Wheelhouse Weekly – September 01, 2005

September 1st 2005



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

Volume 9 . . . . . Number 35 . . . . September 1, 2005






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


On behalf of the members and staff of the Masters, Mates & Pilots and MM&P Plans, I wish to begin this message with an expression of heartfelt sympathy to everyone who has suffered losses as a result of Hurricane Katrina.

As the flooding in New Orleans continues and the extent of damage to property and infrastructure is still being assessed, MM&P is preparing a plan to help the approximately 170 Union members and applicants who live in the Coastal Gulf region in and around Pascagoula, MS, Morgan City, LA, and New Orleans. More information on the assistance plan is provided at the end of this article.

Here is what we know of the situation overall as The Wheelhouse Weekly is being readied for distribution.

The offices of American Heavylift (AHL) have been relocated to Port Arthur, TX, where the company is operating out of two trailers. AHL made payroll yesterday and expects that for shipboard personnel, cash or checks for payoffs will be available on board. AHL President and CEO Richard Horner reports that he expects to be operating at the Port Arthur location for at least two months.

The situation at Waterman/Central Gulf (WCG) is less clear. Employees of WCG work across an area that stretches from Tampa to Baton Rouge and New York. WCG representatives are now in the process of assessing the state of the company’s own infrastructure. MM&P has two contracts pending with WCG. The contract of the ENERGY ENTERPRISE has been extended twice and will probably have to be extended again. MM&P has not started to negotiate the Pure Car Carrier contract, which expires Sept. 30. It is unlikely a negotiating session will be scheduled until the situation in the area stabilizes.

At present, all jobs that would have been posted and shipped from New Orleans will be posted and shipped from Houston.

MM&P’s International Officers and the members of the General Executive Board are working with the Union’s International Counsel to set up a fund to which members can contribute to aid our members in the Gulf area. Contributions to the fund will be tax-deductible. I will keep you posted as the details of the fund are finalized. In the meantime, I encourage you to consider making a contribution to any of the general charity and relief organizations already active in the area.

One final thought for the members in the Gulf area to consider. A number of our members have probably lost housing on a permanent or a temporary basis. If you have room to offer any member needing assistance in this area, please contact Diane Chatham at MM&P Headquarters at 410-850-8700 extension 21.

Timothy A. Brown
MM&P International President




New Orleans Channel 6, WDSU, is offering a service that allows people affected by the disaster to post messages to family and friends. With phone lines down and cell phone service compromised, the WDSU link is allowing Gulf area residents to keep in touch with family and friends. The link can be accessed at



One day after New Orleans appeared to escape the worst of Hurricane Katrina, 85 percent of the city was flooded when three levees were breached and emergency services struggled to evacuate thousands of people. Water levels are still rising in the city of 500,000, some of which lies as much as 20 feet below sea level. Damage is estimated to be as high as $25 billion in Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama. Crude oil rose above $70 a barrel in New York amid shortages in the region, which produces one-third of the oil and a fifth of the natural gas in the US.

It may be many weeks before people are allowed back to some areas of the city because the infrastructure has received so much damage. According to MarEx, the online newsletter of Maritime Executive Magazine, a large number of buildings are down, parts of roads have been washed away, and utilities destroyed. Levees in New Orleans were breached or overflowed in at least five areas. The whole water supply in New Orleans is contaminated. There’s everything from gas station fuel to the contents of people’s toilets mixing in with the water.

“This is the worst case scenario,” Hugh Kaufman, a senior policy analyst at the Environmental Protection Agency, said of the toxic stew that contaminates New Orleans.

Why? Because Louisiana is a center of the oil, gas and chemical industries and many of those facilities in the New Orleans area suffered serious flooding. In addition, there are a number of landfills and storage areas containing “thousands of tons” of hazardous material to be leaked and spread. “On top of that, you have dead bodies that are going to start to decompose, along with the material that was in industrial and household discharge, sewage, gasoline and waste oil from gas stations,” he added. “You’ve got a witches’ brew of contaminated water. There is not enough money in the gross national product of the United States to dispose of the amount of hazardous material awash in the area.”



President Bush has pledged to increase the federal government’s help to the Gulf Coast region ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. The pledge came on the same day that the New Orleans’ mayor said the death toll from the storm could run into the thousands. After flying over the region on Wednesday, Bush said the recovery from the storm would probably take years. Ports in New Orleans, Gulfport, Biloxi, Pascagoula and Mobile remain shut. Cargo and cruise vessels that normally call at Gulf ports have been redirected to Houston and Galveston in Texas and Florida’s several deepwater ports.



