Wheelhouse Weekly – September 11, 2002

September 11th 2002


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

Volume 6 . . . . . Number 37 . . . . . September 12, 2002










MM&P President Capt. Tim Brown spoke to the attendees of the SIU Convention on September 11. He shared his vision of the waterfront’s future and the need for all maritime unions to concentrate on areas of common resolve.

Brown praised SIU President Mike Sacco for his aggressiveness in informing congressional representatives in Washington about the need to listen to the US-flag maritime industry. “This year Mike called a meeting of the MEBA, MM&P and SIU and gave us his thoughts about what would happen to all of us if we were not able to get an extension of the current maritime security program.”

President Brown related how some of the details for a new MSP were worked out with the companies and that now the long process has begun of convincing our friends in Congress that our battle is also America’s battle.

“Without a viable American merchant marine, America is at risk militarily and even more importantly, America is at risk of being taken advantage of by our trading partners. All of us in maritime leadership positions believe that a new MSP program is needed,” Capt. Brown said.

He also told the convention attendees that, “We are also working toward a program that will include tax relief for sailors who sail internationally, reduction in tonnage taxes for US carriers, an elimination of the hated ad valorum tax which only US companies pay, and, a faster depreciation schedule for US-built vessels or new vessels built foreign but US-flagged.”

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



The USCG has issued a Safety Alert reporting that a high percentage of antennas attached to Satellite 406 Category I EPIRBs, product number 2754, manufactured by ACR Electronics, have failed.

On several occasions the antenna’s outer rubber coating was discovered ripped or torn. Closer inspection often revealed extensive internal corrosion. Other antennas showed no perforations on the outer rubber coating but displayed bulges on the antennae near its base. Upon closer inspection when the bulging area was sliced open, total wastage of the antennae interior was revealed.

It is reported that evidence of a corrosion failure may be discovered when the antenna is unscrewed from the EPIRB body assembly. Rusty liquid dripping from the antenna or moisture present inside the threaded section are tell-tale signs of failing equipment.

The company will replace damaged antennas at no cost.

If similar problems are encountered with your vessel’s 2754 EPIRB antenna, contact ACR Electronics Customer Service Representatives at 800-432-0227, ext. 110 to receive a replacement antenna.

The USCG strongly recommends that vessel operators carefully examine their EPIRB antennas, particularly those manufactured by ACR Electronics.


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Great Lakes & Rivers Maritime Region VP Bill Rabatsky and MM&P Special Projects Director Richard Plant attended the Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee (MERPAC) meeting held in Cleveland, OH last week.

Discussions evolved around maritime security issues and the definition of what is the “Ship’s Security Officer’s” responsibility. A working group meeting in Feb. that Plant attended laid out the basic requirements needed to meet the responsibilities.

MERPAC is an advisory committee covering Merchant Marine Personnel issues and makes recommendations to the USCG, NMC and IMO. At the meeting, Plant raised the issue that the responsibility is presently being planned as a collateral duty for an existing officer rather than as a new billet.

He recommended that “MERPAC should request the USCG IMO Delegation to raise this issue at the IMO meeting to be held later this month and address the need for all Port State Authorities to take another look at the manning on all world merchant vessels.” Plant noted that “with the loss of the purser and radio operator, ship’s officers (primarily deck officers) have picked up their responsibilities, increasing their work load.

Add to that OPA-90, STCW-95, ISM Code documentation and audits and now Ship Security, it is time to consider placing an additional mate back on all vessels (foreign and domestic) to reduce fatigue and allow the prime objective of cargo operations and ship navigation to be properly and successfully accomplished and permit additional assigned responsibilities to be accomplished successfully.”

Other areas of discussion were the assignment of sea time for certain vessels that may not leave the dock or berth such as: gaming boats, cable repair vessels, RRF vessels, etc. Presently mariners receive a 1 for 3 day discharge. Discussion on providing sea service for shipyard duties and responsibilities was discussed.

In most cases, no sea time discharge is presently provided for mariners on duty while their vessels are in shipyards. Plant pointed out to the MERPAC committee that this is a time when the Chief Mate and Master get the opportunity to use and sharpen their ship construction, operation, maintenance and repair skills. It is a time that a Captain and Chief Mate, as well as others, are required to be aboard the vessel, yet receive no sea-service credit.

