Wheelhouse Weekly – September 15th, 2020

September 15th 2020

Volume 25… Number 37… Sept. 15, 2020


In This Issue:



MM&P Member News:


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The leaders of America’s transportation unions are urging Congress to take measures to mitigate the threat that the Covid-19 pandemic poses to the livelihoods of America’s transport workers.

MM&P President Don Marcus joined officials of the other 32 affiliates of the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department in calling on the leaders of the House and Senate to address the revenue shortfall that threatens to undermine the entire US transportation sector and other parts of the economy.

“As the elected leaders of labor organizations that represent transportation workers across every segment of the industry, we urge you to use this September congressional session to pass an economic relief package that our nation and frontline working people urgently need,” the union presidents wrote in a Sept. 14 letter.

“In the public sector and the private sector, everywhere from hospitals to grocery stores, working people are putting themselves at risk for the benefit of all,” they wrote.

“Transportation workers have been at the center of these efforts, making sure that the goods and people that keep our country healthy get where they need to be.”

“Now these workers, and the broader economy, need your help. It would simply be unacceptable to close this fiscal year without enacting substantial, worker-centric economic relief legislation.”

“Whether it is in aviation, public transportation, construction, maritime, school and intercity bus service, postal service, passenger and freight rail, ports, or manufacturing, our workers have borne the brunt of the Covid-19 crisis.”

“They have worked through the worst of this pandemic with no public health protections from their government. Thousands have paid for that inaction with their health, and thousands more with their lives.”

“They have faced down economic uncertainty in their industries every single day, not knowing if or when they may be told to stop coming to work.”

“But through it all, they have continued to show up and do their jobs because they know that America is counting on them.”

“Our unions and our industry partners have written extensively to you and your colleagues about the specific financial needs for each transportation sector.”

“The airline worker payroll support program must be extended before it expires at the end of this month.”

“Transit agencies and passenger rail are in desperate need of federal support to avoid massive layoffs and service cuts.”

“State and local governments face severe fiscal crises and urgently need federal assistance; especially transportation agencies, where massive budget shortfalls could grind projects and services to a halt.”

“Emergency funding is needed to maintain maritime and seaport commerce.”

“The crisis is further compounded by the pending expiration of the surface transportation program, which must also be extended and expanded during this session.”

“In every case, October 1st is the cliff that will force hundreds of thousands of workers into unemployment and send our economy reeling.”

“Lack of immediate Congressional action to meet these needs will ripple throughout our membership, and the effects will be felt across the entire economy.”

“It would be unacceptable, and a slap in the face to the people who are bearing the brunt of this crisis, if Congress were to fail to pass legislation that addresses these needs in totality.”

The letter was addressed to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

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The breakdown of the crew change process is endangering the health of the world’s seafarers and putting the safety of shipping at risk.

This stark warning from the International Maritime Organization comes on the eve of the United Nations General Assembly.

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim has called on world governments to resolve the crisis, which is affecting more than 600,000 seafarers: 300,000 who are stranded at sea and a similar number who can’t rejoin their ships.

The collapse of the crew change process has been caused by a range of pandemic-related factors: restrictions on travel and embarkation/disembarkation in ports; quarantine measures; reductions in the number of available flights; and limits on visas and passports.

Some seafarers have been at sea for more than 17 months, far over the 11-month limit established by the Maritime Labor Convention; many have been denied access to medical care and shore leave, also in breach of their rights under the MLC.

“Overly fatigued and mentally exhausted seafarers are being asked to continue operating vessels, increasing the risk of shipping casualties,” Lim said.

“If the crew change crisis is not resolved soon, ships will no longer be able to operate safely pursuant to IMO regulations and guidelines, further exacerbating the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

“Seafarers cannot remain at sea indefinitely.”

Lim reiterated his call to all IMO member states to designate seafarers as key workers who provide an essential service, and to implement the IMO-approved protocols to allow for safe and secure crew changes.

He also underlined the need for sick or injured seafarers to be allowed access to medical facilities ashore.

This is the latest push for action by the IMO. It follows months of public statements, meetings with international leaders, bilateral diplomatic efforts and the establishment of the Seafarer Crisis Action team to directly help stranded seafarers.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has joined Lim in urging all countries to recognize seafarers as key workers and provide the necessary travel assistance to ensure safe crew changeovers and repatriation.

While significant progress has been made by many countries in allowing for crew change, the rate of progress is not keeping pace with the backlog.

