Wheelhouse Weekly – September 14, 2001

September 14th 2001


Bridging the Information Gap With E-News You Can Use

Volume 5. . . . . Number 37. . . September 14, 2001





Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001 will be recalled as one of the darkest days in US history. Shortly before 0900, a hijacked American Airlines Boeing 767 jumbo jet, en route from Boston to LA, crashed into the 110-story south tower of New York’s World Trade Center.

Minutes later, a United Airlines Boeing 767 jumbo jet, also en route from Boston to LA, crashed into the Center’s 110-story north tower. Authorities at the Trade Center estimated that 10,000 people would be in each tower during that time of day on an average workday.

As Americans all across the country tuned into the live television coverage of the unfolding disaster, they watched in disbelief as the unthinkable occurred … in a little over an hour, first the north tower, then the south tower, came crashing down in a horrific scene that will forever be etched into the nation’s collective memory.

As these unimaginable events were unfolding, images of the Pentagon in flames were flashed across the nation’s television screens. A third hijacked passenger jet, an American Airlines Boeing 757 en route from Washington-Dulles to LA, had crashed into the Pentagon’s west side, the citadel of America’s military might.

Later it was learned that a fourth hijacked passenger jet, a United Airlines Boeing 757 en route from Newark to LA … thought to be en route to the Washington, DC area on a similar suicide mission … crashed into a field in rural southwestern Pennsylvania killing all aboard. Several cell phone calls made from passengers on that doomed flight shortly before it crashed indicated that some passengers were planning to attack the hijackers that had commandeered the plane.

As a result of these incidents, the FAA immediately took the unprecedented step of closing all US air space and airports. All domestic flights in the air were ordered to land at the nearest airport. Incoming international flights were diverted to Canada. US airspace remained closed until 1100 hrs Thursday morning. Airports could only resume operations after they had demonstrated to federal authorities that they met stringent new security regulations. Boston’s Logan and Washington’s Reagan National Airports remain closed as of Friday evening.

Airlines also have to demonstrate that they meet the new security guidelines. The process has been very slow and spotty and as of Friday afternoon, many airlines remain grounded or are only flying marginal schedules.

President Bush addressed the nation saying that what happened in New York and Washington were far more than cowardly acts of terrorism, they are acts of war. He said those responsible and those that harbor them will be found and punished by the full force of the American government. He declared that as our military roots out these terrorist cells from around the world in the nations that support them, that this is will be the first world war of the new millennium …a struggle of good against evil where good will prevail. The FBI has now identified all 19 terrorists that took part in the hijackings. President Bush declared Friday as a day of national prayer and remembrance.

As of Friday afternoon, several hundred bodies had been recovered from the World Trade Center and over 4,700 are declared missing. Officials believe that number will grow. With the last victims rescued alive over a day ago, hope has faded that any more victims will be found alive in the hundreds of tons of collapsed steel, concrete and glass. Initial insurance estimates place the cost of the loss of lives and property at a staggering $40 billion dollars.

The articles below chronicle how the tragic events of the last several days have impacted the nation, US maritime industry, working families, and all Americans.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



The Pentagon has announced that after Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s request for authorization to activate up to 50,000 National Guard and Reserve troops, and President’s Bush’s approval, US military planners have already assigned allotments for 35,500 of them.

The Army will supply 10,000, the Air Force 13,000, the Marines 7,500, the Navy 3,000 and the Coast Guard 2,000. The specific units will be named, according to Pentagon sources, by the individual services, which are still formulating plans.

The Reserves most recently underwent a partial mobilization on Jan. 18, 1991, for Operation Desert Storm, when 265,322 Guard and Reserve members were activated.

According to the Pentagon, “These reservists are being called upon to provide port operations, medical support, engineer support, general civil support and homeland defense.” Rumsfeld requested the callup as part of a Bush administration plan reacting to Tuesday’s terror attacks on the Pentagon and New York’s World Trade Center.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



As the US military increasingly moves to a war footing, due to this week’s catastrophic terrorist attacks, International President Capt. Tim Brown has been in daily contact with both government maritime agencies and shipping companies pledging the Union’s full support in whatever ways the MM&P can be of assistance.

He is also one of six maritime union presidents, including Larry O’Toole of MEBA, Henry Disley of MFU, Gunnar Lundeberg of SUP and Michael Sacco of SIU, to sign a letter to President Bush pledging their assistance and support in recovery efforts underway in New York City and Washington, DC. “In this time of terrible national tragedy, as with all Americans, we want you to know that the men and women of America’s Merchant Marine stand ready to serve our nation,” the labor leaders wrote.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



The MM&P expresses condolences to the family, friends and associates of MEBA member John “Jay” Corcoran of Norwell, Massachusetts who was onboard Flight 175 from Boston to join his ship, the APL THAILAND, in Los Angeles as the Permanent First Assistant Engineer.

