Wheelhouse Weekly – September 22, 2005

September 22nd 2005



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

Volume 9 . . . . . Number 38 . . . . September 22, 2005






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


Effective as of 0600 hours on Sept.22, the area where MM&P’s Houston office is located is under a mandatory evacuation order due to the approach Hurricane Rita, which is now a major Category 5 storm. Houston Branch Agent Wayne Farthing reports that the MM&P office will be closed until at least Monday. A further assessment will be made at that time depending on how the area survives the storm.

In a related development, operations at all public facilities of Port of Houston Authority stopped at 1700 on Wednesday in advance of Hurricane Rita. All non-essential PHA personnel were released from duties until PHA facilities reopen on Monday, Sept. 26 at 0600. The eight public port facilities owned, operated or leased by the PHA are: Bulk Materials Handling Plant, Turning Basin Terminal, Barbours Cut Container Terminal, Woodhouse Terminal, Houston Public Grain Elevator, Jacintoport Terminal, Care Terminal and the Galveston Container Terminal. For more info, check on the Internet at




As the Wheelhouse Weekly is being readied for distribution, New Orleans Representative Sue Bourcq reports that she is currently scheduled to transfer office operations to the Houston office beginning on Monday, Sept. 26. However, the approach of Hurricane Rita and the aftermath of the storm could very well change those plans. Those who would like the latest up-to-date info on the temporary move to Houston or who would like more details on the current situation with the New Orleans office can e-mail Bourcq directly at as she is able to retrieve her email offsite.



The Masters, Mates & Pilots Disaster Relief Fund has been established to help members and applicants needing assistance following Hurricane Katrina. A letter sent out soliciting donations for this fund is on the MM&P web site at
. MM&P has provided a significant contribution from the general treasury to kick off the financing of this fund. All requests for assistance from the proceeds generated by this fund must be made in writing and sent to MM&P Headquarters, 700 Maritime Blvd. Linthicum, MD 21090 in care of John Gorman, Comptroller or Beverly Gutmann, Asst. Comptroller.



The Seamen’s Church Institute is making grants and interest-free loans to active mariners and immediate family members affected by Hurricane Katrina. You may refer a mariner for assistance by calling 212-349-9090 (for deep-sea mariners) or 270-575-1005 (for inland waterway mariners). You may contribute to the Mariners’ Assistance Fund by calling 202-349-9090 or go to the Internet site at



Based on the reports of damage caused by Hurricane Katrina and anticipating possible damage in the Galveston/Houston area as a result of Hurricane Rita, the Wheelhouse Weekly is making MM&P members aware of two accounting firms that have experience in dealing with mariners in both tax work and casualty losses. MM&P makes no recommendation regarding these two firms except that they are both well known and handle a number of seafarer’s taxes and tax problems.

If you have been affected by Hurricane Katrina and have suffered a loss, you may be able to deduct a portion of the loss on your tax return (IRS limitations apply). Since many of the southern regions affected by Katrina are considered federal disaster areas, you can choose to deduct the loss on your 2005 tax return or amend your 2004 tax return to include your losses.

Allowable casualty losses are reduced by insurance reimbursements and further reduced by both $100 and 10% of your Adjusted Gross Income. By selecting a year, either 2004 or 2005, that has a lower income base your allowable deductible losses may vary significantly.

Additional information on casualty losses can be obtained from IRS Publication 547. If you have any further questions on casualty losses and deductions, feel free to contact Transport Workers Tax Service at 866-777-TWTS (8987) or by email at

Martin Kapp, CPA, is offering his professional time and services free to any MM&P members affected by Hurricane Katrina. His accounting office specializes in mariner tax issues. He also writes a column for “Professional Mariner Magazine” titled “Cap Your Taxes.”

Kapp says that, “Federally declared disaster areas unfortunately require lots of paperwork. Unlike MM&P members, Certified Public Accountants (CPA) like me are trained to fill out paperwork and then spend the necessary time pushing this paperwork through the government.” For more info, call his office in Los Angeles toll-free at 800-728-1040 or visit his web site at


Hurricane Rita continues in a direction that many industry experts fear will cause substantial damage to major energy installations in the Houston area. The Category 5 storm is already reducing Gulf of Mexico output, with 73% of oil production and 47% of natural gas production offline as of Wednesday. The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port anticipated suspension of service by late Wednesday.

