Wheelhouse Weekly – September 01, 2006

September 1st 2006


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

Volume 10 . . . . . Number 35. . . . September 1, 2006




T-AGS Oceanographic Survey Ships Info

Required Coursework

Security Clearances

MSC Physicals

MM&P Health & Benefit Plan News

Notice to Members who are taking Vioxx

NMHC Mail-Order Prescriptions Website Updated & Improved

WWII USCG Veterans Outreach

Company Gives Bucks Back for buying Safe Shoes

Website Offers Union-Made Goods and Services

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



Members interested in serving on the Shipping Rules Committee should contact their local Vice President, Agent, or Representative. The Pacific Ports will vote on representatives to the committee at union meetings in September. Meetings are scheduled for Los Angeles/Long Beach 9/13, Seattle 9/14, San Francisco 9/19 and Honolulu 9/21. The Shipping Rules Conference will be held at MM&P HQ October 17-18. Members are encouraged to submit resolutions to the committee. For further info or to submit comments, contact Dave Boatner at



All current and former MM&P-contracted AHL Shipping Company employees are requested to contact the company as soon as possible to update their address info. Members are reminded that AHL has moved to new offices located at 219 E. Houston Street, Suite 300, San Antonio, TX 78205. The main phone number is 210-228-2700; job line number is 210-228-2771; and fax number is 210-222-9102.


Any member interested in seeking employment as a Houston Pilot should contact the Port of Houston to obtain an application form. For more information, contact Jim Eldridge at 713-670-2550.


On August 24th, Capt. George Quick, MM&P VP-Pilots, Richard Plant, MM&P Director of Special Projects and Steve Wines of MIRAID met with Congressional staff and counsel of the House Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation subcommittee on TWIC and merchant mariner credentialing issues. Also in attendance were representatives of MEBA, SIU, Maritime Trades Department (MTD), American Maritime Congress (AMC), American Waterways Operators (AWO), Offshore Marine Services Association (OMSA), and Passenger Vessel Association (PVA).

The maritime unions’ position was summarized in the document below, which had the support of all those attending the meeting. Capt. Quick said that, “We expressed the opinion that for blue water mariners holding MMDs, the justification for our position seemed self evident and we had difficulty in understanding why the USCG or TSA would take any other position. Many of the issues outlined in our comments to the TWIC docket were raised, discussed and supported by both the unions and the trade associations.”

The trade associations representing the brown water mariners pointed out that they have separate problems in that many inland mariners are not required to hold MMDs and may be required to obtain regular TWICs. This presented problems as the delays and costs associated with a TWIC would present obstacles to the seasonal or casual nature of the work in many inland operations. It was clear that the brown water industry is operating in a different universe under different regulations and needs to be addressed in different terms than the blue water sector of the maritime industry.

Other subjects discussed at the meeting included the legislative language contained in the Coast Guard Authorization Bill currently before Congress to require crew members timely and free access through terminals to go to and from their ships.

There was also a discussion of the proposed USCG medical review standards incorporating a waiver system. It was pointed out that the proposal may place a severe burden on mariners who fall within any of the categories that require a waiver to prove to the USCG why a waiver should be granted. Concern was expressed that the present USCG licensing and documentation system is dysfunctional and barely working. With the combination of relocating the NMC to West Virginia with a majority of the personnel being new hires, the requirements for new TWIC processing and new medical review procedures all occurring at the same time, the system may collapse in a “perfect storm”.

It was suggested that the USCG be authorized to extend the duration of licenses and documents automatically if there are delays in processing to permit mariners the ability to continue working. It was recommended that quality control standards be put in place to monitor the performance of the USCG licensing and documentation process with record keeping provisions that would permit effective oversight and accountability to Congress.

It was also suggested that the licensing and documentation application forms be simplified and that questions pertaining to criminal records or DUI/DWI offenses be limited to only the period since the last application. Capt. Quick summed up the multi-topic session by stating that, “I believe it was a very useful meeting. There is no way to predict what will happen in the political arena, but I am hopeful that Congress will bring pressure to bear on the TSA or USCG to address our concerns, or will mandate a solution through Congressional action.”