Lim has asked IMO member states to raise the issue during the upcoming High-Level Week of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, which begins on Sept. 22.

During the proceedings, the IMO, the International Labor Organization and the UN Global Compact will host an event on World Maritime Day, Sept. 24, to highlight the crew change crisis.

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The Trump administration began temporarily deferring payroll taxes for all eligible federal employees this month, despite objections from some unions that represent government workers.

The deferral—which is mandatory for eligible federal workers—calls for employers to stop withholding the 6.2 percent Social Security tax during the last four months of 2020 but requires that employees pay it back early next year through additional paycheck withholding.

If the deferment is made permanent, employees could see their retirement benefit lowered; if the deferral is not made permanent, covered workers could be liable for a large tax bill next year.

The consequences for federal workers who incur the debt or do not pay their taxes in a timely manner could include interest penalties, fees and—for some–security clearance revocation.

The administration has motivated the temporary payroll tax deferral as pandemic relief.

Many of the country’s private employers—including some of the largest US corporations–have said they won’t implement the deferral.

But it will automatically be applied to all government employees earning less than $104,000 a year, or $4,000 in a given pay period. Employees who are eligible cannot opt-out.

In the short term, covered workers will see an increase in take-home pay, but absent action by Congress to forgive the debt, they will be expected to pay the money back some time next year: the deferred taxes will be collected from their wages between Jan. 1 and April 30, 2021.

At that time, withholding will resume at a rate of 6.2 percent and the deferred taxes from 2020 will also be collected.

Government workers who retire or leave employment before the tax can be collected from their wages are still responsible for repayment.

Some unions that represent government workers have objected, saying the administration has not provided information to employees about the implications the deferral will have on their future tax obligations.

“[W]e have warned the employees we represent that while their paychecks might be larger for the rest of 2020, they need to be prepared to pay back the amounts that were deferred, starting in January,” National Treasury Employees Union President Tony Reardon was quoted as saying in an article published by Government Executive.

“While many major private-sector employers are walking away from this ill-conceived initiative, the government is forcing it upon the federal workforce.”

“Workers will have to pay double their regular payroll tax rate during the first four months of 2021… they will have to pay interest and penalties on amounts still owed if they’re not paid back by May 1, 2021,” Everett Kelley, national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, was quoted by Government Executive as saying.

“In addition, any talk of making this deferral permanent is solely about defunding the Social Security system, so that it can be declared bankrupt and discontinued,” he said.

“No one should view this as anything other than an attempt to undermine Social Security.”

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Hurricane Sally is expected to move slowly across the northern Gulf of Mexico over the course of the next day before finally making landfall near Dauphin Island, Alabama, on Wednesday morning.

A hurricane warning is in effect for an extensive area that includes all of coastal Mississippi and Alabama.

Officials are urging residents to prepare for severe flooding, torrential rains and powerful winds, including possible tornadoes. Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for low-lying coastal areas.

Many of those living in Sally’s path are still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Laura in August, one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the US mainland.

On Monday, before Tropical Depression Rene dissolved, there were five named storms moving across the Atlantic, a total not seen since 1971, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Scientists said last month that 2020 could see a total of 25 named storms for the year, which would make this one of the most active seasons on record.

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More than five weeks after saving 27 migrants from a sinking wooden boat, MAERSK ETIENNE—which had been blocked in the Mediterranean Sea since mid-August–was finally able to set sail again on Sept. 11.

Authorities in Malta had asked the crew to rescue the migrants–who had been at sea for days in a boat that sank soon after they were brought on board–but then denied them permission to disembark.

For weeks, the captain of the chemical tanker and officials at Maersk had been calling for an urgent resolution to the lengthy standoff.

“MAERSK ETIENNE is a chemical tanker which is not equipped or constructed to keep people onboard,” said MAERSK ETIENNE Captain Volodymyr Yeroshkin in a videotaped appeal.

“This is a cargo vessel, the crew are professional seafarers and none of them is qualified for medical assistance or for care for rescued people.”

The survivors, including a pregnant woman and a minor, were finally able to disembark the vessel on Friday, when they boarded the rescue tug MARE JONIO, which is operated by an NGO called Mediterranea and has a medical team on board.

Since no country has agreed to admit them, the group remains stranded at sea.

Ships have an obligation to attempt to rescue persons considered in danger at sea under Article 98 of the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea and Regulation V-33 of the International Convention for the Safety of Lives at Sea (SOLAS).

