Wheelhouse Weekly – September 15, 2006

September 15th 2006


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

Volume 10 . . . . . Number 37. . . . September 15, 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.



Late this week, the Senate passed H.R. 4954, the Security and Accountability for Every Port Act, known as the “SAFE Port Act.” The $6.7 billion bill passed by a vote of 98-0. The House passed its version of the legislation back in May by a vote of 421-2. The legislation now goes to a House/Senate conference committee to iron out the numerous differences between the two bills. Once that process is completed, one version of the bill will go to the President to be signed into law.

Among the measures included in the bill was a provision regarding the equivalency of the Merchant Mariner Document (MMD) and the Transportation Worker Identity Credential (TWIC). The language calls for a biometric identifier to be included on the MMD and that “shall be considered a biometric transportation security card required by section 70105 of title 46, United States Code.”

This means that US merchant mariners will not be required to obtain a TWIC card when their MMD includes the required biometric identifier. The MMD with the biometric identifier will be the only security check required by the US Coast Guard for a US merchant mariner. This new MMD will serve as a TWIC for merchant mariners. The provision also confirms that the current mariner vetting process meets or exceeds the requirements necessary for issuance of a TWIC, removing the need for duplicative security screening of US merchant mariners by the Department of Homeland Security.



The following applicants were approved for membership in the Offshore Membership Group by the Offshore Advisory Committee and the General Executive Board at the September 13, 2006, meeting:


Donald L. Agold, Gregory Cygal, William H. Doherty, Sean M. Doran, Shawn P. Jones, Thomas M. Ryan, Raymond A. Palombo, Christopher D. Schlarb, Donald R. Sacca, Mark S. Stinziano, Joseph A. Swan and Jack K. Walker.


Matthew P. Stuart

TRANSFER NOT PRIOR OFFSHORE MEMBER (United Inland Membership Group – Great Lakes & Rivers) TO LICENSED DECK

Talaat M. Abdelmaguid

Jean C. Adams-Mencik, Ademar C. Andrade, Lucas E. Cacho, John C. Craft, Christopher E. Daffin, Sr., David A. Dillon, Isabel B. Mejia, Dionisio N. Paguntalan, Robert Jacob Smith, Jesselo A. Unabia and Corinne Williams.


Tyler G. Dunagan US Merchant Marine Academy


Tuesday, November 7, is Election Day. People across the country will have the opportunity to vote for their representatives and, in 33 states, for their senators. This is an opportunity for all of us who care about the US Merchant Marine to make a decision that will affect our future and help determine whether our country maintains a US-flag shipping industry.

This is our opportunity to vote for our jobs, to protect our economic interests and to promote a stronger, larger and more competitive US-Flag Merchant Marine.

Every vote counts. Remember that whether or not we are disillusioned by what has or hasn’t happened in Washington, the candidates who are ultimately elected November 7th will control the fate of our industry and thus, our future.

Log onto MM&P’s website at , for a list of candidates who support: funding and expansion of the Maritime Security Program; enforcement of the Jones Act; implementation of cargo preference programs; the right of American workers, including licensed maritime officers, to join and belong to unions and bargain collectively. Please review the candidate recommendation page.

If we take the time to learn about an individual’s position on issues important to our industry and if we use that information when deciding how to vote, we can and will make a difference.

We can elect candidates who will fight by our side for a stronger US-Flag Merchant Marine.

Go to today to view our Candidate Recommendations. If you don’t have access to the Internet and want information on the candidates, send an e-mail to Jim Patti at MIRAID in Washington, DC at:


The remaining Pacific Ports to vote on representatives to the Shipping Rules Committee are San Francisco on September 19th and Honolulu on September 21st. The Shipping Rules Conference will be held at MM&P HQ October 17-18. For further info or to submit comments, contact Dave Boatner at


The United States Merchant Marine Academy Alumni Foundation Chesapeake Chapter will hold a dinner and business meeting on Wednesday, September 20th, beginning at 1800 hrs at MITAGS. RADM Robert D. Reilly, Jr., Commander, Military Sealift Command will be the featured speaker. All interested parties are welcome to attend. Dinner cost: $20.00/Chapter Member, $25.00/Non-Member. For further info, contact Gary Hicks ’76- President, at 410-893-0450; e-mail:


Sean Connaughton of Triangle, VA, was sworn in last week as Maritime Administrator by Acting Secretary of Transportation Maria Cino in a ceremony at the US Dept. of Transportation HQ. Mr. Connaughton, most recently Chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, has extensive experience in the maritime industry and in maritime law. He is a graduate of the US Merchant Marine Academy and an active duty veteran of the US Coast Guard. As a lawyer, Connaughton specialized in maritime and international law.

“This is a critical time for the Maritime Administration and in the maritime industry,” said Acting Secretary Cino. “The Administration will look to Sean to work with America’s ports to address congestion issues, and to find ways to help relieve landside congestion.” Mr. Connaughton was nominated by President Bush to be Maritime Administrator and was confirmed by the Senate on August 3rd. A biography of the new Maritime Administrator is available at


Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) has introduced the Maritime Administration Improvement Act of 2006 (S. 3852). The bill, if adopted, will enhance certain maritime programs of the Department of Transportation, in addition to other purposes. The Bill addresses Maritime Security tank vessels, war risk insurance issues and places limits on large US passenger ships.