The maritime unions recommend the following provisions be included in any legislative proposal that would provide further guidance to the US Coast Guard and Transportation Security Administration in regards to future merchant mariner documents and the TWIC program.

The Merchant Mariner Document (MMD) should be redesigned to include a biometric identifier so as to become compliant with the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) and all relevant international conventions (ILO C-185 – Seafarers Identity Document [SID] compliant). Under this recommendation, the MMD itself could then also serve as the TWIC for merchant mariners, eliminating the need for a separate credential.

The current vetting process through the USCG that merchant mariners undergo for the issuance of a merchant mariner document should be deemed equivalent to that required for issuance of the TWIC. Under this recommendation, any merchant mariner who has been issued a Coast Guard MMD would not be required to undergo a separate background check through TSA for a TWIC. This reduces the workload on TSA, removes a redundancy from the vetting process, and will ultimately save the government a significant amount of money. If a TSA background check is still necessary then such a check should be invisible to Mariner and the mechanics for the check worked out internally between the USCG and TSA.

Merchant Mariner Documents should preempt any local or state identification requirements in regards to allowing a mariner access to his vessel. Under this recommendation, a USCG MMD would be an approved identification credential for a mariner to gain admittance to his vessel in any port within the United States, removing the need for the mariner to obtain local or state issued credentials for access to that port. This recommendation removes a major obstacle and cost for merchant mariners, particularly in states with multiple deepwater ports, such as Florida or California.

USCG Licensed Officers will continue to be issued a “license” to be displayed on vessels. Under this recommendation, any licensed officer would still be issued a paper document for display, which allows for easy USCG and international verification of mariner qualifications.
Report Language for aforementioned provisions would state that the USCG would be responsible for the vetting of US Merchant Mariners.


MM&P-contracted Maersk Line Limited (MLL) has announced a realignment of its senior management team structure to serve clients and grow its position in target markets. According from a news release from MLL, for the past several years, the company has continued to strengthen its posture in key maritime, transportation and logistics service areas. With a focus on serving the US Government’s needs, MLL is aligning its business leadership structure to support the execution of its strategic growth plan.

Effective September 1st:

  • William Kenwell will assume the title of Senior Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer with responsibility for leading commercial activities and relationships with key government agencies. Reporting to Kenwell will be MLL’s US-flag Liner and Integrated Defense Logistics business units as well as all marketing and proposal activities. Kenwell will report to John Reinhart, MLL’s President and Chief Executive Officer.
  • All of MLL’s maritime-related business units will transfer reporting to Steve Carmel, Senior Vice President, Maritime Services. In addition to assuming management oversight for programs within business units including Contract Vessel Management, Vessel Life Cycle Management, Specialized Vessel Management, Carmel will also continue to lead MLL’s Technical Organization and Quality Environment Safety and Security department. Carmel will also report to Reinhart. Greg Moore, Vice President of Business Development, will also report directly to Reinhart.
  • Ken Gaulden will continue to serve as Senior Vice President, Director and report to Reinhart. Gaulden will support the transition of his current daily responsibilities to Kenwell, Carmel and Moore, and perform special projects. He will retire officially from MLL in January 2007 and will continue to serve on MLL’s Board of Directors as well as will work on special projects.

All of the above management personnel will serve on MLL’s senior management team, along with Reinhart, Paul Cozza, Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, and Mike Hopkins, Vice President, General Counsel. Based in Norfolk, VA, Maersk Line, Limited is a global, comprehensive provider of logistics, maritime and transportation services to US government agencies and their prime contractors and has provided the US government with transportation and maritime services for more than 40 years.


AP Moller-Maersk is set to introduce the largest container ship ever to the shipping world. The first of its new “E” class container ships, the EMMA MAERSK, has a declared capacity of 11,000 TEU’s and will be able to stow a record of 22-containers across her deck. She has a deadweight capacity of about 157,000 tons. The new vessel is expected to serve Europe to Asia routes beginning in mid-September.