The ill-fated flight was hijacked by terrorists and struck the second tower of the World Trade Center Tuesday morning. Jay Corcoran joined MEBA in 1979 after graduating from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. He leaves behind a wife, Diana and two children, 17-year old Megan and 14-year old Jake.

There has been a memorial fund set up on Jay’s behalf to which the MM&P has contributed. All donations can be sent to the:

    John Jay Corcoran Memorial Fund Citizens Bank Queen Anne Plaza 36 Washington St. Norwell, MA 02061

For additional info, contact MEBA’s Boston hall to Representative Don Keefe at 617-261-2340.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



MM&P Director of Communications Karl Schwartz is seeking any info on MM&P members or their families who may have been affected or harmed by the terrorist attacks which took place on Tuesday morning in New York and Washington, DC. He can be contacted at:; phone: 410-850-8700 x27.


Disaster Relief: How You Can Help

MM&P members are being urged to contribute to the recovery efforts by giving blood. To make a blood donation, call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE or contact your local blood service organization. Members can also make a financial contribution to disaster victims by calling 1-800-HELP-NOW.

MM&P has made donations to the relief funds for victims of the attacks in New York and metropolitan Washington. Donations can be made to the Union Community Fund which is Labor’s charity and is putting together a relief fund for our brothers and sisters in need in New York City and the Washington, DC, area. Please make checks payable to the Union Community Fund, and designate them for the Sept. 11 Relief Fund. Mail to:

    Union Community Fund 815 16th St., NW Washington, D.C. 20006

Donations also may be made online at

Donations can also be made to the New York City Central Labor Council Disaster Fund. Mail checks to:

NYC Central Labor Council Disaster Fund 386 Park Ave. South New York, NY 10016

Call 212-685-9552 for more info.


Remain Vigilant

The US has issued a Terrorist Threat Advisory that will remain in effect until October 11, unless it is extended. Government vessels are in lock-down mode. Only essential personnel are allowed onboard.

The USDOT in coordination with its modal administrations is currently reviewing all aspects of transportation security. The maritime industry is being urged to remain vigilant and alert.


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



The SS MAJOR STEPHEN W. PLESS, with MM&P members Capt. Joe Souza, C/M Michael Daugherty, 2/M Steve McKittrick and 3/M Don Filone aboard set sail Tuesday afternoon on a military classified mission.

On the same afternoon, the SS PFC EUGENE A. OBREGON left Italy, also bound on a military classified mission. MM&P members aboard the OBREGON are Capt. Wilbur Dahn, C/M Robert Burke, 2/M James McGee and 3/M Darrell Jones. Both vessels are operated by MM&P-contracted Waterman Steamship.

As part of the Navy’s strategic sealift capability, these vessels are part of MSC’s Maritime Prepositioning Ship Squadron One which is responsible for the operation of, military equipment on, and administrative support to non-combatant ships of the Military Sealift Command Prepositioning Program.

These time-chartered ships carry afloat prepositioned US military cargo for the US Marine Corps and Air Force. The squadron’s mission is to provide swift, precise and effective sea transportation of vital equipment and supplies to a designated area of operations.

MM&P extends Godspeed to our members and to all mariners as they sail in support of the US government.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



The MM&P-crewed Navy hospital ship USNS COMFORT set sail from her home port of Baltimore at 1500 hrs Wed. to aid victims of the terrorist attacks on New York’s World Trade Center. Normally, the COMFORT needs five days to prepare for deployment, but the urgency of the situation and the readiness of crews to work overtime made the ship ready to sail by Wednesday.

The COMFORT arrived in Naval Weapons Station, Earle, NJ, late Thursday to load additional personnel and supplies. The Medical Treatment Facility on board ship will be staffed by a team of doctors, nurses, corpsman and other specialists who are active duty Navy personnel mostly from the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD.

While in Earle, approximately 320 medical and non-medical personnel will embark to support the Medical Treatment Facility. More than 400 pallets of medical and surgical supplies, food and pharmaceuticals will be loaded aboard the ship. USNS COMFORT, is expected to arrive at Pier 92 in Manhattan with a crew of 61 civilian mariners and about 600 medical and non-medical support personnel by the weekend.