Hurricane Katrina Search and Rescue
In order to assist the United States Coast Guard in Hurricane Katrina Search and Rescue efforts, submit a missing/stranded person request at:

Hurricane Katrina Media
For news about Hurricane Katrina visit:

Hurricane Katrina Official Government Website
For public information on finding loved ones, what to do if you are a victim, how to help victims, or disaster cleanup and agency resources, visit:

Emergency Phone Numbers for People in Distress
The Coast Guard strongly urges people in distress in the New Orleans area contact the search and rescue emergency lines for the State Office of Emergency Preparedness in Baton Rouge , LA., at: 225-925-7708; 225-925-7709; 225-925-3511; and 225-925-7412

Additional Phone Numbers:
In Louisiana, the Louisiana State Police can be reached at:
225-922-0325; 225-922-0332; 225-922-0333; 225-922-0334; 225-922-0335; 225-922-0341; 225-925-7398.

In Mississippi, call the Mississippi State Emergency Operations Center at 601-360-0054.

In Alabama, or to inquire about family and friends that did not evacuate the Greater New Orleans area, contact the American Red Cross at the following number: 866-438-4636


The US Navy’s Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS COMFORT, crewed by MM&P Licensed Deck Officers, was activated on Wednesday, Aug. 31, to provide medical support in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Based in Baltimore, COMFORT is one of the largest trauma facilities in the US. The ship is being readied quickly for her mission in support of FEMA and could be underway as soon as Saturday.

Ordinarily, COMFORT is kept at Baltimore’s Canton Pier in Reduced Operating Status (ROS) with a cadre crew of 18 civil service mariners who maintain the vessel, as well as a hospital support staff of 58 military personnel who care for the ship’s hospital facilities, equipment and supplies.

When called to action, the ship’s ROS status requires that the COMFORT be crewed, mission ready and able to sail in five days. As the Wheelhouse Weekly is being readied for distribution, additional crewmembers and medical personnel are arriving on board; specific medical supplies are being procured and ship systems are being readied to expedite the ship’s departure from Baltimore.

It will take the COMFORT about seven days to reach the Gulf Coast region. The ship will stop in Mayport, FL, en route to the Gulf Coast to load additional medical supplies and hospital personnel, mostly from the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. The ship will get underway with about 270 military personnel who operate the ship’s onboard Medical Treatment Facility and a crew of 63 civil service mariners from Military Sealift Command who operate the vessel. The COMFORT will be initially staffed to support 250 patient beds.

At 894-feet, COMFORT is equal in size to one of the nation’s five largest trauma centers. COMFORT is a unique medical treatment facility with up to 1,000 beds, fully equipped with 12 operating rooms, medical laboratory, optometry lab, radiological services, cat scan, pharmacy and two oxygen producing plants.

In addition, COMFORT has 80 intensive care beds, 20 recovery beds, 400 intermediate care beds and 500 minimal care beds and a helicopter deck capable of landing large military helicopters, as well as side ports to take on patients at sea. The vessel was originally a San Clemente-class tanker that was transformed into a hospital ship in 1987.

COMFORT was last called to duty for Operation Iraqi Freedom. In January 2003, the ship sailed from Baltimore to the Persian Gulf to provide medical care to US military personnel, Iraqi civilians and enemy prisoners of war. The ship also activated on Sept. 12, 2001, and spent three weeks in New York City providing support to relief workers in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.


The Coast Guard’s current emphasis is the safety and security of people in the areas impacted by Hurricane Katrina, and is working closely with federal, state and local partners on that goal. As of Wednesday, USCG air and boat crews have assisted in the rescue of 1,259 people, and they are continuing to respond to distress calls.

The USCG is working with FEMA, and is delivering relief supplies aboard its C-130 cargo planes. There are approximately 4,000 Coast Guardsmen currently in the area working on response and recovery, as well as 15 cutters, 37 airplanes and rescue helicopters, 63 small boats, 3 maritime safety and security teams, 3 oil and hazardous material response teams and 5 aid-to-navigation teams.
This hurricane caused catastrophic devastation, and the USCG anticipates that there will be prolonged waterways management and environmental cleanup operations.