Governments are obliged under SOLAS amendments to coordinate and cooperate so that persons rescued at sea are disembarked in a safe place as soon as possible.

In a series of statements, Maersk Tankers said that during the lengthy standoff, the company had become increasingly concerned for the migrants’ physical and mental health.

Last Tuesday, three of them jumped overboard, requiring another rescue operation.

“While we are appreciative of the support from Mediterranea in helping us to bring a closure to this unprecedented situation, we are at the same time deeply concerned that it has not been possible to find a solution before now,” said Tommy Thomassen, chief technical officer for Maersk Tankers.

“It has been very difficult for the rescued persons and our crew.”

“We are relieved and grateful,” he added, that “the rescued persons can now finally get the medical care they need and our crew can continue their voyage safely.”

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The maritime authority of Panama, flag state of the bulk carrier WAKASHIO, has issued its first statement on the accident which took place off the coast of Mauritius in July.

In a preliminary report, they said crewmembers had told them the captain ordered the ship to divert from its approved course in search of a telephone and Wi-Fi signal so those on board could communicate with their families.

Investigators said the captain, the chief engineer and the first officer were all on bridge when the vessel diverted from its navigation plan to approach the coast.

Shoreside personnel in Mauritius have reported they detected the change in course and tried several times unsuccessfully to contact the ship.

Additionally, inspectors said the wrong chart with the wrong scale was being used on board the WAKASHIO, “which made it impossible to properly verify the approach to the coast and shallower waters.”

The report went on to cite poor seamanship as a factor in the disaster, including lack of supervision and failure to monitor navigation equipment.

Investigators said they were waiting for the police to give them access to the trip data recorder, additional navigation documents and the records of an interview with the captain and the first officer, both of whom have been detained by local authorities.

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The National Maritime Center reopened Regional Examination Center Seattle for limited examination services on Sept. 14.

Also open for limited services are RECs Boston, Honolulu, Houston, Juneau, Long Beach, Memphis, Miami and Toledo, and Monitoring Units Ketchikan and San Juan.

The agency advises mariners seeking to schedule examinations at these locations to use the contact information below:

REC Boston –
REC Honolulu –
REC Houston –
REC Juneau –
REC Long Beach –
REC Memphis –
REC Miami – or (305) 536-4331 REC Seattle –
REC Toledo –
MU Ketchikan – (907) 225-4496 (extension #3) MU San Juan – (787) 729-2368

Examination appointment request e-mails should include the applicant’s name, mariner reference number, requested testing date(s), phone number and a copy of their Approved to Test letter(s).

Exam services will be by appointment only. No walk-in appointments are available and all other application customer service functions will continue to be handled remotely.

Mariners will be subject to COVID-19 screening questions and a temperature check.

Mariners experiencing COVID-19 symptoms will not be permitted to enter the REC/MU and will need to reschedule their appointment.

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The International Transport Workers’ Federation is seeking photos of life at sea, taken between May 1 and Sept. 30, for the Seafarers’ Trust Photography Competition, “Still at Sea.” Here are the details.

Calling all seafarers! Win £1,000 for the best photograph of life at sea during Covid-19.

The ITF Seafarers’ Trust invites you to submit your photographic images of your maritime world during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tell the story in pictures of your experience of working at sea during these extraordinary times.

Share the highs, the lows and the spaces in-between. Snap action shots or times of reflection.

Immortalize your crew mates and capture the weather in pixels.

We seek to create a photographic archive of this extraordinary moment in history and record your impressions of life at sea during Covid-19.

We are looking for great photos to show people ashore the realities of life on board.

Our aim is to tell the story of the men and women still working at sea to the world beyond maritime.

Send us your photos to help us tell your story and have a chance to win cash prizes:
1st prize £1,000; 2nd prize £750; 3rd prize £500.

This competition is open to all serving seafarers. Photographs must be taken within the time period from May 1 to Sept. 30, 2020. To submit photos, go to:

More details: seafarers are invited to submit images of between 1Mb and 5Mb with a recommendation to be between 300 and 1024 pixels along the longest side.

You are advised to keep an original copy in the largest possible format.

Shortlisted entries will be contacted and requested to supply images in the largest possible file size. Images must have a file name and caption and be in JPEG format.

Each entrant can submit a maximum of three images. Submit your photos here:

P.S. MM&P members appearing in photos should consider wearing their MM&P shirt, hat or vest.

The ITF Seafarers’ Trust is a charitable maritime trust located in London.