Last week, picketing brought on by a two-day strike by the Engineers and Architects Association in Los Angeles extended to the docks, causing longshore workers to halt work for four hours on August 22nd. The 7,400-member Engineers and Architects Association was seeking wage increases beyond those offered other LA City workers. When picketing spread to the Port of LA, longshoremen ceased work because they believed they were crossing picket lines. An arbitrator was called in and ruled that the longshoremen were not part of the strike and they soon returned to work. Port officials said no ships were affected by the work stoppage.


The next meeting of MERPAC and its working groups, sponsored by the US Coast Guard, will be held at MITAGS on September 12-14. MERPAC provides advice and makes recommendations to the agency on matters related to training, qualification, licensing, certification, and fitness of seamen serving in the US merchant marine.

The Task 52 “License Exam Topics” subcommittee will meet in 8N, Building 1 on Sept 12th. The main MERPAC meeting will be on Sept 13-14, in the Auditorium, Building #3. The agenda for this MERPAC meeting includes the standard of competence on tanker safety; a voluntary training program for entry level mariners; and a national training program including integration of the STCW Code into the USCG license examination process.

The next Ship Operations Cooperative Program (SOCP) Meeting will be held at MITAGS on November 1st and 2nd. All SOCP meetings are open to the general public. SOCP’s mission is to address and promote commercial operations through the identification, development, and application of new methods, procedures, and technologies. For more info on this meeting, visit the SOCP website at or contact Todd Ripley at 202-366-2625.


“I’ll take ’em,” said Michael Keller, pointing to two standard Navy utility boats that had been sitting unused in the San Diego boatyard since they were built in 1993. The Navy considered these boats outdated, but Keller saw potential for a very special mission.

This was February 2006, and Keller, a civilian mariner for the Navy’s Military Sealift Command (MSC), was in San Diego preparing hospital ship USNS MERCY for its upcoming five-month humanitarian mission in the Western Pacific and Southeast Asia. MM&P’s Government Employees’ Membership Group represents Licensed Deck Officers on MSC vessels. “When MERCY responded to the December 2004 tsunami by deploying on a humanitarian mission in Southeast Asia, we learned some valuable lessons about the logistics of transporting patients and medical staff to and from the ship,” said Keller, who was Chief Mate on last year’s mission and fulfills the same role now.

“We had helicopters, but we were also very successful at transporting doctors, patients and cargo with RHIB (rigid-hull inflatable boats) boats,” said Keller. Though not part of the initial mission plan, Keller took the initiative to build on last year’s small boat operations’ success and acquire two boats, known affectionately by all as the ‘Band-Aid’ boats, for use. Donated by the Navy, these boats have proven to be a key component in the success of MERCY’s current mission.

MERCY is on a humanitarian mission in the Pacific Islands and Southeast Asia and is crewed by 66 civil service mariners – some of whom are MM&P members. The federally employed mariners operate and navigate the ship while military personnel and volunteers from non-governmental organizations team up with local doctors to provide much needed treatment to patients at each stop.

But, MERCY’s doctors and nurses can’t treat patients that they can’t get to. Since MERCY’s missions are scheduled in places with no existing ports, the ship must anchor off shore. This is where the mariners and the Band-Aid boats that they operate come-in. “The Band-Aid boats are wonderful,” said Capt. Joseph Moore, USN, commander of Mercy’s Medical Treatment Facility. “We would not have been able to treat nearly the number of people that we have without them.”

Each Band-Aid boat can take about 45 passengers at a time, three times the number that can be moved by either of the two helicopters on board the hospital ship. In 43 days of operations at 6 stops in the Philippines and Indonesia, the boats transported approximately 5,000 people as well as medical and building equipment to and from the ship. The only stop at which the boats were not utilized was in Bangladesh, because the ship was operating too far off shore.

Painted white by MERCY’s mariners, the Band-Aids, like the ship that they support, are marked with red crosses. Each one also has the likeness of a Band-Aid bandage painted on the steering column, one with a “1” painted in the center of the bandage and the other with a “2”.

Preparations for Band-Aid boat operations begin before sunrise at around 0500. On the first day in each location the pontoon ramp also has to be lowered and attached to the ship so that passengers can safely load and unload. Each boat is assigned three mariners: two from the deck department to steer and operate the boat and one from the engineering department to monitor and repair the engine if necessary.