Currently, five oil rigs from West Delta Platform are missing, one submersible rig is grounded at south pass, two mobile offshore drilling units are adrift, two semi-submersibles are listing, and the area’s maritime administrative support facility is severely damaged. A high priority is reopening ports and waterways and Outer Continental Shelf reconstitution.

Currently, all Gulf ports remain closed. Four Coast Guard personnel from Coast Guard Sector Mobile have not been accounted for. Early reports indicate Coast Guard Station Gulfport, MS, was destroyed. Station Venice, LA, is partially submerged. “As part of a committed team, we have been working tirelessly to help those in need and to begin work on the ports and waterways,” said Rear Adm. Robert Duncan, USCG incident commander. “Some of our own people are missing. Many of the USCG personnel responding to this disaster have likely lost their own properties. We will be here helping these communities as long as it takes.”


In what’s being called one of the largest disaster-response mobilizations in US history, military support for the hurricane-stricken Gulf Coast has intensified as more troops and assets continue to arrive in the region. Once on scene, responders are focusing on saving lives and relieving suffering among tens of thousands of the hurricane’s victims. The massive Dept. of Defense effort is designed to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency, state governors, and other federal, state and civil authorities in the hurricane-stricken region.

More than 13,000 Army and Air National Guard members were on state active duty Thursday morning in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, a number expected to surge to more than 20,000 by Friday, National Guard Bureau officials reported.

A DOD spokesman said that the total National Guard contribution to the effort is likely to rise to around 30,000 members in the days ahead. Many of those troops will be dedicated to the law-enforcement mission, helping local and state law-enforcement officials in maintaining security, he said. Unlike federal troops, the guardsmen operate under their state governors’ authority and are not subject to laws that prevent active-duty troops from performing law enforcement in the United States.

In addition, more than 7,000 active-duty members, mostly from the Navy, were also supporting hurricane-relief operations in the region, a number that defense officials said will increase as required. USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, was preparing to leave Norfolk, VA, on Thursday to serve as a command center and an afloat staging base. The ship is expected to carry additional helicopters from Naval Air Station Jacksonville, FL, to support search-and-rescue operations. USS WHIDBEY ISLAND, a dock landing ship also based in Norfolk, was also slated to depart for the Gulf on Thursday. Once there, the vessel will help move heavy equipment ashore in areas not accessible by land.

In addition, National Guard troops and elements in every state except Hawaii were either supporting or being readied to support the effort if needed. The military support is concentrating on three priorities President Bush laid out during an Aug. 31 statement to the nation: first, save lives; second, sustain lives with food, water, shelter and medical supplies; and finally, execute a comprehensive recovery effort.

The Louisiana National Guard is helping the Federal Emergency Management Agency evacuate New Orleans residents who took refuge in the city’s Superdome and move them to the Houston Astrodome. The Superdome lost part of its roof during the storm, was partially flooded and lost power contributing to sweltering and unsanitary conditions inside for an estimated 10,000 persons who sought refuge there.

US Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) is transporting some 2,500 patients from New Orleans International Airport to federal coordinating centers as part of DOD’s extensive support for the hurricane-stricken Gulf Coast. Military support for search-and-rescue efforts continues throughout the region. On Thursday, four MH-53 Sea Stallion and two HH-60 Seahawk helicopters from USS BATAAN were flying medical-evacuation and search-and-rescue missions in Louisiana.

Three helicopters from the Army’s 3rd Corps at Fort Hood, Texas, are in Baton Rouge, LA, and two more are in Mississippi supporting search-and-rescue missions and damage assessments. Another five helicopters from the 920th Rescue Wing at Patrick Air Force Base, FL, and the 347th Rescue Wing at Moody Air Force Base, GA, are also in Mississippi continuing searches and rescues. USTRANSCOM also flew eight swift-water rescue teams from California to Lafayette, LA. These civilian volunteer teams are trained to rescue stranded people from flooded areas.

Meanwhile, more help is on the way. The IWO JIMA Expeditionary Strike Group is sailing from Norfolk and expected to be operating off the Louisiana coast beginning Sept. 4, officials said. The strike group includes USS IWO JIMA, USS SHREVEPORT, USS TORTUGA and USNS ARCTIC.