The Energy Information Administration warned that if Rita hit Texas on a northerly path, “impact could be significant”, both in terms of offshore facilities and refineries, with 26% of the country’s refining capacity located in the danger zone. Valero, BP, Marathon and Shell all began ramping down production and sending home non-essential workers from their Texas refineries on Wednesday. The chief executive of the Valero, the country’s largest refiner said that losses from Rita could be a national disaster if the storm maintains its present course.


As previously reported in the Wheelhouse Weekly, Hurricane Katrina forced the closure of the USCG Regional Examination Center (REC) in New Orleans for an undetermined duration. The Coast Guard is now expanding its services in Memphis to restore services to merchant mariners in need of credentials.

Due to space limitations, a temporary facility will be opened up that will be staffed by employees from REC New Orleans. The space has been identified, and office equipment and computers are already in place. Employees are being directed to report to their temporary location in Memphis and this secondary facility should be open for full service no later than Sept.30.

The USCG is also opening a limited-service facility in Morgan City, LA. This facility, co-located with the existing Marine Safety Unit, will be able to provide fingerprinting and identification services. It will reduce the burden on mariners by eliminating the need for many mariners to travel to a full-service REC. Mariners may file completed applications at this unit; however, the applications will be forwarded for processing to the expanded REC in Memphis. The Morgan City facility is expected to open on Friday, Sept. 23.

Existing RECs in Charleston, and Miami are being augmented with additional staff to assist applicants who would normally apply to REC New Orleans. Mariners may elect to send applications to these or any of the other RECs located throughout the United States. The REC in Houston was also being supplied with additional staff but all operations have been delayed until Hurricane Rita passes through the area.

USCG officials emphasize that these arrangements are only temporary and are designed to restore services to mariners in the timeliest fashion possible. When the infrastructure in the devastated area of New Orleans is restored and the city is deemed safe, the USCG will again re-open a REC in or within the vicinity of New Orleans to provide quick, convenient services to Gulf Coast mariners.


Over 20 of the country’s largest agriculture associations, federations and corporations are seeking to capitalize on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina by pressing the White House to waive the Jones Act. The Act requires goods being transported entirely or partly by water between US points to travel in US-flagged, US-built, US-crewed and US-owned vessels. In a letter to President Bush, these organizations claim that US agriculture needs additional transportation capacity to move US grains and oilseeds to regions, such as the Southeastern US, traditionally served by domestic transportation modes that have been stretched beyond capacity due to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

To help address this acute situation, these farm-based conglomerates are urging that a temporary waiver be granted for agricultural products for the remainder of calendar year 2005 from the Jones Act. Their letter to President Bush says in part, “A temporary waiver of the Jones Act – as was done for the petroleum and gas industry – would ease some of the burden on an already taxed transportation system and assist in limiting the negative impacts of an extensive port and waterway recovery
effort on US agricultural producers Without such action, we are concerned that traditional US grain and oilseed buyers in some regions will look to overseas suppliers – rather than US farmers – to meet their demand needs because of constraints on US domestic transportation movements.”

The letter was signed by many long-standing Jones Act foes including the Agricultural Retailers Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Feed Industry Association, American Soybean Association, CF Industries, John Deere, Louis Dreyfus Corporation, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Barley Growers Association, National Chicken Council, National Corn Growers Association, National Grange, National Grain and Feed Association, National Sorghum Producers, National Turkey Federation, North American Export Grain Association, US Apple Association, United Egg Producers, United States Dry Bean Council, USA Rice Federation and the Western Peanut Growers Association.


Yet another waiver request: this time, from the foreign flag cruise lines so they can transport passengers between American ports. They want a waiver to the Passenger Services Act, citing the Jones Act waiver already given to the oil and gas industry. The Passengers Service Act prohibits the transportation of passengers from US port to US port by foreign-flagged vessels.

Their letter requesting a Passenger Services Act waiver states that the passenger vessel industry responded to federal government requests for disaster relief assistance by chartering three ships to the MSC. “To facilitate this emergency response, the passenger vessel industry has requested the Administration provide limited and temporary waivers to several US laws.” The letter also states that, “To be effective as possible, the industry needs a waiver of the Passenger Services Act for the chartered vessels during the term of the respective charters.”


The Maritime Cabotage Task Force (MCTF), comprised of more than 400 American companies, associations, shipyards, labor organizations including MM&P, defense groups and others, has strongly voiced their opposition to a growing number of waivers being requested to US cabotage laws such as the Jones Act and the Passenger Services Act.