Keller, Third Mate Richard Paramore, Able Seamen Dale Witham and Timothy Wheelock and Boatswain Mate Renato “Speedy” Gonzalez are the regular drivers. Engine Utilities Michael Sarne, Jun Panganiban and Virgilio Abad and Deck Machinists Jamie Boniog and Daniel DeLeon are the engineers.

Before the boats are lowered into the water, the engineers check fuel, oil and water. The process of lowering the boats and assembling the pontoon ramp can be dangerous, particularly in rough seas, but under the watchful eye of Boatswain Tommy Payne, there have been no major incidents during these operations.

Each morning around 0630, the first of over 100 mission personnel who will go to shore gather to begin boarding the Band-Aids. On most days, from the first early-morning run through the last late run in the evening, the Band-Aids ferry passengers non-stop from ship to shore and back again. This adds up to 12 to 16 hour days for the mariners who crew the boats.

“It’s a long day, but I love it. It’s really good to help all of those people,” said Paramore. Unfaltering energy is not all that the mariners require to run the boats. “The real key is the seamanship of the people doing the boating,” said Capt. Bradley Martin, USN, the humanitarian mission commander. The mariners on board the Band-Aid boats must approach piers in unfamiliar and uncharted waters, sometimes in rough seas. On their fist trip out from the ship in a new anchorage, the mariners have to move carefully through the water, slowly tracking the best route by trial and error.

Not only do the mariners in the Band-Aid Boats transport patients, they provide them with care and support as they and their loved ones make the journey to MERCY for treatment. For those patients unfamiliar with hospitals, ships and the English language, this journey is a huge leap of faith. “The mariners are remarkable in the amount of sensitivity and care that they have shown in helping people to get on and off the ship,” said Martin. “They have served as excellent ambassadors for MERCY.”

“If it weren’t for the Band-Aid boats, this mission certainly wouldn’t have touched as many people as it has,” said Capt. Robert Wiley, MERCY’s civilian master. “Over the course of our mission, our utility boats have moved over five-times the number of passengers and equipment than the helos have at a fraction of the cost, making them the most cost effective and high volume means of ship-to-shore transportation for this deployment.”

The medical personnel on this mission have so far seen more than 40,000 patients both on the ship and at local hospitals ashore. In addition, the Seabee unit aboard, along with some of MERCY’s CIVMARs, has helped with infrastructure improvement projects at almost every locale. MERCY made her last humanitarian stop in late August and is scheduled to return home to San Diego during the last week of September.


CLASS OPENINGS: Between now and the end of November 2006, seats are available in the following courses:

ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 9/12, 9/26, 10/10, 10/24, 11/14
AZIPOD-KAM-2 – Two-Day Azipod and Kamewa Steering and Propulsion Systems: 9/19, 9/23, 10/2

BRMP – Bridge Resource Mangement for Pilots: 9/27, 10/10
BST – Basic Safety Training: 9/25, 10/30, 11/13

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
*WX-BASREF-2 – Two day Basic weather refresher, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED PREP for Advanced Meteorology: 10/26
*CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 9/11, 10/30
CMM-ADVSTB – 9/11, 11/27
CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 1): 9/25, 11/13
CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 9/18, 11/6
CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart and Display Information System: 9/18, 10/16
CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 10/30
CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 9/25
CMM-VPEN – Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 10/9
CMM-WKP – Watchkeeping: 11/27

COMP-OPSYS – Basic Computer Course: 11/13
CONT-PLNG – Contingency Planning: 10/13

CSE-AASE – Confined Space Entry: 11/14

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 9/25, 10/30, 11/13

HAZ-Hazardous Materials (5-day): 9/11, 11/6

MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 10/12, 11/9

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 9/24, 10/22
MED-PIC – Medical Person-In-Charge: 10/16
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 9/11, 10/16

[MSC – Military Sealift Command]
MSC-CBRD-1 (Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Orientation): 10/25
MSC-DC (Damage Control): 10/26
MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 11/3 (must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years)

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal (5-day): 11/27
ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 10/9, 10/23, 11/13

SEC-OFF-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 10/9, 11/6
SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 10/23, 11/6
SHS-EMR – Emergency Shiphandling: 10/30, 11/13

TPIC – Tankerman Person-In-Charge: 9/25

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:


Summer – Winter 2006

Come check out all the new and exciting things happening in Seattle at PMI.