Atlantic Sea Island Group, LLC (Sea Island) filed an application with the US Coast Guard and the Maritime Administration on September 14th for a license under the Deepwater Port Act, to build, own and operate a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility. Sea Island’s proposed Safe Harbor Energy facility envisions a LNG facility situated atop a 53 acre man made island, located in the Atlantic Ocean 13 miles south of Long Beach, NY and 19 miles east of Sandy Hook, NJ.

LNG is clean natural gas, cooled to a temperature of approximately negative 260 degrees Fahrenheit, at which point the gas condenses to a liquid. The Safe Harbor Energy project will convert LNG to natural gas utilizing ambient air as the method of regasification. The process will not use either open loop vaporization or closed loop vaporization. The Safe Harbor project is anticipated to deliver two billion cubic feet of natural gas per day to the New York metropolitan region. This is a private equity funded project. More info about the Safe Harbor project can be viewed by visiting the project’s website:


The following statement was issued earlier this week by Edward Wytkind, President of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), commending the Senate on passage of Senator John Kerry’s bi-partisan amendment to the port security legislation, HR 4954, requiring mandatory training for all port workers. The MM&P is one of the 31 TTD member unions that represent several million transportation workers in the private and public sector.

“The passage of Senator Kerry’s bi-partisan amendment to ensure that tens of thousands of port workers are properly prepared in the event of a terrorist threat or attack is long overdue. Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, our calls for strong and mandatory security training for front-line port workers have been ignored by this Administration. Fortunately, the Senate is listening.

“Senators have now embraced this essential element of port security. The Kerry Amendment requires that the Department of Homeland Security establish and implement a meaningful worker security training program, utilize the expertise of various training partners, and mandate that terminal operators establish a strategy and timeline for conducting training as an element of facility security plans. We strongly urge adoption of this language in the final legislation sent to the President.

“Without the Kerry amendment the port security bill left the training of port employees to the discretion of the same agency that has refused to act in this area for five years. The fact is that most port workers have received little or no information about how to respond to a security breach at our ports. As the first people on the scene, well-trained workers at ports can be used to help mitigate damage, assist first responders, and provide post-incident information. It has been proven that given the opportunity to opt out of full scale training and exercises, terminal operators have chosen the easy and cheaper route every time.

“Port workers must be prepared and worker training is a sound investment of security dollars. Port employees should not have to wait any longer for the security training they need and deserve.”


“Not only is America’s domestic fleet one of the most cost-efficient in the world, it generates critically important national security benefits.” That is what the Maritime Cabotage Task Force (MCTF) recently told the International Trade Commission (ITC) in response to the agency’s fifth biennial update of an economic study it conducted on “Significant US Import Restraints,” a catch-all phrase that includes America’s critically important cabotage laws.

MCTF, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, is particularly concerned with preserving the integrity of the
Jones Act, America’s preeminent cabotage law that states all ocean-borne cargoes between US ports be carried aboard
US-flag vessels. Citing a leading national security expert, the MCTF noted that the war on terror has “exposed to plain view the soft underbelly of globalization.” The MCTF believes that globalization, as an economic theory, is deficient because it fails to understand that there are things that are more important than just the bottom line, in this case, national security in a post-9/11 world. The MCTF also contends that while the Jones Act is valuable because it enhances critically important strategic interests, it can be justified on economic interests alone.

The MCTF submission also dealt with the Jones Act as it pertains to the non-contiguous trades — Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico and Alaska. Cargo movements in these domestic trades are exclusively reserved to shipping operations and subject to the same US-build and repair, US crew, US insurance requirements enforced in the mainland cabotage trades. With routine increases occurring in these economic cost factors, it would be reasonable to expect that the cost of Jones Act operations to also have increased. Yet, a recent study released by the US Maritime Administration found significant declines since the early 1990s in cabotage shipping rates to these areas:

  • Hawaii real revenue per 40-Foot Equivalent Unit (FEU) has declined by approximately 1.3 percent annually since 1991;
  • Guam average freight revenue per FEU declined an average rate of 2.2 percent;
  • Puerto Rico average revenue per FEU declined by nearly 39 percent over the period 1991-2003; and
  • Alaska real rates in this trade have declined nearly 23 percent from 1991 to 2003.
  • The complete text of MCTF’s ITC position paper may be downloaded from:


In the continuing saga of the foreign flag car carrier loaded with Mazdas that rolled over and nearly sank off the Aleutian Islands, the COUGAR ACE arrived under tow earlier this week at the Port of Portland, where she is scheduled to discharge her cargo. The vessel was also scheduled to undergo further inspections by USCG and Vessel Class Society Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (NKK) at her Portland berth. The COUGAR ACE was towed from the waters of Wide Bay near Unalaska Island, AK after last month’s incident where the vessel developed a severe list while shifting ballast.