Navigation at sea is not their only responsibility. Coast Guard exams cover many diversified areas including ship construction and maintenance. This is a new task assignment placed before MERPAC by the NMC and will be discussed in detail at future meetings. The next MERPAC meeting is expected to be in Wash, DC at USCG HQ in Feb. or March. No firm date has yet been set.

For those interested retirees, MERPAC is reviewing resumes for replacement positions of MERPAC committee personnel. There are presently 19 members and each can only serve up to two 3-year terms. Members that are not replaced by new appointees remain on MERPAC until replaced.

Contact Richard Plant for an application form and additional info at or phone: 410-850-8700 x36.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



The 3-day course on the MITAGS schedule (MED-DOT-DA) fully satisfies the new DOT requirements for Breath Alcohol Technician (BAT) and Screening Test Technician (STT. The BAT portion covers evidentiary breath testing for blood alcohol levels and the STT covers collection of drug testing urine specimens.

Training must be completed before February 1, 2003. In lieu of the 3-day program, a 1-day course that substantially complies with the new requirements and is acceptable to the USCG will be presented at:

  • LA/Long Beach on September30;
  • San Francisco on October2; and
  • Seattle on October4

Each site will host a class of 20 students. Those who currently meet the MATES Program eligibility requirements will be given priority. Persons out of eligibility will be accommodated on a space available basis. Space will be limited so contact the LA/LB Hall, San Francisco Hall, or PMI to sign up as soon as possible. Additional 1-day courses will also soon appear on the MITAGS schedule.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



The STCW Working Group met at MITAGS on September 4-5 in its continuing effort is to assist the USCG’s National Maritime Center (NMC) in developing policies that integrate the new STCW-95 requirements into the existing US licensing system.

Attendees included a diverse group of government, regulatory and commercial industry representatives. This conference was a continuation of work completed at previous sessions in 2001 and 2002.

Agenda items included:

  • a review of certification and qualification requirements for US licenses and ratings that meet the STCW Code;
  • a review of progress made for entry-level or “hawsepipe” personnel;
  • categorization of military training equivalencies;
  • an examination of proposed USCG Marine Licensing and Documentation System reorganization;
  • discussion of onboard skills assessments; and
  • possible harmonization of the STCW and domestic licensing systems

The conference consisted of six working groups:

Certification and Qualification Requirements:

Reviewed certification and qualification tables for accuracy, consolidated several license requirements into one table and aligned domestic license/ratings requirements.

Entry Level and Hawsepipe:

Reviewed entry level and hawsepipe processes, identified unresolved issues such as training billets, sea service and outlined improvements.

Military Equivalencies:

Identified military training equivalencies to STCW and additional training requirements for STCW certification in the military.

Onboard Skills Assessment:

Reviewed onboard assessment references and authorization, demonstrated proper assessment methodology and identified potential problems.

MLD Reorganization:

Identified a “model” marine licensing/documentation program and regional examination system, reviewed previous “reorganization efforts” and outlined a process to implement improvements.

Harmonization and Streamlining of Licensing System:

Discussed possible replacement of existing near coastal and oceans domestic licensing system with STCW certification.

The STCW-95 Working Group recommendations will be discussed at the next meeting of the Ship Operations Cooperative Program (SOCP), which is being held at the Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, Maine on October 16-17. For more about the meeting and the SOCP visit their website at

For copies of the STCW-95 Working Group’s final reports please contact Craig Thomas, MITAGS Business Development Manager, at phone: 443-989-3358; Email: or visit the MITAGS website at

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Since September 11, the enrollment at the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) Unit at the State University of New York Maritime College has risen to an all-time high. According to CDR Allen Stubblefield, commanding officer of the only NROTC in New York City, more than 150 students are enrolled in the NROTC officer-training program, an increase of 35 since September 11, 2001, and the highest in the command’s 29-year history.