It was established in 1981 by the Executive Board of the International Transport Workers’ Federation, a global federation of transport workers’ unions, including MM&P, which represent more than 4.6 million workers around the globe.

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Eligible dependent children of eligible Offshore members and co-pay pensioners in good standing are reminded to request an application for the scholarship program.

Applicants must be high school seniors during the 2020-21 school year. Completed applications must be returned to the Plan Office by Nov. 30, 2020.

For more information, please contact Madeline Petrelli at 410-850-8615 or

A PDF copy of the application is posted on the MM&P website: just go to, click on “Plans,” and then select “H&B Benefit Forms” in the dropdown menu. The application is the fourth form from the bottom.

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Please be advised that as of the June MATES Trustees meeting and through the end of this year, the number of sea days required to receive covered training at MITAGS will now be 42 days.

\\Classes are 5-day unless otherwise noted\\

Class dates followed by an * are full

AB – Able Seaman – 10/5/20

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation (1-Day): Not currently scheduled

ARPA-OIC (4-Day) – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: Not currently scheduled

AZIPOD (2-Day) – 10/5/20

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: Not currently scheduled

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots (2-Day): 9/15/20
Online: Not currently scheduled

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling – (Now also included in BRMP-Refresher) (3-Day): 10/7/20

BRMP-Refresher (Now including Emergency Shiphandling for Pilots) (3-Day) – Not currently scheduled

BT – Basic Safety Training: 10/12/20

BT-Revalidation (2-day) (Must have 1 year of sea service in last 5 years) – 9/23/20*, 10/28/20, 12/15/20

BT-Refresher (3-day) – 9/23/20*, 12/14/20

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 10/26/20

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 10/5/20, 11/30/20

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 9/28/20, 12/7/20

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (10 Days): 10/12/20

CM-OPS 1 – Chief Mate Operations – Week 1: 11/9/20

CM-OPS 2 Maersk – Chief Mate Operations II Maersk Specific: 11/16/20

CM-OPS 2 APL – Chief Mate Operations II APL Specific – Not currently scheduled

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information Systems: 11/9/20

LMS – Leadership and Managerial Skills (Management Level – Formerly MCL-CMM): 11/16/20, 12/14/20

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants: 9/14/20 (DCS-1 available on request – contact Admissions)

SEC-APPS – Practical Defense Tactics: Not Currently Scheduled

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management: 9/21/20

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 9/14/20, 9/28/20, 10/12/20, 11/2/20, 1/30/20

SHS-ADV-II-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 9/21/20, 10/5/20, 10/19/20, 11/9/20, 12/7/20

**SHS-ADV-I & II are now approved to include SAR-CMM assessments at MITAGS**

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 11/2/20

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 10/26/20

WX-HW-ATL – Heavy Weather Avoidance Routing: Atlantic Ocean (2-day) – Contact Admissions

WX-HW-IND – Heavy Weather Avoidance Routing: Indian Ocean (2-day) – Contact Admissions

WX-HW-PAC – Heavy Weather Avoidance Routing: Pacific Ocean (2-day) – Contact Admissions

CIW-DPA/IA – Continual Improvement Workshop: Designated Person Ashore & Internal Auditor (3-Day) ** This course is NOT covered by the MATES Program **
Online: 10/14/20

CIW-SMS – Continual Improvement Workshop: Successful Safety Management (2-Day) – Not currently scheduled

CNAV-OIC (15-Day) – Celestial Navigation: 11/2/20

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications (1-Day): Not currently scheduled

CRSMGT – Crisis Management and Human Behavior (1-Day) – Not currently scheduled

CDMGT – Crowd Management (1-Day) – Not currently scheduled

CSE – Confined Space Entry (3-Day): Not currently scheduled

CSE-AWR – Confined Space Entry Awareness (2-Day): Not currently scheduled

CY-MAR – Cyber-Skilled Mariner ** This course is NOT covered by the MATES Program ** – Not currently scheduled

DDE – Great Lakes (20-Day): Not currently scheduled

ECDIS for Pilots (2-Day) – 12/3/20

ERM – Engine Resource Management: 12/7/20

ADV-FF – Advanced Fire-Fighting (4-day) – Not currently scheduled

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 10/12/20

FF-ADV-Rev (1-day) (Must have 1 year of sea service in last 5 years) – Advanced Fire Fighting Revalidation: 9/22/20, 10/27/20, 12/17/20