The COMFORT is 894 feet long, equal in size to one of the nation’s five largest trauma centers. The hospital ship is designed to provide emergency, on-site care for US combatant forces deployed in war or other operations. 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 COMFORT was originally a San Clemente-class tanker that was transformed into a hospital ship in 1987. Its sister ship, the USNS MERCY, is based in San Diego.

Ordinarily, COMFORT is kept in reduced operating status with a crew of 13 civilian mariners and 58 Navy personnel. When the ship is activated, additional civilian mariners are assigned to the ship, and additional medical personnel are pulled from East Coast medical facilities whose positions are back-filled with reserve military personnel.

USNS COMFORT is operated by the Navy’s Military Sealift Command, the ocean transportation provider for the Department of Defense. For more information about USNS COMFORT, visit MSC on the web at

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



The MM&P-crewed Military Sealift Command Oiler USNS PATUXENT, which has been on stand-by to depart Norfolk within 30 minutes of receiving orders, is now underway to New York to support US vessels providing disaster aid to the victims of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

The 677-ft. vessel has a displacement of 40,900 long tons and can make 20 knots. The ship is one of the MSC’s 13 oilers and is part of the 34 ships in the Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force. It is normally crewed by 81 civilian and 23 military mariners.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Randi Ciszewski, MM&P’s government employees’ membership group representative reports that she was notified early Wednesday that due to the terrorist attack on the Pentagon, most Military Sealift Command employees in Washington, DC and Virginia were evacuated from their offices and will not return to duty until further notice.

MM&P government employee members who were unable to obtain orders, assignments, and other info vital to their positions will not be held responsible for these actions. She was also advised that the MSC recognizes that many members en route to ship assignments were forced to deviate from their approved travel itineraries because of these catastrophic events.

MSC has officially stated that there will be absolutely no consequence regarding missed sailings, absences, etc. due to these unforeseen events. MM&P government fleet members can contact Ms. Ciszewski directly for further info. Her Email address is:; phone: 201-433-7700; fax: 201-433-7959.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



The Port of New York remained closed late Wednesday as the aircraft carrier USS GEORGE WASHINGTON arrived at the harbor. The port was closed Tuesday to facilitate the movement of ferries and other watercraft being used to evacuate people from Manhattan and to bring rescue workers to the scene of the devastation at the World Trade Center.

The Navy on Tuesday dispatched the aircraft carrier to New York Harbor, and other vessels were deployed off the East Coast. Officials from the Port Authority, USCG and Customs met Wednesday morning but failed to determine when the port would be reopened.

Ships arriving in the port supply the region with a number of vital commodities. For example, Larrabee said the TOSCO refinery in New Jersey “provides a high percentage of gasoline and jet fuel for this area.”

Ships that had completed discharging their cargo were being allowed to leave the port, but arriving ships were not being allowed to dock and ships that were tied up could not be worked. The USCG established several safety zones in New York Harbor, around the George Washington and Triborough Bridges; from Constable Hook, Bayonne to St. George on Staten Island; and around the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



MariTEL has announced that all vessels in or near New York/New Jersey and Baltimore Harbors can utilize the company’s “Marine Operator” VHF marine telephone service to make calls to home, update relatives, call operations centers, or for any other purpose.

The call is both for ship-to-shore calls as well as shore-to-ship calls, which can originate from any US area code. This “Free Five-Minute Call” offer will stay in effect until Wednesday, Sept.26.

The USCG issued emergency regulations earlier this week affecting closures of New York/New Jersey Harbor, Baltimore and the Potomac River that restrict most vessel movements.

“We realize that New York City has experienced cellular and telephone network operational difficulties, which could be preventing commercial crews or recreational mariners from contacting loved ones or making alternate arrangements,” said Mitchell Hauser, President and CEO of MariTEL.

“And from the shore side, those on land need to be able to contact a vessel potentially delayed by this tragedy. By offering another way to reliably make these calls, we hope the marine community can get back to business as normal as quickly as possible.”

Ship-to-Shore Telephone Call Instructions:

Mariners who want to make a “Free Five-Minute Call” should key their VHF radio’s microphone button for six seconds on the channel listed below, and follow the prompts.

  • New York/New Jersey Harbor: ch. 28 (Staten Island)
  • Baltimore Harbor: ch. 25 and ch. 26

Shore-to-Ship Telephone Call Instructions:

Those on shore who want to call a vessel in the affected areas may dial 1-888-MARINE2 (627-4632) or 800-955-9025 with the vessel’s name and general location to request the “Free Five-Minute Call”. Calls can be made to any vessel within range of the Staten Island or Baltimore Harbor channel frequencies.