In a letter to Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) and Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI), MCTF President Philip Grill states, “We have learned that various interests, including cruise lines and agricultural interests, are seeking broad waivers to the nation’s cabotage laws, alleging that they are needed as part of the Katrina relief and revitalization effort. These allegations are not consistent with the facts and the MCTF strongly opposes such requests.”

The MCTF has publicly stated that it respected the President’s decision to waive the Jones Act on a temporary basis to permit the coastwise movement of petroleum products by foreign flag vessels. It opposes requests by the agricultural community to waive the Jones Act because, “there are ample coastwise-qualified US vessels available to meet the needs. Moreover, waivers are not necessary for foreign cruise ships being used as docked living space for evacuees since such use is allowed under existing law.”

The MCFT letter continues by stating that, “We urge you to resist any effort to turn case-by-case waivers granted by responsible government officials under longstanding legislative authority to meet defined threats to US national security into broader legislative grants intended primarily to further the economic self interests of those making the request.”

The letter concludes by noting, “As the efforts to recover from the ravages of Hurricane Katrina move forward, US-flag vessels operated by tax-paying American companies and American citizen crews are more than capable of handling domestic waterborne transportation requirements on a going forward basis, including many operating in the affected Gulf region.”


Vice Adm. David L. Brewer III, USN, Commander, Military Sealift Command, received the National Defense Transportation Association Department of Defense Distinguished Service Award on Sept. 13. As MSC commander since August 2001, Vice Adm. Brewer has directed the ocean transport of 95 percent of all combat cargo used by US forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom and the global war on terrorism.

With more than 8,500 members, NDTA fosters partnerships between government, military and industry to maintain a strong global transportation and distribution system. Each year, the nonprofit organization recognizes a DOD senior executive who has shown outstanding service to the nation in the field of transportation and logistics.

“Beginning with the hospital ship USNS COMFORT sailing to New York City to provide relief to emergency workers after Sept. 11, and continuing through Operation Iraqi Freedom, Vice Adm. Brewer directed the efforts of more than 120 ships and their crews worldwide,” said the citation. “Vice Adm. Brewer is the epitome of a Sailor’s Sailor whose leadership and professionalism have contributed immeasurably to America’s national security and humanitarian missions.”

MSC has moved 78 million square feet of US military cargo in support of the global war on terrorism. That’s equal to more than 827,000 SUVs that, if lined up bumper-to-bumper, would stretch from Washington, DC, to Las Vegas. In addition, MSC ships have delivered more than 7.7 billion gallons of fuel to US forces — enough to fill up the Empire State Building nearly 28 times.


John McMullen, one of the most prominent figures in the American shipping industry, died on Sept. 16 at his home in Montclair, NJ. He was 87. No cause of death was released. He was president and chief executive of United States Lines, a leading US-flag carrier for many years, from 1968-71.

In 1972, McMullen acquired Norton Lilly International, a shipping agency, and remained its owner until 2002. In 1982 McMullen bought the Colorado Rockies of the National Hockey League and moved the team to New Jersey renaming them the Devils. The team won two Stanley Cup championships under his ownership before he sold it for $175 million. McMullen also owned baseball’s Houston Astros from 1979-92, when he sold the team for $115 million.

A native of Jersey City, NJ, McMullen graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1940 and served in combat during World War II. He retired from the Navy as a commander in 1954, and spent three years with the Maritime Administration. He became president of United States Lines in 1968, after it was acquired by Walter Kidd & Co. Kidd owned the carrier until 1978, when it sold the company to Malcom McLean, the former owner of Sea-Land Service and founder of the container shipping business.

“Dr. McMullen will be remembered for his uncommon spirit of innovation and his enduring role in the advancement of the marine industry,” said the Rev. Dr. Jean Smith, executive director of Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) of New York & New Jersey. “Our country’s standing in the maritime has been enhanced through Dr. McMullen’s leadership and endeavors. Despite his numerous personal achievements, he always honored the service of merchant mariners and recognized their sacrifice.” McMullen received SCI’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2003 Silver Bell Awards Dinner. In addition, SCI’s International Seafarers’ Center will be named in his honor following its renovation.


The Seattle-Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Council of American Master Mariners will award Gregg Trunnell, Director of the Pacific Maritime Institute (PMI), its annual “Maritime Man of the Year” award at the organization’s October 13th Luncheon in Seattle, Washington.