FF-ADV-REF (2-day) – Advanced Fire Fighting Refresher: 9/26/20, 12/12/20

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications (1-Day): 9/15/20
Online: 9/17/20, 10/15/20

GL-Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization (2-Day): Not currently scheduled

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (10-Day): Not currently scheduled

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 11/16/20

IEN – Integrated Electronic Navigation (3-Day) – Not currently scheduled

LAP – License Advancement Program for Mate to Master (20-Day): 9/28/20

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes (15-Day): Not currently scheduled

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross
Ton License (15-Day): Contact Admissions

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage (1-Day): Not currently scheduled

LNG-TPIC (10-Day) – 11/30/20

LTS –Leadership and Teamworking Skills (Formerly MCL-OIC) (1-Day): 9/21/20

MEECE – Management of Electrical and Electronic Control Equipment (Assessments not included): 11/30/20

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge (10-Day): 9/28/20*, 11/30/20

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 10/19/20

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 9/28/20*, 11/30/20

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing (1-Day): 9/21/20, 10/3/20, 10/26/20, 12/5/20, 12/18/20

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic) (1-Day): 11/10/20

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (2-day): 10/30/20

MSC-ENVPRO (1-Day) – 11/1/20

MSC-FF-HELO (2-Day) – 10/28/20

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualifications (4-Day): 9/14/20, 11/2/20

MSC-Security Watch Basic (1-Day) – 9/12/20, 11/2/20

MSC-Security Watch Advanced (1-Day) – 9/13/20, 11/6/20

MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force (3-Day) – 9/18/20, 11/7/20

NDMS-ENAV – Navigational Decision Making Series – Best Practice in eNav (3-Day) – 11/30/20

NSAP-MMP – Navigational Skills Assessment Program-MM&P (2-Day) – 10/26/20*, 10/28/20*, 12/14/20*, 12/16/20

PSC – Personal Survival Craft (5-Day) – 10/19/20

PSC-REF – Personal Survival Craft Refresher (2-Day) – 12/10/20

RFPNW – Ratings Forming Part of a Navigational Watch (3-day) – 9/30/20

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal (1-Day): 9/21/20

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes (1-Night): 9/15/20, 12/14/20

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: Not currently scheduled

SAR – Search & Rescue – (Now with OIC and CMM assessments) (3-Day): 10/14/20, 11/30/20

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling: 10/19/20

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling (5 Day) – 11/16/20*, 12/14/20*

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: Not currently scheduled

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses (15-Day): Not currently scheduled

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: Not currently scheduled

TRAC-TUG-2 (2-Day): Not currently scheduled

TTT – ** This course is NOT covered by the MATES Program ** Not currently scheduled

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties (1-Day): Not Currently Scheduled

VSO – Vessel Security Officer (3-Day): Not currently scheduled

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level) (10-Day): 10/5/20

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): 9/14/20

Back to Stories Covered


Schedule of Courses – Please also see our schedule and enroll online at

For Registration Contact our Admissions Department: 206.441.2880 or

September 2020

21-25 Management of Electrical and Electronic Control Equipment (MEECE)
21-2 GMDSS
28-29 Basic Training Revalidation
30th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation

October 2020

12-16 ECDIS
12-16 Ship Construction and Basic Stability
12-16 Basic Training
12-16 Medical Care Provider
12-23 Medical Person-In-Charge
19-20 Basic Training Revalidation
19-23 Advanced Meteorology
19-6 Celestial Navigation
21st Medical DOT
22nd Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
26-29 Advanced Firefighting
26-30 Advanced Shiphandling I

November 2020

2-6 Advanced Shiphandling II
2-6 Radar Observer Unlimited
2-6 Basic Training
9-12 Advanced Firefighting
9-13 Leadership & Managerial Skills
9-13 Medical Care Provider
9-20 Medical Person-In-Charge
13th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
16-17 Basic Training Revalidation
16-18 Security Officer – Vessel, Company and Facility
16-19 ARPA
16-20 Advanced Stability
30-4 Basic Training

December 2020

4, 7-8 Basic Training Refresher
7-8 Basic Training Revalidation
7-11 Medical Care Provider
7-18 Medical Person-In-Charge
9th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
10-11 Advanced Firefighting Refresher

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The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots, 700 Maritime Blvd. Suite B, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1953. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973. All rights reserved. The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly © 2020. Articles can be reprinted without prior permission if credit is given to The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly. For subscriptions, address changes or messages to the editor or to MM&P headquarters, e-mail Back issues of The Weekly are posted on