We have some new members on our team to introduce to all. Captain Doug Pine is our new Simulation Department Manager, and works on specialty projects for PMI also. Tami Otschko is our new Administrative Assistant, taking over Jenny Fowler’s clerical front-desk duties to free Jenny up to concentrate on her very busy duties as our Registrar. Tami is the first point of contact at PMI now in our newly constructed reception area. Jenny can now be reached at and at her new direct line, 206 838-1126 for registration.

We have revamped our Web site completely and invite you to go online to take a look. We think you’ll find it a great improvement and much easier to navigate through. Check it out at

MATE 500/1600 TONS Program Begins January 2007
Due to the high demand for this program, which began in May 2006 with seven candidates, we have now scheduled another. As of this date we have close to full enrollment already for this 2007 start! Thanks to all the companies who are backing our dream! See our website at www. for more information on this amazing new step into the industry!

SCHEDULE OF COURSES – (Course schedule also posted online at

September 2006
5-9 (tu-sa) Medical Care Provider
5-9 (tu-sa) Emergency Shiphandling 5-day
5-15 Medical Person-In-Charge
11-12 Search and Rescue
11-15 Basic Safety Training
11-23 100 Ton OUPV
12-15 Survival Craft / Lifeboatman
13-15 Emergency Procedures
18-22 Radar Observer Unlimited
18-22 Shiphandling – Basic
18-22 Able Bodied Seaman
18-6 Oct Terrestrial & Coastal Navigation with Compasses
25th Radar Recertification
25-29 ARPA
25-2 Oct Watchkeeping & BRM

October 2006
10/2-4 Ship Security Officer
10/2-4 Basic Safety Training
10/2-13 Shiphandling – Advanced
10/9-13 ECDIS
10/9-13 Radar Observer Unlimited
10/9-20 GMDSS
10/10-13 Survival Craft / Lifeboatman
10/16-20 Basic & Advanced Firefighting
10/23 Flashing Light
10/23-27 ARPA
10/23-27 Cargo Handling & Stowage – Basic
10/24-25 Simulation Assessment

November 2006
10/30-11/3 Tankerman Person in Charge
10/30-11/3 Able Bodied Seaman
10/30-11/3 Medical Person in Charge
10/30-11/3 Medical First Aid Provider
11/6-10 Tankerman Person in Charge
11/6-10 ARPA
11/6-10 Emergency Shiphandling
11/6-17 GMDSS
11/27-12/1 Radar Observer Unlimited

December 2007
12/4-8 ARPA
12/4-15 Shiphandling – Advanced
12/11-13 Security Officer – Vessel, Company, and Facility
12/11-22 GMDSS
12/18-22 ECDIS
12/18-22 ARPA
12/18-22 Medical First Aid Provider
12/19 Radar Recertification

January 2007
1/2 Mate Program Begins/Orientation
1/8-1/26 Ratings Forming Part of a Navigational Watch
1/22-1/26 Terrestrial and Coastal Navigation
1/22-1/26 Tankerman Person in Charge
1/22-1/26 Emergency Shiphandling
1/29-2/2 Medical First Aid Provider
1/29-2/2 Radar Observer Unlimited
1/29-2/9 Medical Person in Charge
1/29-2/9 GMDSS

For registration call Jennifer Fowler 888-893-7829


High quality with embroidered PMI logo.
Navy or Khaki Hats : $16 / includes tax
Button Down Long Sleeve Dress Shirts
Blue or Khaki: $38 / includes tax
Pocket t-shirts with Logo: $12 / includes tax
15oz. Cobalt Blue Ceramic Mug: $8 / includes tax

Call DeeDee Lazik 206-838-8328 or e-mail



 D O W  N A S D A Q  S & P 500
11,381.15 +77.69 for the week 2,183.75 +46.64 for the week 1,303.82 +7.80 for the week
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX)
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
 Fidelity Small Company Instl (FMACX)
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)


~ 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 and is posted on our web page.