Capt. Don Moore, Treasurer of the Seattle Chapter, said, “Gregg was selected as our 2005 Maritime Man of the Year for his contribution to creating a first class Maritime Education environment in the Puget Sound Area. His support in the development of a mariner apprentice program for college and high school youth in the area, his bringing to life PMI’s new educational facility and simulator, and his dedication in creating and teaching US Coast Guard required mariner licensing and documentation curricula has made Maritime Education and Training in Puget Sound among the best on the West Coast.”

The Council of America Master Mariners is a professional organization of active and retired ship masters and pilots in the American Merchant Marine who are dedicated to ensuring maritime legislation effecting commercial traffic has its input. The organization also spends time building public awareness of the maritime industry. This year’s award luncheon will be held on Oct. 13 at 1130 hrs at the Yankee Grill in Ballard, WA.


CLASS OPENINGS: Between now and the end of December 2005, seats are available in the following courses:

AIS – Automatic Identification System: 10/13, 12/15
ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 9/26, 10/24, 12/5
AZIPOD – Azipod Propulsion System (2 day): 12/5

BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 10/11, 11/2, 12/12
BST – Basic Safety Training: 9/26, 10/31

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 1): 11/14
CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 11/7
CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display and Info Systems: 12/5
CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 10/24, 12/5
CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 9/26, 11/14
CMM-SHS-ADV-II – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 11/28, 12/12
CMM-SHMGT I – Ship Management (week 1): 9/26, 10/24, 12/12
CMM-SHMGT I I- Ship Management (week 2): 10/31
CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 10/17, 10/31
CMM-VPEN – Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 10/10
CMM-WKP – Watchkeeping: 11/28

CONT-PLNG – Contingency Planning: 10/7, 11/11, 12/2, 12/16

FF-BADV – (Combined) Basic and Advanced Firefighting: 9/26, 10/26

HAZ-Hazardous Materials (5-day): 10/17, 11/14

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage [Evening Seminar]: 9/21

MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 10/6, 11/10, 12/1
MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 10/22, 12/10
MED-PIC – Medical Person-In-Charge: 9/26, 10/17, 10/31, 12/5
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 9/26, 10/17, 10/31, 12/5

[MSC – Military Sealift Command]
MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 11/4 (must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years)

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal (5-day): 11/28
ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 9/26, 10/17, 10/24, 12/5, 12/10

SEC-OFF-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 10/4, 11/7, 11/28, 12/12
SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 10/24, 11/7
SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling (5 day): 10/10
SHS-ESH-BRMP- Emergency Shiphandling/Bridge Resource Management for Pilots (3-day): 12/5

TPIC – Tankerman Person-In-Charge: 9/26
TRAC-TUG – Water Tractor and Azimuth Stern Drive Tugs (3-day): 12/8

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:


October 2005

10/3-7 ECDIS
10/3-14 Basic Watchkeeping
10/10-12 Bridge Resource Management
10/10-10-14 Basic Safety Training
10/10-14 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
10/10-14 Emergency Shiphandling – 5 day
10/17-28 GMDSS
10/18-21 Lifeboat/Survival Craft
10/24-26 Ship Security Officer
10/24-28 ARPA
10/24 Radar Renewal
10/31 Flashing Light

November 2005

10/31-11/2 Medical Care Provider
10/31-11/11 Medical Person-In-Charge
11/7-11 TPIC
11/7-18 GMDSS
11/7-19 100 Ton OUPV
11/14-18 ECDIS
11/28-12/2 Radar Observer Unlimited
11/28-12/2 Emergency Shiphandling 5-day

December 2005

12/5-9 Medical Care Provider
12/5-9 ARPA
12/5-16 Basic Safety Training
12/5-16 GMDSS
12/5-16 Medical Person-In-Charge
12/13-16 Lifeboat/Survival Craft
12/19-21 Ship Security Officer
12/19-23 ARPA
12/19-23 Basic Shiphandling
12/26-30 Emergency Shiphandling 5-day


For registration call Jennifer Fowler 888-893-7829

PMI Merchandise for Sale: High quality with embroidered PMI logo. All prices include tax. Navy Caps: $18.00; Button Down Long Sleeve Dress Shirts Blue or Khaki: $38.00; Coming Soon: Navy, Burgundy, Khaki T-shirts, high quality thick Hanes shirt with pocket $22.00; 15 oz. Beautiful Cobalt Blue Ceramic Mug $10.Call DeeDee Lazik 206-838-8328 or e-mail



 D O W  N A S D A Q  S & P 500
10,378.03 -266.87 for the week  2,106.64  -42.69 for the week  1,210.20  -16.96 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)


~ 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, broadcast worldwide via FEC marine telex and is posted on our web page.