPER CITY, ran aground off Liberty Island just after 1300 hours. It is operated by the tourist company Manhattan By Sail. A spokesperson for the tour operator said the ship sustained no damage in the grounding, and the Coast Guard reported no pollution from the incident. The non-union excursion vessel makes daily tourist runs from the South Street Seaport.

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In response to requests, MITAGS has added an additional ECDIS course to the schedule. The course will be held beginning onDec. 1. All other sessions for the rest of the year are already full. Please send an e-mail to if you are interested in signing up for the Dec. 1 course.

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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 Kelly Michielli, 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 – 10/13/14, 4/13/15

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: Contact Admissions

ARPA-OIC – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 9/23/14, 11/18/14, 1/20/15, 3/31/15

AZIPOD 2-Day –10/9/14, 2/2/15

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 1/26/15, 3/23/15

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 11/20/14, 2/4/15, 3/2/15, 4/13/15, 5/20/15

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling: 10/6/14, 3/4/15

BT – Basic Safety Training: 10/6/14, 1/19/15, 2/9/15, 4/6/15, 6/8/15

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 10/27/14, 4/13/15

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVNAV-CMM – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): 11/10/14

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 1/19/15, 4/20/15, 6/15/15

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 1/12/15, 4/13/15, 6/1/15

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 9/29/14, 4/27/15

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 10/20/14, 11/10/14, 12/1/14, 1/5/15, 4/6/15, 6/8/15

LMS – Leadership and Managerial Skills (Management Level – Formerly MCL-CMM): 9/29/14, 12/8/14, 1/26/15, 3/30/15,6/22/15

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants: 10/27/14, 3/2/15

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management (2 weeks): 10/13/14, 3/9/15

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 10/20/14, 11/3/14, 12/1/14, 2/2/15, 3/9/15

SHS-ADV-II-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 9/29/14, 10/27/14, 11/10/14, 12/8/14, 2/9/15, 3/16/15

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 11/17/14, 3/23/15

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 11/3/14, 5/11/15

CNAV-OIC – Celestial Navigation: 11/3/14, 4/27/15

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: Contact Admissions

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications: 10/7/14

DDE – Great Lakes: 1/26/15, 6/1/15

DPA – 10/27

ECDIS-OIC – 2/16/15

ECDIS-Pilots – 3/2/15

ERM – Engine Resource Management: 12/1/14

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 10/6/14, 1/19/15, 2/9/15, 4/6/15, 6/8/15

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications: 11/19/14, 4/15/15, 5/19/15

GL Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization: 1/23/15

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 3/16/15

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 11/17/14

LAP- 4/6/15

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes: 1/26/15

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross
Ton License: 1/5/15, 3/2/15, 6/1/15

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 10/7/14, 11/20/14, 3/3/15, 4/15/15, 5/20/15

LNG-TPIC – 5/11/15

LTS –Leadership and Teamworking Skills (Formerly MCL-OIC): 10/7/14

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 11/3/14, 12/1/14, 1/5/15, 3/16/15, 4/20/15, 6/15/15

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 10/13/14, 3/2/15, 5/11/15

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 10/20/14, 11/3/14, 12/1/14, 1/5/15, 3/16/15, 4/20/15, 6/15/15

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 10/12/14, 11/8/14, 12/6/14, 1/10/15, 1/24/15, 3/21/15, 4/25/15, 6/20/15

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: 10/6/14 (PM)

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 10/3/14, 2/26/15

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 9/29/14, 2/23/15

*MSC-ENV – 2/27/15

*MSC-FF-HELO – 2/10/15

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 9/29/14, 11/10/14, 2/16/15

*MSC-Security Watch Basic – 11/14/14, 2/20/15

*MSC-Security Watch Advanced –11/17/14, 2/22/15

*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force –11/18/14, 2/23/15

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 11/17/14, 1/19/15, 3/30/15

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 10/1/14, 10/7/14, 10/15/14, 10/29/14, 11/12/14, 12/3/14, 12/10/14, 1/7/15, 1/14/15, 1/28/15, 2/4/15, 2/18/15, 3/6/15, 3/18/15, 4/1/15, 4/15/15, 4/29/15, 5/6/15, 5/13/15, 6/3/15, 6/17/15

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 1/12/15, 2/2/15, 3/23/15

SAR-OIC – Search & Rescue –10/13/14, 4/6/15

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling: 11/17/14, 2/16/15, 5/11/15

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day: 10/6/14, 1/19/15, 3/2/15

SMS – Contact Admissions

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 1/26/15

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 1/5/15

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: 2/23/15

TRAC-TUG-2: Contact Admissions

TTT – Train the Trainer: Contact Admissions

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: 10/7/14

VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 10/8/14, 10/22/14, 2/4/15, 5/20/15

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level): 9/29/14, 3/2/15

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): 2/23/15

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Please also see our schedule online at For registration, send an e-mail to our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen, at or call her at (206) 838-1126.

September 2014
29-3 Medical Care Provider

October 2014
1-3 Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling
6-10 Radar Observer Unlimited
6-17 GMDSS
13th Management and Teamworking Skills
14-17 ARPA
20-24 ECDIS
20-24 Basic Stability
20-31 GMDSS
27-29 Emergency Procedures
30-31 Search and Rescue

November 2014
3-7 Medical Care Provider
3-14 Medical Person-In-Charge
10-21 GMDSS
17-20 ARPA

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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. Suite B, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1953. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973; Email: For further info or to subscribe contact Lisa Rosenthal at The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea and is posted on our web page.

© 2014, 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 Lisa Rosenthal at