The NROTC Unit includes students from SUNY Maritime College as well as other universities including Fordham University. “Without a doubt, our increased enrollment can be linked to the attack on the World Trade Center,” said CDR Stubblefield. Other contributing factors include the 40 percent increase in enrollment at SUNY Maritime College since 2000 and the US Navy’s continued emphasis on informing high school students of the opportunities in the Naval ROTC program. Students in NROTC will receive over $1 million dollars in educational benefits this year.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Click on the link below for the latest issue of The Transportation Worker, an on-line activist newsletter from the Transportation Trades Department (TTD), AFL-CIO:

The nation’s transportation industry needs modernization and improved security. Find out why Congress and the President now have a chance to do something about it.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Class Openings

Plenty of seats remain in Advanced Fire Fighting, BST, Computer, and GMDSS classes between now and the end of the year. The initial Confined Space Entry course is running the week of September 16 with next scheduled for week of October 28. There are two open seats in the MSC Communications course beginning October 7.



A new and improved website is now up and running. Check routinely for up-to-date info on class schedules, trust student policies and procedures, and regulatory changes. Visit the home page at


New Courses

Note that the prefix “CMM” is now included in several course abbreviations. These courses have been designed specifically to satisfy training area requirements for the new Chief Mate/Master scheme as set forth in NMC Policy Letter 04-02. See and for policy letter and additional info.

New CMM courses are:

  • VPEN: Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation
  • ECDIS: Electronic Chart Display & Info Systems
  • SHS-ADV I&II: Advanced Shiphandling
  • ADVWX: Advanced Meteorology
  • ADVSTB: Advanced Stability

Course Openings in the Coming Weeks

  • 9/16-20: BST, CSE-AAES
  • 9/23-27: CMM-ADVST, FF-ADV
  • 10/7-11: ARPA, MSC-COMM
  • 10/7-18: MED-PIC
  • 10/7: ROR-1
  • 10/14-18: BST
  • 10/21-25: COMP-APS, FF-ADV
  • 10/21-11/1: GMDSS
  • 10/21-11/15: LAP
  • 10/28-11/1: COMP-NET, CSE-AAES
  • 11/4-8: ARPA, BRM, CMM-SHS-1, MSC-COMM
  • 11/4: ROR-1


You can now check schedule and register on-line or contact Admissions at or 443-989-3226.


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Openings in classes through October

  • 9/16-20: BRM, RADAR, MED 1
  • 9/16-27: MPIC
  • 9/23-27: ARPA, BAFF
  • 9/30-10/11: ADNAV-VPEN, GMDSS
  • 10/7-11: ECDIS, BST
  • 10/14-18: TPIC­B, ADV STAB, MED 1
  • 10/14-25: MPIC
  • 10/21-25: BAFF, ADV METEOR
  • 10/28-11/1; ARPA
  • 10/28-11/8: GMDSS

For the latest up-to-date info on class schedules, visit the PMI website at


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



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MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly




Pursuant to a Resolution adopted at the MM&P’s 79th Convention, the web-based bulletin board established by the MM&P for communication among its members is going to be discontinued. The bulletin board was set up following passage of a Resolution calling for its establishment during the MM&P’s 78th Convention in 2000.

Since its establishment, fewer than one percent of MM&P members have registered to use the system and even fewer registered members have actually posted messages.

Members are advised that the bulletin board will go off-line about October 31, 2002 which is 90 days from the date of publication of the July-August edition of The Master, Mate & Pilot which was printed July 31.

Note: Shut-down of the bulletin board should not be confused with operation of the Members’-only web site accessed from the MM&P’s main web page. That site continues to get excellent traffic and improvements continue to be made.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



MM&P has established a Fund to receive donations on behalf of Gisele Schmidt, the daughter of Brother Gary Schmidt. Gisele, who is 21, was rendered paralyzed as the result of a tragic auto accident in March.

Contributions may be made payable to the Gisele Schmidt Fund and should be mailed in care of MM&P, 700 Maritime Blvd., Linthicum Heights, MD 21090.


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



MM&P-contracted AHL Shipping maintains a “job line” that provides info on available rotary jobs. Information is posted at the beginning of each month for the current month. It is only updated during the month if an error occurred in the original month’s posting. All jobs continue to be posted and shipped out of the Union Halls, the line is for info purposes only. The job line may be reached by calling 504-522-3300 and requesting the Job Line at extension 10.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Massachusetts Maritime Academy’s BS program in International Maritime Business is seeking a business administration generalist for a full-time tenure track faculty appointment. The position is available beginning March 1, 2003.

Apply to:

Associate Dean of Human Resources Massachusetts Maritime Academy 101 Academy Drive Buzzards Bay, MA 02532

Include cover letter, resume and three references.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly

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 andis posted on our web page.

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