Due to the system’s capacity, all calls are limited to five minutes. For further info, contact Scott Croft at: Email:; Phone: 212-532-9300; Fax: 212-532-2677.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



As a result of the terrorist attacks on Tuesday, the Maritime Administration (MARAD) cancelled the ceremony to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the Ready Reserve Force (RRF) that was scheduled for today (Friday) Sept. 14 onboard the MV CAPE WRATH in Baltimore, MD. More info will be provided if and when the event is rescheduled.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Dept. of Defense officials announced on Thursday tentative numbers of those still unaccounted for in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon. Defense officials said 126 persons are still missing. The number doesn’t include the victims who were aboard the hijacked plane that slammed into the Pentagon.

The Army is missing 21 military, 47 civilian, and 6 contractor personnel. Navy officials report they are missing 33 sailors and 9 civilians. Other defense agencies reported a total of 10 persons still unaccounted for as well. Officials stressed the numbers are initial estimates based on roster checks and other information.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



The Senate approved $40 billion in emergency spending Friday morning, freeing up funds to help rescue and cleanup efforts under way in New York and at the Pentagon and to bolster the nation’s counter-terrorism efforts. Moments later it passed a resolution authorizing the use of military force against those responsible for Tuesday’s attacks.

The House is expected to pass the spending resolution later in the day and to take up the use of force resolution Saturday. The margin of both votes showed just how united legislators are in their response. The use of force resolution passed the Senate by a 98-0 vote. The spending bill passed by 96-0.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



The ITF and its affiliates worldwide express deep shock at the appalling terrorist attacks in the US yesterday. It notes with horror that passenger aircraft were used for the attack and it has asked aviation affiliates around the world to give every possible assistance to the crews of US planes and any others which are stranded in foreign airports.

The ITF has expressed condolences to its US affiliates – many of whose members, including the crews of the aircraft concerned, were amongst those killed. It has announced the postponement of a meeting of the ITF Star Solidarity Alliance, involving United Airlines, which was due to take place next week.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



The AFL-CIO reports that the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 took a massive toll on America’s working families. Among the deaths resulting from the attacks were staggering losses suffered by emergency services workers. The fate of hundreds of other workers remains unknown.

“At this point, we cannot calculate the enormous loss of life,” said Fire Fighters General President Harold A. Schaitberger, noting that the devastating day of terror will “undoubtedly be the worst day for line-of-duty deaths in the 83-year history of the IAFF.”

New York officials say 340 firefighters and 85 police officers who rushed to the World Trade Center to aid workers may have died when the complex’s twin towers collapsed.

“We mourn for all those killed in these acts of cowardice, including the brave men and women firefighters, police, emergency personnel, pilots and flight attendants who gave their lives,” said AFL-CIO President John Sweeney.
The four hijacked airliners used in Tuesday’s terrorist attacks carried a total of 233 passengers, 25 flight attendants and eight pilots.

A spokesman for SEIU Local 32BJ, said some 350 local members were on duty at the time of the attack. The workers were spread throughout all the floors of the towers. It is not known how many were able to escape.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims of Tuesday’s terrorist attacks, and to the hundreds of families that have lost loved ones,” Sweeney said. “And with deep gratitude and admiration we thank the thousands of emergency services and medical workers fighting to rescue and save victims at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.”

For ongoing information about this from the AFL-CIO, visit their website at

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Openings in classes through October

  • 9/24-28: COMP-MAR
  • 10/1-5: FF-ADV
  • 10/1-12: GMDSS
  • 10/8-10: BRM
  • 10/22-25: SMA
  • 10/22-26: SHS-INT II, COMP-NET, BST, BRM
  • 10/29-11/2: BRM, WX-HWA

Schedule Info

Schedule through December 2001 is being maintained on the website and 2002 schedule through June will be on the site soon. Hard copies of the January-June 2002 schedule are being mailed to the halls. Check the MITAGS website at: for up-to-date info. For additional course info, contact Mary Matlock at voice: 443-989-3226 or Email:

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Openings in classes through October

  • 9/24-28: BRM, GMDSS
  • 10/8-12: ARPA, BRM
  • 10/15-19: ARPA
  • 10/22-26: ECDIS
  • 10/29-11/2: BRM

For more info on courses or PMI, visit their website at  

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Due to the catastrophic terrorist attack in Manhattan, the stock exchanges based in New York have been closed since the day of the attack. They are expected to reopen on Monday.  

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Due to the tragic terrorists attacks, the NFL has decided not to play any games this weekend. Major League Baseball has cancelled all games until Monday. College football games have been cancelled this weekend as well as all major sporting events including pro golf, tennis and NASCAR.  

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 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 under “News” at:

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