According to a USCG press release, the vessel left Alaska on September 1 after Vessel Class Society NKK and USCG inspectors there determined it was safe to make the trip. A moving safety zone for the vessel was maintained as it transited the Columbia River and the USCG said that they worked closely with the Columbia River Pilots, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, the Columbia River Bar Pilots, Crowley, Shaver Transportation, Norton Lilly and the Port of Portland to ensure a safe and trouble-free transit.

Salvage crews spent several weeks righting the COUGAR ACE securing its cargo and making seaworthy after the vessel listed to its side on July 24th. The 654-foot Singapore-flagged car carrier notified the USCG that they were listing and taking on water. The USCG cutter “RUSH,” rescue helicopters and other salvage assets were then dispatched to the vessel’s location and her entire complement of 23 crewmembers was successfully evacuated.

Meanwhile, Mazda has announced that the cars on board the vessel will not be sold as new. The COUGAR ACE sailed from Japan to North America with about 4,700 Mazda vehicles on board. Reportedly, the cars were originally destined for the ports of Vancouver, Tacoma and Hueneme. The extent of damage to any of the vehicles was still to be determined.


Once again, a foreign flag shipping company had plead guilty to polluting US waters. This time it is the Sun Ace Shipping Company, based in Seoul, South Korea, that plead guilty to violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, in relation to the operation of a bulk carrier vessel the M/V SUN NEW, the Justice Department announced last week.

Specifically, the defendant, which was the operator and manager of a fleet of five ships, is charged with knowingly failing to maintain an accurate Oil Record Book that fully recorded the disposal of oil residue and bilge into the ocean and then falsifying records to conceal illegal discharges. A joint factual statement filed in District Court in New Jersey stated that, on the night of Jan. 3, 2006, US Coast Guard inspectors boarded the SUN NEW and discovered that members of the engine room crew has used bypass hoses to discharge oily wastes overboard into the ocean without using the vessel’s oil-water separator.

Upon further investigation, inspectors discovered that the crew of the SUN NEW had disposed of oil waste into the ocean at least twice during the voyage from South Korea to New Jersey. International and US law prohibit the discharge of waste oil without treatment by an Oily Water Separator. The law also requires that all overboard discharges be recorded in an Oil Record Book, a required log, which is regularly inspected by the Coast Guard.

Per the terms of the plea agreement, the Sun Ace Shipping Company will pay a $400,000 penalty and a $100,000 community service payment to the National Fish and Wildlife Program, Delaware Estuary Grants Program, which will be used to protect and restore the natural resources of the Delaware Estuary and its watershed. The Sun Ace Shipping Company will also be subject to a three-year term of probation, during which its vessels will be banned from US ports and waters.

Earlier this month, a grand jury in Newark, NJ, returned a three-count indictment charging the Chief Engineer and the Second Engineer of M/V SUN NEW with conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and a violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships in connection with the use of two bypass hoses used to discharge sludge and oil contaminated bilge waste overboard into the ocean. The case was investigated by marine inspectors from USCG Sector Delaware Bay, and special agents from the USCG Investigative Service and the Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division.


The charterer of the sunken tanker SOLAR I responsible for what has been characterized as the worst oil spill ever in the Philippines has said that they will continue to pay for expenses related to cleanup operations. A Petron Corp. spokesman said this week that they would continue all efforts to remediate the effects of the massive Guimaras spill, no matter how long it took. Petron is the country’s largest oil refiner.

The oil tanker sank in heavy seas in August and is still thought to be leaking cargo off the central Philippine island of Guimaras. It was carrying more than 12,000 barrels of bunker oil when it went down. Sixteen crewmembers were rescued, but two remained missing. A Japanese research vessel and has located the wreck. The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and other government agencies are investigating irregularities in the vessel and that of its master. Charges against the master, the charterer and the vessel’s owner are possible.


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. SOCP objectives are to improve the competitiveness, productivity, efficiency, safety, and environmental responsiveness of US vessel operations. All US based vessel operators and organizations that support vessel operations are eligible to participate in the program. SOCP works with the support of Maritime Administration (MARAD) and various industry, labor, and government organizations to address common challenges and identify new solutions for improvements in ship operations. For more info on this meeting, visit the SOCP website at or contact Todd Ripley at 202-366-2625.


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

ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 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: 10/30
CMM-ADVSTB – 10/23, 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-SHMGT-II – Ship Management II (week 2): 9/18
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): 11/6

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

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 9/24, 10/22
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 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-EMR – Emergency Shiphandling: 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:


Fall and Winter: 2006-2007

MATE 500/1600 TONS Program Begins January 2007
Due to the high demand for this program, PMI has now scheduled another that is already close to full enrollment for its 2007-start date. See the PMI Web site at for more info on this new development.

SCHEDULE OF COURSES – (Course schedule also posted online at

September 2006

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
11,560.77 for the week 2,235.59 +51.84 for the week 1,319.87 +16.05 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.