Four HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters from the 55th Rescue Squadron are slated to leave Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, AZ, Sept. 2 to provide additional search-and-rescue support in Mississippi. In addition, plans are being made to deploy USS GRAPPLE to the region to help with maritime and underwater survey and salvage operations.


Hurricane Katrina caused the evacuation of more than 700 offshore platforms and oilrigs. The US Minerals Management Service said earlier this week that 95 percent of the region’s oil output was out of service, with more than 4.6 million barrels of production lost since Friday. The agency said 88 percent of natural gas output was shut down, resulting in a loss of 25.4 billion cubic feet of lost production since August 26. The Gulf of Mexico normally produces 2 million barrels of crude oil a day and about 10 billion cubic feet a day of natural gas.


Gary LaGrange, President and CEO of the Port of New Orleans, had this to say in summarizing the situation at the Port: “The outcome is not good, and it has been aggravated by unexpected flooding conditions following the storm. Yesterday, I thought the damage could have been worse, but today, I’m not so sure.”

His summary of the situation: “Our wharves appear to be, for the most part, intact and able to conduct cargo operations. The transit sheds incurred damage, but could be used while we make repairs. Issues concerning cargo operations include procuring labor to work the vessels since many workers most likely incurred heavy damage to their homes or evacuated out of town. Distribution of cargoes due to highway connectors being damaged is another major problem (the I-10 twin spans have lost sections of roadway and connectors in Orleans and Jefferson Parishes are under water).”

LaGrange said that, “Another major problem is the ability of the Mississippi River to receive vessels. Presently river traffic is limited to tugs, barges, offshore vessels that are relocating and recovery boats. We must wait now for sounding to be performed by the pilot’s organizations and the Army Corp of Engineers. In addition, we need to analyze the Cruise Operation. Right now the Louis Armstrong Airport is underwater and hotels supporting the cruise industry need to repair their facilities.


The maritime newsletter Fairplay reports that cruise lines are considering US government requests for help in housing refugees from the Gulf Coast areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina. A spokeswoman for the International Council of Cruise Lines said the organization has been contacted by federal officials who are seeking solutions to the crisis of housing tens of thousands of residents fleeing the devastation left by the hurricane. While talks are underway, but no decisions have been reached.

Another spokeswoman for Carnival Cruise Lines said the company had received an initial inquiry from the federal government as to the viability of such a plan. She said the company was considering the proposal despite many complications in undertaking such an endeavor. Among challenges faced by such a project are existing commitments of the ships and concerns over navigating in the Mississippi River. Another challenge is finding the right people in the federal government with whom to coordinate such an effort. Initial inquiries came from the Centers for Disease Control, with is reportedly concerned about outbreaks of disease in the affected areas.



With Labor Day this Monday, Sept. 5, only about one-third of Americans who responded to a recent survey said they have a full-time job, health coverage through their employer and a retirement plan to which their employer contributes. According to the survey, conducted for the AFL-CIO by Peter D. Hart Research, Americans say the biggest problem they face is the cost of health care: half of the respondents said they worried about not being able to afford it now or in the future.

The second biggest concern cited by respondents: the risk that their job would “go overseas.” The AFL-CIO described the results of the survey as “devastating.”

AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, who announced the survey results in a pre-Labor Day press conference, said a union card is “the single best good jobs program in this country.” He cited government statistics showing that over 90 percent of union workers in the private sector have medical insurance through their jobs and three-quarters have a defined benefit retirement plan.

Sweeney said the AFL-CIO plans to bring workers together in key industries to take on global employers through bargaining and organizing for greater power. He said that at least three of the new industry groups would be launched by early October. “We will be working very closely with every single union to develop solid plans and help them increase their investment in helping workers organize,” Sweeney said. “We’re going to bring the entire AFL-CIO together behind every campaign and every worker who’s organizing for a voice on the job and a way to stay afloat despite today’s economic undertow.”

Another finding of the survey: 58 percent of respondents said they oppose President Bush’s plan to add a private accounts component to Social Security.



MM&P Membership Poll — Would you like MITAGS to offer a course in Container Refrigeration Maintenance for deck officers? Please reply by e-mail to Mary Matlock: Thank you for taking the time to contribute your opinion.

CLASS OPENINGS: Between now and the end of November 2005, seats are available in the following courses:

CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 10/17
CMM-SHMGT I – Ship Management (week 1): 10/24
CMM-VPEN – Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 9/12
Also, still room:
MSC-SMA – Small Arms Training (4 day): 9/5
MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 9/8 (must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years)

AIS – Automatic Identification System: 9/2, 10/13
ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 9/26, 10/24
AZIPOD-KAM – pod and Kamewa Steering and Propulsion: 10/03

BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 10/11, 11/2
BST – Basic Safety Training: 9/26, 10/31

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 10/3
CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 1): 11/14
CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 11/7
CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display and Info Systems: 9/19
CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 10/24
CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 9/26, 10/10, 11/14
CMM-SHS-ADV-II – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 10/03, 10/31, 11/28
CMM-SHMGT I – Ship Management (week 1): 9/26, 10/24
CMM-SHMGT I I- Ship Management (week 2): 9/19, 10/31
CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 10/17, 10/31
CMM-VPEN – Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 9/12
CMM-WKP – Watchkeeping: 11/28

CONT-PLNG – Contingency Planning: 9/9, 10/7, 11/11, 12/2

FF-BADV – (Combined) Basic and Advanced Firefighting: 9/26, 10/26

HAZ-Hazardous Materials (5-day): 9/12, 10/17, 11/14

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage [Evening Seminar]: 9/21

MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 9/8, 10/6, 11/10, 12/1
MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 9/24, 10/22
MED-PIC – Medical Person-In-Charge: 9/26, 10/17
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 9/26, 10/17
MED-SMC – Shipboard Medical Care (4 weeks): 10/17

[MSC – Military Sealift Command]
MSC-SMA – Small Arms Training (4 day): 9/5, 10/31
MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 9/8, 11/4 (must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years)

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal (5-day): 11/28
ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 9/26, 10/17, 10/24

SEC-OFF-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 10/4, 11/7, 11/28
SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 10/24, 11/7
SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling (5 day): 10/10

TPIC – Tankerman Person-In-Charge: 9/26

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:



September 2005

9/6-9 Basic Shiphandling
9/12-16 Medical Care Provider
9/12-16 Radar Observer Unlimited
9/12-24 100 Ton OUPV (12 days Mon.-Sat.)
9/12-23 Medical Person-In-Charge
9/12-23 GMDSS
9/19-23 Basic Safety Training
9/19-23 Emergency Shiphandling – 5 day
9/19-23 ARPA
9/19/05 Radar Renewal
9/19-20 Search and Rescue
9/20-23 Lifeboat/Survival Craft
9/21-23 Emergency Procedures

October 2005

10/3-7 ECDIS
10/3-14 Basic Watchkeeping
10/10-12 Bridge Resource Management
10/10-10-14 Basic Safety Training
10/10-14 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
10/10-14 Emergency Shiphandling – 5 day
10/17-28 GMDSS
10/18-21 Lifeboat/Survival Craft
10/24-26 Ship Security Officer
10/24-28 ARPA
10/24 Radar Renewal
10/31 Flashing Light

November 2005

10/31-11/2 Medical Care Provider
10/31-11/11 Medical Person-In-Charge
11/7-11 TPIC
11/7-18 GMDSS
11/7-19 100 Ton OUPV
11/14-18 ECDIS
11/28-12/2 Radar Observer Unlimited
11/28-12/2 Emergency Shiphandling 5-day

December 2005

12/5-9 Medical Care Provider
12/5-9 ARPA
12/5-16 Basic Safety Training
12/5-16 GMDSS
12/5-16 Medical Person-In-Charge
12/13-16 Lifeboat/Survival Craft
12/19-21 Ship Security Officer
12/19-23 ARPA
12/19-23 Basic Shiphandling
12/26-30 Emergency Shiphandling 5-day


For registration call Jennifer Fowler 888-893-7829

PMI Merchandise for Sale: High quality with embroidered PMI logo. All prices include tax. Navy Caps: $18.00; Button Down Long Sleeve Dress Shirts Blue or Khaki: $38.00; Coming Soon: Navy, Burgundy, Khaki T-shirts, high quality thick Hanes shirt with pocket $22.00; 15 oz. Beautiful Cobalt Blue Ceramic Mug $10.Call DeeDee Lazik 206-838-8328 or e-mail



 D O W  N A S D A Q  S & P 500
10,459.63 +24.76 for the week  2,147.90  +12.53 for the week  1,221.59  +12.00 for the week



~ 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, broadcast worldwide via FEC marine telex and is posted on our web page.